Day 12 - Free Coffee, Australian Hipster, and Helping the ESL

A cold drip coffee maker! Want.
April 20th, 2015

Woke up, ate, gym, wrote, and headed into town with Andy to buy some things and to meet strangers. One of the first people we spoke to was the manager of a cafe; they weren’t hiring, but they were giving away a free first coffee (1st and 10th coffees freeeeeeeeeeee), which is pretty great. I don’t see how they’d stop people from abusing the system, but hey, free coffee.

We wandered a bit more and spoke with an Australian Hipster, Eloise, who couldn’t recommend any particularly good bar in Perth, but she could recommend less bad bars. We shot the shit about Canadian celebrities, some of which I forgot about (Kenny vs Spenny) and got a feel for the city. She was an interesting character, very open and blunt, and could keep a good banter going. We said goodbye as she finished her sorbet (she's got vegan powers) and continued on. Part of todays polling was to get a feel for the reputation of different sections of Perth, starting with where I live, Northbridge. Apparently Northbridge in particular has a problem with violence/aggressive men. Some people have said that if you’re not aggressive, you won’t catch any flak, while others say simply being there can cause a problem. Still trying to pin it down, but neither outcome really worries me at this point. Drunk idiots and jerks are the same everywhere.

Day 11 - Subiaco! (aka food heaven)

Subiaco Mahket
April 19th, 2015
I woke up at 10:30, feeling like it was 6am. I’m glad I had taken relative care with eating and drinking water the night before, as the hangover was very mild. I met Japanese Asuka in the common area, who reminded me vaguely of Yuzu (but only because of accent and nationality). German Daniel was forced to change rooms while I typed out yesterdays events and worked to overcome the groggy nausea enough to make it to the gym. Only 2 days left of this free week, gotta make the best of it. When Kiwi Haydon heard about Daniel’s predicament of having to change rooms, he commented “a change is as good as a vacation” which stuck out to me, though I’m not sure what I think of it.

Day 10 - Quiet night with the volume turned up

Breakfast of Ham-pions
April 18th, 2015 
(figured I should start dating these..)

The bed is getting more and more uncomfortable as the days go on and random noises don’t help (a loud, explosion-like bang at 5am, for instance). I kept waking up from being uncomfortable, but forced myself to go back to sleep because I had plans to go out on Saturday night and wanted to avoid falling asleep around midnight, again. The Italians teased me for sleeping in so late (1pm!) and said they were heading out for Fremantle. I ate the leftover burger from last night and packed my bag for the gym before writing this.

I had packed my bag before eating because I wanted to be able to just grab it and leave, so I did just that. The problem was that I didn’t double check what I had in it and walked all the way to the gym without any of my gym clothes. My new phone (Nexus 5) has an app called “Fit” on it that decided my goal for walking per day was an hour. I got most of that in just from going to the gym and back twice. 

Day 9 - The Real UWA

Yuzu, Nichole, and Tomo packing the car
Heartfelt Goodbye from Andy
Yuzu, Tomo, and Nichole had gone at 9:30am to get a car, and were checking out at 11am. I heard Yuzu’s unique pattern of speech, prompting me to get up and see how things progressed. They were booking their rooms for when they returned, so I may see them again on the 23rd. Andy and I watched in suspense as Tomo backed the rental car cautiously out the gated driveway. With a few adjustments around the parked cars, we waved goodbye and returned inside.

Liz was on her way over because I had been mistaken in calling the nearby cultural centre “UWA.” She said she’d show me the actual University of Western Australia to set the record straight. Sounds good. I rushed to type out Day 8 and get ready before she showed up, letter in hand. My “Tax File Number” had shown up, which will help with jobs… I think? I don’t really know what it does at this point, but it was free and easy to get.

Day 8 - A Walk in the Park

Yuzu wearing my hat
I woke up at 10 today to ensure that I could go to the gym before Nichole, Andy, and Yuzu were hoping to go to Queens Kings park. I ate quickly, but then got side tracked trying to write down yesterday’s events and talking with Christine and Yuzu while they ate. I taught her the hierarchy of value words (pretty good - good - very good - excellent) and we talked a little about our respective school systems. Yuzu asked me for maple syrup for her pancake and I suggested that they cut me, as Canadians have maple syrup in their veins. I’m not sure she understood at first because she appeared mildly disturbed. On my screen right now, there is an article on the other half, opposite where I am currently writing this. It's an advertisement for an article entitled “Japan’s Booming Sex Niche: Elder Porn” which is… a thing, apparently. I asked Yuzu about it, after our discussion yesterday on the topic of Japanese’s Porno reputation. She said she didn’t know anything about the nations reputation for pornography, and I went further to tell her that it was known for having some of the weirdest. This didn’t seem to bother her particularly, but appeared to be news.

Day 7 - Northbridge (ft. Yoga in the Park)

Street Art (Among my favourites so far)
It was a slow start, but I rolled out of bed and had an assorted lunch of PBnJ, a Banana, a Coconut, and instant coffee. I’m in the land of good coffee, so I’ve been told, and I’ve taken a big step down to drinking instant all the time. Damn you, poverty! But hey, the hostel provides it, and it does the trick. It’s also strange that I’ve taken to eating coconuts since I got here (2 for $5), especially since I didn’t think they grew here. After googling, I am wrong; they grow commonly on the north coast. Thank you, Google.

Day 6 - Mostly clear with some showers around the Hostel

I was able to sleep in until 10 today, which is about where I’d like it to be. Like the past couple days, I ate spaghetti and chicken for breakfast, and did what dishes happened to be piled in the sink while I waited. Australian Dean, the older gent, spoke with me for some time about society and how he perceives things to be broken. He thinks we should study the Scandinavian countries, as they’re supposed to be the happiest nations in the world, and that we should strive to emulate them. He’s an interesting fellow, and I watched as he prepared prawns for his lunch (I kind of hoped they'd scream, but I guess that's only lobsters (not sadistic, just curious)).

I set up a meeting with a gym for a free week membership, and am writing this particular paragraph as I wait for the time to walk on over. It was strange setting it up, as it’s run by a Canadian woman and I haven’t heard too much of my own accent for the past week. I tried to trim my beard with Andy’s trimmer, which failed miserably and resulted in me having to shave it all off. At least I’ll be cooler now (and less warm). I kept a dirt 'stache for a short while around the hostel trying to provoke reactions, but I think people would be too afraid to offend/don't know me well enough, so no one said anything. 

Day 5 - Clear Skies in Fremantle

Sarah and her affection for ticket machines

Riding the Canon
I woke up at 8:30 today and tried to go back to sleep, but gave up by 9:30. Swiss Sarah, Korean Julie, Japanese Yuzu, and German Nichole ate breakfast, and teased me about eating spaghetti. Hey, it’s cheap and easy. We talked about english and the different accents. Julie and Sarah preferred my accent to the Australians', but Yuzu and Julie can barely distinguish mine from the locals. They invited me along to Fremantle, and convinced me to ditch my plans because they will all be gone by Thursday. I, in turn, extended an invitation to my roommate, British Andy.

We ran to catch the train after almost missing it due to some trouble with the ticket station (Saraahhhhhhhh). It was a half-hour ride, and I struggled to stay awake. Andy and Sarah spoke about their travels, but I couldn’t really hear, watching the passing landscape and listening to the rowdy teenagers instead.

Day 4 - Rainy Mornings and Quiet Evenings

Again, I wake up at 6:30 and roll around until I got up at 8. An older, Australian gentleman (Dean), who’s rumoured to have lived here for 4 years, struck up conversation while I typed out the end of yesterday’s story. He’s a farmer, it would appear, and may also work in landscaping. He asked what I did for a quid and I told him that I didn’t do anything right now, but I worked with the homeless back home. Apparently Perth has a pretty bad homelessness problem, so this struck a chord with him and he gave me the insight that he'd gained from a life of farming various crops and sheep. For him, it seems to boil down to this: the healthcare system is failing the west because it seems to be putting profits before results. He proposes that we prioritize nutrition and hydration as a means of preventing/relieving mental illness. “Food for thought” he kept saying, before wandering off in search of coffee.

Day 3 - Drunken treks in the Rain

Day 3 - Sunny and Rainy
A student's self-portrait

I woke up today at 6:30am and felt relatively well rested, which wasn’t the best as that means I’m still not in sync with the days here. I checked my messages and caught up with a few people who were online back home. After some valiant attempts to go back to sleep, I forfeited and decided it would be better to write this and take a nap later. And by later, I meant right after finishing that sentence, as I had nothing else to say and the fatigue was finally setting in.

Woke up, showered, dressed, and ate a sandwich with Sarah while the staff went about their daily cleaning. I noticed that there were food cubbies, which is another thing that was yet to be mentioned to me. I ended up speaking with an Irish guy (John) and an Indonesian guy (nameless for now) about China and various places that the Indonesian guy had been. He a quick speaker, and his accent was actually very light. He told many stories about China and some of the squalor he had seen there, as well as some of the more… disturbing foods he came across, such as a live monkey having hot oil poured into it’s freshly opened skull. He said he witnessed this when he was 13, among other things like squatting toilets without any sort of cleaning tools (the walls appeared to be used, based on his story), and old men picking their nose and wiping it on the wall (despite a sink being next to them). I look forward to checking out how true these claims are, and carrying toilet paper with me whenever I stray from familiar places when I go in August. I bought another week at the hostel, as I had only paid up to this following night and nothing past. Apparently I can get a refund if I give them at least 24h notice beforehand, which is useful if I end up getting work at another hostel in the meantime.

The Big Start - From Detroit up until Day 2 End

Airport in "The D"
Flight 1 - Detroit to LA (5 hours)

JonTron - Youtube Sensation
The first flight was largely nondescript. I mostly watched the movie that played (into the woods), and played games on my laptop/phone until they both died. At this point, I started to become an energy vampire because I realized that the planes might not have power outlets, despite what they said online. Near the end of the trip, I spoke with the elderly woman who was sitting beside me and we played the crossword in the back of the airline-provided magazine. Pretty sure she gave me wrong answers, but I didn’t know what they were either. Upon landing and looking for my way to my next gate, I ran into a guy who goes by the name JonTron, who I had seen on youtube some time ago. I told him I liked one of his videos, and he told me that I was the tallest person to ever approach me. To commemorate the moment, we took a picture.

Flight 2 - LA to Sydney (15 hours)

LAX Video Screens
This airport was much more notable than the Detroit one. A lot of shops and visual displays around that didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason to them.  I got to my gate and had 30 min or so to charge my phone and laptop as much as possible. I called a couple people to let them know what was going on, and bought the world’s most expensive (by my measure) deli meat sandwich.