Published: October 3rd 2011July 21st 2011
Well, I made it into Perth from Singapore without any major issues, and when I got the bus in from the airport I went straight to the hostel that we'd booked and met up with Will. The 15 degree winter weather in Perth was definitely welcome after feeling close to death after walking anywhere in Singapore. Due to being really tired from the active few days we had in Singapore (we must have walked at least 20 miles there, fml) and the flight I just spent the weekend doing pretty much nothing (I have found this to be my god-given talent). However, I did manage to gather enough energy to make the five minute walk to the local pub, where I was excited beyond belief when I found that not only does Australia serve cider in its pubs (before arriving I thought I was going to be condemmed to learning to drink beer without wanting to vom after every sip), but they have the amazing liquid gold I thought I would not see for a year - strongbow!! Needless to say, I was a happy, happy man to the point where no words can adequately describe that moment. Anyway, the night wore on and somehow we ended up in what we thought was going to be a bar but was actually a squat party, which in all made our first night out in Australia rather successful.
In the following days we didn't really do anything important (we later found out that we should have really been looking for somewhere to live) and despite my best intentions, ended the week without an australian phone, bank account or anything else of use. On the bright side, we had a well good afternoon in Kings Park, an absolutely massive park near the city centre with loads of natural bushland and botanical gardens. This, however, was eclipsed as I also found the Perth Apple shop, which out of the 20 or so I have visited is up there with the best, despite it selling all the same stuff as every other Apple shop ever.
A couple of days later John arrived and we started full on house hunting, which turned out to be without doubt one of the worst things I have ever, ever done. First of all, not all the problems we encountered were our own fault - the property market in Perth is virtually non-existent, and for the most part we were resigned for just looking at whatever we could find relatively near to campus. I am a massive bender. Also, we were to quickly find that the world was definitely against us - it turned out young British guys do not have the best reputation - on multiple occasions at viewings we heard things along the lines of ''oh we had some English guys here last time and they pretty much trashed the place'' - cheers for that England. Nevertheless, we had to take some of the blame for taking so long to find somewhere - we managed to miss at least a third of our viewings due to combinations of being tired, hungover, and having a generally awful sense of direction. It wasn't all bad news though, as on one day when we missed tour viewing by half an hour, but then on the walk home found a house that was giving out free lemons - Will and John weren't too impressed but this raised my mood considerably as they were freshly picked and smelt really nice. The following day a massive communication error between me and Will meant that we ended up power walking miles down a ridiculously long walk looking for number 433, when actually we wanted 4/33. Epic fail, another house viewing out the window.
The houses we actually saw didn't go down much better - one that comes to mind is a man who when he spoke to Will ''sounded a bit muffled'' - this turned out to be because he was a near 60 Australian hillbilly, complete with massive Gandalf beard, who wanted all three of us to pay $120 a week each (£80) to share one miniscule room. We had our head in our hands when we viewed another house owned by a ridiculously strange Chinese woman who had an equally ridiculous set of rules for her house (no guests allowed whatsoever) and in the end didn't want us anyway in case we upset her Philipino mate. At this point things were looking pretty shit - for some time we considered buying a boat and docking it in a local marina for somewhere to live, until we found out that no marinas in Perth let you permanently live there. On a slightly more realistic note we also spent a lot of time wondering how much easier our lives would have been had we taken our halls applications more seriously. At this point I did briefly ask myself - what would Jesus do? But I didn't spend much time wondering about this as it occurred to me that Jesus had never been in a situation where he was looking for a house to rent in a foreign country, and if he was then his reputation would probably help him considerably.
Anyway, the end of our first week came and between us we still had not one bank account, phone, or anything else vaguely useful. Given that the next week was orientation week, things did not look particularly good at this point, so we just kept going out almost every night and hoping for the best.