Days 166 - 170

Trip Start Sep 14, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Monday, March 5, 2007

It rained in my first few days at Fremantle! I've been here several days now and really like the place. It's extremely chilled out, with many coffee shops, markets and shopping malls. In my hostel room I had an interesting mix of people. There was one guy, Victor, who is a depressive soul aged about 60 who only leaves the room for a few hours each day. I wish, as do my room mates, that he'd at least be in the shower during that time but sadly no. I'm not sure where he comes from but it's a bit weird him being in there all the time. Then there's Matthew, another older guy who is a lot more active and although slightly eccentric much more interesting to talk to than Victor! Then there are Jaap and Chris, two Dutch lads who have been working as house cleaners to save up cash for their trip. Lastly is Nick; a guy from England who has an temporary office job in Perth.

So at the end of my first week Jaap and Chris bought a car together and headed south to Margaret River for more work - this time in the vineyards. I had been offered and was strongly tempted to take a third stake in the car but declined on the basis that four weeks working in vineyards before doing a decent road trip was too much too soon for me! Nick is commuting to Perth each day and working in a nice air-conditioned office earning a bit more than the fruit picking jobs and that's more appealing to me.

I've done a bit of sightseeing round Fremantle too. The prison is from the 1850s and was built by convict labour. The guided tour is a very good way to see it and the guy giving the tour is a west country boy like me! He emigrated several years ago but still has his west country twang. He told us all about riots, the church, the hangings and the general conditions during the time the prison was in use. It closed only 15 years ago. I looked inside some of the cells and I think they were better than some hostels I've been to but overall the place is a pretty grim place to end up.

I also visited the shipwreck museum which was a little less interesting. I did enjoy learning about how the Dutch arrived in Oz first and their influence on the continent. One of the shipwrecks, the Beltavia had a good story and some of the wreckage and cargo were on display. On board was a stone gate to be used for a fort in Jakarta. Since that never arrived, the Dutch built a new one and that did arrive and is still standing today in Jakarta. The salvaged one has been rebuilt in the museum alongside a display of the ships wreckage.

So the last few days have been about getting used to Australia. I've got a sim card and a new phone number, and I've also been talking with a job agency here. Fremantle is a place that many Australians are very fond of and I can see why. It's been a great place to start.
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