Posts by Country

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Road Trip to Brissy!


Today Ben picked me up at 10a and we began our two day road trip to Brisbane.

We drove up through Gawler and stopped in a small town for chips with chicken salt and a "mongrel" hotdog.

Then we went East through Broken Hill where we stopped for some Maccas.

As we delved further into the bush animals began to show up. First Emus in the distance, then one ran across the road and later a fox did too. After a while it got dark so I took over driving for a bit... unfortunately it didn't last since we hit a goat... at 100kph. At first I just saw a line of baby goats walking out single file into the road so I swerved a bit only to slam into the adult which was following behind. The goat unexpectedly seemed to float as it flew upward in an aerobatic defiance of gravity and landed behind the car. The car was not in the best of shape after this - the front was smashed in a bit, the bonnet was scrunched up, the door wouldn't open and the right headlight was out. On top of everything it seemed we had a leak as well.
We called the emergency line for the police and waited. Eventually a guy came along, checked our situation then recommended a rest stop up the road in case nobody came. Another guy came soon after and gave us some drinks. This guy was in the military and heading up for a training. He told us how a gun Australia is heavily monitored, especially in the military - one gun is only allowed to be transported if guarded by a group. He also told us about his own experience with the suicidal wildlife in the area - a goat actually ran up next to his car and tried to run in front of him. Finally the police showed up and told us that the tow guy was out on the drink so we would probably be best camping out till morning.


Today the tow guy came at 3a and noted that the only leak was from the windscreen wiper fluid so he put on our spare and signed us off with the REA since Ben had the coverage. We then drove down the road 1km and slept at the rest stop. Later in the morning I slept out on a stone bench for a while but it was too cold so I went back in the car. Soon we were ready to leave so we started driving.. slowly - the dips in the road caused scraping on the front right wheel since the wheel well was shifted back. It would have taken hours to get to the next town but, fortunately, a guy named Heath came along with a trailer and loaded us up.

He gave us a couple drinks and brought us all the way to a town called Cobar where we loosened up the wheel well and went on our way.

Several hours and hundreds of kilometers later we stopped in a small town where we found accommodation at Hotel Tourist in Narrabri at $50 for the both of us - cheaper than many hostels!


Today we arrived in Brissy and moved into a share-house where we paid our bond ($380), two weeks rent ($190), and cleaning deposit ($10).

Next we got some fish n chips and had a couple drinks then caught a bus into the city. While on the bus we met a guy named Booboo (nickname) and he showed us to a place called "The Victory." It was there that we had a couple more drinks and made some money. The place had a $3000 balloon drop with everyone scrambling to pop balloons with $5 and $10 notes in them.

I noticed all the money falling to the floor so I got down and started collecting cash while everyone else popped the balloons. Soon it was over and I counted out a good $65 free money. A guy named Jack that we met had gone straight to the floor from the very start and found $95! After a while we went to a place called Pie Face on Queen Street Mall and Albert. Finally Ben and I decided to catch a taxi home so we waited on a bench by the road as a couple sneaked up five meters ahead of us and snatched the first taxi. When we finally did get a taxi Ben tried to haggle but I was in the front and didn't play it right - apparently you can bribe them to turn the meter off and they'll run red lights and speed to get you home for less!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Last Days In Adelaide


Today, while having a beer out on the balcony with Ralph, I talked to Manuel again and he told me about his desire to move to France. The problem is that being from Colombia makes it difficult to move anywhere. Manuel's situation reminds me of a guy in Spain visiting his girlfriend. Apparently he got deported just because he was Colombian. Since he didn't want to risk losing his passport he carried a copy around and one day the police asked to see it. They said the copy wasn't good enough so the guy went back to his room and got it but by then the police had already started the deportation process... turning his relationship into a very-long-distance one.


Today Ralph and I got haircuts and went to Rugby practice then went to join the others at the pub where I met a bloke named Mason. Mason had worked for Simply Energy and just quit today because he couldn't make any sales with the new 29 cent rates. Apparently all of the sales companies are firing people now that the rates have gone up.


Today I finally replaced the tyre on my bicycle - great timing considering that I'm leaving in 10 days... Later I celebrated a birthday with a few guys from Ralph's work and spoke with a girl from Darwin who told me about Crocs and some odd events with strange fog killing car engines and mysterious campfires that disappear when you get closer.


Today the English bloke Chris was kicked out of the hostel for yelling at Brian - he had been here for seven years... now he's not allowed back because he didn't want to leave his name with Brian to borrow a DVD.  After my security shift Zara offered me a place to stay in Brissy with her Kiwi cousins and later Iano, Zara, Eline and I went out for a bit.


The last few days I've been preparing for the trip to Brissy. Ben and I have a placed lined up for $125/week and will be meeting the guy on Friday before he leaves for Papua New Ginea.

Today I woke up at 5p and, after brekky, I went for an hour or so bike ride through the Adelaide Parklands.

On the way back I ran into James who was on his way to a social event but forgot to bring his bowtie so I asked the hostel but they didn't have one - worth a shot. After a shower I had a few going-away drinks with Ralph and his coworker Josh. When I told Josh about my job search in Brissy he got on the phone and called up a contact to get me and Ben jobs working the showgrounds there. Later, I met a guy from Austria who cave dives and just camped in the Nullabor for a couple weeks.


Today I went to meet David, Zsusha and the nephews for brekky at Paparazzi. David gave me my group certificate (Australian version of a W-2) and we talked about current events and plans for Brissy. After brekky we went to the Mitcham Reserve to hang out a bit more then I went back to the hostel and called to confirm the new job in Brissy. Later I did my last shift of security for the bar... during my seven hour shift I threw one guy out twice and had to ask a elementary school teacher to leave because apparently he was getting a bit too intoxicated and bothering people.


Today I rode to the meeting and afterward we all went to ETC (East Terrace Continental) for lunch where I got a tasty steak burger. Next, I rode to James' to do some weeding and back at the hostel I did some more work then walked into my room, fell down on my bed and passed out.


The last couple days I finished preparing to leave for Brissy and today I managed to get up in the morning for the first time in a few days. Amit explained some things about taxes - apparently, as a first time filer in Australia, I have to do it on paper. I called the tax office and they gave me a place where I can get free assistance in Brisbane - turns out Australia has one of the most complicated tax systems in the world. I spent the rest of the day looking at apartments because the other guy found some friends to rent to and bailed on me and Ben. I found three places where I confirmed an inspection time for this weekend. Later I went to dinner at the meeting hall and sold my bike to Lam then packed my bags and got ready for bed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Flaming Fourth of July


Last night I had a couple drinks at PJ O'Briens with Michael and the others to celebrate his moving on to Darwin then I did night watch and made eggs and blueberry pancakes at the hostel. 
Today I did security for the bar again and some police showed up and searched room one for about an hour. After a bit a detective showed and they hauled away an Asian guy who apparently stole an ipod and ipad from another hostel. After my shift some guy smashed a mirror in the hallway and yanked a bunch of stuff off the wall. Iano chased him out and said, "I'll remember your face."


After the meeting today I went with Pillar and his family for lunch and later we had tea at Clarence's. Back at the hostel I arrived as a group of just over 100 gays finished checking in for a convention here in Adelaide... kill me now.


Today Jessica came and got me from my room. I had been in hiding for the last few days from the awkward conversations, annoying hallway gatherings, and overall invasion of my habitat... but she seemed convinced that it would be worth my while to come down. Too right, the English girls were throwing a fourth of July party! Little did they know the fourth of July "Independence Day" is America's day celebrating independence from the British. They thought we were celebrating civil rights or something but rather they were celebrating their own defeat by us rebel Americans! Jessie and Beck had bought snags, candy, party poppers & sparklers (the only legal "fireworks" in Oz) and an American movie as well as red, white and blue streamers - they weren't about to let this little historical mix up ruin their freedom party. After the barbie I went to the meeting hall for the dinner meeting and on the way back I learned that the graffiti on the buildings in Adelaide is actually legal - every couple of months they repaint so that other artists can have a clean canvas.


Last night I went for the second part of the sleep study with a different group. When I arrived I met Kade and Tomo. 
Today we had brekky and took our usual tests during which I got a reaction speed of 146 milliseconds. After showering we did urine samples, weighed in and started the cycling. After the study ended this time they fed us BBQ chicken and Greek salad. After eating I headed back to the hostel for my security shift at the bar where I ended up having to kick a freakish tall guy out of the bar for harassing some girls. 


Today I made snags for Ralph and myself. While we were eating I met a German bloke named Oliver. Oliver is a chef hitchhiking his way to Perth from Sydney. He just finished a year in New Zealand and shared some great insights for my upcoming visit. Apparently, while the minimum wage is slightly lower ($13/hour), New Zealand is also a bit cheaper, so it works out. After further discussion on where to go and what to do in NZ I got Oliver's Facebook and went for groceries with Ralph. Back at the hostel I had some goon that Ralph and I bought and watched the movie "Australia". While Ralph was working I came down and spoke with Oliver some more. He told me about the corrupt police in Eastern Europe and how they take everything from your wallet while checking your ID. He suggested a simple solution - don't carry too much or too little, 5-10 euro is sufficient to keep everyone happy. Another interesting cultural observation - while Germany does have high standards for their goods, it seems they've become a bit lax and joined America in outsourcing - things "made in Germany" are now made in other countries by German standards. After Ralph finished cleaning we joined Dave and others for drinks out on the balcony. 


Today life at the Blue Galah returned to normal - no more blocked hallways, no more loud drinking until 4a, no more gross conversations in the lounge and definitely no more creepy bathroom advances.