Sunday, 1 March 2009

Deja vu, all over again.

So did I mention Hobart reminded me of Alness? Well this feeling continued for the entire 2 days I was there as did the pouring rain which prevented me doing any of things I wanted, namely climb Mount Wellington. So for the duration I was, to say the least, very grumpy and didn't enjoy my time in Hobart. I did go to a nice bookshop cafe, but that was only the only thing I enjoyed in the city.

Now of course, perhaps I'm being too harsh. Maybe it was just the weather or just the manky hostel or that I had left my new friend the executive travel agent or the fact that everyone thought I was Irish. Or maybe it was really just like Alness.

Anyway, I escaped the rain and headed up to the small, but infinitely nicer Launceston again. I returned to the hostel I had stayed in previously to discover for some reason this time they thought my name was masculine and had placed me in an all male 8 bedded dorm.
Now I can't recall if I have mentioned before about my strong feelings about hostel etiquette so I will re-iterate. When living in a commual space, esp for weeks and months at a time, it is the done thing to respect ones co-inhabitants. Not turning the light on in the middle of the night, not talking loudly early in the morning, not having sex on the top bunk (it does happen) and so on and so forth. It has been my experience that women follow these rules exceptionally better than their male counter parts and most importantly, snore less. When living communally, snoring becomes the bane of your existence because you can't get away from it, you have no personal space and you can't throw a shoe at them incase they turn out to be a shoe fetishist and steal your flip flops. It's a fine line. So to summerize, stay in female only dorms.

Now, going back to Launceston, I had been placed in an all male dorm and alas the hostel was fully booked and I couldn't change hostels as I was due to be picked up early to go up Cradle Mountain the next morning. So I had to stay and at first I didn't mind. At 4 in the morning when the trio of snorers was still going strong and the stench of beer was coming in wafts from the bunk below me, I minded. What I found most amusing though was whilst having my breakfast I had a brief conversation with 3 of the blokes in my room who were also up early. They asked me if I had slept well and I explained no for the above reasons and their response was 'really!? We didn't hear or smell anything'. Men.

Anyway, on to more pleasant things. That morning I had opted to join a tour to go to the Cradle mountain region and see the infamous mound and I was rather surprised to discover there were only the guide (an aspiring film maker), a polite Japanese girl (are there any other kind?) and a slightly mad young German guy on it. However, this actually made it a rather nice more personalised experience, made even better by the guide stopping suddenly on the middle of bridge and asking us to peer over. We saw a platypus which is the most bizarre of creatures. A furry otter like thing with a beak and seal like fins for feet, but most extraordinary of all was it's glowing yellow eyes. I can truely understand why back during the discovery era of Oz that people thought it was surgically created animal for high jest. What was also funny about this sudden nature detour was the guide said he'd been doing this stop for the last month and hadn't seen a platypus until now. That's the luck of the Irish for you.

So after our time with nature we finally got to the range, the over cast day suddenly seemed to disappear, the clouds parted and the magnificent Cradle Mountain stood before us. It was impressive, even more so when we climbed up the adjacent mountain to get a better view. I took lots of pictures that will not even begin to do justice to such a beautiful place. We then wandered a bit off the beaten track to see the remnants of a house built in the 1900's by and Austrian chap (who's name I forget). The story behind this house in the hills was the chap was a botanist who had met and married an Australian botanist back in the day and honeymooned here for 6 weeks looking at trees. A few years later , his wife died suddenly. Left bereft and afronted by the cruel complexities of the modern world, he'd upped sticks and built a cabin in the wood and was determined to become a botanist hermit. However, this chap (Wilhelm something) was actually quite a sociable guy despite his resolution to be a hermit, as the years passed he became quite famous for living off the land up and ended up having a multitude of visitors (both local and tourists) who would come stay with him. It apparently became quite the done thing to visit Tasmania and go stay with Wilhelm, a bit like going to Paris and seeing the Mona Lisa. Anyway, his house has been preserved and apart from the lack of a decent sewerage system, I could see the appeal of staying in such a peaceful place and having your mates over to look at trees.

This harmony was broken slightly by the afore-mentioned German fellow tourer who kept asking 'when can I smoke', 'can I eat this potentially poisonious berry' , 'if I see a snake can I kill it' and best of all while standing at the edge of a cliff over looking a tourist trail 'Can I throw a rock off this'. No, no and no!!!

So after all the joys of Tasmania, it was finally time to leave. Unfortunately for my fellow Jetstar customers after being dropped off at my hostel, I didn't have time to shower before getting in the plane to Sydney. Sorry about that guys.

I'm now back in Sydney again, back in the hostel out in Glebe that I first stayed in when I got here in January. Nothing much has changed in 2 months. The beds are still a bit wobbly, the creepy Kiwi bloke who claims he is a masseure is still prowling the courtyard and the mossies are still biting. However, there is comfort in the familiar and I intend to spend the next few days catching up with a few friends I met last time I was here and relaxing. Because it's very stressful being unemployed.

No comments: