I did check the forecast before we went... and yes, it wasn't great, but you know, forecasts can be wrong...
We arrived in Byron about 1200 local time, and went straight to the sea to surf. Then, it was time for the inevitable Subway lunch including 6 cookies for Steve... (I'm not telling how many I had, but it wasn't as many as him!) and then we met up with another friend, and surfed again. This time, it started pouring with rain while we were surfing, and it was actually quite pleasant being in the sea with the rain pouring down, first time ever, for me!
When I say "we surfed" it was more like "they surfed and I clung to my board" - I'm hugely looking forward to this 5 day surf trip I'm going on at the beginning of March, hopefully I learn how to do it properly.
At about 1800, we decided we really ought to sort out our sleeping arrangements before it got dark. At this stage, it was really really wet (having rained for several hours straight) and we were all standing around in the car park, in our swimwear, in the pouring rain, wondering how best to get dry - and stay dry - and how on earth were we going to find a dry place (dry place? HUH?) to put the tent up... Suffice it to say, camping wasn't particularly high on our list!
We're talking 1800, Friday night, summer, massive backpackers town... and we decide to look for somewhere to stay. We tried about five different lodges/youth-hostels/motels, and no luck. Finally we were offered a small apartment for the night, and jumped at it. Simon had to "camp" on the floor as there wasn't a bed for him, but I think his "mattress" ended up involving a foam camping mattress, as many towels as we had (wet and dry), a sleeping bag, the comforter I brought, lots of clothes... heh his mattress was probably thicker than the real mattress, and he still complained! I "bags-ed" the sofa bed and left the double bed to the other boys (we had been joined by yet-another-friend by that stage).
It was actually a kind of cool apartment, although rather run down and backpacker-y. You entered and straight ahead was the sofa(bed), with the kitchen and veranda directly in front of that. To the left was the bathroom, and directly above the bathroom a sort of indoor balcony that was the "bedroom". That's where I sent the boys :) . The surf-boards slept on the veranda, in the rain. Poor surfboards.
The bathroom was interesting, because when you turned on the shower (which had NO curtains or screen, just the large spa-type bath underneath) the water came shooting out of every possible join in the shower head and hose, causing the majority of the water to either shoot up onto the ceiling, or onto the wall/door and under the door into the living room... It was a bit like being outside in the storm, except it was warmer and there was soap. Hurrah for soap.
We ate gluten-free pizza for dinner. Simon is Gluten-Free, apparently. He's also Organic. Apparently even his towels are organic (he said so). Although, he ate my Nutella for lunch today on his gluten-free banana-without-toast-sandwich, so now he is officially Not-Organic, and he has just ruined the 200-acre organic farm that he is temporarily living on. How long it takes for a farm to be organic I don't know, but it's a good while, and seeing he's living in a room on top of a barn and the only toilet is a hole in the ground in a little shack a little way away from the barn, just like Alaska, I'm sure that non-organic Nutella is going to cause problems for the farm in the future. And I did warn him, just saying. Really, People ought to take my advice.
Oh and just so you know, I specifically Capitalised the words that I wanted to be capitalised both in this sentence and the previous paragraph, so don't complain to Me about my not being consistent, because I'm allowed to be consistent in my Inconsistency. so There.
Where was I? Oh yes, gluten-free pizza. I think I'm still chewing the crust, over 24 hours later. Simon wanted lots of flavours of pizza (as you do) and said that the gluten-free option tasted the same as the not-gluten-free option, so we all volunteered (well I volunteered them, mostly) to share in the not-not-gluten-free option so that Simon could try all of our choices... ahhhhhhhhh
Newsflash: Gluten-free pizza base does NOT taste the same as the not-gluten-free pizza base, and Simon says "oh, well I can't remember what not-gluten-free pizza tastes like". Thanks, Simon. You just ruined our life.
Ok, I'm over it, really.
THEN, we went out. Byron, by night, is different from Byron, by day. Well, for one, it's dark. Not really anything to report about Byron by night, except that, exhausted from a long day surfing, I dragged the unwilling hoard of boys back to the snazzy apartment fairly early. Considering that Simon wanted to wake up at 0600 to go surfing the next morning, I thought remaining up all night wasn't probably the smartest idea. See? I'm getting wise in my old age.
Marnix then complained that he couldn't go to sleep because his stomach was full of pizza crust and it wasn't sitting very well. (Considering that Simon had spent the entire meal stealing Marnix's pizza crusts from out of his hands half-way to his mouth, I think it was more likely to be the strawberry cider...)
However, despite the stomach, Marnix was the first person to head upstairs to bed.
He was also the first (and only) person to scream at the top of his voice and run almost-head-first down the stairs yelling "AHHHH THERE'S A MASSIVE ANIMAL ABOUT A FOOT LONG IN YOUR BED, SIMON!!!!!!!!!" Highly italicised, underlined, capitalised and in bold font to emphasise how loud it was, just in case you hadn't picked that up already.
Cue me jumping to my feet and running up the stairs to see how cool this animal could possibly be. Simon and Steve, armed with various shoes, followed slightly more cautiously.
Wait for it.
To do Marnix justice, it was a pretty big stick insect. It was about 8 inches long including its feet, it's body was perhaps 1 cm wide (
And then we slept.
And Day 2 is an entirely different story and isn't going to happen in this blog entry because it's Far Too Long Already. (the blog and the day)