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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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Reports

Saturday, 6 April 2002
New Farm --> Indooroopily, Brisbane, Australia

After two nights at Liz' place in New Farm it was time to get going again. This Saturday I'd meet up with Miss Susan Kelly and her families in the Brisbane suburb Indooroopily.
When I woke up this morning, on the pillows on the floor of Liz’ apartment, I found a note from Liz, saying she and Harley were downstairs at the restaurant. I took a quick shower and headed for the restaurant across the street.

Here Liz and Harley offered me a good morning breakfast, while the latest news was discussed and newspapers were read. It’s always good to wake up, have a cappuccino and a newspaper and just enjoy the sun rising to the sky.

Around 10 am it was time for me to get going and I packed my backpack and stuff together. I needed to go to Indooroopily and Liz offered me to bring me there. Once downstairs near her car, she found out that she left her house- and car keys inside. Together with Harley she decided to go to the real estate agent for a spare key of the apartment and get back, while I just stayed with my entire luggage in the car.

“It would only take some twenty minutes,” Liz had told me. It was fine by me. When it became 12.30 I enjoyed a good book and some music in the car, while I was sunbathing next to the car.

When Liz returned, she drove me to my next hosting place in Indooroopily, some 30 minutes driving through the endless maze of other suburbs.

I knocked the door of the Queenslander house in the afternoon and one guy named David opened the door for me. I introduced myself and the guy told me his mum was in the kitchen. I moved myself through the house and found mother Susan Kelly scrubbing a fry pan in the kitchen. “Hi there! I decided to have a big clean up today, but never expected to be busy this long. Nice to meet you!”

Susan (Sue) lives in this house with her four children. She runs the daily family unit, as I can call it. Sue is divorced and now lives along with her fiancé Peter.

As she showed me my guest room in the basement, I had a stroll through the house. In the living room David and a friend of his were hooked on their computer, playing killing computer games. The noise of machineguns and slaughtering went through the house in stereo.

On a mattress on the floor baby Storm was sleeping. Two kids, Blade and River, were watching cartoons on TV while their hands filled their mouths up with popcorn.

Sue offered me a cool drink and I met up with the children. It was River who was at a certain age where asking questions is a day task for people who has to answer them. “Where are you from? Where is the Netherlands? Why are you so tall? Why do you travel? Why are you here? Do you like pasta?”, etcetera etcetera. It gave me something useful to do.

Today Sue had started a big cleaning day, as a friend family of her would move in today. She has been doing shiploads of laundry, scrubbed the house and took care of the kids in the mean time.

I could connect my laptop on her phone line in Sue’s bed room (“It’s a mess because I am cleaning up, I think I’ll sleep in the living room tonight” she said) and Sue gave me enough time to update my writing and photographs.

In the end of the afternoon I noticed those sounds out on the veranda. When I went out the front door to take a look, I saw that the moving family had arrived. And they were carrying a heavy fridge up the stairs. This was probably one of the heaviest things they’d have and it had to go to the kitchen, so I helped them out with some pulling and navigation.

It is Charmaine and Cameron, with their children Melissa, Stephen and Tarsha, who are helped by Sue as they couldn’t find a new home on time, after their lease contract had ended. Now the house contained seven kids and four adults, including the world traveller behind his laptop.

Sue would come into her bedroom and ask me “You are working hard! You should have some fun also!” I hope she understood how much fun it is for me to ‘work’ on my website and be able to share my experiences – even though it takes too much time.

With the older kids enjoying their Eastern Holiday week behind their computers, I joined both families at dinner. We ate package pasta with rolls of bread and it was enjoying to see how little Tarsha tried to put the pasta flakes in her mouth, but couldn’t really find the entrance (every time) end ended up licking her fingers while the rest of her meal was somewhere else.

After dinner we drank out of little bottles of West Coast, some lemonade bubble-wine, while the boys taught me some computer games. When I was young my brother was the computer freak at home. He’d have the latest games and knew everything about computers. But in computer games I never got further than Sim City and Wolfenstein3D. Sim City is a strategic game where you have to built your own city and satisfy your citizens, while Wolfenstein was a game where you had to walk through mazes and kill nazis.

But the games these guys were playing here were going pretty far. I mean, it’s about killing people and capture things to get to next levels in the game, but the way the blood flows and various machinery shoots might be very mentally frightening for older people who are not used to this.

However it will always be a game, I do think it might influence your way of thinking, if you would play these games every day. The answer to all problems will be: “let’s just kill it and move on!”

David offered me to put the game on my laptop, so I could travel and kill people at the same time. I generously thanked him for that.

The night ended with us playing those games against each other on the two computers. David killed me all the time, but I became better. Around midnight I went downstairs to my bed. The kids were allowed to stay up ‘till 2am, but only because they had a holiday from school until Tuesday. Boy, I was jealous at them...

Good night Indooroopily!

Ramon.