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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.

Monday, 8 April 2002
Indooroopily --> Ascot, Brisbane, Australia

The Yahoo mailinglist has some problems at the moment, so updates through email won't be possible for a few days - I hope.

Today was the day where I had nothing prepared for my upcoming places to stay. As announced last Friday, I would go to North Stradbroke Island today and the radio station 93.7FM was going to help me getting out there with accommodations and meals. But something technical came in between and made me miss my boat to the island and this all resulted in me contacting former host Sam Forbes and requested him another stay at his place.

I had a quick shower and packed my stuff. I woke up Sue who was sleeping in the living room on a mattress, to thank her letting me stay here for two nights and left through the front door. I was picked up by Tanya from the radio station at 5.45 in the early morning.

Today Paul Campion and Samantha Kume of the morning breakfast show were going to announce me on the radio. Arrangements for a POSSIBLE (!!!) stay-for-a-day in the Australian Big Brother house are going on behind the screens, but nothing is known about this and it would probably take an uncertain time before anything gets clear. The main issue today was to help me to stay for a week on North Stradbroke Island, with the help of their listeners.

And when my project was explained, phone calls came in to the studio of people offering me a place in their holiday home (even while nobody would be there), I got scuba diving lessons offered, meals at the local clubs and restaurants and nights in hotels and guesthouses. The ferry company even offered a free ride on one of their water taxis!

Together with producer Kylie Robinson and Tanya, the whole radio crew almost lost track of all the notes and telephone numbers they had written down. You should have seen them; they probably all forgot they were making a radio programme.

I was fully prepared to head towards the island today, but just before departing the station I bumped into a scary problem: my laptop was halfway in committing suicide and didn’t want to feel my gentle touches anymore. Not even when I started hitting it softly. Someway I had lost some important drivers, that makes my laptop use my internet modem and connect to the net. Without it, I would be pretty cast away on that island.

But no worries, as the Australians say, Paul Campion offered to help me out with that and called some computer repair companies on my behalf and explained them my situation. One man from a company offered to help me out for free as I just had no money. He would come to the studio around 2pm.

Unfortunately Paul decided to give him a call again around 3pm, as he had not arrived yet. He had a delay at his previous client and was on its way. Around 4pm he seemed to be stuck in traffic and around 5pm the offices of the radio station closed up. Oops.

Well, Paul and I waited all day at the station for some help for my computer. Just before closing time, the computer repair service told us that we could have also come to their office… I think they’ll have to change their ad in the Yellow Pages…

And with all that waiting at the studios I missed my boat to the island and my first night offered in the island town Amity would pass me by.

Someway I had to find myself a place to stay for tonight and I called up Sam Forbes, my former host in Ascot, to ask if he could help me out.

When I left him and his girlfriend Carmen, they told me I could come back anytime – and I remembered that pretty well.

Sam works in the City of Brisbane and the people at the radio station paid a taxi that would take me from their suburb Stones Corner to the City, where I met up with him.

I had totally forgotten that Sam works at the helpdesk department of the Collection House in Brisbane (those people call you if you have credit card debts, hehe). Sam is the big boss of a whole floor of helpdesk people and basically controls the big repair service of the building.

When he heard my problem about my laptop, he had to laugh (Sam has a very characteristic laugh, very funny) and pointed out to all the cables, computers, boxes and laptops they had at their office. “Let us just see what the problem is and we’ll fix it for you.”

James, one of his colleagues, took a look at my laptop and immediately helped me out after his working hours. He got the missing drivers off the web and protected my laptop with the latest virus protection software. It probably was a bug or a virus that had harmed the contents of my system. Those mozzies! Within 30 minutes my beloved and most necessary instrument was running again! Thanks James!

It was at this time that the local Channel 9 would broadcast their report about me in Brisbane, in the program “Extra”, but fortunately I missed myself on TV.

I went home with Sam around 8pm, when he finished his work. We had to wait for the bus to take us to the suburb of Ascot for over three quarters of an hour, but had some fun conversations while sitting on the sidewalk near the bus stop. It was already pretty dark outside.

At home I met up with his girlfriend Carmen again, who wasn’t even that surprised of my second visit. I was welcomed very friendly and Sam said: “You already know where everything is, so just help yourself if you need something.”

While Sam put chicken on the barbie outside on the balcony, I helped out Carmen with her Spanish course. My Spanish isn’t that good, but I can easily ask directions on the street and safe myself in simple conversations.

Carmen was very impressed by my knowledge of languages. It told her it is very necessary in Europe. Just move 200km and you have to speak another language, so you adjust to it automatically. I learned German during winter vacations with my parents in the German speaking country Austria and picked up a bit of Spanish as I worked for discotheques in the Costa Brava.

After dinner I caught up with my writings on my newly corrected laptop (it all works even better now!) and Carmen and Sam went to bed early. I was stuck on the web for another while and jumped into the 2-person-bed in the guestroom later the night.

Good night Ascot!

I guess I am going to an island tomorrow!