I arrived in Australia and had a little shindig with friends I know in Sydney. The hospitality of the Krasnowskis knows no limits, so Jon, Rob, Sean and Dai all had a great evening out topped Continue reading Australia
For a last wave at South America Valparaiso was a double edged sword, but certainly an interesting one. I loved the place but should have tucked myself in bed safely after dark, but the alternative certainly leads to an interesting life. Continue reading Santiago to New Zealand
The friends I am staying with in Perth bought me a ticket to see David Byrne play at the city zoo so we ambled over there via some nachos and a pint and settled in for what turned out to be a wonderful night.
Byrne built the evening up from low key to spectacular in a similar way to the ‘Stop making Sense’ gigs of the eighties, only this time it was subtle. He played a lot of the Byrne Eno songs and I think most people went home feeling like they had seen the best that Byrne could deliver – a few people were shouting for Psycho Killer at the end but I’m quite happy he didn’t do that song, It was always a song for opening the night, end the night on something a little less psychotic.
So here I am waiting to go to the airport. The hospitality I have recieved in Perth has been the best yet, but perhaps that’s because they are valuable old friends I am visiting and a few bridges have been mended. Life is short and we can’t afford to waste such beautiful people, so it is on a note of reconciliation and friendship that I leave this wonderful country on. I am also happy that such a warm welcome was afforded by people from back home, I had begun to think that it was an Australian cultural quirk to throw the doors open with such warmth, but no. Good.
So I am in love with this country, it took me a wee while to get my head around it’s warm and very big heart but I think I have an idea of it’s nature now and feel comfortable just being here.
I think we’ll be back.
Just to show I haven’t forgotten that I am supposed to be writing a blog about work and travel I had better mention that I do work whilst on the hoof y’know.
Today I updated three websites and went half blind staring at my monitor until the early hours – it’s worth it though as when I put my laptop down the scenery is still stunning.
For this evening we went to one of those Ozzy restaurants where S.E.Asian food is given the reverence it deserves, then back home for a few cold beers. Life is good – only a few more days until I fly to Singapore and then Malaysia so I had better make the most of Australia now, I do hope to be back.
Ok, so I did rally the hire car Continue reading Not So Cheap Car Hire
At O’Reilly’s you get to spend time in the cool mountain rainforests surrounded by gorgeous tropical birds, a free treetop walk through the jungle hammock and a fine wine produced by the O’Reilly vineyard. This made me chuckle as the idea of a good Irish wine is a little bit of an oxymoron – well kind of. I drank a little too much and manged to fall out of my hammock and keep the neighbours awake.
One O’Reilly relative was kind enough to save some plane crash survivors as they clung to life on one of the remote mountain slopes nearby, there is a statue to commemorate this with ‘a great Aussie Story’ written on it as well as something about mateship. I like the idea of mateship, I think it’s all about keeping your buddies beer glass full or something like that, saving your fellow bod from a lonely demise on a mountain is also included along with anything in between these two bookends.
The top thing for me at O’reilly’s had to be the treetop walk. Cleverly constructed so that you walk out over a slope so that it seems as if you have hardly gone up into the canopy of anything at all, you soon find yourself up there with the birds. And what birds they are…
Byron Bay is one of those places that has been eaten up by it’s own success, a bit like the Thai islands, or any little idyll that has suffered the spotlight in fact.
Little more than 30 years ago it was just a quiet spot with green rolling hills a stones throw from a gorgeous beach, these days it has that patina of Americana that would scare the purist hippies into the hills.
I don’t have to lament these changes having not visited before so I loved the walk up to the lighthouse to see the views around the vast curving beaches either side. It was also a grand feeling standing on the most easterly point of such a vast continent.
For the night we slung the jongle hammocks up just back from the beach so we heard the rolling surf all night.
The east coast of Oz has so many gorgeous places to see, yet one of the most well know crowd pleasers is The Big Banana that sits glaring over the road just outside Coffs Harbour.
Now the problem with having the moniker ‘Big’ before your name is that you expect it to be nothing less than, well, big. The big banana didn’t really live up to it’s bigness in my books, but let’s not get Freudian about that or we’ll be here all day.
Here is a picture of the big banana, admittedly it would fill up your bowl of muesli should you slice it up for breakfast.
Well that’s about it right now. I have to prise myself away from this idyll to take a look up country or I’ll have to take up residency here in Bellingen. Now that’s no bad thing and we are considering it as an option, along with half of the rest of the world too. It’s a nice dichotomy to be in, but for now we are up for a trip to the gold coast and some of those little waterfalls with idyllic little pools we have heard about up country.
We crossed over the Bellingen river and took a left hand turn through the old caravan site to be met by a forest full of bats hanging in the trees like some mass vampire convention. They were taking little training flights, grooming, walking about the trees upside down whilst making an awesome racket.
When the time is right (sunset) they all take off at once and head off in search of fruit (they are fruit bats, or flying foxes). They seem to know where they are going as it seems each bat has it’s own destination.
At sunrise they all come home and hang out, literally.
If it gets too hot they die as happened a few summers ago, they just roast and fall off of the trees. They have little back legs but can’t stand up, so I am guessing they get most of the moisture they need to survive from the fruit they eat. Damned cute little fellers they are.
Australia is a bit more smoke and mirrors than I expected it to be. Maybe this is because over in the UK we think we know about Australia, it crops up in conversation and a good deal of it’s population think of London as a second home, so when I arrived I expected it to be familiar. But no, to be honest Hong Kong feels more like home – not only because I lived there for a year, but because more people seem to speak English than they do in Sydney.
Don’t get me wrong here, I know Australia is a melting pot, I just didn’t expect it to be melting quite as much as it is.
On a practical work front it is difficult to get Internet access too. I found it easier in Cambodia than I do here, which I explain to myself as being the result of Australia having a huge infrastructure to support – but this doesn’t compute.
I do love this city though, we went swimming in the Olympic sized harbour side pool today where you can swim lengths while the harbour bridge stretches above you and over the bay. This is such an outdoor place. I am having to adjust my white skin to the outdoors though as it is hot and humid here, in my 6 weeks across S.E.Asia I haven’t come across heat like this yet.
We have walked everywhere – a bicycle would be better and a canoe better than that, but for now we have walked. The markets over at Balmain and Rozelle were a treat – at Rozelle a jazz quartet played whilst I got my aching shoulders massaged, I was enjoying that melting pot right then as well as when we tucked into a Singapore Laksha at the Darling Harbour food circle.
Sydney is going to take a little longer than I imagined to get the hang of and I’m glad for it, it’s those songs you always learn to love the most isn’t it!