4 hot chicks in a camper van.
'Right then. It's been a while. I know, I dropped the ball. All this time I could have been writing stories of hippie surf towns, revisiting Sydney, surfing massive waves (or rather trying not to die), exploring the freezing south coast of Australia, checking out dark, seedy bars in Melbourne and so on and so forth.
But I got lazy. Or rather, I didn't have the time or the focus to sit down on my iPhone and attempt to describe the ridiculously funny incidents or the ridiculously scary waves. I was too busy laughing, exploring, driving, drinking (although not together), playing ukulele or working out the secrets of the universe. Because those are the kinds of things that happen when the best of friends get together for a 2,000km road trip in a beast of a camper van so aptly named the "FemPurr" -- derived from "of the feminine persuasion."
So what now? Do I attempt to recount everything? Just the highlights? Or do I move on completely, letting the memories bounce around in my brain until they slowly fade into a warm, fuzzy, distant notion of a lost time and place? No -- no, I don't think that would do. But I also don't want to overwhelm you (or me) so we will do this in increments. I'll try to leave it on cliffhanger so you come back for more.
Ok, so. I stayed with Emma in Brisbane before Annette and Sara arrived. For those of you who don't know, Annette, Sara and I went to high school together. To be completely honest I did not know Sara very well before this trip, but living with somebody in a van for two weeks you either grow to love or hate them. Fortunately both are awesome chicks and we only grew closer over our time together.
Emma and I picked up Annette and Sara from the airport. From that moment on we were either laughing hysterically, telling a crazy story about an encounter in some remote (many marriage proposals included), cooking delicious food or... who knows what. Emma hosted all of us before we picked up the FemPurr and headed down to our first stop: Byron Bay.
A note on driving the FemPurr -- not only had I never driven a van that big, but I had not driven in eight months, never drove a manual transmission with the shift on the left, and was driving on the wrong side of the road. Does anyone else think it is a miracle that we drove 2,000km and never crashed once?! I certainly do...
Byron Bay. It's the place that everybody tells you to go to: "Oh, you are going to Australia? Make sure you get to Byron Bay. You'll love it." It is the hippie-surf capitol of Australia, with a perfect right hand, sandy point break at "The Pass" and miles of open beach break as well. The culture of the little surf town is mellow and down to earth, although one does get a yuppie vibe as well as a darker, underground drug scene going on. Needless to say, we had a blast there.
Burying Annette and giving her incorrect anatomy...
Emma joined us on our Byron expedition so the four of us raised hell in the beachside campground we stayed at. We played loud music all day, drank goon (cheap box wine) all night, surfed heaps, played on the beach and made new friends. Our last night there we hitched a ride out to the backpackers pub with a newspaper delivery man, who randomly offered to pack all six of us in the back of his van, just so long as we didn't sit on the newspapers. That is the kind of thing that would happen in Byron Bay.
Annette managed to capture my steeze on a little left at "The Wreck"
That night at the pub was an open mic, and I must admit it was the best open mic I have ever been to. There was a wide range of musical types, and everybody was good -- so good that I was deterred from getting up and rocking the ukulele -- probably for the best. The next morning we headed out to The Pass where I surfed small but perfect waves. The water was so clear that, as I cruised along on a slow roller, I watched a sea turtle ride along with me in the face of the wave. I could see myself spending a long time there. Unfortunately, we had to move on.