Blessed to be a witness

Saturday, 13th August

Jimmy don't surf

The second afternoon in Byron the sun came out just enough for us to venture onto the beach. I also managed to get into the surf and after about five minutes of jumping around going "ooogh agh" with my arms up in the air I eventually dived in front of a big wave - big by my and Thailand's standards, being about two metres in height - and body-surfed into shore. I did this a few times and then retired to the sarong to dry off.

Close by a middle-aged woman was practicing poi in shorts and a t-shirt. When I looked again she was wearing a bikini. When I turned around again she had removed her first bikini top to reveal a second bikini that comprised two tiny triangular nipple-covers and not much else. A third glance showed that the bikini bottoms had come off to reveal a similar tiny triangular bikini thong arrangement and the top had come off as well. My immediate thought was "hmm, I don't think the locals would like this" (well OK, let's be honest - I am a straight bloke, so my immediate thought was actually "shame she's not attractive"), before I realised that I was no longer on a Muslim island, and this woman was in fact a local, and that seemed to be perfectly reasonable behaviour in Byron Bay.

Watching a girl with a boogie-board going into the surf again and again with a huge smile on her face made me resolve to rent one the next day and spend another night there, but alas the next day proved cold, windy and overcast, so we decided instead to start south again.

Another day's driving got us to Port Macquarie, about which town I can remember absolutely nothing except the koala sanctuary we visited the next morning, wherein we re-examined the weirdness of the evolutionary imperative, and saw the aforementioned cuddly teddy bears, which have brains that don't fill their skulls, being suspended in fluid and about the size of an apple. But adorably they seemed to wish nothing more than to kip, which they do for about twenty hours a day. Now I don't know which are cuter, pandas or koalas. We also saw emus, fed kangaroos, and got eyed up in a rather disturbingly aggressive manner by a cassowary, which is a seriously bizarre primeval monster of a bird that can disembowel you with one flick of the toe.

Whatchoo lookin' at?

We headed up into the beautiful wooded hills to the north-east of Sydney, and soon reached the city's outskirts, but since my cousin lives in Canberra, and we also fancy staying the Blue Mountains for a day or two, we shot through the city via the under-harbour tunnel, and didn't see any of the sights except the top of the harbour bridge, which comes up to the shoulders of the CBD's skyscrapers. We inadvertantly ended up in the seaside university town of Wollongong after dark, but were able to locate a beachside caravan park a few kilometres outside the city, and spent a cold night there.

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