Sunday, September 30, 2007

Toughen up Mate

Well I made myself not cry, but I wanted to cry. Travelling I have found is a series of hellos and goodbyes. Thing is, Stephen would have just said "toughen up mate" anyway. Mount Isa was my last stop with Stephen and Yuka. They stayed all day there with me. They could have dropped me off at a hostel, or a hotel, but instead we kicked around together. We went to a tourist trap, tried to burn a CD, drank a beer, caught a footy game and watched the sunset from "the lookout". All the while I watched the hours tick by. After sunset we found a beautiful camp spot, made dinner ( pesto pasta) and then laid on our backs in silence. Yuka and I looked for shooting stars. She's good at spotting them, if you can imagine she's a bit more patient than I. She saw three. In the early morning we packed up our camp and headed to the Greyhound station. We had our morning breaky ritual in the parking lot while waiting for my departure time. When I had to go, Stephen and Yuka walked me to the bus and said goodbyes. I got on the bus but I didn't look up. I got ready for a long ride. The bus took some time to do the same and it was 15 minutes before it left for the coast. As we pulled away I watched the anxious passengers looking out the window for their last exchange. One older woman moved from one side of the bus to the other to wave goodbye. I looked at the bus station, the info sign, the picnic tables; all the inanimate objects I could find. I looked at the parking lot where we had parked for breakfast; the spot was empty. As the bus turned for the coast, I saw a red van, and two people waving. My two people. They waited. I jumped up and gave them big smiles and big waves but I could no longer "toughen up". After I passed them, I sat down and cried.

F'in Desert

You guys know how I feel about the desert. It was easy though to romanticize about the OUTBACK. All the hype,the allure, the adventure and the F'in sand. All the pictures of the beautiful barren landscape, dotted with graves, dead cattle and anthills. Oh yeah. I have a haiku. Flies. Flies and more flies. Flies in my eyes. Flies. WE did get to search for fossils in this barren sand filled, sandstone sand pit once, for FREE! Yes, I opted to drive for three days with Stephen and Yuka to the "Outback" then take a 12 hour bus ride back through the same F'in desert. One evening before I left on the bus I was having a F'in desert fit. I was stamping my feet and they were laughing about how the outback had been a bunch of nothing really. Nothing but sand ,flies, graves, anthills, and hype. And I was going back through all of it all over again. And I had volunteered for it all. The east coast is a great deal more interesting than the outback. Let there be no more romanticism about the F'in desert.

More days.

Poor Stephen snores. Or I should say poor Yuka, Stephen snores, she sleeps in the van. Not even I am spared. Outside the closed van in my tent I hear him sawing logs. Yuka and I share over brekky how much he snored the night before. He laughs saying " Its nauwght my fauwlt". Space is limited but not really. The three if us are living out of a van not any bigger than a walk in closet and we have everything we need. We could have used one more seat belt I guess but otherwise we have it all. We can stop anywhere, anytime, cook and call it a day. Food is stored in plastic bins in the back underneath the sleeping platform. We have the brekky box ( my favorite), the dinner box and a tiny cooler ( no ice ) for the cold stuff. Yuka I found, is not afraid to break into Stephen's world and cook. At Wallaman falls we had Udon noodles in Miso soup with eggplant, carrots and zuccini compliments of Yuka. Wow they both can cook. I cooked once,(thankfully Yuka saved my dish from blandom) and only once. Our clothes, shoes, oil for the van and other misc. things are stored underneath the middle of the sleeping platform. Stephen and Yuka's bed clothes make the back seat. In a small basket in the front are some CDs, (that are played over and over and over), our cameras, the lighter and a few good books. That's all. That's our material world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Another slide show!

OK, after much genuflecting to the techno-spirits the technical difficulties have been overcome. Yea! So here is another slide show for you all from Tracy's latest delivery. You can click on the slide show to go to the web album if you want to see the pictures longer or bigger. Enjoy!

p.s it may take a minute for the slide show to load.

Gypsies, moons and mokies... (and a melonie or two if you wait long enough)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Every day

The music is playing, the windows are open, and we are on the road. There are three of us now, Stephen, myself and Yuka; a Japanese woman Stephen met at the Big Mango in Bowen. The other gypsies sadly, have gone on to other travels. As we drive, we pass cane fields, banana farms, tropical rainforest, beef and dairy farms.Yuka is in the front, feet up on the dash. I am in the back sitting on a sleeping platform, my feet in the cuby hole for the sliding door, my elbow and head out the window. Stephen drives staring, mesmerized by the miles and the music. Janis Joplin or Bob Marley are usually playing with Stevie Wonder taking his fair share of play time. We are silent, all in our own little worlds, taking in the sights but not sharing our interpretations. We stop when something interests us. A beach, a bush walk or lunch. Stephen cooks, we clean. We often succumb to "napo'clock" after lunch. We usually end up at a pub in the evening. We drink a few beers, talk to people of all different nationalities, then head to our "spot". This is how our days go. No hurry, no goal, no place to sleep at night. We solve the sleeping problem shortly after dark and then Stephen cooks again. He calls dinner "Tea". Stephen is a good cook. I would say a chef. His favourite meal is pasta with mushrooms and onions in cream sauce and beer. The beer is never in the cream sauce. If it is not pasta it is some vegetable dish always mixed with some herbs or sweet chili sauce for tang. After dinner we clean,set up sleeping arrangements and go to bed. I love our morning ritual. Stephen makes coffee and sets out brekky. Nutella and bread or peanut butter and jelly. We eat, talk a little and pack up for the day. Right now we are on Mission beach listening to the waves and Bob Marley and watching some sky divers land. Stephen's cooking again. Soon it will be "napo'clock". During lunch Stephen smashed a bananna through his teeth for Yuka and I to see. It is hard for our humor to get any more complex than that when we don't have language or culture to back it up. Still he is funny. Yesterday we did a rare thing and went to a tourist attraction. It was a castle, or the remains of one on 13 acres of "park" land. It was a bit weird as the castle was broken down and delapitated but not quite a "ruins". The grounds were in the same shape. The castle was used in the 1930's like a Kings Island water park only the slides and pools were all natural. Up to 500 people a day come to gaze at this place. I don't know why. The neatest thing there was a colony of bats in a tunnel. We were able to walk right up to the bats and see them all huddled together for their daytime sleep. Last evening we stopped at one of those free coffee stops along the road set up by the Red Cross. We had been there for just a bit when two dodgy blokes came to the kiosk as well. We had cautious conversation. I was leary of them. As darkness fell we all decided to camp there for the night. Stephen suggested we cook dinner together and they agreed needing some company after a long haul. Chicken, sausage, pork chops,potato pancakes, pasta and beer. And beer. And beer. They were full on Aussie's with many stories of hard living in the bush. We stayed up way past our bedtime entertained by these two. In the morning we all shared brekky and then went on our way happy to have met each other and shared the time. Tommorrow or the next day we will do these same kind of things. We are however always on the lookout for Smirnoff's and Bunnies. The Big Mango
The kitchen

So small! So frigg'in cool.

It took two hours of sitting still, not talking, and not falling asleep. A nearly impossible combination. I must admit we moved once. Okay, we did talk some as well, but mostly we were silent and mostly we were still. It happened for Yuka and Stephen first. I was jealous. I had to work on being happy for them. I wanted it to happen for me. I was nearly desperate. This was the only time in my life I might be at this spot and have this opportunity. They saw it again! How did I miss it? Chit! Yuka and Stephen were trying to help me but I seemed to be looking the other way each time. It took another fifteen minutes but then it happened. First, all we saw was the rustling of weeds along the bank, and then a ripple as it went down. Then, it popped to the surface long enough to eat it's catch and was gone again. Amazing! It was so small, the size of a guinea pig. I was shocked.I thought they were as long as my arm and as big as a cat. It popped to the surface again with another catch; they need to be at the surface to chew. It continued this behavior for about ten minutes; searching for small crustaceans and larvae, bringing them to the surface to eat and diving again. Then it did not return. We sat in silence. After awhile Stephen said " I can die now , I have seen a duckbilled platypus". At that moment, I had to agree.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I am going to blog soon. I am really.

new batch of photos coming

Hey all, Tracy sent me a new batch of photos but I'm having a little technical difficulty getting them all posted at the moment. So, here are a few to whet your appetite. Tracy is back with her personal gypsy Stephen and a Japanese woman (her name escapes me at the moment) and they are traveling the coast again doing bush hikes and the like. She has not had a chance to get to a computer to post her blog yet. She is set to leave Australia all together on Oct. 2nd for Tokyo and a drastic change of scenery.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh yeah ,I can do this!

Over the first two days on the ocean I have completed all the underwater skills, passed the test, and am now a certified diver. Thank you, thank you very much, hold the applause. Now we have to dive without an instructor. Yes! But always with a buddy. Yes! We also have to use our navigational skills to get back to the boat once we have explored the reef. Oh yeah baby, I got this! So my buddy and I set up a plan. Decide on a course to follow; 150 degrees north then a reciprocal reading of 300 degrees back. Easy I've done this before. My buddy and I jump off the boat, give the old "OK" sign and descend. I am excited, I have begun to settle down while diving and this dive will only build my confidence. I can navigate. I am so confident in fact that we have decided to only leave 70 bars of air for the return trip. That is only 20 bars of safety, at fifty bars you MUST surface. So really we have left 20 bars for the return. No problem. We take off. I am reading my compass, and I am holding a bearing. We hit the reef and play around for thirty minutes. The reef is spectacular. I can hear fish eating. I am enveloped in schools of fish. I make clams 2 foot across close up by waving my hand and making a current. There are fan corals and sea stars, sea slugs, and sea worms. There are big fish,little fish,skinny fish and fat fish. Colors and more colors; on the fish, the clams, the coral, the crabs. The reef is huge! It is over one hundred feet tall. We go to the bottom and see different fish than we did at the top. We find Nemo! We see sharks! It is another world down deep.I could have stayed all day but we noticed we were at 70 bars and needed to go back to the boat. I was excited. I was going to surface port side stern. I had my bearing and we were following it without deviation. Sixty bars left, okay that gives us a few minutes more. We continue on our course. Fifty bars. We have to surface. I am smiling. I know I got this. We surface. I cannot see a thing. No boat, no other divers, no nothing. I start thinking about sharks. We saw two down there. I start panicking. I think about the movie Open Water. I think about being lost at sea. I think about my elevated, breathing and heart rate attracking sharks. I check my bearing. I check for sharks. I check my panic. I turn around. I see the boat. Holy Chit! We are so far from the boat the people on it are wee little. I feel the same. They send a boat. I don't know if this diving thing is for me.

Not in Kansas anymore!

I was in a pool my brain was sure of that. But there is something dead wrong with breathing underwater. My brain was sure of that as well. As soon as I went under the surface my brain started screaming at me: "What the F are you doing??? Get that thing out of your mouth and swim for you life!!! Swim for your life! Go for the surface! You're going to drown!" I was having my own little panick attack while everyone else looked so calm. I was fighting the urge to explode and go to the surface(6 inches above my head).I was questioning if this was a good thing to do. Instructor? What bloody instructor? I was the only one in the pool (except for seven other people who were going to stare at me if I surfaced in a panic) and I was going to die. And so it went; my first day of scuba training. I spent the day fighting the urge to swim for my life.I think the only reason I stayed that day was peer pressure. I was NOT going to be the older, weird ,wussy woman who could not take the heat. I came back the next day. More fighting against instinct. It is so weird to breathe under water, it's just all wrong. I can't compare it to anything. Any ideas? Third day of training,we are in the ocean three hours from shore. We all get ready, get in the water and begin our descent to a depth of forty five feet. I am very busy telling myself not to panic. When we hit the bottom we are supposed to fully DE-flate our Bouancy device so we can stay at the bottom. Instead of hitting my DE-flate button, yes , I hit the IN-flate button. The more I go up, the more I press the IN-flate button in a panic. Kind of like the elderly that hit the gas instead of the brake and end up going through their house. I'm looking down between my fins at seven people looking up at me. My bouancy device is so full of air I look like a blimp. And of course I am screaming. (Remember sound travels well through water.) I am struggling and kicking and flailing my one arm, the other arm is busy pushing the IN-flate button. Just as my head pops up to the surface I realize what I have done. Chit! I quickly hit my DE-flate button and sink,slowly,ever so slowly, in front of everyone, back down to the group. My instructor tilts his head to one side and gives me the " Are you okay sign". I sign back "Of course, yes of course" just a little mix up guys. Just a little mix up.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef

Hey all (Cindy again). I thought I'd let you know that Tracy is out on a boat for 3 days scuba diving on the great barrier reef (with a planned night time dive). So we won't hear from her for a few more days.
Since she is, after all, a science teacher, I thought we could all entertain ourselves with the following links. Have fun!

virtual tour of Tracy's dive experience.
dive trip itinerary.
learn about the great barrier reef.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Oh Maties, the Rainforest!

Stephen, Macky and I went to the Daintree Rainforest. (Cindy has informed me that this forest is 135 million years old. I believe that.) We opt to go for a bush walk. ( you guys already have the picture of us at the top of the walk) It is going to be a simple walk, 3.5 k up and 3.5 k down. No problem. I just wear my crocs. ( Not the live ones) The sign at the beginning of the walk says to allow 7 hours. Hmmm. Seven hours for less than 5 miles. Right. We start. It is up hill. Definitley up hill. Right off we are all huffing and puffing so that we can barley talk. Our chit chat goes something like this:" Steep" "yah" "Wicked" "Yup" "Beautiful" "uh" "True bush walk" "Yaa" Bush indeed. The density of the population has to be 2x that of Bejing (only taller).This place is thick with vegetation. We are constantly ducking under,climbing over,pushing aside or squeezing between or around trees, roots,vines, palms and ferns. The path we are following is small,hard to follow and covered with vegetation. If Stephen or Macky get 5 meters ahead of me I cannot see them. The ground is covered. Roots are everywhere, crisscrossing, recrossing and crossing again. They go on for 20-30 meters and are sometimes two foot tall. Vines hang like someone toilet papered a house. Vines of all sizes, some as big as your leg. Most of the vines have stickers,thorns or jabby things all over them. Some vines have large barbed hooks on them and hang down like Vietnamese booby traps. They grab you and cut as you go by. I begin to believe that sci-fi stuff about vines. There are these trees/vines that are called strangler figs that do just that. These figs slowly,very slowly over hundreds of years engulf a tree and kill it, all the while using it as a framework for its own growth. When their deed is done there is an eerie lacework of vine like branches in the shape of the former tree. Its spooky in a way. These fig trees in turn are used by other plants, but that is happening everywhere. Branches,forks of trees, tops of palms or the "basket" of a fern are all covered with other plants robbing Peter to pay Paul. There are these Fan palms that look like ridged potato chips but are 2 meters in diameter that house another kind of palm that looks like a house plant gone wild. It is an exotic,eerie,and wild walk. We climb for an hour non stop and reach a sign that tells us we have gone 1.5 km. Less than one mile an hour. Hmmm. Near this sign we meet an Aussie on his way down. He says "It gets steep up there". I say " you mean it hasn't been steep yet?" "Nahr,its pretty steep for the next 300 meters". Stephen says "Chit", I think it. Soon enough we know what the bloke means. We are in full time fourwheel drive. All I can see is Stephens butt and Macky can only see mine. We are climbing nearly straight up. We, as you can expect, get to the top and the look out is spectacular. It is an absolutely amazing ecosystem to see. But Stephen says it best " This is good chit, thick nature chit. Amazing chit". Strangler Figs:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

new pics!

Stephen "chit!" is in the middle and the other guy is... chit! I can't remember his name, it's too close to Mokie, that's not it but all I can think of is Mokie, it begins with an "M" anyway. And of course our illustrious traveller Tracy. She said she is wet from sweat having hauled her a** in high gear up a huge mountain.

This is the other guy whose name I can't remember. Sorry. But this gives a great picture of how to live out of your van. I'm taking notes.

This is a sign that Tracy said is all over the coast and all the beaches. She said she first saw it after washing dishes in the surf. !. In case you can't see what it says: Crocodiles inhabit this area - attacks may cause injury or death. Keep away from the water's edge and do not enter the water. Take extreme care when launching and retrieving boats. Do not clean fish or leave fish waste near the water's edge. Camp well away from the water.

Several posts. Scroll down again to get " the rest of the story"

Bunnies and Melons

That night (yes it has only been one day) we cook fish on the public barbie, make coucous and eat dinner while listening to good jazz from the bar next door.More Smirnoffs. We're down to 60. They switch over to whiskey. Save the rest of the Smirnoffs for tomorrow. After their cocktail hour ( I had to beg off)they begin to think about where to sleep. Hmmm. Beach it is. Where else? So we all mokie over to the closest beach, hide our mokies down the street, pack up and move to the beach. It is dark, it is late, so it is easy to move onto the beach spread out our bags twelve feet from the water and go to sleep to the sound of the waves. I wake up first, and the sunrise is stunning. The beach is beautiful and secluded. The rest of the gang begins to wake up. We all sit and enjoy the sunrise. One of the guys gets up to pee. He stretches, yawns, and walks toward a huge rock that is twenty feet from us. As he begins to round the rock he stops in his tracks, whips around and looks at us, eyes big as saucers and his mouth wide open. One of the other guys jumps up runs toward the rock, stops in his tracks as he peers around, whips around to look at us, big eyes and mouth wide open. All of us jump up simultaneously. We run to the rock and peer around the corner. The guys cannot believe their luck, or their eyes. Smirnoffs one day, playboy bunny photo shoot the next. Only half her swimmie, no sunnies, no runnies, big boobies, no CHIT! We all sat on the beach watching the sunrise and of course, the playboy bunny. Then had Smirnoff's for breakfast.

Mokies and Marriage

What I have not told you guys is that I picked a pink mokie called Cinderella as a joke. Of course no one got the joke because they don't know me but I enjoyed it anyway. This comes into play later. So, eight of us are running around in two mokies, I am driving one ( other side! other side!) and Stephen is driving the other. We have spent the day going to several beaches, drinking Smirnoffs, snorkeling and having lunch. Now these people don't eat sandwhiches for lunch. They are French. They cook pasta and eat cheese for lunch. We had brie cheese, chicken and pasta for lunch. Yum. After lunch they decide to go to a pier and fish for dinner, I go along as I can't talk to any of them and therefore have no voice in the decision. ( Believe it or not I am enjoying not voicing my opinion.) So we mokie on down to the pier and are hanging out. Antony has catches three big fish and is working on his fourth. It is a beautiful spot, so beautiful in fact that a wedding party pulls up, piles out, and begins to assemble for the traditional wedding pictures. That's when they spot the mokie. My mokie. The pink mokie. They are wearing pink. They ask if they can borrow the mokie. Of course we all get a charge out of it. Here is a decked out wedding party asking to borrow something of ours. They climb in the mokie, take their pictures, thank us and begin to leave. Then one of our guys claims we should all have a picture together. The marriage of mokies, gypsies and wedding parties. Funny!

Cleaned up the previous blogs.

Sorry, I was in a hurry when I wrote those last blogs so some of those sentences did not make sense. I'll try to do a better job with "the rest of the story". Here goes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

More to come the cafe is closing.

This is the last of a few posts for this day. I needed to seperate the stories. I cannot wait to tell you guys the best yet, but this darn place is closing. Scroll down to the first blog so they all make sense. Thanks for making this so much fun. Talk to you later. Love Tracy

Mokies on Magnetic Island

So we get to Magnetic Island loaded with Smirnoffs and we are ready for fun. It is a very small Island, definitely a tourist spot, so all the tourist accoutrements are there. We rent some Mokies or tiny,tiny jeeps that barley seat four and we are off. We head to the parking area of the beach we want to go to. We have a little hike to get to the beach and of course, on the way, we get lost. Could it be the Smirnoff's? We end up at a look out far above the secluded beach we are looking for. The leader Stephen says "let's go" so we start climbing down, Smirnoffs in hand. Now this is a mountain side I wouldn't climb down without a Smirnoff in hand but I start down behind them. Maybe it is because I have the Smirnoff. We are bouldering,handing backpacks and the Smirnoffs down first then climbing down the rocks oursevles. I am chuckling with dismay. We get to this absolutely beautiful beach and go snorkeling and swimming. This all in the first 3 hours. And it just gets better.
more about magnetic island

Holiday with the gypsies!

We drive to Townsville in a carravan. Four cars and vans, 7 gypsies, and me. The town is relatively big. There are a few skyscrapers, high end hotels and night life galore. We arrive in Townsville with plans to go to Magnetic Island for the weekend. It is afternoon when we arrive and we need to get supplies for the weekend. We split up and start our chores. Slyvan and Christophe busy doing their chores and are in the street next to their van when a "ute" or flat bed truck turns the corner and spills 8 or 10 cases, yes cases of Smirnoff Ice at their feet. They open the sliding door and start chucking ( well they are gypsies you know). Holy "chit"! Whoo Hooo! They slide the door shut, get in, get out, and call Steve the leader of the band (my personal gypsie). One hundred and forty eight Smirnoff's later we are ready for the weekend! " Fuck yeah mate, this is good chit". That is only the beginning.

Same rest stop different story.

Okay so picture the same rest stop but now it's sunrise. I walk 20 meters behind the rest stop and onto the beach. Beautiful. Tidal mangroves,sunrise,birds singing (cockies,lories and kookabarra's) and a man combing the beach. He's an older man about 70 and he is bent over with a bucket and I figure he is crabbing or something. So I go over and talk to him. Turns out he is another gypsie living at the same rest stop but behind the rest stop and right on the beach. He has an old 1978 Ford pick-up like my old one hooked up to a "trailer" he calls home. Now this "trailer" is a very small old R.V. camper, 1950's style, rounded on the back, baby blue and white, with crank out windows on the side and back. It is very delapitated; I wouldn't keep my garden tools in the thing but he is living in it full time. We talk about trucks, what is in his bucket and his life. And then as people do, he begins to show me. He say's " wait here my trailer is filthy (and it is) I don't want you to see it but I want get something to show you". He brings out a digital camera and shows me a bunch of sunset and sunrise pictures he has taken. He shows me every photo and he is proud of them. Tells me when and how he got them and how this gives him something to do. Then he shows me a Bower birds nest that is right outside his front door. He and the bird are friends and have known each other for 2 years. (The Bower bird woos the female by collecting colorful objects and putting them in front of the nest he has made.) I am so excited, I have seen these birds on film but here is a nest right in front of me! This bird has chosen green and has collected enough green glass shards to adorn his "front porch", a spot about one foot wide and two feet long. It is so cool! After awhile I leave George the lone gypsie for "brekkie" with my gypsies. Later that day when my band and I were getting ready to leave the "Big Mango" rest area for our holiday trip George came through the beach brush and asked if I could wait 15 minutes or so before we left. He dissappeared and came back with two pictures of the Bower bird's nest and the only CD of his sunset and sunrise pictures he owns. He gives them to me. Amazing. And he is a gypsie.

Maties you crack me up!

You guys are cracking me up with your going back and forth with these haiku's. Iv'e got some new "chit". Hope it inspires you.

Friday, September 7, 2007

First batch of photos has arrived.

Hey everyone, Cindy here again. I just got the first batch of photos from Tracy, hand delivered by Jen. There's a little slide show here for you, or you can go to the link to view them a bit bigger. (It might take a minute or two to load the slide show.) Unfortunately, these are all from before the gypsies so there aren't any of them yet. I know everyone is waiting with bated breath to see some of those. Tracy said she may be able to get a picture or two of them to me soon. In the meantime, think back to a couple of weeks ago when that picture of the map was up and we didn't really know where Tracy was. This is where she was and what she was seeing.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I'm living at a rest area... with gypsies.

Okay picture this. An old fashioned rest stop with a circular drive and shelters with picnic tables. Now add about 11 cars, station wagons and vans in varying degrees of disrepair ( these vehicles are homes). Sprinkle about 20 people around but imagine them using 3 distinct languages and give them about 100 tatoos and piercings. Oh yeah and dread locks. Be aware that they have all been working on the same farm for months and are now on holiday. Next add music (gypsie music) and alcohol. All of them smoke but they roll their own cigarettes. It is night and it is raining. They have two vans backed up together with a tarp over them and they are cooking out of the "kitchen" of each van. And they are not just cooking. These people who are cooking are french. They have started out with coffees and chocolate and have moved onto true French cuisine (crepes) and wine. People are dancing, laughing and singing. Now before you go back in time to the old gypsie ways; add a few computers, digital cameras and of course, the music comes from an ipod. This is the life I am experiencing. It is amazing. Now don't think I am stuck at this rest area. These people know the best beaches ( and I mean beautiful), free laundry (I'm not telling) and free international telephone calls ( I'm not telling). Free hot showers and free electric is available at all state parks. Everything we need. I can travel with them for the next week then our paths will seperate. Who needs socks?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Kara told me that I would lose everything I had... at least once.

I forgot to tell you guys this story. So here goes. I am in Australia all of one day and already I had lost 25% of my socks. While I was on the boat being whisked away to a deserted island, one of my socks was jumping ship. I got out my rain jacket to ward off the wind and apparently one of my four socks fell out of my bag unnoticed, well at least until I was cold later that day. "Chit" only one sock. Damn 25% of them gone. And the boat is long gone. Long gone. So okay Kara comes into mind, she said this would happen. So I spend a couple nights with one cold foot and then... I jump into the owner of the race's car to go to another check point. He loses his wallet in the car, we are tearing apart the car looking for his wallet and there it is... my sock! "Chit" the bed! My sock. Turns out the owner of the boat gave the sock to a volunteer who gave it to the head guys, they put ot their car and forgot completely about the sock until I got in their car just by chance. Wow! I'm back on track. Until I take a shower after the race 4 days later. I take 100% of my clothes into the shower. One dirty outfit off, one clean one on. Later that day I go to put my second pair of socks on (cold feet) and I'll be damn; now I 've lost 50% of my clothes. "Chit" I look everywhere, I ask at the campground office, I tell people at the race HQ just in case I left them somewhere at the race CP's, because of course, I can't remember where I had them last. The next day at the awards ceremony Nev, a race volunteer, comes over to me and says " I've got your clothes" . Whooo Hooo! How the hell? She said she had asked after I had at the campground office and they had indeed found them; on the back of the shower door. She took them thinking I would not return to the campground but knowing she would see me at the ceremony. Turns out all of the three times I checked the shower my clothes were swinging on the back of the door. The cleaning people found the clothes after my looking for them. I'm back to 100% of my clothing! Well not quite. I lost my beautiful purple shirt, and this time it did not return. I think I left it in a car I hitched in. Oh well. Kara told me this would happen.

Monday, September 3, 2007


Have I told you that the Aussie's like to use "ies" on the end of words? For example: " I want to make sure to bring my sunnies and my runnies with me on the tinnie when I go fishing for the barbie tonight". Kid you not they talk like that. Crazy . Anyway I am not very busy today. Well I am very busy learning to not be busy. Very difficult lesson. I hope you all are well. Just so you know. I messed up my iron key the first day I was in Australia therefore I do not have anyone's mailing address or email. I sent the ironkey ( the thing you plug into a computer that contains any info you want to have with you) home with Jen. Cindy is going to look at it. An answer for you Louise, I did not snuggle with a croc though I could clearly see tracks in the low tide mud. I was glad I had enough sense to not go down by the river the first night. Talk to you all soon.

Learning a new skill

Well I am still here at Myrtle Beach aka Airlie Beach Australia. I was walking to my campsite after booking a bus to Bowen when I bumped into my new found friend Bhavesh. Wow .I was a bit lonely so Yippee! Well he was hanging with a French guy named Stephen. We all ended up talking and listening to music at an outdoor venue for 7 hours. ( That's part of my new skill, staying still that long.) It was fun listening to Stephen, his English is pretty good but when he is at a loss for words his uses "chit". For example , he was showing Bhavesh and me his van that he has been traveling in for a year. He was trying to explain his set up and it sounded like this: " Yes this is my sleeping uuh ... umm.. "chit " and here is my cooking place with all the .. uhh... "chit" and I have my uhhh music and "chit" here in this box, Fuck yes this is good "chit", beautiful man,all that I need and "chit". Later he was trying to explain a brush turkey to me and it sounded like this. " They are a black bird and they have this uhh "chit" hanging from their chin and they walk around the forest and eat ummm , mmm , "chit" off the ground, fuck yeah they are amazing "chit". He is funny to listen to. It was an interesting night as we talked politics and they both have much in depth information about world politics ...and "chit". I ended up driving with Stephen later that night and sleeping in a National Park parking area because the night had gone on so long I had not arranged a place to sleep. Earlier that day I had taken a rain forest tour and learned about all the plants that are so poisonous that just a brush is enough to kill you ,some within 20 minutes. There I am, in the middle of the night walking around the bush looking for a place to put my tent and hoping like hell I don't "brush" up against any of those plants.I didn't , but I did wake up next to estuary with salt crocs in the waters. Australia is a dangerous place, I don't know how people live here. Anyway today we all hung out together, made lunch together and did virtually ... nothing. New skill number two. Australia could be a very dangerous place.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Today I tried to get work and found out that because I am over forty I cannot get a working Visa. Hmmm They don't know I can out work any 20 year old. Shit this has put a stymie in my plans. Well plan B I guess. I don't know what that is but I will make one up. Went to the rainforest today. Interesting environment. It is rob Peter to pay Paul all over the place. This plant lives off this plant which gives to this plant that feeds that animal which then poops to feed that plant that ferments to feed that bird which transfers that seed to that area where this plant can grow; WOW. And EVERYTHING is poisonous. DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING! I felt like I was three and entering the toy store. Heard some cool bird sounds and saw some cool birds. Wouldn't want to live in a rainforest with my propensity to touch things. I wouldn't last an hour! Well I'm off. Miss you all!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Hello Again!

Hey guys! Sorry I haven't written but I will explain. I got to Sydney and had a good day but could not get on the blog to blog because of my excellent computer skills. Anyway next morning I made my way to Airlie beach,met Jen and the gang. They got ready for the race while I hung out. No computer availability that day. THEN, the next morning I offered to volunteer for the race and within ten minutes I was on a boat to a deserted tropical island in the Pacific ocean and left there for the day. I was there to check in racers but while waiting for the racers a couple came out of the bush ( I guess it wasn't deserted) they had been camping as part of a 5 week ocean kayak trip. We had tea they showed me bush turkey nests, sea eagles alll the ocean dwellers on the beach and then... offered to take me snorkeling until the racers came. Oh My GAWD! Snorkeling was fantastic, wild , out of this world. Later I was taken off the island whisked over to HQ fo the race, did Admin stuff all night then next morning taken to yet another deserted island ( this time for real deserted). I poached eggs in sea water while waiting for the racers. I had a ball. Next I was taken to the Australian outback to a check point and stayed there for three days. In the Australian Outback! I was able to see Jen, Sara and the guys on a daily basis. Next I was put on the Search and Rescue team, and did a 4wheel drive trek through the bush at 4 am to pick up a racer that had broken her collar bone. The next morning I helped to pull the port-a-potties behind the search and rescue vehicle to the dump. FUN. WE then did a sweep on the long bike so I got to see the guys again and see the beautiful bike ride they did. Later I moved to the end of the kayak leg in a small town and got to see the gang again at 4 AM. Day 7 I got to camp at an outback "station" (farm/ranch) for three days while waiting for the gang to come in for their last leg of the race. What a ball! It was great. However there was no phone,nocomputer, no nothing in the bush. Now I might as well be at Myrtle beach. I am in the town of Airlie beach. Very touristy. I am headed north though I may head south on a sailing boat as part 0f the crew. I have met so many people that are traveling. All of them half my age; apparently I am a late bloomer. Jen and Sara left this morning. :( :( I miss all of you.