Meet Dick: No, it is not short for Richard, a complete chick magnet, personal trainer, definition of ‘no worries’ attitude towards every aspect in life, loves a good bag of goon to start the night. Can be found: Sleeping at any given time, lying on the beach or any other activity performed horizontal.
(Goon: A silver sack filled with cheap wine which is found within a cardboard box. Drunk by youths in Australia due to its low cost however it promotes vomiting due to its awful taste. But gets you absolutely plastered, which is the main idea.)
Meet Mark: Tall, big and broad, surfer-dude, the life of any party, makes a mean spag boll, will put his life at risk for a good adrenaline rush, finished off with a big Maori shoulder tattoo. Note: Does a great impression of the Maori war chant: The Haka.
Meet Ben:Welsh born surfer, comes out of his shell after a few Strongbow beers, funniest guy you’ll ever meet, lives in his hardly washed army shorts. His only belongings: Surfboard, Superbad DVD, a phone and super-glue. Will also refer to Mark and Dick as “gay”, as they shave more than the average girl.
Perth: Hot, chilled out and therefore my favourite city in Australia. It has the atmosphere of any Caribbean bar on the beach, and everything feels even more laid back than in other Australian cities.
The van Dick had bought the previous week had been smashed in at night, so he got some Germans he met at the hostel to pick us up from the airport. Before I could even say hi, we got chucked into the back of this massive, completely decked out 4wd. This car was amazing, it had absolutely everything on it. He was looking to sell it, but the price was about my entire 3 month savings for the trip. Oh well, keep on dreaming. On the way to the hostel we had made a small stop at the bottle-o. Drive through liquor stores, what a way to integrate. Captivated and excited we drove on to what would be my first, hostel experience. It looked fine from the outside. Small, yellow building in the centre of Northbridge. Dick warned me about the state of the hostel and even though I was a little girl, I’d better not be afraid of insects. Spiders would be the least of my worries. Great..
Stepping over a few dead hand-sized cockroaches and wading ourselves through other people’s mess in the dorm room, we found our bunk bed reeking of last nights dinner and alcohol breath. And a big fan standing in the middle of it, that was meant to cool it down a bit, did nothing but just blow the stink around the roasting hot room. Not to worry, I was still excited. This is the moment when Dick decided to inform me that I shouldn’t hang around the reception desk too much in case they asked questions. “What questions?” I asked suspiciously. Apparently the hostel had been booked out for ages and so we had to share a bed and stay incognito or otherwise risking sleeping on the street. All of this was mentioned under a take it or leave it way of speaking and I was too tired to care. What did it matter anyway? I was in Australia
That evening I got introduced to backpacker food. In other words, eat as cheap as you can and share it with as many people as possible to keep the costs low. Most of the time this consisted of spaghetti and tomato sauce, rice with any given sauce or one minute noodles which comes in five packs for $0,80. Not to mention any form of canned food, but that usually only happens when you are really out of cash. Hunger is the best sauce they say… After that, people start to gather around the common area, which was an outside area with two very large picnic tables, a ping-pong table and a vending machine. MGMT was playing from someone’s Ipod and more goon-boxes got whacked on the table with every person’s arrival. In Holland it is not always that easy to walk up to strangers and start talking about random stuff, but here it didn’t matter one bit. Everyone’s your mate, as someone once told me. The best way to start a conversation will notoriously always be the: “Where are you from? How long have you been here? Where have you been?” questions. Which will usually lead to the most fascinating travel stories of fellow travellers. This time, thank god for those opening lines, because I had no idea how to do this. About 20 people were already busy getting a pre-party started when I walked up. Dick got up and said ” This is my friend Ainslie, she just arrived a few hours ago” and left me to it.
The first person to talk to me other than the Germans from that afternoon, was Ben. He was Welsh and had come to Perth to meet up with his hometown friend Owen (who looks remarkably like Spike from the movie Notting Hill). After working for a few months he decided to come travelling too. We chatted for ages and through him I got talking to everyone. I felt like I had made 20 new friends in a few hours. Although, after all that goon everyone had drunk, they’d probably have become friends with anyone who had started talking to them. But still, even Dick mentioned he was surprised I was so easy-going. Everyone went out clubbing around 12, and I stayed behind to try and get into Australia time.
Day one of three months, ticked off.