Posts Tagged ‘plans’

A Descent Into “Life”

April 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Hejsa, hoi, guten tag, kia ora, bonjour, ‘orrite, dia dhuit and g’day!

Surf trip is over. :(

The craic was mighty.

Now I’m back in Sydney. Here’s how I feel about that…

“A Very Reluctant Departure” / Day 339: Sunday April 13 2008

I actually was much better at surfing this time than the first attempt last September. I certainly found paddling to be a hell of a lot easier. I think it was because my expectations had been sufficiently adjusted as to how bloody hard surfing actually is when you’re first starting out. The ocean is a great leveller, and I spent a significant portion of the trip last September being well and truly levelled. I was also crunched, dumped, planted, slammed, smashed, belted and hammered by waves that were not that high but insisted on closing out right on top of me every 5 or so seconds. When you’re also trying to wrangle a learner’s softboard into submission, this is a lesson not easily forgotten.

I fared much better this time, however. I didn’t hang ten or catch a tube, but I did get to my feet after paddling in under my own power (a damn sight better than the last time I had a crack at it).

The weather for much of the week can only be described as “shithouse”. It started to pour with rain just before we left Sydney at 7:45 on Monday morning and followed us all the way to Crescent Head, where it settled in well and truly until Friday morning (when we departed for Byron). However, the swell was up because of this, and we were in the ocean anyhow so we couldn’t get any more wet. And besides, there is something exhilarating about surfing in the rain. All the elements coming together like that felt quite amazing.

Friday was much more clear, and it was then that I got the majority of my photos for the trip. This jaunt was always going to be more about the surfing than the photography anyhow.

I also discovered on this trip that I need a pretty decent point break to practice on, and at least a 10 foot malibu. Then I might be able to work myself up to shorter boards and beach breaks.

We landed in Byron Bay just after dark on Friday, checked in to the Arts Factory and then settled in for a few quiet ones. Then midnight ticked over into Saturday I turned another year older. The Buddha Bar closed very shortly afterwards and so we walked into town. We could not get into the Great Northern or the Beach Hotel because of what I believe to be completely ridiculous regulations that have bugger-all to go with public safety and everything to do with covering the hotel licensee’s arse. What was really making me mad was the fact that these dumb rules were preventing me from hanging out with a bunch of people I’d just spent the past 5 days travelling, eating, drinking, sleeping and surfing with.

Everywhere else had cover charges with varying degrees of severity. Duly pissed off, I wandered away to find some public facilities, and when I came back I was greeted by the sight of two of my fellow surf trip attendees, Elsa Maria and Lív, carrying a cake box. I noticed a soft orange glow coming from the open lid. Some others from the trip as well as about seven random bystanders gathered in a semi-circle and sang Happy Birthday to me in the middle of the main street. I was touched beyond words, and in all honesty had to try to fight back tears as I made my wish and blew out the candles. It was a beautiful thing and it made my annoyance dissolve instantly [photo © Lív Reynheim, 2008].

We were not awake for much longer, and the actual day of my birthday was a very low-key affair. A few of us just hung out in the beer garden at the Beach Hotel until around dinner time and then strolled on back to the Arts Factory for a couple of drinks and a bite to eat.

Three of the group were hit with a weird bug of some type which had the symptoms of food poisoning, but we’d all eaten pretty much the same things for a week.

Thanks to Benjamin, Elsa Maria, Grant, Julian, Lasse, Lív, Ludovic, Mark, Mel, Neil, Paul, Robin, Roz & Sarah for the company, the drinks, the laughs, the surfing, and cake, and for making this birthday the best one since I started high school.

Also thanks to Lester, Jack and Kyle for their hospitality and encouragement, Ross for the great food and the Wednesday night singalong (I think Kyle’s kazoo solo during Ring Of Fire has been permanently lodged into the brains of a few of us), and to Plenko for delivering us safely back to Sydney.

Now some photos. I’m still awaiting the arrival of some shots I took on Thursday with Grant’s Olympus dSLR. For some reason we had a hell of a time getting them from his MacBook Pro to a CD (I even crashed the Mac! No idea how…), so when those pics arrive I will stick them online as well.


(I want to do this trip again under my own steam and make it a primarily photographic trip, with surfing as a sideline.)

When I first moved to Sydney and went to visit Griffith, I could not wait to get back to the Big Smoke, where all the action is. But things have changed. I’ve found it increasingly hard to get back to this life, this town, especially in the last year or so when I’ve left for a short time. Maybe the city is not for me, maybe I’ve just lived here too long. Maybe I had prepared myself so comprehensively for a more quiet life somewhere in Canada that I now find a city this size grates on the fabric of my soul. Maybe I know now that it is easier for me to be true to myself when I’m away from what passes for “normality”. All I know is that I found it very hard to come back, I felt homesick for places I don’t live in and I miss people that I did not even know 8 days ago.

Gather my strength, pray to my gods & goddesses, if I have any…

dedications and vows..

.. and let all the elements combine.

(I swear I am the shortest-haired hippy in the world…)


An exhibition of possibilities

September 2, 2006 Comments off
I just got back from viewing a photographic exhibition of Lewis Morley’s work. Mr Morley is responsible for a famous image of Christine Keeler, a woman at the centre of a huge political scandal in the UK in the 1960s.  

Listening to Mr Morley speak of his career via DVD presentation was quite inspiring, as was seeing his reportage work. He also spent quite a while as a fashion photographer, and I was envious of his ability with portraits (particularly this one). I could see some similarities between his reportage pics and some of the street stuff I’ve done.

All in all, rather a good day for photography.

Anchor What?

February 6, 2005 Leave a comment

Well, we’re still in Cambodia. Tomorrow we’re getting a bus to the “wild west” town of Poipet and crossing over into Thailand. With luck we will arrive in time for a train back to Bangkok.

Still trying to put into words the way in which this country affects me. I’ve never been somewhere that has such a sad history. Then of course there’s the ancient splendour of the temples around Siem Reap. Angkor Wat is the best known of these, and I have to say that it truly is an incredible place. It was built in the late 1100s as a temple to Vishnu, and served as a Buddhist monastery in the 16th century. There were hundreds of tourists/travellers there when we visited three days ago, but even so it’s so peaceful there it’s like another world. There are about 800 meters of old bas-releif carvings depicting scenes from history and Hindu mythology. Climbing the stairs to the central tower would have Sir Edmund Hillary thinking twice. To be in a place so old when my country is so young is quite an experience.

Another experience, far less fun, is cycling 12 kilometers in total darkness. Well… it wasn’t total all the time. :) I had 2 tyre blowouts yesterday, the second one taking place about 5 minutes to sundown. It cost US$2 to have a new tyre fitted, but then we had to ride back in the dark. Fortunately we had an escort for several kilometers, 2 local blokes on a motor scooter kindly shared their illumination with us until we got to a road with some streetlights.

Jen and I moved house to the lodgings annex of the Dead Fish Tower restaurant. And there are more crocodiles there! Much smaller, but more active. One jumped and hissed at me as I strolled past the pit, and I nearly leapt into orbit.

My trip is drawing to a close. :( But we still have a few days in Bangkok before I fly out for a night in Hong Kong.

That’s about it for now. Take care.

Paul C./Karsoe

City Of Angels

January 14, 2005 Leave a comment

Hello from Bangkok.

Officially known as Krung Thep.

More officially known as Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

It seems as if any city known as the City Of Angels has a very long official name. Los Angeles, for example, is officially called El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porcincula.

Jen and I are still here, but have booked bus tickets to Koh Chang on the way to Cambodia. We head off tomorrow, ETA in Cambodia currently unknown. We have visas, that’s the main thing.

We’ve been having loads of fun exploring the city, finding new and cool placs for food and drink, visiting temples and other sacred areas (the pub for instance). :) And meeting some very friendly cats at a monastery. Getting a bit of writing done. And some reading. Letting the important lessons of life filter through my mind and into my heart. And also getting some tips on how to bring it all back to Australia with me and make it a part of my everyday life. That’s one thing I really hope to accomplish.

So yes, the amazing adventure continues. Not sure of the Internet situation in Koh Chang, but I’ll be sure to get in touch when I can.

Paul C./Karsoe

Categories: Travel Tags: , , ,

Home again?

January 9, 2005 Leave a comment

Here I am, safe & sound and significantly less hung over than when last we met…

Getting on the Thai Air flight from Siagon was a little strange. I was greeted by the flight attendant with “Sawadee ka” and felt instantly comfortable. I could’ve only felt in more familiar surroundings if I’d stepped onto a Qantas plane and met with a “G’day”.

Landing in Bangkok 65 minutes later was also a very cool feeling. It really did feel as familiar as landing in Mascot.

Getting through to the outside world, however, was a total balls-up on my past. Knowing you could get a visa on arrival, I then proceeded to follow the completely wrong process and delayed my exit from the airport by an hour. Grr… I then got a taxi but failed to factor in the Friday arvo traffic. Another hour to the guesthosue Jen was staying in.

Seeing the tuk-tuks, Golden Mount, Democracy Momument, Grand Palace, and yes even Khao San Road filled me even more with a sense of coming home rather than landing in a foreign country. And while there’s a lot more traffic than in Vietnam, it’s also a lot quieter. No vigorous tootling of any kind. :)

FINALLY met up with Jen, we talked, we laughed, we ate some great food, we spoke vaguely about our next move to Cambodia, and we slept soundly. It was the first bit of quiet I’d had in 18 days. Magical.

This evening after dinner we found a department store and bought a kettle so we can enjoy the Vietnamese coffee I bought in Hué. Then bought a few more things from a nearby supermarket. The whole time it kept hitting me that this felt truly like where I lived. It was weird, but very cool.

[yawn!] I suspect I’m still somewhat knackered from my Vietnam adventure. :) So I’ll head off and wish you all a good night.

Foolish behaviour in Saigon

January 6, 2005 Leave a comment

Well, to be honest, this sort of foolishness would have taken place wherever there’s a gathering of Aussies and sufficient alcohol. And some classic OZ music.

Last night I chanced upon a bar called the Blue Gecko, which I heard was rather a cool place. Staffed by some very cute Veitnamese girls and patronised by a bunch of Westerners. I walked in, ordered a beer and noticed a green & gold autographed cricket shirt on the wall. Then I spotted a VB coaster, a few Ettamogah Pub cartoons on the walls.

Bloody hell, I thought, and I asked the girl behind the bar, “Is this an Australian pub?”

“Yes,” she said. “Where you from?”

“Sydney,” I replied, and laughed at the fact that of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, I had to walk into this one.

Struck up a conversation with some blokes from Melbourne who are now living here. The place was breifly invaded by a group of teenagers from the Gold Coast. I played, and had my arse kicked in, a few games of pool. Drank. Listened to some Cold Chisel, Hunters & Collectors, Crowded House (Ok, they’re Kiwi but we claimed them anyhow).

The Aussies on this spam list would probably be familiar with a song that came out about 20 years ago by a band called Redgum. The song is called I Was Only 19 (A Walk In The Light Green). It’s about a kid who gets shipped to Vietnam during the war and sees one of his mates get killed, and how he’s struggling with life back in the world. It’s a powerful song, and I’ve not heard it in a long long time. Being half-smashed in a bar in Saigon and hearing this was for me quite a moving experience.

Then they played Khe Sanh, and all felt right in the world. :) They also played Holy Grail, The Boys Light Up, Reckless… it felt really good to have that kind of familiarity for a while.

I drank a lot with 2 Vietnamese guys who now live in the US. Turns out that one of them is a sales rep for Tiger beer, hence we had quite a few freebies. :) At least I can justify my feeling like utter shite that way. I only spend about 125,000 dong all night, quite cheap really.

I somehow safely navigated the streets for 3 kilometers back to my guesthouse. I can barely remember getting there, I must’ve woke the owners to get in. I do remember apologising many times to them.

I was actually prepared to not like Saigon, given how noisy and intense I found most of the rest of the country. But I have to admit that I really like this town! Kind of reminds me of Sydney, strangely enough.

I’m flying back to Bangkok tomorrow to reunite with Jen, and today I’m too hung over (and it’s now too late in the day) for me to do a few things I wanted to. But I’ll be back at some point. :) It’s just up the road from home, innit?

Not a lot of spirituality in Saigon from me, I’ll admit. But I’m starting to learn now that once you’re on the Path you never really leave it. You might stop and rest for a while, but it’s still the Path.

So… having a blast, love you all, take care, all that bollocks. :)

Karsoe/Paul C.

Once more into the breach, dear friends…

December 9, 2004 Leave a comment

[This was originally sent as an email to a bunch of friends.]

I arrived in Nong Khai at 9am yesterday, wandered about town in search of somewhere to crash and found myself beside a river. It took a little time for my brain to realise where I was.

So I found a cafe, obtained an excellent coffee, sat down and stared across the Mekong into Laos.

As the Aussies on this mail list can probably appreciate, it’s a strange feeling indeed to be able to stand in one country and look at another.

I’m going over to Laos tomorrow. Weirdly, I feel more nervous about this than I did over leaving my own country.

Bits of my being are trying to catch up with my physical manifestation, I’m feeling quite disoriented right now (nothing to do with the large bottle of Singha I just drank, I can assure you). I’m hoping that the Net connections in Laos are better than my 2 year old travel guide suggests. I’ll be hotfooting it over to Vietnam, probably take me about a week to get there (5 days to get a visa, apparently).

You know… I’m not entirely sure what to say… a lot has happened to me, much of which is hard to put in writing. I came here to change, and I am. I have. It’s so hard to explain. I like to think that on some level everyone has a desire to connect with the world on a higher level, but it’s so rare to make that known to others. I’ve met a few that I know think that way, maybe more that do but haven’t made that known. I don’t know… I’m finding faith in things other than “work hard, save money, buy this, want that”.

:) Maybe some of you are thinking, “Yep, Karsoe’s gone off the deep end.” Truth is, I’m only now starting to truly know things I long suspected for many years. I actually feel like I’m a part of something, though I still don’t know exactly what to call that.

“I know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

Hmmm… maybe I should go, check in again when I’m feeling more complete.

Take care,
Paul C./Karsoe