Im sorry to start this report on a bit of a downer, but I’m really struggling to get the hang of this backpacking game. Its an ordeal, not a holiday, to me.
To begin with Fred & Rose , my hosts , have allocated me a cell er… sorry room in between the communal bathroom on the inside and the front door entrance on the outside. The communal kitchen is also just round the corner. This is very busy. Every inmate here has obviously bought Gordon Ramsay’s cookbook ” 50 Evil Smelling Concoctions for less than $2 ” and each night the kitchen comes alive with backpackers jostling for position with their frying pans and packets of ultra-cheap-and-nasty ingredients. The resultant pungent smells – yes you guessed it – find their way directly into my room each night. The Brunei Airlines steward with the aerosol and rubber glove would have his work cut out at this place.
The kitchen scenario reminds me greatly of the time at home when, back in the day, Streetfly was my temporary lodger for 576 days. Imagine 15 Streetflies whirling round the kitchen like dervishes all at once using up every pot and pan they can find.
Mind you , at least Streetfly could cook & used decent ingredients. Here , I half expect to see a severed dingo head staring at me from between two half-full baked bean cans when I open the fridge.
My rooms position means I can also hear every little night-time noise which is leading to a certain amount of sleep deprivation. Last night Charlie the chinese cleaner was busy in the bathroom next to me banging things and mopping up at 12.45am , for gawdssake.Then at about 1.30am Fred the owner came in through the front door and , huffing and puffing , dragged out something heavy in a big plastic bag to his car. A body, perhaps? Maybe one of the inmates has eaten one dodgy lentil & baked bean stir fry too many.
I just cant engage with the other inmates who sit around every night reading books and cooking and washing pots – theres a world out there – go out and see it , meet people , get pissed – enjoy yourselves! I feel like that curly haired lad in the film “Scum” ( film reference for the Saint ) who was too old for Borstal really but was stuck with it and had to make the best of a bad job by wearing plastic shoes and changing his religeon every 5 minutes to annoy the governor. Every time the alert goes off on my phone I expect it will be a text message from Ricky Gervais or Steve Merchant.
‘ Hello Midnight , we want you to do a presentation tonight to the kids in your backpackers entitled ” A hard days work never hurt anybody – why dont you try it ” ‘
Im sorry if Im beginning to sound like a miserable old git. I dont mean to , honestly.
Anyway , Im sure that no-one apart from certain members of the Gippo Army are taking any pleasure or interest in my discomfiture, so I’ll let you know what we have been up to while waiting for the big game to start this weekend.
On Monday I arranged to meet Tremers in Freemantle with a view to trying out Little Creatures , the rather splendid micro brewery on the seafront. I caught the train to Freo and was walking along the road towards the brewery when a car pulled up on the other side.
” Oy Midnight – get in then”.The driver spoke with a west-country twang and was wearing an Arsenal shirt – it could only be Tremers.
Sure enough , his Aussie friends have ” lent ” him a car for the duration. Free airport pick-up, free digs , free food and now a free car.
I tell you , if this guy bought a cow , it would be sh*tting gold bars, not manure, within a week.
We parked up outside Little Creatures and enjoyed a few excellent beers and a meal of octopus and chips ( Tremers ) and saute mushrooms ( myself ) accompanied by a basket of bread and a bottle of water.
When we got the bill , we noticed that we had not been charged for the bread or the water. This seemed to us a strange custom, and we wondered if any of the blog readers could provide an explanation or maybe some historical background for this practice?
On Tuesday we both went down to Mandurah on the impressive new train line and then in the evening Cottesloe – again using public transport – and I can now give a true indication of the horrific rise in costs over here for us poms. We couldnt have had a cheaper day really: My costs:
All day transit ticket $ 9
5 beers only $55
KFC on way home $10
Total = $92
Divide this by 1.5 then multiply by the number of days we are here which is 77 and I hope you get the picture.
This is without any lunch, eating out at night , cricket admissions, taxi fares , etc and Im sure those of you who have been on tour with the Addis Army before will quickly realise that 5 beers in one day hardly represents an extravagant session.
So , if you are coming out to Australia , you have been warned.
The Barmy Army have come of age business-wise and have quoted their package costs in Aussie $ and without flights , to avoid exchange risks for them and transfer these to the punters.
Apart from this, however, I suspect some of their members will have a seizure when they see the price of the ale – bearing in mind in addition the BA ‘party’ nominated pubs are normally more expensive than any other ones.
Anyway enough moaning the sunset at Cottesloe last night was worth the trip alone – and it was TOTALLY FREE!