Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
Original entry from 12/11/2013
So I arrived.
The first thing that hit me getting off of the plane was the heat and absolutely oppressive humidity. I smelt like a hobo entering a stink competition by this point and I was running on vapours to get to my destination.
Customs was an absolute NIGHTMARE! 8 whole minutes of pure hell, dear reader. Hell! First I had to sign declaration. I live in Yorkshire and have recently visited the moors with a friend, I had a leather man multitool in my case and the shoes I’d been wearing to walk. My declaration boxes that were ticked looked like this:
Are you carrying any firearms, explosives, ammunition, steroids, knives or other prohibited items? Tick
Are you carrying any plant matter or soil? (this can include clinging to sportswear/boots) Tick
Have you been in contact with any farm animals/livestock or freshwater streams or rivers within the last 30 days? Tick
So I’ve ticked boxes that could potentially read as I’m a 27 year old man who often ‘has contact’ with farm animals trying to enter the country with a suitcase full of bombs and mud. I certainly smelled the type by the time I arrived, so I was expecting a full cavity search.
“I see you’ve indicated X, Y and Z sir. Can you tell me about them please?” Said a lady who had a jawline like Charlton Heston’s more masculine twin. I’d survived the sniffer dog and now I was done for. It only took a moment but I decided to try the novel approach of telling the absolute truth. “They’ll not expect that” I thought.
Does your knife flick out automatically or like a butterfly knife? I shook my head. P for “pass” (but also many words such as ‘Pork’, ‘Peckham’ and ‘Proselytism’) was put next to the top column.
I was then ushered to an area with yet more bagscanners, presumably for the inspection of my hydroponic vat I’d declared was in my trainers to make sure I was treating the bacteria growing therein up to Australian standards. The gent asked me to show him my soil after the scan. I laid my bag on the floor showing my dusty trainers. He just nodded and said “Ah wish they were all loike thet”.
Do you want to look through the rest of my case?
“Neh. Gaow on.” And with a disinterested nod I was in Australia. Visa well worth its money – no one even asked if I had one.
My host was waiting in the heat and we were glad to get loaded up and straight off. We went up something called the Gillie highway, passing mountains thickly carpeted with rainforest and showing the odd bit of dark red mud, like giant, buxxom Victorian prostitute showing a bit of leg.
The roads here are PERFECT for riding and driving. More than a trillion twists (go on, fucking count them, clever bollocks) in eighteen kilometres of road apparently. Follow this road southwest on street view and tell me you wouldn’t want to get on it:
Click for road porn:
near Little Mulgrave QLD 4865
When we arrived at the house I met Steve’s cats. Two love me and one must work for customs and have heard I ‘interact with animals’. Indeed one loved me so much that it had chased a poisonous Cane Toad into the bath as a welcome home gift. These toads were introduced seventy years ago by the government to eat beetles that ravage the sugar canes here. There are two problems with this:
1: The cane toad doesn’t like to eat the cane beetles.
2: It will eat just about everything else. What it doesn’t eat, tries to eat it and dies of poisoning.
I’ve attached some panoramic shots from the patio and a picture of the toad. It’s a good job too. He decided not to stick around till morning and made his own way home.
The weather up here is cooler and the humidity doesn’t feel as bad because of the constant breeze. We are up in the tablelands just outside Malanda. It is a paradise.