Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Darwin to Alice Springs Day 3

I woke up feeling great after having a much needed good night of sleep. Not much went on during the day since we had a LONG day of just driving.

First stop was at Daly Waters Pub which was that funky pub I was at previously with Desert Venturer. I looked on a map and saw that when I left Cairns, we drove down to Daly Waters and turned right towards Darwin. Now we came back the same way but continued further south passed Daly Waters towards Alice Springs. At the pub, everyone leaves behind some kind of souvenire - money, ID cards, flags, clothing, etc. I left behind one of my Canadian tags with my Name and Montreal QC written next to it. So if you're ever in Daly Water, NT, Australia, as you walk inside the pub, turn right and lok at the wall facing the road. It's located on one of the woden posts, haha. The funny thing was after looking around I recognized to ID cards of two seperate people I met in Melbourne, Nick from England whom I met through IEP, and Stu whom I met from Peter Pans.

We then stopped along the highway at Durmurra, Elliot and finally Renner Springs for lunch. My sticker collection is really growing with at least 18 stickers!

Lunch was sandwiches again and if you guys think I'm a picky eater, you should meet Violaine. This girl was skinney like me but refuses to eat ANY vegetables. If you tell her it's a vegetables she wont' even look at it. She refuses to even eat onions or lettuce. She eats everything plain but will eat potaotes. Plus, I also saw her eating chocolate wrapped in bread! Weird...

After lunch, everything was going smoothely until we pulled over abruptly in the middle of NOWHERE and Nathan says "I need a break, wake me up in 20 minutes and pulls his seat back and his hat down on his head! We all got out of th ebus and lounged around with no one else in site. Finally Nathan woke up and asked us to collect fire wood.

Finally made it to Devil's Marbles which was just a collection of huge brown boulders which looked like a pile of marbles lying around. The story goes that in the past, a man and his cattle stopped in the area and in the morning all the cattle were dead. This happened a second time ot a second man and the name Devil's Marbles was used. Turns out there is a kind of grass that is poisonous to cows and that's why they died. however, it's sacred to the Aboriginals and apperently a few Aboriginal boys were known to disappear from the area and never be found again.
We climbed ot the top and got to watch the sunset which was awesome. One it was over we headed back to the bus where Nathan had made us buritos.

Our campsite was just down the road at Wauchope/ Built another fire, played even more guitar and fell asleep after a couple of beers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Darwin to Alice Springs Day 2

I sleep decently. I actually had this dream I was somewhere (like OAP), just hanging out with my friends from back home. Then it just got all weird and just went downhill from there. See guys! Can't say I don't think about you!

First stop of the day was at Edith Falls for a quick wake up swim. The water was refreshing and got a bit of a workout swimming accross to the waterfall and back.

Stopped in Katherine for groceries and then made or way to Katherine Gorge. At the Gorge, we had a BBQ lunch and then for 20$ went canoeing to the actual gorge. I was pairedup with Saturno and we called ourselves the Italian/Canadian Team. At the gorge we had another swim and headed back to the bus.

We left Katherine Gorge and drove down to Mataranka where I had previously been with the Desert Venturer tour. The thermal pools were so nice to go into at the end of the day. It felt just like a shower.

We camped in Mataranka and had more BBQ food for dinner (what can I say, Aussies love their barbies, as they call it). At the same campsite was another Wayward bus heading North and on it was this Canadian from Toronto, Steph who I had met in Cairns, so that was pretty cool to bump into her in the middle of nowhere.

After dinner, a bunch of us went to the bar where outside was this woman singing with a jukebox of some sort, all sorts of songs. She kept begging everyone to come and dance and i finally broke th eice on her last song which was Rolling Down the River, the CCR version. I was just jumping around and this drunk guy happen to be doing the same. It looked like he wanted to "fake" mosh around so I just started jumping about but it soon turned into a mock boxing match and apperently the guy was pulling swings at me when I hadnt noticed. Good thing he was drunk and was keeping my distance! Apperently it was a funny site because everyone was cracking up.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Darwin to Alice Springs Day 1

Things just kept getting better! I woke up to find that my whole battery charger and 4 batteries were stolen. It was my fault though since the only place to plug them into was in the kitchen. I know I was asking to get it stolen but everyone else was charging their phones and stuff and nothign went missing. I also forgot to get a Darwin sticker! Then, after getting picked up by the Wayward Bus, my bus driver, Nathan, got lost and started freaking out behind the wheel. Once he colmed down, since I was in the front seat, I got to talk to him for a bit and turned out he was a great guy.

We made our way to Litchfield National Park. For some reason, Australians like water and since Kakadu was a lot trees and what not, the nickname is Kakadon't and Litchfieldo. I enjoyed Kakadu a lot, but the locals were right, Litchfield had a lto of beautiful water spots!

Our frist stop was an area with HUGE termite mounds. Got to see two kinds, these flat, almost vertical plane, chaped mounds created by magnetic termites, and ther talled wider mounds created by cathedral termites. Even got to get a picture by a 6 meter high cathedral mound!

Afterwards, we went for a dip at Florence falls, which were absolutely beautiful. This was followed by a 30 minute walk to a small series of pools ina starcase type fashion, known as the Buley Rockhole.

We then had lunch at Wanji Falls, which was just sandwiches. Then we had a final swim in the water and left Litchfield Park.

We stoped quickely at Adelaide River and stopped for the night at Hayes Creek. Dinner was Baramundi fish and chips at the pub.

Started to get to know the new group of people which consisted of Violaine and Pierre, siblings from France, Yonai from Israel, Saturno from Italy, Fiona and Geraldine, 2 sisters from Ireland, Barry from Ireland and a bunch of germans including a 19 year old, Leena, an older woman with grey hair, Helga, two girls from the Dersert Venturer trip, and two others whose names I didn't get.

After dinner got to play pool with Nathan against the driver from teh Wayward Bus tour heading north and one of her passengers. We one the first game but then got killed on the next 2 games, not because they were so good but because we were just playing so crappy!

After lounging at the pub, we made our wayt to the campsite and built a fire. Played AMAZING guitar (hardly any mistakes) but most peopel were asleep or not paying attention. This time we slept just on roll mats in our sleeping bags, once again, under the stars.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Kakadu Unleashed Day 3

The final day of the trip began with an early rise and heading down to Majuk, also known as, Baramundi Gorge. We did a long walk to a great swimming area. It had a few small cliffs to jump off into the water. There was even a whole in the rocks with a pool inside and the only way out was to swim underwater to an opening that led to the rest of the water. i was too afraid to jump down there but I did jump off a 7-8 meter cliff a few times (So there Mark! I DO have a sense of adventure!). Mel, the british girl, wanted to jump off the cliff but got scared and pondered about it the whle hour we were there swimming. She didn't do anything else except look down and almost jump, each time changing her mind. Her boyfriend was even trying to help her but she still wasn't doing it. Finally Clancy walks up and says we're leaving and Mel turns to her boyfriend, Tom and says "We're leaving?!?" and instantly jumped off as not to miss her chance! It was hilarious.

The time had come to do the boat cruise that we missed out on the first day of the trip. Apperently, the boat driver that was injured had done something to upset the Aboriginals and got speared in the leg! He was stable now but the spear was apperently HUGE!

The cruise was awesome. Got to see a few crocodiles and a load of interesting birds including one called a Jesus bird because it has such big feet it could walk on the water (or something). The only thing that sucked was the fact that I was exhausted and kept nodding off during the cruise! It was like being in class all over again.

We left Kakadu and headed back to Darwin. Then things started to go downhill. When I got dropped off at my hostel, I realized I left all my bathroom stuff on the bus and couldn't get it back since I was leaving the next morning for Alice Springs. I had to go by all sorts of stuff (tooth brush, toothpaste, soap, etc.) I then check into my room and when I got my luggage from the storage room, a rat or some animal had eaten it's way through my bag full of dry goods. On top of that, all the food I had left in the fridge before I left had gone bad.

This didn't stop me from having a good attitude and ended up going to The Vic for dinner with people from my group and got to see Rich one last time. Unfortunately I didn't get to say a proper goodbye since i left for a few minutes to burn all my photos on a CD and when I returned he was gone. Also at the dinner, Felice gave me her business card. Turns out she's a professor at UCLA and she told me she wanted to stay in touch so I can tell her what I do with my life since she was so interested in me. Also, there was this game of musical chairs going on and Tom had entered it. The trick was if you didnt' get a chair, rather then exiting the game you had the option to remove a piece of clothing. Unlike the Woolshed where the max you can go is down to your panties or boxers, here a girlk adn several guys including Tom got COMPELTELY NAKED. They were all walking around with their hands on theirs privates and when one of the guys had to "remove one more piece of clothing", the were given the option to walk around with out covering themselves. No guy resorted to that (THANK GOD!) and the naked girl ended up winning some expensive trip somewhere.

Called it an early night and got everythiung ready for my trip the next morning to Alice Springs.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Kakadu Unleashed Day 2

Got up, had breaky and headed through more rough terrain while listening to 90's dance music. It was AWESOME, haha!

We made it to Twin Falls where we did a 15 minute boat ride to the base of the falls. Bing the dry season , teh falls were very small, more like trails of water just leaking down the rock cliff, but a wonderful sight, none-the-less.We then returned to the beginning and started walking upward toward the top of the falls. To get there we had to do a lot of hoping accross tones of giant rocks and boulders. Once at the top, we were sweating and got to jump into the water for a swim.

once we were done with the Twin Falls, we made our way to Jim Jim Falls. Again, we did a long walk, hoping above rocks and boulders to the falls. Again, due to the dry season, there was no actual falls, so it was more like Jim Jim Rock Face, but at the bottom was still a 53m pool. Due to it's location, the sun didn't really touch it so the water was icy cold and SO refreshing like when you go swimming in a lake early in the morning back home in Montreal.

As it started getting dark, found a nice spot nearby to set up camp. Had some beer and played more guitar by the fire where I managed to teach myself Come As You Are by Nirvana. We had delicious chicken stir fry made completely by Clancy herself.

After telling jokes at the campfire (One Aussie told this one: A girl realy wanted a new dress for her school party (prom) and the father kept saying only if she gave him a blow job. She was disgusted and kept refusing. Finally one day she really wanted that new dress and didn't care and gave her dad a blow job, when she was done she screamed out "AUGH! That tasted like SHIT!". To which the father replied "Yeah, you're brother had asked to borrow the car." - Crazy Aussie humor!) I hit the swag again and fell asleep staring at the stars.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Kakadu Unleashed Day 1

After a nice relaxing walk through the Mindil Markets, which Darwin is famous for, I packed all my stuff and went to bed. I woke up at 5am and met up with Lee who was on the same tour as myself. In front of the Cavenaugh appeared this medium sized 4WD car where we loaded our bags in to the back and then jumped on board. Our tour guide was an Aussie sheila named Clancy. Right off the bat, she seemed really cool and laid back. Meanwhile, Greg, the bus driver from the Desert Venturer (my last trip) was picking up people to head back to Cairns, so Lee and I were happy to say goodbye to him one last time.

Our first stop was the Adventure Tours office where I had to pay a 75$ meal kitty. At the office I got to see Luke, another tour guide whom I had as my guide when I travelled from Melbourne to Sydney way back in April. He totally remembered who I was and even asked if I still had that giant blue hat I wore back then!

Finally we were off to Kakadu national park where we stopped quickly at a truck stop and then headed to the Mary River. On the way we stopped to gather some firewood. While we were doing this, however, someone came by and informed clancy that the boat driver for our boat tour on the Mary River got into a serious accident and no details were known but except that he was in critical condition. Since our boat trip was cancelled, we had to move thigs around and just try a whole bunch of stuff. The itinerary was really flexible so Clancy brought us to a bunch of stuff she hadn't seen in a while.

We got to the entrance of Kakadu and took some photos. The park itself is 200 square kilometers which is apperently the same size as Switzerland!

For lunch, we drove down to East Alligator river and ate pita and cold meats. The river is totally misnamed since there are NO alligators in Australia, only crocodiles which I didn't get to see but i got to see a few Flying Fox bats in the trees.

Following lunch we reached Ubirr where we walked around and saw several rocks with Aboriginal art. We then headed up a small hill to Nadab lookout where I was able to see all of Kakadu. In one direction was a lake in the other trees, and in another just grass plains. The whole park was very diverse.

We passed through Jabiru to another spot to view even more Aboriginal art and then went accross to Anabangbang ("And he shot me down... Ana bang bang") Billabong.

The day closed down with a very rugged drive to Jim Jim Jumpup for a BBQ dinner which we cooked straight from our campfire.

By now I got to meet the rest of the group which consisted of Lee, 2 german sisters who I met on the same tour as Lee, Dirk and Fulker also from Germany, a Japanese girl, a British couple who were friends with Angus from my last trip, 3 pure bred Aussie blokes and Felice and Joe Kurtzman, an older jewish married couple (probably late 40 or early 50s) from LA.

After dinner, chilled at the campfire and played some guitar. I even had a few shots of tequilla with the Aussies who were really dwelving into our supply of beer.

Finally caled it a night and slept outside under the stars in swag (a canvas bag which you put your sleeping back inside).

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Darwin Day 2

Today I got woken up at 6am and was informed there was in fact room on that trip I wanted to go to. An hour later I was on the bus to the Wildlife Park. It was quite interesting but not really worth 60$, in my mind. I was ther only backpacker. Everyone else there were in their 50s or 60s except one guy who must have been 30 something and this woman with her 3 kids. I saw a bunch of birds, reptiles, dingos, etc. Did a few small walks and there was even a small aquarium with a tunnel where the fish swam above you.

The highlight had to have been this show called Birds of Prey (No it wasn't an Australian cover band of my brother Lorne's band, The Birds of Prey). They brought out this white owl and then a bird that looks like an eagle called a Kite. The last bird, who'se name I can't remember, wa the coolest bird I have ever seen. It looked like a cross between an eagle and a phoenix. It flew around but also waddle around and had thick furry legs. Then the trainer through out a green plastic egg that looked like an emu egg and said that it's one of the birds treats. Rather then grab for it, the bird waddles around to this bush where I immediately though the bird was stupid and didn't care about what it was given. I was soon proven completely wrong when the bird waddled back to the egg with a rock in its mouth. It then threw the rock at the egg several times until it cracked it open! After it ate what was inside, the trainer said that they trained it to pick up the pieces and for every piece returned to the owner, they got a piece of food, so the bird cleanedup it's mess! That was truley something to witness.

After the morning trip, I got dropped off at 1:30 in the city, just in time to bump in Angus. Angus, Lee, Rich, myself and whole bunch of others fro the trip are to meet tonight at the famous Mindel Markets by the beach which happens on thursdays and sundays so I'm lucky to have a chance to check it out.

Tomorrow mornign I get up at 5:00am to head onto my Kakadu trip. I'm still tired from my last trip! I'm sure it will be alot of fun though.
Since I leave for Alice Springs the next after returning from Kakadu I don't think I'll be able to update for a while but keep posted and you're find going to a whole new set of stories to read!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Darwin Day 1

I finally had an AMAZING sleep from the night before and woke up feeling great. I ended up finding out taht the guy in the bed underneath mine was friends with James when he livedout in Darwin - small world. I also got friendly with the guy at reception who married a french canadian and loved that I was from Montreal. He gave me 2 free meal tickets for dinner at The Vic, didn't ask for a deposit on the cutlery I needed and offered to let me have a bicycle for the afternoon free of charge. After lunch with Lee in the hostel I hung out with Rich and played more guitar. He showed me how to play a bit of Come As You Are by Nirvana and a bit of Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. Then Lee joined us and we went walking around Darwin.

After dinner we headed over to the Vic and this girl from Rich's room joined us. The 4 of us were SO tired we hardly wanted to drink and didt stay out too long. I just wanted to go because it turned out that to get to the cruise I won, I needed my own car so I wanted to see if I could exchange it. It turns out the regular MC wasn't working the night I won it and tonight he returned. His name was Wade and he was from Canada. Turns out he's form Dunville, Ontario which is where my friend Tyler is from and Wade told me he's really good friends with Tyler's brother - Small World. Wade loves Canadians and wa so happy to hear I was Canadian he gave me a voucher for a 60$ tour to the Territory Wildlife Park and even let me keep the old voucher! I then bumped into this girl Louise whom I knew from Cairns and she was ranting about the jumping crocodile tour and how she was interested in going so then I told her I happen to have a free voucher for it and made her day by giving it to her. I also ended up wining us 2 jugs of beer by playing this "throw the ball in the bucket" game and Wade let me have 4 tries for being Canadian. After i got it in once, I thought that was it but he insisted I try all 4 times and I got a second jug. After i was done, he then removed weights from the bucket that kept it from moving and pushed it back about 2 feet to make it hard for everyone else!

By 11pm I called it a night since I had to get up early for the trip.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cairns to Darwin Day 4

On our final day on our voyage to Darwin, I awoke again feeling really tired since i didn't slept well yet again.

Slet on the bus until we got to the Daly Waters Pub. Inside and around the back they had all sorts of stuff collected by travellers. Inside was money from all over the world. I was looking an old 2$ canadian bill but couldn't find one, but I did see a 20$ bill so that was cool. Around the back were liscence plates from all over but no Montreal plates, however, there was a vancouver one.

We then watched Anger Management on the TV Screens before heading to Mataranka which is the home of the Thermal Pools. These pools are naturally 35 degrees celsius! the water was great!

We then stopped in at Ketherine for about 30 mnutes. Not much going on , just a small little town.

After Katherine watched Constantine (I LOVE that movie!) and made or way to the Adelaide River Inn. Inside was Charlie the Buffalo - a giant stuffed Buffalo that Greg joked about it being THE buffalo from the Crocodile Dundee movies.

One more hour on the bus and we made it to DARWIN!!! Actually most of Darwin was destroye din 1974 b a terrible cyclone, Cyclone Tracy, that hit hard on Chrismas Eve. There's a story that one guy had to bring his injured neighbour to the hospital and on the way, with all the rain and wind didn't see that a house had rolled into the the street and drove right into it. He eventually backed out of it and drove to the hospital. On the way back, the house had moved again and the road was clear.

I got dropped off at the Cavenaugh. My friend James told me it's a great place to stay. I'm staying in a room with 15 other people but it's not that bad. There are loads of fans and dividers between every 2 bunk beds.

For dinner we were all invited to The Vic, Darwin's version of the Woolshed/Cheeky Monkeys. We had lasagna for dinner and then the fun began. Apperently the more rowdy everyone gets, the more drinks everyone gets. At the beginnign they wanted peopel for a contest so, of course, I ended up on stage. We had to take this vaccuum tube and blow it like a didjeridoo. Then the winner was decided by the amount of cheers he/she got. I couldn't have been any luckier since right before I left Cairns, my roomate Adam had bought a real didjeridoo and taught me how to play it. Since my group really cheered me on I ended up winning. My prize was a 30$ voucher to a cruise along the Adelaide river where they have 'jumping crocodiles'. The rest of the night was crazy. just a big party. Angus entered this game called scavenger hunt where 8 people started on stage and had to obtain items from the crowd. The last back on stage was disqualified. At first is was easy stuff but then it got really hard. Towards the end, they needed men's underwear and after a quick run to the bathroom, Angus was back on stage wearing my blue undies over his pants and I was commando. He ended up winning and recieved a 3 day 2 night Ayers Rock tour.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Cairns to Darwin Day 3

I couldn't slep at ALL last night. The best was super UNcomfortable. We had little cots in permanent tents, I was uncomfortable and it got really cold during the night.
As we drove through Lawn Hill again, I just slept on the bus. When I awoke, we had reached the Gulf Roas (Highway 1) and passed through the aboriginal community of Dumanji. Was told that white people are allowed to drive through the community and use the truck stop but not allowed into the community itself. It's only for aboriginals and is completely alcohol free (a lot fo Aboriginals in the major cities end up as drunks because genetically, they have a very low tolerance for alcohol).

Greg stoped for a few minutes and brought on the bus this leaf from a tree known as the bohemia (butterfly) tree. Aboriginals call it the mother-in-law leaf becasue the leaf is shaped that the two haves sort of align themselves next to each other and in the aboriginal culture, the son in law is not allowed ot look at the mother in law and if they run into each other in the street they cover their eyes until no longer in sight. Also, was told we can't take photos of the aboriginals because they believe that the camera takes away their soul. One third of the North Territory is occupied by aboriginals but it is belived they are areas that they live in that have not been recorded.

We stopped at the Hell's Gate Shop. The area got it's name from the fact that way in the past, the pioneers would get accompagnied up to this point and then would be left to fend themselves against a really fierce aboriginal tribe that lived there.

North Territory is the home of the Morning Glory, which is a circular cloud formation that looks like something out of star trek. They had photos of it in the shop and it looks incredible.

At 11:50am we reached the NT/Queensland border and had to change our clocks back 30 minutes.

For lunch we stopped at Celvart River and ate more sandwiches. It was a river but there was no water. In the winter months everything is dried up, in the summer months, water EVERYWHERE!

After lunch we ended up at the Carabirini rock formation. Got to walk around these giant pillarsof sand stone, like out of an Indiana Jones movie.

Our final destination was at the Heartbreak Hotel. And who was there again? You got it Kimbo and Graham. Now for sure they must be following us! We all hung out and I got to play more guitar with Rich. He taught me Good Riddence by Green Day and I showed hime some stuff as well.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Cairns to Darwin Day 2

We all got up at 5:30am and were out of Croydon by 6:30am. Today I ended up sitting next to Rich. Turns out he also had a guitar onthe bus and has been playing for a couple of years, so we had a lot of things to talk about. His birthday also happens to be July 28th (mine is July 26th). I'm hoping to Jam sometime with him over the trip.

After 3 hours finally stopped at the Burke and Wills truck Stop. This is where I remembered I had wanted to start collecting stickers of all the places I visited on my trips before I return to Montreal. Evry sticker I collected I put on my guitar case. While at the truck stop I walked across to this Camp Draft which is this kind of cattle competition where the Cowboys (I think they're called Wranglers out here) ride a horse and try to lead the cattle around certain post in a certain amount of time. I was lucky enough to witness a cow run STRAIGHT into the wall, hit with a good amount of force and fall back over onto it's side. It was SO FUNNY! The cow was out cold for a good 5 seconds, got up and ran to the gate.

For lunch we stoppeed at Gregory creek which was loads of fun. We had BBQ food and afterwards I jumped into the creek which had a bit of current so it was almost like a water slide. Started at one end and it pushed you to the other end. The weather was beautiful, not a clousd in the sky and even got to play some frisbee with Angus.

After lunch we ended up at a national park where we did canoeing and saw these tiny little falls, did some swimming and I walked up this mountian area called the stacksa dn got a great view of everything including the river were we canoed. At the top I saw this little old lady (not from Pasedina) who walked with a CANE! I was tired from the climb and this old lady made it up (must have been at least 70!) As I walked down she started to as well but at her rate it would have taken her about an hour (took me 5 minutes).

We drove for one hour through Lawen Hill Cattle Stattion to Adel's Grove where we stayed the night. Dinner looked tasty but after I pilled the food on my plate, I found out it was pork and not chicken! The staff there was too kind though and someone brought me a steak pie. I t was fine enough for me but another staff member saw what I was eating and was like "THAT'S what they gave you for dinner, no no no! Do you want some chicken snitzel?" so I got 2 meals.

During dinner who walks in? Kimbo and Graham, the two cowboys. They looked drunk again and Graham was pretending to be blind. Tuirns out they were going to scam the place but when they saw us, thought we'd recognize them so they dropped the act. What a bunch of characters!

After dinner, got to jam with Rich. He showed me how to play the riff from Zombie by The Cranberries and I taught him About a Girl by Nirvana. It was a lot of fun to play and talk to someone else about the guitar.

The rest of the night was playing cars with the others and then hitting the bed for some sleep.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Cairns to Darwin Day 1

After 3 months in the wonderful city of Cairns, it's time to say goodbye! During my last week in town, I finished up with my job (my boss Ivo wanted me to stay SO badly he was trying everything to stop me from quitting), said goodbye to all my friends, and cleared out my room.

During my last night in Cairns, instead of going to bed, went out. My roomate, Eri, saw me get off the couch at 10pm and said "So you're off to bed?" "No, I'm off to the Woolshed!" Was supposed to only go out for an hour but ended up staying up until 2:30am. I got hardly any sleep and finally got up at 5:30am. I called a cab and ended up at the pickup point. Shortly after this huge red coach with the words, Desert Venturer on it's sides pulled up.

Once on the bus, totally passed out. I woke up later on to meet this English guy named Lee sitting next to me. Turns out he's going to be in the same hostel as myself and doing the same tour to Kakadu. We chated it up a bit and listened to each others music, he has a load of CDs that I wanted to listen to.

Our bus driver was this amazing guy named Greg. Turns out he knew Tim and Micheline (owners of the house I lived in Cairns) really well. He totally knew his stuff for the whole duration of the trip. Our first stop was at Ravenshoe for a toilet break and then headed to Millstream Falls. The falls were great. The duration of the day took s west through the Atherton Tablelands and then finally leaving behind the rainforest for a more dryer climate. All along the road were thousands of termite mounds. A great site to see.

We had lunch at the Kalkani Volcano Crater. After a couple of sandwiches, went for a walk with Lee and Chiaki, a nice little Japanese girl, up the mountain side and around the crater. Although it's a volcano, it was completely covered with trees. By then I started to meet a few more people on my bus. The group was mostly Germans and British people. There was Angus, James, Amanda, Jonothan, Rich, and Josh James Jonothan (his first name is Jonothan but was always called Josh and his middle name is James) from England, Aylish from Ireland, Kirsty and Nancy from Germany. there were also two older women (~60 something) travelling with us and they totally had that motherly appeal on everyone (See mom you're not too old to travel!). Also there were a couple of dutch girls and a Japanese guy and a Korean guy among some other peopel I didn't really talk to that much. All in all the group was a great group.

After driving through Mt. Surprise we stopped for the night in Croydon and stayed at the Club Hotel that originated in 1895! After checking in, we headed over to Lake Bellsmore for a swim and to watch the sunset which was beautiful.

After dinner, which was chicken curry, busted out the guitar and practiced for a while until someone got me and said that these two cowboy guys (Kimbo and Graham) were drinking with part of the group and oen of them wanted to play a song on my guitar. I let him use it and he was serenating one of the girls. He told us that he's been playing ina band for 20 years (these guys must have been in their 50s). They were pretty funny guys but obviously drunk. They kept calling me Elvis and putting me on the spot to play something but I got too tense and find it hard to sing a ndplay at the same time anyways, so I didn't get to far. I tyhen called it an early night but was lucky to have claimed the double bed in my room which I shared with Lee (the room, not the bed!)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cairns Day 112

First off I just wanted to rant about spam. I noticed I got 4 new comments to my last post and they are all SPAM! I can't believe that now spam is getting onto blogs! I've has this website for over a year and I nevr got any spam and now i got FOUR spam comments. They just say stuff like "Awesome blog, check mine out!" and it's probably a computer program and searches through a list and pops the message and link. AUGH!

In another note, IT"S MY LAS DAY IN CAIRNS!

I'm really going to miss this place. I guess I'm just sad because I know my WHOLE trip is coming to an end and also this is going to be the third time I pack up my stuff and leave behind a great place, with friends and memories.

Monday night I went out to the Woolshed and had a great time with my work friends. bought funny plastic hats and gave one to evryone. They were black, orange, green and hot pink. the funny thing is others liked them so much, by the end of the night, the hats were all over the place. People were jus tplucking them from others and then wearing them for a while until somoene else came along. I fought off people though for mine. No ones's going to steal MY HAT MOTHER F@CKER! Haha.

Tuesday I took it really easy and got some last minute errands done. I bought a new guitar case. It's a hard case suitable for the bus and plane. Otherwise my guitar playing days would have come up short if a giant backpack were to topple over it and crushing it while under the bus on the way to Darwin. Someone gave me the idea of putting on stickers from all the places I visit. I already have 3 stickers and hope to get more before I go home. If I had started at the beginning of my trip I'd probably have like 50 stickers.

Wednesday I travelled up to Cape Tribulation. It's the beach area in the Daintree Rainforest. I got picked up near my house and went on a 2 hour drive up north. we stopped for a light breakfast at some small cafe on the road and then headed up to the Daintree River. There, we had a small boat tour and got to see 2 live crocodiles and a baby one. They were just lying on the edge of the river, with not much movement so it wasn't scary or anything. After the boat tour we stopped for a walk through the Daintree in the Cape Tribulation section. It was really nice with lots of tree and ferns. Our bus driver, Junior, gave us the small tour and was showin us a fern that grew a thin long spikey branch nick names 'Wait-a-while' and explained the reason for it is if you get caught on it, the more you tug, the more you get stuck, so you need to 'wait a while' and then push backwards to unhook yourself. I got to test the theory with my baseball cap.

By the afternoon, I got dropped off at the hostel I was staying for the night, The Ferntree. It was a really nice looking place with tiny shacks for rooms. I ended up sharing my room with 3 English girls, Jo, Emily and Frankie. Frankie wanted to climb this nearby mountain, Mount Sorrow, and I was up for it so I recruited 2 peopel I met on the bus ride up, Regine from Germany and Arnaud from France and the 4 of us went up the mountain. The return trip to the top and back would have taken 6 hours and we were already cutting it close to make it back before sun set. On the way to the mountain track we actually got lost and that lost us another hour, haha. We dicided to see how far up we could go, hoping we'd get a nice view halfway. Unfortunatly the whole mountain was covvered with really tall trees and after walking for about an hour and a half it looked like rain so we headed back down. The weather over the two days was pretty crappy. After the walk, I took a nap and at night ended up at PK's, the hostel were everyone goes for a drink and music. I bumped into a dutch girl from my bus trip and she was playing cards with 3 other girls. I ended up teaching them how to play the game 'Asshole' and we played for a couple dof hours before I called it quits.

One of the girls, Gabriel from Slovakia, wanted to do some short walks in the morning before she returned to Cairns so I ended up getting up at 7:30am and going for some walks. We hit Myall Beach but it started to down pour. After getting soaking wet we made our way to Mason's Swimming Hole. I quite liked it because it was this little path in the woods and yo uhad to push branches out of the way and climb over falen trees to reach this little stream. it was an amazing site adn probably my favorite part of my visit up to cape trib. Afterwards, we went on this boardwalk throught The rainforest and saw more trees and ferns.

By 1:30 I got back on the bus and on the way back to Cairns, we stopped at Mossman Gorge, had a quick stop in Port Douglas and reached Cairns by 6pm.

Today I just have a few more things to do before tomorrow. I just came back from buying a new CD player since my old one stopped working. I had a really super duper player with all features but it just won't turn on anymore. I looked around for days and there are no real good selections out here (Cairns is so small, there is 1 mall, 1 electronic shop, etc.) I ended up settling on a real cheap one that was on sale and only cost 60$. I'm hoping it'll last until I get back home and can save u adn by a better on in the future. I also need to do my laundry and pack my bag. then finally tonight I might go to the woolshed for one last beer. I am just really pissed because I found out yesturday I lost my VIP card! I don't know what happened to it. I don't need it anymore but I wanted it as a souvenier. I'm hoping maybe I can get another one made today so I can have it when I return home.

I'm going to try my hardest to update while on the road but do not know how easy/hard it will be. I'm going to do what I did before which is write in my journal by hand and copy my thoughts onto my blog when I get the chance. So keep posted!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Cairns Day 107

man it's starting to get really sad now a days!

Last night was my final shift at Vivo's. I got the rest of the week off so I can get everything sorted out before I leave.

To think, after 3 weeks of not finding a job and very close from just moving away to do banana picking (which is very hard work), I forced myself one afternoon (after a very hard night of drinking th enight before) and with my hungover head, randomly waltzed into Vivo's in Palm Cove, where I met Ivo. Out of luck, he just happened to need a kitchenhand really badly and I got hired that very same day while my friends (who I was jump hunting with) were to lazy and slept at the lagoon all day. I ended up with a great job and house and they ended up moving to some remote area to work in a seafood factory.I had a great time working at Vivo's. The staff was great and supportive, the work was fun and easy. it was also in a great area that was different from where I lived and although the bus trip was 40 minutes a day, I didn't mind the scenary. I also enjoyed the many free lifts home that I recieved from Marco. THANKS MARCO! If any of the Vivo staff is reading this, thanks for a great 3 months in Cairns, you made my work fun rather than a boring job.

Also, Ivo wants to come back to Canada to do some skiing so I tried convincing him to come hit the slopes in Quebec. It's be awesome to see him and his wife Kylie in my climate - FREAKING FREEZING!

I got a shit load of stuff to get done today and i even bailed on spending the whole day having fun with my two great roomates Adam and Carl. They had planed to go wake boarding and then go to a golf range but I just have too much to do! It's going to take ma ll day to get my errands done. At least we're all going out tonight for my last night and then the plan is to hang out tomorrow and just wathc movies and eat pizza. Should be fun! Expect a more sentimental post on friday when it'll REALLY hit me that I'm leaving Cairns (or even if I came in the future, the Cairns that I know) forever.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cairns Day 103

I just finished paying for all my trips! I'm totally excited! Things are mving fast now. I have 1 more week in Cairns and then I'm on the move This morning I sold my bicycle for 50$ which wasn't a bad deal since it's really falling apart but the guy llked ot fix up bikes as a hobbie so he was okay buying it knowing he'd have to put some money into it. At least he's going to save money doing it himself.

As for my trips, here's my plan:
Next wednesday I'm going on a 2 day/1 night trip to Cape Tribulation, the rain forest north of Cairns. When I return, I'm giving myslef 1 day to pack and then going to on a 3 and a half day bus trip from Cairns to Darwin.
I spend 1 day in Darwin and then hopping onto a bus for a 3 day trip to Kakadu national park.
I then return to Darwin, spend 1 more night in Darwin and then head over to Alice Springs (in the center of Autralia) over 3 days on a bus.
Finally, I'll do a 3 and a half day tour around the red center and once I'm back at Alice, it's a flight to Sydney.
I'm going to be in Sydney for a few days and then I'm on my way home to sweet sweet (and cold!) Canada!

I have a so much to do before I leave - buy a jacket and hat, get a new guitar case, mail things home, etc.- so I decided to quit my job this sunday. I hope it's not a problem since i havn't really told my boss but he knows i"m leaving next saturday so I can't see 2 more days being a problem.

It's cloudy today but it's not going to stop me from playing some guitar so I'm off!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Cairns Day 99

I havn't had the tie to update for a while since i"ve ben both working hard and playing hard.

Let's see what I've been up to:
Since my last post, when I was working that one hour at Peter Pans, I met a guy from canada who went to McGill the same time i did. His anme was Tim and he studied Art (he actually was good friends with this guy I know named Josh a.k.a JV). He seemed like a cool guy so we went out that night and had a few beers.

Wednesday morning started my week of being sick. I wasn't the first person at work to be sick either. EVERYONE at work has been sick in the past two weeks it's nuts! Luckily I bought some meds and within a day the 'burning chest is on fire' pain went away and then it turned into a cold but I was still able to work the whole weekend without slowing down.

Once the weekend ended, Tuesday night i went out with Mark who I had met when I lived in Sydney! Then on Wednesday, James had arrived in town as well! So I went two nights in a row with a bunch of grerat people aqnd had a blast! Wednesday night, a friend of James, Ronin, just arrived in town and was homeless for the night so I let him crash at my place. He's Israeli so I had to be nice to a fellow Jew.

Then the weekend came around again and I ended up working a lot. Saturday, I had the mornign off an dthe weather was nice so I went down to Palm cove a few hours early and played some guitar! I'm getting the hang of it now and I'm learning Everybody Hurts by R.E.M, Wonderwall by Oasis and About the Girl by Nirvana.

I just finished reading Scar Tissue, the autobiographyof Anthony Keidis, the lead singer from The Ret Hot Chili Peppers. I never read that much but after my roomate Carl lent it to me, I finished it in a 2 weeks! it was a GREAT read, 95% of it just talking about drugs. Let me just say he leads a very interesting life. At the age of 12 he lost his virginity to his dad's girlfriend.

Things are coming to a close here in Cairns. On Augst 20th, I will be on my way to Darwint o start the last little trip I'm doing before i return home to Canada. I am quiting Peter Pan tomorrow so I have my last week off with time to do things like file for tax return and sell my bike (if I can because I found out today the brakes are completely shot and my back wheel looks fu#ked up!). Then I need to figure out when I quit Vivo. My boss, Ivo likes me so much he's begging me to stay an extra month. I told him he'll have to call home and ask my mom for permission, haha. Then when I try to tell him I'm leaving on the 20th he seems to be taking it too loosely replying "I know, I know, we'll talk about it later" like he doesn't realize I'm LEAVING and can't just extend my stay.

I'm going to miss Cairns so Im trying ot soak it in as much as possible. I stil havn't seen Cape Tribulation so I may go on a 1 or 2 day trip up there. My peter pan job payed off because my total trip is going ot cost me about 1500$ and I made about 500$ so at least I'm saving something!

ON to comething completely different, today, August 8, is my Father's 71st BIRTHDAY so: