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Reisverslag Australia: Starting a new life!
3 april 2015
Australia: Starting a new life!
After a short but hung over flight we finally made it to the Promised Land: Australia! Not just somewhere in Australia we were in the final frontier, the great unknown. This place is not even a state it’s a territory, the Northern Territory. This place that was going to be our home for the next 6 months. Our home base here would be Darwin. We chose this place because it had a cheap flight, but soon we discovered we were really lucky to be here.
But back to the first night we arrived. We didn’t book any place to sleep and we set a goal to meet some people and try to sleep at their place instead of going to some lame overpriced hostel. So we told the taxi driver: Bring us to the busiest street in Darwin. After a 20 minute drive through Darwin we ended up on Mitchell Street. Later we would get to know this street as the number one party street and backpacker hotspot.
We were dropped off near the Shennanigans, the place that had to make the magic happen. With our backpacks on we went inside and we found a quiet corner to drop our backpacks and get the party started. The girls went out on the dancefloor and I stayed with our precious belongings, trying to get over the hangover. Little did I know that the people we ended up staying with were sitting right beside me all along. After a little chat they offered us a place to sleep, because one of the guys was going to Thailand that night, so that had an empty room.
They were three guys from Wales who were working in the NBN internet business. We ended up staying at their place for three nights. So generous of them, it was really appreciated. But we soon noticed it was time to start to get a new life started. It was something completely new for us while travelling. We had to go to the bank to get a bank account, get a sim card, write an English resume and go job hunting to afford this expensive country. But one of our main priorities was buying a new house on wheels! The sooner we would get a van, the sooner our live would get a whole lot easier.
Going on gumtree( Australian Marktplaats/ Craigs list) was going to be a daily adventure. Checking out the prices for vans and fantasising about owning our own. We checked out a couple of vans that didn’t quite make the cut. But on a beautiful sunny day( just like all days in Darwin) we met up with a Taiwanese couple who just so happened to own the best van in the world. The van could seat 6 people and was big enough for a matrass in the back. The license plate is GUDDAY and it had only driven 272000 kilometres when we bought it. Even today, 7 months later, the van is still gong smooth like a freshly squizzed banana.
After we bought our new home, we had to start doing some home-improvements. We build our own pull out kitchen in the back of the van. Made some nice cabinets in the middle, so we each have our own space to put our precious clothes. We also sacrificed one seat to out the fridge there. After that we fabricated an ingenious system so we could also have a third person sleeping in a hammock in the car. Last but not least our good friend Shawn put in a very nice floor! But before we bought our new home and started living in it, we still had a couple more couchsurf experiences.
We had to say our goodbyes to our friends from Wales and move on to a different part of Darwin to meet up with our new couchsurf address. This was a great group of guys; Shawn, Mick, Tony, Steve and Matt. They were great company and we spend a lot of fun nights on their deck and in the swimming pool learning about the Australian drinking culture. They really became our
friends in Darwin! Shawn also helped us out with great ideas for finding jobs, which landed Tessa a job as a painter and eventually lead to me becoming a labourer at the same company.
The next couchsurf address was at another Sean’s place. While searching for Shawn on couchsurfing I send out a request to Sean and he accepted us. This twist of destiny became a very awesome one. Apparently people named Shawn/Sean are just the greatest people in the world and we had a blast with the new Sean. He lived in a nice apartment in the city center, with the world’s greatest couch, which is perfect for couchsurfing. Hundreds of people have passed out on this miraculous couch. It has seen more and experienced more than most people will in their entire lives.
By now we bought our van and fixed it. We were ready to start sleeping in it with the three of us, nice and cosy. The plan was to just park it in a residential area and have a nice sleep. Ow boy, that did not work out. We were sort of afraid of being attacked by aboriginals at night so we kept our van closed. It only took a couple of minutes to notice the van was more like a Turkish steam bath than a bedroom and we melted away like a chocolate bar in the Sahara. Me and Tess finally fell asleep, but woke up when Suus shouted: It’s to hot, I can’t take it. She opened the door and went outside to get some fresh air and within the minute she was approached by an aboriginal man. Apparently he wanted to go in the van to hide from the cops. So it was time to move to a safer location.
Shawn’s driveway it was! Safe and secure, we could sleep with all the doors open and we had a nice undisturbed sleep. They offered that if we wanted we could sleep there whenever we needed to and take a shower etc. A much appreciated offer we used a couple of times. Having survived our first night in the van, life went on. We ended up going to the hash house harriers one night. Suus had some previous experience with the HHH and convinced us to go. The HHH is a drinking group with a running problem. So that sounded pretty appealing to my ears. This event took place in Buffalo Creek and was quite a lot of fun. The idea is that somebody sets out a trail with coloured ribbons and you have to follow the right Ribbons. It’s a bit more complicated than that but just go to one of these events and you will figure out the other rules, because the HHH is a worldwide organisation.
Our trail went through mangrove area and it was a beautiful and fun trail to run/walk. At the end of the trail there was hot food waiting for us and cold beers. A great concept! Here we met Skiddy and her dog Mojo. Skiddy offered that we could take a shower at her place and we ended up staying there for a couple of weeks. Another one of those amazingly friendly Australians. Always fun to chat with and hang out with.
While living at Skiddy’s place we started to get our routine going. Tess already had three jobs after the first week and Suus was also successful in this department. So while the women were out making the money I was still desperately trying to find a job. Ow how dreadful it was. So much rejection. I had some occasional jobs at the convention centre as a waiter and one week I put 512 beds in rooms for a mine camp. But nothing to generate a nice steady income… Tessa was aware of my state of disappointment of not being employed. At that time she was working on a big project, painting a 200 room hotel in Palmerston. Whit some smooth convincing techniques, Tessa got me a job!! When she came home and showed me a high visibility shirt, I was the happiest boy in the world.
So for the next 4 months the newlywed Kaizers had become colleagues. The great part about this job was that it counted as regional works for our second year visa. So it entailed, not having to work on a shitty paid job on a fruitfarm!!!! The job was pretty tedious, but I was just happy having one. I was a labourer, so I had to sand, gap and sand and sand and sand and sand and than some more gapping. Quickly we started coming into a routine. We found a nice dirt road right around the corner from the hotel, aka our new place of residency. So we would wake up at 6.10 in the morning, brushed our teeth, then drove the 3 minutes to work, worked until 4 or 5 o’clock, shopped at coles next door, went to the park around the corner to cook and then went to bed around 7 o’clock to hide from the mosquitos.
In this period of time we made a shitload of money, but it wasn’t our most socially vibrant period. Especially towards the end of the project when we worked 7 days a week. So it was a time to quickly forget again. And the last month before we left for the Philippines was great. We went to parties, talked to other people than each other and our colleagues. Our friend Sean is a captain in the army and he has a great group of friend who we would meet up with regularly. One of the highlights was our trip to Kakadu with them. See the movie I just put on facebook;)
In this period we spent a lot of time hanging at Sean’s place, he was always there for us! We could always take a shower at his place or do laundry and without even asking for it, he always makes you laugh! And we could always sleep on his beautiful couch if we wanted to. I am actually writing this blog on his magical couch while recovering from my accident in the Philippines. Much love for Sean!!! This was the short summary of our time in Darwin.
Now I’ll highlight some of the most memorable events I didn’t mention yet; Sean and Suus housewarming party( ow yeah forget to mention that Suus moved into Sean’ s place). Matt’s birthday party, trip to Litchfield with Tess, one year anniversary being a married man, vanwarming party. But the greatest thing in Darwin was all the great people we met with special thanks to all the people that offered their showers, couches, beds and stories! You know who you are! All will be missed and hopefully we’ll see you around in this big ass country.
Now of to explore!!!
10 november 2015 23:45 | Door: mama
jullie zijn toch echt Nederlands opgevoed. Maanden hoor je niets en dan twee grote lappen in het engels. het zijn toch verslagen voor de thuisblijvers?????
11 november 2015 00:39 | Door: Johan Leushuis
Ben het helemaal eens met je moeder.
12 november 2015 19:21 | Door: Inge
Heerlijk om te lezen dat jullie zo gelukkig zijn