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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, 24 May 2002
--> Magnetic Island, Australia (at Coconuts)

After staying a few days at the house of Norm and Val Brice in Arthur Bay, I moved on to my next spot for the coming two nights. I was also invited by Rob Evans, manager of the Coconuts Backpackers Resort on Magnetic Island. A place on the beach, with palm trees, hammocks, loads of people from different nationalities and even more beer…

Norm and Val had to go to Brisbane for the weekend and they basically left me behind at their house. That was all okay for me. Their fridge was full for breakfast and lunch bites and they even gave me the key of their funky Mitsubitsu Pajero 4x4 vehicle (including a petrol card).

So for me it was more than paradise. I could wonder along the beach in Arthur Bay and take the car for a few rides up and down the island.

And everytime a few backpackers filled up the backseat as the bus transport on the island can take a while to get from one side to the other. They wanted to know what I was doing here and made the passengers jealous by explaining to them I was only housesitting. Just take care of the house “and don’t forget to feed the cat”, is what Val told me.

But I also had another invite on Magnetic Island. I was invited to stay at the Coconuts Backpackers Resort in Nelly Bay, also known and nationally famous as the ONLY backpackers ON the beach in entire Australia!

I took the car and a plastic bag with my essentials up to the resort and met up with the manager Rob again (met him before yesterday). He was still very excited about my visit and told his staff about me with lots of glamour. And they all liked what I was doing.

I was offered a tent for tonight. Not just a camping tent, but a tent in a section of the resort called Smurftown, with its little blue-and-white tents with two real beds in them.

Rob showed me around and told with lots of pride about the place he has been running for almost two years. He once applied for a job at the Bakpak Company in Melbourne, and they posted him on Maggie Island and would like to stay her for a long time. “I think I am the longest manager in the running here,” he told me as we drank a beer in the hot sun.

He created a drinks-account for me at the bar, so I could just get my drinks at the bar and it would all be on his name. Good on Rob! Thanks!

Later in the afternoon I went for another drive in my car, to get back to Arthur Bay to feed the cat and lock the place up (mainly against possums which crawl in at night and poop their dry stuff everywhere) - and of course to give a lift to a few travellers who had to get to Horseshoe Bay.

It was around 6pm when I took the car again, to drive over the hill at Nelly Bay. On the other side I could get some phone reception again and I made a few phonecalls from the car. But after half an hour the car wouldn’t restart anymore. What?

I tried and tried but the battery seemed to be empty. Gone. Bye. Bummer! I stopped over a car and a friendly lady helped me out in connect cables from her battery to mine, but it didn’t seem to help at all. Oops.

It was safe to just lock the car and leave it there along the road and the lady dropped me off at Coconuts. I told Rob about this problem and he said: “no worries, we’ll take a look at it tomorrow.”

Just to let them know I managed to send Val and Norm a sms text message telling them about their car.

At coconuts the evening had started and an almost full moon was shining above us through the leaves of the palm trees. I met up with this German man who got totally (I mean totally!) excited when he found out that I was Ramon from letmestayforaday. He had been following me since the beginning of my journey, through the web. And just before he left Germany for his vacation in Australia, he read about my stays in Brisbane and Great Keppel Island.

Now he was sitting in front of me and he just couldn’t believe it. He was really jumping up and down on the bench. Two British backpackers who I was talking to in the first place couldn’t understand what this was all about and looked at me as strange as I was looking at this German who was pretending to be a monkey by the look of it. I mean, even I am not used to these kind of reactions.

But the British ladies understood it was a good thing I was doing, because the Happy German bought us a beer and wanted to be on a photo with me. Funny guy!

I had a rump steak for dinner together with Rob. He told me with excitement about tomorrow’s party: the Coconuts Full Moon Party.

"It will be a party with three national deejays from all over the country and I expect some 450 people. Normally we had some 800 people dancing here,” Rob tells me. “But we just had to get that down. You know, licenses and stuff.” Rob can only sell alcohol to guests of the resort, not to people who just come to party.

I was looking forward to tomorrow. So many people, that would be a great party!

After dinner some friends of Rob came over for a drink. He had invited them and told them about me and one of them, Trevor, told me his stories about his tours around the world when he was in the army. He told me fascinating and sometimes very serious stories about Vietnam and how he enjoyed to company of some KKK-members in the south of the US. "You just have to get along with them whenever they are your host," he told me. "It was actually very funny. They just say so many stupid things about other people, that I was just in constant disbelief there. It sounded too stupid to me to be disgusted by me. But we got free beers and we were in the army."

"Just don’t ever join the army, it kills you,” he said.

And the beers just kept on coming. Some 8 people on a table kept on ordering beers for me too and some British backpackers joined the conversations and were amazed by those free beers. “Don’t you think the Australians are so hospitable?” one asked me. I just thought about the Ozzie life on this island. If you can live here and be happy, who would whine about a few beers? Haha.

So it got late and around 2pm I almost crawled to my tent. The Dutch traveller Tim and the British Imy and I were the only ones at the table when the bar closed. Yeah, better go now.

On my way to my tent I noticed a group of guest getting ready for their night swims. They were far away and I just hoped they would keep their heads up in the pool. I know they did, because their screams of fun and splashing around were heard through the night at the resort. But I managed to fall asleep easily, probably it was the alcohol that gave me the push. Goooood. -Burp-

Good night Coconuts!