<<  Byron Bay, 15-Jun-2013  >>

Byron Bay, chapter I.

Byron Bay: hippies, wine, calimocho, surfing and Irene. Exit Buddhism, Kamala enters the scene…

Aaaaahhh, Byron Bay.
Everyone whom I met in India and who had been in Australia, or was Australian told me that I should go to Byron Bay and that I would like it, and yep, they were right.
Those who have been here know what is this place about. .. and those who have not been here probably won’t be able to understand what is this place about.
OK, this statement isn’t very helpful so I will try to describe Byron a bit, but only a bit.

Byron Bay is a town right at Cape Byron, the easternmost point of Australia. So, this is the eastern end of the West. This is as east as the West made it. Well, New Zealand might claim that, but who cares about New Zealand anyway? :-)
Located on beautiful bay finished by rocky Cape Byron crowned by a lighthouse, obviously Australia’s easternmost, Byron Bay could be just another ordinary, characterless Australian sea side town, with family oriented “fun”, McDonald’s and couple of high rises.
BUT, for some reason, Byron Bay became probably the only town in Australia without McDonald’s, KFC or actually any chain fast food. It’s loaded with hippies, New Age tribesmen, bush-squatters, backpackers indefinitely delayed on departure and other lost souls. During the day the beachfront is occupied by kids on a playground, the very same place later changes into open air platform for fire throwers, kings of the bongo, dancing barefoot girls, all accompanied by wine and weed. Volkswagen Transporters are more frequent than all upscale car brands combined. And there is surfing. Absolutely gorgeous point break The Pass, with sweetly breaking waves that accommodate everyone from pro-level maniacs to long boarders and losers like me. And then there’s break at Tallow Beach. Good surfing here.

Suddenly, from feeling irreversible on edge of society, as I felt in Melbourne and Sydney I feel right in its center. The set of people in this town just fits me like pair of brand new jeans. Love and peace to everyone! Live music on every street, in every bar. No more fucking MTV music, “here’s my number, so call me baby…” and all that shit. Concerts here are right what should be shown on Wikipedia under word “alternative”.
Over here, all the guys have beards and all the girls walk barefoot. Is this paradise?
Could be. Welcome do dreadlocks land. Welcome home.

To document the atmosphere of the place, on one of the first nights, on my way to bar through a park I stopped for a free cup of masala tea handed out by some people – as it turned out they call themselves New Earth Tribe, drumming and fire throwers all around, and then I received free spiritual blessing from 2 members of the tribe. From now on love of Jesus Christ will be with me, and my journey will be so peaceful and safe that I will not be able to break away from all that peace and love and company of wonderful people I will meet. OK, sounds good, thanks New Earth Tribe!

Unfortunately I got here right during onset of “winter”. Not that Australian winter here would be anything near to real winter like in Slovakia, but temperatures drop to around 19’C which renders going to beach slightly less appealing and so everyone drifts north to Cairns the land of the Endless Summer. During Ozzie summer this place must have been a-craze.

We arrived on Friday, I went to swim (and as it turned out, it would be my only swimming during the next 23 days which I spent here, because it was the last truly warm day), went to see some live music and grab few beers in the evening and checked out local scene with some people whom I randomly met on the street.
And now comes the main catch.
On Saturday evening I felt like following the same “plan” as on Friday, but for the first time since I’ve left Slovakia I felt like getting drunk, and getting drunk in Australian bar is mighty expensive I emptied almost two bottles of wine and then headed to live concert in one of the bars. It was pretty interesting music, miles away from the bullshit music blasting from loudspeakers in most of Australian backpackers places, but the most interesting moment was still only about to come.
When the concert finished I wrote a personal note to the band and as I was leaving the by-then-empty concert hall and going through a door leading to an adjacent bar I noticed a girl who looked at me as I was going through the door. It was interesting glimpse, after I passed her I turned around for a second to see her again and then I continued to the bar to order me a beer, but before I managed to do that, that beautiful girl came to me and said:
“Excuse me. I think I just fell in love with you”.

And so, in a single sentence she changed everything and suddenly my journey got very unexpected turn.
Just as Hesse’s prophetic book predicted, my accidental following in footsteps of Siddhartha switched to new chapter.
Exit Buddhism, Kamala enters the scene.
Ehm, not Kamala. Irene. Not from India. From Spain.

2 days after I bought a surfboard and my many following days and nights were filled being with Irene, her crazy cousin Olga, surfing, surrounded by hippies and not-really-hippies-but-still-very-hip-people and drinking wine and calimocho (cheap wine mixed with coke, Spanish poor-man’s delicatessen) :-)
Well, life seldom gets any better than this…

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