Canberra, ACT, Australia
Before Jervis Bay, by myself
I left work at around 3:30PM, just because I could. There were 3 people on my floor for most of the day and the conversation about India and the behaviour of different races of dogs was getting way past boiling point. This can only mean one thing: time to go.
Went to Fyshwick, picked up my newly-renovated motorcycle. Still not 100%, but it’s wonderful to drive. The mechanic asked me how I didn’t die going to Perth with the front wheel almost falling off like it was. I didn’t reply and smilled.
Filled up with cheap gas (in Fyshwick everything is cheap. It’s like another country) and packed in a non-linear fashion as usual. Left at 6PM, after my house mates went for a celebration of life that involved an orgy later that night. I live in a house of sin.
Then I drove and I drove. The same road that I used to go to Sydney last time, going first to Bateman’s Bay. I didn’t have a map and got lost just one time. That’s good. Bungendore-Braidwood-Milton – charming little cities. Beautiful landscapes smelling of rain to come.
But as soon as the rain came it was gone. I was already in Bateman’s Bay, finding a place to fill up the tank. I remember this place as being cheaper than Ulladula, and as my objective was Pebbly Beach this night, I had to fill it here. Got a good deal for 2 big packs of chips for 5 bucks. The guy said that it was a minimum of 30km until Pebbly Beach.
It was 29. Arrived there just past 9 p.m. Setup the tent using the indirect lighting of a neighbouring tent. It was poorly assembled, to say the least. But I was tired and hungry.
Cooked meat with salt and onions. Ate with Lebanese bread (so funny that in English the nationalities must be written in capitals) and chips and water. A possum came to my tent to eat some of the meat that I dropped. Scared the living shit out of me.
Slept soundly for almost 4 hours. Then slept poorly for another 2. Woke up at 5:30, ate some leftover meat (disgusting) and chips. Went to the beach.
The fist animal that I saw getting near the beach wasn’t a kangaroo. It was a couple of hares, which disappointed me. But in the best tradition of film-making, my eyes followed the hares and they stopped by the feet of a huge kangaroo! And then a couple more (that I touched), then a family, then a whole mob! That was one of the defining moments in Australia so far. The sheer weirdness of nature here makes you think how big and strange and wonderful this world can be – another weird sight involving kangaroos here was a mob-jumping in the snow near Jindabyne.
From there I walked around the rocks, sat on one and stared at the ocean, listening to it crash on the shore. Ultra-gay moment! The only thing missing was a freaking sweater around my neck.
Then I decided to walk on a trail. Stopped in a pebbly beach and laid down on the stones. And wrote a poem! What’s the freaking matter with me!? But then I wrote two more pages of very descriptive and serious travel journal, in the best tradition of the “adventurers”. There’s a word in Portuguese for the kind of person that I’m becoming here: “bicho grilo”. Someone that loves Nature. But I guess I’m to sarcastic to be like this. See? I’m already making fun of it.
Almost didn’t continue the track (4 more kilometers to the top of Mt Durras), but I did. Met a wallaby in the woods and a kind of fowl that was very beautiful, even though it wasn’t colorful. It was a kind of grey peacock. I knew the name of this species/kind of bird, but forgot.
On top of Mt. Durras I found yet another kind of kangaroo. It was grey but with a little red spot on the back. So it was 3 species of kangaroos in little over than 2 hours. Also saw lots of black cockatoos with yellow spots that I called “CEFET cockatoo” (another Brazilian joke, CEFET is the name of a kind of TAFE in Brazil, and its colors are black and yellow).
Then came down, went around the rocks again, had a little swim (nobody was stupid enough to enter the freezing water but me), disassembled the tent and went to Jervis Bay. No big of a deal. The only big event was a big herd of Dutch cows all laying down on a field, and I just had to stop for a picture.
Jervis Bay – White Sands
The first thing I made when I got to Sanctuary Point (it wasn’t really Jervis Bay then) was to buy soda water for the mojitos. Essential. Then the very kind and helpful cashier pointed me to the address where the caravan park was, and I got lost. Called Joris, that started screaming, even though I was about 3 blocks down. Good effort, but probably two elderly couples checked out of the caravan park after seeing a guy screaming for nothing.
Eventually I found the place, unloaded, changed and went to the beach, not after everybody stopping in the freaking grocery store that was supposed to be a quick stop to get ice for the drinks.
We went to a white sand beach. Wow. White. Wonderful (yes, I’m being sarcastic again). The sun was already punishing me, but not that much. I was happy, drinking my Diet Mojitos (we forgot the sugar) and talking, while the more energetic among ourselves played a very weird game that I could only associate with a dodgeball, but with a Lego twist to it. I don’t know, I was in my fourth Mojito already and had exercised enough throwing a ball around in the water.
From there we went to a Bi-Lo, where people bought food, which was against a pact that me and Maria made not to eat, just to drink. But Maria couldn’t keep her mouth shut and ate a whole basket of fish.
It was decided that the drinks for the night would be sangria and Mary Pickfords. So we bought wine, rum, juice and fruits.
After all this time, while waiting everyone to eat while I was the sole keeper of the Pact, my drunkeness went away. I took a shower and made sangria, that was to be served in an express way, without the overnight stay in the fridge. Too bad.
I made a bowl of it, and we ate lots and lots of meats and vegetables and…what are mushrooms? Vegatables? A germ? A fungus? Well, another cultural adaptation here for me. Eating fungus. Well, grilled fungus. With sauce if I wanted. I was getting back to my mildly-intoxicated state, the one that drunk people aim to achieve and keep, but they never can keep it because they keep drinking.
It’s sad to report that Denisse, not resisting the intoxicating flavour of Mary Pickfords, drank a lot of them. And I always thought of a Denisse as such a well behaved girl…
Then came the sangria. I drank 3 glasses before I could say “inconstitucionalicimamente” and was good to go. Then we played (or tried to) shit-head (or, in the Romanian version: Sheet-head). It was without good music, even though my whole collection of CDs came down, but we didn’t have proper speakers.
Then came a mother-possum. I think Aurel took about 60 pictures of the poor marsupial. And made at least 10 movies. It was cool for the first bite that it gave in the bread, but after that I went on to make more bloody sangria (nice combination of words this one).
Then the remainder of the brave drunk people went down to Palm Beach, myself carrying a bowl of sangria for 4 blocks without spilling much more than a glass. To see how I wasn’t drunk, merely intoxicated.
There in the beach we talked. Well, after a while only I did, talking everything that I could think of (that wasn’t little). Some highlights of it where Inuit astronomy, Japanese shoguns, Linguistics, relationships (the only thing I don’t know at least a little about), art, Geography, Religion.
And here also an orgy took place, but this kind of thing is happening so often around me now that I don’t even feel like mentioning anymore. It was difficult to keep everybody with their clothes on once we got there. I wanted to talk a little more before rewriting the Kama Sutra in the sand. Well, but I’m just that kind of guy.
I kept on talking until everyone went to bed. Then I talked some more, in an increasingly Irish accent that came out of nowhere, and in an increasingly louder tone. But then I slept too.
The next day we packed everything up and went to Cave Beach. The Brazilians + the Venezuelan went first, because that’s what we do. First we scouted another beautiful beach near an Aboriginal community, and also bought annual passes for this National Park (that I don’t remember the exact name).
When we arrived to Cave Beach, everybody was there already, including a blazing sun. I tried to hide from it anyway I could, but it was no use. I was burned beyond recognition. I never learn.
Because of the burns I skipped the physical activities too, and went from the water to the cave. I felt like a frog. Maybe I am a frog.
The single most important event of this last afternoon was (from my point of view), definitely, Caroline “toplessing”. I tried to avoid staring, but just couldn’t. Now she’s almost family.
The Way Home
We shook the sand off and got to our respective vehicles. Csaba and me got a fine, but we could get away from it by showing our passes. We stopped at Milton just to find everything closed. But Ulladulla proved more fruitful and we ate lots of seafood again.
The goodbyes were said, and shook and huged and kissed, and off we went. Of course I was slower, because I was in my motorcycle, smelling, looking, feeling every kilometer of the road. Stopped in Bateman’s Bay again. Got some rain on my way back, stopped twice for photographs.
Got home just to learn that some cars were pulled over for speeding. See what you get for going so fast? But even more important that what you get, is what you don’t: the smells, the sight, the feeling of Australia.
I’m on a 1 year traineeship with the Australian Government. I’m Brazilian and I rented a motorcycle for the duration here. I’ve been travelling in the many holidays/vacations that I’m entitled as a public servant. I’ve been from Perth to Hobart, from Adelaide to Melbourne and Sydney. All over. The only thing left is the Northern Territory, that I might do shortly. After this year me and a Polish friend are making our way (overland/sea) to Poland. The only flight will be from Sydney to Singapore (then from Poland to Brazil).