“I might be anyone, a lone fool out in the sun
Your heartbeat of solid gold,
I love you, you’ll never know”
Alesso and Calvin Harris – Under Control
This is not without sadness that I announce this new post as being the last one I will make on Australia. Indeed, Broome will be our last stop as I will have then shared everything I know about that cherished country with you… Funny how what seemed a lifetime of adventure, amazement and fun can be summed up in just a few posts… But the backpacking dream does not end here, if I shed what seemed then to be all the tears a tiny body like mine could bear that gloomy September 11th 2012, I have yet to talk about amazing New Zealand.
But for today, Broome. The main city of Western Australia behind Perth, it holds a village feel. It took us a good 18 hours bus ride from Coral Bay to reach the dreamt Cable Beach, crossing what seemed like an endless desert of red dirt and bushes, with the occasional brakes of the bus trying to avoid the kangaroos. Let me break it here, we did not kill any kangaroos and yes, I was proud…
That part of Western Australia belongs to the aborigenals, and definitly you will feel like a stranger. Lots of horrifying stories are running around about this part of the bush, and the aborigenals, and to be honest, as I first mentionned Broome to my Australian host family, they told me never to go without taking a tour, or a hotel, something very secured… To hell with it, we traveled all three of us on the bus and booked a hostel, and nothing bad happened to us. My postcard freshly bought got stolen, but you can’t ask for too much can you…?
I want to talk first of the hostel. We had booked the cheapest we could find, and shame on me, I cannot remember the name of it… Unfortunately, because I would advise anyone NEVER TO GO. And I have done some hardcore backpacker hostels and shared rooms with rats and kitchen with cockroaches, but that particular one was way beyond anything I could take. All I remember is that it has a pool, it is located walking distance from the airport (the airport is literaly in the middle of the city) and accross the street from the YHA. I have never seen such a dirty place in my life and that they charge you for it is beyond me. We considered the possibility of not taking a shower for the three days, I mean you would catch skin diseases just by looking at it. We definitly did not eat anything that could have gone through the kitchen the entire time we stayed there. You have to know that Broome is hot, boiling hot and humid, the air full of flies. People were leaving their food out, the trash did not have anything to be covered with, so the kitchen was a slice of heaven for the flies. On the first night, one guy got drunk and vomited from the top of the stairs all the way to the hallway and by the time we left the dirt was still there… The hostel was 90% French people, and that’s never a good thing. We did not pay attention to it because there is no point, but the girls sharing our room litteraly rubished us, just because we were yet another lot of girls…
But appart from that, I am so glad we decided to stick to Broome, because what an experience! The most amazing beach you can ever imagine: Cable Beach! The main attraction is the camel ride at sunset, which we did. It costs an arm, but the memories I hold from that night are priceless. As the sun was setting down, we noticed a whale far in the distance, just jumping in and out of the water, right under that immense burning ball that is the sun… That’s when you feel so small and how everything else just seems to stop to matter… The sunsets are particularly beautiful in Broome, the sun is huge and falls right into the ocean. If you are at the right time of the month, you can witness what they call ‘the staircase to the moon’ which is basically the reflection of the full moon on the sea that makes it look like a staircase, unfortunately, we left a couple of days before full moon.
We enjoyed the beach, did some shopping, we booked a morning of kayaking in the Mangrove and had drinks at a japanese brewery (??). Here are some pictures, it was so hard to pick, so there are quite a few…
I am going away tomorrow for a long week end, so I’ll be back soon!
Let me confess something here… We all have an idea of what we want to be when we grow up, as a child. Me, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer. I used to know everything there was to know on dolphins, I had tons of books that I couldn’t even read and bought every picture or character representing a dolphin. They were my favorite animals untill it turned into my very own life tragedy, because no, I would never be a dolphin trainer. Mom and Dad said it, so it must be true. They said “M. you can’t be a dolphin trainer” and when I asked why, every single time they would say “Because it is one in a million that get to do that”. And when I asked if that meant they thought I would never be able to be the ‘one in the million’ they would just remain silent. Eventually it rooted in, that I would never be good enough. Travelling Australia and New Zealand, I realized that yes, I could have been this person. Because there are way more than one person in a million that work with dolphins. The reason I’m talking about that? I want to show you today a little paradise, Monkey Mia.
On the west coast of Australia, a good ten hours from Perth. If you’re travelling by bus as we were, you need to want it to see it… We took a first bus from Perth to what they call ‘Overlander'(10 hours ride). Which is a petrol station in the middle of absolutly nowhere. We got down from the bus, got slapped in the face by the heat, picked up our backpacks, and sat at the table, fighting off the millions of flies harassing us. The desert. The bush as they call it. This man, this old man with his pick up truck came to pick us up then, and drove us all the way to Denhman where we spent the night. Takes about two hours more. He came again to pick us up the next morning and dropped us at Money Mia resort, a little place known for its dolphin colonies… It took us 30 minutes more. That old man, very nice old man I need to say, was sort of … creepy. On the way, he insisted on telling us how many dead kangaroos he had seen that morning on the side of the road. Then his world record of dead kangaroos. He also showed us a picture of this beautiful baby son, called… Brax. Me to ask, as a joke, if his wife was a fan of ‘Home and Away’ (you know that oh so famous Australian tv soap?). Well, let me tell you, yes his wife is the biggest fan of the show and named her own baby after the braxton family…
Back to Monkey Mia! We spent three days there, it was just us and a very few people really, but we had an amazing time. I had never seen wild dolphins in my life before but I must have seen a hundred on just these few days! We went on a cruise, seen a Dugong, went for a walk in the red dirt and chilled by the pool. Had some barbecues and a few cocktails.
The life I like to live!!
I think on that case, photos will be better than any words I could say. Enjoy!
As promised, a proper post on Western Australia, and obviously I cannot but start with Perth, where it all began. My idea was, as I was freezing my ass in Melbourne I had to go where the sunshine and heat were… My whole time in Melbourne I kept saying my next step would be Brisbane and it is only when I went to buy the plane ticket that I suddenly decided for Perth… The day I flew, Perth was experiencing their ‘worst storm in a hundred years’ I quote. For some reason, it keeps happening to me!! The plane took forever to land and I arrived at the darkest hours…
I did not have a great impression about Perth, and I haven’t really changed my mind as I got to know the city a bit better. I first went down to a hostel on William St (in Northbridge), a place called Brittania on Williams. I do not know why I picked it, but I absolutly hated it! I tried a few hostels in Perth and all of them where: expensive AND dirty. This one, the room had no windows, no air conditioning, the kitchen was dirty, creepy old men were running around the place trying to catch a young girl in their nets and the legend of the bed bugs finally reached my ears… I stayed I think four nights, and my heart broke as I left! I met the craziest of Irish man, my roomie for these few days, and he became my best friend – to say the least – for the next few months. Travelling is all about the people you find along your way… This hostel has the advantage to be located in Northbridge, the backpacking place… You need to get past the hookers and strip clubs because it is definitly the best neighborhood of Perth. All the vintage shops, edgy pubs or restaurants are there. Have a beer at the Monkey Brass, a huge pub on William St that you can’t miss. I loved it!
As for Perth, it is a very small city, small city center with lots of shops and pubs. The main attractions to the city for me are:
Next week, I will take you to my beautiful Fremantle, in the meantime, have a great week end!
I am starting my last serie of posts on Australia, as I have now reached the end of all my knowledge on that beloved country. Last but not least, Western Australia. I kept it for the end, for a few reasons, and most of all because it has been my absolute favorite Australian state. Also, probably because it is still such a deep memory, the good and the bad are still intertwined in a swirl of laughs, happiness and tears.
My brother is now living in Perth, he broke the news to me the very day I came home from 16 amazing months of travelling, through my mother, probably for fear of what I would say. If I like to think that family is sacred and that I should ONLY have been happy for him to have the opportunity to live the same life changing experience I had, it only broke my heart so deep I wasn’t too sure how to fix it. I can’t really say how much of what I felt as a betrayal conditioned the way I now consider my experience in Western Australia but it sure made it an open wound, a memory so dirty that I would only feel sick and enraged every time the word Australia would be brought up. Time has passed since then, and if I am able to have the best outlook possible on my experience in OZ, I still don’t know how to deal with the curiosity of my whole family around the new life my brother has given himself.
“He owes it all to himself, you have no right to be angry at him” that’s exactly how Mom put it. “He took lots of risks to go there, and live the life he wanted”. The only thing he did was live the dream of MY life exactly at the moment it was taken away from me.
But family is like that that you learn to forgive. Anything. C is always talking of the days when “we’ll be back there. Because we will. Won’t we?” Won’t we? Can we revive the happy days that we’ve had? What happens if the day we finally set our backpacks down there (because we will) none of what we remembers is there? One thing is sure, we won’t ever find what we used to have. And when I am asked now “If you have the chance to live in Oz again, where would it be?” the answer is not Fremantle anymore, for the fear of ruining the memory of what are the happiest days of my life is greater than the expectations of a lifetime of beach and sunshine.
I absolutly did not intend that post to go on like this, but I think that is an interesting subject, how do we react to a ‘coming home’ after what appears like a lifetime away?We always hear about the ‘cultural gap’ between our own culture and the one we enter into when we travel somewhere, but what about the cultural gap you feel when you come back after so many months away? How do you come to terms with it? I used to think then that I would NEVER come home, that my home was nowhere or everywhere but certainly not France, and it was so deeply rooted inside of me that I believe it is the only explanation to why I agreed to get on that plane that would take my back to the Old continent. The belief that I would go back, come home to the Down Under, far away from a country to which I stopped to belong. I see a lot of blogs around here of people travelling the world, I think what I want to know is how you deal with the coming back, leaving behind the exiting life of travelling, letting go of the backpacking community to come back to a normal routine of work, listening to the news everyday and worrying about the future.
I will make sure to prepare a proper post tomorrow about the amazing wilderness of WA, in the meantime, enjoy these few shots…