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ReportsTuesday, 2 July 2002
Fitzroy Crossing --> Broome, WA, Australia It was only at 1.30 in the early morning that I woke of because of the cold. I had lost the feeling in my feet couldn't do anything else than to pull myself under this canvas sheet to keep the warmth of my breath with me. I did sleep, don't ask me how (probably lost counting the hundreds of camp fires in my head, that's a way to fall asleep) and kept wondering if my muscles would hurt when I'll wake up in the morning.
At 5.30 I crawled out of the car. It was still dark, but I knew it wouldn't take too long for the sun to appear now. Nearby the camping spot my bed room was parked on, I saw a concrete barbecue cubicle with enough wood next to it. I used my lighter to make a fire and enjoyed the warmth that came off it. Oohhh.
And as the sun appeared at the horizon I slowly had to loose some layers of clothing, because there was enough warmth coming off the first sunrays.
And there was Greg! He had woken up around 7am and was somewhat amazed of my bright morning appearance. He himself needed a shower to wake up and was away some morning mood. I woke up with a warm coke in his busted fridge in the back of the car and had an orange, which I had taken with me from yesterday's breakfast.
While Greg had a shower, I packed his car and made everything ready to get on rolling on the highway again.
We estimated that we would need another four ours to reach Broome, the small town at the west coast of Australia.
After a free coffee at the gas station of Hole Fitzroy (drivers get free coffee in Australia, so you bet I drove a car. Not.) we drove on all the way through this measureless naught again. Our only joy was the car CD player and our own conversations, there wasn't much else to do.
We arrived in Broome around noon. Greg had to do some business errands to do in town and would be driving on to a camping spot down south. He advised me to stay in Broome for the night and start the hitch down tomorrow morning. Only because it's a 600km drive to the next reasonable town.
He dropped me off at the Kimberly Klub Backpackers in Broome, a funky looking and bright coloured hostel right in the town centre. This is where I was going to try my luck like I haven't tried it before. This time I had to ask for a free place-to-stay.
I had not forgotten about the money I had left over from yesterday, but I simple thought I still could use it better for any future emergency than to spend it on a night in a hostel.
I thanked Greg for the ride and for helping me out with sleeping in the back of his car.
The lady at the reception had probably never had such a request before and was quite surprised when I explained to her that I travel around the world without any money and was a bit stuck in Broome for the night. She asked for some ID or proof and this time I had my bags with me and showed her some newspaper clippings that I always have with me. Everything was taken backstage to the manager of the hostel who seemed to go online to find out more about this website.
Fifteen minutes later I had a key in my hand for a free dorm room bed and the receptionist, I now got her name: Jo, told me I should write a good story about this hostel on my website. I'd definitely do!
I seemed to be sharing my dorm room with two ladies and three guys and the guys used the room as a real men's bedroom as you can see on the photo. My German roommate Eva told me that the guys had a job in town and only stayed her when really necessary; to crash for the night only.
I settled my stuff on my bed and first took a shower. The long drive had also made me a bit tired, so I added a nap for a few hours.
Somewhere in the afternoon I crawled out of the bed and hit the roads of Broome. If I wasn't going to be here that long, I'd better get a bit of an impression of this historic pearl diving town.
Broome is a dusty oasis at the end of the long long road of nothing and The Kimberly region ends here too. The many Internet cafe's (I used some money to contact my backup team and check my emails after enough days without) and tourism shops made it clear that this town was getting ready to become a second Cairns – only on the other side of the continent. Stores were selling books with Australia in any title and stuffed koalas (they don’t even have koalas here!) and kangaroos and the usual didgeridoo were stalled in the corners.
I walked to the beach front and discovered no actual beach. There were more mangroves that flooded at high tide. But the ocean itself was beautifully light blue. Marvellous!
Next to cafes, shops and the usual malls I also saw many retail pearl outlets. Established as a pearling port in the 1880s, Broome still is known for its pearl industry. Active people of many nationalities -mainly Europeans, Malays, Chinese and Japanese, as well as Aboriginals – populated the town and they all flocked to the shores of Roebuck Bay in the hope of making their fortune from the pearling industry.
I had my place to stay for the night guaranteed. That was good. But the hostel couldn't help me out with anything to eat. Even though they knew I had no money, the didn't say anything about it so I didn't want to start about it either. The fact that I lied a bit about the money I had in my pocket, now got me at least a possibility to get some food in town. At the Coles supermarket I got my self a long roll of crusty bread and together with a Philadelphia spread it goes pretty well for stomach filling. For the rest of the day I bought a 2-litre bottle of orange juice, a bag of barbecued crisps, a loaf of wholemeal bread and a jar of chocolate paste. At least I could make some breakfast tomorrow and have something for on the road.
Together with the money I had to pay for the use of the Internet in town, there were only a few dollars left. I don't know what the value is of an Australian dollar, as I can't spend money that often, but something told me a dollar isn't worth much at Coles.
On the streets I met a couple of Dutch travellers who asked me for directions out of town. They were heading towards the east and asked me if I knew how the Northern Highway was. They had come from the south yesterday and were terribly disappointed by the 600km patch of nothing they had to drive on. I assured them it wouldn't change a bit if you hit the Northern Highway towards Fitzroy Crossing.
Back at the hostel I wrote my diary and wandered around enjoying the luxury of a luxurious backpacker's hostel. I was back in a crowd with other nationalities, all craving for the upcoming trip south to Perth or up to Darwin. The message board on the wall was full of requests for rides and people offering a spot for extra passengers. Mostly were based on cost sharing, so I didn't even make an effort to get a ride here. Tomorrow I'll just hitchhike out of town.
I ate my bag of chips for dinner while enjoying the atmosphere around here. Music played through a speaker system and I watched an interesting match of volleyball on the sandy court next to the kitchen area. The people around here were good bunch and the guy that did his things behind the reception desk in the evening was a fun nut either. He just couldn't believe how I managed to get my freeloading-the-world going and was ready to start up a website himself and leave this place before I could stick my thumb up in the morning.
Thanks Kimberley Klub, good night Broome!