torek, 05. maj 2015

Broke

I'm not broke. I'm in Broke, a village in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. Came here from the Blue Mountains when the weather (again) ruined my hiking plan, passing Newcastle and did the last 21 km from Singleton on foot. I saw kangaroo meat in the supermarket on my second day in Australia, but walking to Broke I actually realized that here they have lots of them.
It was less than 100 meters after I passed the sign that I saw my "first kangaroo". More than seeing it I was smelling it.
And Finally I came to Broke. And got lost. Walked for 5 or 6 km in the wrong direction and when I admitted to myself that I was going the wrong way I stopped at a house to ask for directions. I didn't get them. Instead I had to stay there for lunch, I was given a ride back to the village and they called Jill - who was waiting for me - to pick me up at the Pickled & Pitted (a nice smelling shop with olive oils, olives and handmade olive oil soap).
Now is more than 2 weeks that I'm staying with Jill and Ben, a lovely couple who hosts me as a wwoofer. Jill is a great cook and even better company, always full of energy and immune to hangovers. She must have a reset button somewhere or a timer that restores her energy in the middle of the night. Ben is far from hangover immunity but is doing his best in his (futile) attempts to outdrink me. Not gonna happen. Of course it's nice to have him for drinking company, best is to have him for conversation.
Sunsets can get quite megalomaniac
and mornings are often misty. Well, winter is coming.
In the first days when I was here we were almost flooded. One more meter in the brook nearby and we'd have been swimming. Actually the S.E.S. (State Emergency Service) came around midnight for an evacuation warning, but Ben choose to open another bottle of wine instead of evacuating. I was sound asleep at the time, I can swim so no worries. The Wollombi broke looked like this:

When on a normal day looks like this:
About Australia: I like the beer and wine, I love the cheese and - so far - I like most of the people I've met. And yet there is a thing here that sucks big time. Almost worse than in the Philippines. Internet connections. Maybe the fact that this is such a huge country is a valid excuse, but it still sucks. Big time. Not having any connection is sure a pain in the ass. But having it and being unable to upload two pictures in 25 minutes? That was in the Blue Mountains. Here I started without. Ben offered me the use Telstra (the largest provider for wireless) dongle to write an email or two, which I accepted, and then y stubborn alter ego prevailed. I brought with me from Korea my wifi booster and a 10 meters USB extension. I climbed the tree near the caravan where I sleep and left the antenna there. Five wireless networks in range, one unsecured, with a distinctive name. "Ben, where is the Broke Estate?" "It's that house across the road." All I needed to know. I found a rusty frying pan and made my woktenna, fixed it on a container and turned it in the right direction.


The Broke Estate is where the arrow points. I sure made a hell of a good job.
Now Ben wants to use his satellite dish to make a woktenna for himself.

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