Published: November 30th 2011November 30th 2011
G'day mate, 'ow ya goin'?
So we are approaching the 2 month mark on our time in Australia, and we have already passed the 3 month mark on our total travel time. And since I last wrote to you we have done quite a bit of traveling:
With Betty White finally, um, "fixed" we headed south again. Our first stop was in Airlie Beach. Now Airlie is a very small, touristy town, known mainly for its proximity to the spectacular reefs of the Whitsunday Islands. While we were not going on any of the popular sailing trips, Airlie was still a milestone in our trip. That's right everyone, we officially had our first negative couchsurfing experience. Now on the scale of things that could go horribly wrong while staying with complete strangers on the other side of the world, this would rate somewhere around a mild inconvenience. But it was still a first for us.
Upon our arrival in Airlie, we waited 2 hours for our host (whose name I shall refrain from sharing so to save him some embarassment at his inhospitable behavior) to finally answer his phone. We then waited another hour for him to meet
us and lead the way to his apartment LITERALLY across the street from where we'd been waiting. He then rushed us through the unpacking and showering process- which we needed after a 7 hour drive and 3 hours waiting- so he could go and meet his friend. We told him several times to go on his own, but he felt obligated to escort us. Once we were ready, we told him we were in the mood to go to a different bar, so he blew off his friend and came with us, and then got kicked out within 10 minutes. We continued to have a good night on our own, as we hadn't needed a chaperone in the first place. In the morning he invited 2 more couchsurfers over- bringing the total in the tiny apartment to 6. He had planned an agenda of what he wanted everyone to do that day, but we politely told him we were going to do some exploring of Airlie on our own. He seemed offended but let us go anyways. Later that evening, as Tay and I were about to head out for dinner and drinks with the new friends we had made,
our host and his following of European couchsurfers (all girls) returned home. We told him our plans to get free pizza across the street to which he scoffed "you would". Ignoring his rude remark, we set off for the night. A few hours later I received a call from him asking what we were up to and when we planned to leave his house. He then informed me that he was inviting more "friends" to spend the night, so I should call him before we planned to come home so he could work out sleeping arrangements. To keep the story short, the conversation quickly turned south, with him dissing our lifestyle, calling us "leeches", and then using some harsh words to tell us to leave. So we did. At 9:30 at night, spending just over 24 hours at this house, we packed up our bags, ignoring his giggling posse of now 5 European girls in the kitchen, and we left. Luckily (because we are such leeches, right?) we had other friends to take us in. The following morning I was still in shock at the entire situation, so I posted a facebook status about the event. To my surprise my
status was then flooded with comforting responses from other couchsurfing hosts, including a "come home then" from our friends in Sydney! Now I didn't, and don't, believe that we were/are bad guests, so these responses eased my fears. You raised us right, Mom and Dad :) But I'd still be interested to hear all of your thoughts on this situation.
After Airlie, we spent a night in Gladstone again, then a few nights in Noosa with one of the professors I studied with here two years ago, and of course a weekend with the family on the Gold Coast. This visit we enjoyed the beach, a trip to local theme park Dreamworld, Nick's baseball game, a hike to see the glowworms, and a lookout with a view of the whole coast and some pretty amazing stars. It was another wonderful weekend with the family, with some delicious vegetarian meals for me (special thanks to chef Courtney!). We then moved on to Byron, where we spent a night in our car (I refuse to pay $35/night for a 10-share dorm, thank you very much). One night was enough in this over-priced little town, so it was onwards to Coffs Harbour, picking up a very nice German hitchhiker along the way. Exhausted from all our travels we finally made our way all the way back to Sydney.
Sydney was rainy and cold, a change from the hot, sunny north. So we used the weather to stay in and plan the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner. While there was no Macy's Day Parade on TV, no family catching up in the kitchen, no people throwing the pigskin around the yard, it was still a lovely celebration. In attendance were the chefs, Taylor and myself, hosts/our dear friends Rosie, James, and Stuart, Polish couchsurfers Adam and Jakub, and later in the evening new housemate Douglas, a Brazilian personal trainer, and Stuart's friend Tom. We cooked a 4.8kg turkey, chicken, shrimp, asparagus, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. For dessert we hade apple pie with ice cream and chocolate bavarian. Let's just say there are a few more people in the world who are convinced that this is the best holiday ever....
Oh, and we sold Betty White.
I think that's all the updates for now! We are in Sydney for two more weeks, so we should have some good stories at the end of it. Then it's time to swtich continents....weird!!
PS- pictures in the next one, I hope...fingers crossed