. She was a bit of a weirdo, and combined with the rain and the arrival of Russel, Dan, Mike and Emma, who refused point blank to camp in the rain, we decided to leave. So we upped and left in search of a hostel in the town and yes, we did leave before reception opened. Well we are travelling with a Brazilian.
So now there was 12 of us after Russell and co. had driven 10 hours through the night from Manly to spend the weekend with us in Byron. We were also due to meet Yorkshire Paul and Ozzy 'bogan' (their word for Charv) Travis, which would make us a group of 14. Which meant we had to check into different hostels as it was too hard to find accommodation for a large group. Again, we had nothing to do as it was raining all day so we ended up in the pub. Just to add a bit of spice to the day, Sunderland and Newcastle would be playing each other at midnight and with half of us waring red and white and the other half in black and white we were set for a bit of a session. So all day we drank and played pool and by three in the afternoon we were receiving warnings from bar workers not to continue drinking if we were expecting to get in anywhere to watch the big game. So we continued to drink until it became apparent that the bar workers were probably right. We had a power nap and then endured all the ups and downs a north-east derby can put you through and then hit Cheeky Monkeys, a really cheesy but fun nightclub
. Fortunately your allowed to be drunk and have a good time. You could even dance on tables all night which Lee and Mike took full advantage of. The night continued to be messy and concluded with us all jumping head first into a huge bush. The next day the rain continued so we decided to head to Nimbin for the day. (see Nimbin entry). Acky and Amanda spent the day in hospital however, as Amanda had hurt her foot from the shenanigans from the night before. We returned in the afternoon and the sun came out :-). We quickly made it too the beach and savoured the last few hours that we would get to spend with the Durham legend Emma. She would be flying back home while we were away so wouldn't get to see her again which was a really sad goodbye. After being in Nimbin and drinking again we ended up having a really interesting night involving flamingos, pirates, a disco toilet and drinking port with a pair of homeless Aborigines. When one of them offered Acky a drink of his 2 litre bottle of Port, it was like something out of Steve Mcqueen's, Papillon where he is tested by a leper who offers him a smoke of his cigar. All eyes were on Acky as he took the drink form the homeless man. He drank it and then passed it on and the awkward silence dissipated into drunkard yarns about how men are connected to the sea and moon etc. It was a top weekend despite the weather and Newcastle scoring a fluke equaliser, but it was time to head north to Noosa.
We arrived in Byron Bay, a surfing mecca with a very much alternative feel, late in the day and the weather was still pretty bad. We had a bit of trouble actually finding a campsite that would take a big group like ours. We wanted to stay in the famous Art Factory hostel but the guy wanted a $50 deposit from each of us as a bond. This was in case we caused bother or made a lot of noise because he was concerned that we might detract from the ambient, chilled out atmosphere he had going on. We had a quick discussion about his proposal and decided we had better not stay there as we might as well kiss the $50 goodbye. We didn't have much luck elsewhere until we finally came across a campsite, where the reception was closed. Fortunately you were allowed to pitch up and pay in the morning when the reception opened again. The rain held off for a while and we were able to enjoy Jose's bolognese and carbonara, much to the envy of our fellow campers. One girl from Tasmania got pally with us and gave Jose, Shipley and Ben a massage which was so good that Shipley compared it to "knocking on heavens door"