Big Question Marks

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Saying goodbye to Daisy :(

Hello! Long time no update, we know... it turns out Western Australia really IS quite remote (as in, good luck finding internet, at least after 5pm!). We're now in Fremantle, a seaside suburb of Perth/really cool historic port town, where we've been hanging out the last couple of days, preparing for the most heartbreaking moment of our trip...saying goodbye to Daisy.

OK, I'm getting weepy just writing this (possibly I'm a little sleep-deprived from our first night in a very small tent!) but we knew it had to happen sometime. We just didn't expect it to happen so fast! After our big driving adventure down the coast from Broome since we last wrote (details to come-- hiking Karijini National Park, camping at a cattle station, snorkelling with reef sharks on the Ningaloo Reef, evicting a mouse from our van, and many more stories... ) we arrived in Perth on Australia Day-- Jan 26-- and caught some fantastic fireworks over the pretty Swan River, which cuts through the downtown. The next day (Tuesday) was business time and we started posting flyers in hostels/internet cafes/online advertising our very awesome van. We had two dates to meet potential buyers on Wednesday morning before the day was even done-- not bad. [We weren't sure how the car market would be here, as we've been reading news articles on how backpackers aren't finding work in Perth right now, with a late fruit season and the economic crap affecting city jobs. But since it would have been another 4000 or so really long and desolate-- not to mention rushed-- kilometres back to Melbourne, we thought we'd give selling a go in Perth....]

Wednesday morning we gave Daisy the first car wash she'd had in more than a year (unless you count the one in Broome which barely took the first layer of splattered bugs off!) and she was shiny and beautiful. We wondered why we hadn't done it sooner, but with dusty unsealed roads around every corner it seemed a bit futile! We met a few nice people-- an Austrian couple, a group of two French and a Belgian, and later an Aussie guy. It felt really weird to be showing her off like that-- she's not just our vehicle, but our home and kind of a family member too! It was very important to us not only to sell her (and for a good price, as she's a great car and plus we've really fixed her up over the past year and a half), but also to sell her to nice people who would take her to some great spots around the country-- and not just to the idiot non-stop-party-backpacker types that we encounter quite often along the way. After posting a bunch more posters, we decided to take a few hours off and explore Fremantle, which we've heard much about (it's very hippie and relaxed) and its Cappuccino Strip-- street of cafes with great patios-- where we could sip coffee and people-watch. And then we got another two calls from people who wanted to meet Daisy...

We made plans to meet one of the new callers, Thomas, a German, after we finished in Fremantle (or Freo). We ended up pulling up to his hostel a bit later than planned, and were parking to give him a ring when we noticed a few people waving to us from outside the hostel... then some excited yells, "It's Daisy!!"... then a few girls and a guy running towards our van, kind of like a Beatlemania scene or something. Very weird.

It turns out they must have liked our posters-- Daisy seemed to be a bit of a celebrity at the hostel. Thomas and the three German girls (Julia, Katarina and Mai) he was travelling with were all very excited to meet her. We gave them the tour, Adrian took them for a bit of a cruise (he was nervous and almost started driving on the righthand side of the road!) and then Thomas said, "I'll buy Daisy!" and shook our hands and that was it. (Oh, and the girls were screaming with joy) We were happy, sad, and a bit panicked because it really meant the end of the big trip. Luckily, the Germans had just paid for a week at the hostel so we had til Tuesday to get ourselves organized and say our goodbyes...
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Yesterday was the big day-- after days of packing, cleaning, and shipping things overseas, it was time (two hours late, after we needed some quick thinking after learning our first overseas box was too big to send at 24kg, and Adrian's didgeridoo box was too long to send at more than 1.05m long!)-- we pulled Daisy up in front of the hostel and met the happy new owners of our van. We unloaded the last of our gear sadly and traded keys for a giant wad of cash... and called a taxi to take our still-massive pile of stuff to the rental car agency in the CBD. It was pretty weird watching other people jump in and out of Daisy, mill about her, push buttons and open cupboards. There was even this stupid guy from the hostel who kept whacking his empty water bottle on Daisy... Adrian and I were cringing! But the Germans are very much in love with Daisy (even with the Hello Kitty toaster, which is exactly what we wanted!) and we're pretty sure they'll take good care or her. Fingers crossed!

So now we've decided to take a mini road-trip to the southwest corner of the state, to what we've heard is a beautiful area with tall, ancient forests, gorgeous beaches, and hippie wine towns for the next week, and we're adjusting to a very different camping lifestyle-- tent and teeny car! On the bright side, the Corolla hatchback is quite roomy and air conditioned, and automatic! Adrian keeps reaching for the gearshifter and the clutch and I keep giggling at him. We have a working radio, but actually radio kind of sucks in Perth, so we've have to burn some CDs to listen to (we gave away the cord to plug in the iPod). We had to buy a few supplies that we couldn't "borrow" from Daisy (ie. we had an extra tent!) but we're realizing how truly nice and comfortable our van was-- luxurious even-- having a huge comfy bed/full kitchen/changeroom/lounge and everything we needed in one compact van! There are definite plans in the works already to create a Daisy II someday when we're back in Canada...

So, crazily enough, our two years in Oz are almost finished-- we fly out to Vietnam on February 19, which we're pretty excited about! After our week hooning it up "down south", we'll fly back to Melbourne on Feb. 10 for one last week in the great city we left only two months ago. Hopefully we'll get a few more surfs in, and have a just few more Little Creatures beers (some really fantastic beer brewed right here in Freo, but not yet shipped overseas unfortunately)...