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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Byron Bay

Ah Byron! The place I have been thinking about ever since I came out here... Will it have changed? Will be be a huge sprawling metropolis of shops offering to realign my chakras? Will it still have hippies it it? Well, the answers to those (and other questions) are available here: Yes, of course it had changed. I would have been a fool to expect that the little hippy village I visited in 1999 would have stayed the same! It was popular when my friend Leon went, it was more popular when I was there in 1999 and in 2006 it was heaving with people.

My contract at WorkCover finished up at the end of June. My plan was to roll up th
e coast, and go to Garma. Having had my conversation with Jeremy (my Yidaki tacher) I decided to stay in Sydney for a bit longer and save some money so that when I get to NT I will have a sack of cash to fall back on. So three days after leaving Workcover, I was already on the phone organising interviews. I got offered a job within a few days of that, but was told it would not start before the middle of July. I had a couple of weeks of freedom before I started I chilled. My first week was spent sitting round the hostel, having the odd lunch with Julia here and there and not a lot else. By around the 8th I was getting itchy feet. I drew up a little plan of what I wanted to happen over the next few months (included for your pleasure):

After that I hopped onto the ‘net. I was not going to sit around for the following week, on my bottom wasting my time. I decided to take a walk down Nostalgia Street and head to Byron bay for sun, sea, sand and lovelies. I booked the ticket.

The evening of departure, I gave Julia a call and met up for a walk and some dinner. We walked around Strawberry hills (a suburb in Sydney), until we came to a little restaurant called El Bulli, that did tapas. We ordered, ate and chatted, and became more and more amused and annoyed by the waitress who wouldn’t leave us alone! She must have thought she was being helpful but she was a royal pain in the bum! “Would you like more to eat?” (Sod off!!!) “Can I get you anything else?” (blah blah).

The food was great but any Michelin stars should be taken off because of the dopey waitress! Julia and I went to the bus station, then she waved me on to the bus and it pulled away.

The bus ride was 13 hours (left is a picture taken about 6ish in the morning - note the fog!). My bottom at the end was so numb I could have sat on broken glass without breaking a sweat. But finally I had arrived at the place I had been picturing for seven years, not without a huge wave of nostalgia. It was good to be back in many ways – the weather was so lovely that first day.

That first day (12th) I wondered around. I looked at the beach (which was just where I had left it), the town centre (which had only changed in a few ways – more commercial unsurprisingly) and the hostel (Backpackers on the beach). I slept for a lot of the afternoon that day… 13 hours on a bus is far from lovely and I relished my bunk.

That first evening there was a bar-b-q, sangria and a fire juggle r. I chatted to a very dull girl from Essex who said some dull things about her opinion of Australia. I did not talk to her the next day! Late that evening, I spent some time writing and writing. My head was very full of events from the last few days I did not want to lose any of it. I wrote several pages.

To the left is a picture of the beach (<).

On the 13th I enjoyed being asleep and being unknown for a bit. It is a nice thing to do sometimes – spend time on your own and I relished the thought as I walked off to the lighthouse that is on the easterly most point of Australia. After at least an hour – having walked through some really charming scenery) I made it to the top of Cape Byron (?).

The weather on this day was a lot less pleasant that before, but I did not care. The walk was tiring but made me feel super human. I was pleased to go and chill in the hostel though.

The 14th is a bit of a blur! Not sure why! Could have been down to beer but I don’t think so, so I will skip to my last day. I checked out of the hostel by 10am and dumped my bags in the lockup at the bus stop. I took my camera and wandered around in the rain taking photos – photos on the beach in the rain, didjeridu shops in the rain, surfers (yes that’s right) in the rain…. You get the picture! On that last day I ate like a king and then took the bus back to Sydney. You might think I became a bit jaded about Byron, and in a way you could be right, but it was still good to get back there.

The hostel was waiting for me, with my bed and my didjeridu! Julia was there on laundry patrol too.

On the left is my impression of Man Friday from Robinson Crusoe. I call this picture "Dan Friday" - there will be autographs in the foyer after the show.


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