The Big M, Part Deux
Trip Start Mar 14, 2007
91Trip End Ongoing
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Friday night was a comedy night at my hostel, which turned out to be amazing. Apparently, Melbourne is the comedy center of Australia, so I would later see some of the comedians I saw that night on tv as I continued on to other cities. Before the jokes, there was a little competition. I teamed up with some of the guys in my room and, through wit and a little treachery, we made it to the final round. Each team was made to send up a representative to the stage, and I was my team's choice. My trivia answers were infallible, and it came down to just me and one other guy. No more multiple choice - whoever came closest to the answer would win the token door prize and incalculable glory. What is the average age of an echidna? Now, I don't exactly know what an echidna is, but through a little stalling and an awareness of my surroundings (no doubt heightened by my frequent poker playing), I landed on the exact answer of 50 years. All glory was mine, and then there were jokes. Afterwards, I hung out with this American kid (Americans took a beating during the comedy night) and a Scottish chick for a while before heading up to sleep.
I started Saturday off by trying to put a plan together for January. I had also been working on finding some place to stay for Christmas and New Years on Couchsurfing and with Wwoofers with no success. After lunch, I took a tram down to St. Kilda, a nice suburb of Melbourne, to meet up with Doutzen, a Dutch girl I met in Alice Springs. She's one of the few other people I've met along the way who is traveling with a similar style to mine - as such, we found a free barbecue for dinner in no time. As a great coincidence, Fletch and Carly, my friends from Malaysia, happened to be working as bartenders at the bar where the barbecue was. I swung by the casino on my way home that night and scored a smooth two hundred at the tables. That, as it turned out, would be the end of my good luck in cards for a little while. I was able to work out some free accommodation for a few days to balance things out a little until Christmas.
What an interesting experience Christmas was. It was my first Christmas in the summertime. It was disconcerting to be strolling through Santa Clauses and Christmas carols in shorts and sandals. It was also my first Christmas away from home. Grandma and sugar cookies had been replaced by hordes of backpackers drinking beer and playing frisbee in Santa hats on the beach. On Boxing Day (another entirely new concept), I went down to Fletch's place for a barbecue. Along the way, I came across a note on one of the hostel's message boards and secured myself a ride to Sydney before New Years, which was comforting.