My travel plans have been readjusted on account of severe weather. I am hunkered down on the south coast of Australia during one of the biggest storms this state has seen in years. It’s frigid, and the wind whips through the streets much like the tropical storms back home. It’s wreaking serious havoc here — trees have fallen into the roads, power lines went down, and the long-distance buses have stopped running for a couple of days.
Luckily, I have friendly faces with whom I can pass the time. A pair of German girls are also stranded here during the storm, and they let me team up with them for a while. They are the sweetest. They are both on a gap year and decided to work, live, and travel around Australia for a full year. This is very popular with Europeans — it’s easy for them to secure a one-year work visa, so I’ve met many in the hostels and cafes. Although some come and work highly skilled jobs, it’s mostly backpackers picking fruit or waiting tables so that they can save up money and travel to the next Aussie city to then rinse and repeat the process.
They are fast friends and I am so glad we are here at the same time! With the weather so terrible, we spend a lot of time inside chatting and swapping life stories. The only time we brave the weather is to walk a few blocks to the grocery store. We have been cooking questionably tasty meals together each evening. I lack culinary skills, but between the three of us dinner is consistently interesting! In addition to dinner, which we attempt to stretch out as long as possible, we use a deck of Uno cards play rousing games to pass the time.The forecast predicts that the worst of the storm will pass by tomorrow. That doesn’t mean it’ll warm up, but it does mean the crews will likely clear the roads enough for the Greyhound to start running again. I am terribly excited that I can continue heading toward Melbourne. This storm has been a doozy. If you want to take a gander at the storm, look up the weather on the west coast of Victoria right now. When the TV here works, the news brims with storm coverage. First the weather will chuck buckets of rain. By evening, the dense droplets turn into a frigid misting rain that kisses the skin with pinpricks of ice. Our faces are the only parts that we leave exposed on our grocery store trips and that’s just a bowl of peaches.
It’s been a slow trip down the coast, but it’ll pick up more soon as I visit Melbourne, and then start a much quicker pace around the major Australian sites. So far, although I’ve loved visiting the handful of tiny towns, my favorite experience is still hiking in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. It’s stunningly pretty and I loved the vibe with nature, trails, good food, and interesting backpackers. Melbourne promises to be more hipster and alternative than Sydney. And everyone raves about the vibe, the food, and the city itself. We shall see; I don’t love big cities so I’m not many could wing me over. Also! I am staying with the guy, Rowe, who couch-surfed with me in LA. He stayed on my couch for several days during his own RTW trip. Now, he is going to return the favor once I am at the tail end of my time in Melbourne.
But I’m not heading that way any time soon, so instead I will revel in this new friendship with Pauline and Linda.