On the road again, and loving it! This trip is starting to remind me a lot of the cross-country trip I took after college, only substitute the remarkable Nat'l Parks of America for coastal National Parks and Rainforests of Australia. The eastern coast of Australia is simply beautiful. It actually reminds me quite a bit of California, particularly San Diego and the Big Sur area. Starting from Foster (near Newcastle) and heading north, the coastline is absolutely breathtaking! The people are lovely here as well, everyone is so friendly and jovial. They have a way of always making you feel like you fit right in, even if you do have a very recognisable (aussie spelling) American accent! All in all, it seems to me that Eastern Australia is nearly a duplicate of Southern California, only with less people, heaps (that's a good one too) of roundabouts, less polution, great fishing, and an incredible amount of big clean waves!
My fishing is coming along pretty well, I've caught a few fish here and there (Bream, Drummer, and Mullet)...quite tasty ones if I do say so myself! I've learned how to catch beach worms, bait a hook, tie a couple of different rigs, and even clean and gut the fish afterwards! I must say, although I sound pretty rough and tough, I still have a hard time sticking the hook through the worm's head, pulling the hook out of the fish's mouth and cutting the head off the fish...yuck! There's just something wierd about another creature staring you in the face that I just can't seem to get over yet. Maybe with time and experience, I'll be a true cold-hearted fisherwoman! Oh, how I do love to eat fish.
The surfing, very unfortuantley has not been so suitable for me. Before I left San Diego, my shoulder was showing hints of soreness here and there. In the past 2 months, it's only gotten worse. It feels kind of like I threw my arm out, which makes it very difficult to surf. The waves here are amazing to watch, and I feel like I am constantly living in a surf video. There are so many skilled surfers here of all ages. Yesterday, I saw what must have been a 7 year old boy and a 70 year old man out surfing the same spot! It's so neat to see such a huge age gap closed with a beautiful sport like surfing. It really makes you appreciate the ocean I'll tell ya. I'm dying to get out there, so I'm just hoping that a bit of rest from tree planting will do my shoulder good...for now.
The beaches here are simply amazing. They are usually covered in beautiful white sand that squeaks underneath your feet because it's so fine, and have huge, amazing headlands seperating one part of the beach from another. The waves tend to break forming perfect right-handers for hundreds of feet, or meters I should say! The fishing from the rocks and the beach is particularly good along the north-eastern part of NSW, although it can be a bit sketchy from time to time. The water is unimaginably clear and a cool tourqoise-blue. Dolphins are abundant, and a new-to-me beach species called "Dingos". For those of you who don't know what that is, they are wild dogs, many of which make their homes at the beach and their meals out of camper's leftovers! You can drive right on the beach in most places here which makes it particularly fun for camping, fishing, and surfing...as you could imagine!
Did you ever think of Australia as having amazing rainforest? I sure didn't, but boy, I was pleasantly mistaken! Australia is home to some of the most amazing rainforest left on earth! 2,000 year old Antarctic Beech Trees and numerous species of tropical frogs live in abundance in the dank, old growth forests of New South Wales and Southern Queensland. We visited Border Ranges National Park in Northern NSW. Upon setting foot in the rainforest, you are immedietly transported to jurassic times. The air is so fresh, and the trees so green, you can't help but feel that you just stepped into another realm. Rainforests are just so serene, I hope to visit more before I leave here.
Back on the idea of tree planting, I may just find my way back to it for a few weeks before going overseas again. I would like to have another thousand dollars or so in order to enable myself complete freedom from Indonesia. There is another contract that I can pick up on, and that would start up next week, so we'll see. This one isn't out in the "bush" so I'll have a bit more a life outside of tree planting. I think I can do it again...for a short time that is.
Oh, I've been meaning to write these down. They say loads of funny things here. Some of my favourites (OZ spelling again) are:
bonnett = car hood
heaps = lots
buggered = tired, not working
pissed (or on the piss) = drunk
granny-flat = mother-in-law apartment (that's one of my faves!)
...and so on. I'll try and remember to write some of the better ones down. Of course I can't think of any others at the moment!
Right now, I'm spending a few nights on the Gold Coast (Queensland) with some of Mick's friends and family. Tree planting starts back up next week, so I've gotta make up my mind as to whether 2 or 3 more weeks of labour is worth it. I'll just have to keep the idea of more white sand beaches and cheap asian food close in my minds eye...mmmmm, sushi!