Ok we’ll be honest, we weren’t planning on continuing the blog, for future tropical destinations perhaps, but after living like Kings in South East Asia, Australia wasn’t exactly the same kind of paradise; it was hard bloody work. Jobs, rent, shopping, general taking care of ourselves and no mammies to look after us. But looking back on our 5 months in Perth and in spite of frequently empty bank accounts, it was actually a brilliant experience.
We arrived on the eve of Paddy’s day and what a great time to greet Australia. I will never forget the feeling we had on that first day walking through the city of Perth. Four months we had spent in lands so different from that of the Western World. All of a sudden we were back in a place where you couldn’t eat for $2, a place where an all-night bar was impossible to find and a place where we actually felt pretty lost. The following morning, I took a bit of a detour, flew to Sydney to see Ela and we spent 2 weeks travelling up the coast and back in a beautiful van, no care in the world only what tunes to play and what beach to surf on. The East coast of Australia is spectacular and Diarmo and I would no doubt be venturing there soon. I returned to Perth to find Cha, Diarmo and Kylo in a hostel room which was as hot as the Sahara and a bed to share with Kylo. This is something I was against… but would get very used to.
By then, Marion and Ste had arrived and so the 6 of us set about getting jobs and a place to live. What a crap few weeks. Our money was seeping out of our hands like sand as everything was so god damn expensive, accommodation and pints in particular. Thank God for Marion. She found us an absolute gem of a house 10 minutes train from the city. Marion, Ste and I checked it out and practically screamed ‘yes’ at the landlords. The house was very spacious, a living room to sit/sleep 15, 3 bedrooms, clean bathroom, nice kitchen and a balcony overlooking a big back garden. At $125 each a week (and $60 less than the shit hostel), it was a bargain. We moved in on April 17th and christened the house with a nice steak dinner (Cheers Diarmo) and a few beers of course. Mar and Ste had their own room, Diarmo and Cha had a twin room and Kylo and I had the master bedroom… we shared a bed. Something which I refused to do back in the Thailand days with both Diarmo and Kylo. But God this bed was too damn comfy. So within a few weeks we had all found pretty decent jobs, Diarmo and I got into something we never thought we would do – Sales. Diarmo sold hoovers for $3000-4000 (no, I am not joking) and I worked with a company who were contracted by charities. Sales is a funny game. They make it sound like you can be a millionaire so easily. They reel you in with all these mental pictures: money, a lavish lifestyle, trips away, a real cushy number. What they are doing actually is selling to you and my Diarmo sold our souls.
Come early May, I was out the door again, this time on a Trans-Pacific flight to San Francisco to see… yes of course Ela. With the last of my money I had one last taste of travelling freedom. Virgin America accidentally put me on First Class from Sydney to L.A. I did not complain. San Fran is simply epic. The city has so much character, so much life to, its people are unique in so many different ways. A part of me wanted to forget Australia, get a house in Haight-Ashbury and become a hippy. So in late May – early June the money was rolling in but we worked like dogs. I would usually arrive home around 8.30/9 and Diarmo sometimes 11/11.30. At least the gave him a big bashed up white van to drive. Yes, he was questioned about being a pedophile on occasion. Our weeks were pretty dominated by work and we sadly turned into suburban saps, work, sleep, work, sleep. So Saturday nights were important. Very important. Our house became the party house for the 6 of us and many extras. Kylo and I were lucky to work with a large bunch of young people who despite annoying some of the others, were definitely not boring anyway. We would usually get a crowd of 10-15 each Saturday night. Diarmo’s mates Ian and Lucy would wander over too and of course the Irish contingency, Damo, JP and several others. One night, as always Kylo would get a drinking game going and I think I counted 30 people playing. This was not a party. It was just the place to be for a few drinks before hitting the town.
Unfortunately the pre-drinks were always the best part of the night. The nightlife in Perth is poor at best. Northbridge is the main hot spot particularly for backpackers, but pub after pub, club after club, was a bit of a letdown. The Burswood complex was a pretty cool place to go, big night club called ‘Eve’ and more importantly, a casino. If we went to Burswood on a Saturday night, the likelihood of finding Diarmo, Ste and I in the club at 2 o clock was extremely unlikely. You could bet your life we would be downstairs in the casino… at a roulette table… losing money. Sundays were usually a nice cool down day in the house, a few beers and a game of poker, later to be replaced by a bit of Astro. As I have mentioned, I should also say that Aussies are shit at football. And poker. And most things. But fair play to them, they think they can do anything. Thanks to the job, I was able to treat myself to a nice MacBook Pro in June, Diarmo unfortunately was losing out in his job, which was literally turning into slavery. The turning point for me enjoying my job was a trip to Adelaide.
Kylo and I, along with 3 others were flown to Adelaide for work, given a nice apartment and rental car. Adelaide was pretty crap, mainly because people didn’t want to sign up for a charity. But also because we got home from work one day to find our apartment robbed. Laptops, iPods, clothes, my diary from Asia, even one of the lad’s retainer for his teeth. Sick stuff. We didn’t hang around, the boss sent us home the following day. At least I had got to see somewhere else in Australia and realise that I never want to go back there. Diarmo meanwhile headed North on a work trip himself, he came back with videos of trains that were longer than some Irish rivers. This country will literally amaze you over and over. So by mid-July, we had planned the next journey. It had been 4 months and both of us needed a fresh start. Next stop: Melbourne. On July 30th, I flew to France to spend a month with Ela before returning to Australia with her and Diarmo did a very smart thing before leaving Perth, his cousin Aoife and him went on a tour up the coast of WA to Exmouth. He got to see more of Western Australia and do something which he loves more than even a pint – activities. WA is the size of 37 Irelands and I saw the equivalent of county Carlow. Fair play to Diarmo for venturing out of the city.
When people asked me about Perth I would always say ‘ah its crap, feck all to do, too quiet, bla bla bla’. But looking back (greener pastures and all that), it really wasn’t that bad. In both Diarmo’s work and mine, we met a lot of people in WA and they are probably the nicest and most friendly people on Earth. I really respect them for not slamming doors on our faces for trying to sell hoovers/charities, because I probably would. Perth is a nice relaxed city, very modern, good shopping streets, lovely beaches around and definitely a nice place to live. I could definitely sell it to a family but not a backpacker. Melbourne let’s go!