We got back up to Brisbane early in the week via the Byron Bay -> Brisbane express with views like a watercolor painting and a bus driver whose musical tastes ranged from Celine Dion to Britney Spears to the Rolling Stones to the soundtrack from Grease.
In Brisbane we stayed with two Australians that Sam has met over the years. Up to this point we were about 0 for 57 with couchsurfing requests so these were the first legit Australians we really interacted with for any stretch of time. Before Brisbane Sam and I had maintained a relatively healthy diet for backpackers- salads with sprouts, vegan stir-fry, hummus and veggies but the Australians ruined all that.
First up was Ben, a guy about our age who suggested we get Domino’s for dinner. I’ve probably lost my B(rooklyn)-Card for eating fake pizza but if I ate it ironically it’s likely ok, right? At least it was an Australian pie, which means it had eggs and barbecue sauce on top, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. He also force fed us Vegemite (I’ll stick with Nutella, thankyouverymuch) and Cherry Ripe “the best Australian candy.” And Americans get a bad rap…
Next we stayed with Rebekah, a lovely girl who had couchsurfed with Sam a few summers ago. Bek is twenty-five and owns a gorgeous, new house with her boyfriend. There are three bedrooms and an amazing backyard, a dog, a washing machine and yes, even closets. Being at that house was one of those times when I just feel SO lucky and happy to be living in New York. Since Sam hosted her for about two weeks in New York we really got the royal treatment when we were there- homemade pasta, a day trip to the bush, and a real live Aussie Barbecue. Staying with a friend was just what we needed after a couple of stressful days, basically it was a 48 hour sleepover complete with girl talk, junk food and junkier TV.
Bek discovered that what we had seen in Lamington were not actually kangaroos but wallabies and decided that she would find us some real kangaroos the next day but in the mean time had we tried the little cakes called Lamingtons? Had we tried Tim Tams!? Disappointed in our lack of experience with Australian junk food, Bek made us all pile back into her car to buy assorted crap: cookies and cakes and “burger rings” for good measure and because we’re American. When we got back to her house she made us drink hot chocolate through Tim Tams, I can only assume she secretly works as a contractor ensuring job security for dentists.
The next morning we set out early for The Bush and found kangaroos in about five minutes, they were tall and had faces like deer and were definitely not wallabies. We stood in a field on the side of the highway and watched in awe as they jumped around. This is a picture of us in awe watching some kangaroos:
Despite signs that warned of their presence and our best gum tree scanning efforts we didn’t see koalas- Australia has the best road signs, though.
We got back to Bek’s and had an authentic Aussie barbecue grilled by an authentic Aussie bloke and sat outside enjoying the balmy “winter” afternoon. We set out the next morning for Cairns about a kilo heavier each, feeling recharged and with clean laundry, which is really all a couple of nomads can ask for.