|Mike and I in Lacker's Grill, Northbridge - Mike's first meal in Australial!|
Just under two weeks ago I walked through the automatic doors which stand motionless in front of me. My eyes wonder from the television playing news constantly, to entertain me and the others waiting either side of me, over to the board which gave me slightly frustrating news. The flight that Mike was on from Hong Kong was delayed by around thirty minutes. Great. I inhaled and exhaled a disappointed sigh and turned away from the arrivals area for a look around the terminal’s shops. Like most airports you have your duty/tax free shop selling you all the perfume you could ever need at a ‘discounted’ price and the extortionate newsagent which double the price of everything from the high street value.
Every couple of minutes I raise my left wrist and pull back sleeve with my right hand to reveal the time. It was moving slowly. I heard an announcement over the intercom. It wasn’t Mike’s flight from Hong Kong but a flight returning some debauched Australians from their two week holiday on the Indonesian island of Bali. As it’s the closest foreign land to Australia, so many people head over there to drink themselves stupid on the extremely cheap alcohol. I have yet to grace Bali with my presence, so will hold any further ‘high horse’ judgement until I do. His flight finally arrived and after eight months, Mike and Andy were reunited on the other side of the world, or as some say…. Down Under…
Thankfully we only had to endure the hostel for a couple of nights before we were handed a get out of hell free card. Although I find myself wondering whether my negativity is a result to comparing The Billabong to the amazing and cheap hostels I stayed at in Asia where you were always greeted with a smiling face as you stepped through the door and fellow travellers invited you over for drinks. A friend of mine whom I had met in Malaysia had warned me about the travellers you find in Australia. They’re a different breed. Most come over purely for work and find themselves living in the same hostel for months on end, thus making friends with other ‘long-termers’ and not interested in meeting anyone else. Language also plays a massive part in the travelling community. In non-English speaking countries travellers tend to find each other through the masses of locals and grab hold of each other as they understand what you’re going through and you can talk to them. In Australia, you can go anywhere and have conversations with anyone you want to thus making it unnecessary to make an effort. From my first couple of days in the hostel I could tell that most of its inhabitants were long-termers.
|Chloe, Jess and Steve|
On my first weekend in Australia it was Jess’ birthday and Steve had planned an amazing day of activities for her ranging from Camel riding, Supa Golf to the AQWA, Western Australia’s superb Aquarium and not forgetting the Margaret River Chocolate Factory in Swan Valley. As I had little money and memories of all the pain from riding a camel through the Sahara in Morocco a year before, I decided to sit on the side line with their friend Chloe and watch as they climbed atop of the magnificent camels and strode off into the bush. What a fantastic day I had and it was a great chance to get to know Steve, Jess and their friends. Supa Golf will always remain an awesome memory as it quickly turned from serious golf to a mass putting war at the end as we all embarked on the green from all sides smacking the ball to get into the hole… perhaps a few fouls were committed and a few hand throws were made. If you remember back to my blog on Phetchaburi, Thailand where I was extremely excited to find Cadbury’s chocolate, well I had exactly the same experience in Australia. Cadbury’s is only fantastic in Britain! To remedy my disappointment and also expand my chocolate palate, Steve and Jess took me to Margaret River Chocolate Factory which make supremely delicious chocolate and provide free tastings…. Heaven…
|Mike and I in Ledge Point|
This weekend Steve, Jess, Chloe, Ed and Tess (the dog) took Mike and I to tony and Marilyn’s beach house in Ledge Point which is a hundred or so kilometres north of Perth. It was our first real journey out of the city, into the bush and our first sight of the great Australian wilderness. As soon as we got to Ledge Point, the alcohol came out and the drinking began. Mike and I were on our beer but were stupidly convinced to mix it all up with a few cocktails… Bad mistake! The morning after was painful. My stomach retched as I tried to force down bacon and eggs. It was no good but three rounds on the white telephone later, I was feeling better, although with a slightly blurred mind. With my head pounding, Mike and I hopped into the car with Steve and Jess. Ed and Chloe followed as we drove to the sea front. As it was the middle of winter, it was cold outside as the fresh wind blew off the Indian Ocean. The beach was full of commotion as a man’s car had got stuck in the sand. The sea was quickly swallowing it up and a man tried vigorously to try and free the vehicle. Just as we thought it was a gonna, the mans pumped the accelerator of his four wheel drive one last time and to the owner’s relief his car was free. With that excitement, Steve took us to the sand dunes at neighbouring Lancelin where dirt bikes, quad bikes and other vehicles stormed up and down the exciting terrain without a care in the world.
Our weekend in Ledge Piont was unfortunately over and we soon found ourselves sitting in front of the internet computers back in the Billabong checking our emails. One email in particular took my interest. It was a response to the advert I placed on Gumtree requesting a shared house to rent. A lady named Pip said that she may have something for us, so we gave her a call and she promptly turned up to show us the flat. It was quite far out in a suburb called Inglewood, not too far in hindsight but an hour’s walk from the city centre. The flat was awesome, with a bus stop outside which goes straight into Perth ever ten minutes and IGA and Coles (supermarkets) nearby. We agreed to take the flat and with an exchange of deposit, she gave us the keys for us to move in the next day. Perfect…. Now it’s time to Get a Job….
|Our flat, Parri Towers Beaufort Street, Inglewood|