sponsors always were:
During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & Partners; Austria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western Hotels; South Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus; Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.
ReportsDuring 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, 12 July 2002
Leederville --> Maida Vaile, Perth, Australia After a good night of sleep I was ready to get going (again). Together with Emma Rohrlach I got to the city centre of Perth (Emma paid the train ticket). She had to work after noon at an optician and I was going to meet up with my next hosts.
I thanked her for helping me out when I got a bit sicky last night and for letting me stay another night too and we said goodbye. Something in my thoughts hoped that I would see her again, someday…
I had a nice walk around the lovely commercial centre of Perth before I took the bus to Barrack Square. Perth has the Central Area Transit, the CAT, which is free to use; and that's always great for somebody like me to get around!
At Barrack Square, where a multimillion dollar architectural disaster is built that people call The Bell Tower, I was picked up my the Swedish guy Michačl at 2pm. I didn't know any Michačl, but he told me he was Liz' boyfriend and yes, I knew that Liz Clift was my next hostess.
Michačl took me along for a long drive all the way to that outer suburb of Lesmurdie and he told me how he ended up in Australia. They both met up when Liz visited Sweden during a student-exchange, romance blossomed, you know and after a year Liz had to go back to Australia. But that didn't stop Michačl. He applied and got a working visa and headed to his love in Perth. How romantic!
"But I am only allowed to work three months at the same place and I now have seven months left. I have to change and find jobs every time and we don't know what we'll have to do next year." His English was amiable Swedisch-English, but already had some good ol' Aussie words in it.
I met up with Liz, fully Elizabeth Clift, at her parents house in Lesmurdie. When I entered their home I handed out my hand to her dad but he didn't bother to introduce himself to me. All he asked was: "Where are you from?" Holland. "Oh. Okay," and the old man carried on with what he was doing.
We were not going to stay in this house. As Liz and Michačl are going to move on to Townsville (all the way on the north east end of Australia!) on Monday where Liz is going to extend her drama-writing courses, I was going to spent their last Friday in the company of them and two of their best friends.
Just to get a bite to eat, Liz made herself and me some quick pasta. I just tried to adjust in the situations as usual and be sociable with the people in the house. Her father was a bit strange, because suddenly he really barked at me "take your cap of! Please." Which quite surprised me, because anybody could just have said that in a very normal and considerate way.
It was very quiet in the house and while standing in the dining area and kitchen I heard absolutely nothing. I quite understand that Liz and Michačl couldn't wait to get going very soon.
We ended up at the house of Esther's parents. Esther and Daniel are the two friends of Liz and Michačl and as Ester's parents were away for a while, we all would sleep over at this place.
As Liz had to take car of the last things at the university in Perth and Esther had to do some shopping for the weekend, Michačl and I stayed home. Michačl watched some TV and I had a small nap.
When I got back on earth I met up with Daniel, the workingman boyfriend of Esther. He was a bit moody as he was in between 12-hour working days, as a contractor, and I could not blame him for it at all.
Liz and Esther decided to go out for dinner tonight. Everybody started counting money and looking up bankcards. After a hazardous drive with all of us in Liz' old van (I can't remember if it was Liz' driving or the current situation of the car) we ended up at Sizzler's, well known for its all-you-can-eat menu. And they are not too expensive too, that always helps the all-you-can-eat-idea.
Liz and Esther ordered for themselves and me and we got us a table. The two other guys sneaked their way in to the buffet/eating area after a while. Funny how they there realized that everything they wanted to eat of the buffet was free!
More and more I realize that Australians are probably the world's biggest freeloaders, haha!
After a delicious Sizzling steak and enough salads, pastas and ice-cream (love those jelly puddings too!) we drove on a few more dangerous blocks in that van and ended up at a tenpin bowling lane.
The guys were a bit frightened after they saw the no-smoking-no-drinking sign, but eventually stopped bothering about all these restrictions in life. I think it was a good idea to have places like that, with those restrictions, as now kids were running around and entire families were enjoying games of bowling. Try to do that with alcohol and smoke…
Of course I told the gang that I have quite a history in bowling. The few times I played it I made some historic scores, so what a big laugh they all had when I was a total loser in my lane. Then just keep smiling and be cool, of course saying that I am only warming up.
It was very funny. The ladies said they couldn't do it and "the balls are to heavy", but they played actually very good. When I started to play it their way (bang that ball on the floor towards the right pins on the right lane) I suddenly surprised everybody including myself with three strikes in a row. Yes, I secretly thanked that guy above, however I am not even religious.
The last few days I spent in the company of nice young people and that felt good to me. I might have needed these young sparkles in the air a bit, or is there something else sparkling in my thoughts?
Can't tell you. Don't want to tell that yet. But I think about it a lot.
Good night Maida Vaile!