Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Hippy Days: Byron Bay

What to say about Byron? It's a funny old place, and I have to admit I don't feel comfortable here. The surface veneer of blatant commercialism is of course part of it, what with the backpacker's who have touts outside pushing their free internet access (after extensive research, I have concluded that any backpacker's offering anything for free is a dive). And of course the surf shops on every second corner, trying to sell you expensive clothing to cash in on what is basically an inexpensive sport.

Beyond the crass pursuit of the almighty dollar though, and the wonderful hypocrisy the local council displays towards same, I'm forced to wonder what all these people do. Admittedly I've never understood the "sit in one place for two weeks and do nothing" school of holiday-making, but the disjointed mix of people in Byron doesn't help my confusion. Hippies, backpackers and beer-swilling Ockers. It's like they all move through a different Byron, intersecting at the beach and the supermarket.

Looking around I have sneaking suspicion that most of these people are bored. They're waiting for Byron to surprise them, and it isn't happening. The hippies at least can keep themselves entertained with the whole process of being a hippy -- Byron was probably nicer when it belonged to them. I should some and check it out in the off-season sometime.

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