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ReportsWednesday, 21 August 2002
Hobart, Tasmania --> Melbourne, Australia When I woke up this morning my hostess Linda had left a note in the kitchen with the instructions how I can survive for breakfast or lunch.
At 1pm, on her lunch break, she picked me up at her house and drove me to the Hobart International Airport.
After 6 days on Tasmania, I left again to get back to Melbourne.
I thanked Linda very much for her help, hospitality and unusual hot food for dinner. I really enjoyed the talks we had and thanked her for showing me those bits of Hobart from the top of a freezing mountain.
At the airport customs it was for the first time I was asked to take my shoes off, I never really had to do that before. My flight back to Melbourne departed at 1.30pm and it took just over an hour until the plane circled around the state capital city of Melbourne and landed at the domestic airport.
Right at the airport it was Ed Scully, the assistant manager of the Hotel Bakpak, who picked me up with the courtesy bus. He had invited me to stay for a few days at the backpacker’s hotel, just two blocks away from the centre grid of Melbourne.
Ed has been following me around on my travels and had noticed that I was getting nearer to Melbourne, so I might actually really come over. He is fascinated, not only for me coming with the idea of letmestayforaday, but the fact that it actually is working in all its aspects. “I think I got on your website through somebody’s email,” Ed told me.
The Hotel Bakpak belongs to the familiar Bakpakgroup, which also contains the Enfield House in St. Kilda (Melbourne) and the Coconuts Beach Resort on Magnetic Island (remember that full moon party there?).
At arrival at the enormous hotel (“We have space for 650 backpackers,” Ed scully said. I said “Wow!”) Ed carried my backpack and his colleague Hamish checked me in for a three-nights-stay. Wow, again!
Hamish asked how I enjoyed Tasmania and I made a joke about the cold and the two-headed people I had seen walking around there. He acted very insulted, as – haha – he is a real Tasmanian in Melbourne himself.
I got a private room on the 4th floor, and I seemed to be sharing that floor with a school orchestra from some South Australian village. I almost tumbled over all these kids in the hall!
Ed gave me a quick tour through the hostel, from the roof top (overlooking the city centre) to the bottom basement where the RooBar is located. “Tonight we have crab racing in the bar, make sure you will be there,” he said. Crab racing? Of course!
I was introduced to the people at the travel centre and the café on the ground floor and received lots of support talk from most of them.
So I could stay here three nights. For me that gave me a chance to explore Melbourne a bit on my own, to update over six reports for this website – and enjoy another massage.
Ed had arranged that Tony, the in-house masseur, gave me a one-hour, very firm, full body massage. This afternoon I was laying there almost being shaken from one wall to the other in that small and heaten massage room.
Tony told me how he manages to make massages available for lots of people. He doesn’t ask 60 dollars per hour, but just a little 30. “Everybody should be able to get a massage, not only the people with a credit card. Especially for travellers it is a great thing to get a massage, it relieves muscles and stress.” Tony was right with that. After the massage I felt reborn and tired, hoping that my problems with my back will drop off.
I had a nap in my room, before getting down for dinner. At the ground floor café Ed opened a special tab for me, so I could order anything I want whenever I pleased. Somebody is spoiling me. However I still feel guilty with every order I might place, because others all have to pay and I don’t…
After a light meal I got down to the Roobar, where the Crab Racing event was already heading to the last round. Mick, the manager of the bar and the host for the game, invited me along. “Hey Ramon, here is a beer and a ticket to join in, quick.” And with that ticket I had to pick out a card which would have the number of a crab (and it’s name, like ‘Herminator’).
So I had crab number 13 and together with some twelve other small shell crabs they were placed in the middle of a round table. And all the participants sheered at their crabs, screaming to the sleepy crabs in the middle. I few crawled out of their shells and walked circles. My number 13 made four circles around the table before it would find out it had to go to the edge circle of the table to make me a winner. So I lost. Bugger. But at least I know had experience my own crab race.
The winner actually got a voucher for a free bus ride on the Ozexperience backpacker’s bus from Melbourne to Sydney, as that well-known tour company sponsored the game.
After another beer in the pub and after some chats with the personnel working at the hotel, I decided to head off to my bed again. Tomorrow and the next day I did not have to worry about moving out again, I might just sleep in and be very lazy, while in the meantime I would explore Melbourne on foot. With that relaxing idea I got to bed in my room 412.
Good night Melbourne!