Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Action packed or lazy days?

My Australia plan is to go all the way up the East Coast.  Started in Melbourne as you know, and now I've purchased a Greyhound bus pass from Sydney to Cairns.  If I did it straight, it's a 42 hour bus ride----seriously ouch!  It's a hop-on/hop-off pass though, so I can stop as many times as I want as long as I continue north.  Whew :)  Im pretty much thinking to get off at every stop just to avoid any more crazy long rides!

After Sydney, my first stop was to Port Macquerie for two days, and now I'm in Byron Bay for my second day.   Have you people heard of Couchsurfers?  It's an awesome website where people offer up their couches for travelers to sleep on for free :)  Pretty great actually. A lot of the times it is people who have traveled a lot themselves, and know how great it is when someone takes you in/shows you around/ saves you money. Such a great way to meet locals!  I've had two unique experiences so far.   Mike, who I had adventures with allllll day both days- exhausting, and Marejada, where we've been much more relaxed with a few adventures, mostly just hanging around listening to music and chatting.  Knowing me, where do you think I enjoyed myself most??  ... nope! Surprise!!

Mike-- who picked me up in Port Macquerie at my 2am bus arrival, used to be a tour guide and was more than happy to tour me around all day! We had a ton of great experiences!  We went 4 wheeling in the mountains, body surfing in river rapids, hiked to a waterfall, went to a Koala hospital, hopped around all the beaches, then a lake, more 4 wheeling, and to all sorts of great lookouts over the course of 2 days!
Wilson's Reserve waterfall!!!

Hastings River rapids!

I got to drive and I rode on the top for a while!! Exciting!!

Awesome beaches here in Port Macquerie

Love this plank on the plank :) 

Mike is also a photographer, and I happen to love to get my pic taken.. so that was cooollllll (see all the pics). We did have lots of fun... there was just one issue in that he is probably the most openly woman/body concious man I've ever met!!!!  Im sure all you boys are that way internally... but he wasn't hiding it! He had something to note about every female we passed! We had to set some boundaries, and he (relatively) complied, so we were still able to have fun.  He's harmless- but still.  It's a hard topic because, well, he WAS a nice guy, and I did have fun, but there was just a bit of an uncomfortable aura around.  I'm always running around in my swimsuit- yes, but I don't think that's an invitation to keep testing the limits.  Lesson learned I think though.. We had many talks about what's appropriate between "friends", but I need to really back off what I'm internally comfy with (being in swimsuit, being super cheerful even when talking serious) in order to really set the tone that would be more appropriate and comfortable.

Fast forward two days, and Im staying w/ Marejada in Byron Bay.  She's awesome. We just really clicked from the beginning and have had lots of fun just being around each other.  The first day we both took naps when I arrived (mine in the hammock!), then we sat around chatting. Come to find out we like the same music and food, feel the same about emotions, enjoying life, people being overmedicated... and have the same taste in boys. ;)   We both enjoy the simple pleasures. We drove out to a farm and got fresh-from-the cow milk-- DELISH! She says its illegal in the US, which is such a bummer cuz it's fantastic!!!  We came back and sat with her neighbors and ate cookies in fresh milk and just talked.  At one point I had my standard thought, "I should be doing something", but it was very fleeting as I reminded myself I was doing something. Bonding and experiencing Aussies!!!  Im very pleased about that :)  

Milk, straight from the cow...

... into the giant vat...

...into my belly!!! mm mm good!
Today we got up and were just gibber gabbering away :)  We made smoothies and rode our bikes to the Farmers Market. Byron Bay has such a good vibe... it's so natural, organic, spiritual... a bit hippy yet still beachy.  Quite a wonderful place!   After that we went to a local quarry I'd heard about, which happens to be near her place, and went--- cliff jumping!!! I got in my adrenaline rush for the day!!!! yaaaayyy!  Mare took a video...but i can't seem to load it to FB or YouTube... any suggestions??!!  (see the other pics here!) We went back to her place to make salads from our morning's purchase.  A friend of hers, Renee, stopped by with her two adorable baby girls,  ages 1 and 2 :) Again just another really wonderful time chatting :)

Yummmy organic tomatoes!!

The quarry-- beautiful lilies :) 

Yessss cliff jumping! Approx 16m (52')

How cute is she in her frilly pants??!! :) 

Aaaaadorable! Her name is Majara, and her sister Luana :) 

I then rode my (her neighbor's) bike into town, with intentions to go up to the lighthouse.   I didn't have a lock for the bike though, and quickly realized the bike trail ends (lots of stairs).  I could have gone up the road, but the scenic trail follows the coast and I couldn't miss that, so I just carried my bike!  Yesss arm workout!!!! I climbed the rocks and stood on the Eastern most point of Mainland Australia!!! Yayyy!  From the lighthouse, I rode the bike down the road, which in itself was just wonderful as I probably only pedaled 3 full times :)  Great breeze, great glimpses to the water... smile on my face the whole way down!  It's the simple pleasures :)   A random woman stopped me as I was looking at my map later to tell me I was beautiful, the second one today (Renee also said so!)! Wow! I reallllly like this place :)  Nothing like a couple ego boosts in the same day!  Back to Mare's... I made dinner and we listened to more music-- NZ music is awesome by the way! Check out Che-fu! and here are her friends-- up and coming!   Now, it's blog and relax time :)  aahhhhh.. love allowing myself to sit still :)

Bryon Bay, near most Easterly Point in Australia

Love Lighthouses :) 

So, we all know this, but it's good to re-recognize things sometimes:

Isn't it true? A good time can be had in anything with someone you enjoy being around.   Things you love doing may not be as fun when you're not completely comfortable with someone. I remember hearing that you are a combination of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Hopefully this is your closet friends and people you love, but if it's really about the most time, if could probably be coworkers or unhealthy relationships. Boooo

So now, I'm off to work in the bush! It's at a remote sanctuary where they not only have no wifi or cell, but not even electricity!!!!  Im pretty excited really... each day they also have a vipassana meditation (no talking) so it'll be a quiet, calm experience with early evenings by candlelight.  Im going for 5 days, so you won't hear from me.  Until then, hope you all are enjoying life w/ people who you love to be around and make you better!!! 

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