četrtek, 05. november 2015

Kicked... out

Few weeks ago, when I was still in the Hunter Valley, one day we started a cleanup around the house and filled the back of the ute with various crap, from empty beer bottles (lots of them) to canisters full of old adhesives (few of them). Then we drove to the Cessnock tip and had some fun looking for heavy stones on the way out of the tip to cheat the weight scale and spare a few $. When Jill came home in the evening she asked if had fun during the day and after Ben told her about our "trip to to tip" she switched on sarcastic gear. "Great, what Dag really needs is a trip to the Australian tip, some experience it was,ha? Did you like your first trip to the Australian tip?" I was amused, but I had to counter her. "It was not the first, Jill, it was my third tip! But now think about it - how many tourist can brag that they have been on a tip in Australia? I've been on THREE!" And we went on laughing and drinking all evening, despite all the bad news Jill brought home. She was in Sydney to meet her oncologist, supposedly a leading figure in the cancer research and fight. Not once they called him doctor, it's always professor. She came home with a punk hairstyle, hair dyied red. Ben didn't like it but she cut him short. "It won't be for long, after the chemo I'm gonna loose all my hair." Jill is such a brave girl. Five years ago she was diagnosed with a different cancer and was given a few months of life. She never gave up and she fought and she won. Now the cowardly bastard came again, just to find an even more determined Jill, ready to kick it in the balls and send it to hell.
And I left for New Zealand. Well, that's what I was thinking. I arrived to the Christchurch airport in the middle of the night and made immediately my deadly mistake. After declaring that I intend to stay in NZ for 3 months (and showed my booking for the flight to Fiji) the motherfucker asked me where I will stay in NZ. Instead of having a set of prepaired destinations I told him that for sure I know I'm going to start my stay at the Arthur's Pass National Park, then will join the NZ WWOOF and see where... "Wait, wait. You will join the WWOOF? But you don't have a working visa!" Aw fuck fuck fuck, Japanese immigration in New Zealand, I'm, fucked fucked fucked. So, I'm not fighting it. "You're serious? Sorry, first time I hear it, I guess I will pass on this." Too late. Will learn the lesson from a criminal psychologist later. "You will have to have a word with one of the Immigration officers, nothing to worry about!" Sadly, for me, I knew it was over. I had to wait, of course. I was sent from here to there, of course. Then the First started. "You seem to be pretty relaxed after waiting here for so long?" You can imagine all the answers in my head, on the tip of my tongue. All WRONG answers. But yes, I was relaxed, I've fallen asleep. And the Inquisition started, about HTML. Yup. I usually declare myself like some kind of web developer or any kind of free lancing shit, just to get them off my back. It's AGES since I've built my last web page, but the Great Torquemada of Kiwiland had prepared such a set of questions that any of my students back in elementary could answer them. You want a career as a programmer in NZ? Shout "Hello World" when you come there and you'll be respected as one of the most fearsome hackers. I passed the test after saying title-head-body. The next trial was the search. Migra guy put on the rubber gloves and said "Relax, I'm putting this gloves on to search your luggage, not YOU" Probably some sort of joke for people with IQ lower than 70 (if you have higher you can never get a job in immigration/customs/police). He went through everything and found nothing, so the gloves went to the drug traces detector. Clear. "You will have an interview with sn Immigration inspector. On the phone." I went through the usual deal of more or less irrelevant and stupid questions, was put on hold, then "Are you married?" "Not anymore."
"I hereby declare that I do not find you to be a sincere visitor, legally to be a bona fide visitor to our country so I DENY you the entry to New Zealand. Do you understand, you're NOT A BONA FINE visitor and you're denied the entry. Do you have any comments?" I was quiet for a second or two, I knew it would come, but I still needed that second to swallow it. "Yeah, I understand it. Will any comment of mine make any difference to what you've already set in stone?" Silence for a second, two, three, than I heard the breath taking in. "Aw, fuck it, I'm not interested in any comments, bye, have a nice day, I'm sure you're the best at finding the enemies of your CUNT..ry." A low blow - she was  female - but there's also a limit to which I can stand being made an idiot by inquisition. When it was clear I have no way to get to NZ I felt relieved. The tension of the past hours was gone, the decision made. And I was handed to the airport police. "Hi mate, I'm (insert name here), I'm sorry for all this fuck up, but we'll have to keep you at the Central, we have no facilities at the airport.. Please, keep in mind that you're no criminal to us, ask anytime if you need anything, but you have to leave here any belts, shoelaces, necklaces and similar and empty your pockets." Resigned, I did what I was told, and when I took the tobacco from my pocket the "insert name here" copper gave me an inquisitive look and said to his subordinate: "Call Central we have some fuckup with paperwork and we'll be late." We weren't that late, just two smokes. And we weren't late at all since it was early in the morning. Sunday morning. Meaning that the can was full of Saturday's night drunks, fighters, dopes and other wackos. A woman in her cell was crying and yelling, from another cell came threats and mostly f words and a badly beaten soldier was refusing to say anything else than his "serial number". I fell asleep immediately, just to be waken up shortly afterwards, for breakfast. I skipped it, went back to sleep. They woke me again for lunch, I still felt miserable so I skipped that one, too, and tried to sleep more. I couldn't. They were so worried about me that they sent me the police nurse to find out what's wrong with me. Do you need to be a genius to find out what was wrong? At least the nurse was cool. She greeted me in Croatian, she did some time in the Balkans, during the war. She started with some kind of sympathetic psycological approach to which I responded with a kind smile "Sorry, but I'd like just to sleep some more before I get kicked out." That made her curious so I told her the story, short version, to which she commented just with an "Aw, fuck! Why didn't you make up something for the Immigration? Telling the truth all the time won't get you far!" I didn't want to break her illusions telling her that half of my life is made of lies, so she went on. "Just wait for some time and then you can surely come back, just with a good excuse, make up some friends you're visiting or something!" "Mam, after I was welcomed like this, do you seriously think I still have the slightest wish to come back to this country?" "I suppose not." Right she was. In the afternoon they called me out and the coppers that had to deal with me all apologized, saying stuff like it's a shame,you seem a nice guy, blah blah. It meant less than shit to me.

They flew me back to Australia, to Melbourne, where similarly minded people (IQ below 70) did their duty again. Three hours. With some highlights during the interrogation that kept me just enough amused to not go insane.
"Why do you have dye with you?" "To dye my clothes, it's cheaper buy them white and dye them any color I want." "Ah, I see."
"Why do you have this notebook with Japanese exercises in it?" "I'm trying to learn Japanese and I do exercises in that notebook." "Ah, I see."
"Why do you have a camera with you?"
Are you fucking serious??? "I take pictures with my camera." "Ah, I see."
Should I change my name to Kafka?
They let me in. First thing I emailed Ben to tell him what happened. His reply was priceless: "Well a stint in Central Police Station Christchurch probably beats 3 trips to garbage tips in Australia. One door shuts and another opens. I am sure that you will enjoy seeing more of Australia." You have to love the guy.
I stayed in Melbourne, dead drunk, for four days, then ended in the Upper Yarra valley for some wwoofing. Nice place I found, that's for sure!



<head> <body>. The next trial was the search. Migra guy put on the rubber gloves and said <i>"Relax, I'm putting this gloves on to search your luggage, not YOU"</i> Probably some sort of joke for people with IQ lower than 70 (if you have higher you can never get a job in immigration/customs/police). He went through everything and found nothing, so the gloves went to the drug traces detector. Clear. <i>"You will have an interview with an Immigration inspector. On the phone."</i> I went through the usual deal of more or less irrelevant and stupid questions, was put on hold, then <i>"Are you married?" "Not anymore."</i><br><i>"I hereby declare that I do not find you to be a sincere visitor, legally to be a bona fide visitor to our country so I DENY you the entry to New Zealand. Do you understand, you're NOT A BONA FINE visitor and you're denied the entry. Do you have any comments?"</i> I was quiet for a second or two, I knew it would come, but I still needed that second to swallow it. <i>"Yeah, I understand it. Will any comment of mine make any difference to what you've already set in stone?" </i>Silence for a second, two, three, than I heard the breath taking in. <i>"Aw, fuck it, I'm not interested in any comments, bye, have a nice day, I'm sure you're the best at finding the enemies of your CUNTry."</i> A low blow - she was  female - but there's also a limit to which I can stand being made an idiot by inquisition. When it was clear I have no way to get to NZ I felt relieved. The tension of the past hours was gone, the decision made. And I was handed to the airport police. <i>"Hi mate, I'm (insert name here), I'm sorry for all this fuck up, but we'll have to keep you at the Central, we have no facilities at the airport.. Please, keep in mind that you're no criminal to us, ask anytime if you need anything, but you have to leave here any belts, shoelaces, necklaces and similar and empty your pockets." </i>Resigned, I did what I was told, and when I took the tobacco from my pocket the "insert name here" copper gave me an inquisitive look and said to his subordinate: <i>"Call Central we have some fuckup with paperwork and we'll be late."</i> We weren't that late, just two smokes. And we weren't late at all since it was early in the morning. Sunday morning. Meaning that the can was full of Saturday's night drunks, fighters, dopes and other wackos. A woman in her cell was crying and yelling, from another cell came threats and mostly f words and a badly beaten soldier was refusing to say anything else than his "serial number". I fell asleep immediately, just to be waken up shortly afterwards, for breakfast. I skipped it, went back to sleep. They woke me again for lunch, I still felt miserable so I skipped that one, too, and tried to sleep more. I couldn't. They were so worried about me that they sent me the police nurse to find out what's wrong with me. Do you need to be a genious to find out what was wrong? At least the nurse was cool. She greeted me in Croatian, she did some time in the Balkans, during the war. She started with some kind of sympathetic psycological approach to which I responded with a kind smile <i>"Sorry, but I'd like just to sleep some more before I get kicked out."</i> That made her curious so I told her the story, short version, to which she commented just with an "<i>Aw, fuck! Why didn't you make up something for the Immigration? Telling the truth all the time won't get you far!"</i> I didn't want to break her illusions telling her that half of my life is made of lies, so she went on. <i>"Just wait for some time and then you can surely come back, just with a good excuse, make up some friends you're visiting or something!" "Ma'am, after I was welcomed like this, do you seriously think I still have the slightest wish to come back to this country?" "I suppose not." </i>Right she was. In the atfternoon they called me out and the coppers that had to deal with me all apologised, saying stuff like <i>it's a shame,you seem a nice guy, blah blah</i> . Honestly, It meant less than shit to me. </p> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"> <a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lmCQ7ykkWPA/VjnKNgL0O9I/AAAAAAAAFpM/hb8w7AadIMY/s1600/P9120056.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lmCQ7ykkWPA/VjnKNgL0O9I/AAAAAAAAFpM/hb8w7AadIMY/s320/P9120056.JPG" style="" height="240" border="0" width="320"></a></p> <p>  </p> <p> The only picture from NZ that I have.</p> <p>  They flew me back to Australia, to Melbourne, where similarly minded people (IQ below 70) did their duty again. Three hours. With some highlights during the interrogation that kept me just enough amused to not go insane. (Or, since I already am insane they kept me that way, seeing how can you end being sane and work at an airport)<br><i>"Why do you have dye with you?" "To dye my clothes, it's cheaper buy them white and dye them any color I want." "Ah, I see."<br>"Why do you have this notebook with Japanese exercises in it?" "I'm trying to learn Japanese and I do exercises in that notebook." "Ah, I see."<br>"Why do you have a camera with you?" Are you fucking serious??? "I take pictures with my camera." "Ah, I see."</i><br>Maybe I should change my name to Kafka.<br>They let me in. The first thing I did I wrote an email to Ben and told him what happened. His reply was priceless: <i>Well a stint in Central Police Station Christchurch probably beats 3 trips to garbage tips in Australia. One door shuts and another opens. I am sure that you will enjoy seeing more of Australia. </i>You have to love a friend like this!<br>I stayed in Melbourne, dead drunk, for four days, then ended in the Little Yarra valley for some wwoofing. At least I found a cool place.</p> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"> <a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bzxXUCYclwY/VjnKxpyml_I/AAAAAAAAFpY/Wo0sPxdwi5c/s1600/P9260060.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bzxXUCYclwY/VjnKxpyml_I/AAAAAAAAFpY/Wo0sPxdwi5c/s320/P9260060.JPG" style="" height="240" border="0" width="320"></a></p> <p>  </p> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"> <a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YSbp6WoGSuI/VjnK3tom9mI/AAAAAAAAFpg/vu6xLZOUbY8/s1600/P9260061.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YSbp6WoGSuI/VjnK3tom9mI/AAAAAAAAFpg/vu6xLZOUbY8/s320/P9260061.JPG" style="" height="240" border="0" width="320"></a></p> <p>  </p> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"> <a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2i2YDNpkb_M/VjnK66ReslI/AAAAAAAAFpo/gSBVPg7RqY0/s1600/P9260063.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2i2YDNpkb_M/VjnK66ReslI/AAAAAAAAFpo/gSBVPg7RqY0/s320/P9260063.JPG" style="" height="240" border="0" width="320"></a></p> <p>  </p> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"> <a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dH26vIMlFCU/VjnMsZYWVoI/AAAAAAAAFp8/9wAgBzuZnFo/s1600/P9260069.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dH26vIMlFCU/VjnMsZYWVoI/AAAAAAAAFp8/9wAgBzuZnFo/s320/P9260069.JPG" style="" height="240" border="0" width="320"></a></p> <p>  </p> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"> <a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XiU21uiC6Ls/VjnMJSsKfwI/AAAAAAAAFp0/P9aSNWnf-t0/s1600/P9260072.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XiU21uiC6Ls/VjnMJSsKfwI/AAAAAAAAFp0/P9aSNWnf-t0/s320/P9260072.JPG" style="" height="240" border="0" width="320"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"> <a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-r-vW8BQsVsQ/VjnTT3c15wI/AAAAAAAAFqI/a-7kMwDPjMo/s1600/P9260073.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-r-vW8BQsVsQ/VjnTT3c15wI/AAAAAAAAFqI/a-7kMwDPjMo/s320/P9260073.JPG" style="" height="240" border="0" width="320"></a></p> <p> <br></p> </div>

nedelja, 11. oktober 2015

Das Ist Walter!

A Renault drove by, and its driver made frantic and complex signals to the trudging figure to indicate that normally he would have been delighted to give the figure a lift, only he couldn't this time because he wasn't going in the direction that the figure wanted to go, whatever direction that might be, and he was sure the figure would understand. He concluded the signalling  with a cheery thumbs-up sign, as if to say he hoped the figure felt really fine about being cold and almost terminally wet, and he would catch him next time around.

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish (D. Adams)


The day of my flight to New Zealand is close - 6 more days - so this will be probably my last post from Down Under. For the time, at least
And it's gonna be mostly about hitchhiking, this time without drugs or beers, just about ordinary weirdos.
My scariest ride was from I-Don't-Knoe-Where to Port Macquire, 3 months ago. It was almost dark and I said to myself I'm gonna hitch just another car and call it a day, no matter if it stops or not. It stopped. A lovely granny in her eighties was simply delighted that she can give a helping hand to someone in need. The fact that the exhaust of her Mini Morris was making ominous sounds didn't reach my brain, I was too happy. Off we went, in first gear with the engine screaming and the tyres squealing, one two three she was in second with the engine roaring and she allowed it a bit of relax only when she was over 60 km/h switching to third.The fourth was kept for speeds close to 100. It started to rain. Her face turned in a big grin when she said "Gee, I sure love wet roads!" I didn't dare to say a word but she read my face and told me that in the 1960's she was a racer, a rally driver, one of the rare if not the only girl slightly successful. "I still love the smell of gasoline, I think it's the most suitable perfume for a woman!" She went quite of her way to find me a spot where I could sleep close to the highway, but under a roof. I was grateful she did it, even more grateful the nightmare was over.
From Moranbah to Emerald it was the opposite, but not less scary. I got a ride from a guy in a huge Toyota with a trailer fully loaded with tools and equipment, a builder going home. He was slow, but I have no complaint about that. I started to have a doubt when I noticed the Toyota logo on the steering wheel. It was upside down. And we were on a road straight as an arrow. "Em.. err... what does that mean?" "Oh, the wheel? I had an accident yesterday, a crazy punk came full speed from a side road and hit me, you should have seen the trailer, it swinged as if wanting to overtake me!" "Huh, I hardly find it funny." "No worries, The Lord is always with us Mormons!" "Yeah, sure, but the steering?" "The guys at the garage made a quick fix and I prayed all night to be safely reunited with my family!" I had a thought that maybe I should start praying, too. But he did it enough for both us and he was safely reunited with his family, me with a cold beer. I needed it, really. Another one. And another.

I stayed in Emerald for two days and went forward another disaster. It's honestly a crappy spot for hitchhiking. Considering the other Australian hitchhiking it was the longest wait. Wait for... Michael, the born again christian trucker. Who is thinking to quit trucking and becoming a preacher. He used me as a rehearsal when I told him that I'm an atheist. Quotes from the Scriptures from Emerald to Roma (NOT Italy, Queensland), 400 km, 6 hours. All the things that the Lord told him (they are close buddies, talk to each other regularly, but somewhat spoiled by the fact that the first time he heard His voice was in a psychiatric ward). At the end of the ride I still wasn't ready for baptism so he gave me a pile of pamphlets and magazines for the christian trucker. Quality paper, I had something to wipe my arse with. Which is probably why I was cursed.

After sleeping in a Roma park I finally encountered my defeat. Nine (9) hours of standing by the road... not much traffic, no religious fanatics willing to give me a ride just to convert me.

I gave up. Went to Brisbane with the night Greyhound, stayed there for two days in a crappy hostel full of Italians (Nothing wrong with the Italians, the hostel was crappy itself. A really pretty girl actually told me that she wishes to have a father like me... shit, I really am getting old!) and took another bus back to Toowoomba. From there on was a breeze. Warwick, Stanthorpe. The usual rides for Australia where the driver apologizes for taking you ONLY 50 km far or so.

Without prayers along came Bruce and took me all the way to Tamworth, to a pub of course.


In Tamworth I had a funny experience, something I completely forgot that exists. The perfect assholes. Me by the side of the road on the outskirts of Tamworth, a car pulls over. Yay, me happy, grabs big backpack and small backpack, runs towards the car when the driver flips the bird out of the window and speeds away. It took me seconds to realize what happened. Five years ago it was a common occurrence that drove me mad while hitching in England and France, but in Australia... Look, I made almost 10 000 km riding the thumb here and yes, I met religious wackos, drug dealers and drug users, senile seniors... but not idiots. The worst was those signaling me like Adams well described in the intro to this post. I prefer those who plain ignore me. It's their choice to pass by, like it's my choice to be standing there. Well. In a way I'm glad I met an idiot like that. Otherwise I would sound like a walking praise to Australians - this way I will be much more credible.
One hour or so later Chen, a 43 years old Chinese teacher on holidays gave me a ride. He too was going to the Hunter Valley, to Pokolbin, barely 20 km from my destination - Broke. I was smiling all the way, thinking about the idiot and where he could stick his middle finger. Chen was quick on geography and told me that when he was a kid they watched tons of movies from Yugoslavia. And he specially liked that one, you know, II world war, a secret organisation is fighting the Nazis, it's about this guy you know, what was his name... "Walter?" "YES! Walter Defends Sarajevo!" He decided to make those extra 20 km and dropped me at the door of Jill and Ben's home.
Here I upgraded the woktenna,

went to the Jazz in the Catherine Vale Vineyards,...

Ben (with the hat) at the vineyard jazz.
And Jill, without hat.
The jazzers and a grumpy John (extremely grumpy these days even if he doesn't look like in the pic).



(continued from a few pictures above) ....drink too much beer and help as much as I can.

četrtek, 17. september 2015

How I Became A Tree Huger

If I remember well it all started in 2008 and... and somehow I ended in Australia, hitchiking back and forth, for thousands of kilometres and yet I've seen only the tiniest part of it. After Ingham I spent some time on the achacha (an interesting fruit from South America) farm near of Townsville, made little (very little) money there but met a great man, Graeme, and his mate Gary. I quickly moved to Graeme's place for he needed help with fencing his paddock and while the accomodation was more frugal (but clean, nice and comfy) compared to the achacha, three fridges were always full of beer.

The work was hard and a bloody mess - even with gloves, pliers and caution the barbed wire will always win. I mean cut. No, it doesn't cut, it just tears the flesh. Graeme didn't even care about it, working in shorts and pulling the barbed wire with bare hands, at the end of the day he was usually covered in blood. Me, the pussy, with thick gloves, handling the wire with pliers and being cautious at every step of the work, at the end of the day was usually covered in blood and in torn clothes. The last day I did like him, in shorts, no gloves, no pliers - lots of blood but I spared a pair of pants.
But it was worth. Not for the money, for the evenings with Graeme.

We had the compulsory beer at the end of the working day with everyone who passed by - and then we would go on drinking and talking just the two of us, until dinner, during dinner and after dinner. He would tell me stories about the time he spent in South Africa or how frustrating was for him to travel across Europe, border after border after border in a distance less than Townsville to Brisbane... and I told him about Korea and Japan and funny stories about Ozzies.
After a few hundred beers it was time to go. Graeme gave me a lift to Ayr, from there  managed to hitch a ride to Home Hill and there waited for few hours in the sun. Well, I got some money in my pocket so, what the hell, I go by bus. The next bus south? It should be here in four hours, maybe five. To waste the time I wasted my money in the pub, got wasted and finally got on the bus, arrived to Mackay in the middle of the night and slept on the banks of the Pioneer river. Spent the next night at the Gecko's hostel and on Monday I met with Colin and Geraldine to go to the Eungella National Park. To the border of the park, at least, because there's where they live. On their plantation of hoop pines, thousands of them. And the pines need pruning.







That was my job for the past week. The young ones were easy. The old ones... not so. They were high between 10 and 15 meters and they need to be pruned to the height of 8. And 8 meters doesn't sound really high. Or scary high. It isn't. The scary part is the wind. You always get the feeling that the ladder will just slide from under your feet - even if it's secured to the tree with a chain. And the squealing noise made by the metal rubbing the bark. And the cracking noise made by the branch that you cut just above your head that is to fall. You hug the tree - it's a survival instinct, I guess. I survived.

My accommodation there reminded me of various places from this world. Istria, for example. No joke - pictures of Motovun were hanging from all over the wall of my room, Colin had been there two years ago.

And of Japan - the back door of my room was leading in the tractor shed!

And yesterday I started my hitch again, going slowly south, but this time by the Great Inland Way.

Made it to Emerald the first day, next stop will most probably be tha Carnarvon Gorge. But nothing is sure.

nedelja, 09. avgust 2015

Achacha

The winter in New Zealand was not pleasant. Similarly in Sydney. Not so cold, but was pouring down like crazy (but I did have a long hot shower at the airport). Without enough money I had to walk all the way from the airport to the Central Station in the rain - I had barely enough $ to buy a train ticket to Singleton. Ben and Jill from Broke were so kind as to invite me to stop there on my way north for a decent bath, meal and sleep. Cursed as I was I missed the connection in Hamilton (the second and last train for Singleton of the day) and could get only to Maitland - but Ben, dear Ben, had no troubles to make a few tens of kilometers more to pick me up. Not dear Ben - golden Ben, I should write. He sure does know how to make me happy - after the hugs I found myself in the car, with a cold beer in hand. It was his way of welcoming me. I stayed there for two days to wash all my clothes, eat, drink and smoke a lot.

I hit the road with a few sandwiches, some tobacco and 60 $, Ben's loan. I managed a ride of maybe 20 km when I was soaked again. Not really good weather for hitchhiking. During the night, still wet, I froze my ass sleeping under the roof of a roadside toilet. In the evening of the second day I arrived to the outskirts of Brisbane with a dealer and I was so stoned that I wasn't able to stand by the road so I just lied down and slept till 4AM or so, when it started raining again. After escaping the gravity of Brisbane by train I got aride from a musician who likes smoking pot a bit too much. I passed another stoned night in Childers. No rain this time. From Childers to Rockhampton, where the cops told me to bugger off of the road, for my safety. Otherwise I'll be fined with 120 $, for my safety. I buggered off of the road and slept near the Capricorn Correctional Center. With my bad luck the camera wouldn't work - I really wanted to take a picture of a sign on the prison fence. It says: PRISON - KEEP OUT!



In the morning of the first ride I got was from a kind gramps. First thing he inquired where I'm from. I told him and he fell silent, so I gave him a more detailed description of the geographical location of Slovenia. He only nodded. After a few minutes of silence, he asked "So, where are you from, mate?" Probably he didn't hear me well the first time, so I repeated the geography lesson, this time a bit louder. He nodded. After some five minutes, he turned to me with abig smile, asking "So, where are you from, mate?" I guess he didn't have a hearing problem. In the next 50 km I told him 4 times where I'm from. I got the next ride from a guy who was maybe two weeks younger, but was rolling joints faster than I can do. The only problem was that he was also a bit senile and after smoking a joint he quickly forgot he did so he had to have another one. I went to sleep stoned on the northern outskirts of Mackay. The fifth car passing by the next morning stopped and at noon I was in Townsville, barely 100 km from my destination. I had to walk in the scorching heat for two hours to find a decent spot for the hitch and even so I had to boil my brains for quite some time before I hit the jackpot. Really.A young guy pulled over, Jona the name as I found out later, and asked me where was I going. "Just take somewhere north, out of here!"
"No, seriously, where are you going?"
 "Ingham."
"OK, I will take you to Ingham, I have nothing better to do."

Wut? Just like he said. He was supposed to go on a camping trip with a friend, when he got a call from said friend who was badly hangovered and too sick to move anywhere. So Jona was aimlessly cruising when he saw me and decided to go my way, wherever that would be. But instead of going directly to Ingham we did part of the trip he planned with his friend, first on the beach, then in the mountains and for the end an ice-cream at the Frozen Mango.


 

I was sure that Maja and Matthias, my wwoofing hosts in Ingham (where I left most of my luggage for my Kiwi trip) wouldn't mind having Jona for a coffee, so I invited him over. I was wrong again - not that they minded him for the coffee, he had to stay there for dinner. I think that the happiest was Alysha, their daughter entering adolescence - you have to know that Jona is a really handsome young man.
I spent a week more in Ingham and then moved a bit south, half way between Townsville and Ayr, on the Achacha farm. You don't know what an achacha is? Neither did I, before coming here.


The last three pics are from Mission Beach, I was there a month ago or so.

STATISTIKA