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AUSTRALIA | Monday, 12 January 2015 | Views [865]

A little piece of Rotto magic

A little piece of Rotto magic

December 31st 2014 8:36pm. Such an unusual time to remember that I have an avid audience starved of my wordy goodness, (citation needed). And while the actual goodness of my ramblings is very much open to debate, there is no doubting that I have a need to bring my travel blog up to date. Asia and Europe beckons in just over a fortnight and a blank 16 months need to be embellished.

Sitting home alone on a night when the rest of the world parties may seem lobotomy-level out of character for me, but it is quite indicative of the changes brought on over the last year. I am celebrating another year ticking over by viewing Russel Crowes latest offering called 'Noah'. Everyone knows the story so the only spoiler I can give is that it's crap, hence I'm paying more attention to writing than watching, but the cathartic symbolism of the movie is a good metaphor for my 2014.

Even though I aim to start 2015 with a clean slate, perhaps with a few beer stains evident, 2014 was quite the opposite. I started the year with so much sin I honestly cannot remember it at all. I just know from experience how these things normally go, making the contrast with tonight all the more stark. Rottnest Island turned out to be a near identical repeat of Hobart with me leaving further disheartened by the complete absence of scruples shown by another small business owner.

Before that had come to pass though, I had spent a lovely and somewhat relaxing summer living on a small island inhabited by a small quokka colony and even smaller human population. Clement weather saw the invasion of hordes of cashed up bogans from Perth and an inverse effect on the islands serenity. When not pumping out coffees for the shear love of it, I was lapping the island on my bike, whale watching or snorkeling. I could give detailed descriptions of each activity, and if you haven't personally done any, or all of them, there are not too many places better than Rottnest Island for doing them.

After the break up with the previous gf in Hobart, I had come to realise that as I approached 40, things had to change. I had been making the same mistakes for so long that I had just come to see them as traditions. Having a liver twice my real age, and a libido half of it, I had to do something before I was trying to organise raves at a retirement village. I considered going to Thailand and paying a few grand for a sex change, but while being undoubtedly informative and arousing, the changes I wanted to implement weren't exactly gender specific. I actively avoided dating, or intimacy, although the Polar bear teddy I sleep with would probably disagree. I curtailed my partying, to the point of seeming rude and unfriendly, and was often the only one NOT hungover at work. That was revolutionary for my productivity. Thanks to the main beneficiary being a prick of a boss though, it proved to be a pointless endeavour beyond things like well-being, health and a small fortune saved, but whatever.

One week out from leaving, I was on the basketball court trying to pull off a Michael Jordan like move with Quasimodo like grace and my ankle went left while momentum took me right, and horizontal. I kept playing, because I am a special kind of idiot, until another imagined display of skill that was really a lumbering face plant swelled my ankle like a Goodyear blimp and I found out how hard it would be to play basketball in clogs. Or walk.

At first the female owner said all sick pay would be honoured, faking the behaviour of a decent human being. Then, with a sleight of hand worthy of the best street corner card shark, the bosses true colours were shown and I was no longer getting any sick pay. Fortunately a friend works as a lawyer dealing with such wage violating scum of the earth and a few threatening letters later I had my pay. Not before losing all respect for these people, swearing I would never set foot in a DOME cafe again (and not just because the coffee bean blend they use is 50% tears of the downtrodden) and leaving my memory of Rottnest Island stranded somewhere between a personally challenging but rewarding time, and a place I'd napalm if I had access to military surplus.

I was all set to return to Hobart where my best friend Trevor had taken up residence, but a non-Matsos job offer came up in Broome that I couldn't refuse. Any regular reader, hi Mum and Dad, would know that Broome is the last place I should go if changing my ways was more than just a plot device to keep this journal rolling on. Never one for making things easier on myself, I thought I would plunge into the deep end thinking that a water based analogy might alleviate some of the Broome heat.

I was to return to my coffee making roots and pump out the goods from a mobile coffee cart at speeds demonstrating my own copious intake of the product. I've always worked in high paced environments, but Mollie Bean Coffee takes the cake to such a degree that I don't think there was any cake to begin with. 6 hours of work blurs passed like the multitudes of coffee hungry faces and by 11am my day is done. The bosses are generous to the point of seeming to be philanthropists more than business owners and are friendly enough to ensure that most days at work generate more laughter than this journal will.

Even though I am remunerated like I'm royalty, I still worked a second job at an art gallery as an odd jobs man. I'm not even a fan of a first job, let alone a second, but doing so meant I have managed to save for Europe while supporting a rampant online shopping addiction. Some of these bargains went to improving the living conditions of the studio apartment in Chinatown I called home. Most of it was cheap Chinese crap that broke within the first week of owning it, or in the case of a light fitting for my bike, it was ruined opening the envelope it was mailed in.

The first half of my time in Broome was such a back sliding for the aforementioned changes that I am just going to pretend that it was intentional. Change had to be implemented gradually lest my friends failed to recognise me, and if that sounded like a rather lame rationalisation to you, I couldn't agree more, but well, here we are. If earlier efforts had succeeded at all, it was in ensuring that change was inevitable, no matter how undulating the path was going to be.

And so here I am in Melbourne for two weeks seeing family for Christmas. It's not quite midnight, the movie has finished and it looks like I'll see the New Year in awake, and sober. If that isn't as much as a shock as it should be, or the best indication of the changes I have written about, I urge you to have a puruse through any of the following links to journals from the past few years.

Magical journey to nowhere

13 hours of bliss and hilarity

Part II: Deep in the Joo-Joo

The drinking town with a sailing problem

Sandy arse crack party

The hazy daze of my last days

A stoners creed

Mashed meeting my musical messiah

Hippies and happy herbs visit Cape Hillsborough

Slippery in Sydney

Alcohol and antiques

Frangelico nights

Living the Ninh Binh drug cliche

Beautiful beaches to Bondi blowouts

Around the country in 80 beers

In less than a week I return to Broome for 9 days then I'm off to Europe for three months. On my return, I will fulfill a life long dream and get a dog, a beagle to be exact. That's as big a commitment as I have even considered in a long time. With such conducive conditions in Broome, I will return there for the forseeable future, undoubtedly enriched about the experiences about to start and like always, I hope you can enjoy the ride from the comfort of your armchair, thanks to the magic of the internet and the inexhaustible imbecility of my traveling style.

Tags: coffee, sunsets, travel, work

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