Tuesday, March 28, 2017

You better run, you better take cover

The sign I saw every day

Seventeen years ago, I got on a plane for the first time and...flew to Australia. Seriously. Given the priceless opportunity to not only avoid a winter in Johnstown, but to travel to a place that seemed so exotic was the chance of a lifetime I could not turn down. (I must warn you all, I was in my Northern Exposure Maggie O'Connell meets Delores O'Riordan of The Cranberries phase - i.e. the haircut). Of course this life changing trip was filled with musical memories.
Day 1

Besides under anticipating how much I would miss all of my music (I survived on CDs and mixed tapes) I never knew how a land could enchant me so or how the people would renew my faith that there are some damn good people out there in the world.

Mardi Gras  Before and After
One of my first adventures was to attend the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade. Yes, I came prepared with silver tank and Bono pants. Truth be told - this was not happening in Johnstown.

The theme song for that year was sung by Vanessa Amorossi: Absolutely Everybody. It will always remind me of Mardi Gras.

Byron Bay
Getting settled meant adapting to the sun, finding the right radio stations and of course, going on holiday! Traveling in a very cramped bus while sharing a single headphone, Santana will always be the drive along the Pacific Highway. I would love to go back to Byron Bay for the annual blues festival. It just might be the most enchanting beach I have ever seen.

When is Australia, you visit the Australia Zoo. In 2000, Steve Irwin was not as popular and gave reason to why there was not only one train to and from Taronga each day, but why the station agent called ahead to tell the zoo staff to come and pick us up.
Petting a kanga at the Australia Zoo

It was after this trip to the zoo that we went back to Brisbane (what would become the scene of the infamous fire extinguisher chase) and I maxed out the credit card on "new" old  music.  Please open this picture to see that, in all these years, I have not changed.
To support you while you do this, here is some INXS and a shameless picture of Patrick Rafter (whom I met on Manly Beach).

Rain Forest. It rains there.
One of the trips also taken during this time was to Fraser Island. Sand. Sun. Water. Okay and spiders. Besides finding out what they mean by rain forest, I remember lying in my bed one night when the flatmates were outside discussing the Southern Cross. I just kept thinking to myself - I am in Australia!

After our holiday, it was time to get back into studies. Which at time was just a lot of going to see Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, and watching Ally McBeal. It was during one of these procrastinating moments that I discovered the man who would change my life. No, not Steve the construction worker on the 288. Jeff Buckley. It was in this continent filled with kind-hearted souls that I would hear the voice of an angel. It is an understatement to say that Jeff was someone that will never come our way for at least 50 years. He was gifted, soulful, fragile, revered and he was gone.  

One of the hardest things was to study for finals while the eucalyptus wafted in the air, the lizards scampered at your feet and while the wine box was still full. But I did it - and I passed. This allowed us the freedom to go see concerts (INXS and Savage Garden) and to do touristy things like visit the Olympic Centre and Fox Studios. Yes, I enjoyed the interactive set of Titanic on the backlot studios.

Oh but even with finals over, there was still the adventure home. The adventure included my layover in Fiji. The layover that occurred on the heels of a coup. Don't try this at home kids.

 With journals full of stories, no this is not all that happened. There was St. Patrick's Day, not so real shark attacks, a broken heart and the realization that I would never be who I was before I left the United States.

Men at Work - Land Down Under

1 comment:

  1. That is brilliant Paula :D
    I got all teary ♡