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Returning to Brisbane

23 August 2012 No Comment

Tuesday 8th March 2011 – Brisbane, Australia

With Fraser Island well and truly ticked off my list, I now felt the need to start conserving money a little, and possibly try my hand at some work, be it paid or as an exchange for food and accommodation. My quest in Brisbane was to locate a hostel that possessed a very valuable item, and I needed that item!

I have heard about WWOOFing before on other travelling adventures, and it was something that interested me. I first thought it was something X-rated, and something that shouldn’t be spoken about, but I soon learned its true meaning. Willing Work on Organic Farms is the official translation, or at least very similar to this. It describes working on farms or properties in exchange for food and shelter, sometimes even a little money if you are lucky. I knew that a particular hostel in Brisbane sold the book with access to all WWOOFing hosts, and this is what I was after.

My slightly extended stay in Hervey Bay had come to an end and I checked out after feeling as though I was nice and rested after the hectic schedule experienced on the nearby Fraser Island. I had booked a shuttle for the coach station the previous day with my hostel, and on this morning I was ready to take this shuttle from the neighbouring hostel when I was told there was no room for me. Several minutes past whilst waiting for the issue to be resolved by the two hostel owners over a heated phone call. I love being made to feel responsible for something I have not done (sarcastically), and I certainly felt at fault with the look I was given by the girl behind reception in this neighbouring hostel.

All was sorted out in the end and my hostel guy ordered a taxi and gave me money to pay for it, so at least I can now say I have been in an Australian taxi. Not the greatest boast admittedly. I had to laugh upon arriving at the coach station and finding the money I had been given was not enough, and that I needed to pay more. So it had been an expensive ride to the station in the end after already paying for a shuttle the previous day.

With the fun and games out the way I was free to sit and relax on the coach with my music, and wait to re-enter Brisbane city. I guess I am not entirely looking forward to returning here, especially after a memorable stay on a beautiful sand island, but needs must, and I had to prepare myself for work now. Money doesn’t grow on trees after all, not even in this land of sunshine.

We arrived into the all-too-familiar sight of Brisbane City Transit Centre, and my hike to the hostel commenced. In all honesty, any distance feels like a gruelling hike when you have your backpack on and the sun is beating down, yet the hostel was only really around the corner and up a hill (mountain).

Banana Bender Backpackers arose before me once I had negotiated the hill, and I arrived to find a much-deserted hostel. Nobody was around and I just sat in the warm sun on the balcony overlooking parts of the city below. It is a great view from here, but I was thirsty and tired, and really just wanted to get my things in my room, grab a shower and get something to eat and drink. Other guests showed up one by one and I socialised until the reception opened and I could book in. It appears others were also aware of the opening time, and now there was a queue of people waiting for assistance. It would be a further half an hour before I could book in, but once I did, I bought the much-sought-after book on WWOOFing and was on my way.

The hostel here is nice, but the guests here are mostly workers, and the stench of sweaty socks and body odour stagnate the air in the rooms, causing my gag reflex to kick in. Throughout the evening fluorescent jackets and muddy boots began to occupy the walkways, shirts and trousers flung over railings and all the while the smell laid siege upon my nose receptors. I sought refuge in the toilets where the smell was masked by air freshener and lavender hand wash. Could I be regretting the decision to work already?

As the evening wore on, I forgot about my surroundings and found comfort in the friendliness of the people responsible for the smell, and actually had a great night with the guys. I was offered manual labour work for the coming day, but I turned it down on the promise of far more interesting work on a farm somewhere soon. At least, this is what the book was screaming out to me.

I entered the room later in the evening to find all my roommates already asleep, and was struck by the smell once more. I knew it would be a night of little to no sleep, but I knew I had to try. I opened the window as far as it would let me, stuck my nose as near to the fresh air flow as possible, and attempted to get some rest. Tomorrow I would need to make some cast-iron plans.

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Written by Daniel Stevens,
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