. I can't quite make my mind up about whether I like it here. In essence Byron is an old 1960s hippy town, full of ethnic clothing shops, organice food stores, lots of people with dreadlocks and bearded hippies smoking some very suspect looking cigarettes. I love hippy shops and couldn't wait to go shopping here but we very quickly realised that Byron has lost some of that essence. It is now fully of perma-tanned, trilby wearing, board short clad k**bheads who have cool 'sufer dude' haircuts, don't need to wear any shoes and walk around with an 'I'm such a cool hippy' kind of air about them. As you can probably tell I am majorly disillusioned with the kind of people that seem to rule the roost in places like Byron. As far as I am concerned anyone who wears ethnic clothing with a pair of hotpants wedged up their arse and Versace sunglasses on their face does not represent what it means to live an alternative lifestyle. Walking around town it was obvious that Tom and I don't fit in with the 'ultra awesome' lifestyle of these 'cool' people- however at least we are both comfortable with who we are and don't feel the need to live up to some expectation of what it means to be 'cool'. The people who we encountered today just tried too hard to be 'relaxed'... a paradox if ever I heard one! Some parts of Byron are brilliant, we found some great little shops tucked away from the highstreet and bought some nice bits and pieces from one of the ethnic stores. However even the guy who owned this shop, an age old hippy if ever I've seen one, couldn't afford to live in Byron anymore because it has become so expensive. Feeling a bit sad at the state we found Byron we felt cheered to find some great little places hidden away from all the hype and espresso bars on the main street. We even found a great Asian store that served Chinese tea and nibbles and we were very happy to spend some time perched on their little stools sipping tea. I think that Tom has taken to Byron a lot more than I have, but then I think that maybe my expectations were a little too high. However, if the weather is nice tomorrow, we are going to go for a walk into the countryside and hopefully we will get to see a different side of Byron and fingers crossed there won't be a triby or pair of denim hotpants in sight!
Today was our first full day in Byron Bay. This morning we got to know Elka a bit better; she was up at 7am and proceeded to fill the dorm with fag smoke, wake us all up by chatting away to anyone that would listen (or just talking to herself if there was no-one there) and making one hell of racket just by boiling the kettle. I am on the bunk bed above her (lucky me!) and I'm sure that she was shaking the bed on purpose to wake me up just so she would have someone to talk to. Later on we went to the office to put our passports in the safe and when we told him which room we were in he looked up at us and said gravely: "Your in Elka's room!?". This didn't exactly fill us with confidence but after a quick chat with him, and having spent some more time with Elka herself, we realise now that while she is a little unusual she is completely harmless and we don't need to worry about sharing a room with her. In the afternoon we went down into town and went to have a look at the beach. Well having spent the day around and about I can report that Byron Bay is a bit of a funny one