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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
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Reports

Tuesday, 20 August 2002
--> Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

This morning I was awaken by Vickie Curtis, who told me that the radio station TTT (Triple T) is already talking about me and they were about to call for me soon. They have something going which is called “The Daily Rumour” and today’s rumour was that I seemed to be in town.
Last night Vickie had told me that I could sleep in for a bit as she had not much to do anyway. So I stayed in bed, listening to the radio. One lady named Casey called the station and explained everybody what I was doing with my website and my travels, and she was pretty excited about me visiting Hobart.

“Is it true? Is Ramon really in town? We’ll found out soon.”

Then they called Vickie, who jubilantly told the radio hosts that this Ramon was actually staying at her place. Of course the radio already knew it, otherwise it wasn’t a good rumour.

“They are going to call you in ten minutes!” she told me when she was finished on the phone. She seemed to be very excited to be on the radio.

But within that ten minutes Vickie handed me the phone, another radio station wanted to have a quickie with me. So suddenly I found myself talking to some other radio guy who hurriedly recorded a Q&A with me. Simple, just about how I got to Hobart, what I thought about it and what I am about to do next.

And then the next was Triple T, with Kim & Dave of the Breakfast show: “Hey Ramon! Welcome to Hobart!” and they talked with me about my project, how I got the idea, how long I have been travelling, and etcetera.
“Hey Ramon, if we send you a taxi you can be at this studio within fifteen minutes, what about that?” the guy asked me. I was still sitting in bed, not really dressed and was craving for a shower to wake up first.
“No, you don’t have to do that. I am fine.”
“How about 25 minutes?”
“No, you don’t have to do that.”
“Hey Ramon, we want to send you a taxi to be our guest in the studio,” Kim said.
“I am already a guest with the lady I am staying with and don’t really fancy rushing to a radio station right now,” I explicitly told them. How many times did I have to say No for them to understand I was not interested in this?

“You probably don’t know what the impact is of our show, Ramon,” I heard the guy say.

And that’s where I got my Big NO out again. In my mind I thought: “Excuse me?!” That is the same thing as saying “Don’t you know who we are?”, which is one of the most arrogant things you can ever say. Even I would never use that to get something I really want.

And they were disappointed. “So you do want people to be hospitable towards you and then you say no to us? What do you do in return then?”
That is where I found out that they don’t even know what kind of Internet project I was doing.
“You haven’t invited me to stay for a day and if you had approached me about this a bit earlier I might have considered a visit.”

We were still on air and I was wondering who should feel embarrassed the most about this all.

Gosh, I hate it when media don’t know what they are doing. I am not a rag doll you can play with! I am not a person you can drag around that easy.

After a shower I told Vickie that I wasn’t really happy with all that media attention that she had arranged. No offence, I was just honest. Because those people had no idea what my life is about! Probably I was now being aired as that arrogant freeloader that is staying at people’s places for free and doesn’t want to be picked up by Triple Something.

Vickie smiled all through this and I could notice that she wasn’t really that happy about me being not that happy about it all.

Today I had to get going to my next hostess in Hobart again. And while nipping a mug with hot chocolate I packed my bags again.

It was after noon when Vickie dropped me off on Collins Street, one of the main streets of the minor city centre of Hobart. I thanked Vickie, who stayed seated in her car, and got walking.

I met up with Linda, who works at an advertising agency on Collins Street in Hobart. Linda is a copywriter at the agency and we talked a bit about the advertisement industry.

I told her about how the Australian local television commercials really fascinate me because they are so in your face. Sales! Sales! Sales, and all the colours a designer could use are being used in the ad. Fantastic! But by the rules of the advertising industry, so wrong. I always wonder if those screaming ads ever have any effects.

Linda had once seen me on TV, on A Current Affair on Channel 9, and that was her reason to invite me over.[/b] To her it was a great idea, what I was doing, so “why shouldn’t I help you out with a place in Hobart?” she said. Great!

She had to work until 5pm, but she could get out a while later today too. She allowed me to drop my stuff at her office, as I was okay for some meandering through the city of Hobart. I had not seen much of it yet, as I arrived late last night. I only saw the lights of last night.

Linda even gave me a few bucks for a drink and she draw me a quick map of the city centre, pointing out the things I definitely had to see.

I got out and walked the streets of Hobart; as usual I was amazed by the architecture of the old buildings here. It’s just mesmerizing to think about the history of a town that way. I walked to Salamanca, which used to be the old docks for the harbour. The old building now housed small cafés and many galleries.

And I had a meeting with an old friend of mine. Abel Tasman did not say much, as he now is a bronze statue, honouring the discovery of Tasmania. I was a bit proud to see the flags of The Netherlands waving in the wind beside him.

“All continents and islands, which you shall discover, touch at, and set foot on, you will take possession of on behalf of their hight mightiness of the states general of the United Provinces, the which uninhabited regions or in such countries as have no sovereign, may be done by erecting a memorial stone, or by planting our prince flag in sigh of actual occupation seeing that such lands justly belong to the discoverer and first occupier.”

These were Abel Tasman’s instructions before he started sailing around the world in the Batavia ship.

On November 24th 1624 Tasman discovered land unknown to any European nation and gave it the name of ‘Anthony van Diemans Landt’ in honour of the governor general of Batavia. A landing party came ashore several days later. A second lading party took possession for the Dutch by planting the flag. After the ceremony the ships left to sail eastward discovering ‘Staten Landt’ (New Zealand) and other pacific island before returning to Batavia (Jakarta), where Tasman died in 1659.

It was much and much later that Van Diemans Landt was named after its actual discoverer and got the name Tasmania.

It was a quarter to three when I called Linda. She was off from a meeting close by and could pick me up for a drive around.

Hobart is surrounded by a range of small hills, mountains as they usually call them in Australia. But only one of those hills were tall enough to be called a mountain in my perspective. There was even snow on top.

“That is where I want to take you,” Linda told me. “You can’t leave Hobart without seeing it from the top.” And that was fascinating. In just twenty minutes from the town centre, on a road that swirled up the mountain in all possible directions, we were on top of that snowy mountain. And yes, Linda, is was freezing up there! I had not experience that coldness for a long while!

“This is the cleanest air in the world,” she told me. “The wind here has been untouched as it can come all the way from the bottom tip of South America. This is all fresh, ocean wind.” And I breathed in the cold air with pleasure. For me at that moment, it was just very cold, hehe.

We got to a little hiding place that is built on top so visitors would not always freeze off the top, where I was offered a great view onto the city below, the outer suburbs, the peninsula at the southeast of Tasmania and the green swelling hills which seem to go on endlessly inland the island.

Linda had to take some photos of me in the snow, as many people wouldn’t believe that there is actually snow in Australia. Well there is and I touched it (even got it inside my boots, which is never very clever, but you have to be Dutch to do that sort of stuff).

This was a pleasant break in my walks through the city and a break for Linda, as she got back to her office to finish some more work. She dropped me in the city again, where I again had a nice walk around, browsed in book stores and music shops, saw the little back alleys and enjoyed the naïve life style of young kids hanging around the mall with their gothic looks and pierced body parts. They are everywhere the same, don’t worry.

At 5.30 I was back at the advertising agency where Linda packed up, ready to go. We loaded my stuff in the booth of her car and first went to the nearby pub for a drink. As she treated herself and me on a Guinness, we talked about Ireland (Guinness is Irish) and we both had travelled around there. A colleague of Linda and her little daughter April had joined in.

“So where are you going next, after Australia?” she asked. Well, first I’ll have a necessary break, and then I’ll stick up my thumb again and see where I end up myself. I have no clue yet.

Linda wasn’t really into cooking dinner tonight, so she decided to have some take-away for dinner. “Do you like Asian?” Of course! “Do you like it hot?” I have had some hot stuff, I think I can handle it. Unless it’s pure hot pepper…

At her humble home in the suburb of Melbourne, Linda cracked up the fireplace, making the living room pleasantly warm. While having our dinner (at a table) I needed many glasses of water, because this green Dutch man wasn’t really used to this kind of hot curry. Linda now introduced me to the colours of curries. If it was light, it wasn’t that spicy, but if you have a red curry, it is very hot.

What I was eating… Let’s just say that I could lit all the candles in the house, with just the tip of my tongue.

“Do you ha- any moa woa-t-t-er?” I stuttered during the meal. It was a good laugh for Linda.

After dinner I discovered a special DVD of Forrest Gump in Linda's collection, with all kinds of backstage materials on it. I love that movie; it is one of my favourites! I chunked the DVD into my laptop and we both watched how Tom Hanks and the other actors did their first screen tests and how all the special effects were done. Thrilling!

At the end of the night I had to update a lot of my writings. While Linda was sitting near the fireplace reading a book, I was updating this website.

I was in Tasmania and was going to leave the island tomorrow already, but the reports on the website were still up to my last days in Melbourne. Linda let me work up late, which I very much appreciated.

Good night Hobart, again!

Run, Ramon, run!