After settling into our really large dormitory in Cannon Street backpackers, here in Adelaide, a few of us sat in reception catching up on the internet, facebook, blogs etc. Jennifer Parsonage managed to get online and Skype her mum at home before she went out to work and realised just how far away we really are from home as here it is gone 6pm.
It is David and Helens last night with us as when we leave tomorrow morning, they stay here in Adelaide. They invited everyone to a local Hotel/pub/bar/café/betting shop (They do everything in there!) for an evening out, so I took a wander over there about 8pm. At first there was only me, Isabelle and The Frosties there eating dinner, but soon everyone else began to arrive and by 9pm, most of the bus was there. I went intro a round with Big Rick and for the rest of the night we drank Stella’s and Bundies and Dry. It turned into a pretty good night as everyone moved around the tables and chatted with one person and then another. There were no distinctions between the different groups that had formed on the bus and so everyone just did their own thing and I think everyone really enjoyed themselves. There was a really good sign above the urinals in the pub. It showed different ways of getting home without drink driving, but all the different ways were in the shape of beer symbols – Examples like – 'Stay with mates and raid the fridge', or 'Take a taxi – reassuringly pine scented', made me laugh.
It had gone 11pm and as we are up at 6am, I made my excuses and wandered back the 200metres or so to the Hostel. When I wandered in through the bar, Big Rick was chatting to a girl in the Hostel Reception. It turned out that the girl was called 'Rachel' and she was one of the Ozbussers on Oz-bus 14 – which had been Lana’s first tour with Oz-bus and Rick had also been the Aussie driver.
Rick introduced me and I spent the next 2-3 hours sat in reception chatting with Rachel about our oz-bus, her oz-bus, Lana, Big Rick and about what she had done in Australia since she had arrived 6 months or so ago. It was really interesting to find out from another Oz-bus veteran, how things worked on her bus and how similar things had been for them earlier in the year. We compared a few photos from both trips and also the bus personalities and it was a lot of fun. I also found out some bus gossip, but that shall remain a secret!!
Some of my Ozbussers, passed through every now and then and as they did I introduced them to Rachel, before they headed off to bed the worse for wear. It started to get late though and so just after 2am, I gave Rachel a hug and headed off to bed myself.
In the morning, there were a lot of dopey heads about, due to the wine/beer and other concoctions that had been drunk the previous night. I got out of bed and packed up, but couldn’t find a way out of the Hostel as the metal shutters were down at the front entrance. I started to get a little claustrophobic, until Mark pointed out a side entrance that I could use to make my escape.
It was then the usual task of loading the bags onto the bus and waiting for everyone to get ready.
David and Helen appeared to wave us off and before they did we had an impromptu song from Matt and Awal on the pavement – all about Australia. It was a really good way to say goodbye to the Frosties and a few of the girls appeared to wipe their eyes as we boarded the bus. David then climbed onto the bus and shouted – 'Now, FUCK OFF!!', with a wry smile and a grin, before getting back off standing with Helen and watching us depart. The Frosties really will be missed by everyone. It is the beginning if the end!
It was a quiet start to the day again, as most of the bus slept for the first couple of hours, to recover from last night. We stopped in a small town to get food for lunch and I bought some tuna and went halves on with Bev on some Italian bread rolls. After a short fag break, we climbed back onto the bus and drove onwards. Soon after we left Big Rick came onto the microphone an explained that he had seen a few cars with canvas covers over their radiator grills. This meant that he was expecting a plague of locusts or something similar further down the road. Chris didn’t seem to happy at this news as he is designated windscreen wiper – he may have a busy day!!
As we drove further, we did notice a few grasshoppers in the wind and alongside the road, but it didn’t seem to be that many – I think we expected a solid wall of them, like you see in the movies. But when we pulled over for fuel, we climbed out of the bus and saw that there were hundreds of the things, all caught in the metal grill that covers the bottom half of the windscreen and the windscreen itself was splattered with the remains of a lot more. Chris, climbed off the bus, grabbed his squeegee and started to clean like he had never cleaned before!!
We stopped for lunch in a quaint little town in the middle of nowhere and ate in a rest stop right next to a railway. The town Narrangarang (or something like that) was like something from the wild west and the shelter we ate in had a history of the railway and the buildings that were made there and named after the town as they were built along the different railways throughout Australia. There was nothing in the town but the railway, a playground, a couple of shops and the widest single carriageway road you have ever seen – for no apparent reason!! (Plus a few locusts for good measure!)
After the break, Lana handed out a quick questionnaire about the qualities of people on the bus, the results of which will be announced tonight. We wait with baited breath to see who will win – Cheekiest person', 'Best Smile' , 'Loudest snorer' and my personal favourite – Best one liner – I voted for Barry on this one for when he called a camel a C**T!!
The afternoon passed by with a mix of listening to the ashes cricket on the radio, sleeping and every now and then a stop to clean dead locusts off the front of the bus! Chris did indeed have himself a busy day. About an hour before we reached Narrendera, I borrowed Jennifer Parsonage's e-reader and managed to finally finish 'Pride and Prejudice'. It is the first 'Classic', book that I have ever read and I feel that I am a better person for it! Haahaa! Honestly, though, it was a really good book and I recommend to anyone who hadn’t had the chance to read it themselves. I will be buying myself an e-reader sometime I think too, as it is a great way to read without carrying loads of books about with you.
We are now nearly at Narrendera and are all going out for our last meal together and to get the results of our earlier questionnaire, which should be a laugh.
The meal out was pretty good fun, once we actually got there! Rick had been told directions from the camp-site, but ended up driving around the town park 3 times before asking directions to the ex servicemen’s club off some kids. The food was really good – I had fish, but most people had steak. I also shared another bottle of red wine with Jennifer Parsonage and then we all sat and waited with baited breath for the results of the earlier questionnaire. It was actually quite good fun and the prizes were shared about – Michele won the 'looked best in a bikini', Amanda got the prize for most recognisable clothing, for her red jumpsuit. I won 'sleeps the least', and also shared the prize for biggest gossip, along with Donna. Lisa won the prizes for 'Most mosquito bites' and 'Biggest boozer'. Mills was cheekiest busser, Chris was funniest face.
After the awards we moved through to the function room where there was music playing and we carried on drinking while a few people had a dance too. We stayed until the band packed up and then took the shuttle bus back home to the camp.
In the morning we all woke a little late and after re-packing the bags into the bus (thanks for the help Kenneth, but please leave it to the experts next time mate!) we drove a short distance to a Koala reserve, where we had a walk down the path beside the canal looking for Koalas. I figured we had a better chance if we left the path so I headed off by myself into the heart of the woods, constantly checking out the forks of the trees. I had a few false alarms, before I spotted a Koala hiding about 20 feet off the ground in a nearly tree. As I moved closer, he heard me coming and slowly climbed up the tree and away from me, but I did manage to get it all on video.
It was really cool to see a Koala in the wild and the rest of the group had luck on their side too, as there was a Koala in the trees just by the path they stayed on.
We were all happy with our Koala spotting adventure and when we got back on to the bus we showed our pictures and video and then started the last days bus trip towards Sydney.