A Very Flickr update

Finally back in Wi Fi land. Here are some photos now that my laptop is back in almost top form.

Lisa & Kim

This is Lisa (left) and Kim (right), from Melbourne Australia. They kept me laughing from Paris to Madrid. They also kept me up with a couple of rather late nights.

Barcelona Birds

As expected, the Spanish birds are all over me. Is there an emoticon for the drum thing that happens when someone makes a crap joke?

Nick & Dave

Nick and Dave from Canada. We hung out in Paris together and they are two of the most head-screwed-on 19 year olds I’ve met. Most people under 20 I’ve met have been knobs of the highest order. And as Nick noted, there’s not that many of them anyway. Maybe people are travelling later in life now.

This photo was taken at the gorgeous Jardin Du Luxembourg, on a beautful sunny morning. Behind them is a huge pond where people play with electric boats, a big castle and you can even see the rows of yellow flowers in pot plants along the edges. Look, it was just cool ok?

Barcelona Arc De Triomf

The OTHER Arc De Triomf, in Barcelona. I just like this photo.

Steph & Bron

Steph and Bron. More Canadians. Canadians are lovely, I tell you. I really want to go now. Here we are at a fancy-ish restaraunt in Plaza Real, just off Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Those lamp posts in the background were one of Gaudi’s first works. Don’t I seem clever? (thanks Steph).

La Sagrada Familia and Me

Me at La Sagrada Familia, the church designed by Gaudi that they ave been building for 100 years and could well take 100 more. The ambition of it is simply amazing. Makes the Killers look lo fi. Over produced is the key word. But I like it. In fact I love it. I love crazy old men. And Gaudi takes the cake.

Madrid Palace & Me

So finally, here we are in Madrid. It rained almost the whole time. It was a bit of a shambles to tell the truth. This was taken at Palacio Real, which was built almost 50 years before a british guy in a boat stumbled upon Botany Bay.

Please note the new sweater I am sporting in some of these shots.

Mischa Barton randomly in Madrid

Now, finally, Mischa Barton. I wrote about what happened elsewhere on this blog, but here’s the photographic proof. We didn’t touch elbows though.


The conversations have changed

Oh, hi there.

I’m about to rant. So might be a good time to press ‘back’ or something.

There’s that famous Ian Mackaye quote about indie rock in the 90s, where he said the conversations changed from the music to the business (who’s supportig who, who’s signed to what etc).

Somehow the conversations have changed on me. It might be cos of Spain.

The conversations the last few nights have been about where you’re from, rather than we’re you’re going.

I’m sitting here talking about the movie The Castle while an American guy tells me about hip hop culture, and a Puerto Rico guy tells me about Spanish. I really want to be a Louvin Brother and ask these people when did they stop dreaming? Did you come all this way to tell me about where you’re from?

Maybe in Paris it was different. People ceded themselves to te city. There as a pomise here. It was less of a party town. This Spainish party life…it feels like it makes us all feel less special.

You know, talking about hip hop, I can tell you one of the things I love about hip hop, is that it makes equals out of us. Sort of. The few hip hop shows I’ve been to, there’s certainly a greter mix of people than the influx of 20ish midle class whites that make up 90 percent of indie rock clubs. But here I am at the negative side of that. Everyone here is so boring.

Ok that’s maybe a bit harsh. I just know I’ve been talking to people for the last two hours and i felt like I haven’t gotten to know anyone here at all. This wasn’t how it was last week, when it seemed I made 14 life long friends in one night.

The conversations have changed and maybe it’s time to find a new bar.

Madrid (the place I’ve been writing so much cos there’s so much time to, and I’m so inspired to catalogue the details of it, Raymond Carver style)

The Rain In Spain

So I have some time to kill. As Liam points out…yes, I am updating this thing a lot aren’t I?

So Spain has been OK. Barcelona was FULL ON and overwhelming and I shouldn’t have pulled an all nighter before I left. Met some nice people though, had some great food and after a couple of days really got into the vibe of it, in my own little way.

Hung out with Beth for some time. She is there studying to teach English. It seems that’s all anyone does over here. I can’t think of any other real highlights in Barcelona. I bought a new jumper. Ben and I walked around for a while. Thumbed through some CD shops and that was that.

Caught an early bus to Madrid to meet up with Kim and Lisa. Madrid has been dreary. I’ve been here three days and it’s rained for two of them. You can’t have everything I guess. Spent yesterday wandering around the palace grounds.

The CD shops in Madrid are fantastic. And so cheap compared to the rest of Europe. Must do shopping excursions here. Just a sea of bootlegs and rare records. Not even expensive rare stuff, just odd stuff like Epic Soundtracks solo albums and the entire solo output of Mark Olson. Who the hell stocks that crap? Madrid, that’s who.

Met even more Australians here and I must admit it got me a bit homesick. Over a night we discuss Australian polirics, sport, cities and music. Today I even put Paul Kelly on random on the ipod. It’s made me think about what I’m trying to achieve here in my travels. And it made me realise how Australian I am.

I did try my best Spanish in a shop today and the girl came back at me with English. Oh and she was super cute this girl. You know what’s hard? Trying to chat up someone in a language you know very little of.

Ao that’s Spain. Not going to San Sebastian or Bilbao after all. Flying back to Paris tomorrow and will take it from there. It was a bit of a let down really, but maybe Spain is like one of those kinda grumpy girls, that when you’re high energy and up for it, tshe will be too. But if you’re just moping around, then she’s going to find another party.

Hopefully Wi Fi will kick back to life in Paris and photos will be coming soon.


Mischa Barton

What follows is an email I sent to my friends Bec & Craig. I thought it was worth publishing.

Oh man

So I’m at this Flamenco restaurant/club. This cheapo place near my hostel (free for guests of the Cat Hostel) here in Madrid. Fits about a hundred, all seated. The flamenco is kind of crap. I’m striking up a conversation with three girls from just north of Sacremento, California. Some young Spanish fella comes and tries to chat up these girls. Which was fine because he gave us an interesting bit of information.

Mischa Barton is in the front row.

And yup, there he was. I had to put on my glasses to make sure. Wearing a yellow dress and looking a bit like the Bride from Kill Bill. Which was funny in itself but the best part is yet to come.

Her publicist must have set it up and after the show Mischa was escorted to meet the performers at the side of stage and have a photo taken. Someone with a digital camera also takes a snap. And then it was on for young and old. The place erupts with digital cameras taking photos of Mischa and the band. Like, fifty people rushing the stage for an impromptu photo shoot. Poor Mischa.

Not saying I didn’t snap a couple of photos myself. But at least I took one of the crowd of photographers too. Maybe I can beat them to selling mine to New Idea.


A ramdon ramble

I’m here in Madrid with Kim and Lisa and I’m lost.

Not geographically. Don’t worry.

Any confusion or uncertainty in my life is usually dealt with by writing. Excuse me while I crap on here, I don’t think anyone is waching anyway.

I think it was in Platoon when the guys in the army compare days in service. Day 200. Or whatever. This has been happening to me a lot. I’m comparing days on the road with people I’m meeting everywhere. Lots of people are a the 9 month mark actually.

How do people do it? Ben and I have been wondering what we will be by 7 months. There’s a look in the eye that those people have. I’m not sure I want to be like that.

So, Paul Kelly was wrong, every fucking city does not actually look the same, but they are pretty similar. Madrid has been boring. Barcelona was also so-so. I’m eating crap I can buy anywhere. I’m seeing some cool stuff, but when you get to 6 months plus, you have to wonder, what are these people running from?

I’m wondering what I’m running from. Sure there’s a lot to see and a lot to learn. But the ‘lot to see’ bit can be deflated by the fact I’m gong to the UK. I’ve never been and there’s plenty to see. As for learning… I’ve never had too much trouble getting most of where I am, wherever that is.

So why not just keep going? There was a sign in Copenhagen. DO IT ANYWAY. But this is not something that’s lasting. These hostel people, we don’t meet locals. We interlope. We use the toilets, eat the food, sleep in the beds, but on a course different from living somewhere. Someimes, i wonder if I could just watch it on TV.

I have had some amazing moments, sure. In some places I’ve realised taking a photo is stupid, what I see just cannot be captured. But some definitely can. I’m feeling like a fake and a bum. You know that scene in Pulp Fiction?

I guess what I’m saying is that I might just get on with it. I wanted to write. To finish this fucking novel. But I don’t have time. Maybe it’ just an excuse. Who knows. It’s on my mind. This aimless travelling isn’t actually getting me anywhere. And I’ve always felt like I’m heading somewhere.

The Bob Ellis idea of a witness is magnified. I’m everyone’s witness. I know them for three days, I know a city for three days, and that’s it. And things I want to do…take French lessons, take a writing course, I’m just putting it off to go to, oh I don’t kow, Prague or some shit.

You know I’ve been told so many times, boy you gotta grow you some roots.

That’s my state of mind.


ps. there are signs in Barcelona that say ‘Taxi’ but have a picture of a bus.

So some thinking coming up soon.

Things I have lost so far

2 Beanies

I lost a beanie in the back of Kirsty´s car earlier in the year. I only just replaced it as I got to cold in my second day in Vienna. It cost a lot more than the two Aussie dollars i´m used to. It cost $5 Euro.

It was a simple black beanie, and it was gone by the tim I left Vienna. I think I lost it as I was leaving Vienna on the way to the airport.

Beanie number two was a dark blue one, bought in Monmartre markets for a cheaper $4 euro. I had it with me getting off the plane in Copenhagen, but had lost it by the time of the shuttle bus from the airport.

I lose a couple of beanies every year and I think it´s because I buy very sensible dark blue or black colours. If I had a wacky purple one, I´d be set.

Anyway, I got another black one in Monmartre and it´s safely in front of me as I type. I´ve been using it like a pouch or my bindle. I usually have a drink of my cigarettes and my lonely planet in it, if it´s no too cold.

1 Glove

When I got the first beanie, I got a pair of black gloves. I only had one after a night of dancing in Vienna. I tried to look for it the next morning at the bar but to no avail. I still have the lone glove, and I don´t know why.

My glasses

The last thing I decided to pack was a pair of glasses. I don´t like wearing glasses and try not to, but I thought they might come in handy and they very much have. I´m looking at a lot of tiny maps and a lot of inscriptions and captions about artwork. Oh and big buildings that are very tall.

So I was gutted when I left them in Paris. Luckily Ben found them and they were happy and safe and waiting for me in Paris. I spent three days without them and realised how good they are.

(I still don´t like them. I brought with me my very first pair, that I´ve had since 15, when I love Graham Coxon. Of the half a dozen pair of glasses I´ve had in my life, they are one of two I have not broken)

By my count, at least two pairs of socks

I´ve taken the approach that if I´m rushing to pack and it´s late and there are socks on teh ground of the hostel room, I´m hoping they aren´t mine cos they look a bit gross. I´m starting to think some of them were mine, I´m pretty bad/good at leaving my socks and shoes everywhere as it is. Hopefully I can find some cheap shitty socks in Madrid.

My favourite jumper

The one in most of the photos. The one I got in Melbourne, blue white and red stripes. I left it in Paris somewhere. This caused me quite a bit of distress. It´s probably my favourite article of clothing. I have no idea how I lost it, it must have just been very, very careless, but I love that jumper. I´m trying to think of how I could have lost it but I can´t think of how I would not have been taking care of it.

So, in my depression, I bought a new stripey jumper in Barcelona (brown and orange). Almost bought two to make up for it. Anyway, it´s the first real major purchase on my trip. We spent the day together, my new jumper and I.

Luckily, with great pleasure, I´m happy to say Judie has found the old one and it´s waiting for me in Paris.


I was lost in Barcelona for a few hours but I was ok.

So that´s it. Not too bad so far. I´m very surprised I haven´t lost my sunglasses yet. There´s still time.

Danny Yau

I walked Las Ramblas but not with real intent

Good afternoon from sunny Barcelona. Here´s an update.

Last week I spent a couple of wonderful days in Copenhagen. The sun was already starting to set by 4pm there so most of the days were actually nights. Visited Christiania and lots of big palaces and churches. It was a lot smaller than Paris etc, and hence only had a handful of things to brag about, but in a lot of ways it made it more charming.

Hans Christian Anderson and Me

Hans Christian Anderson is big in Copehagen

The biggest thing in Copenhagen is Hans Christian Anderson. There ae statues of him, a restored room where he once lived, his documents on display and even a statue of the Little Mermaid herself by a pier.

Best thing about Copenhagen was of course, hanging out with Alicia, and being looked after a bit.

Oh I met a wonderful couple on the plane to Copenhagen who had just been to Paris recreating their honeymoon on the eve of their 50th anniversary. How cool is that?

Then it´s been Paris again for a few days where I think I totally managed to avoid anything touristy really. Still so much Ive yet to explore óf Paris. But on the other hand I feel so at home in Paris already. Judy and I went swimming. We´ve found favourite food haunts, and just gotten a nice rhythm there.

I did go to the freaky ass Catacombs though. If you don´t know, it´s an excavated mass grave from when the plague hit Paris (I think). They dug up existing grave for new bodies, and the old bodies were piled underground. But the bones and things were used to make these bizarre tunnels. The walls of these tunnels were bones and skulls. It´s claustrophobic, you´re breathing in bone, you´re so far underground and the sign that some sick fuck put as you enter translates to Here Lies the Empire of the Dead and they aren´t kidding. I was fine up until the end where you have to walk a narrow staircase back out and I was stuck behind an old man who needed to stop every couple of steps. That´s when I almost lots it, I thought I was never getting out, I couldn´t breathe and I didn´t want to lean against the wall, god knows what it´s made of. The whole thing only lasted an hour but it´s probably the best thing I´ve seen.

In brighter news, met a couple of wonderful Australian girls here, Kim and Lisa from Melboure and they´ve made me feel both at home and has cured a little of my homesickness. It´s funny because we had this instant level of comfort. Check out Lisa´s blog called Insert Cool Travel Blog Name Here which I´ve linked to on the right there.

Which is odd that I find myself in Spain right now. It was somewhat last second but not last second enough. I really wanted to stay in Paris but I had this trip booked a couple of days earlier so here I am in Barcelona, waiting for my laundry. Haven´t really seen much of the place, although Beth and I walked pretty much the whole place last night, but that´s fine.

Looks like I´m going to go to Madrid after that…then maybe Prague? Who knows. I just want to go back to Paris really.

I guess that´s a bit of a boring update but I will write more soon. I have been doing quite a bit of writing anyway. You know, I need to fina a bed and beakfast in the countryside somewhere and just write. Maybe Madrid will be good for that.

Last thing – keyboards are crazy in continental europe. They´re only different in ten or so keys but it´s really annoying. That is all.

A quick hello

I only have 8 minutes left on this internet access here and I just wanted to say a quick hello to whoever’s out there.

Here’s a quick snapshot of where my head is at…it’s been eye opening all the time, been thinking lots about life, love and the eternal pursuit of happiness. I had the opportunity to make a wish on something last week and I looked deep into my soul, flipping through my random wishes about records, girls, work and whatever, and landed on one, the one wish, that surprised even me.

6 minutes.

There’s so much death here. Graveyards and paintings. It’s a bit intense. Have not been doing very much writing at all, but I sat down and wrote heaps today.

Been getting a tad homesick, but maybe more for the stability of a working life. Oh, I complain that I never lived the loose fast life style of the uni student, that I left 19-22 behind somewhere and skipped straight til the 30s…and as much as I’m enjoying life right now, it seems that maybe I missed it the first time for a reason.

Looking forward to the UK.

Met lots and lots of great people. Crushes on buildings and people almost every second.

Flying to Barcelona in the morning, with no plans at all. Should be fun. Only slightly shitting myself.

Less than 3 minutes to go so I better say goodbye.



What hasn’t already been said about Paris?

So all you hear about Paris is true. It just doesn’t give a shit about you if you’re not French. There’s no English on any of the signs, and I got to Charles De Gaulle airport and I wandered around for ages trying to get my bags and find the train. Finally, I figured how to buy a ticket and changed trains at Gare Du Nord station and fuck! I’ve wandered into Paris on a Saturday night.

I was flooded by a sea of people rushing at me. There were young soldiers holding really big guns just walking around. And I didn’t have the first idea which way to even pretend to head to find my connecting train.

Somehow I made it to my station, with my bags, and Paris must hate the disabled because everything is stairs. After a million flights I got out of the station and looked back at it and realised it’s the one from the movie Amelie, after she’s helped the blind man and she runs up some stairs.

Ben and Judie at Lamark
l-r: Ben & Judie at Lamarck Caulaincourt station

So began Paris. The first night my dormmate and I, Ben, wandered around the beautiful Monmartre area, just north of the city. We headed up to Sacré Coeur, this massive, gorgeous church on top of the hill, looking down over the entire Paris city. To my left the Eiffel Tower. To every other direction, just a big sexy looking city. People congregate here for the view at night. Tourists, locals, couples, homeys, everyone – they just sit here on the Church steps and openly drink and smoke. Much better than the Townie.

The hostel was a bit of a blow out that night as the public area was filled with some jerks. So Ben and I just drank by ourselves, talked crap and briefly talked to some people but there was no room for people to sit down.

Me in Paris
Me, wandering

Day 2 in Paris started right in it’s heart. I walked and walked and walked. From every major monument to the next, not necessarily in the right order. Criss-crossing bridges at random, desperately trying to find food at one point. I walked around things, under things, over things and just as I made my way up some turning staircase – BAM! There’s the fucking Louvre right in front of me.

Stopped at Virgin Megastore for a rest and the heat and found albums by Youth Group, You Am I, Sleepy Jackson and even the Finn brothers tribute. There were so many special editions of things I’ve never seen before and somehow I found the inner strength to not buy anything.

Spent the afternoon in the Latin Quarter, which was already mostly closed on a Sunday afternoon. Walked around some more and headed back to the Hostel to meet Ben and Judie. We had plans for dinner and others at the hostel had plans for cruise down the Seine. Somehow, whilst wasting time organising, we picked up a few randoms and we all had dinner and went on a cruise together.

It was fantastic. 14 solo travellers from different countries and from all walks of life. We might not all be looking for the same thing, but we were all looking in the same place. And everyone was so open to everyone, and we all managed to get through the Metro and onto the boat and unfortunately be loud drunken English speaking tourists, yelling out bonsoir to people on bridges. For me, it was what I was looking for; meeting new people and seeing the world through those people.

Judie on the Seine
Judie, out of focus, on the Seine. Her smile is so big I had to post it anyway

The night ended again at Sacré Coeur, drinking and talking to new friends til I was too tired to do anything.

Tried to make the most of the next day by spending most of it at the Louvre. I gawked at the Mona Lisa, other Da Vincis, Michelangelos, Donatellos, Venus De Milo (by Television) and a wonderful statue of a lion taking a big bite out of someone’s ass. The police turned up and one point which was quite exciting. Maybe Tom Hanks killed someone else.

Me, Michelangelo's Dying Slave
Check out that masterpiece of a body

Spent the afternoon in Monmartre (god, this is turning into a “I did this, then I did this, then I wrote on my laptop, then I posted on my blog”…) and found Amelie’s café with hours to spare before catching my flight to Copenhagen, where I am now.

You don’t need me to sell Paris to you, it’s great. Come. It’s like that pretty girl that you have to talk to for ages until she finally, hours later, warms up and smiles at one of your stupid jokes and you may actually be in with a chance, but probably not.

Here’s a tip. If you’re alone at a tourist hot spot and need a photo, ask a Japanese person to take it. The photography skills that country pumps out is amazing. They’ll tell you where and how to stand and compose a shot of perfect focus and colour.

That’s enough of Paris so far. Can’t wait to get back on Thursday.

Danny Yau
14 November 2006

14 Strangers on the Seine

Paris Chinstroke 14 Paris Chinstroke 13 Paris Chinstroke 12 Paris Chinstroke 11 Paris Chinstroke 10 Paris Chinstroke 9 Paris Chinstroke 8

Paris Chinstroke 7 Paris Chinstroke 6 Paris Chinstroke 5 Paris Chinstroke 4 Paris Chinstroke 3 Paris Chinstroke 2 Paris Chinstroke 1

So please allow me to be poetic for a second. It is Paris after all.

So somehow we all found ourselves in the same place. 14 solo travellers, no friendship more than a few days old. It was and will be the only night all of us would be together.

And I had a wonderful night. All of us from such different backgrounds and personalities, and each of us looking for the same thing.

It was only day 4 for me on this journey overseas and think you for sharing it with me. Hopefully I’ll see you again…