Thankfully I escaped from Sydney about a week ago. I think if I added up all the time that I spent driving around lost, stuck on one-ways, and sitting in traffic jams, it would be a a couple days of wasted time. Except for catching up on a lifetime supply of talk radio, it wasn’t very enjoyable. I finally broke down and gave away part of my manhood. I admitted defeat. I gave up on the notion that as a man I don’t need maps and I can naturally navigate my way anywhere with the mantenna in my skull. I broke down and bought a GPS navigator. It was actually bought in a mall that I looked for for over an hour driving in circles wishing I already had it stuck on my windshield. A week cooped up in that massive sprawl of a city got me excited for the empty coastline doted with small towns. Sydney reminds me of pouring syrup all over a table, it just goes out and out. Urban sprawl, and it took a good hour of driving just to get out of it. I’m not saying it’s a horrible place. There are some beautiful beaches, big parks, the harbour, a smorgasbord of delicious foods from around the world, and always something going on. Just not my style. Kind of like Vegas, after a few days you need to go or you will lose your marbles.
So the last week I’ve been making my way up the coast slowly but surly. I usually don’t make it too far each day, and end up finding some sweet little spot to enjoy the day. I’m writing this laying on the bed in my van at a view point with the back opened up for a beautiful scene of the bright blue pacific below me. For the past 20 minutes a group of humpback whales have been breaching and slapping their tails and fins just offshore. I’ve forgotten all about my hangover, mostly. I was going to move up the coast farther, but whats the rush. I’ll camp right here, cook some dinner under the stars, and listen to the rumble of the ocean. When you find a moment in life like this, go with it, don’t rush out of it.
In the town of Newcastle I camped for the night up on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Bright twinkling stars, waves crashing bellow, and moist salty air swirling around chilling the bones. I woke up in the middle of the night wide awake and had a really strange eerie feeling over me. The next day on the radio they were talking about an earthquake that had happened just offshore during the night and the people that felt it. No idea if thats what woke me, but I’m glad it was small and didn’t bring down the cliffside and take me with it. Thats not how I’m going down. Up the coast, just outside of Port Macquarie, I saw my very first kangaroos, which was pretty exciting. They were all over a driving range so I had to stop and hit a bucket of balls. If you’ve ever seen the movie Tin Cup, this was the Aussie version. The guy running it could’ve told me he was Kevin Costner, and I probably would’ve believed him and asked for an autograph. If it wasn’t cool enough that they had targets you could try to hit into and win prizes, there were at least thirty kangaroos standing around like it was the most normal place to chill out. They didn’t seem to worry one bit about all the golf balls flying towards them.
I spent a couple days in Port Macquarie where I played golf at a course there for my other website called golfingtheglobe.co. You can check it out with this LINK. It was a blast and felt like playing golf in a zoo. I’d never seen so many colourful beautiful sounding birds. Saw a wallaby, and there must have been forty kangaroos on the course. What a cool, but goofy looking animal. They weren’t bothered or worried one bit by us, and would lay six feet away while we hit shots.They have some wicked looking claws that wouldn’t feel too good across the face.The little Joeys sticking their faces out of their mom’s pouch is adorable.
The next day I ended up here where I am now, in Nambucca Heads, and played another course. This one was pretty sweet, built on an island at the river mouth, heres the LINK. There were a couple young guys behind me and we stopped and talked a few times. They were out for a good time on a Saturday, and hooked me up with an ice cold beer out of their packed cooler. Towards the end we started getting stuck behind some old guys taking it way too seriously, so we joined up. When we finished up it was straight to the bar, and being a guest, I was told to not think about pulling out my wallet. We posted up on the deck with a beautiful view over the river and smashed a few back. I knew at this point it was gonna be a good late night. We headed back to Andrew’s house with a case of bourbon and cokes. It was a full house for the weekend with three couples and seven kids! Had a nice big plate of home cooking that hit the spot, and forced to try Vegemite (which wasn’t that bad actually).
We watched a semifinal National Rugby League match and all the weird little things I didn’t understand make sense now. I can admit, it’s way tougher than our football, and I dig it. I wish we had it. A lot of the night I was answering questions from all the little kids. They were blown away that I was from America, and wanted to know every little thing about it. One kid had America and Africa confused, and kept wanting to know about the African animals, and telling me how he loves Africans. I got some hilarious question such as: Have you ever been chased by a lion? Have you ever been chased by a wolf? Can I come with you to America? Mom, can we go to America for Christmas? Mom, can I take a train to America? Aren’t you worried someone will get you in your van? What would you do if someone broke in while you were sleeping? Have you ever shot a snake? Will you take your hat off? I like your long hair. And my favourite, In America if you change the channel when someone is watching something will they shoot you? It was a real good time full of big laughs. We stayed up until after 2AM drunkenly debating all kinds of political stuff, military history, and just goofy crap that we would get passionate about for no reason. Andrew loved doing his American accent and is convinced we all say “hey bro” like a hillbilly. They took me into their home and treated me like family. Like everywhere in the world I’ve wandered off to, the local people showed me a great time. They will always be enthusiastic to show you things about their country, and just share themselves with you. Weather rich or poor, brown or white, Muslim or Christian, liberal or conservative, the people of the world have always shown me amazing times and taken me in like family. There’s nothing like local hospitality. And for those of you who know who I’m talking about, don’t they look just like Zach Galifianakis and Dom Hindman? I found out it’s not the best idea to let four kids explore your van because five minutes later it’ll look like a bomb went off. Good times.