Sunday, 9 October 2011

29th-30th November 2001

Thursday 29th

After dashing around to get to the airport I found the flight was delayed till 4 anyway but it wasn't bad as airports go. The plane had back of seat screens with a choice of channels and games, a big step up from Aeroflot.

Stopped for a bit in KL airport, which was smaller than I had expected then on.

Friday 30th

Landed at Heathrow at 5.30am and took hours to get my bags. There were no customs officials at all so I just walked through and got the train to the the coach to home.

24th - 28tth November 2001

Saturday 24th

Slept in and did little all day.

Sunday 25th

Went on a coach tour with Jim's tours to Nimbin, a very bizarre place with a museum supposedly about dope but actually full of random things suggesting the designer was stoned at the time. This was followed by a visit to a river where we could float in tyres and to Myon cliffs, which was supposed to be a waterfall but had dried up.

Monday 26th

Set off back to Sydney with Dave and Cerys we stopped for the night in a camp site by the road and I hid in the van so we only paid for two people.

Tuesday 27th

Got to Sydney around midday and after a long walk found a place called Nomads backpackers, a run down building where I had to go out onto the flat roof of the ground floor to get to the dorm.

Wednesday 28th

Got a day ticket for Sydney transport and took a train to circular quay then a ferry to Darling Harbour which had fantastic views of the bridge and opera house.

At Darling Harbour I visited the aquarium, which was very good with lots of underwater areas to see fish swimming round you as you went through a tunnel. After looking round the area a bit more I ended up watching a film about Antarctica at the Imax theatre.

In the evening went briefly to Kings Cross, which is supposedly the nightlife centre but all there seemed to be was kebab shops and strip clubs, no where to go for a pint.

23rd November 2001

Went on the triple challenge tour. It started with abseiling down an overhang into a pool then over a waterfall. At the next site they set up a kind of zip line called a flying fox running down over a pool, it started with a sudden drop before turning in to a slide down to the water. Finally we went to some caves where we had to crawl through a muddy cave before washing off in a swimming hole where another cave was accessible by swimming under a rock. The tour ended with a barbie outside a factory.

In the evening went to a place called The Rails to meet Dave and Cerys, Nikki and Jo. The girls left early but the three of us stayed till 12 then went for a burger. Afterwards I still wasn't tired so when they went back to their camp site I checked out somewhere called Cocomangas but it was shit so went back.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

20th -22nd November 2001

Tue 20th

Arrived and checked into The Arts Factory.

Wed 21st

Slept a long time.

Two nice girls who just moved into the dorm volunteered to come out for my birthday.

Went to the Arts Factory Cinema, which is decorated with glostars and has sofas instead of seats and watched He Died With A Fallafell in His hand, which was nothing like the book. Then there was a BBQ and Aboriginal dance show and finally we all ended up dancing on the table in a place called Cheeky Monkeys.

Thu 22nd

Dave and Cerys from Ko Phangan showed up, from knowing no one in the town I got four people for a birthday party in under 48 hours.

Walked out to the lighthouse and the most easterly point in Australia then back along the beach. There was a visitors centre with ecological management plans and a temporary jobs list.

In the evening the streets were lined with buskers.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

16th to 19th November 2001

Fri 16th

Got the Indian Pacific for Sydeney, though I paniced on arriving at the station as they moved the train and I thought it was leaving.

When I got to my seat half of it was occupied by the large German man in the next seat so it was good to find that third class passngers were allowed to use the lounge car of the Holiday Class sleepers. The door to Gold Class was firmly locked. We stopped in the evening in Kalgoorlie, where I was surprised to find a trendy wine bar disguised as an outback pub.

Sat 17th

Slept uncomfortably and woke early to a view of the Nullarbor, a totaly  flat area that according to the taped announcement is two times the size of England. Around 11am we stopped at Cook, a near ghost town with only four inhabitants, then back on the train for the long run to Adelaide.

After a while we left th Nullarbor for an area with trees and hills but in general the vegetation seemed to be back to the desert standard. Clearly there is only green grass near the cities.

Sat up in the lounge till 2am when the train manager stopped telling people not to sleep there. Then slept there until 5.30 when he came back.

Sunday 18th

The train stopped at Adelaide for breakfast and on reboarding I was moved to another seat with no one next to me allowing me for the first time to lie down and sleep.I did visit th lounge again but the music was as Bryson said from the complation album "songs you hoped never to hear again".

We stopped for an hour and a half at Broken Hill a small town surrounded by large mines, that were apparently five years from closing. getting back on the person in the next seat still hadn't appeared so I could sleep, or could if not for the fighting couple in the seat in front.

Monday 19th

Woke to a landscape of hills and farms that gradually gave way to suburbs. Sydney was cold and wet and looked very English. Had lunch in a Vietnamese restaurant, messed about in an internet cafe then took an overnight bus for Byron Bay leaving at 10.30, so yet another night without a proper bed.

15th November 2001

Managed to get the train tickets.

Back at the hostel a notice said there was free food and drink for anyone who watched a football match so I sat out in the cold to collect the tokens.They let me into a rather tacky nightclub called Zanzibar with flaming torches outside, most people seemed to take the free drink and leave but some of use came back for the free BBQ. Around 10pm a screen across one end of the room slid aside revealing a dancefloor on a lower level and that the main floor extended into a balcony.

11th to 14th November 2001

Sun 11th - spent a very lazt day, played monopoly.

Mon 12th

Went whale watching, we saw one humpback mother and calf followed by a pod a five adults who stayed with the boat for hours. Apparently whalesong was recorded about 20km distant. We went back via an old fishing boat that had been deliberately sunk to attract tourists. In the afternoon I booked a bus back to Perth and spent the evening watching The Devil's Advocate and Chasing Amy.

Tue 13th

Missed the morning bus so ended up on an evening service with several fat Russians and two Mormon church elders who kept name tags on at all times.
The bus stopped at a train station somewhere in the suburbs so rather than continue into Perth I took a train to Freemantle. It was late so I asked at the first open place (a computer shop) for somewhere to stay and was shown to the YHA. The old man who greeted me started by telling me they were shutting up and I must be quiet then showed me to a room where he fumbled in the dark for a light switch as far from the door as possible. Afterwards went out but the only place open was doing a horrible karaeoke night.

Wed 14th

Moved to another hostel, The Old Firestation, which promised free laundry, videos and internet. Went into Perth and tried to collect my ticket for the Indian Pacific but it wasn't ready.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

10th November 2001

Got the bus to Dunsborough, a seaside town that was recommended. The countryside was green, the soil brown and the rivers full of water. It's a big contrast to the north where we drove past dry rivers and bushfires and miles and miles of desert scrub.

Outside Busselton where we changed buses we passed a long row of church run campsites. I didn't think much when the first sign said Uniting Church Family Camp but then it was followed by Baptists, Catholics etc.

Got into Dunsborough about 5.30 and started looking for the beach front hostel that was recommended, as I was walking someone offered me a lift. I checked in and decided to go back into town for food, and got a second lift. Then on the way back a woman told me my bag was too heavy to walk to the coast and borrowed her husbands truck to give me a third lift.

8th - 9th November 2001

Thu 8th

Matt's sister Hayley bought us all lunch at subway and dropped me at the backpackers in Francis Street. I then found my bank cards wouldn't work and spent the rest of the day trying to sort this out.

Fri 9th

Managed to get $400 on my visa and waste the entire day between two internet cafes and a bookshop. Talked to a group of Irish girls who were amazed I was travelling alone.

5th - 7th November 2001

Monday 5th

Set off early, moved to the caravan park and slept in the hammock. Joined by a Korean called Soon and an Australian called Damien. Drove all day through dry scrub and camped on a beach at Hearsons cove. Someone had left a barbie lit so we cooked some meat and baked potatoes.

Tuesday 6th

In the morning got up at dawn and walked out over the mudflats before setting off. As we drove the land got noticeably greener with more grass and less desert. Soon got out at Carnaervon but we carried on till 7 and camped by a road house with three Israeli girls.

Wednesday 7th

The Aussie scrub completely disapeared around 1pm replaced with rolling farmland and wild flowers. Stopped at Matt's place in the suburbs of Perth and his mum offered me a bed for the night and dinner. Serendipity - if you don't rely on it, it will never let you down.

31 October to 5th November 2001

Wed 31st

Following the staff from the hostel I ended up somewhere called The Last Resort and found a genuinely frightening Halloween party full of me wearing bikini's that didn't cover what they should and some serial killers who were too convincing.

Thu 1st

Went into town to buy new socks and got confused by the mix of adverts for spring products and christmas decorations.

Fri 2nd

Walked out to an area marked on the map as remenant rainforest but it wasn't rainforest just more dry scrub but with more birds than elsewhere. from there I walked down to the beach and along to the bus stop/

Sat 3rd -Sun 4th

Nothing to report