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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
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Reports

Monday, 15 April 2002
Stratbroke Island --> Mooloolaba, Australia

After exactly six nights on Stradbroke Island it was time got set off again. I almost forgot I was doing this Internet website! Today I travelled up north again, said goodbye to Brisbane and arrived in a beach town called Mooooooloooooolaba....
In the morning, just after 8am, I said goodbye to Trevor and Wendy, who have been an excellent host for me the last four nights. I had a great time in doing very little, caught a suntan and even read a few books. Suddenly I had auxiliary time to do other things than travelling and being a guest only.

Bruce, the bus driver of the Straddie Guesthouse took me onto the ferry and back on the Australian mainland again. I was dropped off on the Gateway, the motorway that runs directly through the eastern suburbs of Brisbane and headed off to the north, to Mooloolaba.

I was first picked up by a couple that just had to laugh about my hitchhiking sign, saying “I don’t kill” – for them a good reason to take me along.

Halfway the trip I caught another lift from a guy who loves to travel, but unfortunately got stuck in life. “I now pay bills for a living, ain’t that great?”

The third person actually dropped me off right at my next destination in Mooloolaba. That was a great thing to do! He already pulled over for me; before I had started hitching for a ride. For him it was just a courtesy thing that one traveller should do to another. “Only that sign. Isn’t that a bit harsh?”

With the drop-off in Mooloolaba I now find myself on the so-called Sunshine Coast. On my way here I passed the Glasshouse Mountains and the world-famous Australian Zoo (home of Steve Irwin and other wildlife animals, haha).

I am staying here at the Palace Backpackers, the second of a chain of three of which I visited the first in Brisbane. I am staying here on invitation of Renée Tentori, who also invited me at the Palace in Brisbane too!

It was good to catch up with her again. She now worked behind the tourdesk of the hostel and sells tours to backpackers. She doesn’t make any money from this job, but she receives commission on every sold tour by the tour companies.

And just like all the other unpaid helpers of the hostel she stays in the staff house, where she also arranged a bed for me. In the staff house, a former motel itself, a bunch of ten people live around and share a living room and kitchen together. Most of them are just staying in Mooloolaba because of the good weather, the perfect surfing waves or because they found a good job. In exchange for some tasks in the hostel (like cleaning, laundry, driving and night watching) they get to stay in the staff house for free.

I had a walk around the colourful hostel and met most of the people who worked there. The hostel can host some 160 people inside, but it wasn’t that busy when I just arrived. Just at 4pm three big green busses of the Oz Experience tour company parked in the parking lot, leaving over 100 backpackers to stay at the hostel. Suddenly the place was hectic in a way only Europeans can be, the music was pumping and the swimming pool slowly got full.

Renée took me out to the beach for an escape, just a few hundred metres from the hostel and showed me the boulevard of this languid beach town. This is the place where Renée loves to hangout and save some money when necessary. But within two weeks she will be departing again. First up north to Cairns, then she’ll fly over to New Zealand, visit friends of her in the United States and Canada and end up in the United Kingdom in September this year. What a life, huh?!

I had dinner in the staff house, as she picked up two pizzas from across the street. To fill the night we watched the Irish comedy movie “The Craig” (hilarious about two Irish men in Australia, being chased through the country by the immigration office) on video and slowly all the other workers dropped in the living room. Some lifeless, some tired and some overactive. The night ended early for all of us and we watched another video, “American Beauty” to let the night pass on soon.

Good night Mooloolaba!

Ramon.