I’ve had some issues with Internet connectivity lately so here goes the very delayed last entry to my traveling blog. Since I left Australia I was back in London for two weeks, doing some work for a quick bank account boost, and I’m currently in the States visiting friends and family for a few weeks.
June 27, 2009 by Marianne
Here it goes:
So after leaving Sydney I headed up to Byron Bay with the Wills. We got off the bus after what ended up being a pretty sleepless night for me and arrived to several backpacker staff with their vans trying to draw us to their hostels. It worked; Will, Will and I were too tired to do any deciding ourselves, so we followed a blond Canadian named Eric to his van and he took us to Aquarius hostel.
We checked in to the nicest dorm I’ve ever stayed in and picked beds on the top floor of our duplex style room where we met Katie, another Canadian who had also just arrived.
Our first day in Byron was spent watching the rain POUR down like I’ve never seen before. We realized that this may go on, so we found out about bus trips to a place called Nimbin – a hippie town that hasn’t moved on since about 1968. We took a very psychedelic bus tour to the town listening to Pink Floyd, The Doors and other ‘free love’ bands to arrive in a multi-coloured tie-dye town. Walking down the main street was an exercise in turning down one offer after another for weed, brownies, more weed, cookies…you get the idea. I took a tour of the Nimbin Museum whose design concept was something along the lines of ‘here’s some stuff I found on the street/at the flea market/in my cellar.’ There was stuff EVERYWHERE, and none of it seemed to make any sort of sense. Hippie heaven. At the end, before exiting, we met a 50-something year old woman rushing off yelling “just wait 15 minutes guys, I’ll be back with the cookies soon, I just have to pick them up from my house.” This wasn’t just a nice lady who baked things for visitors. She made her money making tourists feel like they were on a Grateful Dead tour, or a character in Ken Kesey’s acid charged life. On the way home our bus driver pointed out all the ‘beautiful shades of green’ in the countryside and took us through the mud back to our Byron home. Where it was still raining.
Unfortunately the rain continued so after meeting the backpacker staff and we spent our nights exploring Byron Bay nightlife with them and spending most of our days watching the rain come down with two days of sun that we spent on the beach and walking to the lighthouse – the Easternmost point of mainland Australia.
After a few days I decided I needed to make a move up north if I wanted to see more of the country. One problem. All that rain? Causes problems. Like flooding. In both directions.
Nobody, myself included, could get in or (more importantly) OUT of Byron for a few days.
I embraced my fate and paid at the reception for more nights at Aquarius. At least I could hang out here with people I liked, and I got free dinner every night, even if it was the same stuff over and over again… free is free. Plus we entertained ourselves with pub quiz nights and poker tournaments.
For all the less-than-ideal weather, I had an amazing time in Byron Bay thanks to the Wills, Katie and the Aquarius staff. After deciding that it was time for me to leave I realized that my time was now quite short, so instead of heading up north I headed back to Sydney and the twins. Since the highway was still flooded I took a flight from the small airport inland that was still accessible down to Sydney airport where Joh met me to take me back to another few days of home comforts. Mike and Lisa were still around so I spent my last few days seeing them, taking a day trip to the Blue Mountains, and going to the Sydney Aquarium where I saw a platypus! They’d been hiding when we went to the Sydney Zoo in my first week, so I was glad to check off that last Australian animal from my list after kangaroo, wallaby and koala among others.
I also cooked a meal for Nad, Sal, Joh and Lisa that went down well, I think?
I loved Australia, a sentiment perhaps not expressed well enough in this shortened version of my time there, but I have decided to save up as quickly as possible for a return trip on a one year work-holiday visa.
So that’s it! I took a flight from Sydney back to Bangkok where I spent a day doing some last minute shopping and sharing my stories with new travelers experiencing their first nights abroad on Koh San Road. Then it was back to the airport to travel back to London and home.
Seven and a half months later, a term of teaching and an amazing backpacker experience through Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and finally Australia and I’m back where I started. Back in the Foster home in Crouch End, London. Dreaming of my next adventure.
I’ve had a great time writing this blog and plan on setting up a more permanent URL to continue life as a blogger, so watch this space for a final update and a name URL address.
Thanks for reading, commenting, and sending me all those great letters and packages. I write for you. 🙂
“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.” – St Augustine.