Hello, my name is Keshia, and I’m a cataholic. It all started with my first cat… oh, sorry, wrong blog. KIDDING.
Okay, well, when we had last chatted we were just getting into Sydney on Friday. A couple of days beforehand, James and I decided that we were going to get ourselves a hotel for the weekend for a few reasons, 1) camping in/around the city is not an easy task 2) we thought a treat for the weekend would be nice - showers on a regular basis, a real bed, that kind of stuff 3) overall it was an easier option than camping - I’m pretty sure you can understand this. However, we did aim to make it a bit more cost effective for ourselves and stayed out by the airport and opted to take the train into the city on Friday night and for the entire day on Saturday, that way we didn’t have to pay for parking in the city (expensive) or a hotel in the city (really expensive), and saved ourselves about $150-$200. I love a good savings - that’s how I know I’m growing up.
After some wonderfully hot and luxurious showers, we got ourselves as ready as one can do when they’re living out of a backpack and made ourselves into city slickers for the night, getting into the city just as the sun was setting, which made for perfect lighting behind the Sydney Opera House (I always have to correct that when I type it, I always type Oprah House, while this would likely be as wonderful - not the same thing, I digress). Before leaving the hotel, we noticed that they had some coupon books and figured that would help us get some dinner while we were out and about - burgers, chips, and beverage each still came to $50 even with the coupon, so it’s a good thing that we did save on our hotel! We walked around a bit more, made some plans to tackle different areas on the city on Saturday, listened to some great live music near the Opera House, and headed back to the hotel.
Saturday morning we were up at a decent hour, readied ourselves, and once again made our way back into the city for a day of exploring. From the hours of 9:30am-4pm we walked 12km around the city, enjoying a handful of districts within the city, getting off at Central Station and made our way to Chinatown, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Bangaroo, walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and through one of the many markets going on in the city, back across the bridge, along the harbour, and back to the train. We debated staying in the thick of it for more night action, but decided that we had spent much of our budget already, my thighs were chafing, and we were tired - it was, after all, the hottest September day in Sydney on record - 33 degrees celsius!
On Sunday morning we were headed for Bondi since it was kind of on our way out anyways. I’ve always felt that there was a lot of hype around Bondi, and I guess all I can say is, it’s just not my thing. It’s a pretty good beach as far as beaches go, white sand, turquoise waters, some waves, plenty of good looking people with half of their clothes on, you know, the things you look for in a good beach. It also has some other amenities near by that one might find appealing, those iconic Bondi Iceberg pools, cafes, shops, graffiti walls, walking paths, and paved areas where people who enjoy a good downward dog or sun salutation might find themselves. And when you add all of these things up, you find a really busy spot that loses its charm simply because so many people know about it. But hey, that’s just my opinion, you may really enjoy it - have your people call my people.
Once we had our beach fill, we were on our way to the mountains, the Blue Mountains, that is. We found some hot spots in the park and ventured out accordingly. While we were at the Govetts Leap Lookout, we noticed that there was about a 3-3.5 hour hike that we could do over to Pulpit Rock, but the day was getting on and still needing to find a camping spot, we decided to come back and tackle that in the morning. Boom - done.
The days following, we didn’t have much of a plan and were basing our travels on a few books and pamphlets to get us through and give us the run down of different areas worth stopping along the way. One of which, was a place called Grafton. It’s in off of the coast, and I’m sure that you can imagine the following: a once busy town, the streets buzzing with shoppers and people making their way through the town and home to make a nice meal, trees and flowers are blooming, everybody knows everybody type of feel; “Hi Doris!” “Hi Nora! Lovely day, isn’t it?” Now imagine when industry within the area dies off, people move away and/or lose their jobs, shops are closing along the main street and everything goes to hell… maybe even a tumbleweed rolls by. Mmmk, now imagine that you’re camping at a showground just off the main street, the show ground caretaker is wearing a shirt that barely covers his belly, grease stains on his clothes and face, and tells you just to park it “anywhere over there” (pointing to an area near the toilets and just off of the main road). Then imagine that you’re camping next to the worst people you’ve ever met - like…ever. Okay, now you have a pretty good idea of what we were dealing with. I’ll continue.
We pull up and get ourselves organized when along rolls in a couple that we’ll call Tammy and Buck. They had probably been camping there for a couple of nights already by the time that we had gotten there, with their beat up bucket of junk that they call a car parked next to their tent, a couple of small aggressive dogs tied up next to their tent and our van - a security system of sorts, I guess. Anyways, Buck starts asking me some questions about our van that I couldn’t hear over the road noise, so I made my way closer when all of a sudden his dog lunges at me! It bit my leg and gave it a nice bruise and when I went to move him away he latched on my hand and took a chunk out of my thumb. At that point - conversation over. For the next three or so hours Buck and Tammy kept their conversation quiet and we didn’t see or hear much of them. Little did we know, around 7pm they’ve got their TV/computer blaring, watching scary movies or something with a lot of screaming. I decided that I wouldn’t say anything until it was later, anytime after 10-10:30 should be “quiet time”. Does this make a me a square? Maybe. But then again, I haven’t had a good sleep for a few days at this point and I had just been attacked by a mutt, give me a break. In the middle of the night James and I are woken up by coughing, hacking, TV playing, snoring, it was literally my worst nightmare. Despite my skin crawling and my rage coming to a boiling point, I decided to pop my headphones in and listen to music, do a couple of word searches, and slowly fall back asleep, all the while coming up with a nasty note that I was planning on leaving them in the morning. After laying awake for two hours, I fiiiinally fall back asleep only to be woken up 2 hours later by Buck and Tammy yelling after their dog to stop biting the tent, more coughing, hacking, and now, radio playing. I honestly couldn’t wrap my head around it. We left the campground by 6:15 and I decided that it was probably best to not leave the note and just disappear. The good news, I don’t have rabies and will likely never have to see those people again, life is looking up.
Luckily for us, we were also in for an exciting day - BYRON BAY! It’s been on my list for years and IT. WAS. THE. DAY. Just before Byron was Lennox Point, one of the most eastern points in Australia and according to the plaque, “has been inspirational in the development of modern surfing and equipment” … pretty neat. From there we rolled into Byron like we owned the place, driving right up to the most eastern point in Australia - Cape Byron. Once at the top we realized we actually had to pay and uhh .. we’re poor, so we’re not going to pay for parking when we have two feet and a heartbeat (four feet and two heartbeats, technically, but .. we’re not here to be technical). We hiked the 1.5km hill and made it to the top, hot and sweaty but well worth it. Mind you, we still had to pay for parking, but got more bang for our buck and I’ll make do with that. The rest of the day was spent at the beach people watching, doesn’t get much better than that.
Today we made it to Brisbane, but not before we got some news…James and I will need to be back in Victoria for the last step of James’ residency application. We didn’t know when the appointment would be, and actually thought it would have all been completed before we left - but it wasn’t, and here we are. So, we will be heading back to Victoria on October 16th for James’ appointment on the 17th, and will head back to Australia on the 18th just in time to catch our flight to New Zealand from Brisbane on the 20th. Phew. I’ve been filled with anxiety about it all since we found out, but James has done a great job of calming me down and assuring me that it’s just another chapter in our already crazy story and we’re here to tackle it together. Okay - sappy bit over.
With the new info, we now have 5 days less in Australia than anticipated and that means we’re going to have to haul ass as we still have a lot of ground to cover! We’re in Brisbane for the next couple of days and will be heading up to Cairns doing a whole bunch of stuff along the way and then booking it back to Brisbane to catch our flight - STAY TUNED! Catch ya on the flippity flip
P.S: I have a lot of bug bites and am planning to single handedly exterminate every mosquito on the planet. WHY DO THEY EVEN EXIST?!