The Rainforest Journal: Outing #18 – Days 1 & 2

(Monday 12-January-2015)


May as well grab a coffee or something and get comfortable for this one; it’s a novella.


I don’t even know where to start mentally arranging a way to accurately convey this week’s bittersweet, frustrating stay in town. Suffice to say it ended on a poignant note though with Eric – the loud, old regular, (same accent as Count Dracula, he had) leaving for his budget tour of Thailand (of course I offered to slip $10 in his account if he brings me back a Thai bride too) – and Alice, the crazy Chinese chick, both gone.

I’ll probably miss the senile old fart more than the lunatic woman, since Eric’s been there for months now whenever I’m in town, and although he’s an extremely irritating, gruff, loud old arse-bag – near impossible to hold a two-way conversation with owing to his tendency to regularly veer completely off topic and start droning on about boring shit from the 60s and 70s – he has a sense of humor and we killed hours most nights, in the dining room over dinner, talking shit and spewing vulgarity and obnoxiousness that regularly attracted disgusted glances from other offended guests.

Anyway, Alice – assuming that’s her real name.

Let me just preface by stating that although this chick is both completely delusional and insane in equal measure, she also had moments of clarity; where she would actually converse normally and even be genuinely funny on occasion, with an undercurrent of the kind of feminine charm that just makes saying “no”, a strangely difficult thing to do. Not because she was so hot, intelligent or seductive; there was nothing special about her at all. The only difference between her and the millions of woman that sashay around Sydney every day, is she has nothing and is mental, and yet, she could get me to do almost anything at all; simply by asking, and I hardly even know her.

Of course, being a walking bullshit detector I can’t be “had” like your average idiot, and although I’ll happily play-along with anything that’s in my interest, I am more than willing to slam-on the brakes and start cursing profanities when things start smelling nasty.

This woman will either be dead or in a mental hospital within five years the way she’s heading, and it’s a sad waste.

I got up on Tuesday last week to a reasonably full backpackers, but didn’t bother speaking to any of the tourist filth – just Eric – until Wednesday afternoon, after having the cosmetic procedure to remove the pointless lump near my right eye. That all went well, for the record. “You can’t go wrong with Doctor Wong” was indeed a true statement. Took about half an hour, after which he showed me the bit he’d cut out with scissors; a chunk of myself about the size of a small marble.

The fatty lump. Dr Wrong was kind enough to take a photo then email in top me, 'cause my phone wouldn't focus through the plastic of the jar.

The fatty lump. Dr Wrong was kind enough to take a photo then email in top me, ’cause my phone wouldn’t focus through the plastic of the jar.

Anyhoo at about dinner-time that night I’m walking out the kitchen with my microwave dinner all heated and ready to go when *she* walks past and starts talking to me about ..something.

Quite honestly I wouldn’t have a clue what she was on-about that first time: I had in my hand a tray of something that vaguely resembled a hot meal for the first time in almost a fortnight and it was growing colder by the minute, and she’s delaying my consumption of said meal babbling at me. Maybe, had my eyes been focused on her face instead of the rest of her I would’ve got more of an idea what she was talking about.

She ends by asking about the bone and leather strapped to my left wrist and I tell her – in a hurry to eat my food now – that they’re the toe bones from my last dog: a white bull-terrier, called Koota.

She starts to walk away, then returns a second later to check that I’m not lying to her – that they really *are* what I said they are. A little irritated now, I ask her, “Why would I lie about a bracelet on my arm? Yes yeah they’re dog bones who would even think to make up shit like that?!?” I was a bit pissy that a stranger would even question my honesty, let alone over the source of some bracelet, if I didn’t love the dog they wouldn’t still be on my arm, but after quickly explaining the story to her with an offended tone she accepts my assertion, then leaves the room.

I continue to my usual table in the corner and take a seat to begin happily eating my slop. Being the closest thing I’ve had to a hot meal forever, I plan to enjoy it.

Moments later she returns, walks right across the dining room to my table and asks if she can sit down with me. Now, minutes earlier while being interrogated about the bones on my wrist, I’d already given her a quick once-over and reached the conclusion that she was, indeed, doable: Around my age, cute Asian dragoness face, outstanding skin, a nice chest that looked like just about the right size for my hands, 5’6″ approximately – good height; shorter than me but not midget-short and a figure that looked like she’d done more exercise than eating. I raise my eyebrows, grimace and tell her, “Sure.”

I see she has noodles for dinner: The ones that come in the black plastic bowl with a lid. The first and last time I tried that brand it was a laksa and I swear it was so hot I thought my taste buds had melted off my fucking tongue, but whatever right? She likes that kinda shit good/fine/whatever. Noodles are great.

We say nothing for a short time; her quietly staring down at her noodles, me quietly staring down at her, eyebrows furrowed in concentration as I pondered both why she’s sitting here as well as the best approach to take with this strange new creature now seated two feet away in silence. At close range, I notice her forehead is a bit shiny, the odd grey hair is visible, her right cheek has a spot on it and she has a tiny scar on the outer edge of her left eye.

They really don’t have any eyelids, wow!

And then she talks.

Not even looking up from her bowl she quietly mumbles, “I love noodles”, then giggles quietly.

I stare at her – eyebrows now fixed in a raised position – then break the look with a frown, “noodles are fine,  I guess” and start digging around for the last remaining warm bits of my microwave dinner.

“I just, love, noodles.”, she tells me again.

Yeah, whatever, noodles woohoo

She relaxes slightly and – staring into her food – gradually explains that she hasn’t been able to find work in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney or any of the other places she’d been to, and – eyes suddenly locked on mine – that racial discrimination was the reason, “I don’t feel welcome, nobody makes me feel welcome.”

The more I asked her for details the less she had to say, only repeating the incidents again and again. It was like talking to Forest Gumps autistic sister here and there, but I eventually learnt that the Police, Centerlink, and various backpackers she’d had run-ins with were *all* “the problem”, and that they – according to Alice – all treated her like rubbish because she’s Asian. Hmmmkay.

Couldn’t be because you’re insane Babe? Noooo course not.

By the end of the first night we had spent hours talking to one another and I’d already started developing that “poor injured kitten” *thing* towards her, and that was it for me: Over the following days, I’d hear Angus laughing in the kitchen at me, tourists walking down the hallway would be whispering about “that crazy Chinese bitch” they’d talked to, and Eric would sit for only a while each night with us before – tired of her ignoring him and talking over everyone – throwing his hands in the air and declaring, in his distinct Vlad the Impaler accent, “TOO MUCH BULLSHIT!”, then walking off.

Not being the type to ever really give a fuck what anyone else thinks, I wasn’t about to start now; they wasted their nights watching TV and yawning, I wasted mine on her.

The next day I walk into the kitchen to look through the fridge deciding what I’d eat that night when she – currently standing at the stove cooking – tells me she’s doing a vegetable soup, and that she’d rather I eat that than the garbage I was planning on having, especially with “your going down the mountain soon, you need it Jason.”

In what was now becoming a familiar facial expression, I raise my eyebrows, frown and respond affirmatively, “Sure. Yeah okay”. I ask whether she wants some meat to go in the soup.

She tells me “if you want”, then decides it’s too late to add meat now anyway, but if I want meat in a stew tomorrow night I can go get some for that, “if you want to”.

Yeah meat. K.

I return from the supermarket ten minutes later with two different cuts of lamb – shanks and ribs – for tomorrow nights casserole. She quickly rejects the ribs outright because they have “fat on them”, and they end-up in the bin shortly after.

By the end of that night, I’d gleaned that she had only one parent, her mother, who was in a nursing home since her father was apparently dead, she’d been living in backpackers, had been unemployed for a whopping *five years*, and had a sister who she disliked immensely.

She told me she’d been completely homeless for an undefined time-frame and had even resorted to staying on trains that travel up and down the coast at night for a warm place to sleep because she had nowhere else to go.

How did you get so fucked up Woman? What was the sequence of events? I have to know!

Of course I had to know, and the less she said about it, the more I wanted to know what happened that was so crushing she’d end-up a fucking crazy homeless nobody with nothing.

She would sit and fidget with shit, only use disposable plates, cutlery and cups and any time she had to touch anything that wasn’t brand new from a packet she would wipe her hands down with alcohol wipes. On the odd occasion I’d bump her finger, out come the alcohol wipes. Even her glass-bead bracelet that I’d handled; got a good rub-down with those fucking alcohol wipes. Of course on the rare occasion she’d run out of paper cups and had to resort to using a glass from the kitchen that not only got the full-on wipe-down, she’d use a wipe to actually *hold* the glass; as a barrier between the glass and her precious hand.

I asked her if she was diagnosed OCD, she laughed, like I’d just asked the silliest question ever. Grrrr.

The next nights dinner was a combination effort; she provided the vegetables, I already bought the meat, then went out again to buy rosemary, fresh garlic and potatoes, and, having given me very explicit instructions on how the shanks were too be browned first, she went off for a bit then returned to explicitly direct me upon proper potato-fried-sealing technique.

Four hours later, and after much discussion and careful monitoring of the pot by the both of us, we had one of the best lamb casseroles I’ve ever eaten. We took the whole pot in, along with bread and – having eaten not as much as we could have – decided we should leave some for Eric, we did offer to leave him some after all.

By the end of this night – and after Eric had come and eaten his bit and gone to bed – she’d told me some of the things that had happened to her in these random backpackers or rather, bad things that had happened to other people that had left her shaken afterwards. Far from being an exaggerated sob-sorry-catalogue though, the events she described didn’t sound bad enough to be all that scarring for most people. The worst I learnt of was some junkie woman overdosing in the hallway, and she didn’t even die.

And so it went, for almost a week.

In the days following, I got progressively softer while she sloooowly told be more, but never what *it* was that got her into the place she’s currently at. Never that. No matter what angle I tried, or how direct or subtle I was about it. I still don’t know, and probably won’t.

I forgot all about this one. Eye filet steak, fried vegetables and rice.

I forgot all about this one. Eye filet steak, fried vegetables and rice.

All her. I simply had to go buy the meat and beans.

All her. I simply had to go buy the meat and beans.

She knew it frustrated me – I’m an inquisitive person, and having my inquisition blocked at every turn pissed me off no end – I was visibly irritated by it. I ended-up giving her the situation, telling her she was like an onion with unlimited skins; no matter how hard you try to peel away the outer layers you never get anywhere at all, until eventually, you realize it’s just a fucking onion and give-up trying.

She liked that analogy, but it didn’t get me any closer to the truth. Told me it was the most profound thing I’d said so far.


She did explain to me the embarrassment she’d felt the *first* time she’d gone to one of the free meal trucks for food – implicating she’d used them more than once of course, then told me she planned to visit the same meal trucks after returning to Sydney from here in a few days time.

Breakfast on the last day: Fried rice with chicken and ginger. It looked pretty plain but tasted exceptional.

Breakfast on the last day: Fried rice with chicken and ginger. It looked pretty plain but tasted exceptional.

On the last night – the night before everyone had to leave – and in a strange moment of lucidity she came out on the verandah with me and talked without all the paranoid conspiracy-laden delusional bullshit and just as she was pointing-out how the foggy steps in the alley-way looked like the ones at the end of The Exorcist, which they did, a Brushtail Possum moved, in one of the trees a few meters away.

I told her “shhh”, then put my hands on her head and gently turned it toward the Possums location in the tree, and after a moment of “what am I looking at?”, she spotted it: “Ohhh! is that a Possum?”.

I went in and got some bread and we walked over to feed what looked like a teenager to me, male too, yeah. Excellent moment, and nice she got a little taste of the Possum feeding. Might’ve been the only real, natural, non-sleazy thing she’s experienced in – who knows how long.

Perfect time to make an appearance Possum bro, thanks. I’ll bring you a special treat next time I’m up 😉

On the last day while seated in the lounge-room watching the news with old Eric, she told me – among other things – that Tony Abbot is the most important man in Australia and Julie Bishop is an inspirational woman, that Bondi Junction is the greatest place on earth because celebrities like Miranda Kerr live there and there are heaps of shops too, and when she finally started telling me what the world *really* needs is MORE religion, well that was the point I realized I was talking with a woman hmmm.. seriously in dire need of some historical facts.

“Stop, just stop, Woman. SHUT UP”, I tell her. She giggles. Fuck. She only paused a moment though, before telling me I really need to see the real world a bit, and named a list of choice Hollywood films I *have* to see to teach me about “How life really is”.

“No SHUT UP. Just, stop, talking.”, I tell her with one hand extended towards her.

I’m losing IQ points just talking to you.

At this point, my eyes were rolling back so far all you would’ve seen were the whites, and just like that there was no point talking anymore. No point at all. When you’re confronted with someone who actually uses Hollywood movies as their base of knowledge on world events and history, there is simply nothing more to say; cute, injured, damaged unit or not.

She also told me – during the week – that everyone is just jealous of Gina Rhinehart because she is rich and powerful, that she’ll only marry a rich man and that America as the best country on the planet. She seems to live in her own little universe, where she is *really* a filthy-rich, famous woman who happens to be separated from the vast millions that should rightfully be hers: just such a delusion, a made-up fantasy.

Such a good cook though fuckit!

I’ve only recounted half the good, bad and stupid shit she said over the last week, and could easily run-on for another 10,000 words but I’ve got other entries to catch-up on and I think I’ve scribed enough to paint a detailed enough portrait; you get the general idea. Stick me in a room with a Scorpio woman, and ten minutes later I’ll be licking her feet on command like a dog. I don’t know why, but they just have that effect on me.

Having arrived down here on Monday, I text her a photo of the rainforest, then another text telling her – basically – that she’s a fucked-up, broken unit, and that I want to see her fixed. Three missed calls in ten minutes later, I ring back and get an earful from her telling me she doesn’t need any fucking fixing and there’s nothing wrong with her. I told her, “I’ll lose your number, it’s easier.”

And so she’s gone back to her perfect life in Sydney now; Homeless and unemployed with nothing at all and nobody who gives a fuck about her. Of course she’s not simply on unemployment benefits, but the pension, so she’s obviously been tossed in societies “useless” bin already and still she will continue deluding herself into believing there’s nothing wrong with her at all, that any moment she’ll be whipped-up by Richard Gere and sail into the sunset with him in a stretch limo.

The depressing irony is, that I cannot even remember the last time I actually gave a shit about someone elses misfortune enough to genuinely want to help them, and yet the one time I *do* have my attention held long enough to make me care, they’re too fucking stupid or crazy or whatever to accept it.

Good luck Alice, with the free meal vans, being a homeless nobody; being kicked around the street like all the other common garbage and random, sleazy men using you any way they can.

Pft. Whatevz.

Christian morons invade Katoomba

Now the Christians are booking half the town out for some shitty conference, all the existing guests in the backpackers have been told to fuck-off; so the delusional religious fucksticks can sit around tugging each other off quoting bullshit from the Bible; 2,000 pages of fairy-tale nonsense written to make gullible plebs feel enlightened; to delude them into feeling more intelligent than they really are because they read the writings of smarter men than themselves.

Anyway, thanks to the $12,000 bookings they’ve provided for their stupid religious wank-fest, all existing guests have been tossed-out; like Cockroaches being fumigated before the all loving, generous christians grace the town with their clean, holy presence. Never even mind that half of them were rapists, whores, criminals and morally bankrupt cunts before being ‘saved by god’, and I’m sure they’ll even spend time talking about what they can do to help the poor, suffering homeless while they’re here.

Maybe try not causing everyone to be evicted by throwing around wads of cash and booking out an entire fucking town?

I would’ve liked to have stayed in town, print-up some JESUS FUCKS DONKEYS t-shirts and just spend each day sitting around outside the conference centre waiting for the dumb fucks to start on at me, but hungry possums mean a shitload more to me than some bottom-feeding, brain-washed dead-heads masturbating together over some stupid fucking book with a cross on it.

Fucking stupid, fake religious cocksuckers.


So I’m here again, and despite the melancholia of people going their own ways I look around and see the same wild, beautiful forest, and I cannot stop myself smirking: My favorite ants are busily farming for food, the birds are singing all around me. Baby grasshoppers sit apprehensively in the folds of the tent, to small to escape predators yet and I know that in a few hours my little wooly bush-monkeys will come scratching at my tent, hanging out with me for hours and giving me their trust for just a few handfuls of food. Beautiful bubbas.

Nature is exactly how she was when I left her. Everyone sharing the same space on multiple levels: simple, harmonious and inviting. Nobody gives s shit about money here, or rent, or shopping, or phone reception or any of the other plethora of stupid bullshit society is bloated with. All the residents living here need is shelter, food and to know their are others like them around.

A huge tree just fell close to me – maybe 100 meters away – and the wind is starting to pick up.

I failed to mention the leeches coming out here today. Stopping for a rest halfway, I would’ve been stationary for not even two minutes when I look down and see a leech wiggling on a dried leaf just in front of me. Disgusting little fuckers.

A moment later I see movement on another nearby leaf and low-and-behold; another leech.

At that point I started really looking for them and I could’ve sworn I was hallucinating I ended-up seeing so many: every second leaf had a leech on it, wiggling and inch-worming their way right for me. Some were big, most were small but I couldn’t even count how many there were. I looked to my side and there’s dozens more. Check behind me, same number there too and every one of them actively crawling straight towards my feet.

I decided it was time to get moving at that point, and when I finally got back here I pulled 6 leeches of my socks and pants, and one that’d already bitten me that had woven itself into my sock.

Day 2

Quiet day, since it rained most of it. The leech bite on my ankle has puffed-up to the size of half a small orange, and I cannot stop scratching it.

Guido dropped-by and let me pat him just like a cat. Such a kick-arse little Possum he is. Bobby McGee came for a hand feed of banana and buiscuts last night, but I’ve gone to sleep a bit earlier than usual the past two nights so I’ve missed the other Brushtails.

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