Monday, January 31, 2011

My German weekend in melbourne

With flights no more than $200 return, Melbourne was looking like a good way to spend the weekend. Darwin had just hit its 50th day straight of rain and to be honest I was starting to feel wet right through to my bones.
One of my original surfers Ilona a talkative german girl with an addiction to texting was now living in Melbourne and I was looking forward to catching up with her since we had become pretty good friends over her short stint in my home town. So now is the story of Host turns surfer and she picked me up Friday afternoon to take her back to her place and my home for the next two days.

We started quickly downing six $3.00 champagnes at Charlies between 6:30pm & 8:30pm where an old friend from Darwin Dan Horner & Alice another one of my ex surfers showed up to indulge with us. After finishing up our drinks we headed outside and found a lonely Austrian wandering the streets. Yes yet again another ex-surfer of mine. Ducking into a liquor store I was shocked to see prices at least $10 cheaper for a carton of beer. Why am I living in Darwin again? We grabbed some booze and headed back to Ilona’s after that things got a little blurry but there is some random video footage of the German and the Austrian acting out some strange dance.

Somehow I think around Midnight we made it out and headed to a bar Section 8 where I met up with Ciaran & Jaesper two irish folks, I worked with Ciaran in Canada for two ski seasons – he basically saw me learn to snowboard! (and laughed at me a lot)
Once again things got blurry and we ended up at my friend David’s club where he Djs hardstyle. I think I was the only one in the whole group who enjoyed hardstyle lol. Ilona puts on a brave face and actually danced.

Saturday we were all so tired we just hung out on St Kilda beach and chatted, then I met these two German guys and another german girl and we went out dancing again. Ilona came to, I kind of felt like I was in Little Germany!! They were all so nice and talked English around me though. It makes me wonder with the amount of German’s in Australia why don’t the major cities have little Germany? Honestly I love a good bratwurst!

So my “early” night turns into possum catching in the park at 4am. Not only did I fail to catch the possums but it meant I was only going to have about five hours of sleep before my big LOOONG day at Big Day Out which was the main reason I was in Melbourne!

Sunday was fucking hot, I was tired and a little hung-over. I couldn’t be bothered walking through the thousands of irritating teeny boppers to check out the bands. But there were a few that stood out. CSS a Brazilian rock band were surprisingly awesome, Crystal Castles also rocked. Special mentions goes to Deftones, Airbourne and Iggy & the Stooges. Gyroscope was not bad but my head needed something lighter… then cue Ramnstein who fucking killed! I was so pumped up listening and watching their show that when the highlight of my day Tool came on they just didn’t live up to my expectations. The lead singer decided he wasn’t showing himself for the festival because its “about the music” which seems pointless to me because if it was “about the music” I would put on the fucking CD and save myself $150.00. I think he was never even there they just played a tape…

So Ramnstein had me reliving my days as a 16yr old when I would reply Du Hast over and over again. I think the last time I listened to them was literally 10 years ago now, but I think I will check out their new stuff I have a new found love for the German weirdos… I just realised how fucking German my weekend was :D

I went back to Dan’s warehouse and was exhausted so passed out quite early about 1am. The next morning he brought me breakfast and then Dai Zaobob an amazing Japanese fire-dancer/performer and the man who created buugeng (which honestly that was the first time Id heard of them.) did a little private show for me. I was starting to think I could deal with the hippy lifestyle and decided to forgo my shower for the day just to prove it.

After my delayed flight home, stepping out into 80% humidity I failed and had a shower before bed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Darwin Couchsurfing Community.

As the self-proclaimed unofficial ambassador of Darwin’s couchsurfing group I have become the organisers of our monthly meet-ups and in general attempt to kick-start the group. Our previous ambassador it appears doesn’t even live in Darwin anymore.
I recently acquired a deal with Duck’s Nuts establishment to get discount beverages & free snacks. So Sunday the 23rd we had a meet-up and I was blown away by the attendance. I guess the whole cheaper drinks thing doesn’t help. A heap of hosts came out of the woodwork who had never been to a Darwin event bringing the total including surfers up to about 40 people. I never did a final count. I drank to many beers and ended up chatting excitedly to whoever was in earshot of me.

My friend Glen ( bluewater fishing back in October) was there which was a surprise since I hadn’t seen him in ages and he is a hard person to get a hold of. He is off to South America in a month and was telling me all about the trip. I found it funny he is staying in this expensive hotel that releases oxygen into the air over a period of time to get them climatised to the height of Maachu Piichu. So I just started laughing, Heather and I did the climb the hard way and consumed copious amounts of coco leaves to get through it :D 50km of hiking through sweaty jungle, the blisters, aching legs, the almost dying when some people threw planks of wood down the trail barely missing us, the lack of water, extreme temperatures from freezing to sweating like crazy, the horrible bathrooms. Wait ..why was I laughing at HIM again.

I never couch-surfed in South America. I say its because I never knew where I was going to be until a day before but reality is I was a little tentative for safety reasons. Here I am the woman who drove across the USA by myself and stayed with countless strangers and I was worried about my safety. Honestly its bullshit and now I wish I’d made more of an effort. I preach about how Couchsurfing is safer then hostels a lot of the time and I let a few misconceptions about South America get the better of me. I did meet up with one guy, we went out Dancing in Arequipa, Peru. He hit on me after about an hour. The scariest thing about the whole night was how much shorter he was then me.

I have heard the most amazing stories about people travelling through South America from surfing it makes me wish I’d tried it out. Next time for sure! I still have a few countries to cross off the list.

Its also funny to see the different kinds of hosts in Darwin. You notice the more experienced ones stipulate more and more rules whilst others will bend over backwards for their surfers and get quickly taken advantage of. Darwin is such a popular town to the young backpackers and can get quite expensive in our main holiday season. So many of my surfers were at some point just camping in the bushes packing up every morning so as not to get fined. Not that they would pay anyway 
So being such a popular town to young backpackers you get the very inexperienced surfers who really only want a free bed and have no concept of the couchsurfing spirit. They make a brief profile and after Darwin will probably never surf again. So after you host for a while in Darwin you start to discern between the different types and quickly become a much harder person. My friend Steve hosted his first girl, a Kiwi. He picked her up from the airport at 1am! I had actually already refused her because of her impersonal message and asking me to pick her up. I often pick people up, generally as it suits my schedule since I work full time but if someone asks me to do it I usually don’t.
Anyway lesson learn to him, he said “never again”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Couchsurfing Blogs

I randomly found this blog whilst surfing the net the other day. Yea I'm a Couchsurfing addict and I tend to enjoy reading other blogs. This guy just seems to complain a lot however.

Take a look at his first entry.

And this particular section
A lot of the hosts have not done much couchsurfing or none at all, so they don't undertand that when the couchsurfer gets to their place they will most likely be tired,hungry,and cold. Some inconsiderate hosts will tell you there is a restaurant downtown or two blocks from there. I consider that very thoughtless, but as I said, you don't really want to eat their food anyway, the only exception to this would be when you first get to their place, some thoughtful hosts will understand that you are hungry and tired and some will cook you a meal! I suggest you always carry some snack or grab a bite before you get to your host's place.After they cook you a meal though,stay away from the kitchen and their food.

I wrote him a comment which he has since deleted LOL. Basically I said he sounds like a douche & if you were staying in a hostel not only would you be paying but you would be expected to buy your own food so here you are getting a free bed and you are complaining that your host is so inconsiderate not to predict you meal habits?

So after deleting my comment because he obviously can't take criticism he then goes on to comment about my comment in his blog.

I had some mindless host reply to this blog upset because I describe the couchsurfing experience as less than perfect. She said if I got a free bed, I shouldn't complain. These are exactly the type of hosts you want to avoid, people who think that since you are getting a bed you are getting a good deal no matter what type of other degradation they put you through. If you are a couchsurfer without dignity who is just happy to get a free bed, this blog is not for you

I surfed for two years before I was a host I know exactly how to act and EXPECTING anything from surfer OR host other than the sleeping arrangements described in their profile is unacceptable. You should never expect to be fed, being told where the resturants are when you arrive is a nice thing to do so that you don't go hungry. Showing up and getting upset that you've had a long flight and your host doesn't feed you geezus.

Anyway I pity the person who hosts this guy and others like him.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

its nice to be appreciated

Yea, this is so you can see how awesome I am. Yea, that may seem egotistical but you know what its nice to feel good about yourself. I appreciate being appreciated :)

Monday, January 17, 2011


If you could ask one person to describe me it would be anything but female. I grew up with four sisters and I was the Tomboy. I can’t shop, I play to many video games, I curse like a mother fucker, never wear make-up and haven’t the slightest idea what colour fuchsia is.

Its no surprise that I generally end up hosting or surfing with males, I feel more comfortable around Nerdy types which more often than not are guys and I fail considerably on the womanly front. I have a couple of female friends but reality? They are just as nerdy as me.

However I ended up hosting another girl over the week. Deb from Amsterdam. We went out to ladies night and enjoyed free champagne & one male stripper. The stripper was ..bleh. Nice enough body but so obviously gay my fantasy was shattered. I crawled into a dark corner surrounding myself by screaming females hoping he wouldn’t drag me on stage as he played out several uncomfortable sexual scenarios with thus females. He seemed to favour the bent over forwards take them from behind. Sure hon, sure.

Deb turned out to be fantastic and super easy to get along with. Ok she talked a lot but that was good because I don’t talk enough sometimes, especially with girls because I never know what to say. And she never talked about make-up or shopping it was mainly travel and travel I can do.

On Saturday morning at some ridiculous hour (5am) we headed out to Kakadu for the day. I have never actually been to Kakadu in the wet season, camping is minimal, hot, sweaty & wet and the 3 hour drive makes a day trip hardly worth it. Still I had a few interested people Owen from Perth, Marlyn from Indonesia, Robert from Germany and of course Deb & I. We headed to Motor Car Falls & Boulder Creek which is the only 4wd track open in the wet and the falls apparently only flow in the wet as well. The hike to Motor Car is 7.5km return and the day was muggy & overcast. Perfect.

Heading up to Yurkmik viewpoint I was treated to an amazing view of Kakadu as it is in the wet. So beautiful and green, takes my breath away. The falls (motor car) were thundering down but the slight warning of estuarine crocodiles was enough to keep me out of the water. Maybe 10 years ago I wouldn’t have hesitated but with the increased crocodile activity I’ve seen enough pointless deaths over the last few years that I didn’t need to add myself as the statistic. I offered for the German to jump in first but he just rolled his eyes at me. Damn, what else are German’s good for except to be the crocodile bait.

We hiked back and stopped at Boulder Creek for lunch and a swim. We were the only people in sight and for a few hours enjoyed the luxury of our own private waterhole. After the swim we drove down to Nourlangie and wandered through the rocks admiring the aboriginal paintings. Heading up to another viewpoint we were treated to another sight only reserved for the wet, small waterfalls trickling down the walls, with green trees embedded in the face. I’ve always said Kakadu is not really worth visiting in the wet since the majority of sights are closed due to flooding but for a day we saw a lot of beautiful things and the dry just wouldn’t give you the same raw beauty.

Driving back I was tired and Owen kindly offered to take the wheel, we could barely see 10 metres in front of us. A few times when I was driving I accidently hit a flooded part of the road and the car almost slid out. Lucky I wasn’t going too fast. As Owen was driving we saw a road train practically stopped on the road, it was then we saw the flooding. Bear in mind it was nearly 7pm, overcast and raining like a motherfuc….

Anyway so we watched the road train push through the water and locked the wheels into 4wd and went over ourselves. Woops, the road turned out to be a lot deeper than originally thought, the water came up over the bonnet and we barely pushed through in 1st gear. Thank fuck for diesel & a snorkel. We finally made it home about 9pm and my fantastic mother had slow cooked an awesome meal of apricot chicken. I ended up sunburnt, my legs & shoulders were killing me, I was exhausted but overall it was a 10/10 day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

they can't all be awesome

Did you ever have a surfer that just rubbed you the wrong way yet never did anything wrong enough for you to give a negative reference? Happened to me a few times but just recently I had a surfer through the doors who by the end of his stay with us had my family so annoyed I actually had to tell him he had to leave. This particular surfer did nothing his entire week of staying with us except look over our shoulders at whatever we were doing, watch movies, sit on his computer and sleep.

I gave him a printout of how to get to the bus station as I was working full time and he still couldn’t find it. The bus stop is about a five minute walk from my place and you only turn one street! And he took a lot more then he gave. Sure we offered it but still there needs to be a certain time when you just say “hey these people are giving me a bed for free why don’t I do something for them” he drank all my sisters OJ and never replaced it. Ate all my mum’s candy. He also ate all my sisters cereal and when she got mad and said something to him he said “oh sorry ill replace it” and never did. On the last day he cooked us a pasta dish which probably cost no more the $10. And the next day, his last day at my house he ate his pasta and then left, leaving his dirty dish sitting on the sink. We gave him some food to eat left behind by another surfer and when he moved on he asked “can I take this food?”

I figured we were just being neurotic but received an email from a girl he met in Indonesia who thought it funny we had met the same guy. She was requesting to surf my couch.

WOWW worlds is very small sometime, u meet same person I met in Bali my home, I just see the reff from him at your profile.
Sometime he is abit complaining and compare (his hometown) and other country ( actually I dont like that ) but he is ok I met him and make trip couple time in Bali before I left to my trip in Aust.
WOW .....

So nice to know it wasn’t just us he rubbed slightly wrong. Still not enough to give a negative reference anyway. I mean would you? I wouldn’t host him again, to be honest he was a little boring and thought quite highly of himself. But im sure he would get along fine with other people. And I can only blame myself for offering him a lot.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Who am I Who are you?

Different Types of CS Hosts - stolen from

1. The Ambassador
The Ambassador is not necessarily an official "CouchSurfing Ambassador", but they sometimes are. They will try to spend as much time with you as possible and act as your personal tour guide. You're not just staying over for free, you're got a new (temporary) best friend. Ambassadors will introduce you to other CouchSurfers and they know all the best budget places in town. Ambassadors are happiest when conversations revolve around CouchSurfing.

2. The Martyr
The Martyr seems to be inconvenienced with having you over, but still agrees to host you. They rather you do your own thing, remind you that you have to be out of the house first thing in the morning and remind you not to touch any of their food. Martyrs see hosting as sacrifice.

3. The Servant
The Servant is a big believer in hospitality and that "guest is king". They will sleep on the couch while you get the bed. You will be pampered to the point that you will feel guilty for such amazing hospitality. Servants are generous to a fault.

4. The Commune Chief
The Commune Chief invariably turns their apartment into a something resembling an intentional community. It's irrelevant how many couches there are in the house. What's relevant is how many sleeping bags can you fit on the floor. These communes usually take on a life of their own and starts to self-organize. Commune Chiefs think it's odd that anyone would want to only host one CouchSurfer at a time.

5. The Charmer
The Charmer is sweet and charming. They will wine you and dine you. And they will hang out with you and connect with you. You're just not sure if you're couchsurfing or on a date.

6. The Surrogate Family
The Surrogate Family will pick you up, fuss over you and feed you. You won't just be a couchsurfer, you'll be adopted into the family.

7. The Entrepreneur
The Entrepreneur is always looking for opportunities for "additional revenue streams". They will not be shy to suggest "donations" for utilities or ask you to buy them gifts, drinks or dinner as payment for hosting. Entrepreneurs will drive you around if you agree to pay for the service.

8. The Connector
The Connector seems to know everyone in town and will introduce you to many of them. You will end up having random adventures with lots of their friends, many of which may only be able to communicate with you with hand signals and lots of vodka. Connectors are have a natural
ability to make their guests feel like a local.

Different Types of Surfers

1. The Hippy
The hippy sees CouchSurfing as a natural extension of their everyday philosophy. They may hitch-hike and dumpster dive as well. They may not actually have much of plan, because the Universe is showing them the way. The hippy goes with the flow and may be vague with when they are arriving or leaving. But you will get lots of hugs.

2. The Flashpacker
The flashpacker doesn't need to couchsurf to save money, they do it because it's exciting. They are typically armed with some fancy gadgets and never get lost because they use google maps on their smartphones.

3. The Digital Nomad
The digital nomad is an amalgamation of the Hippy and Flashpacker, except that they are long-term travelers. They work from their laptop so they are location independent. They tend to be slow travelers and will typically try to couchsurf for a longer periods, to get to know places and people better.

4. The Weekend Warrior
These are people who have regular jobs during the week but travel and couchsurf on weekends. They'll turn up Friday evening and stay til Sunday night, when they'd return home. More common in Europe than North America, where you can get really cheap flights.

5. The Couchpotato
This couchpotato is a bit of an anomaly. Every so often you'll get a CouchSurfer who'll come over and want to do nothing. You'll have to make plans for them and show them around or they'll just sit on your couch and surf the net/tv all day.

6. The Rockstars
These people are awesome! They will drag their hosts out, party it hard and take you on random adventures for the duration of their stay. You will feel like a traveling circus just made a pit-stop at your house and rocked your world.

7. The Customer
You'll feel like you're running a hostel. The Customer requests a couch because they are in town for a job interview/conference/house-hunting and they will hardly interact with you or anyone else. They see couchsurfing as a way to get a free place to sleep and that's the end of it. The Customer is most likely to get "annoyed" if the facilities are not up to their standards.

8. The Drama Queen
I call people who use "Emergency couch groups" regularly, drama queens. They've "hacked" the CouchSurfing system by just posting to these groups that they are desperate for a couch. These people are a pandora's box and you never know what sort of dramas (or traveling companions) they'll bring along to your house.

9. The Horde
This is more like an invasion, rather than a couchsurf. These people travel in packs and it can be a novel experience if the host is an extrovert. Or it could lead the host to tears if she's an introvert!