Days 198 - 202
It was time for me to leave Melbourne for good. My flight to Cambodia was coming up, and it left from Perth, on the opposite side of the country. Australia is huge, and there was still a lot for me to see and do. Maybe I'll come back one day and spend a year traveling around the country. But for now, I only had time to travel to Adelaide and figure out how to get to Perth.
My overnight bus to Adelaide lasted about eleven hours. We only had one driver, and we only took one fifteen-minute break. I was amazed at our driver's stamina. As for the passengers, we got to see “Young Guns,” the movie that inspired the song “Regulators” by Warren G and Nate Dogg. Every time I started to fall asleep, a gun fight broke out during the movie, and the explosions jarred me awake. It reminded me of so many bus rides in South America, where sadistic drivers played karate movies at full volume, apparently just to keep the passengers up all night.
A CouchSurfer named Tristan insisted on picking me up at the bus station at 6:30 AM. He had a badass 4WD camper van, complete with a bed and a solar-powered refrigerator. But his preferred method of long-distance transportation was his motorcycle, which he had driven across Europe and Asia. He was busy making plans for his next motorcycle trip across Asia, and into Europe.
I stayed with Tristan's dad Ian. He was a retired cop who had done his share of world travel. Ian was extremely welcoming and friendly, the kind of guy who made me regret that I hadn't used CouchSurfing more often in the last six months. The highlight of my time with Ian was our trip to the coast in his '47 MG, a real classic that he had babied for over four decades.
I found Adelaide, and the surrounding area, a pleasant surprise. Designed by Colonel William Light in 1836, downtown is one square mile, surrounded by parks and botanical gardens. It was easy for me to get around the city without a car, and there was plenty of greenery everywhere I looked. There was a forested national park nearby, and the Southern Ocean was accessible by tram. Overall it was a very livable place.
One night Tristan and I got together with Maria, a CouchSurfer from Germany. My old friend Craig was also in town; he had just completed a two-day tour from Melbourne, and was getting ready to head back on another two-day trip. We all got together in “The Hills,” a neighborhood with some fantastic views of the city and coast. Tristan cooked a chicken-potato-lentil-vegetable soup that he had learned from a woman in the Czech Republic. It was a wonderful night, where I bid adieu to an old friend and made new ones. But all good things must come to and end; my trip to Perth was about to begin.