I am going to start a collection of something…

Possibly sneakers, or vintage coffee equipment, or watches, or eyeglasses; just something. I find something admirable and intriguing about the collecting of things.

Stay tuned…

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Good song, great dancing.

Now although this lyrics of this track have some negative sentiments behind them, I can’t help from toe-tapping, head-bobbing to it. Man, that kid can dance!

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Hungry Like The Wwoof

So, since getting to Australia, not everything has gone entirely according to plan. Or, perhaps they were seeing as how I really didn’t have a “plan”. What I had was a pretty vague list of things to do, places to be, people to contact, etc. All in all, things hadn’t become catastrophic, but I felt as though I wasn’t doing anything productive with my time. I was finding it very difficult to get any work, especially without the necessary credentials. And without work, my monetary reserves were drying up, I needed to figure things out. I’ve been afforded the luxury of being able to stay at a friends apartment here rent free, which has been a real blessing, however, I still needed to eat and food supplies and eating out is quite expensive in Port Douglas. Enter the wwoof. Wwoof is an acronym, willing workers on organic farms, and I believe that it is a program that exists around the world. What the program does is it puts you in contact with farms throughout the region/country in which you put in a few hours of work in exchange for accommodation and meals. Its a pretty cool idea. The only thing is you don’t earn an income, but on a positive note, you don’t spend any money either.

I arranged my first wwoofing experience with a nearby tropical fruit winery. Tony and Trudie were the owners and my hosts for the next ten days. Their property was set at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range just outside of Mossman. They have several acres in which they grow and harvest several varieties of rare tropical fruits including jaboticaba, lychee, black sapote, soursop, purple star apples, pineapple, bananas, carambola. What started as a hobby, turned into a business for the couple. They had more fruit than they could eat or give away, so they began wine-making. Seemed pretty logical. They have a decent sized winery on the farm where the wines are produced. Trudie is the main and only wine maker, and they are open to the public seven days a week offering tours of the farm and tastings of their wines.

My duties on the farm included picking fruit, upkeep of the property, planting and transplanting plants, vegetable picking from the garden, walking the dogs, labeling wine bottles, assisting in the winery.  I worked everyday from 8am until about 1.30pm, and sometimes helping out in the evenings in the winery. This left me with a substantial amount of free time. I made the most of it, taking a bike ride almost everyday, reading, napping, and running. One thing that I enjoyed initially was the solitude, but I grew bored after about the third day. There was nobody to talk to, I had really limited internet access, no phone reception, so I terminated my stay a couple days early in order to reacquaint myself with civilization. While on the farm, I stayed in a dilapidated and soggy caravan. It had no running water, but it had a fridge, an oscillating fan, and an air conditioning unit. It also had mold, was ridden with holes for creatures to enter, and an unpleasant odor. I made do.

The experience on the whole was enriching, educational, and for the most part pretty enjoyable. Tony and Trudie were great hosts and I look forward to meeting more people outside of the tourist trap that is Port Douglas. Australia is a mighty big country, and I’m eager to explore its offerings.

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Things I’m enjoying currently…

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Port Douglas Sunset, simplified.

Got bored the other day, and was tired of people in general. I went down to the pier and photographed the sunset, which wasn’t super spectacular. At any rate, I was able to create this little time lapse video, enjoy.

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I have been living in Australia for more than a month now, so I figured a much needed update was in order. I haven’t been active on this blog for some time, so excuse me as I work out some of the kinks…

I departed from the US of A late on a Friday evening and arrived in Sydney on Sunday morning. I had some wine on the plane, watched some movies, and slept through the majority of the flight, surprisingly I felt little to no jetlag. I made my connecting flight and bus trip up to Port Douglas, this is where I plan on staying for a couple of months to find work, save up some money, and continue to travel afterwards. Shortly after settling into a hostel I was still pretty confused on the date/time situation, and continued to be for the better part of a week, but I figured I was on vacation, who cares! With that in mind, I bought a watch. A watch that I paid $19 for, and have only worn once.

I chose to begin my trip in Port Douglas, because although its winter in Australia, PD is quite warm and tropical during this time of year. And as the rest of the country begins to warm up, I’ll migrate south. This is Four Mile Beach, its quite nice.

This is where I spent most of my days for the first week, relaxing, enjoying the sunshine, sand, sun, swell, swords, saltwater, the beach. Now I needed to find work. I went into town and dropped off my resumé at several establishments. I received an email later that day that one of them, The Central Hotel, wanted to give me a trial shift as a cellarman. This included re-stocking all of the bars in the hotel, changing over kegs, replenishing the inventory at the two liquor stores (bottle shops) that they operated, and some cleaning. I thought to myself, Sweet! Getting work is super easy! I went in, worked a little over 7 hours, and was told they’d contact me if they wanted me back. Well, I heard back, and they decided to hire a local, who they could rely upon for more than a few months. This sucked. I pretty much was relying on this job, and now I needed to go out and hit the streets for work, again. There is nothing more that I hate than having to look for work. At any rate, I ended up getting a call from a restaurant, Bucci, where I have been working the last couple of weeks as a Barman. Having no formal bar experience this job is quite stressful for me. The restaurant is very fast paced and turns over tables relatively quickly. Not only do I have to pour wine and make cocktails, but I also am required to refill water bottles for table service, polish all silverware and glasses, as well as make coffee, which I also have no idea how to do. So aside from the stress and the lack of experience, the pay is pretty good. I make $18.50/hr plus tips.

In my free time, I have been enjoying the surrounding areas of Port Douglas. I went mountain biking at a place called the bump track, which is in a World Heritage Area, Australia’s version of National Parks.

View from the Bump Track

The Bump Track

I went hiking along the Spring Creek, to a series of pools and waterfalls with some friends from the hostel… This was an amazing trip, the water was refreshing, the company was great, the views were phenomenal. The most frightening thing about this excursion was that as I was hiking along, a snake came slithering up towards me, and after being told that everything in Australia will kill you, I jumped out of its way only to land mere inches from an enormous spider in its web. The spider was nearly the size of my face. I freaked out, but I survived.

The waterfall

Relaxing after the hike

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In the winter, TiPi’s are not a good living situation

Drive-by tipi dealership. Mountains in the distance.

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