The Bethlehem scenario
Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
65Trip End Dec 09, 2011
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The driver drops me off in the city centre next to a densely populated hostel strip- perfect. I haven’t been online for the past week so no prior arrangements have been made. After a recommendation for City Backpackers I make my way toward the reception. It’s full. No biggy- there are another four hostels in the adjacent buildings. Walking into each one I’m greeted by an endless procession of negative responses and pessimistic faces. This doesn’t look good. Although I can’t say for definite, I think the situation unfolding resembles identically the nativity story
I get directed down a back road to another hostel/stable, the smell of cannabis smacks me round the face as I walk in… hmm this wasn’t in the nativity. But surprise, surprise, she’s full as well. The receptionist senses my worry and calls up another off-the-beaten-track venue. There is room! As night completely settles in I begin my arduous trek across Brisbane (15 mins). Finally finding shelter, I usher the farm animals out of the way, make myself a cup of tea and watch the France vs. New Zealand Rugby World Cup game. Exactly as it was told in The Bible.
The day after I manage to find a spot at City Backpackers. Here I bump into Kathie who I haven’t seen since Cairns and also Trigger and Rish from my Kiwi Experience adventures in NZ. Travelling somehow finds a way to produce chance meetings and unexpected reunions. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me, given the sheer volume of people you end up talking to and the major hotspots which backpackers gravitate toward, but I can’t complain. It’s always nice to see a familiar face. After meeting so many backpackers who’ve now succumbed to the flight back home and the regularity of 9 to 5, it’s nice to see those still fighting the good fight and persevering with global hobo-ism (globohoboism)
The main sights of Brisbane come courtesy of its public transport; the CityCat ferry does shuttle runs down its river and from here you can get a pretty good view of the CBD and surrounding areas. And because it’s public transport and not tourist- it’s cheap. I become a Bridgeorak momentarily (same guy who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge apparently) and go down to the Southbank to the very good looking lagoon and cultural district.
Just like the other large Australian cities, Brisbane does not disappoint. I don’t really feel like there’s much to do but its winter climate is verging on tropical, and that’s always a bonus.
Nights are spent with Kathie chilling outside, playing pool or quizzing. Using my trademarked backpacker quiz team name of 'pull out and quiz in her eye’ we manage to secure a third position and a few free drinks, but I still maintain that we were the highest scorers not using phones (this is definitely not something my Dad would say).
With my flight booked to Singapore, my three months in Australia is imminently drawing to an end
And to be honest, I’ve had an extremely good time. Goon replaced my usual tipple. Some very well paid cash in-hand work was carried out. Some extremely rewarding voluntary work was carried out. I made it the Great Barrier Reef. I saw a scary amount of snakes, spiders and large bird thingys. Learnt a hell of a lot about Oz and gained an insight on the best way to carry out a Working Holiday Visa.
But most of all- as always- the people make it. The Brits, the Irish, the French, the Italians, the Canadians, the Kiwis, the Ozzies and yes, even the Germans. Thanks for being there, my experience wouldn’t have been the same without you (…it could have been better but I suppose we’ll never know). Cheers.
Time for 8 hours of free drinks and table service- Asia here I come.