I have created this blog with the hopes that you, my friend, will follow me as I sail around the world (figuratively or literally, not sure yet) with my parents on their Contest 48. Whereas I hope to keep you updated with exciting adventures of exotic ports and epic waves, keep in mind that cruising - that is, traveling by boat in a leisurely fashion - tends to be filled with days of intense boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Please keep this in mind as you read these entries, for this platform will be just as much an attempt for me to maintain my sanity (and connection to the California-based world), as entertainment and reassurance for you. And so, follow me as I sail the world.

P.S. All material on this blog, words and photos alike, are copyrighted by me. Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. If you decide that this material is worth re-publishing, please give me credit and lots and lots of money.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bundaberg, Australia

Help!  I'm trapped in 1980 and I can't get out!

Actually this is not quite true - I can get out and I intend to do so in the next day or two - as (allegedly) not all of Australia is stuck in the 80's.

To be fair, Bundaberg is a nice place to make landfall in Australia.  Customs and immigration are very easy, the marina has internet, showers, laundry, and it is a remarkably good place to sleep.  Other than that... well... there is not too much going on here.

I should clarify: we are at Port Bundaberg, which is a marina out in the middle of nowhere.  Aside from marina facilities there is nothing here, except for kangaroos.  Seriously.  Actually, I had to laugh at the irony - the marina has been putting on events every night for the recently arrived yachties and last night was a kangaroo BBQ.  As I was standing in line waiting for my kangaroo steak I saw my first kangaroo eating grass in the field across from the river.  Maybe he smelled his buddy being roasted and came by for a closer look at the bastards eating him...

Regardless, I could take or leave kangaroo.  It tasted like tough, flavorless beef streak, although if well prepared I am sure it is delicious.  And, as it is a national pest and does not leave a huge carbon footprint, it is much more ecologically friendly to eat than say, beef.

That is Port Bundaberg.  Unfortunately the town of Bundaberg (15 km away) does not have too much more to offer, except the Bundaberg rum distillery.  In my own humble opinion Bundaberg rum is only a small step up from Fiji's Bounty rum, but you can decide that for yourself.  It makes sense that Bundaberg would have a rum distillery, because the fields in the surrounding area are devoted to sugar cane.

Other than rum and kangaroo, we have gone to the IGA grocery store as well as the Target.  Yes!  They have Target here.  Unfortunately it reminds me of Target from 1980, and I was not even alive in 1980.  Any Target Superstore USA would be horribly embarrassed to be associated with this little one, with its 4 different choices of shampoo (only four - those in the US have four aisles of choices!) and mishmash of random stuff.  Of course this is a huge step up from the dollar stores in Vanuatu, but it is definitely not USandA, either.

The grocery store, however, is amazing.  They have tortillas.  And salsa.  They have tons of great looking fruits and veggies - broccoli! non-withered carrots! apples! delicious Australia oranges - although even locally grown produce is pretty damn expensive.  We had a great time perusing the aisles in awe of all the good food they had to offer, but had to limit ourselves because we were taking the bus back to the port and could only carry so much.

Everything here - alcohol, most importantly - is expensive.  Not only are prices high, but the Aussie dollar is stronger than the US dollar.  The economy is currently doing very well - even on a Tuesday morning the mall was packed with people buying things.  There are also tons of young people employed everywhere, which is refreshing to see and also gives me hope that one day I too might be employed here, receiving the minimum wage of $16 (OZ).

One thing is I find very bizarre is to see Christmas decorations in the middle of summer.  They do not have Thanksgiving to buffer the onslaught of kitschy Christmas crap so it is all over the malls.  And people are buying it!  Go figure.

As you might be able to infer, I am not all that amped on Bundaberg and looking forward to heading south for a bit more action.  At this point I plan to hop on Mark's boat and sail south with him towards Brisbane, where I have a few mates I am looking forward to meeting up with.  But really, it's all good!

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