"I'm Over This Weather Now"

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
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Trip End Jan 08, 2012


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Where I stayed
Arts Factory Lodge

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Saturday, December 10, 2011

As I'd imagined yesterday, this really was not my kind of hostel. The main giveaway was the fact that everyone was walking around with boxes of beer/wine and were soon all very drunk and very noisy. Although the hostel itself was ok, the average age of the backpackers made it a little uncomfortable for me. Of course, I can sleep through just about anything, but, even so, it was a lot noisier, with a lot more movement, than I’d been used to up until now.

Anyway, I awoke this morning to find that the rain had returned. Typical. Just when I thought this holiday was about to get back on track, it turned out that yesterday’s sunshine was nothing more than a blip. Unlike previous days like this one, I was determined to go into town and have a look around, rain or no rain.

Fortunately by the time I was ready to go into town – the hostel runs a free minibus service to town (Lord knows why, it’s only a ten-minute walk into town – east coast backpackers are mollycoddled, unlike the hardened variety in the Territory and Western Australia) – the skies had cleared and I was looking forward to a good day in town by the beach. On arrival in town, I had a look around Byron Bay, just to check out a couple of things I might have missed, and found a couple of bookshops. In one I bought Bill Bryson’s Notes From A Small Island, because I’d read his Down Under (which I highly recommend) and in a second hand bookshop I found a book that might give some insight into the Aboriginal story.

With my new treasures, it was off to the beach to settle down, enjoy the sea air and start reading. I’d only been there an hour when it turned overcast and threatened a downpour. Heeding the meteorological warnings, everybody headed away from the beach, except the surfers, who were already wet – what was rain going to do to them? On the way back into town, at the very same spot where there had been the free BBQ the day before, there was some kind of peace rally – from what I could gather it seemed to be Human Rights Day, or something like that. Although there was no food this time, I stopped to have a look, because a band was setting up to play a free concert. Once they got started they played some decent reggae (what is it about protest rallies that the music is either folk or reggae?).

The other thing about this town is the number of young people/kids that are here. Mostly schoolies, but of course lots of backpackers too. I’d been getting lots of looks of recognition in the street; the kind where people look at you intently and then smile a 'hello’. Friendly town? Maybe so, but I don't think it was for that reason. No, the reason soon became apparent, when at the rally, a young German approached me and asked me if I was...Carl Cox. It was becoming very difficult to remain polite to this question, but I managed to restrain myself and just told him that I wasn’t. I could have said I was, but I didn’t want a repeat of the Brisbane episode.

As I said before, the band were sounding good, but unfortunately for them, about 4 songs into their set, the heavens did what they threatened to do – unleash hell on Byron Bay in the shape of a huge downpour. While there were one or two hardcore, spaced out hippies intent on staying and dancing, everybody else disappeared rather sharpish. Managing to find cover from the rain just outside a public toilet, I was stuck there for an hour as the rain was unrelenting and I had my laptop in my bag, which would have got soaked.  The reason why I had my laptop with me is that I couldn’t really trust five complete strangers (in my dorm), hence my computer would be going with me everywhere. I got talking to some old hippy and expressed our opinion of the rain perfectly, "I’m over this weather now. No, I mean, I’m really over it!" I couldn’t have agreed more.

In the evening I had a trip out to Minyon Falls. It was a night vision tour, which basically meant that we would walk around the rain forest at night looking for nocturnal animals...with night vision goggles on! The goggles were brilliant, if a little fiddly – like binoculars whenever you switch the distance you’re looking at, they need to be adjusted. Unfortunately, the tour itself was a bit pants, I understand that you can’t control nature, but we were virtually promised koalas, snakes etc, instead all we saw were glow worms and a few frogs. Most disappointing. To add insult to injury, when we got to Minyon Falls (a 100 metre waterfall), which was a perfect place to see the night sky and the stars (I was hoping to finally see the Southern Cross), the sky was completely covered by clouds, so we could barely see the moon, which was full (though about to be eclipsed). All in all, it was an unsatisfying tour. 
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Comments

PaulBB on

Ah man, bollocks!
You HAVE to see the Southern Cross.
This trip must be building to it.

kyzia on

Have just read "Notes from a small Island" myself and you'll find that rain spoilt a number of Bill's outings, too! I hope his trials and tribulations keep you amused as much as your blog does me!!!!

As for the Southern Cross, wait for New Zealand! I've always seen the most awesome night skies there. And here "awesome" is used correctly.

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