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Not Being An Idiot

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 6 September 2011 | Views [341]

We offered him a ride in the bus. There was a spare seat and the sun had set already, causing the temperature to drop sharply. He insisted though that he’d take the stairs up the steep hill and meet us at our rooms. We expected to beat him there, us being in a vehicle and him being on foot. Maybe he’d turn up a few minutes after us with red cheeks and a shortness of breathe.

He beat us.

As we rolled into the parking bay in front of the entrance, there he was, hands on his hips, beaming smile across his face, not even breaking a sweat. Mohamed the hotel manager was the Mr. Deeds butler of Tasmania’s west coast: very, very sneaky. After that, Mohamed would surprise us at every turn. There he was at breakfast: checking our rooms were ok and we had plenty of food on our plates. There he was on the cruise, ensuring we knew the top notch service we were experiencing and making sure we all got copies of their free guide books. There he was in the pub, possibly trying to hide from us and our ‘very sneaky’ jokes.

And he wasn’t the last of Tasmania’s colourful characters.

There was the old man walking his oversized, fluffy black and white cat on one of those harnesses people put on especially speedy toddlers through some severely over grown grass (possibly pretending he was on safari and not in Tasmania). This seems odd, but at least he didn’t charge us for a photograph of himself and said cat like the man in the same town who walks his llama everyday. It wasn’t the most happening town.

Excitement levels boiled over in the case of mistaken identity in Sheffield involving a regular non-gay owner of a gay café which wasn’t actually gay at all. Turns out he simply thought that the colours on the rainbow flag were pretty and that tea cosy’s are a nice touch to any establishment. He was unsurprisingly not very knowledgeable about the local scene in the capital Hobart, but revealed that he gets asked about it a lot and is still not convinced that the rainbow flags he proudly flies outside his shop are symbolic of gay pride. We’ll see him at Mardi Gras later this year I’m sure.

Most frightening was the B&B owner who MUST have been replacing the mushrooms in her omelette for the magic kind and wouldn’t stop peddling Huon Pine wood shavings on to us (it has hundreds of uses apparently). We were absolutely charmed by her husband though, who managed to make 16 personalised snow globes in the short half hour that we left him alone in between trying to avoid his wife and having dinner. Brilliant.

My favourite however was Russ, who I met in the tavern. When I asked him what he does for a living he replied that he does what anyone who’s 78 and lives in Strahan would do: drink! He then preceded to skol his beer to the cheers of the locals around him. Apart from being thoroughly impressed by the retirees drinking abilities I was also struck by his worldly advice:

“If you don’t meet people when you travel you’re an idiot. If you don’t introduce the people you meet when travelling to other people then you’re an even BIGGER idiot”.

He then skolled another beer and set about introducing me to the entire town (luckily all 15 of them were conveniently at the pub that night).

Thanks Russ.











Tags: people, tasmania


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