Swingers & Prisoners

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Monday, November 28, 2011

How better to spend a hot lazy Sunday afternoon than at the beach? The day before, I'd been all over Maggie (of course, that’s what the locals call Magnetic Island), so it was only right and proper that this day should be spent discovering the delights of Townsville’s own beach. However, the Strand (the road where the beach is) is 2.2 km long and, naturally, there was no way I was going walk that distance, so I took the bus to the end of the Strand with the intention of walking back to the beginning.

This being stinger (jellyfish) season, the water was unsafe to swim in (surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be), so like Horseshoe Bay, of the 2.2 km of beach, only 100 metres was safe to swim in, as they had been cordoned off. When I got to the end of the Strand, I arrived at the Rock Pool. On the beach front, similar to Cairns, there was a pool for bathers, but unlike the one in Cairns, which was quite naff, this one looked like a proper pool with views of Maggie and other islands. Then came the best part: the Rock Pool gets its name because it’s surrounded by rocks which separate it from the sea. Well, that part of the sea was full of turtles. An enjoyable way to spend an afternoon; watching the turtles swim by.

At the Rock Pool, I met my first Aborigine to talk to. As we got talking about other islanders, I wasn’t entirely sure where he was from, because he didn’t immediately look Aboriginal, so when I asked him where he was from, he proudly told me, "Aboriginal; the original Australian". I found his accent difficult to understand at first, but as we got talking, it turned out that he was a regular 'fella’ just like any other around the world. I don’t know what I was expecting, but we had a typical ‘blokes’ conversation about sport, women and the like. I learned two things from him;

1)      ‘Football’ is a ubiquitous name in Australia for anything but the beautiful game (soccer).  As we were watching some kids play keepy-up, he told me that as a lad he was quite good at that, but his real love was footy. I was a little surprised as he was quite small and I thought he was talking about Aussie Rules Football. However, he was talking about rugby league, also referred to in FNQ (Far North Queensland) as footy. Go figure.

2)      There is a healthy swingers’ scene in Townsville. Why he thought I’d like to know that, I’m not entirely sure, but I suppose it’s good to know. It takes place every third Saturday and if I’d been around, maybe I’d have checked it out. Swinging in the FNQ!!! Maybe not.

I had intended to walk back along The Strand, but the heat (and my laziness) got the better of me and I only got halfway and ended up getting the bus back to the hostel. The hostel I was staying at was a little strange. On a basic level it appeared quite clean and functional, but after a couple of days there, the cracks started to show; I killed five cockroaches in my room, but there were a few that I missed and I knew that they (and hundreds more, probably) were there – ugh!

All the hostels I’d stayed in had a security lock, but there was freedom of movement within the compound, besides we were always told/given the code to enter the compound if we arrived after the main doors/gates were locked. In Townsville, the code was changed on a daily basis and it was always changed at 7pm and you had to ask for it – nobody told you. So, if you were out all day and got back really late, there would be no way to enter the hostel! In my case, on my first night, nobody told me about the code, so when I wanted to go out for a smoko (smoke – more Aussie vocab), the building I was staying in (not the compound) was locked. I was locked in. I could have gone out if I’d wished, but I wouldn’t have been able to get back in. This was my first ever convict experience, how 
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sergi on

will you stop in Bundaberg? there is a rum destilery.

georgegoode on

Por desgracia, no Sergi. Ya no queda flexibilidad en la ruta que sigo. Propera parada: Hervey Bay. Seguido por Brisbane, Byron Bay, Sydney y Melbourne. Bundaberg tendrá que esperar el proximo viaje.

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