<<  Sydney, 26-May-2013  >>

Sydney, here I am again

Good bye to my Nepalese yak wool jacket and discovery of "freeganism"

As I didn’t manage to find a couch for the weekend (Krystle and James were leaving for the weekend) and Nik’s place was still booked by Aruna’s parents, for the weekend I moved back to the hostel.
During this weekend in Sydney I realized that the 6 months on the edge of society has left me, well, at the edge of society. I walked into few bars, full of backpackers, so one would think people like me, just to realize that I don’t share almost anything with those people. I couldn’t find ANYONE to whom I would like to speak. In my yak wool jacket and that ridiculous beard I felt like if I came there from a galaxy far far away. The intellectual level of the backpackers here can me demonstrated by brief “conversations” outside the bar when I was smoking bidi. One Irish girl was practicing her lousy German by telling “Go there and fuck your mother!” in her pseudo-German to everyone, at least 10 times, and a white guy from South Africa first gave a lecture on advantages of apartheid. As he said “The blacks take our land and we don’t like it.” When I mentioned, that maybe “the blacks” did not like either when them, the whites, took their land few centuries back, he just said that “No, no! God gave us this land!” and so I gave up any intention to discuss with him.
So, in this shitty backpacker bar I went to buy a beer, had few sips when somebody in front of me dropped a glass and let it lie on the floor. I thought that someone might get hurt if it breaks and wanted to be nice and so I picked it up and put it on a bar table. It took 10 seconds but when I turned back to get my beer it was gone. Some fucker stole it. Beer is really horribly expensive here. 6-8 EUR for a single beer! Fuck. So I spent another 5 minutes thinking whether to buy one more beer or not and end the end decided to buy one. Unfortunately, again after few sips, I realized I need to go to take a leak. This time I put the glass in a hidden location away from people and headed to the bathroom. On my way there I noticed that someone has my yak wool jacket in his hands so I came to him and asked him what he was doing with the jacket and he said something like “Oh, sorry I thought it was my jacket, I also have red jacket”, so told him that it was NOT his jacket and to leave it there. I wanted to be nice and trust him. Big mistake as it turned out! So I went to pee, got back to get my beer and holy shit it was stolen again. Second beer in 10 minutes! Fuck this sick place I thought, I’m outta here and went to get my jacket and… FUCK! Gone, baby gone! I hope that the motherfucker who stole it (and he was surely not Australian, he must have been European, because the place was full of European backpacking post-teenage idiots) dies! You don’t steal a jacket like that! What will he need it for? It’s not expensive leather jacket or some Nike trendy stuff. It’s ridiculous jacket than no one can wear in Sydney without looking like cretin. I looked like one. I don’t get this. Sure, the jacket cost only 15 EUR, that’s not the point, but it was the only bigger thing, souvenir so to say that I bought in India/Nepal, and there’s no way I can get one like that anywhere else. Well, this time Universe fucked me hard for trying to be nice. But I shall continue to believe in the Universe anyway. Well, at least I have more space in my backpack now and I was given another opportunity to practice detachment from my possessions…

Next morning, still being upset about my jacket being stolen a went to a part to do some meditation, and on my way there I met some people, with masks on their faces who were handing out some pamphlet. I wanted to take one, as now after 6 months of the Odyssey I’m open to any sort of prophetic, religious or alternative propaganda that dwells on the streets, and the guy mentioned that they would appreciate 1 cent for that leaflet. I was ready to pay 1 cent for testament of these Zorro-like people, so I gave him 20 cents that I had, took the pamphlet, walked on, soon found out that there was together maybe 10 people handing them out on the neighboring streets, and finally sat down close to one of them and read it.
The big headline on the pamphlet was “Message. Not the messenger.” (Internal note for pifko: tymto vas pozdravujem aj vsetky fallacies a obzvlast “ad hominem fallacy”). I was expecting anything from another I’m-having-romance-with-Jesus letter to marketing campaign for new line of cosmetics, but as it soon turned out, this pamphlet for handed out by people who wished us to imagine the world without money and who advocated that instead of focusing on working to get money we should do what is useful and what we enjoy, they praised communitarian life and another Woodstock-flavored ideas. This of course hit resonance frequency with my own thoughts and the pamphlet was written in intelligent way and so, especially after meeting all the backpacking idiots in the last few days and being in need of meeting somebody intelligent, or at least interesting I decided to come to an event which was mentioned in the pamphlet. These people, who claimed to be from various parts of the world were supposed to meet for 5 evenings near some park and invited people to come. This invitation was however mentioned in the middle of the pamphlet, which had approximately 10 short pages, so that only the people who really read it would come. The pamphlet also mentioned, that the point of asking for 1 cent was simply to eliminate paper wasting by handing it to people who would just take it throw it to the next trash bin. As (somehow I was not surprised) Jesus also made his way to the pamphlet, although only in short notice that his teaching is in line with the ideas mentioned in the pamphlet, but churches promote something else now, I was ready for anything from Gnostic Sects to Jehova’s Witnesses, but as said, now I’m open to all sorts of teaching, even if it should come from Dead Sea Scrolls or Kabala and so I went full of expectations.
When I arrived there were around 10 people sitting in camping chairs around a gas lamp under an arch of the stone bridge, which was crossing a poorly lit park. I found it a pretty obscure location (for a moment I was afraid that I signed up for involuntary organ donation), but definitely very alternative-ish. Soon I found out that these people, some from USA, some from Europe, some from Australia, some from Kenya and one from Argentina all lived in vehicles and lived their lives without working and without money. Instead of working they volunteered, and this is also how they met, during volunteering in Kenya. They soon told me the terminus technicus for this: Freeganism and Freegans. They live mostly from waste produced by society – they get their food, clothes and other stuff mostly from “dumpster diving” aka “dumpster raiding”, aka taking things that someone threw away. I was really interested in this, I wanted to try dumpster diving already in Melbourne but had no clue what are the tips and tricks to do it, so this time I took the opportunity to learn more about it. My interest in this “profession” was sparked by reading few articles about people who travel around the world for free, without any money, and for obvious reasons, such skills might one day be of utmost importance for me. From what they told me, in the dumpsters of food supermarkets (at least in countries alike USA, Australia and UK), there is tremendous amount of good, fresh, hygienically packed food, that the supermarkets from away on expiry date or even before, when they get a new delivery of goods. I liked these people so much that I joined them 2 more times during the following days (more on that in the upcoming log).
Talks about freeganism were interrupted by singing few songs accompanied with guitar. When they suggested that we should sign “Imagine”, my first thought was that it’s a bit cliché, but immediately afterwards I realized that man, if there was one moment in my life when I could get closer to being hippy, as I always wanted, this right here was the moment: under the bridge, with bunch of people living in vehicles and without money, yet all of them intelligent and wonderful people. And so:

Imagine no possession,
It’s easy if you try…

Freeganism. Google it and check it out.
It makes sense to me.
Thanks Jamie, Grace, Ronil, David, KC, Santiago, Sven, Jay, Tina, Jude, Kyle!

Oh, and I was in Australian Museum of Contemporary Art.

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak