lunedì 27 aprile 2009

Byron Bay

03/02 Byron Bay

One night as others...

There is a very tan rasta playing acustic guitar, people sitting around smoke marjuana at their own peace, a girl is dancing smoothly beside the sit of the player... Another girl beside me poke me and says: “listen what a gig...”. Of course, I had heard about: Byron Bay. Once upon a time an hippy paradise, now just used to host penniless smiling people with flowers in their head, as became more a radical chic paradise, with surfing schools and big money cars around.

Not necessary worst, I actually think it can even be better now: walking down the street in direction of the beach you can meet street bands amusing bunch of happy people dancing and enjoying, reaching the seaside is like entering a strange middle dimension. With one ear you can still hear the music coming from the bars nearby, but from the other ear the waves bring the sea song, while your bare feet touch the smooth sand and your lungs fill with the fresh air, you let your eyes wandering around thousands of stars, and your mouth is recalling the taste of the beloved hop... it is like each sense of yours was pulling you in a different direction... which one follow?

04/02 I surf, You surf, She/He surfs...
Pro wake up before dawn to get the best spot free from wannabes and crowd.
As completely novice I peacefully went to surf around 11. The first try is quite comic and the day ended without I could manage to stand on the board for more than 5 seconds. Of course the equipment didn't help: they say long boards are easier to ride, but to me is just an excuse to avoid renting an expensive board to a complete untrained person... Anyhow the weight of the motherfucker largely overcomes any eventual small advantage delivered by the length, as to pedal on that monster requires an olympic fitness, so that is a bloody work to reach the right position and catch a good wave:

I know I haven't been the first “prospective surfer” to spend 90% of the time rolling in the water smashed by waves like a sock in the laundry, but the poor performance needed to be revenged. The wannabe surfer (like me) is easy to spot: hard-nosed and slightly conceited smile approach the sea running with his board between the accurately inflated chest and his best biceps like a character of “Baywatch” (note that he thinks “How cool I am” even if the board is 3 to six times bigger than him); after one hour during which nobody has ever seen him eventually he crawl out of the water shuffle the board hopefully still attached to his feet by the apposite safe-line, completely defeated by the waves that barely allowed him to stand once, and not for more than few secs.
However, the picture sounds good, doesn't it?


22 January 2009,
Sydney, Australia.

"Time is the most expensive thing we can ever spend" once said the wise man. While I am sipping a cold beer in this hot afternoon I think how much I would have liked to sail into this beautiful bay of Sydney. But I spent two months in New Zealand, and sail here would have taken a couple of weeks, which I have not available on my schedule, as I am supposed to be in thailand for the beginning of February. I know what are you thinking: what on earth does push me to rush? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind... as anyone willing to sail around the world I have to follow the seasonal trade winds: if I am not in the right place in the right time, I have no chance to find a boat to continue my circumnavigation... nobody likes to sail in the bad season.

So I had to take some decisions, I chose to fly here and after Bangkok. I will have this way some time to see a bit around Australia and Thailand before getting on my next boat that will bring me throughout the indian ocean. Sure enough it is a pity to jump over the whole Indonesia, such a fascinating and unknown continent to me, but, as I sad, it is impossible to see everything (moreover who wants to see everything normally ends up seeing nothing).

Sydney Chronicle.

During my stay in Sydney I have tried for the first time in my journey to couch surf. For those who don't have the slightest idea of what it is about is very easy to explain: hospitality!

Former travellers from all over the world, presently settled down, offer to host other travellers in their place for a short while. The advantages are evident: beside the mere economic saving, we'll be meeting someone supposed to have similar interest (our host has read our profile on internet, and then decided if there is any compatibility) and willing to show us around. Normally is far better than hiring a guide, as we are introduced to a bounce of friends and brought where local people really go.
So another tip for those who are unsure if leaving or not: check, now – even if you dream to wander about overland – you can't even cling to the excuse of hotel expenses... couch surfing is as free as fun!

You can imagine the place as a little open air parlour improvised in a narrow back alley of a red-brick building. Sofas are three old armchairs not really neat, hosting holes and burns, but with a certain "je ne sais quoi" of antique / junk dealer... Through the wood floorboards you can catch a glimpse of the dirty street below... an ashtray goes around from hand to hand even if cigarette's stubs and shrunken packets are good neighbours with smashed cans here and there; in the meantime, tiny cathedrals are built up around by empty glass-bottles. Typical dozen 20something-flatmates' apartment scenes.
Sydney's night is clear and fortunately the torrid heat of last few days has been washed away yesterday by a nice rain, and now we can all enjoy fresh air and chat in these beautiful al fresco living room.

Half of those present are Asiatic, they have some remarkable common characteristics: they are shy to the point to seem afraid to make a move so that they looks like clumsy puppets, so emotional to seem easy touchy, they commonly fall in a immoble silence in which their eyes start wandering around herky-jerky, difficult to say if it is due to a language barrier or to an innate different logic. The girls are normally very shining though, with big smiles inspiring a natural empathy, while men are easyly a bit feminine.
Reeugy, told us some interesting things about asian aesthetics and culture, it sounds to be the real opposite of ours:
japaneses, in particular, spend a ridiculous amount of money to get hair transplant, as they are hairless. Many websites offer deals for combo of different parts of the body. Notably in europe and the States the laser depilation sounds to work in opposition: maybe in few years we'll have all the south-italian men smooth as babies and a bunch of superhairy calabrese style japaneses
while the reach western people (with very few to do and worry about) want to show the darker tan as possible, almost all over asia that is gonna label you as belonging to the lowest class ever (the workers)
on a similar basis, long fingernails (in western countries nowadays a bit out of time even for females) are grown proudly as unmistakable mark of have being away from manual work for a long time.
The list could be longer, the moral is very short: it sounds like everybody really was always after his opposite. Tao is it right?


Even if I tried to dedicate my mornings to wander around the city and the hot afternoons reading in the delightful chill of the main library, I cannot deny that the main activity down here is: P A R T Y !!!!!!
Sydney rocks. Especially the hostels scene is bursting hot, it sounds like everyone here subscribed, as soon as he step on the Sydney ground, a commitment to get drunk every given night. What else can I say? The Australian day didn't really help to brake down a bit...
For those pour europeans who couldn't enjoy that amazing atmosphere I think the hostel is the closest thing to an american college ever: the "Fatti-Strafatti e strafighe" ("Dude, where's my car", the italian title is simply better)thing that everyone dream in his childhood here comes true. A permanent feeling of idleness ready to explode in a orgy of alcohol, drugs and sex...
The flip side of the coin (for those interested in the budget affair) is that was enough one week here to piss away the same money I spent in almost a month in new zealand... diavuli virtus in lumbis est...

PS. Of course I have been to the Sydney Opera House too see an opera: Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, soon I will add comments about, stay tuned

mercoledì 8 aprile 2009

Risposta alla domanda: che cos'è viaggiare?

Il viaggio è bello così: ci si accorge di esser passati troppe volte per quella strada, di aver incontrato troppe volte quelle persone, di conoscere ormai da vicino quel tramonto. Quando ormai ci si sente a casa, la nemesi del viaggiatore ha già coperto di ombre familiari anche quelle strade poco battute, dove solo un carretto passa, e, di tanto in tanto, qualche randagio va a pisciare. Allora si sente che è il momento giusto per partire di nuovo, ancora una volta girandosi in direzione di ciò di cui non si sa nulla, e quella diventa la nuova terra promessa. Il viaggiatore ha bisogno di una terra promessa, sempre, ce ne vuole un'altra e poi un'altra ancora... non si accontenta. Il viaggiatore è il commensale mai sazio, per questo non può stare troppo a casa di nessuno: si tirerebbe dietro le antipatie di ogni afitrione.
Il viaggiatore cammina. Per definizione si sposta via terra o via mare perchè non è una distanza che deve percorrere, ma è un tempo da cui vuole essere attraversato. Il viaggiatore è in realtà immoto nello strenuo sforzo di afferrare l'immutabile nel continuo flusso del mutevole: così da sempre si tuffa nell'opposto per ridurre il tutto ad un'identità.

Una delle misrappresentazioni più comuni del viaggiatore riguarda la sua sapienza: il viaggiatore è esperto, dunque sa. Sa da dove viene, dove sta andando, e dove è: rappresenta la conoscenza totale ed è un modello auspicabile (soprattutto agli occhi del novizio viaggiatore, o addirittura per la sottoclasse dei turisti o vacanzieri). Il viaggiatore invero non sa nulla. Viaggia, ed il viaggio è la ricerca di quelle domande che anche lui, come il layman, trova senza risposta. Sbagliato.
Come dire... è più un inseguimento...
- "Maestro, ma cosa insegue allora il viaggiatore se non la Verità?"
- "Sei ancora uno stolto, non capisci? Non è il viaggiatore che insegue... dovresti aprire gli occhi, allora vedrai che il viaggiatore è in realtà inseguito..."
- "e non vuole farsi prendere?"
- "Egli va... capiresti anche tu che non sta cercando la felicità, sta piuttosto fuggendo la monotonia, ma questa è come la sottile linea d'ombra del tramonto che lenta ed incessante insegue i passi del viaggiatore nella sua corsa attorno al mondo..."
- "ma così, Maestro, quanto sarà lungo il viaggio?"
- "Zitto e cammina..."