End of February 11' The Last of Perth
Went to Cottesloe beach to meet my welsh friend Kiri, who I met in NZ and she had just made it over here. We had some beers watching an amazing sunset and caught up on everything. Cottlesoe is a really cute beach town and very laid back. It seems that the suburbs of Perth are really good. I also walked around Northbridge with Linda, a German girl I met in the hostel.There was lots of live music etc on and a live reggae band playing in the park next to a huge flat screen. Maybe I was too quick to judge Perth? Or maybe it was because I was leaving soon? I went to watch Burlesque at the cinema with Kristi, the Dutch girl and then we went to a cool bar in Freo (Fremantle) with her and Sarah.
1st Mar 11' The Aussie Bush adventure begins!
This morning I woke up early, today I was travelling 6 hours southbound to Northcliffe for my bar job. It's so far down the west coast, its nearly on the south coast.Was quite glad to check out of the hostel. I found the train, and as promised my ticket was waiting at the kiosk and I sat down next to a guy who was probably about 80years old, and realised most people on the bench were about the same age. I asked him if he would mind looking after my rucksack whilst I went to buy a coffee, he didn't look like he could steal it if he tried! When I made it back, I had a chat with him about where he was going, and low and behold he was going to Northcliffe! Bearing in mind this train was going to Bunbury, where I was getting off to catch another bus, it was quite the coincidence. He was actually a really sweet man called Dennis (and probably a looker in his day!), was telling me I should come over and help him milk his cows and go to boules with him. He also asked if I would like to go 'old fashioned dancing' with him! He also wanted to introduce me to his twin sons.
I got on the train and went to my allocated seat,all the people around me were over 60 and some guy sat next to me who told me straight up that he had Bi-Polar, sat next to me asking loads of questions (I hate this on train journeys) and when I said the Northcliff hotel, the lady behind me shrieked a little! Apparently she lived in Northcliffe when she was younger. Anyway I put my earphones in and tried to ignore it all for a bit although 'Bi-Polar' was still talking to me about some random junk. Telling me about the irrigation of the land or something etc. I did listen for a while thinking I might be missing something, but soon realised I wasn't... Listening to my new playlist was much more interesting.
So when I arrived in Northcliffe, a friendly young English girl called Lucy picked me up in her car and drove a few metres, showed me the post office, took me in to meet everyone- it really is a very small town, we then drove a few more metres and here we are- the Northcliffe hotel! It was exactly how I imagined it, the pub was empty apart from 1 old guy with a big beard but the place had a nice feel to it. I met Lucy's husband Daniel who was behind the bar and then she took me up to my room. It was awesome!! I got a double bed, my own tv, I think she thought I was a bit strange how excited I was to have my own space!! She then showed me around quickly- a crash course on the bar. She then informed me that we were going to lawn bowles tonight! I didn't have a choice! But I was glad to be doing something. She then told me on the way that it was also basketball training after too! I was still wearing the clothes from the journey, but who cares right! I had never played basketball properly before either..!
Playing Bowles was funny, loads of old people all arguing with each other about how close the balls were from the jack and the rules. I had to try really hard not to laugh. A kind old guy called Evan, Carol and Pat were on my team. We lost, although I won one of our points!We then went to basketball and I definitely enjoyed this a lot more. Both girls and boys, met Mitch and Casey the two brothers, and Jeff, an older guy with a single dreadlock (wasn't your average game) and some girls there too, one was Rose, can't remember the others names, was nice to meet some young people.
Next day worked in the kitchen but was a really short shift and hardly any orders coming in. Then that night behind the bar was ok too. Ended up chatting to a really nice ozzie lady who was 'dude don't worry about anything you are working in the bush, no1 cares about anything here. It's the most relaxed lifestyle ever! We all love Northcliffe! It's like a little piece of paradise in the middle of loads of forests. And the south coast is amazing aswell'. The more I heard, the more I realised I had definitely done the right thing in coming down here. It actually seemed to be the best place ever!
The next day I managed to have a walk around the tiny town. I found out that Northcliffe is surrounded by amazing National parks, so they can never be built on, so there will always be loads of bushland here which is great. And only 20 mins from the coast so get best of both worlds. It was the only town founded in WA for the First World War group settlement scheme. In Jan 1924, the first British immigrant families arrived in the area later to become Northcliffe. It was a plan to resettle British service men who fought in WW1. Lord Northcliffe, the London times newspaper guy gave the scheme a lot of publicity in English Newspapers and the town was named after him in recognition.
When working in the pub, all the guys who come in all try to either chat me up or set me up with someone. I just find it really funny. People are all really nice. One of the young boys, Jake, who is a 20yr old dairy farmer took me out in his old 4 wheel drive truck to Marlimup(pristine white sand and big sand dunes, and bright turquoise water), he was really worried I wouldn't have a good time because his 4wd was really old, but I thought it actually made it more fun, and I loved the vintage! We were bumping along these roads and sand dunes, was so funny) We then bumped into Mitch (they call him ranga- Orangutang- because he has ginger hair- which we later changed to lobby- the lobster) who happened to be fishing on the beach. I found it really hard to cast the lines out far enough off the beach but the boys taught me how. Mitch catches loads of fish off there, including sharks! Then I went up this really big rock call Chudlup with Jake. The views were amazing from the top- reminded me of pride rock from lion king, with all the bush land beneath.
Most nights we all drink quite a lot, and I get lots of free drinks with the job- its awesome, and most of the time people buy me drinks anyway. I only have to start work at 11:30 so its possible to get past most of the hangover by then, and have a few hours nap midday. Tomorrow I am going to Walpole with Jake I think- some tree top walk or something. It's really nice that people take me out and about, and they are all really sweet boys. The word got round that there was a new English backpacker in town! Ha! Everyone who comes in, wants to know where I'm from what I have been doing in Australia. It's so nice to actually talk to locals all the time- finally the real Ozzie experience.
The other night, one of the girls brought her guitar to the pub, and we were all singing all the old songs on the mic and playing guitar. We then all went back to Deans farm house for a 'jam session' he has a whole room dedicated to musical instruments. And we continued the singing/ playing etc into the night. It's so great that they all like all the old music like Doris Day, Frank Sinatra along with the newer stuff. I really love all this music. It's like a different world here. Another night we went to Ryan's house and had a bonfire and had all the old rock and roll music blasting out.
22 March 11' Days off
Last week or so has been cool, my last two days off, I have done loads. One of the boys, Ryan took me to Windy Harbour and Salmon beach and we had a nice day with a few beers on the beach, then came back and had a great night in the pub. The second day off, Mitch took me to Albany, which is about 2.5 hour drive and we stopped at all the lookouts on the way. We did a walk along the tops of the trees on this sketchy bridge which swayed in the wind.There were loads of these trees called ' tingle trees' derived from an aboriginal word. It was quite handy as Mitch works on a bulldozer fighting fires nearby, so got us in for free!
The drive was really nice too through the bush and the sun was shining. We then went to some cool beaches and a really cute town called 'Peaceful Bay'- it seemed like a toy town! Also stopped at some beautiful white sand beaches, it was breathtaking! Was so much better to have a local take me around because he knows everything about the places, and every now and then pointed out where his family, or friends live. We also went to see this natural bridge made out of smooth rocks over the water. It was actually attached to Antarctica and was left when the continents broke apart millions of years ago. Australia is 5 centimeters further away from Antarctica than it was last year due to the land moving! We then walked really far and saw some blow holes, then saw an old whaling station. We stopped in BCF (Boating camping fishing store) for a browse- I love looking at all the fishing Lures and Mitch bought some fish holder mat thing. The town of Albany is really cute- kindof old looking. Maybe a bit like Padstow in Cornwall.All in all, it was a really fun day.
General life in the hotel is pretty good, I know most people that come in now (and what they drink). I get the same comments most nights, Kev a large dairy farmer (who usually smells like he brought the cows with him) always asks me how my husband is who I apparently left before I came travelling?! Most of the men ask how I am doing and if I have a boyfriend yet. There is a whole new vocabulary- I could write a dictionary on just the aussie slang!! Most common, interesting or rudest words/sayings so far:
How ya goin'
My nicknames from the punters: Rapunzel, cougar (?!), Pome (Prisoner of Mother England), wench (!!)
Lets have a feed
Root/ I want to root her/ need to get a root: sex/ I want to have sex with her/ need to have sex.
Swag: sleeping bag
Skimpy: Bar maids who wear just underwear (they talk about this a lot!)
Black snake: When you don't have a shower after work.
The word C.U.N.T is used on a regular basis almost as much as mate! But the way it is said doesn't actually sound that rude. This is one habit I am NOT picking up!
General conversation is about farming/ equipment/ fishing/ travelling/ news.
Most music played on the juke box: Dire straits walk of life, Elvis Presley mix, Bob Segal- That Old Time Rock and Roll.
23rd Mar 11'
Think I have made a decision on how long I will be staying. My plan is to stay at work until the end of April, then spend 2-3 weeks doing around here, and the West Coast up to Exmouth somehow- hopefully sharing a hire van or someone else 4x4. Then fly from Perth to Bali end of May. Spend a few weeks there, then onto Singapore Malaysia, across to Borneo Malaysia, then back up and across Thailand, top of Laos, down Vietnam and across cambodia, arriving back in Bangkok to catch a flight to next destination, probably China. All this is due to change- not booked yet. Luckily I had not booked flights to Japan where I was going to be teaching English but due to Tsunami, nuclear stuff and earthquake I will need to re-plan this part of the trip.
Sorry for such a long post, hope you didnt fall asleep ...