The ferry arrived in Melbourne at sunrise. Like us, Lea was still sleepy and refused to start (dead battery). So the ferry workers gave me a push down the ramp and Lea sprang into life just in time to ride off the ferry.
We were waiting for a parcel with parts to arrive at our friend’s place, but we couldn’t afford to pay for another hostel. Instead we opted to pitch our tent in the trailer park in nearby Williamstown.
Apologies for the crappy quality of the photo, used my phone … Note our new friend Milo in the background. Someone abandoned him when leaving the trailer park so now he’s your best friend and super cuddly if there is a chance of you having some food for him later.
Sleeping on the overnight ferry had been pretty impossible and we were exhausted. Add to that the nasty chest pain Aidan had been enduring for days now had gotten a lot worse. An iron gate had fallen into him and at the time it hadn’t seemed a big deal. The local pharmacist analysed a cracked rib aggravated by an uncomfortable sleeping position and prescribed super strong pain killers. So in short we spent the day hovelled up in our tent.
In the evening we crawled out to cook dinner and our neighbours gave Aidan a joint to have for dessert. We hung out with them later and found they are super awesome guys with a great take on life and endless interesting stuff to talk about.
In general this trailer park was somewhat dreary with lots of permanent residents and what society often dismisses as low-lifes. Living there for a couple of days was a real eye opener. All I could see was a bunch of people trying to get by. Some hadn’t coped too well with the hardships life had thrown at them and they were bitter and distrustful of the world. But noone was mean or dangerous. A couple of women went off to work every morning, all neat and clean and you’d have no idea where they lived. The tradies in hi-vis clothing drove off in their beat-up cars to work hard for their cash.
The next night Beni invited us for dinner and together we cheffed up yummy chicken and rice, using all the camping stoves and pots we had between us. Milo the resident cat gnawed at the bones. Soon after dinner the Ouzo came out and we stayed chatting till late.
Beni, half aboriginal and brought up in a foster home, is a bit of a lost soul. His family in the Northern Territory hadn’t accepted his being gay so he’s been on the run. He spent some time in Tasmania but found no better life there and fled back to the mainland with his friends, a mum and daughter, who had a van. It was only at the ferry terminal that they realised neither of them had a drivers license, both having assumed the other one did. They weren’t allowed to drive onto the ferry and the queue of caravans behind them was getting longer. In the end Beni went down the queue asking if they could borrow anyone with a drivers license. An old lady hopped into their van and drove it onto the boat!
Now he lives in the trailer park, confused by the machinations of modern society. School wasn’t his thing, yet he understood many complex scientific theories and discoveries and Aidan and him ended up in deep conversations about quantum physics.
Our other neighbour, Jimmy, was basically an inventor. Every few minutes he’d have some great idea or other of a how an item could be improved to suit its purpose better or he’d design a whole new thing. Under a tarp he we hiding a bicycle that he’d put a small engine into. Of course it wasn’t registered so he was hoping it would pass as a power assisted bicycle when the time came to hit the road.
Both guys dream of traveling around some day soon. Beni wants to organise a motorcycle and trailer for this. Neither of them has a drivers license at the moment as they are pricy to get and the paperwork is complicated. But they are making plans. As you can imagine we spent hours talking about equipment like tents and water containers and what works best with Jimmy inventing better options all the time.
Another guy came over, tightly holding on to a tiny kitten, bitching about his ex-wife having taken his previous cat. But instead of judging him Jimmy and Beni just stay out of it and chat to him anyways. Later I mentioned how he wasn’t the nicest guy I the world. Jimmy just said the guy probably has his own problems to deal with. I liked that.
The parcel was taking its sweet time so our friend would just have to forward it. The budget and visa were pressing us to get going. Of course all that Ouzo meant I had a giant hang over and we almost didn’t make it at all. When we’d finally packed up, Lea wouldn’t start again!
Jimmy was to hand with his little 12v battery. He has a couple that he wires up to the wall plug in the bathroom to charge and then he uses them for all the gadgets in his tent. It worked a treat and we soon rolled out of there wishing we could spend more time with those guys!