One Year Later

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Where are all the good men dead? In the heart, or in the head?"

Gross Point Blank

"If you can't spot the sucker at the table in thirty seconds flat..... You are the sucker"


Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

I won't even start with my usual apology for Travelpod Tardiness - when you start to get e-mails from close friends asking if you're dead, you know a simple 'I'm sorry' probably won't cut it.

The truth is, we passed our one year anniversary the other day, and I wanted to ensure the next update I did had some kind of profound significance - a special, if you will. But, Travelpod Few, as you'll remember the last post I did was our 100 entry special, so perhaps you're all specialled out.

The other concern is that Vinny has spectacularly failed to finish his trio of updates about the Philippines, and I didn't want to draw undue attention to the fact. Still, they're worth looking at for the photos alone, and I'm assured that the entries have been 'started'.

Speaking of Obi-Wan, he's here in Melbourne at the moment. We wanted to have a couple of face to face days so we could sit down and plan the next few months, and as my job doesn't really do things like 'time off', he was good enough to come to me.

I'm sure we got some damn good planning done, but the highlight was certainly brushing the dust and cobwebs off Bruce Cambell and wheeling him out for a night of alcoholism and poker. It's great drinking where you work - it never ceases to amaze me just how drunk three people can get on about $10. At some point a deck of cards were produced and by the end of the evening Johnny, Vinny and I owed Bruce "Card Shark" Cambell $80 between us - which we have no intention of ever paying (told you BC).

Things are extremely up in the air at the moment, as I am juggling a potential two different job offers - neither of which is in Melbourne. One of them isn't even in this hemisphere, but the southern hemisphere is generally known as the worst hemisphere so that's not a problem. I've handed in my notice, of sorts, and was rather flattered to find that my job was going to have to be covered by three new staff members.

But nothing's confirmed yet, so I won't go on about it.

Winter has arrived here, and it has done so in style. While you have been enjoying the hottest summer on record, we have been freezing our tits off. The sun tans that we sported for a full ten months have faded away without so much as a goodbye. St Kilda, home of the beautiful, has ceased to be a thriving mass of bronzed flesh and has become full of ugly, pale people. It's just not on.

A year is a long time to have been away from your friends, family and country of birth. I always remember the first time I was travelling, and how I was homesick towards the end, like around the seven month mark. This time? Not a chance in hell. Sure, there's family and friends and all that, but the prospect of being back in England for more than a couple of months fills me with cold dread.

It's helped a great deal this time around knowing that we'll be back for my brother's wedding in August, so it's hard to get too tearful about missing stuff.

Journalism, if you're asking. That's what I miss most about the UK. We are the proud owners of the best and worst journalism in the world - and that's great. In Australia each state has either one or two newspapers, and they vary around the theme of 'shite'. Magazines suck too. And don't get me started on television. It's not just me either - one of the most common moans I hear from backpackers (other than "$6 for a box of wine? That's a rip off!") is how hard it is to have even a basic idea of what's going on in the outside world. Or even what's going on in Australia that doesn't involve David Hicks. But the icing on the cake for me is that I can't look at the British version of the Empire film site no matter how hard I try - it redirects me to the Australian one which is.... Different.

God bless

As I wrote that last bit, I had to consciously remove at least two words that have entered my vocabulary to such an extent they even crop up in my internal monologue. Words like 'Goon' (cheap wine that has fish bones in it, otherwise known as Backpacker's Delight), 'Bogan' (alpha male Aussie, blue singlet (vest), stubby of VB, simple minded racist drunk thug, the closest thing they have to 'Chav') and 'Root' (to perform the act of lovemaking). But I'll save the language guide to the much anticipated 'Australia... A Retrospective' entry.

So in the short term things are pretty much as was. There are changes a brewing, but until I know what they are I'll better not say too much. And no matter what happens, I'll be stood in a church in Hampshire on the 25th August trying to write my best man's speech on the back of my hand and wondering desperately where I left the ring.

The photos up there are from a day at the pub a couple of weeks ago - The Pub Olympics. AJ, an Ozzie backpacker and long-term resident of the Pint, challenged Tim, a Kiwi local, to a 'Fitness Off', and I overheard. What followed was a combination of athletics and intense drinking. Everyone made bets on the outcome which were actually donations to charity, and we raised $900 for some good causes. The end result was a draw - although Tim was winning it transpired, after random drug testing, that he was sober - the cheeky bastard had been pouring his mandatory 'pint between each event' away whilst pretending to talk to his coach outside. This event was particularly noteworthy as it is also the first time in my life I have no memory whatsoever of anything that happened after 8PM... unfortunately the same could not be said for everyone else.

Also note the dire straits my only pair of jeans are in - there's a new rip now so high up I'm effectively wearing an obscene publication, but I can't justify buying new ones until they fall apart completely.... Sorry Mum.

Photos were supplied by Pub photographer Tim Chuma (again), reproduced with permission and actually reside on his website at, where you can find more photos about life at the Pint on Punt, and probably a few more of me being a drunk.
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