For years I had wanted to go to Australia. Twice I planned to fly into Sydney for New Years Eve, and twice those plans fell through. When I started this trip, I knew there was always a possibility that I’d end up in Australia, but I knew there were so many reasons why I shouldn’t go. Who goes to Australia in the winter? Do they even have a winter? Where do you go after flying all the way down there? Eventually I found the answer to all of those questions and more.
Half a year. Six months. 186 days. Regardless of how you want to define it, this trip has now gone on longer than I ever expected it to. Along the way there have been a number of ridiculous (and potentially previously unmentioned) stories. Today seems like a great day to make a summary of the last 186 days and share some details of the stories that have previously remained secret. Perhaps “summary” isn’t the best way to describe this – there are a lot of pictures, some old stories, some new stories, and then more pictures.
Cairns. It’s quite possibly the second most difficult word to correctly pronounce in the entire Australian vocabulary. Sure – I’ll admit that I’ve heard grammar rules in my life about what to do when two vowels are together in a word, but I’ve never found any rules about silent r’s being added just for fun. Subsequently, I cannot tell you why “Cairns” is pronounced as “Cans,” but I can tell you that I hate that stupid “r.”
“You’ve got to dive this wreck,” Greg says, gushing enthusiastically about the Yongala, “it’s one of the best wreck sites in the world. Get in touch with YongalaDive and they’ll hook you up with everything you need.” Thus begins the story of the time I went diving around a shipwreck over 100 years old off the east coast of Australia. I met Greg at my hostel in Singapore. He’s from Australia, lives in Indonesia running a dive shop, but happens to be in Singapore on his way to the Philippines where he’s spending a month island hopping and diving. Greg clearly knows his diving – I write down ‘YongalaDive’ in my notebook with the intention of checking into the company once I reach Australia. A few weeks later my teeth are clattering and my body shivering – 25 meters below water in a 5mm wetsuit submerged in 72 degree water and cursing Greg …and myself.
Ahhh the iPhone. My trusty 8 megapixel camera that never gets further from my hand than my pocket. I’ve taken many a random and quirky photo with on this trip. Here are a few more from the growing collection.
I’m wearing a new pair of black boxers at the moment. I’ve been traveling with them for 4.5 months and purposely never worn them. The running plan has been that I would only put them on when I had nothing else that was clean. Today that day has come. As a result – today is laundry day. Fortunately for me, Arlie Beach is a great little town to do laundry in, since I’m not sure what else there is to do here…
For the last week I’ve been slowly traveling north along the eastern coast of Queensland. For those who failed Geography, Queensland is one of Australia’s states …and is three times the size of Texas. The coast is known specifically for its numerous beaches that create a surfer’s paradise. In fact, they even named a town Surfer’s Paradise.
Mooloolaba. It’s a mouthful. It’s also the name of a town in Australia on the Sunshine coast region of Queensland. Unofficially – I think it’s also the Australian version of Florida …there are seniors in campers EVERYWHERE!!
I went hunting yesterday. Graffiti hunting. What this means is that I put on my cold weather gear (hoodie AND jacket) and started walking in the direction of a neighborhood in the process of being gentrified. I discovered there are a few varieties of street art – spray paint, stickers, and posters. Here’s some of what I found.
A trip to Melbourne isn’t complete unless you take in the local art scene. It’s not found at any museum and there is no cover charge. (Go check out the Monet exhibit if that’s what you’re into…) No, the local art in Melbourne is found in the back of tiny alleys or around the corner of any number of major streets. The medium is typically paint – spray paint.