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During my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.

Friday, 29 March 2002
Fingal Heads --> Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast, Australia

What started off as a rainy day, cleared up, ending with university students on the beautiful Mermaid Beach, just metres away from the beach, drinking wine and Amarula...
When I woke up today, I didn’t hear the sound of drunk Rosella birds like yesterday morning (they eat the cherries in the garden and fall out of the tree when eating too much), but I heard the immense sound of rain falling down with some high pressure.

Last night, mother Ann had to work one of her three-days-a-week nightshift at the nursery home, so she would be sleeping in late today. Anna Eglitzky had a free day this Saturday and also slept in until 10am.

Anna and I had a bread roll for breakfast and Anna settled herself on the couch to probably sleep in again for another bit. Around 11am we got visitors. A reporter and a photographer of the local newspaper Daily News was interested in doing a story on my visit to Fingal Heads. I was interviewed shortly and the photographer took some shots of me and Anna. You can read the scan of the article here and you’ll doubtlessly find out that the reporter has absolutely no knowledge of the difference between getting something for free and ‘being sponsored’…

After this anyway entertaining interruption I got ready to go again, because I couldn’t stay here another day after my three nights of rest. Today I had to move on north again and not even that far, so Anna offered me to bring me there.

From Fingal Heads we drove into the Queensland state and drove through places called Tweeds Head, Coolangatta, Corrumbin Beach, Palm Beach and Miami before arriving in Mermaid Beach (all along the Gold Coast) some thirty minutes later.

Meanwhile I had earned another hour already, as it was one hour earlier in Queensland than in New South Wales (like I explained in my previous report).

In Mermaid Beach we searched for the right apartment of my next hosts on the beachfront and found out they lived right on the beach. I thanked Anna for bringing me here, for letting me stay so many days and for telling those fascinating stories about her travels and I met up with Liz Grady, her housemate Alan and study-friend Emma.

Liz and Emma both study Commerce at the Bond University and were heavily in discussion and working on their own laptops on this ‘negotiation-report’. Alan and I sat outside to let Liz catch up and finish her things for today and watched at the beautiful sight of the Pacific Ocean, just metres away from their front door.

Alan joined in with Liz when she found this apartment and they both moved in some few months ago. Liz had travelled several parts of the world too, but always wanted something like this whenever study had to stuck her in Australia and she was very happy when she could share the costs with Alan.

Alan himself is originally from Margate, South Africa, a place that I have visited on an early leg of my travels. He found me report and photos from my time in Margate fascinating, as he and his parents had moved to Australia and he started a study in Business.

When Liz and Emma finished the time they had planned on studying, they joined us outside and Liz opened a bottle of wine.

As usual I asked her why she had invited me to stay for a day at her place. “For several reasons,” she said smiling. “First of all: my mother once came with this article about you out of the local Courier Mail and I found it fascinated, secondly: a friend of mine has invited you too in Brisbane and third: because you must be exhausted by all those travels and meeting different people every day!” Wow, I never heard a list like this before.

Emma had to leave us and headed home. Tomorrow morning at 9am sharp they had planned to continue again with their projects.

It took a while before Alan and Liz agreed on what to do for dinner tonight. Liz’s cooking wasn’t that good, according to Alan and Liz said that it had been too long ago to let Alan cook tonight.

So we went out, to the Italian restaurant Romano’s, where a Spanish pianist was playing on a keyboard and Brazilian waiters served us our plates with heavy Italian pastas. Talking about a multicultural kitchen!

After this dinner Liz and Alan stopped over at the gas station and decided to buy half of the store. Music, magazines, food, wine, cigarettes; it looked almost like my life at home in The Netherlands, haha.

The night ended outside the apartment, with the ocean lit by the full moon and us drinking various wines. Lots of wines. We talked about studying, life in Australia and South Africa, about cars and surfing and liquors and elephants. Later the night Alan decided to open a special bottle of Amarula, a creamy liquor that is made from amarula-fruits, the delicate fruit for elephants. It didn’t take me too many sips to get me woozy and longing for my bed.

I kind of miss my ordinary former student life…when this happens ;-)

Good night Mermaid Beach!