February 19, 2005

Kiwi Gettaway (but also Darwin to Port Hedland)

Posted by DaveSmith

Drinking the Kiwi Nigel Marx' homebrew and nothing about monkeys. But it includes Leaving Las Melbourne and Sandfire.

I found the shirt I've been thinking of making. It says, "I'm sorry my president's an idiot. I didn't vote for him." Only they have that on the back when it should be on the front. It's in the official 6 UN languages and it would make my life much easier. I'll buy it and send it to NZ.

I've asked conservative Australians what they think of Bush and it's been a non-stop "he's an idiot and your country is fucked". I've been looking for a positive outsiders view of him but couldn't find a single one. Really. I ask people that question all the fuckin' time (even more often than my bike breaks down so it's more than once a day) and I would've thought I'd run into someone who'd say, "Yeah, he's doing a good job". No luck yet.

Usually asking that question brings the answer, "Your Empire is in a rapid downfall. It was when Clinton was president but Bush has made it much worse and Americans don't seem to understand. China will be taking over soon and we'll all be fucked. Once your country goes bankrupt in a few years, it'll screw everything up". I've heard variations of that response all around Australia and now it's started in New Zealand.

So yes, I'm now in Christchurch, New Zealand looking for a small corner where all the Americans can sneak in during the upcoming Apocalypse. And I still need to catch up with December posts from Australia.

Last Thursday, I borrowed Anna's car to pick up my crap which is all over Melbourne. The plane left on Friday morning so I was cutting time short. I figured since I wasn't on a 40 year old bike, that I'd do fine. Stupid me.

I show up at the Melbourne Desmo Center and Bob Brown says, "Hey numb nuts, your helmet & boots are at my house." Bob lives 40 or 50k away and I leave Anna's car in his workshop saying, "We need to return this in the morning" and we both say, "we'll end up drunk and late". Do Aussies even use the term "numb nuts"? I've heard "fuck-wit" bandied about plenty.

Bob goes to a post office to mail stuff, so I send a kangaroo skull to Pam and Pete. I found it on the Nullabor but that part of the story might come later.

I have a stack of candy in normal flavors and the weird flavors Aussie's eat: Musk flavoured Lifesavers and the like. I need to send some to my neices & sisters and to Donna (my friend who married me so I'll have health insurance). Bob says, "You should buy some Coon Cheese* to mail back", so we go to the store and run out of time to mail the Coon Cheese and candy back. Bob bought the first drinks of the night -- bottles of Jack Daniels and coke. I check for Australian Playboy again (I've looked all over) but can't find it. I hope they sell it in NZ because I owe Doug Towsley** a copy.

*Coon, if you're not American (or probably any other English speaker) is a racist term for black people. It's also the real last name of the maker of Coon Cheese and you'd think they'd show a little dignity and rename themselves to something we all understand like "Fuck-wit Cheese".

**Doug is obviously a nut. He owns a shop in Oregon called "Combustion Junction" building Brit bikes and offered, "If you want, I'll show you how to work on bikes for real". I think he doesn't trust my zip ties, duct tape and bailing wire to get me round the world on a 40 year old Italian bike. Didn't Ducati use Lucas but made them even worse?

Bob takes me to Porn Star's house. No, his name isn't Porn Star but it's his nickname and I wanted to mention Porn Star because his nickname is Porn Star. Porn Star plays guitar and we drink some beers. Bob then buys me another steak dinner. At one of the best steaks places I've ever eaten at. It's in Riddel Creek, Australia, so go to that pub now. We continue drinking. If it's not scotch, it's sambuca. Bob, as I think I've said, can drink.

Early next morning, no time to take the car back. Bob says he'll pay for Anna's cab fare to pick up her car and takes me over to Dave Milligan's house. I didn't like putting Anna in that position (and neither did Bob) but there's no time since she lives on the other side of the city from his shop. All the stuff I've screwed up on this trip, Bob has fixed. Dave's wife takes us to the airport and there's only one employee working at the ticket station. She's annoyed and working s-l-o-w to teach The Man a lesson.

It's my turn and she says, "Get fucked, we won't let you in with a one-way ticket". I say, "Nigel Marx has sponsored me so he'll be at the airport with papers". She says, "Get fucked and buy a ticket out of N Zed since you don't have the papers on you. You have 10 minutes". That's "zed" because instead of saying "zee" for Z, Aussies and Kiwis say "zed".

So I run to a New Zealand Air booth and they point me to a Qantas booth and I wait in line. Jumping all over because I'm running out of time. I get up and say, "I need a cheap ticket to Japan in April".

It takes forever. I'm begging, "I'm really in a hurry. My plane leaves in a couple minutes".

"Here's one. It's $3,883 but it is refundable". Okay, give me. I run back to the plane ticket lady. She makes me wait because She's God and says, "run for customs". There's a HUGE line in customs and I'm wondering, "I hope they don't leave me. I hope they don't give me shit about overstaying by a month. I paid for an extra 3 months but they didn't confirm it. I hope they don't realize that I have an unpaid ticket in Sydney for using an unregistered California plate." Just general panic that occurs when you're dumb and have to deal with beauracracy. That ticket to Japan had better be refundable or I'm screwed.

Customs checks my bag looking for drugs like they always do. I don't know if it's because my last name is Smith or if I just look suspicious because it's early in the morning and I'm panicky and sweating from the running. In the States, I was told at the St. Louis airport that they check because my last name is "Smith". The customs guy checks through my bag and says, "What's that smell?". I think he's being sneaky trying to get me to admit to having 99 kilos of heroin in my carry-on.

"It's me. I was drinking last night, haven't showered and have been running at the airport while the ticket lady decided if New Zealand will let me in". He says, "piss off" and I hear on the PA, "Mr Smith, please report to gate 4", so I run through the Duty Free zone to find the gate which is never in the order it should be.

I'm the last one on the plane, but I made it.

We fly into Christchurch and the entry point customs needs to check Nigel Marx' address since I put that down as where I'd be staying. They send me through and I pick up my banjo, my helmet, my backpack, my sleeping bag and a heavy bag of camping equipment, tools and other very heavy stuff. Heavy enough that they said they'd charge me an extra $25 for being overweight. I have to drop down to my knees to get the heavy bag strap over my shoulder and I strain to pick it up. I can barely get on my feet again. I walk 5 steps and a customs lady says, "Okay, we need to check you out".

She checks out Nigel Marx' address which takes a few minutes. She tells me to go to The Red Line so they can check out my stuff. I knew that was going to happen because I said I had cheese and camping equipment. Plus my name is Smith.

Before I get to The Red Line customs lady, another customs lady pulls me aside and tucks me behind a wall with mirrored windows. She wants to know if I'm in a bike gang because there's other people wearing Ducati shirts and I have a helmet. She wants to know what drugs I have. But not because I declared that I have drugs. I must be in some sort of Ducati Hells Angels or something. I guess it's a gang of Yuppies who call the cops to complain, "My Special Edition Ducati jacket wasn't made in Italy! I think my mechanic cracked my clear plastic gear cover and the carbon fiber covers are on back-order. Kill him!".

Customs checks out Nigel Marx' address and has me wait 10 minutes to say, "piss off". My guess would be they were waiting to see if I would act panicky over the 99 kilos of heroin in the carry-on. Jokes like that are great at airports, so I suggest you try them there. They also love "I'm not just _happy_ to see you, that's a rocket in my pocket" jokes. Or, more correctly, "jokes". I make it down The Red Line so my bags can be checked. But this time for real.

The cheese is cleared. This customs lady was actually very nice. She wanted to know what my bracelet was about. It's a Medic Alert bracelet because I'm epileptic. I say, "I have a note from my doctor if you'd like to check about the medication" but she doesn't care what I have. She's just wants me out of her way.

It took me more than an hour to clear customs, but Nigel is standing at the gate. Who's Nigel Marx, you ask? I'm guessing since someone with a made up name like "Smith" visiting someone with the made up name of "Marx" rings bells in NZ, it might work the same with you. Nigel is another motorcycling travel nut from Horizons Unlimited. I'm at his house drinking his home brew. I just finished this bottle so I'll find another while he's not looking. He roasted his own coffee this morning, too.

It's the karma of everyone's life: Horrible ticket lady + horrible customs police = homebrew and fresh roasted coffee. You know how it is.

His daughter just came in and said, "his homebrew is dangerous". I guess since there's no poisonous animals in New Zealand, Nigel is supplying his own poison. Good thing I can't be killed. And if I can be killed through some oversite, "Hey Donna! Glad to have helped pay off your apartment!"

So this about explains how I left Darwin, went to Geikie Gorge at Frank Warner's advice and camped. Listened to the dingos and saw wild pigs.

I eventually found myself at Broome where I met a blonde lady on a '73 Norton Commando. She said, "Good luck finding yourself a free camping spot but it's not tourist season so the rangers won't be looking for anyone." I camped illegally in the bush by Camel Beach and talked to some ex-sailor with all that tattooes in the world on him. He was camped illegally next to me out in the bush.

Days and days of riding and camping from Darwin. I met Masato, the Japanese guy on the 200cc Suzuki with the giant tires (his pictures have been posted earlier), at the rest stop near Anna Plains.

Mosato's cruising speed was 60k/hour (37miles). I left him and went to Sandfire where I met the first person in Australia who lived where she was raised. Sure, she was only 18 but she was the first I met. And she was the first cute girl I saw in Australia. Probably because I don't count bimbos in bikinis at tropical beaches as being human. Now that I said that, no Playboy Bunnies will want to date me.

But this girl was cute. Since I think she was 18, she was probably 3 and worked illegally -- much like the 3 year old selling Chiclets (gum) in Mexican streets.

That's how age works in most of Australia. I overestimated everyone's age by 15 years. I'd say, "Excuse me grandmother, may I help you across the street?" She'd say, "Piss off, I'm 20. And is that a Scottish accent?" It was like that for most of Australia except for mostly Melbourne and Sydney. It's the non-stop sun, I reckon, although there's sun in Sydney.

I swear I'm not making this next part up. I heard this joke from 3 (count them, three) sets of other foreign travelers, in tropical Australia.

"What do you say when you see a cute Australian girl?"

"What country are you from?"

There must've been some sort of Crabby Foreigner Convention that I missed out where it was Bag on Australia Day. I thought about this while I rode on from Sandfire, along with lewd thoughts about the Sandfire Girl.

I waited for Masato at Sandfire because I was in BFE and didn't know anyone (BFE, if you ain't 'merican, is Butt Fuckin Egypt. Stands for "middle of nowhere"). It was hot and I had to drink a couple liters of water. Masato showed up and I offered to ride with him. I figured since my bikes top speed was 95k/hour (60 miles), that 60k (37 miles) wouldn't be a pain. I don't know how anyone that's ridden along with me could put up with 95k an hour. That's really slow I learned on this part. 60k around Australia is crazy.

Masato and I camped (probably illegally) at the information booth by the airport at Port Hedland. I hope I pick up enough Japanese when I'm teaching English to talk to him. The pidgin English was okay, but I'd like to know more about him.

In Port Hedland by the way, I ran into the Sandfire Girl. It's 290k/180miles (no shit) from Sandfire, but it's the closest town. She drove in for groceries and I thought, "Damn, if she was 30 instead of 18, I'd ask if she could ride a bike". But if she was actually 30 up there, she'd look 50 and I wouldn't have noticed her. Australia. It's a double edged sword.

Masato and I cooked pasta and he put tomato sauced sardines on them. I skipped on the sardines. I'm still trying to get used to sea food. I puked up shrimp when I was 6 and it's stuck with me for life. You'd think since I'm half Portuguese that I'd be snacking on cod, but I had to get used to even tuna on this trip. Seafood, for the unaccustomed, is kinda/sorta like getting used to drinking beer. It's an acquired taste. I hope by Japan, I can eat seaweed.

I got email from Masato a couple days ago. He's in Canberra and heads for Sydney soon. There he ships his Suzuki back to Japan. I asked about his shipper but he thinks he's been fucked over by him. I'll find out what happened and post the shipping info to Horizons Unlimited. Maybe it turned out good.

I've always been cynical, but on this trip, I'm becoming optimistic. It's a weird level of cynicism. I've reached a point where there's nothing I can do but hope for the best instead of expecting the worst like I usually do. I don't know if that made sense. So cynical, I'm optimistic. My bike was a mess but it worked out good by the end of Australia. I paid $3,883 for a one-way ticket to Japan on a date I can't even remember. It should be fine.

My favorite travel stories, which I obviously don't know how to write, combine the good with the bad. Port Hedland gets worse, but I meet Thespis, Porky & Deb, and Chook (I hope I got that right) and everything got better. I loved Ted Simon's daily bits about what a fucked up day he was having. You know why? Because ANYONE having a fucked up day flying from Australia to New Zealand is a lot more entertaining then "some fuck-wit took my memo".

I hope, at some point in the future, I'll make an entertaining book out of this trip. Maybe I should start reading a bunch of zen books and get that into it. I'd have to combine zen puns with zombie puns which would mean an audience of two interested parties who'd probably prefer them in Esperanto which I have no intention on learning. And then I'd give them the book for free for being such fuck-ups.

People would buy "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Dismantling" more than they'd buy "A Fucked Up Yanks Trip o' The World". Plus Wal-Mart wouldn't buy it because the title says "uck-fay" in it and I'd get pissy and cut off my nose to say "fuck 'em". And I'll end up working in Miami as a bell-hop at age 65.

And then what? I'd wake up in a puddle. More references to the Repo Man movie when I get back around to Melbourne in the stories. I'm still in December and Melbourne wasn't until January. I'll try to catch-up quick, dig?

(this entry is closed for comments)

Posted by DaveSmith at February 19, 2005 07:08 PM

I'll tell'ya Dave.....your posts are 'laughoutloudfunny'...I guess that would translate in 'puterspeak as LOLF......or maybe not...luvya.us

Posted by: the old man at February 20, 2005 05:20 AM

Better luck on the Playboy magazine etc in NZ,,Post more pictures,, maybe we can talk to your hosts and tell them to withold alcohol till you update the journals, that should do the trick,
Maybe i can have you look up some people in New Zed,, The Howlick boys,, they lost a court case in contract dispute and owe our company several hundred thousand, If you could harass them it would be nice, maybe someday ill get a regular check or even a raise, Im sure they would freak out if you stopped by their shop. Or just leave a pile of S**T in the middle of the night on their doorstep with a note saying "hello from International Steel" that will have them nervous or at least scratching their heads.
On the other hand you might fall asleep or pass out there,get arrested and get tossed out of New Zed.

Posted by: doug at February 20, 2005 06:01 AM

Trekkies 2 was just released in Australia on 02/10/05. Is it too late to use your notoriety to get somebody to buy you a beer? Where are you headed next? The release date in Japan is 02/25/05 so maybe you can work that angle there. The "My President's an Idiot" traveler's shirt is hilarious. I just ordered 3. If your trip does nothing else positive, it got me the shirts. Watch out for local diseases and softball sized hail.

Posted by: Roger Nygard at February 20, 2005 08:45 AM

Dave, I would suggest you change your last name to "Jones" to make things easier. Glad you made it to New Zealand okay, now where's that 99K your promised me? Musk flavored Life-Savers sound like they'd be really nasty, but I can't talk as far as that goes since I like Campari. It's the beetle blood that makes it so good.

I hope that ticket to Japan is refundable too. I also hope Masato's shipping problems get straightened out.

Did you get a picture of "Porn Star"?

Plate of shrimp.

As far as book titles go- I'd ignore anything with the word "Zen" in it, but the word "Fuck" would get my attention pretty quick. But I don't shop at Wal-Mart either. Did you know they were going to try to build one in Downtown Plaza? I think it's gotten killed by now, but there are other parts of the semi-gentrification project going on right now to give the city of Sac its "Cosmopolitan Hub" makeover. And a bunch of little clubs (mostly hip-hop) just got shut down.


Hey Roger- if you haven't seen it yet (you probably have) check out "The Yes Men" documentary (theyesmen.org).

Posted by: deeann at February 20, 2005 09:29 AM

Yep-japan next....fish---lots of that here.when ya get here alot of folks are gonna offer ya some very bad stuff..you will be the new guy and watch out for natto!!!!Customs in japan is alot rigid so think aboat a boat ticket to korea---$80 bucks from fukuoka to pusan...if ya coming with a one way ticket---their easy to refund too(boat tix)...try japan rail kyushu beetle to search or i can walk down to the train station get ya one-- dave--and mail it too ya...when things get organized just ask..also chikae and me our hitched and our wedding party is april 16th--it`s nomihodai(all you can drink)at a chinese diner in downtown kumamoto.so if any folks wanna come on down...also dave the cheap beer in japan is made with seawater!!!!

Posted by: jay at February 20, 2005 03:03 PM

Dave! Sandra Dee and Hunter S. Thompson! Who's the next icon on your dead pool list?

Posted by: Gina at February 21, 2005 06:31 PM

Now THAT is the kind of post I expect from the archbishop. Looks like you retrieved your hilarity. I'm sure it has been a laugh riot, but this is the first post I've read that ranks up there with some of your classics. Speaking of classics, H.S.T. cashed his check Sunday. Having read way too much of his stuff, I never would have predicted him taking that way out. Too bad there's no way it wasn't a suicide. Poor conspiracy theorists! Take care, "Dave".

Posted by: ed at February 22, 2005 05:56 AM

Hey Dave,

Yeah Smith, that's a tough one. I'm not convinced Jones would take care of it. Maybe Hoffa would do better?
You're missing nothing but bad weather here pal. Hugs

Posted by: Dr. Biggles at February 22, 2005 11:19 AM

Hey Dave,

I've gotta agree with Ed. Great post!! What, no pictures of the cute Australian girl? I'll have to search the internet for the "my president's an idiot" shirt.

It's funny in China everyone liked Bush or as they would say 'D Bush. I guess it's cuz they figure he's going to fuck us over and China will take over. Oh well, I like Chinese food and the midget has a Chinese passport so I'm probably okay.

BTW, I've never been to Japan, but from what I've been told, you better work on getting use to seafood. You know fish for breakfast that type of thing. I can understand the thing about the fish. Never developed a taste for it myself. The same thing for beer (sadly).

Ah well, I have to send e-mail to Robert to find out why he stopped by work and neglected to stop by and say hi (for the second time!). I beginning to think he doesn't like me. ;)

BTW, for what it's worth, my parents loved New Zealand. It's the only foreign country they've ever been to (not counting Mexico/Tijuana). Keep the stories coming they're getting better and better.

Posted by: Farmdog at February 25, 2005 02:21 PM

I thought Playboy USA had folded last year or the year before...and I'm not sure there was ever an Aussie version. I know there used to be an Australian Penthouse, but that's recently folded too. Nothing but German hardcore left on the news-stands now...sobs...I can relate to the airport travails, I had machine guns pointed at me in Charles de Gaul in 96 because they thought this mohawked guy from Australia had a bomb in his carry on luggage, and if I did, they were going to shoot it before I could set it off. When I was going to the States to clean up the National Guard's unexploded ordinance in 98 I was nearly arrested in LAX for having the hide to try entering the country without the address of my on-site accomodation, spouting some cock and bull story which shed bad light on the Guard. For two hours I queued with illegal Mexicans, then to a queue of semi-legal Panamanians, then informed that if I did not return to my baggage immediately it would be destroyed. I found that losing my temper and screaming obscenities resolved the situation quite adequately in the end and I was allowed to board my connecting flight to Salt Lake City.

Posted by: carloscarlos at March 1, 2005 08:57 AM