Suits, Surfers And The Hemp Embassy

After another day of proving that I should be a long distance truck driver, we arrived in south Queensland. We stopped into Brisbane to check out its self proclaimed “cosmopolitan” style. It was indeed a very city-like city: crosswalks brimming with dark-suited business people, parking cops pacing the meters and a serious looking coffee shop on each corner. We parked for precisely the amount of time we paid a ridiculous rate for, then continued south.

Our next stop was the Gold Coast and the city of Surfer’s Paradise, who cleverly changed their name to such as a marketing tool to attract tourists. This move was wildly successful and if I ever find myself in charge of a town I will certainly change its name to Free Beer. Anyway…this place is about as touristy as it gets, with its crowded pedestrian malls containing every retail outlet known to man. But somehow it isn’t tacky and, although I ate a can of tuna fish for dinner, I enjoy knowing that all those dining options are available, just in case.

At this point we made the spontaneous decision to head to the aging hippy village of Nimbin, instead of going directly to Byron Bay as planned. Nimbin is infamous for its dedication to the reversal of marijuana prohibition and as such, the local “authorities” tend to turn a blind eye to certain discretions. However, we arrived at night and found all 100 meters of the town to be closed. The next morning Nimbin’s colourful, artwork covered cafes and shops (eg. Happy High Herbs and Bringabong) sprung to life and the even more colourful local tradesmen hawked their wares. We were particularly impressed with the Hemp Embassy, an institution dedicated to hemp education, awareness and, well, getting high.

After a gorgeous drive through the hinterland, we all started getting a little emotional and sentimental. Our next stop was Byron Bay where we would bid a fond farewell to traveler Molly…

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