Good morning, everybody!
I try to report things chronological but I am already sure at this point that I will mess around and include flashbacks, foresights and some excursions. Please, dont`t crucify me for that…it is just me with my oddly organized brain – can’t help it!
My time in Elanora, Gold Coast, was slowly running out and I had started to search online for a new accommodation in Brisbane. Jason, my favourite male Taiwanese (I had to put it this way to not offend his girlfriend Yvonne and Elaine, another Taiwanese tenant from Moggill Road where I stayed at my first week in Australia) had sent me a link for flat share / room for rent ads on Gumtree – the most common australian website for buying/selling/searching for anything. Immediately on the first site I found an entry which basically said: „2 vegans and a vegetarian are looking for another vegan/vegetarian to share a house in West End“. West End is a vibrant suburb in Brisbane close to the city centre with lots of cafés and fashion shops. Later it turned out that the vegetarian girl was going to stay anywhere else. How good was that?
Let`s do a bit of math: Approximately 5% of Australians inhabitants are vegetarians, Brisbane has about 2 million inhabitants. This means 100.000 vegetarians. I estimate that about every 10th vegetarian is a vegan…10.000 vegans in Brisbane. (In Germany the percentage of vegans is about 0,5%, too, …and constantly growing). From the start I was trying to find an accommodation in West End or close by. West End has about 6500 inhabitants – statistically 65 vegans. But because this area is known to be a common place for vegetarians/vegans and “green-thinking” people, lets multiply this number by 5, therefore 325 vegans already located in West End. I have no idea how big the chances are to find another 2 vegans willing to settle down at the exactly same time at the same location as I planned to do it? How many percent of people do bouldering? 2-3%? How many vegans do bouldering? 5-8%? Combine these chances with the conditions before and statistically you can calculate my rate of success to find such persons way below 0,1%. Wouldn’t it be great to have a mediation centre for Mahayana Buddhism in walking distance, too, following exactly the same tradition I joined about 11 years ago in Berlin for a couple of years? …End of story: Everything is possible – no problem!
All conditions fulfilled! Together with Daniel (37), James (44) and his vegan dog Bisquit– possibly my new tenants – I applied for 2 houses in West End. A short time later Liz gave me a ride to Brisbane so as to inspect these houses. One was really run down in need of a lot refurbishment and other problems ahead like masses of ants. The other house seemed to be perfect and I would have given a lot to live there. Unfortunately the owner chose for other applicants.
That was the moment when things became more complicated. I could only stay until Wednesday at Liz’ house, it was already Tuesday and no new accommodation in sight. James was really active in finding alternative places, calling the real estate agencies, supplying Daniel and me with latest information. A house in Highgate Hill, the suburb adjacent to West End was available. Again we did the application procedure…waiting for confirmation by the responsible agent who had to forward our documents to the owner.
The whole Tuesday I searched houses to share, short term lodging and waited for news regarding the house in Highgate Hill but wasn’t successful. I felt a lot of pressure on me. I liked to stay with James and Daniel in a house only maintained by vegans which makes a huge difference when it comes to kitchen business. Anyway, I really tried to avoid staying in a hostel in the mean time until a suitable house for us was under contract. My second option was to find another cosy “non-vegan” place and to sign in for 1 to 3 months. I even considered to live at the Gold Coast for a couple of weeks more but I already had stored my trolley at James place in Balmoral (another suburb of Brisbane) when Liz brought me there by car. To travel by train with 35kg+ isn’t fun when you don’t know where to go, so I had decided to leave my biggest piece of luggage already in Brisbane and to fetch it later as soon as I knew where to settle down.
At 6:50am I left my latest „home“ in Elanora on my way to Brissie (Short Aussie term for Brisbane).
Very desperate the evening before I contacted Jason and asked whether I could stay for a couple of hours at his place and get internet access for house hunting. – It wasn’t a big deal at all and he agreed. Furthermore he saved me from losing connection to the world when I had to face the miserably situation that my recharging cable for my mobile phone finally failed completely. Because it was a crappy china phone with extremely uncommon plugs, no option to replace it was to expect. My second mobile phone battery displayed already a low status and I didn’t want to buy spontaneously a new expensive phone without any research in advance.
Jason had a second phone as an emergency backup for his regular one. He offered it to me for 50 dollars. When I arrived at his place he helped me out with soymilk for my breakfast and presented me my new phone. It was in mint condition, the display still covered by a protection foil. It is also a china phone with dual sim function. Although the design is different, the menu structure is nearly identical and it also has a second battery and a analogue TV function which works – in comparison to Germany – perfectly in Australia!
Jason, hands down my MVP (most valuable player) for this week, had already charged the battery so I could immediately switch the phones and feel instantly better. Without a phone it is hard to schedule inspections quickly. When I started to call different landlords to check room availability, James called and told me he had found a house in Milton (another suburb close to West End and the city centre) and was going to meet up the real estate agent there to have a closer look. We probably could get it if being interested in it. This sudden incident changed my plans again. Now I searched for a hostel, hoping that it would be only for a single night.
In spite of extensive research I missed the right bus station and had to carry my backpack and 2 heavy bags, filled with food, a recently bought air mattress and a water filter system, for some kilometres. The hostel looks like a normal house from the outside. The basement is rebuild and consists now of a 6 bunk bed dorm, 2 double bed rooms, simple sanitary facilities, 2 fridges and a laundry. On the upper level you will find a living room with a big flat screen, two computers for everone’s use (very important for me: WiFi is for free) and an adjacent open kitchen as well as some double bedrooms, another toilet and bath. The owner, Marc, is a big laid back friendly guy probably of my age. A 6 months old male Devon Rex cat, called Mr. Smokey owns the place. His appearance is a bit scary but I have never seen a more well-tempered, absolutely fearless cat before. He runs over lounges and tables, walks around in the sink, not afraid of new backpackers grabbing and petting him. He is never aggressive and rather playful. I immediately made some contacts when the owner told me that besides me another 3 Germans were staying in his house. All of them doing the work and travel thing. One works as furniture remover, the other two, Fabian (19) and Patricia (21), had already travelled together since a week in Patricia’s Holden Commodore. Their goal is to get a job in a restaurant or coffee shop soon anywhere in Brisbane. After a bit of chitchat Patricia offered me a ride to James place to pick up my trolley and to fill in another annoying application form.
Said – done and off we went some minutes later…