A Slow Meander Through Life

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Oz Part 2 - Byron Bay

Thought I'd better catch up after Part 1!

Apart from being delayed, the flight up to Byron was pretty uneventful. The time at the airport also gave me a chance to buy some board shorts and two Billabong t-shirts; I figured that I needed to look the part!

After a short transfer from the tiny airport, we arrived at Aquarius Backpackers. Byron Bay is a strange place. I couldn't really tell you how big it is, how many people lived there or where there was a supermarket.

The main plan for the day was a meal out at Dish, a restaurant that Sue had recommended. I know now that any restaurant recommended by Sue is a safe bet, but at the time I had no idea, so it was a case of wait and see. We were not disappointed. The place was beautiful: really chilled out with big white settees and very nice decorations. The food was even better. Tragically I can't quite remember what I ate (can you remember Sue?), but I remember that every part of the meal was just fantastic. The bill was as long as a very long thing, but it was worth every penny that we paid.

Unfortunately this is where my memory becomes poor, but only in terms of timings over the next couple of days!

It was now Monday and one of the last days of the Annual East Coast Blues and Roots Festival in Byron. We headed up there reasonably early and checked out the acts that were playing. I saw two things that simply blew me away: Eddie Reader playing 'Patience of Angels' and Jackson Browne playing 'Take It Easy'. I hadn't realised that he co-wrote it with Glenn Frey, and Chris didn't realise that I know all the worlds! It was wonderful to see. We stayed at the concert for a goodly while, and then headed back to town. This is where I'm a little fuzzy, because on one evening we went to Cheeky Monkeys, but I can't remember which! I do remember dancing on the tables with Sue for ages and ages though, as they have loads of tables that you are allowed to dance on. It was fantastic fun, but very sweaty. We also had drinks at the backpackers on one occasion.

On the last day Sue headed off gliding (as you do), and Mike and I went diving at the Julian Rocks with Sundive. It was a fantastic dive as it was my first one in ages, and I was able to use my new dive computer for the first time. It was quite a dive; just launching the boat was a challenge as they have to drive it out through the very shallow waves before they can head out. I was amazed during the dive to see sharks (they're not often spotted on the south coast of Spain) and the place was full of life. The guide who took us out had been diving there for the last 15 years or something crazy, so we were in very safe hands.

I vaguely recall the afternoon being spent on the beach and in the sea, and then we found a restaurant to eat in for the evening. Where we drank after that I'm not sure (not because I was very drunk, I can assure you!).

The following morning (now Wednesday) we were picked up and driven to Coolangatta airport where we picked up a Toyota people carrier and managed to squeeze 7 people plus luggage in it! From there we sped our way up the coast to Gladstone, a mere 9 hours away. We paused halfway for a meal at a Red Rooster (sorry Caitlain, but it wasn't that great) and then charged on. Tim and Mike did a sterling job driving. Apart from stopping in a very random place for toilet stops, and not seeing any kangaroos, it was a pretty good journey. The music kept coming and was still good when they had to switch my iPod.

We arrived in Gladstone late, went to the drive-through off-licence and headed to our accomodation.

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