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Monday, November 22, 2010

45th Stop - Sydney and Newcastle

Ken and Matt
I left Adam and Fran’s place after surfing one more morning and changed hosts. My new host, Matt, lives in Surrey Hills just outside of the downtown area. We met and almost immediately left to go on a walkabout of the city.

Every week, while the girlfriends and wives play trivia, Matt, his brother, and friends use the pretext of a man’s club to go walk around the city, try a couple of different pubs, and enjoy a meal in a new restaurant. Tonight, it would be just Matt, his brother Ken, and me. Thanks guys for the great tour of the city and excellent dinner!
Sydney by night

On Wednesday, I met up with Alexandr from Russia, a couchsurfer who was going to host me but the dates didn’t quite work out. So we went for lunch instead. Alexandr had just returned from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and really appreciated the mission I was on to raise money and awareness for malaria, so much so that he went ahead and made a $100 donation. Thanks Alexandr for your donation and the inspiration; I look forward to seeing you again soon!

Bondi Beach
Surfing at Bondi Beach the next morning. It seems that the boards I was getting were progressively smaller and getting up was getting progressively harder! No worries though, practice makes perfect! Later that night, Matt’s roommates introduced me to a TV series called Trailer Park Boys which I would recommend.

I had been in touch with Art, another couchsurfer and American living in Australia for the past 20 years, while I was in Japan. Art was organizing a camping trip over the weekend and he invited me to come along. On Friday, we all met up and set off for the sand dunes at Stockton Beach just outside of Newcastle.

Art letting air out of tires before hitting the dunes
Wow, what a trip! About 20 people from all over the world, five 4x4’s, bonfires, guitars, surfboards, tents on the beach, tacos, eggs and bacon breakfast, beverages, and a lot of good laughs! A big thanks to Art for the excellent organization, Michael for bringing lots of gear, the Newcastle CS crew for the logistic support, David for letting me use one of his boards, Amanda for the girl scout-esque mint cookies, Julien for showing us his wicked hands, and all the people who made this such a memorable experience.

Lazy mornings around a burnt out campfire
Anyone want an egg and bacon muffin?
Julien's wicked hands
Next stop: West Pymble, Sydney, and Cottage Point!

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