Team VA's Wonderings

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Party bus?

For $112 I could have flown back to Melbourne; for another $200 I did a 4 day voyage across NSW and into Victoria and onto Melbourne and I know I made the right the decision. The bus was pretty crowded, with just the one spare seat and 23 passengers. All but instantly I was in my accustomed role of being laughed at by all and sundry and staying up far too late, while having a couple of ales. I'm so used to this now that I'm even getting good at learning people's names!

About half an hour into the trip I made a mental to check carefully what I booked in future. I had been looking forward to the Blue Mountains. Bully for me, because this bus wasn't going there. It'll be something to do when I'm back in Sydney.

It was quite a strange trip in some ways, it was very much life in fast forward. The group bonded very well, very quickly. Then it disintegrated amidst some bizarre behaviour and tried hard to become an episode of Shameless. I loved it. I could discuss many characters at length, but it's late and I'm really behind on this blogging malarky so I'll try and hurry it up.

First stop was Canberra, where Sean told me not to go. 3 hours was fine tho, as it was enough to take in lunch, the parliament and some embassies. The latter are very cool, as each building is appropriate to the country it houses-so the Indian embassy is in a Taj style, China pagoda and US a sort of colonial feel. Despite having about 6 nationalities on the bus, no one saw their own embassy.

This picture marks what I expect to be a unique event-I am stood on TOP of a nation’s parliament. The new parliament building is essentially cut into a hill, and here I am on top of the two houses (system is similar to Britain, tho all are elected and both houses are in the the one building). I really enjoyed the tour of the parliament, it was an amazing building-although I believe it cost rather more than the Aussie tax payer would have liked.

We then travelled onto Lake Jindabyne, where we stayed for the evening. Having checked out the view from the dorm over the lake

I ran down and jumped in it; it was a touch bracing. You're probably familiar now with the dinner/drinking/pool/meeting people/last to bed ritual that followed. I added a new twist, when rather just than sitting next to the prettiest girl on the bus, I also shared a bunk with her. For those with base senses of humour, yes, Niki was on top.

The next day we drove further into the mountains and hiked to the glacial blue lake and gazed upon Mount Kosciuszko (once again an activity that is likely to be less physically demanding for walkers who have not handicapped themselves with a hangover and 3 hours sleep). An ideal chance for a team photo:

There were some heavy rocks up there that needed moving. Naturally, I stepped up:

Later we crossed the border into Victoria (I hope this will be the first in a series of such photos)

Without going into too much detail, there was much breathtaking scenery

That night we stayed at a buddhist retreat.

All the food was veggie-hurrah, it was ridiculously peaceful-whisper inducing peaceful and we had a meditation lesson. I quite enjoyed the meditation, as I'm not very good at emptying the old mind-there's usually too much crap running around in it. I did find the posture amazingly uncomfortable and my thumbs went weird. They feel weird now just remembering it.

There was no alcohol at the retreat, but you could smuggle it into your room and then teach everyone to play shithead. A very pleasant and quiet evening, which mixed cultures in a way I liked.

The next day is where it went to pieces. This started at the lunchtime wine tasting, which was held at the winery of an old perv, whose wife painted nudes of herself for the labels on the bottles. He let Rochelle pour the drinks. Seriously, what chance did we have? This is what happens if you let a bunch of backpackers go to a wine tasting and then put them back on the bus.

'No. Niki. Martin. Listen to me. If I just hold the camera out at arm's length and press the button, it'll make a wicked picture. Honest.

To be fair Dario, it was Insomnia on the stereo.

I have no idea why people started lying down in front of the bus like a student protest.

It didn't help that the we couldn't do the afternoon rainforest walk, as the police had closed the road. Not for a bush fire, but because a milk lorry had tipped over.

That evening we stayed at a caravan park. And behaved like trailer trash. In summary-one person was called common, some people stopped talking to each other, there were tears, I had a couple of people pour their hearts out to me, one girl stormed off for 3 or 4 hours-she stopped talking to everyone, a fight looked on the cards over some communal alcohol not being shared properly (it was actually the lemonade mixer that caused the trouble) and the toothless owner of the caravan park went totally apeshit at the muppets who were stood outside singing Wonderwall at quarter past 11. I think that's it.

My involvement in much of this was peripheral. It really wasn't good tho, and apparently some people left in the night (which was a bit over the top, since any noise was over by midnight). I do feel a bit bad, even though I wasn't outside causing trouble. Still, no point crying over split milk (geddit?).

The next day we went to the beautiful Wilson's promontory, where I did get to do a rainforest walk. Australia's only promontory at that. After the rainforest, we walked down to the beach. As with everywhere in Oz, there were dangers

Well, it made me laugh. Then it was into Melbourne. Good trip, bit weird, probably just as well it finished when it did.

Despite the strange atmosphere that persisted and my confusion about just who was talking to whom, I decided it would be a good idea to organise a night out for the evening after we arrived in Melbourne. Watch this space...........

Now that I'm in Melbourne, it's tennis time. I've been looking forward to this for ages-in some ways more than the cricket and I'm confident it will deliver more. I have found out that one of the definite downsides of the tennis being in town is that Vince Spadea will hit on my lunch date as she's on her way to meet me, and turn her head. For some reason Niki was more interested in the tickets he offered her than the ones I did. Hope the bastard gets knocked out.

I’m now staying with the ever wonderful and hospitable Helen of Pulloxhill. She’s been so kind and generous that I wouldn’t dream of mentioning the power cut or the fact I got locked out of the building when the entry keypad broke (I got in by following a single female who had a swipe card–something I learnt from the movies and the Bill). That would be churlish.


  • judging by that group photo, I'm wondering if you went by the nickname "granddad" for the duration of the trip..... (love the fact that your bottle of sun lotion is at your feet in case you blister!)

    and as for not being involved in the rucus? my arse! I bet you were somehow the catalyst. Was the arsehole fighting with the vice-arsehole or something?

    Also, aren't the blue mountains in completely the other direction to Melbourne from Sydney? I could be wrong, (and for all I know, they could bloody well encircle Sydney!) but that's what I thought. They're worth seeing though, definitely. More flies than the red centre though, so watch out for that.


    By Blogger swisslet, at 9:33 PM  

  • Good to hear that things are becoming like Shameless before I arrive. Expect this trend to continue...

    Hope to catch up on Tues.


    By Blogger Statue John, at 11:26 PM  

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