Published: April 18th 2006April 17th 2006
This is a huge tree I pass every day to and from Uni. I really like it and one day I stopped and climbed around in it.
It appears my plan to keep weekly updates has gone out the window. After reading a few of my past entries I pretty much realized that since I am stationary at the moment in Adelaide I should probably not keep boring all of you with stories about school and St. Mark's. The past month certainly has been full of stories and experiences but I will trim them done to a 'best of' and hope it is entertaining. The biggest event to speak of has been my trip to Melbourne April 8-14 and a subsequent Easter trip to a country town called Clare. I could fill a whole entry easily on these trips. Melbourne was the type of trip you dream about. I have decided that the best way to experience a city in a limited amount of time is to go with the least amount of plans and let the tides take you. It seems that as long as you are sending out good vibes the tides take you to places you can only imagine. Here are a few of the places I have been. Sections include Melbourne, Damien Marley, Protest, Bells Beach Surfing, Wine Aficionado, Caves, and Clare. Feel free
The SCUBA class
to skip down to the one that sounds most interesting to you. Melbourne
University of Adelaide, like most Australian universities, gives a sizable break around Easter. I had known this for a while and was casually kicking around some areas in Australia I might like to see during the two weeks I had off. Most of the other Americans planned big excursions to see some far flung part of Australia, New Zealand, or some exotic South Pacific destination. The thing is I am going to have a lot of time (and hopefully some money) to travel when I am done with my semester since I am taking a semester off of Uni back home. This had me thinking small for the Easter holidays. Several tentative plans got made and then dissolved. I was never really worried but as I finished up a round of assignments the week before break I realized that my plans were looking slim. I had a couple things kicking around including an offer from a friend to stay at her family’s house in Melbourne and an offer from another friend to road trip the front half of a trip to Melbourne. Melbourne it was
then. Johno and I knocked off the 10 hour trip to Melbourne from St. Mark’s on a Saturday afternoon/evening and little did I know the great trip I had in store for me. I hopped from friend to friend throughout Melbourne, checking out a few hostels along the way. The city was vibrant and clean. All different ethnicities mixed their foods and cultures in an eclectic show of the world. I could go on and on about the trip but to cut down I will just include a few short stories. Damien Marley
For two nights of the trip I stayed in a south suburb of Melbourne called St. Kilda. In a lot of ways it reminded me of San Diego. It was right on the beach, had very cool shops and restaurants, and generally was very mellow. While I was there I stayed in an amazing hostel called Base. It was unlike any hostel I have ever been in. Not only did it have cheap, clean, good sized rooms but it had a trendy bar, saltwater pool, travel agent, nice furnished kitchen, and a variety of other perks. It even had sections of floor that were Plexiglas
Welcome to tinned spaghetti for breakfast...I have not yet broken
and had fish tanks underneath you. While I was staying there I heard that Damien Marley was playing right down the road later that day. I figured I didn’t have much of a chance of getting tickets but why not give it a try. I rocked up to the venue but of course they had been sold out for weeks. I should say that I am a really big fan of Damien’s last album “Welcome to Jamrock” and I had the chance but did not take it to see his record release in L.A. this past fall. So you could say I was keen to get into this show. After my rejection I was wandering up the street when I spotted a group of rasta looking people hanging around outside a hotel. I slowly sauntered by and overheard one of them saying he was Damien’s bodyguard. A chance! I decided what the hell and introduced myself to the large Rasta and implored him with my desire to get into the night’s show. He told me he would do what he could and to wait there. I waited and waited and finally he came down. He couldn’t get me tickets but
Really good drum and bass group I saw in Adelaide
if I waited outside the venue around 7, he would take me in with the artists. YES! I had somehow pulled off a miracle. I happily jumped down the street loving the world. In the end I was out with friends and was not able to make it back in time to the venue. I was a little upset but I felt such a faith in humanity and people helping people I was not upset. Here I was this skinny white kid who just randomly walks up and imposes himself on this huge Rasta. What does he do? Does he tell me to take a hike as I’m sure he would if the same thing happened in L.A.? No, he looks past our different color and our different situation and recognizes sincerity and a genuine person. I was stoked. Protest
Here in Australia there are huge issues with the native Aboriginal right to the land. There are a lot of parallels between Aborigonals and Native Americans. Both cultures were pulverized by Anglo colonists and their entire existence looks to be threatened. Here in Australia there is a lot more effort put into the recognition of the original inhabitants
but a big part of this might be that this country is significantly younger then the US. While I was in Melbourne on my way to the Botanical Gardens I walked up on a press conference surrounding a large protest happening near the Gardens. The Aboriginals claim that there is a sacred fire that they must keep lit on the site which is currently a public park. A huge group of them have set up an encampment around the fire and the government is threatening to forcibly remove them. It was a very interesting experience to be there with them. I have found that there is a huge amount of racism in the general population of Australians towards these people. In many ways it is similar to racism against African Americans in the US since the treatment and lack of support of these peoples leads to a self replicating cycle of negative reactions by the Aboriginals. Bells Beach
When it was time to leave Melbourne I decided to rent a car and drive the Great Ocean Road, a trip similar to driving Highway 1 across the coast of California. As you can see from the photos the scenery
was beautiful. Another perk of taking this route was that I could spend a day at the Ripcurl Pro surfing event at Bells Beach, a surfing Mecca. It was absolutely unbelievable. The break wasn’t amazing, maybe 3-4 foot when I was there, but it was clean and long and when you are talking about the best surfers in the world they can do a lot with that. To see Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, Trent Munro, and a bunch of other guys I might not even know but can rip with the best in the world is an experience I had never had before. As Taj Burrow swung a 9.33 that looked almost supernatural I didn’t even notice the beautiful surfgirls that were literally out by the thousand. It was a day to remember. Wine Aficionado
I took another stop along my road trip back to Adelaide in Penola. Penola is a little town in the Coonawarra, a region famous for great wine. While I have been living in South Australia I have been drinking a lot more wine that I did back home. Whether it be ‘goon’ the 5 liter boxes of awful tasting stuff or
Taj Burrow at Bells Beach
the occasional expensive bottle of grape stuffs it had been a good experience to develop my wine palette to an extent. A couple recommendations for any of you looking for a good bottle of red include Wynns Cab Sav (2001 or 2002), Pennfolds Thomas Hyland Cab Sav (2001), or Mitolo Shiraz (2001). There are a lot of other good Australia wines coming out and if you like wine you should definitely give them a try. Caves
While in Penola and before too many glasses of wine I took a very touristy trip to some caves in the area. It had the feel of a childhood trip I took with the family to Mammoth Caves back in the states. I am glad I took the sidetrip but it firmly entrenched the observation my brother made as he traveled; It is a lot more interesting to immerse yourself in the local culture then to do what the tourists do (unless it is the Taj Mahal or something). Clare
When I got back to St. Mark’s this past Friday I turned right around and headed up to the Clare valley, another wine region, to spend the Easter weekend with
Johno, Caitlin, and James. Good folks
a friend from Mark’s. He drove me and another friend up and we spent the weekend relaxing. The one break from this relaxing was a trip the Clare Horse races on Saturday. I had not been to a horse race for years and it was a lot of fun to get drunk on a beautiful day and lose a few dollars on the ponies. My knowledge of horse racing is not great and many times it came down to the color or name of the horse to drive my bet making decisions. After the races we headed to the one pub in the town which was absolutely bursting and had a great night dancing to a live band and continuing to party. It was a good night and a nice change from the bustle of Melbourne.
Other then that, today I talked with my brother Ben and it looks like there is a slight possibility that he will swing through Australia for a week before he heads into his PhD program for the next four years. I would be ecstatic if it worked out. I also want to send a shout out to Dave Goldman, happy 21st bro,
wish I could have been there to celebrate it with you.
It looks like this one turned into a pretty long entry, but it has been a month. If any of you actually read long enough to get to this point and you have more time to waste, drop me a line, it always makes my day.
There are more photos below