Friday, July 10, 2009

Trip So Far

So I arrived in Melbourne on a Saturday stayed with Justin two nights
Ian two nights and Meg two nights. Then Meg, JB (her boyfriend),
Justin, his girlfriend, Oxavian (a German friend of theirs), and Rob
(an Australian friend of theirs) all drove south east of Melbourne to
a beach house in the bush for the weekend. It was very beautiful, but
not warm enough to go swimming. Then we drove back to Melbourne. The
next day, (Monday) I found a ride to Sydney, and a place to stay an
hour north of Sydney. The ride and the place to stay I found on a
"ride share websight" called Gumtree. I rode to Sydney with a man
named Doug, who has kids in Melbourne he was visiting. A girl and guy
from the UK also caught a ride with him. It took nine hours to drive
to Sydney so by the time we got there it was late. So we slept in the

In the morning I caught a train to Warawee where I thought Rudyard
lived. There is a little bit of a communication barrier and there are
LOTS of places that start with a W. When I got to Warawee I called
Rudyard and said "I am here". So Rud and his son went to the station
in Woy Woy. 30 minutes later I called back saying where are you? Then
found out I was not in the right town. Luckily I didn't really go out
of the way, I just got off the train to early, so I just had to catch
the next train to Woy Woy. They were very understanding.

They let me stay with him for five days, and then we drove to Brisbane
the next Saturday. He is on "Couch Surfing" and has guests stay
regularly so it was normal for me to be there. Rud (short for Rudyard)
and his wife Margo, have three kids. Kip, (18), Hapsibar (13), (sp.),
and Natasha (20). I mostly hung out with Kip and Rudyard, I taught
them how to play cribbage and we played cribbage three nights and
rummy cube one night. I really enjoyed the company of Rud, he is a
TRUE Aussie!! This is where I went on my kayak adventure. There house
is right on the river, I don't know the name of the river, sorry.

The second day I was there we went to Rud's mom's house.
They call it Narnia, since she is the kids "Narny". We
had to take a boat to get to Narnia, there are no roads that go their.
The house is not complete by any means, they have been working on it for 15 years,
and it still does not have walls. Narny and Gary, Rud's dad are pretty old
and have collected alot of junk through the years. The property is full of useless crap and lots of barking dogs. There are like five Caravans, most of which are full of junk as well, But I suppose they live in one of those. I walked on a
trail, where there was no junk, but donkey turds. I found their pet
donkey, and walked until the trail ended. Then sat under some banana
trees and did a drawing. Anyways.. I am going into way to much detail.
It was a good day.

I was planning on going on a bike ride one day, but the tires
were flat. Rudyard suggested that I take one of his kayaks down the river.
I was like hell yea! So I headed out
onto the river not knowing where I was really going to go. The river
is very flat, almost like a lake, but there was a lot of wind and
waves. I was paddling like you taught me too, with my core and not my
arms. Stretching my shoulder out in front of me as far as it would go
and then twisting my body. It felt really good to be out on the water.
So I paddled down the river but it was hard to tell which direction
the current was flowing. There were lots of forks in the river most of
which were dead ends into a cove with houses and boats docked. So I
continued until there was a fork in the river that looked all green
with no houses. It was very pretty.

I found what looked like an island with a sandy beach and paddled to
it. I got off and started running around the coast of it to see if it
was an island and if there were any trails to hike on. It turned out
not to be an island but a peninsula. There was a sign that said
Brisbane Water National Park, but I didn't see any trials. I found a
rope swing that went into the water, but to swing very high you had to
climb this tree and swing from up in it. This was no easy task, the
tree was very BIG so I couldn't get a good grasp around it and there
were no branches within reaching distance. So I threw the rope swing
over the first branch. The rope was attached to a stick. I grabbed the
stick and pulled myself up so that my legs were hanging from the
stick, and I was upside down, then I grabbed the branch, which was
large and hard to grip. Some how I made it up with only a few
scratches! I then made a knot in the rope held on to it, put my feet
on the stick, and swung!! I went out above the water, but didn't jump
in; don’t forget it is winter here. It didn't swing for that long but it was still
worth all the effort, because after I got off that swing I was
changed. I realized how free I was to do whatever I want. Its like
that moment is when my adventure really started. Up until then I had
been in cities and/or with people just doing what they were doing, not
taking any risks.

After my rope swinging adventure I headed back to the boat. The sun
was low enough in the sky so that it was hidden by the hills. Any
normal person would have started heading back at this point. But I
wanted to go just a little further down this fork in the river. I
could see that it ended just a few hundred meters ahead. The water
started to get very shallow and I could see lots of fish swimming
away. The river narrowed and up ahead I saw a few small waterfalls.
There was a stream that led into the river! I had to at least get out
of the boat and check it out. I got out and walked around and thought
I will just walk a little ways up the creak to see if it amounts to
much. It was full of larch boulders that you could walk under like a
tunnel. There were loads of small waterfalls. It was lighter up ahead,
because I was beginning to go towards the other side of the hill, which
was exposed to the sun. So I thought I would just hike until the creak
ended or it got to dark. The rock was red, bright red, I don't know
what that means, maybe there was some sort of metal in the rock, it
was kind of a rusty look. The green moss complemented the red rocks
very nicely. (Not like Christmas!!) There were loads of green plants
all around and flowers. I hiked until the creek almost disappeared. It
was nearly dark so I headed back. I hiked back quickly, looking out
for spider webs. You know they say all the spiders in Australia are deadly!
I wasn't too worried, but I had a lot of adrenaline flowing in me.
It was cool to think that no one knew where I was.

When I got to the river, my boat had floated away but was caught in
some bushes. At this point it was almost completely dark. I climbed
into the kayak and started to paddle back. I was so happy. I had all
the energy in the world. The ride back was fun, I stayed close to land
so if any boats came they wouldn't run me over. I didn't end up seeing
any boats, but it was good precaution. The stars were out with a few
clouds in sky. If I can recall correctly, the moon was a little over
half full. I paddled to where I thought their house was but it was not
the right cove, I knew I had not missed it, so it had to be a little
farther. Sure enough it was the next cove up. It was farther than I
remembered, probably because on the way there I did not paddle along
the shore so it took less time. That was the end of that adventure I
took a shower ate dinner, celebrated Rudyard’s birthday, then played
cribbage with his son, Kip. He beat me, even though he had never played
before! Just barely though, he got a really good cut for his last
hand, I think it was 17 points!

The ride to Brisbane was nice. We picked up a young english girl on the way.
We shared many fun conversations. I played them The Mason Jar Drinker's CD, (Josh), after singing the traveling man to them, and they loved it. You all would make it big in Australia! We arrived in Brisbane Saturday night and stayed with Rud's
friends. I ate dinner with them, not knowing what I was eating had
ground Kangaroo in it until after when i was washing the dishes!! I
was good!

In the morning I caught a ride with two French girls, Delphine and
Marine, who I found on Gumtree as well. They had a red pop up van, and
were traveling around Australia. They had only just then began there
trip starting in Brisbane so they were not used to driving on the left
side of the road. It was a bit scary. We got lost right away! We drove
up to Noosa Heads, and camped out there, I hung my hammock up and
slept in it and they slept on the bed in the van. The next day we
walked on some trails in Noosa National forest. Noosa is a beautiful
place but there are way too many people, rich people. It is a resort
town. We got lost so many times, since there are seriously about 100
round abouts none of which have road signs. It gave me a headache
trying to look at the map and tell a French girl where to go who could
not really speak English. Marine got very angry when driving. I liked
Delphine a lot, and she could speak English O.K. Anyways, they were
planning to take a month to get up to Cairns, where I wanted to go,
and I already was getting annoyed by Marine. Plus they were very girly
girls, had to take showers every day fix their hair, and wax their

I had posted a request for a ride on Gumtree before I left for
Brisbane, and got a call from a truck driver named Allen who weekly
makes drive from Brisbane to Cairns. So I called him up and he picked
me up at a nearby town that I took a bus to that was near the highway.
I was nervous at first, and had my knife and pepper spray ready. And
he seemed "too" nice. He bought me dinner and a shower. And let me
sleep most of the ride in the bed. Then let me sleep in the bed while
he slept on the seat. He reminded me of Matt Sullivan (our neighbor in
Charlotte). He looked like him and treated me as if I was his niece or
child. Very kind, always asking if I needed anything. He bought all my
meals and we went walking in Makay, on the harbor and on this trail
next to a lagoon. We found a coconut tree and ripped apart the outer
green meaty part, to find a coconut inside! I t was a small one, but
it was my first coconut! anyways.. I slept another night in the truck
and made it to Cairns by noon the next day. Where Jane picked me up.
Allen didn't want any money, he just enjoyed the company. (most of the
time on gumtree you split gas costs, of course this truck was
monstrous, and it cost over a thousand dollars to fill it up, three
very large tanks, and we filled it up twice, so no way would I have
split the gas price with him).

So Jane and Mike King live in the Daintree rain forest. It is
beautiful, home to millions of plats species that can be found nowhere
else on earth. The get FIVE meters of rain a year, most of which all
comes in ONE month! Usually March, but sometimes as early as January.
So I met these people on I had arranged to stay with them
before I came to Australia. They are pretty amazing people. Jane loves
to talk. All the time, it is hard to get a word in without her coming
up with another story. I decided to not even really try and talk and
to just listen. I sneak in a few sentences here and there.

She and Mike met in Brisbane at the university there. They and 10 or
so other friends built a sailboat while going to school. It took them
like five years, but when they were done they sailed north on the
ocean for five months until they arrived in the Daintree Forest. They
loved it there and have been there ever since. First they all bought
some land and built a house and lived together on a commune. Mike
became the Mayor on the already existing town. He stayed mayor for
over fifteen years. He is now head of an organization that preserves
forests and wildlife. I have not met him yet, but will tell more of
him once I meet him. Now they live on a property that is across a
river full of crocodiles that eat humans. The motor boat is broken
right now so we have to row across, very scary!

There are four other "woofers". This stands for "work on organic farm
-ers". We work on their farm in exchange for room and board. I like
everyone here. There are the English kids Kelem and Vickey, and the
Frenchies, Ben and Ann. Kelem is only 18 and can be a bit immature and
obnoxiously, Vickey met him along the way, they are not "together" but
they bicker like they are brother and sister. Ben is very nice, I
mostly talk with him. He is from Paris and is working on his English.
It is not hard to communicate with him. I might do a 10 day trip in
his van with him around an area where there are lots of waterfalls,
not far from here. He is planning on leaving tomorrow so I will have
to decide quick. Ann is working in the town at the new restaurant to
make some more money so I don't see her much, she has great English,
you can't even tell that she is French.

I really love this spot and plan to stay here a while. The work is
fun. They have a fish farm so yesterday me and Ben scrubbed the big
nets that are in the water full of pond scum. This is a weekly job.
Then I cut down weeks with a Machete knife in a garden that had
overgrown. That was FUN! They also grow mangosteins, but they are not
in season. There are lots of manderines, grapefruit, passion fruits, and chocolate pudding fruits in season though, yum yum! There are so many books in this
house! I am reading Little Women right now. It is such an old copy. It
was given to Jane's mother in 1933, when she was 11 years old! It is a
little pink book, the title has worn off the front and sides. I have
also been reading this Gigantic Botany Field Guide with every Fruit
Tree in the Norther Queensland!

Today was fun we drove Ben's van to Mossman Gorge. It is a very pretty
river with clear water in it and lots of granite boulders. I swam
around in it for a couple hours like a fish with my eyes open trying
to catch the fish. There were lots of medium sized fish. I hiked way
up the creek and swam down, with my feet out in front of me when going
down rapids, hitting my bum on a few rocks, but that is what it is
there for, right? I did see one snake on a rock in the grass, but none
in the water. I had so much fun, I felt like a little kid without a
care in the world. Now I am back at the house. Gunna go take a shower

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