Monday, October 24, 2005

Australia II

Wed. 9/28/05 Day 200

Another windy day so I chilled at home during the day and was going to check out James’ first gig with his band, The Hole Beneath, but in the end he suggested that Paul and I go to Clancy’s in Subiaco. So we did. A nice restaurant/bar with lots of students, good beer and good music supplied by the The Raggabeats (Reggae).

Another windy day. Gotta really think about taking up Kite Surfing which is very popular here. I took a long bike ride down to the Swan River and Nedlands Yacht club. Thought I might be able to locate the hubcap which I knocked off of James’ car when I took it to get some lunch. I’m not used to the curbs jumping out at ya from the left side of the road:)
Got home and we headed back to The Deen for my second Salsa class where we get to dance with partners. Passed the class but the bike ride early in the day had me stuffed so I didn’t really do any more dancing that night. Afterwards we went for kebabs again since the Chinese Noodle place was closing. In general everything in W.A. closes really early, with the exception on Thursday which is late night retail day when most stores are open until 9pm.

Windy Again! Went out to The Funk Club which was having a benefit night for the New Orleans relief. It started with the houseband who were ok, but they had a female drummer who just wasn’t cutting it. Next up was a traditional N.O. Brass Band who were really fun. One more funk band after that, but again the drummer was not up to par. Just too timid. Looked like he was afraid of hurting the drums!? A DJ spun tunes which we danced to with Thaedra, Fiona and Jucinta. Things closed down at the Funk Club around 1am so we took Jucinta to another place which was spinning HipHop. The dance floor had only two ladies on it, but we got out there anyway and got things going for awhile. On the way out James chatted up a couple of ladies so we dropped off Jucinta and then headed back for some fishing. But by the time we got back the ladies had gone so we actually went back to pick up Jucinta and took her home for a spa. At least we’d get a massage.

Windy Again!! Will it ever let up? Walked down to the beach with Paul. He wound up buying a 2mm Farmer John wetsuit to go along with all the sailing equipment he bought earlier in the day. I called up Gup and he said he’d be coming up Wednesday to buy his new truck so it looked like I would be heading back down with him. I was gonna head down to the Stamford, but Paul and Toni came home and we had a spa. Not much later James came home and forced round 2 in the spa when he brought home 2 cuties. I just wonder if their mothers knew their cradles had been robbed!! Bad James, Bad. Sent them on their way and got into bed ~5am.

Woke up and had a big breakfast with Paul, Toni and James. Then Paul and Toni took me for a ride into Freemantle which is south Perth. We checked out the weekend market and Perth’s oldest buildings, a mere 100 years, maybe. Had some coffee in a sidewalk cafĂ© and then drove to Kings Park. A popular place with gardens and great views of the city. Paul’s mom came over to spend the night outside the yoga ashram and to straighten up the bachelor pad. Capped off the evening the friends coming over for a nice barbecue. I couldn’t resist and had to buy some prawns for the clichĂ©, “shrimps on the barbi”.

The rest of the week was pretty quiet. On Tuesday we went to a different club for Salsa lessons, but we arrived late so instead of taking the class I just watched. Thursday there was a bit of sunshine so I rode down to the beach and hung out for a while. Apparently the kids are off from school because there are way too many of them to all be playing hookie. Went to The Stamford later that night with Paul. Got to talking with a young lady, but it wasn’t long before the boyfriend made his presence known ;(

Paul introduced me to a friend of his. “Woody” is an IT guy working for BHP mines who seems to have a pretty cush job. He makes good coin and has a 8 day on/ 6 day off schedule. He’s a pretty hardcore surfer, literally driving 1000’s of Kilometers every month, mostly by himself, searching out waves. Mostly he surfs a little up north at Lancelin which he talks up big time. The offroad trek keeps the crowds down and he says he often gets epic surf pretty much to himself. He also speaks very highly of the surf on Rotto island (~1hr ferry from Perth). He reckons its better than Bali!! As there is excellent diving there also. I’m definitely putting it on my to do list.

Anyway, he’s just bought a house in Dunsborough which is between Bunbury and Margaret River. He’s going down to Bunbury the following day to sign some papers and then go for a surf. He extended an invite to me which I eagerly accepted being stoked to have someone with good local wave knowledge show me the breaks down south.

Woke up, packed up my gear and had a little breakfast. We hit the road ~10am. Stopped for lunch in Mandurah which is a relatively small town by U.S. standards, but it was completely packed. Road traffic and shopping congestion. With all the hustle and bustle it seemed like a holiday even though it was midday on Friday.

We continued on down the road with Woody spurting off names of the local trees and wildlife. I got to see my first Kangaroo. Actually it turned out to be a Wallabee, slightly smaller and dark in color. We arrived in Bunbury and he signed his papers. I obviously hadn’t gotten a ride down with Gup and had been playing phone tag with him so I asked Woody to drive down to his work site and located him. I found out that I hadn’t missed him up in Perth, he never came up. He found a truck down in Bunbury and should be getting it in a day or two. Our business being taken care of, it was now time to find some surf. We drove south and checked a bunch of spots; North Point (right), South Point (left), Gullitines, Huzza’s (“A” frame beach break) and finally surfed Gallows. Onshore, 3-4 lefts over reef, shifty and not all that good. But we got wet and caught a few. When he took his board out from his board bag I found out why they call him “Woody”. He builds his own Balsa wood boards. Pretty nice looking thing and light. But he said it took him 50 boards to get it right!

Afterwards we drove back to Dunsborough to get some accomadations for the night and checked into the Best Western Hotel/hostel. Dunsborough is a small town. Center city is one block in each direction. We got some fish n’ chips for dinner and then went to the bottle shop and bought 2 bottles of cheap Margaret River Merlot which was a mistake. Bottom of the barrel, pure crap! But of course we managed to get some down before heading to the Wine Bar. We cleansed the swill from our palates with a couple of drinks and then bought a proper bottle of Margaret Merlot which was as good as the first bottle was bad. Chatted up a trio of ladies, but they were about as interesting as drying paint. So we went to The Three Bears to check out the live music. I’m still not sure whether they were a cover band or not? The first song we heard was Radiohead, but everything after that was unrecognizable! Pretty bad.

Woke up and felt like dog doodoo. Made some coffee and Woody offered me a “Wheatix” which I promptly chomped on thinking it was a granola bar. It was in fact not a granola bar but an over sized, dry (bone dry) “Wheatie”. After having a good laugh at me I received some milk to wash down the wheat dust in my mouth. Went off and checked another bunch of spots. We surfed “Smiths Beach” just north of “Supertubes” cause there weren’t any super tubes. Got to surf some fun chest to head, rights and lefts, on a nice sunny day. Then we had to cut the session and head back to Perth because Woody had a wedding to go to at 4pm. He dropped me off at 3:45pm. Oh well, I guess he can be on time to his friends next wedding ;)

I then met Matt who was moving back into Paul’s place. He had lived there before, went to America and England for a year and a half and now he’s back and taking over my room. I cooked up some dinner, hopped into the shower and was just drying off when the taxi arrived to take us to the Paddington Pub. We arrived to a long line out the door. Entered after ~15 minutes and bought a jug of Carlton. Went in further to check out a cover band which was decent. Danced a bit, but was just generally tired out from the earlier surf. Later we figured we would have a better chance of hailing a cab if we walked away from the pub so we walked towards home with Paul hobbling on leg he injured while playing hockey. Of course it started raining. Just as I thought we were in for a very wet evening we miraculously hailed a cab and got home.

The next morning I took a bike ride to Hilary’s inlet and checked out an overpriced dive shop. Followed that with a drive down to the beach for lunch where Paul got roped into a sobriety check point where the fuzz was forcing everyone to take the blow test, in the middle of the day!!

On Wednesday we went to The Bog in Northbridge to check out James’ band, The Hole Beneath. For visuals the club played ZZ Top videos behind the stage?! After the gig we went back to Clancy’s to jam out to the reggae of the RaggaBeats. Tailed some girls back to their place for a nightcap and stopped on the way home for munchies and a perhaps the best hot chocolate ever.

The next night Woody showed up and we put him to work eradicating a computer virus and cleaning up the registry. He’s heading back down south in the morning so we’re going for another surf. He said he would pick me up a 6am, so I really should have gone to bed earlier than 2:30am. But I guess I can sleep when I’m dead……….