…and then it was time to get back to Alice and start a new adventure called “The first relocation of my life”. For who doesn’t know, it’s common in Australia, seen the huge distances between cities and towns, to travel renting campervans and doing one way trips. I mean, you rent a car or van in Melbourne, and you travel up to Cairns, and you drop off the car there. This is very easy for the customers to do, but a little less easier for the rental companies that find themselves with a burden of vehicles to relocate to their original spots. So, how can they do it? Pretty simple, they advertise on a website or through some travel agencies that they have a car to move, and you can be the driver. This usually is done paying a ridicoulous amount of money per day (we were paying 5$ a day), we could use their gasoline and we even had a 150$ gas allowance. Of course, it ain’t free, but when you consider that a bus ticket for the 1600 kilometres trip from Alice Springs to Darwin would cost you around 200/300 $, it’s no surprise that you are very happy when you get to travel in a big ass 4 wheel drive paying a fraction of it. Split inbetween 4 people, I paid around 20$ for the 4 days trip. And yes, I forgot to mention, of course you have a time limit to relocate the vehicle. So I found myself in this V8 engine road monster, so tall I had to literally jump to get in it. It came with everything, especially a super comfy 4 beds spot we thoroughly enjoyed all the way through the vast, deserted and red Northern Territory.
What to do now? With no car, no money and no luck? In the first place, I decided to move to Darwin because a friend of mine, Lorenzo, who I’ll be thanking for a long time, suiggested me to join him there to work. Darwin is a strange little city with its constantly changing population of backpackers and random weirdos, and is known to be a cradle of casual job opportunities. So, off I went there, thinking first and foremost to my wallet and my waistline, that had horribly reduced in the past 3 months of forced half starvation for lack of money. Yeah, it’s just not good to eat pasta or rice once a day for 3 months, but at least now I look like a frigging male model, for chrissake.
Darwin and its small, ridicolous skyline were the appealing opportunity of changing my habits from the street cockroach I used to be, to a more healthy, regular, normal lifestyle. Plus, being the closest point to South East Asia in Australia, and quite cheap to use as an entry/exit port (remember, this was the first Australian soil I ever put foot onto), it seemed to me the most appealing option if things would have turned again to shit, throwing me back to swim head first into the aforementioned brown pool. I remember the first few nights, walking around Mitchell Street, the heart of the city, asking for work and glancing at the aussie rural types struggling to keep themselves standing with all that beer down their bellies. Why aussies drink so much, it’ll always be a mistery to me. The fact they like to show the WORST of themselves in public is literally great and ridicolous at the same time, and especially in Darwin this is a very peculiar aspect of the nightlife. This city is as redneck and country-type I could only match the idea with being stranded somewhere in the Dallas/Forth Worth area, in some place like Italy (the little town in the middle of Texas, not my bloody own country!!) or Denton or Flower Mound. It’s just like…. “affina go to the store to buy me some crack, yeahowww”. It’s men in their 40s waiting in a car in front of a liquor store, when an underage girl tries to get out of the same car, but she’s so full of alcohol she can just roll sideways and hit the bullbar of my friends’ van before falling on the ground. And this same redneck motherfucker would push her up, pulling her arm, and calling her a bitch because she smells trouble. But she’s too full of booze to even understand and so she can just curl up on the sidewalk, holding her head with both hands to prevent it falling down and crashing on the floor like a crystal ball full of vomit and spit. Amazing. That’s what you can see in Darwin, on some lucky nights. Classic extravaganza.
But there’s much more to it, and thanks god, in a positive way. It is indeed a cradle of opportunities for the hard working individuals, and its weather, at least now in the Dry Season, it’s as nice and appealing to me as being in SE Asia. And the most amazing thing is, I was working the next day I came here, and I changed three jobs over a week, before landing a fantastic pizza baking career in the backwoods of Fannie Bay. Amazing when I think of all the hassle I went through on the East Coast, where work opportunities were almost unexistent or plain scams for the young backpacking masses en route. But in Darwin, no way! I cleaned up a yard from palm trees branches on my second day, being paid 10$ an hour like the worst immigrant ever, and I felt like an African in Milan. It was a very nice, rewarding sensation. Everybody should try that, while those bloody green ants crawl all over your arms and neck, biting you so hard you let the branches fall down over your feet, and scream just louder!! Damn! Then, it was waiting in a cafè in The Mall area, the fanciest cluster of shops of all darwin CBD. I was doing a great job, except for the Chinese supervisor bitch that fired me on the third day saying I was not able to make coffees. Well, I just plain dont care, but I was treated so bad I am glad she fired me. You know when you walk in a restaurant, you are supposed to be shown where the things are. I mean, how can I make you a bloody iced mocha if you dont even tell me where the fucking milk is? She just gave me the evil eye from the first day, and I sensed that so much I was shaking at times holding three cups of flat white, strolling back and forth under her bitchy supervising eye. Fuck that. If your life is that EMPTY, get another one, loser, don’t try to fuck with me over some stupid cappuccinos and flat whites… because the only difference is some damn foam, that’s it!!
After this experience, my desperation for work brought me to the point of madness. Almost. But it worked out because instead of sitting and crying in my beer for something to happen, I was so annoyed and stubborn that from the first moment I walked inside Fannie Bay’s Superpizza, I knew the job was mine. And it really happened!! The owner Fernanda, an amable, funny woman from Tivoli, Rome Divina Urbe, gave me the good eye this time, and told me to come back the next day to “see how things are done here”. I got back the next day, and the hour she said I would have spent there transformed in 4, and got paid like 6, so you can imagine how shiny my smile looked after that. It was a definitive lift up the puddle of shit that now looked so far behind, and smaller and smaller every minute I was ascending to a new surface. And that’s where I am at, now. It seems funny to write down all of these things in such a few paragraphs, because, I can assure you, if I didn’t go through hell and back, I was damn close to that. And it probably would take so much longer to explain in detail all the things I thought, and hoped for, and did, and all the runs and try outs and moments where I was almost punching the walls, the nights out in a tent, the nights out sleeping in cars, the underwear that you have to wear for so many days you are afraid to take a piss because of the smell of your unwashed dick… that was too good and too bad to explain in words. But I am sure I gave you some good points of reflection. And me, whatever didn’t kill me so far, just made me stronger. I am almost like a big Italian cockroach now, and I’m sure I’d be able to survive the next Nuclear War. Oh yeah. Can you? Of course not, you can’t