Subject: Random Ramblings
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 06:39:49 +0000
From: "-= Audacious Adventurer Al =- "

November 11, 2002 . . . Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
(Hippies telling me I'm beautiful, great people watching, many surfers)

HEY, I'm still here at the bay. Well, not exactly, but this weekend is my last weekend I ever plan to spend at Byron Bay. It's funny, I never thought I'd ever come back here (it's very touristy although there isn't a single stoplight in the town).

Oh man - so many scattered thoughts - how to make them coherent...

Let's start with my volunteer program. Things are swell! Although my first experience in Brisbane was well short of exceptional, this past week was extraordinary. On Monday morning a still rather disconnected group of good wild crazy young people became a team! There's massaging, card playing, flirting, cooking, competitions, taekwondo, swimming, and new craziness everyday! The work is nothing to rave about, but it's for a good cause and the harmony of my volunteer team certainly makes up for any boredom from the work. You should see me - I seem to magically start to come to life during lunch break and at three o'clock (an hour before quitting time) everyday!

We left Byron Bay to a beautiful forested beachfront called Woody Head in Bungjalung National Park. Here we gathered Watou (pronounced wattle) and spinofex seed. Although this wasn't very difficult, extracting the seed took the whole nine of us!

I have to say that Australia doesn't do it for me like New Zealand. However, when I got out onto the mostly deserted pristine beaches at Woody Head with the clear blue water and great 10-foot waves, you know . . . I'm in heaven! The New Jersey coast - HA!

Man, I'm not in a writing mood this week. Let me share a few excerpts from the week in a different style.

The Magpie -
Have you ever heard of a magpie? It's this vicious little bird that gets really defensive when you get near its trees. I've been swooped by four magpies so far. Two have given me warning swipes and two have smacked me right on the head. I heard they can peck you, but I haven't become a seed yet!

Birds, Birds, Birds -
I love the sounds of the birds here. No, I haven't seen a single kangaroo or koala in my adventure thusfar. However, I'm just charmed by the cool sounds of the birds here. There's a family of birds outside our volunteer house at Byron that whistle that sound you make to flatter a pretty lady. I guess the birds have learned the sound from guys like myself checking out the more or less clothed ladies on the beach.

I saw a couple wild emus running around Bungjalung National Park.
They're not very exciting to watch, but cool-looking.

Melbourne Cup -
There was a big horse race in Oz (a.k.a. Australia) that used to be celebrated as a national holiday until roughly 7 years ago. (To think - a day off to gamble). Well, our team leader Dave wanted to check it out. Thus, we cut out of work a little early to check out the race. We all put $1.00 in and my horse #6 in contention of winning till the very end. Hey, this situation is just like any Philadelphia sports team - they get very far and choke at the very end.

Aussie Gambling -
Australia likes to gamble. There are horse betting and electronic slot machines they call 'Pokies' everywhere. I was sampling the gambling problem literature this week. You have a 1:52,500,000 chance of winning the big $10,000 jackpot by betting $1 a go. I saw a television special here in Aussie gambling. It told that you'd have a better chance of getting struck by lightning then winning the jackpot.

ANZAC Cookies -
ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps. ANZAC cookies are known to Americans as oatmeal cookies. Each week we have an introductory safety session into the environmental work we'll be doing. At the end of the session, Dave (the team leader) said, 'Is there anything safety issues I might of missed that you learned last week?' Scottish Bob replied 'Yes, keep Allen away from the ANZAC cookies!" Everyone laughed.

Water shortage -
Bryon Bay is truly running out of water. In three months, this town will be dry - literally. They haven't gotten the rain they hoped for. The Aussies have the most laid-back attitude I've seen in any country I've ever visited. I've talked to a couple about this problem and they really don't seem too bothered by it. I've seen a commercial on the television that tries to scare you ending with 'What happens when we run out of water?'

Final Thoughts!
That's all from me this week! I have to use the dunnies big time!

Allen :)

"Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change
that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."
-- Miriam Beard
You've got a friend in . . .
| Allen Rue - traveling extraordinaire - joy seeker          |