Total Eclipse Of The Rational Mind

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This is the best picture I have found so far of the eclipse. Notice the pockets of light on both sides…

Bullie was hauling 12 tons of ice in the back of his truck when he picked me up. He had no shoes on, but he had a dandy hat, lots of confidence and a great big laugh under his blond curly locks and impressing nose. I was on my last leg of hitchhiking from Nimbin to the Eclipse 2012 Festival, and Bullie took me all the way with his frozen load – telling me that this festival was literaly going to be hotter than any party I’d ever been to.

As we got closer to the site (and further away from civilization) the road narrowed and the sunlight diminished. “My eyes are going, so from now on you gotta help me look out for cows”, Bullie said. He’d worked on cattle stations since he was a teen, and got his name from riding bulls. If anyone knew the dangers of hitting a cow with 90 km/h, I figured it’d be him, so I glued my eyes to the tarmac. We arrived, however, without sighting a single cow, which prompted Bullie to name me his guardian traffic angel.

For The Love Of A Good Party

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A so-called “dust-bow” – truly an amazing sight!

The Eclipse 2012 Festival took place at the Palmer River Gold Field, a 3-hour drive from Cairns into the driest outback I’ve seen so far. “It’s a dustbowl out there”, Bullie told me, and it sure was; instead of rainbows, there were “dustbows”, and between 11 and 4 in the daytime, most people wore scarfs over their mouth if they even dared venturing out into the blistering sun. Most afternoons were spent horizontally in the shade, with temperatures reaching around 40 degrees Celsius and not a drop of rain to cool us down.


Cruelty & Creativity

I’ve just arrived in Cairns in the north-eastern part of Australia. It’s tropical here, and I am sitting on a veranda only a stone’s throw from the ocean. All around town there are backpackers hanging out in the parks and on the beach, eagerly awaiting the Total Solar Eclipse which can be seen from the area around Cairns early Wednesday morning.

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Mim Has Always Been Part Of Australia’s Alternative Scene

I feel incredibly lucky not having to wait in some anonymous guesthouse room or sleeping rough in the park, but instead staying in a beautiful old wooden house by the sea. The house belongs to my new friend Miriam whom I met at Ponyland when she was visiting her daughter.

“Mim” is one of the many incredibly friendly people who are helping me experience Australia beyond the tourist façade. I never knew this place was so wrought with wickedness…

My first big travel out of Europe was to the South of Senegal in West Africa where I first had a human being tugging my sleeves, crying and begging me to help her kids in the name of Red Cross and all things good in the world. Heart-wrenching.

Since then I’ve worked as a Human Rights Activist in Cambodia and as a journalist for the Tibetan cause in the Himalayas, and in my travels there has generally been a theme of going to hardship countries and fighting for the cause at hand.


Beating Around The Bush In A Bus

I caught a ride through Australia, hitching with Timmo from Finland and Ben from Mullumbimby in a fine Toyota Coaster. Eardrum and Ananda were the generous stewards of this old beauty of a bus, and the stories of their adventures could easily have taken us all around Australia a couple of times.

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Chillin’ in the bush on the Gregory Development Road. That’s Eardrum saying fuck you mate. Don’t take it personal. He’s actually a great guy. Just make sure he eats.

They were leaving only 30km from where I was at, and they drove me about 2100 km North (yes I know there are 2 zeros there). Three days of driving and we’re still in the same country. We took the inland road instead of the coast. Bush. More bush. Bush. Sleep. Bush. Bit of desert. Bush, bush, bush then sleep. Then bush, bush, bush, bush, desert, bush, bush and then suddenly tropical mountains.

The five of us were damn near delirious when we celebrated our 3 days of solid driving with fish’n’chips & beers in cosy Kuranda – the village in the rainforest. Along the way we had seen and felt the endless miles of shrub and dry heat (Nevada go home), heard the rare sound of our inner songs in the spinning wheels of the bus, and tasted the distances of our lives in the dust on its windscreen.

What a trip. I could tell you a story, but you really did have to have been there…

Goodbye Portius

Almost 2 years to the date when we first met, my great travelling companion and personal oracle Portius has perished and is no more. I am talking about my most beloved tool, my surf-supporter and writing enabler, the Asus Eee 1005PX laptop netbook which has now moved on to binary heaven.

To put it mildly, I am feeling quite P….. off and F…… annoyed not to mention being !#%@&*! over the fact that computers are made to last only for as long as the warranty does.

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The guy at the repair-shop just said “bin it!”. How do you just throw a friend out?

It was such a fine machine and, oddly enough, if I had the money I would go and by another one just like it. Poor Portius…

So, ladies and gentlemen, if we put these two facts together (no computer & not much money) we arrive at the conclusion that there will probably be a bit fewer posts on this blog here in the near future.

I will do my best not to let this happen though, and if any of you great people out there have a solution for me, do let me know!

My Worst Fears…

Traveling is dangerous. Mothers and insurance companies will tell you that. I have both, and I can tell you that it is indeed true; traveling is dangerous. All kinds of tourist-targetting thugs, creapy creatures, devilish diseases and corrupted cops are out there to get you.

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Not to mention the “drop-bears”!

Australia has all of the above and then some. This is the kind of land where you knock your boots in the morning and walk with heavy steps at night. It is creepy-crawly country. It is also catastrophe country. Roads, buildings, cars, yourself – all of it is subject to heavy floods, wildfire, cyclones and the like.

Even partying is apprently dangerous in Australia. 8 days from now, I will be at the Eclipse 2012 festival in Northen Queensland out in the bush somewhere. Until a few days ago, all I knew about this festival was that there will be a complete solar eclipse, the music will be great, the company outstanding and I get to volunteer in the backstage area! More