Thursday, 27 November 2014

Buying a New Phone on the Road

Townsville is the largest town in northern Queensland and yet no one mention about it other than it’s a town and the gateway to Magnetic Island. I decided to give Magnetic Island a miss and stay in Townsville instead for 2 night and explore something that is not sold to me by hungry travel agency.

Townsville reminded me of the dead city I stumble a lot across USA. Large but empty where you barely see anyone around and yet all the shops are standing there with a lady inside smacking a mosquito. The place itself was rather nice with a few nice walks. If it was any cheaper and I had more time in hand I would consider Townsville a good pit stop to just rest and write, plan and get away from all the crowded places.
Townsville was also where I decided it’s time to get a phone since I would need one the coming week to pay bills. A long long walk under the hot sun, Noah and I finally reach Castletown the largest shopping centre in Townsville. Thinking there would be loads of food we starve ourselves going there only to find the good cheap thing to eat was McDonald.
Back to my phone problem …. I had a broken phone … not working …. And I had bill to pay that require a working phone …. Dilemma Dilemma …. Not much choice really … just have to buy a new phone and hope it last and not burn a hole into my pocket
There was three giant hypermart in Castle Town which were Woolsworth, Target and Big W. Checking prices in Target I almost, almost bought the Nokia 208 for AUD 59. Simple phone, a camera and able to play music. Just to be sure I had to check out how much the same phone cost at Big W. Here I was looking at the dirt cheap phone resigning myself to not having a smartphone for the entire 1 year backpacking trip when Noah said the words ….
“Look this one really cheap”
A Nokia Lumia 625 was being slash half price selling at AUD 148. It had a decent camera that I could finally take photos with, a smartphone meaning I get to use almost all the function again, and a huge memory too. Just for a little more money less than 100 and I would get a smartphone instead of a simple one.
Damm You Noah.
So I reluctantly parted with what little remaining money I had which was just enough to get me to the end of Australia trip to buy a smartphone. Now I just hope it last till the end of the trip …. Fingers crossed .  

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Hunt for a Taste of Kangaroo

One of my to-do list ever since I decided to visit Australia was to hunt down a place where I could order and try the mystical Kangaroo meet. Of course I visited the zoo first to see how cute they were and every time I spot one in the while I would awe and shout like a little boy KANGAROO, and a small part of me will wonder …. How do you taste like …..

Sad to say I thought it would be as easy as walking into any pub / restaurant and just ordering it off the menu. That was the plan, for the locals to prepare it for you best the way it should be. Apparently Kangaroo is considered as Gourmet dish hence it could be quite pricy and only expensive type restaurant would serve it.
Of my whole month in Australia traveling the east coast between Sydney and Cairns I have only saw one restaurant which had Kangaroo on their menu. That was in Sydney and it was priced at a crazy AUD 40. I did not try it then thinking countryside would be cheaper and better but alas that was the first and the last that I saw Kangaroo on a menu.

So it was in Airlie beach that I got to hunt down and taste that Kangaroo, sort of. I was chatting up Noah and for the last few days I had told him of my curiosity craving of trying Kangaroo meet. Getting back from the sailing tour we decided to give cooking a go since cooking for 2 was much easier than for one. The plan was for spaghetti with sausage and pasta sauce. Simple enough so shopping was next.
We got some mushrooms, yellow pepper, two very small chilli padi (I was going to cook that spaghetti Ed-Malaysian style) and all that was left was the sausages. I already had the sauce and the rest from previous purchase.

“Wow the sausages are really pricy” I said
“Look its Skippy and its only AUD 5 for 10pcs” Noah said

Skippy was Noah name for the Kangaroo sausage we were about to buy and cook. Do you know how to cook it I asked Noah and he said he have no idea as well. The first taste and who knows if we cooked it right or wrong. We both survive the bathroom test so it was cook proper that’s all I could say.
Skippy with spaghetti, a pinch of chilli padi, some yellow pepper and mushroom too, tomato basil pasta sauce, salt and pepper from McDonald and a generous pouring of olive oil. It was awesome. How does the Kangaroo taste like ….. I can’t describe it … you just have to hunt down Skippy on your own.  

Friday, 21 November 2014

Last Minute Hostels & Wit-Sundays Island on Condor Boat – Airlie Beach

Wit-Sundays of the Airlie Beach. I hate to be on one of the pre-packaged guided or herded tours where all the tourist despite having no booking with any tour agency ended up being softly but undeniably herded along the tourist path. Somehow without knowing I was on the guided path. Backpackers please fall in line and next stop shall be Airlie beach. Locals are spared our plague as we are silently guided by an invisible hand through the east coast of Australia.

All I could do is just be a tourist at this point and might as well enjoy it while I am here and hopefully once a while just go to someplace no one at the tour agency nor any backpacker’s mentions.
Have you heard of xxx ???
Nope … wheres that ???
That’s where I will be going next. Alas that’s what I hope to do but with time running out in Australia it was safer to stick to the well-trodden path.
When Hostels are Fully Booked ….
So Airlie beach was fun since I had Noah as company. It’s amazing how the simple things can be more exiting with a little company especially company that you have been through the formalities of asking where you are from , what you do, what you plan to do, where are you going, bla bla …. More substance and idiotic conversation please.
I almost panicked for Airlie beach but decided to rely on my instinct instead. Well the night before reading Airlie Beach, Noah and me was drinking away at Agnes Waters waiting for the 9pm bus and while waiting decided to check out hostelworld for hostels in Airlie Beach. Apparently most of the hostel that I saw a few days earlier was now off the list since they were fully booked. Most hostel that was still on the list had only one night left for maybe one person. Deciding to abuse my free skype power I called a few hostel and the horror reply of FULLY BOOKED was rendered upon us.
Sometimes you just have to trust that everything will turn out well ….. else just sleep on the footpath like a homeless hobo
Waking up at Airlie beach at 730 as the greyhound bus pulled to a stop Noah and I had a long wait and walk before we could check in the hostel. For me I still needed to find a hostel. As we started walking towards town a nice old Irish Guy stopped his car and asked us where we were going and also gestured us to hop on before we could say anything. His car did have large banners of Waterfront Backpackers but he was not really concern if we stayed there or not. 7.30am in the morning and he was a kind soul.
I told him I did not know where I was staying and would not mind staying at waterfront if they still had space for I remembered in the hostelworld website it was fully booked. Walking up the reception it was AUD 20 a night with free wifi (although the wifi was broken the entire time I was there). I booked my stay for the night and with Noah accompany me trying to find a cheap boat to hop onto for wit-Sundays, so in the end I succumbed into a 2 days 2 nights boat as value for money goes it just makes no sense. The Waterfront hostel also threw in a free night accommodation and free luggage storage if I booked with them so I reluctantly parted with AUD 350 for a sailing tour hoping I would keep my guts for that 2 nights and not puking away from the seasickness …
I have just locked myself onto a boat … The Condor ...
(Noah was on another boat so we parted ways for a while on separate Sailing Tours)
Wit-Sundays - CONDOR
Wit-Sunday 2days 2 Nights on the Condor boat is a large Maxi kind of sailing boat and was surprisingly nice. Almost everything was manual on this sailing boat save for the fact the boat was fitted with an engine and motor if one decided the wind is not good enough. Still it goes to say that if the captain really wanted this boat could do without an engine and sail like the good old days.

There was only 3 crew member and a captain but there was nearly 28 of us on board the ship. Sailing time we were to help with hoisting the sail which was basically the brute force work while all the preparation, knot tying laying of rope and positioning was done by the crew. Still it was an insight on how sailing is like. Most of the time thou we just lay on the boat sun bathing as the ship cruise by to the next anchor destination.
Wit-Sunday was a pleasant difference from all the party tours I had gone over the years. This was a relaxing one although judging by the alcohol people brought I could tell they wanted a party. I on the other hand brought no alcohol for the fear of seasickness was enough to intoxicating oneself. Snorkel, Sunbath, Sail, EAT …. Boat food was awesome where the crew made all our lunch dinner and breakfast. We were fed the best 3 days of my journey. It’s nice not having to worry about food. It’s one of the downside of traveling, always thinking where is the next place to stay and what to eat.
The main attraction of course was White haven beach where the sand was 99.9 % silica making it pure white and so fine that even under the hot sun it would not burn up and stayed cool. The view itself was magnificent but I had no camera. (Sorry … you can Google it thou)
We saw loads of turtles, humongous fishes, two dolphins, reefs, loads and load of stingrays and the best star gazing spots at night where out in the open sea no lights was there to contaminate the sky.
Sometimes you just got to do the tours ….

Monday, 17 November 2014

Riding a Scooter in Agnes Waters Town of 1770

Agnes Waters is a small town with barely anything to do. With a little history of captain cook second landing it was a tough sold tourist destination as it felt the place had more backpackers than local residence. The beach is beautiful, and the quiet nature around even more but if you were planning to come to see some history and culture like me you would be fully disappointed. History wise, Agnes Waters / Town of 1770 is where Captain Cook first landed in Queensland, but 2nd landing in Australia. The end.

Still good tourist is good business and tour agency always find you something to do. Two main thing or rather the only two things you can do in Agnes Waters/1770 …. Surfing and Scooteroo. For those who are learning to surf you could not find a cheaper place to learn surfing than Agnes Waters. For as low as AUD 17 one can get 3hrs of surfing lesson. The tour agency Joe was so damn proud of it when he told me that nowhere in east coast of Australia can anyone beat that price.  Sorry to break his bubble but I got it for AUD 10 in Yamba, board, wet suit and all.
Still it was a pretty good deal. Some even had an AUD 22 deal with GoPro Camera mounted on the surfboard to capture that magical moment just before you fall. It looks as if the person a first timer had manage to learn how to surf. Impressive but how else could you take a photo of that 2 second that you are standing on the surf board for the first time.
The second best activity to do and the most cheesy tour I had ever done is the Scooteroo tour.

Sooteroo Tours

Trust Australia to always make something simple into something adventurous, unique and of course one of a kind. That’s how you can sell tours. By not renting the scooter or normal bikes and instead making the rental into a tour by giving out fake tattoos and painting cheap bikes to look like Harley and some fancy jackets one can always overcharge dumb gullible tourist especially when there is no competition to boot. I guess I was one of those gullible tourist but who could you blame for I could not find any sort of self rental motorbikes in Agnes Waters
The tour itself is priced at AUD 75 for 3 hours which I was screaming expensive to boot since I know you can get rental in Thailand a ugly scooter for 30 a day and in Vietnam 10 a day. Still it’s the cheesy tour so once you pay up might as well get into the groove and tattoo up and look ‘born to be wild’ rider. The tats didin even last an hour but for still it was fun to just stick as much as you can and take cheesy photograph.
The ride was on a chopper bike, small engine that could go fastest 80 km/hr but nice modification to the handle bars, good big fat rear tyres and nice body works makes the bike looks like any antique classic. The ride was guided so there were point rider, the rear guard van, and a few riders that rides ups ahead to stop traffic or guide us when to stop and when to speed up. This makes it much safer although there was barely any cars in agnes waters.
In a way I could understand their precautions since they allow anyone to practically go on the tour. You only need a driving licence. Driving licence did not even have to be motorbike qualified i.e you could ride a bike with even an automatic car licence. Imagine some that have never ever ridden a bicycle but has a driving licence and suddenly you are riding a motorcycle. These group would need all the help they can get in junctions I guess.
The tour brought us to all the backwaters road which have country side house and woods and barely any people. There was though lots and lots of wild kangaroos that was just hopping away while we ride alongside them. It was a glimpse of the actual Australian lifestyle living where a kangaroo just roam around and skip hop across your garden. Imagine going outside with a shot gun and shooting your dinner ….
The tour also brings us to the Town of 1770 where Captain Cook second sail brought him to port for the first time in Queensland. But that was about it. There was a few boat a restaurant or tavern and lots and lots of trees. The guide just said … welcome to 1770 … 30 minute break guys and we will be heading back.

For the cheesy fun and wild kangaroos … I gladly part with AUD 75 with a smile ….
Town of 1770

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A Bad Hostel Experience

Time spend in Agnes Waters recuperating was a good break from the hectic travel. 3 Nights I stayed at the southern cross backpackers and boy was it a shity hostel. I guess that’s what’s happen when a hostel are run by backpackers themselves. All backpackers always wants a good hostel, hot shower, clean room, large fully stocked kitchen, hi speed internet, power point everywhere, free shuttle, free stuff, good bed, lockers and everything else you can think off. We lot can be very demanding for the little money that we pay.

First off they would asked us (just arrived) to get off the bus to wait for the next bus so the staff could go back first. Some of the others was offended and told them off and they receded reluctantly and waited for the next bus. Next was the shuttle. A hostel that is so far away from town with nothing in between has a shuttle service. But the reliability of the shuttle is a mystery.
Once the shuttle bus is full, and normally full of the more permanent base tenant it would just leave, and the rest of us poor travellers are stranded. I got left behind twice because the bus decided to leave earlier than the stated time. One time they drop me off and nearly drove off with my backpack still in the car. One time it did not leave on time for it needed to wait 15 minutes for a permanent base tenant. Oh the jealousy of the abused privilege.
However all this could be forgiven, until the last day when I was checking out at 930 am. Check out time was 10 am and as everyone know in Agnes Waters the greyhound bus does not leave till 9pm at night, they were charging AUD 5 for a day stay in the hostel. I nicely told the girl that I was leaving the hostel on the 12 pm bus and I will be rid of them, backpack and everything. The reception girl said I had to leave by 10 am or else I need to pay. So it’s check out and get booted out.
For a hostel that is so far far away, not the cheapest by the way, infested by mosquito, kitchen that is overcrowded by long stay residence, wifi that barely works, rooms that do not have locks, all I could say is …. All could be forgiven …. If only the staff working there behave more professionally.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Rainbow Beach , Fraser Island of Lovely Nature, Fun Drunks and a Car Crash

Rainbow beach Pippies hostel was a unique one which I stayed in a permanent built tent hut which had two bunk beds in it making it a 4 bed tent. It was a nice spot to chill especially just outside the tent where there was a small table and chair which I could sit and was nicely secluded from the group of people in the common area yet while I was hidden I could see everything. It was relaxing as well.

Food as I was starting to get combatable in cooking in hostel I was starting to buy proper food, hot dogs, pasta and olive oil and all the required stuff to make a meal that taste better that something just to fill up the stomach. Beer I finally found the trick is to BYO ( buy your own) and put it in the fridge in the hostel as it was really cheap, sometimes as low as below AUD 2.
So doing nothing for two days not even stepping out of the hostel other than going for grocery shopping and well fed with good beer and a book to read (eBook) I was really loving this place. People come and go and conversation spark easily as flickers of stars at night. I was sitting still in the ever flowing backpackers moving in and out of rainbow beach partly because it serve mostly as a pit stop to go to Frasers Island.
However a storm was coming and I had no idea how much I would enjoy getting away from this place in the future. I also found that Pippies Hostel does the tour to Fraser Island which was not surprising. They had a cheaper price than most of what I seen as well selling a 2 day 1 night for AUSD190 and AUD279 for 3 days 2 nights. I figured I could afford AUD279 somehow and book the tour for Frasers. My first tour in Australia and it may be my last one as well after the incident but let me walk through the pleasant part first.
The tour was unique in a sense that all participant would need to meet up one day in advance for icebreakers and it was a really simple one. We were all sat down and made to listen to the safety briefing of Fraser Island and all its regulations of such and at the end was told to go grocery shopping for food for three days. Apparently the AUD 279 did not include food and we were to cook ourselves camping style. The group form quickly after that since everyone had to fork out money and also there is the question of preference of food. Some were vegetarian, some didn’t eat beef like me, some just plain didn’t like certain food, princess bastards. Still it broke the ice nicely and bond were form faster than usual when you are shopping together for 3 days’ worth of food.
My group unfortunately I would name the group Shizer , which means shit in German. I had a German group with lots and lots of German(4) and a pair of Danish girls(2). Since the Danish could understand a little German they were practically talking 80% to my annoyance in German. SHIZER.
Fraser Island
Day of departure and we in total there was 3 4WD cars including the tour guides. Two of them was driven by the 2nd and 3rd group first while us the Shizer group sat in the tour guides car. Off to Fraser Island a beautiful morning of 7 am and we got there just in time for a long drive along the coast speeding at 80km/h (it’s the actual regulated speed limit) to our first destination lake Mckenzie.

Some facts to know about Frasers Island is that it is the only pure sand island in the world where a rainforest grow out off. Apparently the sand has sufficient nutrient properties to allow vegetation to grow but still it is weird. A island form purely of sand and a rainforest grows in it. If you go to a tree and dig up the roots you would only find sand no matter how deep the pit goes.
Lake Mckenzie our first stop was a fresh water lake situated high up in the island and above the ground water table hence only rain catchment feeds the lake and as such no fishes, aquatic vegetation of any sorts live in it. The view was somewhat a paradox when we first saw the lake. Pure blue and pure white sands at the edges make it looked like a beach which grew out of a forest. First jump into the lake and we notice the sudden lack of salt making it harder to float or swim. Needless to say it was awesome.
Next stop was central station where we got the long history of Frasers Island and its struggles that it went through the years such as sand mining, tree logging and sorts which nearly destroyed one of the wonders of the world. More local myth stories were told and we were off to campsite. What happens when you put a group of backpackers isolated in a forest with only tents and no one around to complain of noise and a full load of alcohol packed in the trunk …. 
Day two and it was up early and it was our Shizer group turn to drive. I took the first drive as most was hangover from the night before. Frankly I was afraid, and rather drive and take the control into my own hands than let these hangover shizer kids dictate the destiny of my life. By the way since I am Asian, they all thought I was a very young …. And was more worried …. Idiots.

We went to Champaign pools for a wake up dunk and some of use manage to see a spool of dolphins swimming in the sea. The others were not so fortunate for only those who took the slow stroll manage to see it from the high vintage view, it was just a matter of timing and luck really. By then some had sobered up and was up for a drive so I gave up the drive to the next destination, Indian Head Rock. Fraser Island has only three huge rocks along the beach and there was a myth story behind in involving a goddess. The view above the rocks was spectacular and looking down into the ocean if lucky, one could see loads of marine lif. We manage to see a couple of turtles and a manta ray.
Next stop was ellie creek which was a shallow water stream wide and enough water flow to float down with ease. The creek was spend time just going up river with body boards or floats and just slowly float down to the beach. When even that got too troublesome we all ended up just lying in the cool waters enjoying the sun.
The incident came next. Malina the Danish girl took the wheel and off we go supposedly to Tea Tree Lake. We heard stories of fresh waters turtles coming up the lake shore for lovemaking and the colour of the orange lake was supposedly good for skin care plus tiny little fishes that would swim to you and eat the dead skin off your body. Unfortunately Malina decided to crash into a tree. I wont bore you with my anger and disgust so I’ll leave it at that the car was a wreck that it could not be used after and needed to be tow but by some miracle everyone was uninjured.
We never made it to the lake and all the boys has to work on a holiday hauling and pushing the car although in tow by another 4WD back to camp. It was a low point but we were not discourage for long for the next 1 hour was spend climbing the f*ucking enormous sand dune to get to a spot for sandboarding. I was tired as f*uck but somehow manage to reach there boarded twice and call it a day.
Night time and the party goes on I guess but all those that were tired and was not up for partying due to the incident decided to turn in early leaving the few of us with a much much more alcohols or as they call it in Australia GOON. I learn some stupid Shizer drinking game in Fraser but the few thing that stick was :
A : Whats the Name of the Game  ?
B : Slap
A : Whats the Aim of the Game ?
B : To get f*ck Up ….. i.e durnk like fcuk
And the few new songs that added to my playlist such as Tenacious D – F*ck Her Gently
3rd day came and all was just glad to get back to Rainbow Beach safe and sound. The next morning was the argument of settling damages to the 4WD … I won’t write this now since I am too angry to paint a neutral perspective ….
Oh well …. Be in a Car Crash in Australia ….. CHECK .Shizer , F*ck

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Lonely Brisbane

This has been the loneliest trip ever backpacking. Unlike the last bout I was always surrounded by new friends and it was good bond too. This round it has been quiet. Every effort to say Hi ends up with a brief short lived conversation before silence kicks in. In a way I have also started becoming the solo backpacker. Lone and alone and always walking.

Somehow the flame is beginning to die I guess but although I think I might be homesick that is not the case either. It’s like trying to figure out a new way of travelling. The true solo lonely traveller. I have a way to go to learn how to just sit back and walk on.

Somehow after wandering pass the showgirls or naked bartop girls pub for many many times in Brisbane I finally decided to go in and have a look. It might be because my phone was busted entering the sleep of death mode although it is a brand new one barely 1 month old. What can I say I have a charm of picking utterly good phones which are defective twice. So I was quite down pondering most of my time in Brisbane what do I do now that I don’t have a working phone.
What was affected, not much really other than I cant receive sms token for my standard chartered credit card everything else was mostly replaceable. You see I mainly used the phone for these few purpose only,
1. Internet banking token for standchart
2. Sms notice for UOB when I withdraw money overseas just to check conversion rate
3. Take photos
4. Read Manga
5. Occasional download using bitterest
6. Playing candy crush
7. Listen to music
So as you can  see, other than item 1 and 3 the rest was replaceable. Since the phone died I was force to find a way to download torrent using the surface 2. Did not think it would work but somehow I did find a client that works so hurray I get to download ebooks now at lease. Larger files are a bit tricky I guess. Music I can live without thou its boring, manga I was already reading using tablet, sms for UOB I could still open online banking and check the conversion rate, candy crush to hell with it.
Hence the only problem I had was the internet banking for standard charted. In a way I need to access it once a month to pay bills and if needed in future do the money transfer to the UOB bank so I could withdraw it. Photos of couse now is a bitch since I would need to use the tablet to take them looking like a fool. So unless the photo is really really stunning or I had much free time in hand least photos would be taken from now on.
I am still pondering how to solve the first problem. Could I somehow borrow a phone from a fellow traveller and use my sim card once a month? Or do I buy one of those cheap phone which I found out cost about AUD 50 with pure basic function ( its not a smartphone ) but at lease there is a 1 MP camera. Secretly I am hoping everyday that the phone would revive somehow for no reason so every now and then I pick it up and plug it in to charge hoping for the best, but It looks like a futile attempt.
Hence the trip into the topless bar … came out still feeling the same as before …

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Racing Day at Surfers Paradise Gold Coast

So I totally skipped Byron Bay … looks crowded but I won’t know what I was skipping. I gotta skip something right, can’t do everything and every place in just 4 weeks. I am now in surfer paradise backpackers resort. Kinda starting to come into terms with traveling alone quietly since most people that do travel Australia are on an express train of full moon party. It’s rare to see one that is just at a place for no reason other than its marked on the map.

Surfers is actually located at the gold coast. Not sure what’s so special about the gold coast but it looks like a nice place with all the modern building yet still vibrant with all the tourist. I manage to catch the last day of the V8 Supercar Grax Prix in Gold Coast Surfers Paradise. Street racing it was like Monaco style or like Singapore style and somehow I got sucked into buying a ticket. AUD 89 bucks for a whole day and I spend a whole day there apparently.

Never did see racing live before so it was a new experience. Not so sure if I would ever do it again since it’s much easier to watch in the TV. Unless you are personally following a particular team all the cars just go woosh woosh. This racing was mostly saloon cars. Team Norlan Racing team won the match. I just keep walking around and camping at the corners where the overtaking and accidents are most prone to happen. Those cars can really fly ….
V8 Supercar 2014 Gold Coast

The other thing that has been bugging me for a while now is the casino in surfers paradise. Apparently there is two beaches in gold coast. One of em is surfers paradise and the other is broadbeach. On the map given by the hostel is this casino located at broadbeach. I am shitting my pants now coz I know for sure I would go in just to check it out. Hopefully I could come out positive instead of negative.

Fingers crossed .

Post note : OK I am fucked … Gambled all the money I had on me away till I had nothing left …. This might be a problem …. Zzz

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The World of Ninbin in Australia

Map of Ninbin
Nimbin was stone cool. All I can say is that if you every visit Australia … treat Ninbin like a separate country within Australia. The people here lives a different lifestyle that don’t reflect the modern culture of a first world country. In fact I thought I was in one of those epic fantasy wheel of time village where everyone was bizarrely strange and cool at the same time. Hippy culture is associated with Nimbin and so is Gypsy.

The place itself is quite safe despite everyone there with an awkward personality and style. Chill is not even a good word to describe Nimbin. Stone Cool would me my word but then it looks like everyone is stoned high. The people are friendly to such that they welcome you into the family very openly yet somehow I felt still like an outsider. It is very hard to describe Ninbin but all I could tell is that while a joint is being rolled and pass around, everyone is family.
Bus shuttle into Nimbin and I got the 5 second safety briefing.
1.       Nimbin is in the province of New South Wales
2.       Everything is illegal in New South Wales ...
3.       If you see something you like … you can either buy it or just say no and no one will bother you further.
4.       The end
A single street not even 100 meters long was all there was to Ninbin. The museum that used to be there was burnt down and along the way there was this Ninbin rock that is considered sacred to the aboriginal of Australia so it’s protected. Apparently it’s where boys go to become men. Girls are not allowed near the rocks and there are no tours there … yet. 
The tourist information center gave me a free map printed black and white on a piece of A4 paper and circled two things on the map.
Ninbin High Herbs Shop
Ninbin Arts Shop ( with the 5 leaved grass as a symbol )
Much can be said about the experience in Ninbin but the most memorable one would be Bob from Ireland. Bob stays in Brisbane and he was just down in Ninbin for the night. He brought a hell a lot of 'grass' to the hostel and straight to monkey corner (the nickname for the smoker corner hut) he was. I was just alone there at monkey corner quietly daydreaming in the comfy hammock and he sat down with his dinner.
After dinner is when it got crazy. First group was a bunch of campervan guys and girls … 4 French and 2 Auzzie which just joint in and was looking for 'grass'. They were about to go into town and asked Darrell if he thinks there would still be people selling 'grass' at this time. The sun had set and all Darrell said was “here roll this” and chuck a big bag of 'grass' onto the table. Help yourself he said.
We all thought it was just curtesy weed for the first joint but Darrell kept rolling them and kept passing them on. He was like a man on a mission. Getting high alone was no fun and he was out to get everyone sitting at that corner stoned dead as well. First group left after a while since they were high as f*ck and wanted to get more 'grass' went into town looking. I guess they figure they would need more than what Darrell had since his was running out but then they never came back.
The second group was Irish and British and they immediately asked the same question that the first group did. “Do you know if there would be people selling 'grass' at this time?” … it was nearly 9 pm and since he asked me all I said was I dunnu. They wanted to buy some off me but I said I don’t have any. Everything I was smoking was from Darrell. They offered to buy some from Darrell but he just rolled up another joint and pass it on again. I was too high at that point and mostly pass on the joint without smoking it
The jap boys came when the crowd soften up but it was bed time for me then … too dam high. Stood up and almost fell down, and although I did not feel drunk I could not walk straight at all. Nor could I do anything with any speed. Everything was super slow motion ….
Ninbin is stone cool …..
Man on a Roof Chilling - Ninbin


Saturday, 1 November 2014

First Time Surfing in Yamba

I was glad that I did not succumb to all the tour packages in Sydney and hence I would have found the perfect spot to learn how to surf. Yamba. Yamba YHA Hostel I stayed for two night and they had surfing events in the mornings every Tuesday and Thursday. For first time surfers like me it was perfect for they not only teach you how to surf, they also provided the boards and also the wetsuits all for just AUD 10.

Tanner Beach in Yamba
The best part about surfing in Yamba is that it’s not as crowded as the other places such as surfers paradise or Byron bay and yet it had plenty of beaches to choose from and oh the waves oh the waves. The waves were beautiful uniform and nice and plenty on all sizes. While we beginners were trying out in waist deep waters with 2 feet waves the pros were duking it out further out where it was nearly 4 feet high and having over break at tipping point too.
Surfing wasn’t easy but the basics were quite simple. Lie on the board …. Paddle paddle paddle , position leg standby for standing … catch a wave and somehow ….. just somehow … find that strength to push yourself up and swing that leg into full standing position. I manage to stand on the first try too …. Must be a lucky one that was since I could not repeat what I so easily done the first time for the next 20 or so times.
Still standing and just riding that waves … It was an amazing 5 seconds of my life ….
“Now which foot is your dominance foot ?” asked the teacher …
I knew the answer to this and said left foot although I kick a ball with the right foot. Must be like snowboarding rite …. Goofy. Apparently it’s the same concept whatever it is so maybe that’s why I could stand up on the first try, still it was a tiring sport and not really for the happy go lucky me who just wanna try it out.
It’s amazing seeing how easy they do it and how fun it looks with all the waves moving about but most of the time the concentration that it took us beginers to just focus, paddle paddle paddle, catch that wave, try to stand up and repeat all over again and the freaking cold of the waters despite the wetsuit just makes it more appreciative of the guys who makes it look easy. 
Dun even get me started on the falls and bruises I got from surfing ….