A Travellerspoint blog

Crepe's, Rain, and Deep Thoughts

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Phish’s “My friend, My Friend” 8-5-2011 show at The Gorge (thank you Andrea) is playing in the background as I am sitting here writing this journal entry in the Outback of Australia. It is raining pretty hard and I am currently sitting underneath a shelter with a table and benches equipped with an Audio-in plug for the iPod/computer. This seems to be the perfect environment to write down a few observations and thoughts so away I go.
Outside of the daily, doctor recommended dose of Phish I have been listening to a good amount of The Doors-Crystal Ship album. I have always been a fan of The Doors, but there energy and out there kind of style fits in rather well with my surroundings. I have observed quite a few street musicians covering the songs and even the local supermarket cranks out old tracks from The Lizard King himself. Pretty surreal when you’re trying to pick out a bunch of bananas and “The End” comes on. If you’re familiar with the song you will know exactly what I am talking about, if not then it might be worth a $1.00 download off ITunes if you’re feeling kind of weird. Bottom line is the music scene has been on point in pretty much every aspect. From the street performers, to the live music, to the music at the supermarket there is nothing to complain about here. I have noticed not having to wear my headphones nearly as much as I had originally thought. This is definitely a good thing as the rubber part on my both my earphones has popped off. This has left a jagged circular metal piece that cuts into my ears every time I try to play my sweet, sweet music. Kind of feels like using Freddy Krueger’s right hand as a Q-tip, but they will suffice for now. I am not sure there is even a place to by earphones in the village so at this juncture it’s truly a moot point.
Like I had mentioned earlier it’s raining here pretty hard and really shows no signs of letting up. Not a big deal though as the only thing I need to do today is to catch the van into the village and pickup a few groceries. I might go see a Gypsy Band at the pub later this evening, but that’s always subject to change. Maybe I’ll sprinkle in a few board games, possibly a little reading, maybe even a nap. I don’t know, I don’t know if I’ll have time. With nothing to crazy or pressing going on in the past few days it has given me a chance to reflect on some of the experiences I have encountered so far but haven’t had a chance to write down or record. For instance, last week in Byron Bay I was making the 10 minute walk into town on a warm Sunday morning when an old man in his 70’s-80’s adorned in tie-dye garbs approached me. He stopped me looked straight into my eyes and this is what he said “You are beautiful, you are strong. Do not ever forget that.” So I have that going for me, which is nice. Looking back on Byron Bay it was the people’s optimism, laid back attitude, kindness, and the focus on living a healthy/balanced lifestyle that’s set this small beach side town apart from many other places I have had the pleasure to visit.
In the hostel I am currently staying at now I am the only American to be here within the past month. Once again a good sign I am doing something right. Prior to what I originally believed Americans are not all over the place, which is something I have never experienced before. I could go on some long rant about how this makes me feel and the overall experience, but it’s really not a big deal and I like the fact I have met people from 15+ countries and have only been travelling the past 3 weeks.
That’s all for now folks, as I am going to prepare a mid-morning snack of Crepe’s with Nutella and banana. A very popular snack here indeed and I have been taught by the best when it comes to the magical preperation of Frances best contribution, The Crepe. Ricky Bobby had it all wrong from the onset and I am glad he saw the light in how enjoyable these thin pancakes can be. Well DMX has just shuffled on so I’ll leave you with this quote.

“Look through my eyes, see what I see, do as I do, be what I be.”- DMX

Stay Classy Out There,

Matt H.

Posted by laxman0284 18:29 Archived in Australia Comments (4)

11 Nights in Nimbin

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Greetings,

It's Thursday, the 26th of April and I would like to extend a Happy Birthday to my little brother Michael. Happy 21st bud and we will surely make up for it when I get back. Also, don’t believe the old saying "Liquor before beer and you’re in the clear, beer before liquor and never been sicker." That’s bollacks and I can ensure you can mix whatever you like at your discretion/will.

I made the decision to leave Byron Bay yesterday and make my way 2 hours west via shuttle to a small village by the name of Nimbin. If Byron Bay was similar to Asheville then Nimbin is closer to Haight-Ashbury in the late 60's. I am staying in a sweet YHA hostel about 15 minutes walk outside of the town. There is wildlife everywhere including wallabies, huge spiders, platypus, and bandicoots.. Funny enough I didn't know a single one of those animals outside of the spider prior to coming here. The scenery is very similar to Mars Hill with the mountains on every side and around the same elevation. I knew it was a great idea to spend 11 nights in this village when everyone I spoke with at the last hostel in Byron Bay thought I was crazy because there is "nothing to do up here." Instead of a red flag I saw this as an opportunity to go off the beaten path a little bit and really just kind of check out for a little while. Prior to typing up this posting I read several headlines in the Baltimore Sun and am more than happy to temporarily isolate myself from some of the things going on in the "real world." To the North (actually have no idea the direction, but figured it would positively benefit my street cred) there are two rocks that hold religious significance with the Aborigines. When a boy was entering man hood he would climb up there and spend several days by himself. He depended on the skills he was taught for survival and after coming down he was a respected man. The woman had a sacred place they utilized, but I have yet to find this. I heard a local mention the location "Lilly Pond" as to where such ceremonies took place and will try to find it later this week. This place is very quiet and super laid back so far, but I have a feeling that will change in the next several days as approximately 6,000 people will descend on this small village of traditionally 500 residents. I wanted to experience everything prior to so many people coming into town, kind of the calm before the storm if you will.
It's definitely starting to get a little cooler here as they are quickly approaching fall. If crossing the International Date Line wasn’t enough, they had just turned their clocks back to reflect daylight savings time. It's funny as I had left Baltimore several weeks after we had turned them forward for summer and now I get here they are just turning them back for the winter. Seems very strange to be on the beach getting sunburned all day and then heading in when the sun goes down when it's only 4:45 pm.
The slow pace combined with the amazing scenery should make for quite a few days taking some good pictures. I am definitely regretting not purchasing a proper camera prior to leaving the states. This Itouch does an adequate job, but I ignorantly underestimated how important it is to have a nice camera when surrounded by such diverse and breathtaking settings. The good news is I should be able to get a great deal on one once I get into South East Asia, so for now I will just make do with what I have. Besides, a good carpenter never blames his tools. It's about that time again and this dirty looking traveller is going to go out in the sunshine and play with some devil sticks.....remember the three sticks you spun around that were sold in massive quantities on the Ocean City, MD boardwalk in the early-mid 90's. Yeah those are the ones, I saw them when I checked in and knew they would be a source of constant entertainment.

Be Good To Yourselves,

Matt

Posted by laxman0284 18:14 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

Yeah it really is that much fun

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Good evening,

Well here it is Friday at 9:30 pm and I am sitting here on my hostel floor. A victorious round 2 last night at Cheeky Monkeys combined with 3rd degree sun burn on my back means this guy is staying in. However, a game of Yahtzee might be on tap later with a few other people whose English is pretty much better than mine so it shouldnt be a problem.
Yesterday I was on the beach all day and took a really cool walk in the late afternoon to a lighthouse about 6km round trip from where I am staying. The lighthouse and views were awesome from start to finish. I managed to get a few really good shots, so checkout the photo gallery as I just updated it. We got back in around 5:30 at night and of course the kitchen was slammed. As you can imagine a bunch of really hungry people coming in off the beach and the heat is intense. It's almost like a well choreagraphed production with all the people cooking so many different things. Always good for a few laughs and somehow everyone seems to come out happy.What was on the menu for tonights creation you maybe asking yourselves ? Pan seared Quesadilla, with a side of fresh out of the plastic container guacamole for dipping. I actually lost my $10 security deposit hostel issued "cooking kit" the other day so I have been having to improvise quite a bit. I could go get another, but its almost like a game at this point. Besides, who really needs a plate to eat a quesdailla ? When you need to set it down just balance it on the top of a water bottle........problem solved.
Been riding the bike all over town and haven't wrecked yet. When riding in the street on the wrong side of the road, with no helmet, and a case of XXXX Gold balanced on my hip like a 5 year old Kenyan baby; it's a real feat of athletisism. Besides, it's a great quad workout. Tomorrow probably just go to the beach, read a book, and kind if play it by ear from there. The Steve Jobs biography is awesome as I am 1/3 of the way into it and really enjoy how it's written, incase anyone is looking for a good book.
Probably staying here in Byron Bay at this hostel for at least another week. No reason to leave and I really do not like having to pack everything up. . The people are very friendly here and the room is simple, but all you need.Thinking about doing some camping about 2 hours east of where I am for a week or two prior to the 2012 festival just to mix it up a bit. Staying in a hostel is a mix between having several roomates in a house, camping, and staying at a hotel resort. There's truly a different dyanmic here and its very tough to describe. I guess as time goes on I will have clearer view of what those unique differences are and try to atriculate a little better.
5 minutes left on my internet counter. Time to try and proofread this to the best of my abilities, haha.

See you on the other side,

Matt
aka- swampfox

Posted by laxman0284 01:13 Comments (0)

Like French Kissing a Unicorn ?

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Well a good afternoon there,

Byron Bay is just that........awesome, much like I imagine french kissing a unicorn would be. I made the excutive decision last week to jump on a bus from Brisbane and head south to Byron Bay. I have been here for 4 days and really never see a reason to leave or go anywhere else. The hostel I am staying in is perfect. Pool, 50 yards from the beach, hammocks, clean, and very friendly people. What more could I possibly ask for ? Well actually maybe cheaper beer prices but who am I to complain while in paradise. I am sitting here writing this sipping on a XXXX gold pale ale, which set me back $19.00 a six pack. But good God does it taste delicious and worth every penny.
It's really tough to describe how nice everything is here and at times I feel like I am dreaming, because a place like this seems to only exist in movies or television. The rooms are much smaller and I am currently sharing a 4 person suite with three other guys. One from Spain, one from the UK, and one dude from Ireland. Nobody is really ever in the room except when it comes time to sleep as its literally just a square room with two bunk beds. Reminds me very much of college when I was living Myers Dorm back in good old Mars Hill, NC. Woody, James, Philly, Emily if you guys are out there you know what Im talking about, boyakasha and big ups. Every night there is something going on here, but not in an over the top party or touristy type of way. In fact, I just bought my $5.00 ticket for the BBQ and bottomless Sangria night here at the hostel. 10:30 pm is quiet time and you either have to go in your room, party on the beach, or head into town and go to the bars. Cheeky Monkey is a well known watering hole just 5 minutes walk from the hostel. The place gets crazy and needless to say the first night I was there I somehow misplaced my flip-flops. These things happen though right? (Chris H.- I am waiting on a comment about how much I loose things, haha.) Byron Bay is known world wide for it's surf spots and clean break. The water is very clear and the waves are chest high consistantly. The other day I dropped in on a sweet wave and looked to my left, a school of phish were also surfing with me. Once again, something I have only seen on tv and had yet to experience until now.
Meeting people here is very easy and I havent met an unkind person yet. Everyone kind of has the same mentality and outlook, regardless of what country they are from. The past couple of days I have been hanging out with 2 girls, one from Poland and one from France. They had actually met each other over the internet through a website very similar to Craigslist and have been travelling together the past couple weeks. Playing the game 21 questions with them on the beach takes on whole different dynamic when three languages are involved. I can honestly say that in the past several days I have never laughed more in my entire life. These two girls are great and if No-no and Kasha are reading this blog, thank you !!
The plan at the moment is to hangout here for a couple weeks and then take a bus down to Sydney, which is 10 hours away via Greyhound. Once in Sydney catch a 9 hour flight into Kuala Lumpur, Southern Malaysia. Even though I am here for another couple weeks I really dont want to leave, but on the other hand I am excited to see Malaysia and work my way through several countries via ground/bus.
Well the internet time is almost up and I dont really feel like typing anymore so I think it would be best if we will part ways at this point. The sun has just come out after a mid-afternoon rain and the beach is calling my name. Until next time, God bless and happy painting.

XXXX Gold,

Matt

P.S- Check out my friend here...............who does he look like from TV ?

Posted by laxman0284 21:59 Comments (1)

The first 24

Well here it is, a little over 24 hours since I have touched down in Brisbane. A little tired and a little hung-over, but all in all I feel great. The flight over was fairly uneventful except for the part where I thought my connection was in Thailand when in fact it was in Fiji. This startling revelation came when I was at LAX conversing with a fellow traveller over a frosty pint of Samuel Adams Spring Ale. A simple oversight with absolutely no negative consequences or repercussions. The type of oversight that fuels the adventure and increases the spontaneity of travel.
I was only in Fiji for 3 hours, but the scenery from the terminal was amazing. Even more so than there countries fancy, squared bottled water portrays. Naturally I had to purchase a bottle being so close to the source. Did it taste better than the typical bottle I would regularly purchase from the Royal Farms off of Key Highway in Baltimore ? No, no it sure didn’t. It would be a lot cooler if it did, but the fact is it didn't. Bottled water aside the flight was really long and very cold. Fortunately my friend Johnny Walker aided me in obtaining some much needed sleep, although I only slept for a few hours in total.
Touching down in Brisbane at 10:30 am I made my way to the sky rail and 20 minutes later I was standing on Roma Street, approximately 2 blocks from the hostel. I had an hour to kill prior to check in so I grabbed a bite to eat from the hostels bar and a cold pint. All in all the hostel is pretty laid back and there is a wide range of people constantly coming in and out. In fact just sitting here typing this I am sitting next to 2 South Korean dudes, a girl from Poland, and another girl from Germany. I opted for a 14 person dorm and wasn’t really sure what to expect. It's a big room with 7 bunk beds, a few lockers for valuables, and a bathroom with shower. The idea of sharing a room with so many complete strangers was a little weird at first. I kind of had a feeling going into it that it was going to take some time to adjust and get used to. However, it's all part of the adventure and I can already tell that stepping outside of my proverbial "comfort zone" is going to be extremely rewarding throughout this journey. Down the hall is a common room that houses a TV, couches, DVD's, bean bag chairs, and a table to eat at. Next door to this is the communal kitchen with refrigerators where food can be stored. Everyone has a spot for their groceries (kind of like wooden cubbies back in school) and cooking seems to be very popular here. I am guessing it's due to most people travelling on a shoe string budget and the high cost of living here. This evening I plan on going grocery shopping, the weather is just to nice today and I’m trying to be outside as much as possible. While grocery shopping is typically a task I dread I am pretty pumped about this excursion.
Well that’s all for now as my internet time is about to run out and I need to get to the ATM for some cash. Thinking I might go to the zoo tomorrow and check that out. Also, I figured out the itouch and you can reach me by text at 360.244.4639. It might take sometime to respond as I have to purchase internet time to access the texts. Goodbye for now and stay tuned......................

One Love,

Matt

Posted by laxman0284 16:05 Archived in Australia Comments (5)

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