February 20, 2011

Hello from the other side of the sunset‏ . . .

Hello everybody,

Wanted to send out a quick update for y'all. Can't remember when I last did, so forgive any repetition. I left my job at the vineyard at the end of January, road tripped with a couple German friends from southern Queensland to several of the beaches between there and Sydney. Lots of beautiful sands to see! Saw dolphins playing in the waves a couple times, got thrown around by some big waves, got a little sunburnt, learned to ride a "dumpo" from some local kids and time the jump off a cliff with an incoming wave so there was enough swell to keep me from hitting the rocks. Saw the prettiest beach I've seen so far, Port Stevens, with the biggest sand dune system in the southern hemisphere. Can I just tell you how pretty dunes are at sunset? Very.

From the beaches we went inland a bit, West of Sydney, to spend a couple days in Katoomba, a little town in the Blue Mountains, my favorite place in Australia so far. I like the beach, but I'm a forest guy without a doubt if I had to choose. After about two hours there I decided I'd stay another week, as my friends were heading to Sydney to fly to NZ the next day. There was too much stuff here to do and see, lots of hikes to take, which I did over the next week. The hostel where I pitched my tent for a week and a half is great. The flying fox. Great vibe, lots of cool people who are there to hike and swim and rock climb, so every day you could find people to do any of these activities with. Hiking every day for ten days makes you feel pretty sturdy and gamesome. Saw my first big Aussie snake here. Played music a couple times at an open mic in town. Second time I went with a Canadian guy to play. We played an impromptu set of music at the hostel the night before, and had a really great time playing together. We hit it off, as they say, and now I need to introduce him to my sister so they can marry and he can be my brother-in-law. That's the plan. As to romance for me, met a great French girl, and we spent some time together hiking with some friends and staying up late at the fire drinking with Germans and enjoying great company, me with a puppy dog romance that surprised the world, but as with everyone you meet backpacking, the goodbye is inevitable, and I'm in recovery now.

On Friday I took the train to Sydney, which was aweful, noisy and invasive in comparison to the beautiful place I'd been and it depressed me. There was no vacancy at any hostel, so I sat up till 4 am at a Mcdonalds until the airport opened, then I caught a flight to Melbourne. Spent the weekend with a friend I haven't seen in ten years or more, then on Tuesday drove down to Cranbourne to start working on a large farm there. Ted, you would be interested to know the farm is the Peter Schreurs and Sons farm you told me about. Huge farm. One jillion leeks! As one of the owners told me, it is less glamorous than most farm work, and is more factory than farm. It's true, loads of machines and belts that we stand at to process the veggies. Some parsnip picking in the morning, did a little leek planting earlier in the week, but mostly standing at the belt. Work here for a month or so, then off to Tasmania! Hiking the week long Overland Track with a friend, then some woofing around Tassie! An eventful next couple months is in store.

That's the update. Hope you all are well! I'm getting by here-:0) Here's a video someone found online from my last job during the floods at the vineyard. Kinda fun. My fifteen minutes of fame.


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