Working our way up the coast

Trip Start Dec 14, 2004
Trip End May 25, 2005

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Friday, February 4, 2005

Hello hello...
Just a brief update--- we are going to be incommunicado for the next couple of weeks, and wanted to say hello, let you know what we've been up to.
Our time in Sydney was good, though when we left, we were really ready to go. We went to Shabbat services at the Great Synagogue in Sydney on Friday night--- it's the oldest in Australia. Only thing is, we didn't know it was an Orthodox congregation until we arrived, and I don't think either us were really satisfied or fulfilled by the actual service- we sat separately from the men, and did our best to follow along with the traditional service. While it wasn't quite the same as we are both used to, it was nice to be amongst the familiar sounds and smells of Shabbat-- to see the hebrew words written on the page, and to see the faces around us. After 6 weeks in NZ, it was nice to be in a Jewish setting, if only for a brief time.
We made our way up to Byron Bay on the overnight bus, and decided to stay a bit out of town, away from the insular, touristy bit--- stayed at a GREAT backpackers in Lennox Head- by far the least expensive, and most comfortable (dare I say, luxurious, with the air conditioning!) of our options. It was a really low-key week there- lots of time on the beach, some short "day trips" into town (Byron Bay). It was the first time we really have felt/acted like we were on vacation. Definitely a nice break (from what? I know I know.) but we're both ready to tackle Australia a little more proactively in our final 2 weeks here.
Last night we stayed at a place called the Gagaju Bush Camp outside of was this little, hippie oasis in the bush (Aussie for forest/woods/undeveloped land)--- a combination of commune/camping ground/place that defied description. We stayed in the bunks--- the beds were handmade- kind of like hammocks, but really comfortable. We cooked in the outdoor kitchen, sat around the campfire- and appreciated the cacophony of the bush--- so many sounds of birds, crickets, toads... it was such a great place. So relaxed, and simple. I don't think either of us could live like that forever, but there's certainly something about the simplicity of it all that is appealing.
So, this may be our last update until we make it to Cairns at the end of next week... with our limited time and money, we decided to do a bit of a "packaged deal" for our next 2 weeks on the East Coast...we're going camping/4wd safari on Fraser Island, then up to the Whitsunday Islands for a 4 day sailing tip. We're both really looking forward to the camping, snorkeling, diving--- seeing the Great Barrier Reef!
All in all- life is good, and we're both pretty happy to be where we are. Australia is just so big, and we can feel it---- it's very much like America in many ways- or a bigger, hotter version of the UK. Don't get us wrong- we both know there is a great deal of culture here that is unique, but with our limited time here, and the insane heat, we're seeing the coast. Lots of beaches, lots of surfers...
We miss you all, and look forward to updating you at the end of our exciting week ahead...
Lots of love,
J and R
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