Bush Tucker Tour: We love Cockatoo Paul!

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Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Byron Bay
February 23rd 2010
Published: March 3rd 2010
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Woke up with that horrible feeling the morning after the night before: “How did I get home”.
The three of us went for breakfast and I had a Bacon Butty. The food at Arts Factory Café has been great but this morning my bacon had been cremated so I just couldn’t stomach the other half. Hungover, we all retired back to our bunkbeds for a few hours.
At lunchtime we decided to have some food in Buddha Bar, which is onsite at Art Factory. From the outside, it looks like a warehouse covered in graffiti, which I think is meant to look cool, but I’m not so sure. In all honesty I think it looks a bit rough, like you might expect a gang of football hooligans to parade around in, smashing things up and hurling abuse at people.
I was pleasantly surprised when we walked through the courtyard at the front. Buddha Bar is huge, airy and decorated in light colours. The booths are great for chilling out in and the tables are covered with interesting Newspaper/ Magazine clips with a glass sheet over to protect the design. The lady on the bar took my order (vegetable springrolls) but I was given Chilli Beef Nacho’s and they didn’t offer me anything else. I’m too shy to complain or ask for a refund so didn’t push it.
Walked to the shop with Ellie and I realized how lazy I’ve become. Not in a physical way - we’ve done so much walking and dancing, probably more than I would do back home. But my MIND has become lazy… (or maybe I’ll choose to say it’s become relaxed?). I no longer feel the need to take control of situations. If we’re lost, I’ll leave it up to Steph or Ellie to ask for directions. When the bill comes, I simply look away and let the girls work out how much I owe. If someone is telling us something informative that we should be paying attention to, I kind of switch off. Its great to feel like this, especially since we’re on holiday and meant to be enjoying ourselves, but it does make me wonder if my brain has shut down altogether or if it’s just temporary.
We decided to go on the Bush Tucker Tour offered by Arts Factory. Cockatoo Paul runs this everyday at 5pm, and you make a donation at the end. He’s so funny that it’s worth it just for the crack. But it was also really interesting and something I’m proud to say we’ve done.
He had us eating petals, drinking water out of hollow tree trunks, and sucking fructose out of flowers. He taught us that if you are in the “Bush” (the name Australians use for their jungle/woods) and you get too hot, you can hug a Eucalyptus tree and it cools you down. Steph tried it and it worked a treat!
He taught us about poisonous trees and plants that are common in Australia, and which Tree Bark is good to use to create fires. The black smoke from one bark he used on a fire also helps to keep mosquito’s away, and if you stand in it for 30 minutes you will mask you own scent which is good when you need to go hunting. He showed us how to throw a spear he’d made; he picked up dried-out fruit cores that he can sell as beads to jewelry shops; and span plant pith to make rope and bracelets.
His filth mouth and dry sense of humor makes the tour even funnier. He reminds me so much of Captain Jack Sparrow and comes across a bit camp, but he’s not actually gay. At the end of the tour, he took us to Buddha Bar and we each got a free glass of wine or beer, and he collected the donation in his hat. He’s using the money he raises to buy some land and build a school where he can teach people about Australia’s Bush in more detail. He is also going to employ Aborigine children (the ones that keep getting in to trouble with the police), to educate them, give them something to live for and hopefully help them change their ways.
That evening we had the $6 Spaghetti Bolognaise and I fell asleep by 8 or 9 at night back at the dorm. Ellie and Steph woke me about 4 in the morning, having hit the Goon (a cheap Australian wine) and been persuaded to go back to Cheeky Monkeys with some Americans. They’d lost their new friends; picked up others; ended up at a house party that turned out to be far from rocking; upset someone’s girlfriend and then walked for 2 hours in the pitch black trying to find their way home. Ha ha, crazy ladies.

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