Sunday, July 25, 2004

I've left 1770, and very sad it was too. It is always hard to leave a place where so many friends are made. On my last night the whole town went to a deserted beach for a huge party. Although the party had little to do with me, it was a fantastic opportunity to have a last drinky with some new found friends. The scene consisted of a generator, some decks, an MC from East London who couldn't rap but who tried anyway, more 4x4 vehicles which provided the only means of entry and exit, fire jugglers, and various drunken revelry. Typically, locals would hang on to the roof rack for dear life as our 4x4 made its way back to reality. Heaven knows how none fell off. The following morning the people I made close friends with all got up early to dispose of any remaining narcotics with me and wave goodbye before my 8.30am bus out of there. They all took pictures of us outside Cool Bananas whilst I chastised myself for locking my camera away in my rucksack and missing it all. Stav was one of the picture takers - get those piccies up girl. Hopefully I'll get copies of those photos somehow.

Meanwhile, and quite marvelously, Stefan has come through and posted some piccies from Fraser Island up on his website. I don't feature particularly prominently in them, but you can espy me there, the rest of "Group B" plus the 4x4 I drove around on the huge sand island.

So back in Sydney then. To be frank, I'm not a huge fan. Sydney is very picturesque and the people are generally friendly, but it's a city which holds little interest for me. It's western - so nothing new there, it's quite pretty, but I'm not sure it offers anything exclusive maybe apart from surf, and I'd much rather surf in Noosa or Agnes Water. Which is why I'm only here briefly. Monday is Vietnam day. It will take me nine-and-a-half hours to fly to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC or Saigon), and I won't leave Australian airspace until after seven of them. It's a damn big country. And I haven't seen anywhere near enough of it to be able to truly say that I know Australia; my travels took me nearly 600 miles up the east coast and that is barely half of the distance up to the north east tip - let alone into the outback and the west coast 2,000 miles away. I wanted to visit the central Australian "town" of Boulia (pop. 290) - famous for its regular UFO sightings - to see a camel racing festival. I looked on the map - directly west of me and also in Queensland! Distance: 600 miles! Fuck that then. I'd have to convince someone with a car to take me and it would them quite a while.

Boulia's well-kept sign.

So back I go to SE Asia. I've already seen Vietnam but there are a couple of places that I missed due to the dastard time constraints - Na Trang being foremost of them, plus the Chi Chi Tunnels near HCMC where I can have a tiny experience of what fighting for the Vietcong might have been like (bloody difficult is my prior estimation). Plus I get to revisit my friends Jon and Clair, and the new water slide in Damsen Park, "Black Thunder", oh yes. Then back to Thailand to see its north side, then onto the tiny country of Laos - famous only for having more bombs dropped on it by B52s during the Vietnam War than were dropped during the whole campaign of World War II. Should be good folks... back in the tropics.

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