Archive | July, 2009

The Pit, Down the Alley, Opposite McDonalds

7 Jul

“The Pit, Down the Alley, Opposite McDonalds” – That’s where I ended up Sunday night. Let’s backtrack.

After being here for a couple of day’s I began to feel really dispirited, I haven’t really spoken to any people in my Hostel and it’s miserable weather, I don’t know what to do and every cell in my body is telling me to just forget it and go home. I’ve organised to go with some UK peoples and their Great Aunt and Uncle up the Great Ocean Road towards the 12 Apostle.
Saturday morning arrives and i’m on the road. We stop occassionally along the way to take pictures and to relax a little. Not sure where but im in Australia, on the Great Ocean Road and it finally feels like i’m having a little adventure and seeing some new things. We stop in a town and for an hour or so we all jump around in the sea and take pictures, paddling and chasing seagulls, Nelson looks on a little disprovingly, but eventually even he joins in and decides to have a little fun with the seagulls.

We spent to the night in Apollo Bay where I stay in a surf side Hostel and meet a few people travelling in the opposite direction to us. It’s a fun night as we kill time playing pool with Andrea from Russia who’s studying to be a lawyer in Syndey. Small world. We leave with a pomise to catch up for a drink later when we are both back in Sydney. A promise I intend to keep for he is a decent fellow and it will be nice to be shown some places by a local.

The next day we manage to reach the Apostles and wander up through some beautiful clive sides admiring the power of the sea and the beauty of our surrounds. Well, at least I did.

I slept on the way home and that early evening I spoke with Flo and explained how I was feeling about Melbourne in general, how I was melancholy and did not know many people yet. I was feeling a little down as I still felt very trapped in Melbourne and unsure of to how to spend my time. After a short chat I decided that enough was enough and went and had a random conversation with some guy’s playing cards. We got on rather well and were all hanging out together most of the night whilst I spoke with a guy who was actually staying in the same room as me. We played pool and table tennis and generally had a good time that night. After they had gone to bed I bumped into a Kiwi who looks like Rolf Harris and we had chat’s about some rather random things. We spoke with one of the Bar staff and ended up all going to a club called “The Pit”, originally built as a bar for the staff of “The Crown” casino to retire after work. A recent refurb has enabled this small hidden little place to become a right gem only admitting hospitallity staff. Unbeknownst to the bouncer’s I was blagging for all my worth and managed to get in, where we stayed until around 5am and then stumbled back to the Hostel for 2 hours sleep where my alarm reminds me, and the poor guy in the bunk below that I am supposed to be up and off to the station.

I’ve decided to visit Albury, a town north of Melbourne and just over the border into NSW. As I sat back reading Pies and Prejudice I realised that my feelings of this country being like a big version of the UK might be slightly unfounded.

The train is speeding through lush green fields and rolling hills, forested countryside that could almost be kent.
The misty morning clears around me to reveal blue cloudy skies and sheep, sheep and cow’s everywhere. Which is no surprise given the nature of the countryside.

The train cuts a path northwards and my sense of adventure is at a high, thrilling. The train announcer entices me to purchase a Devonshire tea at $5.40 its an unresistable bargain, of course I will definetely be doing that.

Even after this, there is still an undeniably western feel to the place, except of course the lamas in the backyard, giant semi permanent pools and the low hanging ucalyptus trees.

Australia’s beauty is more obviously now definetely not within it’s modern, close packed cities. Melbourne thrives on a reputation of culture, food, music and film. An obviously unresistable temptation to the modern day backpacker. Alas for it is still 2 weeks wait for an australian film festival here in Melbourne and I cannot decide if it will be worthwhile.

Albury, war memorial, dean st, lunch, trout, green beans, etc, Nelson!!! Aboriginal, sunset, sleep St Kilda, plans to hire car.

Melbourne

2 Jul

This is my first post in a while so I guess an update is needed.

I finished at work on the 19th of June 2009, my last day there in my current job. The weekend was spent with my girlfriend, Flo. I love her so much right now. My landlord came to do an inspection on my Flat 22nd June, told me my rent hadn’t been paid in 2 months and wanted a cheque from me before she left. I argued that if this was the case I should have been told long beforehand surely? Apparently her accountant had not realised. Well, I don’t have a cheque book, I don’t appreciate you asking me to then draw out cash and finally to borrow from a friend. No this will never happen. Especially considering that you have failed to have my gas safety checked in months. Don’t try to bullshit and harrangue me with the fact that the flat belongs to a charity. You WORK for the charity, you get paid wages, so do your bosses, your cleaners, your new offices. Everything. I understand how charities work and how big the operations really are, how much of the money raised by those gullible enough to give really goes to those it is designed to help. Don’t come preaching in my home!!!

Long story short, she’s kept my deposit and expects me to pay the balance at the end of this month. Last call, I asked her to confirm this to me in writing and have yet to recieve any response.

I left my Flat on the day of my flight, the place was finally empty, I’d sold my last fridge via Gumtree, at the same cost that I had brought it for and I guess it was time to start another adventure and to see a little of the world once more. To challenge myself and to grow.

It’s a little upsetting, giving something up that you have worked so hard for, packing a few bags and leaving the rest behind. Realising that finally, you have nothing left. Only the bags on your back and the memories in your heart. I shut the door, gave the keys to the shop below, walked away. I didnt look back, I got myself a coffee and a sandwhich in my favourite cafe. Saying a silent goodbye and hoping to once more be in a position to live in a place I am happy and love. I cried silent tears as I waited for the bus and sat bleary eyed as I travelled a short distance to say farwell to a good friend and then walked further to my parents house where I sat out the rest of the day and then onto the airport. Bags checked in, security – Finally – passed. Then the waiting game. Facebook, a real book, a sandwhich and the plane was ready to board.

I don’t know if I realised the significance of those actions until a while after I was on the plane. My stomach dropped as we lifted of, inside I think its true to say I was terrified of this step. I don’t think it was just the affect of the take off that had hit my stomach so strongly, it was the compilation of everything and the nagging doubt that still haunts me today. I’ve pulled apart my supports and let the world I had so carefully contructed to block all of my dangers and worries, to settle cossily inside my private domain. To come crashing down around my ears. Everything was over and I had taken those fateful steps that have so far led me down an unknown and largely, unappreciated path.

The flight was relatively short and before I knew it I was being awoken by a blinking seatbelt light. “Please fasten your seatbelt, we are about to begin our decent into Dubai airport”. The message was being announced by our pilot and again my stomach seems to of descended a lot quicker than that of our plane.

I spent the next week in Fujairah with a good friend of mine. Melting from the sweat and generally being oblivious to my surroundings. Soaking up the atmosphere and having a nice time. Enjoying the friendship of thsoe I had met before and those who were new. Being instantly accepted into a community I was not readily off, it was fun, it was nice and it felt happy.

Goodbyes are never a nice thing, again this one was more so unpleasant for without the support of my friends I would of been broken from unspeakable sadness, regret and the fear of loss. I was, and still am. In denial of the steps I have taken. The path I am walking down doesn’t have any signposts and there’s definitely no light at the end of the tunnel. Only my determination to be better, stronger and more secure is keeping me going, for my feet will surely stumble on this dark and uneven path. I am not led by god or believe as many would be, instead this comes from inside to prove to myself that I am me. Maybe also to reflect the slight arrogance thats clearly part of my being, slightly better. Just to rise above the lip of the wave and to have the strength and determination to ride the ripcurl to a different land, a different destiny, a new beach and finally. Warmer climates. Obviously a metaphor in Australian winter.

I understand a little better now how those who come to London, many my friends, struggle through a foreign and often harsh, lonely winter to come out on the other side. I think I can connect a little better with them on terms of empathy to what they must have, and still do experience. For those of you who know me and know what I am talking about. I respect and love you all more now than I have ever done before. With you in my mind I will fight this winter and explore this land. Onwards and Upwards.

My first day in Melbourne is going to be spent getting my feet and my bank account sorted out. For the love of God I hope sincerely this does not become a lifestyle. I will hopefully avoid the necessities that are inherent in this by not taking on those little reflections of a true citizen, you understand. Local sim cards, bank accounts, jobs and friends with the local school headmaster.

Today is a new day, it is early and there is much to do. Today is the beginning, today…