Byron Bay is lovely this time of year. Hell, it's probably this lovely any time of year, but for now, it's the middle of the summer here in coastal New South Wales. The full-blown summer days of the end of July for us Yanks arrive here in January, and since departing Melbourne on Tuesday, Pauly and I haven't done much besides lying on the beach, drinking pots of the local Aussie brew, playing excessive amounts of Chinese Poker, eating in cafes, and of course, smoking some of the local dank. How we came upon the former is a story unto itself.
Nimbin is a hippie haven in the middle of Bumblefuck, Nowhere. It's about a 60 km drive from Byron on windy, often one-lane roads through rolling green hills. The speed limit on the road is 100 kph , but I could only manage 80 without getting us killed. As I drove, Pauly recounted the story of Senor's trip to Nimbin over a decade ago, where an 8 year old boy, and then a grandmother tried to sell him weed. So it wasn't going to be too much of a hassle to find a qualified salesperson along the town's notorious main drag.
As we entered the town, the first thing I spotted was a head shop called "Bringabong" (a riff on the surf-clothes line Billabong). Dirty hippies roamed the sidewalks and dread-locked rastas with leathery skin played instruments as they hocked their wares. I found a parking space in front of a crumbling wooden bungalow that looked to house at least a half a dozen junkies that likely grew hydroponic weed in the basement. After walking a couple of blocks, I ducked into a dress shop while Pauly executed the "transaction." I was barely through looking at one rack of skirts before he came back and gave me the "mission accomplished" nod. My love was even savvy enough to negotiate the price down 20%.
We made a quick stop at a public loo. When I came out, Pauly had a stricken look on his face.
"Dude... I just saw a three-legged dog."
"I've got bad vibes about this place."
"Yeah, let's get the fuck out of here."
We headed back to the car and sampled the local product. While not as primo as the medicinal nugs I'm used to, it looked soft and fluffy and certainly did the job.
Our days here typically begin with breakfast at one of the local cafes. I had wonderful pancakes at The Balcony, garnished with fresh strawberries and mascarpone cheese and today enjoyed a spinach and goat cheese omelette at Fresh. Brekky is followed by a trip to the beach and some light reading. I've been plowing through Lee Nelson's "Kill Everyone." It's the sequel to his bestselling "Kill Phil" and focuses on advanced tournament and sit-n-go strategies. In a word, it's been enlightening. Post-beach, it's time for the best shower in the world back at the hotel, followed by a trip to a seaside bar where we drink beer and play Chinese poker. Pauly totally whipped me in the afternoon session yesterday, making 21 unanswered points, but in the night session, I convinced him to add deuce-to-seven in the middle hand and I stormed back +19. Ship it!
I got a bit roasty=toasty from the sun yesterday, so much that Pauly is calling me "lobster girl." Alas, it's time to depart this little internet cafe and purchase some sort of floppy hat so I can safely sit in the sand this afternoon and listen to the waves.
Two more days here, then it's on to New Zealand. Pauly wants to jump off a bridge. While I wasn't considering it before, I'm now contemplating joining him...