posted on January 19, 2006 at 10:11 pm

im back
back from the other side
back from my wanderings
me and michael h and russell p k
we take the ferry over to bundeena
its already pissing down rain
we go into cafe for last civilized meal for a while
(toasted tomato sambo w/ brown bread, mixed berry soy smooothie)
i ask the guy in the caff for the weather forecast
this produces much laughter in kitchen
mate, its gonna be loike this till friday…
the intrepid 3 get underway
before we’re even in the national parky
we are already soaked
for the 1st time of many
rpk looks up at the gathering stormclouds
and says
i reckon its starting to clear up,
i can see some blue….
yes there it is
next to the black and grey and nimbus
we begin our walk
initially other 2 laugh
at yer intrepid walker, sk
cos i come equipped with ye olde brolly
but i’s a little bit drier than others
never mind
safe and warm
in mah backpack
i have dry clothes
a pillow
some ‘ome comforts
ah…!
back to nature baby
we stop for first of many special
bushwalker cigarettes
although i have not brought any food
or useful utensils
i score brownie points
for my big bag o pam and perrys finest
plus my insect repellent and
my box of wipies
that i stole from ye olde baby bouncer
as i left home
now a nice joint can go both ways in the bush
it can get yer mind off the hard slog
or it can make ya real real lazy
so you dont wanna keep going
sk very proud of his bush skills
(can roll a spliff in wind
AND
rain
w/ filter and everything)
now luckily
rpk has catered nicely for walkie
and never surprises me
the delicacies he whips out of his huge pack
for us to munch on
the terrain changin’ all the time
one minute a lonely beach
strugglin’ thru the sand
perfect white star shaped shells
blue bottles swelling up and popping
sea weed (kelp, i need somebody)
all the debris
driftwood, empty suntancreme bottles
then you climb up
the rain beating down
sks black cowboy hat
now a grey shapeless splodge on his head
we enter a grove of trees
shoulder height
they complete the job of drenching us
now totally soaked
trudging thru the mud and sand
sea eagles and kestrels hang in the air
vicious aust. ants that dont back down
the australian nature is wild, relentless
inexorable
this aint some nothern hemisphere
half tamed woodland
that sleeps thru winter
this is a young virile pulsating creation
full of stuff
strangling itself, breaking forth
bugs worms bees birds snakes lizards spiders
flowers weeds trees mountains
and its all going all the time
rpk says theres a kiosk over yonder hill
im imaginin’ all the things im gonna buy
hot chocolates, cold chocolates
tepid chocolates
but guess what
the kiosk owner didnt open up
today
seeing how its a grey rainy wednesday
and theres no one about
we curse him and his offspring
but rpk whips out some nice rolls
(hes my roll model)
after more trekking we reach our camp
guess what everything in my back pack
IS WET
ok
ok
i will survive
others go to find firewood and fresh water
naughty sk espies a tube of condensed milk
mmmm aint seen one o those in ages
despite being a vegan
despite that this tube must be the milknsugar
for many cups o tea
sk despicably sucks most of it down
and has to guiltily bear blame
everytime cups of tea are made
and drunk
all very unmilky and sweet
we build a fire (not sposed to)
we set up our tent (not sposed to be doing that either)
we have mash potato and pasta for dinner
normally this woulda been a carbohydrate mush
but out here
was a feast fit for a king
we drink some jack daniels
bugs come rushing out of the burning logs
millipedes, bush cockroaches, ants
smoke blows in our eyes
we are wet but happy
we’re hardcore arent we says rpk
the very hardest, we reassure him
sk wakes up cold, sore and sorry
we get up
its still kinda raining
we pack up move on
an early morning joint
gets us all weary and sleepy again
but we must move on
we take some wrong ways
up and down cliffs
rpks knee gives out under pressure of his heavy pack
he needs to lean on me going down the hills
i sing
he aint heavy hes my brother
and
lean on me brother, when you need a hand
we pass thru weird little villages of huts
no water no lecktricity no nuffink
one place called the love shack
has been abandoned
i look in thru the lianas and vines
broken windows, still got furniture inside
dishes still in the sink
i guess love can go wrong
we walk along a beach
rpk starting to struggle
mh and i share his pack
fuck its heavy
rpk says theres a kiosk on next beach
we waddle towards it for hours
but its closed
we take a track thats been closed
due to rockfall
we walk along under cliffs
that obviously are eroding and dropping
huge boulders down
theyre strewn all over the path
the tides coming in
caught between the wild grey sea
and the threatening rocks
hanging out improbably
over yer humble hero
surfers hurry on by
they stand on ledges and launch emselves into
the forbidding brine
the true bohemians
they carve thru the waves
weaving their arabesques
in the violent heaving sea
jesus
i admire these guys
the true frontiers
the real artists
doing stuff no one will ever see
anyway after
long corridors of sand and challenging ants
moors and mountains
fields and fountains
we enter the rainforests
the leechies are on us immediately
they are virtually indestructable
you cannae squash em
or break em
or hurt em
you can jump up and down on em
scrape em
bash them
they dont care
the only thing they really hate
is a sustained blast of cig lighter
but even as youre trying to burn em off
theyre trying to latch on to the hand
thats holding ye olde lighter
down yer socks they go
i see rpks got at least 6 going down each boot
we cant stop to sort em out
or more will climb on
eventually we get to a rock
hanging out over a valley miles beneath
the other 2 bouys have bleeding feets
the leeeches inject something
to keep your blood from coagulatin’
we fight the fuckin leechies all the way
(a bit like yon music industrie)
never mind says rpk
when we get to train station
there will be hot chocolate and Candy Barres
but
there aint
we cant even buy a ticket
cos we only have notes and no coins
later mh and i get busted for not having tix
can you prove you have no change?
says a crew cutted oaf in uniform
eventually we dont know if weve gotten a fine
or not
typical australia
we still picking off leeches on train
i fling one to floor of carriage
and am quite delighted
when it crawls up the leg of a “straight”
who gets on at town hall
straight up the “straights” suity pants it goes
hell get a shock when sometime tonight
he finds a big blood filled worm
sucking on his thigh
or maybe worse
ha ha
what could i do…?
eventually arrive home
hot radox bath
limp around knackered
my family gather around
to hear my tall tales and true
well
it was like this…..

see ya soon
sk

30 Responses to “leeches, beaches and bush arrangers”

  1. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 January 2006 at 11:31 pm #

    Odysseus,
    when it gets down to it, besides being a poet, a bard, and a painter…you are a helluva a writer.

    I really enjoyed reading this today. You were missed.

    Disciple

  2. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 19 January 2006 at 11:47 pm #

    sounds like you had a pretty cool “walkabout”. wish i was there
    to “partake”. i could do without the leeches though. till we meet again.

    M.J.N.J.R.

  3. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 12:10 am #

    SK,

    Nice one!!

    Dr

  4. avatar
    mike | 20 January 2006 at 12:43 am #

    I couldn’t stop laughing about the leeches!! Now the straight will see how it feels to get his blood sucked!!

  5. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 12:50 am #

    Grizzly Adams you ‘aint.

    Good to see you back.
    Twas a nice read for me afternoon.

    “Florian Trout” keeps runnin’ around my noggin today.
    Today is nice.

    Love ‘ya Ess-kaye.
    theglynnisjohns

  6. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 1:45 am #

    As I read this travel log I too nursed a glass of Jack Daniels…

    Well done Steve..

    We have here a bohemian Indiana Jones.

    Brian Turner
    USA

    turnerbrian@bellsouth.net

  7. avatar
    Darko Flagg | 20 January 2006 at 1:48 am #

    What a great SBS tv series the Bush walks with SK would make! What was in the survival pack again? Green N Tube of milk? Pure energy for those long long walks…

  8. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 1:55 am #

    Write on brother!
    No really that was great, should publish selected(or all)extracts in hard back.
    Novel maybe one day?(365 days a year, one page per day, novel appears!)
    And why is Lloyd Cole (Music in a Foreign Lanuage-great album)still waiting for his publisher’s call, each time I play the album.
    Bet you don’t have to.
    Lovely SK
    Thankyou

  9. avatar
    eek | 20 January 2006 at 1:57 am #

    I think when the leech saw the straight on the train he cried “Daddy!!!”

    I hope you had lots and lots of chocolate when you got home.

  10. avatar
    paula | 20 January 2006 at 2:12 am #

    oh the luck of those owners of the big bolstering brown paper bag.they dont issue those to any old talented genius u know.glad your soacking it all up u frequent fryer u!looking forward to more nautical vibes with the slight touch of mandrake neurosis thrown in for good measure.

  11. avatar
    RONIN | 20 January 2006 at 3:07 am #

    Glad you got to see the love shack, sk. Too bad about those leeches though. I felt like I was along with you the whole way. Well done…

  12. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 3:12 am #

    SK:

    it sounds like you are ready for Montana. come visit, I’ll make sure you don’t get eatin by a grizzly bear, or a mountain lion or a pack of wolves.

    Florian

  13. avatar
    CSTCoach | 20 January 2006 at 3:27 am #

    Ahh, SK, good to have you back, man.

    Great description, complete with some ripping puns. Really fucking enjoyed it. My kinda travel. One day maybe we’ll get together, swap some traveler’s tales. I’ll tell ya about Mongolia, living off Ghengis Khan vodka (“pass the Great Khan”) and a box of dust-covered Eastern Bloc chocolates, frigid nights in a tent by a lonely lake, huddled between two Swedish girls for warmth…

    Really dug the Outback bloggy. Yer welcome on my expedition anytime. 😉

    ryan

  14. avatar
    daydreamer | 20 January 2006 at 4:06 am #

    Oh the joy of a wet sleeping bag ~ !
    Very entertaining, ese.
    Thanks.

    btw in the States we call that “backpacking.”

  15. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 4:25 am #

    “Simple things just seem to have you up in a balloon”, once sang PeaK Hour.
    I don’t know, it’s kinda easy to respond to a “poem” (four letter words sometimes give me panic) but…these thoughtful reports of rather simple things seem like something I’ve been waiting for gomadamn long. The way with the stars is to sigh to but to try hard is to experience what’s happening now. This bloog is more of a movement.
    An unfinished sympathy for unfinished messages. Some may bee complete.

  16. avatar
    buzby | 20 January 2006 at 4:27 am #

    ripple had just come on as i was reading this, so i thought it only appropriate to say thanks for the words.. thanks for the music. all entertaining.

    also… love the little drum thing in the beginning of dabble’s ‘blessed one’. great tune overall.

  17. avatar
    captainmission | 20 January 2006 at 5:35 am #

    Wow that was a great read thanks.
    Let me just say that for those overseas reading, or those outside of sydney, it was really heavy rain, in fact our dam which was nearly empty, refilled in those two days, so to go bushwalking under those conditions requires, a great deal of spirit, in the true tradition of adventuring.
    Or some really good herbs 🙂

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 6:38 am #

    steve
    missed you while you were away
    glad you’re back
    safe and comfy
    love
    diane

  19. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 8:35 am #

    so would you do it again SK???

  20. avatar
    Laurie | 20 January 2006 at 10:56 am #

    It’s lovely to read your adventurous tale by the cozy fire sipping a spiced mulled, hot ghirhardelli chocolate. It’s nearly freezin’ outside here. Kinda puts me in the mood for Hemmingway…if I only had some in my library. I very much enjoy this subject of writing from you and your brothers. *sigh

  21. avatar
    comeclavos | 20 January 2006 at 1:20 pm #

    mistico, terrible, aburrido… quien sabe.

    saludos.

  22. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 6:45 pm #

    SK, you’re my roll model.
    Glad to have you back, Loved the outback adventure.

    Sincerely,

    Robert-sleepmonk

    sleepmonk@hotmail.com

  23. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 6:53 pm #

    i drempt fucking leeches last night, man…. stuck to my forehead… and my stomach burning them off with lighters… no lie.. what’s that all about..sk?? u tell me….w e i r d a s s d r e a m t i m e i n t h e d r e a m t i m e m c o s m i c b u s h m e n b r o t h e r s w e i r d a s s d r e a m t i m e i n t h e d r e a m t i m e m c o s m i c b u s h m e n b r o t h e r s w e i r d a s s d r e a m t i m e i n t h e d r e a m t i m e m c o s m i c b u s h m e n b r o t h e r s w e i r d a s s d r e a m t i m e i n t h e d r e a m t i m e m c o s m i c b u s h m e n b r o t h e r s….

  24. avatar
    krissythegroupie | 20 January 2006 at 8:12 pm #

    You’re so hippie-cute and crunchy! I felt slightly jealous sitting in my apt. in Brooklyn.. but then the part about the leeches=ew. Nature can be icky.

  25. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2006 at 8:38 pm #

    Helladay, good travelin on yur own feet keeps it real, salud..

  26. avatar
    Zimparumpazoo | 20 January 2006 at 10:45 pm #

    The image of a leech crawling up one’s leg…closer and closer…until it gets to the penis…

    YIKES!

    Who do you call when you have a leech attached to your penis? The doctor? A zoologist? The fire department? Your lover? A sympathetic friend? Mother?

    It seems like something too important to keep to oneself.

  27. avatar
    Anonymous | 21 January 2006 at 10:00 pm #

    Good one.

  28. avatar
    captainmission | 22 January 2006 at 1:52 am #

    Have to just make a correction to my post above, contrary to what i was told, the damm did not fill up but the rain made a substantial difference. Anyway the point i wanted to make was it was freaking wet.

  29. avatar
    BDC | 22 January 2006 at 9:34 pm #

    One of the best posts yet. How much more human can you be than when trying to get close to nature, who does her best to keep us at arm’s length? The leeches! Brrrrr…drive you straight back to a nicely paved footpath. And then there’s always that tube of sweetened butterfat (or all the M&Ms in the trail mix — who needs nuts and sultanas when there’s chocolate around?) to tempt you away from the path of (weekend) austerity and lean rations. The bushwalking trail is unpaved with good intentions.

  30. avatar
    John Garratt | 26 January 2006 at 4:18 pm #

    Why you gotta go ad flick a leech up someone’s leg? I have to wear dress pants for my job…what if that was me? It wasn’t by the way. But don’t be so judgemental of people with nice pants! They may not really be a “straight.”


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