Sunday, January 27, 2008

Southbondage rocks on: part two

The second day of Southbondage witnessed more great music, more creatures tap beer and the deterioration of the portaloos. After breakfasting with Joh and Dunc we got ready for a day that promised some awesome gigs including Jose Gonzales and Gotye.

Dave came prepared - sun-protected and sun-creamed up. To avoid sunburn he wore a jumper and defended himself to the many randoms who interrogated his unusual summer attire. After falling in love with a shirt at one of the market stalls I convinced him to wear this cute t-shirt adorned with bicyclettes!

Gonzales was packed out and stifling, so we relocated to the bar and happily sipped beer as we caught ‘Teardrops’ and ‘Blood Stain’. Having lost Joh and Dunc in the fray and festivities, Dave and I wandered, checking out other gigs like Angus and Julia Stone (again) and sampling the ‘recycled themed’ festival art. We bumped into Rhys whenever we could.

Unexpectedly, due to overcrowding and sound/venue issues, some of the random shows offered up the best entertainment. We rocked out to the Go Team! And come evening time, and a few smuggled-in vodkas later, we were all jumping around like crazy to Regurgitator. In fact, Dunc also wore his vintage Holy/Holey Regurgitator shirt for the occasion. It was a touching act of dedication!

The downside was definitely the portaloos. A depressing hodgepodge of faeces, blood (!), shorts and mess, they raise a concern about the personal hygiene of today’s youths! But apart from that, it was an awesome weekend.
Making sure everyone has a good time at Southbound!

Come Sunday morning, all we had left was an easy pack-up and the promise of the inviting water at Bussleton.

We stopped in at Busselton’s beachfront café Goose for a nice cooked breakfast. We then swam and showered, improving the group’s spirits and aroma.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Southbondage: Friday

Talk about a revival. Been back in Oz for awhile now, doing boring things, making money, spending money, scratching the travel bug's gnaw.

For Dave's birthday, I thought some in-state entertainment was in order. One credit card transaction later, I secured tickets to Southbound, a music festival which happens annually in Bussleton.

Boy and I, armed with tentage, sunscreen and an esky of goods (including water bottles disguising vodka), set off for some southbondage!

Joh and Dunc, our splendiferous friends, accompanied us on this jaunt to this fest in South-western Australia. They rode down on Dunc's hotted up bike and secured a camping spot near us. Laid back and heaps of fun, these guys made the weekend awesome!

Dave, a one-year Southbound veteran, came prepared with an inflatable mattress, a monster esky, pillows, sleeping bags and stuffs galore. And a trolley to boot!

You see, 8000 festival goers park their cars in a designated area. All stuff must be carried in by hand on the Friday to the camping area and no exit is permitted until you leave on the Sunday.

With Dave's ultra-handy trolley, we made the 1km trek to the check-in line easy, to the envy of the boardie-clad, sun-bothered campers around us. Dave's friend Dot borrowed the trolley to make friends and score a few beers as she helped people get their stuff to the camping site.

Weekend long, a line-up including Gotye, Jose Gonzales, Regurgitator, The Waifs, The Go-team, Kings of Leon, The Hilltop Hoods and many more played in different areas.

Friday night was exclusively for the 8000 campers, with other people attending on Saturday (20,000) for the day. Friday night we watched Angus and Julia stone, Lior and the Waifs and drank beer to get into the spirit of southboundage.

Angus and Julia Stone have this cute and quirky vibe. Although they were annoyed with sound issues, they put on a mellow show. The two siblings have a strange onstage kinship connection. Julia looked quaint and feminine in a pretty pink frock as she frolicked and trumpeted around the stage.

Opting out pretty soon after the Waifs played the last evening gig, Dave and I went to bed early. To the envy of campers we slept through the raucousness to awake afresh in the morn.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Get your gherk on

Barcelona has a giant erection. Towering amongst Barcelona´s skyscrapers and old buildings is La Torre Agbar, a cucumber or gherkin shaped tower. It piqued Dave´s interest, so off we went in search of this interesting architectural work. The building, designed by Jean Nouvel, is now home to water company headquarters. Finding the metro route to the place was difficult. We didn´t know what it was called. After much frustration, Dave put his drawing skills to the test. Drawing a bunch of buildings with the gherkin structure amongst them resulted in laughs but understanding from the information people at the station. We arrived in the evening at the metro stop Glories before dark. From afar and close up we to took lots of great snaps. We headed to a nearby shopping complex for dinner. Dave also came out with a suave hat and dress shirt. When we emerged the place was lit up with brilliant reds, greens and blues. We got honks and laughs from passerbys as Dave and I went mad with silly snaps.

´My dad has a big one´ began one of the french guys. I mentioned we are rooming with some young french lads in the last post. This double entendre, which was really referring to his father´s high-tech camera, resulted in laughs and a discussion about double entendres.

Turns out, the French don´t ´really use the term double entendre´anymore. Dave got talking to the French boys and we ended up joining them for a cheap eat they´d read about in the Lonely Planet. They are really cool and suprisingly proficient English speakers. One of the boys, Guillame, has a mother who teaches English. He lives in Paris, and has offered us accommodation if we ever visit his gorgeous city. Tempting offer indeed!

Where to next?, you ask. We arrived in Girona yesterday and will be staying until the end of our trip. This fortified city is stunning, and not half as smelly as Barcelona. We fly back to Australia on August 22nd. My trip is shorter due to reasons too long to ennumerate here. On the plus side, I´m looking forward to home sweet home and catching up with you all. Yayness!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bustle of Barcelona

Dave and I have been going to market, to market. The Mercat de St Josef on Las Ramblas is a fresh produce market. If you can abide the crowds and smells, it is worth a visit. We discovered a fresh pasta place within the market, Pazzta to Go, which makes its own pasta and fresh meals. You just select a pasta, say almond and ricotta, sausage or spinach, and a sauce like pesto or tomato and they´ll make you a bowl of piping hot pasta. Yummmo! There are heaps of restaurants with the same reheated drudge in Barcelona, so this place is a fresh bite. For one euro, I down a fresh Banana and Strawberry juice from the market and I´m laughing.

Barcelona is pretty overwhelming. Today, our first quite rainy day this trip, we went out to the fantastical imaginative brainchild Park Guell, designed by Gaudi. It features lots of greenery, stone religious monuments and darkly fun mosaic monuments. Dave was impressed with the Hansel and Gretel houses which look like picture book gingerbread abodes, but wasn´t phased on the whole. Perhaps it was the altitude change as the park is high up, but we felt exhausted after this venture out. We had gotten up late this morning, at 11.15, but yet we were still lacklustre. Barcelona is a party girl, and the place is crazy busy all the time. Thus, we´ve decided to spend tomorrow chilling out in order to revive our spirits and sanity.

Yesterday, we learnt of a festival which was occuring in a nearby streets near Le Catedral. We listened to an excellent accordion player with a limited repertoire until his equipment failed and he began to fiddle and exclaim ´Scheitzer!´. Luckily, we found our way around the corner to an uber talented opera singer who entranced us with her sopranic notes.

Meandering back to the hostel, we were almost scammed by two kids claiming to be from the deaf foundation. They thrust a sheet in front of us, and in response to our inquiry as to the cause, pointed simply to something stating a need for a National Deaf foundation. Just sign here, they demanded. We did this, following along the other boxes like postcode etc until we got to donation. They weren´t impressed by a 5euro donation insisting on 20. We walked away, realising that their melodramatic kisses and exclamation of ´Gracias, Gracias´were a well'designed trap.

You can shop till ya drop in Barcelona. Well-behaved we´ve been, with the exception of some small slippages. I got a pretty purple and white checked dress, with a purple tafetta bottom. Dave got a suave black hat, and a long-sleeved black dress shirt from H & M.

Our new hostel, Center Ramblas on Hospital St, is pretty dodge. Ridiculous prices have forced us to leave double rooms behind, and this is our first shared experience. The place is pretty filthy as they don´t seem to regularly clean rooms or change sheets. I am the only girl in a six-bed dorm. We are sharing with a bunch of lovely French boys who are spending time in Barcelona as part of their ´ínternational journey of the holidays.´¨ I slept through all the comings and goings last night, so for me sleep has been pretty good. Dave is shattered though, so as I type, he´s having a nap in the top bunk down the road.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007!

We were sad to leave behind Dave´s extended family and cute Maisie who, it turns out, wouldn´t fit in our packs. Luckily, Barcelona, Spain is happening enough to make up for it. The city is full of architectual eye candy, from the gothic Barri area, Gaudi´s gorgeous buildings, to inventive landscape gardening which has produced many scenic parks.

The busy square, Plaça Catalunya

Barcelona is abuzz with activity, boasting an effervescent street culture and a string of sexy sights. For our first few nights, we stayed in a shoebox room at the Hostal Las Ramblas which is just off the main street. It was a good access point to the craziness that is Las Ramblas, which hosts buskers, dancers, skilful folk. And yes this street 'with all its human stains' as one artist describes harbours and a few odd people with half-baked money making schemes.

Buskers include a lady dressed as a fruit stand, a green man pictured next to Dave the grim reaper, a teenage mutant ninja turtle and much more. Las Ramblas also has a fresh produce market, many a restaurant and artists who have turned to caricatures and portrait painting to make a dime.

Initially we were at a loss of how to map the city, mentally and physically. So, we jumped on a bus service called Bus Turista. For 22euro for two days, you can catch a few different routes around the city which pass the main attractions. These double decker buses make for gorgeous sightseeing and snapping from the top view. Dave was tickled when we glanced across to spot a man streaking along on his bicycle, a la naturel. Yes you read right, he was starkers, nuddy, exposed, utterly nude. How rude!

Speaking of rude things, Dave and I got down and dirty at the Erotic Museum on the main street of Barcelona, Las Ramblas. Interesting pieces include artwork blending photography of pink bits, the S & M room and a pleasure seat with inbuilt dildos and a pleasure (?) control to be operated by someone other than the user. The ancient Greek erotica was pretty cool. For those who find the place abit too overwhelming or dare I say it, naughty, there is a outdoor chillax area with bamboo sun chairs.

Shocked at the erotic museum!

We are cerebral creatures too, so we were ecstatic to learn of a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition on at the maritime museum. ´Knowledge is the daughter of experience´ was a mantra of da Vinci, and this philosophy was tested in the various inventions which were showcased in the exhibition. These technical-scientific studies only showed a glint of Da Vinci´s genius as his abilities spread across many disciplines. Frenetic, a word from a plaque at the exhibition, captures the frenzy of activity that produced these inventions. The music, intense and fast classical tunes, highlighted the prodigious productive capacity of da Vinci.

I´m going to section off these posts into little Barcelonic portions, because the city is really a feast of architectural and cultural delights that can´t be dealt with easily.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A real corker

Family Dinner - is bolognaise eating Finley?

Today has been a day of recuperation. Last night I got merry, and Dave got absolutely trashed. He adopted a bottle of vodka, combining it with red bull. Keen to take advantage of cheap Spanish alcohol he had dashed down to the supermarket to procure the red bull before close time. Admittedly, I downed some red bulls and vodkas, got merry and danced repeatedly to my own rendition of 'Black Betty.' Dave was a laugh last night though. Particularly amusing were his attempts to help a friendly Spanish neighbour who had come along to repair our broken outside light. He was drunk but tried to tinker with the tools, repeating his extensive Spanish vocabulary of 'si' and 'uno'.

The English family got plotting early on to make Dave a cork hat. Our participation in this scheme required copious consumption of champagne to yield the required corks. Last night, Dave was presented with the grand hat, made from corks attached to his Burberry bucket hat. We both took turns wearing it and posing for pics to be posted soon. We talked for ages as Lisa and Rick amused us with funny tales and ringtones. Dave banned me from going to bed, drank himself silly and then after a few hours, announced he was off to bed and marched away. Actually getting him to bed was a difficult affair but was eventually achieved. In the morning, he asked earnestly if he'd fallen asleep outside.

Sadly, Sam and her kids left us this morning. I got up and gave Sam a huge hug and proceeded to fall back to sleep. Dave got up and kept Sam entertained whilst she had breakfast. He released some of last night's festivities in a breakfast barf. Maisie was uber cute this morning, declaring that Finley has the brain of a monkey, Alix the brain of a doctor and likening her own brain to that of a dragon.

Dave got a ribbing today. He slept most of the day but went fishing with the kids this arvo. Alix caught a crab, and Dave managed a small fish. I read and pottered around. Earlier on Rick, Lisa, Finley and I went to a hardware store which was unfortunately located next to a smelly sewerage area. Lisa and I held our noses and sprinted back to the car. Tonight is both exciting but upsetting as it's our last night in Alicante. Boooo! We are off to a chinese restaurant to have the meal of day. Apparently it is a requirement by law that all restaurants offer a 'Meal of the Day' which is cheap and affordable so everyone could eat out.

Yesterday morning was fab. We went to the Sam Miguel markets aka shoppers heaven. This local Spanish market is located in an old housing area. Fruit, clothes and cute little Senorita dresses can be picked up at market stalls. I may have accidentally acquired shoes, souvenirs and yet another pretty dress. Sam and Lisa also got pairs of pretty flower thongs. Dave bought the kids lasers which produce patterns. Endless entertainment! He is one cool cousin/nephew/boyfriend.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Yahreepah: family fun in Spain

Pulling up at the Alicante train station, Spain, just before midnight we puzzled over how to find Dave's uncle Alan. 'We'll call him when we get outside' Dave fretted. Two moments later, Dave starts chuckling. The first thing we notice about Dave's uncle is his sense of humour. There he stood ahead of us, holding a wonderfully designed sign reading 'David P Smelly'.

The adults, or Alan and Betty's big kids, waited up for us at home in Orihuela, Alicante. We met briefly Betty, Sam, Lisa and Rick and knew we were in for some laughs. 'Fireman' Rick is full of tricks and fun and makes a mean morning coffee. Sam and Lisa have a truckload of stories, also love reading and are absolute riots. Sam becomes even more amusing with some vodka concoction in her. This was to be the quietest we'd hear the house before it filled up with kiddiewinks. We are staying in the apartment next door with the big kids, and things run smoothly and efficiently between the two Spanish houses.

The big girls remember Dave's mum fondly, so Dave is filled in on tales of his mum and his big sister Bev as a youngster. On our third night in Alicante, Sam, Rick and Lisa took us out for drinks. We headed out to a strip of bars but never made it past the first Irish pub. We had an early one but it was awesome fun just chatting and enjoying the rapier English humour of our hosts.

Must make a random tangent, but we attended a carboot sale on our first morning in Alicante. We came out with a plethora of colourful, comfy crocs for the kids. I found a copy of my beloved book, Pnin by Nabokov. Embarassingly, I jumped with the ecstasy of a bibliomaniac. this book is crazy hard to find! Now Dave's extended family realise I'm a bit loopy but have decided to accept me anyway. Yahreepah!

We found out that we were destined to join in days of drinking and frolicking at the pool. The amounts of water we empty out of the pool each day with an assortment of bombies and shoves is gargantuan. The kids are just gorgeous. They adore Dave and enjoy mucking about in the pool with him. Sam's kids - Josh, Bradley and Ben are well-mannered, adorable and addicted to their nintendos. Rick and Lisa's lot - Finley, Maisie and Alix are always brimming with energy. Alix keeps up with the boys, Finley provides household entertainment and Maisie is a little bundle of cuteness who runs around catching pondskaters at the pool. The little girl Maisie even has two serves of cereal so she can have enough energy to throw Dave in the pool. Poor little Maisie doesn't realise, but we've been plotting ways to transport her back to Oz in our packs. She is uber cute!

Alan and Betty are wonderful hosts - anxious to give their nephew Dave a good time and even his tag-along girlfriend gets the hospitality. They've taken us out to a Spanish bakery and an English pub. We each got coffee and a decadent cake and it was gorgeous.

Last night though was pretty amazing - we went to Las Villas, a Spanish restaurant which had first class service that you'd pay a fortune for in Perth. The efficient waiters worked the tables, which although empty when we were arrived, filled up quickly. The food was amazing, Dave had a seafood soup and I had a seafood crepe - and that was just the appetiser. For mains, Dave and I shared a Fisherman's Paella - a Spanish seafood rice dish

I've been trying heaps of different foods while I've been here, even though I may have accidentally thought that the date wrapped in bacon was a sausage when I downed two. This prepared me for trying Alan's goat/kid last night at the restaurant. Couldn't eat a meal of it, but the taste was good. We finished off with dessert and drunken Dave had two Belmonte's (condensed milk, brandy and coffee) to chase his massive dessert plate. So much more to post but like our meal, delivery should be slow to allow for lots of enjoyment and banter in between courses.