Monthly Archives: October 2007

I recommend: Surfing Spot X, partying with nobs and listening to Triggerfm

First: Why is uploading pictures SO freaking slow!?! I’ve taken a few movies but forget that.

In any case, will sit down at the freeeee internet cafe later and grab a coffee, but for now, just a quick update.

Sitting in a little cafe in Byron Bay right now, waiting to go to a new hostel: The Arts Factory. Otherwise known as “the hippie commune in Byron Bay.” I checked it out yesterday though, and it’s sick! One room is even a double decker bus. Plus a huge, awesome bar, restaurant and movie theater. Oh yeah, AND a pool, AND a hot tub AND a sauna. It should be a nice 4 days! Then Friday I’m off to Surfer’s Paradise…please, someone tell that to TDons!

In any case, after leaving Sydney Thursday we headed up to Surf Camp in Arroway Bay. Met some cool people (pix TK, hopefully if they upload), and we’ve been palling around here ever since. Our lovely driver, Trigger, played cheesy music the entire way hence TriggerFM.

Surf Camp was an experience, to say the least — upon pulling in the first thing we saw were the instructor’s nobs hanging out. Lovely. (I didn’t actually see it, but some did.) It was a Hawaiiaan themed party that night, so we all had leis on, though the instructors opted to wear little Hawaiaan dresses as well. Partyed a bit, ran down to the beach to have another party by a bonfire, then to bed. The next day we were up at 6:30 to eat breakfast, then go down and learn to surf. I did OK, not great, not terribly bad. Maybe I’ll take another lesson in Surfer’s, but we’ll see. At this point I think it’s more about getting out there, finding a good learning spot and practicing and practicing and practicing some more.

Byron is gorgeous – I can see why people never leave. Today I biked up to the most eastern point in Australia, up by the Byron Lighthouse. This afternoon it’s the beach and snorkeling!

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Holy-Abseil!

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Fact: The Blue Mountains are known as the Blue Mountains because the Eucalyptus trees that grow there give off a blue gas. When you see them from afar, the entire range looks blue. Hence, dun dun dun: The Blue Mountains.

Another Fact: The Blue Mountains are not actually mountains — they’re plateaus. A few million years ago the tectonic plate moved, pushing up all the land below. Eventually the valleys were carved out by water.

And then…Another Fact: I abseiled down a waterfall yesterday.

I spent Monday and Tuesday up in the mountains — only an hour a half outside Sydney, but literally a world away. Quiet, idyllic, slow. Two days was enough J

I stayed at the YHA up there, and it was so nice it actually felt more like a hotel than a hostel. Huge dining room, beautiful reading room, wide open common room filled with comfy arm chairs and couches; it was a welcome change from the frenetic pace of base, the hostel (my home!) in Sydney. I even had a room all to myself.

Monday we did a few hikes, saw the Three Sisters rock formation (look up that aboriginal story, it’s a good one) and rode the Scenic Railway, the steepest railway in the world. More like a slow roller coaster, if you ask me. You’re basically completely vertical with the mountain…but it’s, you know, a train. Had a bit of a wander (one of my favorite English sayings!) around Katoomba (the town) and stumbled across this gorgeous old hotel, the Carrington. For all of you engaged peeps: this place would be sick for a wedding! I’m pretty much obsessed with it.

It’s ironic how home pops up all the time. New York Slice pizza, I heart NY T-shirts, etc. etc. Even up there in the mountains. I went to the TV room later that night to try and catch Californication (I’m addicted), but a bunch of people were already there watching Something’s Gotta Give. I stayed for a bit just to ogle the Hamptons scenery (and Diane Keaton’s boobs) before going to bed. In a room full of foreigners, it was nice to be able to watch the movie thinking, “I’m from there!” I was probably the only one in the room who’d ever been.

Tuesday I paid a ridiculous amount of money to abseil down the side of a cliff, then climb over rocks and pools in a wetsuit along the canyon floor. Remember Fern Gully? Yeah, it looked like that. I almost expected fairies to pop out of the moss. We jumped into rock pools, slid down mini-waterfalls on our asses and then abseiled down the front of Empress Falls. Pretty ridiculous, but a good time. Facing a jump down 10 feet into a pool of water also helped me come to the important decision that I am not bungy jumping.

Good trip, but it would have been better if one of you guys were there…as much as I loved tour guide James and Swiss dude Pius (that’s a joke) it would have been way better with YOU. So…someone come down and do it with me next time!

Pix on Flickr!

Beach Buddies: Nathan and Lara

There were so many more, but I didn’t take pix of everyone!

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Englishman, 26, staying in Sydney to work for a while, then heading off to Perth. Does not like photos taken with his shirt off.

I sat down next to Nathan at breakfast one day, and we’ve been friends ever since. He and a bunch of people met me at Bondi Thursday. He was the only one who went in the water with me!

Lara (though she insists you say “Laura” not “Laa-ra”) is from Florida and on a world tour. She’s at the end of her journey now and definitely not too happy about it.

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Steve

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First drink of the night.

Emily, Emily, Emily! Emily Z’s awesome friend Steve was kind enough to take me out Thursday night to a listed event at Spectrum. Made me miss her terribly, as it was all punk-rock kids. I felt like I was on Warped Tour.

Awesome tunes by DJ Joel Madden, though for some reason everyone was huddled around taking pictures of him instead of dancing. Dance, people! No Nicole in sight, though I was looking.

Kiwi Daniel

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He bent down so I could be taller 🙂

First of all, Kiwi Dan is 6’4.” I usually do not mesh well with those over a full foot taller than me. But whatever.

I met Kiwi Daniel at trivia Tuesday night and we bonded over our mutual love of UK arena soft-rock. Yay Snow Patrol! Yay Coldplay! Yay U2!

He’s been my music-buddy — Bulletin Bar, Surry Hills Fest, etc. He just texted me to go to the beach, because it’s beautiful outside, but I’m being productive and doing laundry and blogging!

The one and only: Bondi Beach

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It amazes me that some travelers do not read the paper. I understand if you’re in a foreign-language speaking country and you literally cannot understand the paper, but if you’re English-speaking, then: hello!?! Of course you read the paper. So, I knew, though many others did not, that Thursday would be the perfect day to go to the beach. Some others went on windy Monday, or chilly Tuesday, but I waited ’til the red hit 80 degrees Thursday, and I was off.

Gorgeous beach; beautiful, blue-green clear water; soft white sand; little red-roofed houses dotting the hillside — I cannot believe this exists right outside a huge metropolis. It’s unbelievable. I can see why people never leave.

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Briyah

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Chillin’ on the grass at the Surry Hills Festival.

My personal “in the know” tour guide of Sydney! ASME gal, features writer, all-around cool girl.

Now I can say I’ve been to the Opera House for a launch event (hello first Aussie press pass!) and kept up with Californication.

Her awesome roomies, Stirling and Natalie, below! Magnus, their other roomie, is fantastic as well, so I’ll have to snap him sometime soon.

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