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 "WE HAVE MADE CONTACT. I REPEAT. WE HAVE MADE CONTACT" The sun is shining, the sunscreen's glistening, the breeze is soothing, the tunes are grooving, the beers are chilling and the girls are semi-clad.  Life is Good.

I really enjoyed hanging out in Sydney for a few days. I got to hang out and catch up with some friends and get a feel for the city a little bit but it was still subject to an agenda. I had to sort out my visa first and foremost. There was one glitch due to a bank statement they needed and the Rovers money hadn't been deposited yet. Fortunately my credit card just had a sufficient balance to get it. That took an afternoon but I got to ride the trains buses and ferries while I was there and get a feel a bit for the place. Lots of stylish people downtown and a few bargains to be had. But most importantly, I also managed to get a flight booked to Byron Bay.

Trying to find your way around on the public transit and sort out visas and flights and moving accommodation spots still involves energy and initiative but that only served to make today all the sweeter. I actually got here yesterday afternoon and in spite of being excited I was a little bit anxious about how things worked being on my own in the whole backpacker world. But on arrival Cous' friend Doug very hospitably gave me a private room for a very reasonable price. I had a bit of a walkabout and picked up a bite to eat (more bloody pies–the big, big winner on this tour for tasty fillers.) I was still a bit anxious about hanging with a bunch of people on my own. Then just as I was walking in to the parking lot from my walk I heard these scousers behind me. I seized the moment and asked them about Liverpool. They introduced themselves and I was a little bit closer to comfort. Then on my way into my room the guy sitting on the veranda next to my room was from Chester so that was two people I sort of met already.

I went down and immediately tucked into the Sangria Night. (Five bucks gets you all the Sangria you want from 7 till 10pm) I sat near the scousers but ended up talking to a few Irish boys etc. Eventually Cous' friend Doug who manages the place invited me up to his place on the second floor. A couple of his mates Matty and Deano showed up. They had this humongous big wooden table stretched across one big wall with some famous artist's face sculpted on the leg (DaVinci or someone). Had a great time hanging with these boys. I was freaking out 'cause I couldn't believe Cous never happened to mention the fact that this guy is a dead ringer for Guy.

I then left there to phone this young girl I met from the crew in NZ.  NZ is two hours behind but here they don't talk about being behind in terms of hours so it was 3am when I phoned her. She had a roommate and had to get up half naked and stand in the hallway half asleep to talk to me and then my card ran out and we got cut off. Nice one! But that wasn't going to spoil my otherwise unblemished performance in public relations that evening. I was however ready to head back to the comfort of my own fort and finished the night with the phones on listening to Stan Ridgeway.

I was excited this morning 'cause I was now very close to the much sought after chill out period. Still work to do though. My exercise routine was non-existent in Sydney so I decided to get that out of the way. According to the tourist map a picturesque scenic 'walk' around the lighthouse looked like the perfect distance away for an athlete such as myself. (strong, fit, agile)  But tourist maps can be somewhat limited in topographical information given and this 'walk' was exactly suited to this operative word. A gruelling forty minutes of cliff climbing jogging ensued which bloody near finished me off for the day had it not been for the aforementioned attributes. The views from this most easterly portion of Mainland Australia however were most definitely stunning. Unfortunately my puffing and panting tainted somewhat the otherwise serene atmosphere.

Not there yet. Needed to get some food together, some beer and some flip-flops to get me in stride with the folks round here. It's going to be more bloody sandwiches for the next few days I'm afraid but as most of you know I'm not unaccustomed to the repetitive eating regime! I put my name on the tags shoved it in the communal fridge and headed for the beach. By the time the first Paddy Casey tune faded out I had been completely transported to another world altogether. Paddy Casey's 'Amen' record was brought to my attention from Tom in the Paperboys who in turn had been turned on to it by Geoffrey. (Nice one Geoff).  This was followed by Youssou N'dour’s wonderfully vibrant, and perculating  afropop album 'Set'. Both records I highly recommend. I finished the afternoon listening to Catatonia's 'Stone, Paper, Scissors album which turned out to be another fine purchase from the tour. I returned to the Inn and fixed myself four big veggie buttys on a bun so I don't have to muck around for the next few days (Tone, I'm sure you'll have no trouble visualizing that)

Now that I've got through the initial fear of interaction I realised I don't have to be in anyone's faces if you don't feel like it and so I don't feel the same urge or pressure tonight to break in. Can't get too complacent though I've got to work it a bit but I'm really, really enjoying the prospect of having nothing more to do.

Today was one of those days where I was just so grateful for all the privileges and blessings that come in life along with the struggles. You simply can't appreciate what you have unless you also experience having not. As the Catatonia refrain said to day "it's what's not in the spaces that makes the spaces" it's all about perspective. Wow. Deep man. This place is rubbing off. I think I’ll have to pick up some essential oils later.

I'm hoping tomorrow is going to be even more of the same though I have heard some rain might be forecast for the afternoon. That's when buying and bloody traipsing around about forty CD's finally pays off.

Take Care All. God Bless.
Lolly