Didge's, surf and rain

Trip Start Apr 25, 2007
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

We have now been in Australia a little over two weeks and are having a great time. The trip from beijing was ok even though it was a long 12 hours on a plane. We arrived to sun, blue skies and fresh air. Vern and i both commented on the smell of the air. I think you call it clean. Australia was a bit of a shock at first, couldn't believe how expensive stuff was, and not in comparison to asia, but in comparison to the UK. Looking to stock up on books, we found they start at 25 dollars, about 11 pounds for a paperback. Oz needs cheap tesco books or at least amazon! Food is also relatively expensive, with 50 bucks not getting you a whole lot. Amazingly whereas in the Uk supermarkets are cheaper, here stuff from the deli counter and buthchers is cheaper than packaged meats and stuff in the supermarket. strange.

Accommodation is ok, though again expensive. For what we're paying you could almost get a travelodge in the UK. I guess we're paying for facilities such as laundry and kitchens to cook. Clothes are also well up on what we thought they would be. The same carhartt shorts of Vern's cost 3 times the amount in the UK.

So basically, we're spending lots of money very fast! We had our first week in Sydney, staying out of the centre in an area called glebe. really nice up and comming 30 something's area, with sweet terraces and loads of cafes and restaurants. we did the usual stuff, the bridge, the opera house, the queen victoria building, circular quay, darlig harbour etc. However, for all but one day it chucked it down with rain. In fact it rained continuosly for our first 10 days here!

after wet sydney we moved on to wet bellingen. A rally small 'alternative' town 9 hours north of sydney. It was really pretty with rainforests near by, the river bellingen, and a lovely little town of shops and cafe's. unfortunately it rained the whole time we were there, so mostly we sat on the verandah in our guesthouse and did nothing. Apart from our didgeridoo lesson. As it so happens i rock at the didge. Vern was fairly good but, not wishing to brag, i was well good, with our instructor saying i sounded like i'd played for years. I was also beginning to get the circular breathing thing too. So two hours later and 500 bucks lighter we are now proud owners of a beautiful didge, and vern and i are gonna do a didge/bongo combo on southampton high street to earn us some money when we're back.

After Bellingen we came to Byron bay, the place of surfer's dreams. We have now been here 4 nights and i'm realising it is the place of dreams. I'm well into byron life and now persuading vern to stay longer. byron is by a lush beach that strethces on for miles. its so chilled out and relaxed, hang at the beach durring the day, catch some waves, beer in the evening... repeat..everyday. Today we had a surfing lesson for 4 hours and i can now see why all surfers are so buff. it is bloody hard work physically. Vern was better than me, but after what seemed like my 100th wave i eventually stood up. woohoo! i can now (ocaisionally if it all comes together) stand on a board, ride the wave into the shore, then fall off. achievement! The sun has been out since we arrived and i can definately see why people get stuck here. what a great lifestyle. surf, work, surf, hang out. we were at the outdoor pool the other day and all these kids turned up after school with their parents, and it was great. Imagine growing uo like that. the outdoor lifestyle is soo good here. we got it seriously wrong sending the convicts out here.

My aussie accent is coming along good. all my sentences now go up at the end excpet for when i'm talking on the phone and make the effort to speak normally. All my words are shortened in any way possible, and today for the first time i described something as 'awesome'. 'Man', and 'dude' now make greater appearances in my vocab (whether that's vern or oz i'm not sure) but 'far out' and 'rad' is still too 'out there' for me now.

so that's it for now, sorry to make you all jealous but its a barbie for tea, a few cool beers, then off to the beach tomorrow for some surfing and chillin. I'm livin the dream.
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