Day 16 - Nicole's last day; My First Kangaroos

The River
(No one wanted to be in the picture)
April 24th, 2015

Today is Nicole’s last day. I roll out of bed (American/Staff Jesse came in to clean) and strip everything (Everything!) in preparation for having to move back to the man cave. Having taken care of that, I join Yuzu, Haydon, and Nicole in the main area to eat and look up share houses. The hostel has decided that some people have stayed here too long (2 weeks is the new cap), and has taken it upon themselves to give them the boot. *Stefano was forced to leave, and I hear a few have been disallowed to extend their stay, one of which is Haydon. I figured, as a business, you would want to have guaranteed bodies in beds for as long as possible, but I guess the logic is that people aren’t following the rules enough? Honestly, the people they picked seemed random to me, though some of the staff aren’t very reserved in their audible complaints about the tenants. It sometimes feels like a clique where we can only get so close, then they won’t let you go much past that. That makes sense when it comes to enforcing rules, but it could just be me. Others at the hostel have been less kind in their read of it, though I'm not so quick to condemn. My explanation for the social schism is that they got the softer landing, socially.

Nicole couldn't escape fast enough, hua hue hua hue
I showed up without anyone and was forced to talk to the other backpackers, or be in complete isolation. They landed here into a preset group, and it would be easy to jump straight into an “us” and “them” way of thinking. You have this group of friends and you have common complaints about the people in the other group. It makes sense. Then again, maybe the managers have warned them against getting too close to tenants. A lot is unseen.

Back to the haps: Found some very promising share houses, though most of them were taken before I could even have a shot. Nicole was antsy to get out and hit the town, seeing as this was her last opportunity, but we were waiting on Haydon to help fix Yuzu’s SD card (she thought she might have lost all her photos (quite upset)). He copied them all and was trying to use the snail wifi to upload over 1500 photos. Keep in mind that it took me over an hour to upload 100 or so. I suggested we get a thumb drive from in town, and packed up my stuff.

Nicole, Yuzu, and an indifferent Kangaroo
Haydon, Yuzu, Nicole, and I headed to Dick Smith (Best dicks in town! (actually an electronics shop)) because there was a deal for a 32gb stick for $20. Apparently that was online only, leading us to check out Woolworths for food and USBs. How does a grocery store beat an electronics store for USB prices? I don’t know, but they definitely did ($18 for 32gb).

We grab some food and head down to the river at Nicole's suggestion. Nothing was happening there. Haydon said that there was a place a good trek away that had wild kangaroos to check out - Hell yes. We walked about a half hour, teaching Yuzu random phrases, and learning how to properly say ‘ich’ in german. I still can't say it; apparently I have a Bavarian-sounding accent.

Holding hands, how sweet!
We arrived at this tiny (Heirisson) island to find other tourists hanging out with the kangaroos. I have no idea how kangaroos behave, so Haydon took charge. He said we were there at the perfect time because kangaroos lounge around in the bushes during the day, and come out in the evening/night. We walked up very slowly, let them smell us, and hold out grass as a peace offering. They didn’t seem much interested in us or the grass, but let us take pictures of, touch, and get close to them. Yuzu bothered one male a little bit, as he used his hands to push/scratch at her. Haydon said this was more “stop that” than an angry gesture. They had surprisingly sharp-looking claws on their hands and feet, and they’re bigger than I imagined them to be (and these ones were pretty small).

"Sounds like Old People Music"
-Kiwi Haydon
Tomorrow is Anzac Day (Australian-New Zealand Army Corp), which appears to be the Australian equivalent of our Remembrance day. We were walking back from the island (killer mosquitos drove us away) and heard a choir singing in the middle distance. We had stumbled across a well-lit, largely empty park, save for a lot of seating, people working, and a stage filled with singers. Practice for tomorrow, it would seem.

French Goodbye Hug
After stopping at the IGA, we arrived back in the hostel where I prepared our dinner of a hamburger, broccoli, onion, and garlic pizza. Haydon didn’t seem to think he was included in those plans, and made his own dinner. Yuzu and Nicole magically disappeared while I was preparing it in the kitchen. This allowed me to practice my language skills by speaking with the French people who were making spring rolls and cake (for one of the girl’s birthdays (Agathe [A-gat] (brap brap))). 

Nicole and I walked to the ATM for her to take out money for the coming trip; Yuzu stayed back to pack her things in preparation for her impending homelessness. Then came the wine.

My Foot
(Ft. Korean Yang Suni, French Paul,
Korean John, Japanese Yuzu)
The night wound up sitting around one of the picnic tables with Dutch Bram, German Fabian, German Nicole, Japanese Yuzu, (and French Valentin for a bit). The party moved to the back patio area where a lot of the french and Italians were drinking. Italian brothers Luca and Matteo were out there, and also leaving the next morning. I had offered them wine earlier, which they declined, but I accepted their offer of legit Italian wine - who could say no?

I discussed philosophy and writing with French Max (really interesting guy), but the memories get more and more blurry through the night. I remember picking up both Luca and Matteo and spinning them around when they said they were going to bed. I don’t think Matteo liked it very much, but Luca laughed (I think). The night got messier until around 3:30, we were in the kitchen. Fabian gave us plain pasta he had made earlier, Korean John and Korean Yang Suni joined us, and I think I heard that John had kissed Yuzu on the cheek. I didn’t think it’s a big deal, but I’m not sure she agreed.

Left to Right: Dutch Bram, German Nicole,
German Fabian, Korean Yang Suni
Some of them made plans to go to the Anzac day parade, which begins at dawn (5:50ish?). I considered it, but seeing how drunk and tired I was at 3:30, I said, in the words of Australian Peter, "stuff it."

*: I think Stefano was actually sleeping in an empty bed for free, so it makes sense why they banned him if that's true.

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