Convict Island (Tasmania #1)

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Travelling, for me, is a conquest. It is the ultimate intellectual challenge. It is the only arena where you actually have to transfer all those skills, all that intellect, all that charm, to conquer the real challenges of life. As Goethe said: “I hate everything that merely instructs me without augmenting or directly invigorating my activity”.

In a somehow unsurprising Australian fashion, the early morning flight was delayed for about an entire hour. Fighting the sleep demon was difficult – but I could just envision how a nap would lead to me missing the boarding for the flight.

Luckily enough I hitched a ride from Hobart Airport to the city centre with one of Daniel’s friends who was on the same flight (otherwise I think there is a shuttle bus from the airport). Taking in the First look of Tasmanian land entertained me for large proportion of the ride. I remembered how the low clouds would seem to hug the land when looked at from the plane.

Once there was a protest against the ever tyrannical machine known as government, a protest to legalise homosexuality. There was once a store here, in Hobart. Then there wasn’t. Supposedly 130 were arrested – biggest arrest of gay protesters in Australia. Several years later, the authorities, as always, felt rather bad and unveiled these little messages on the ground as apology for what they had done.

Somehow I haven’t realised, whilst in Melbourne, that autumn was upon me (except for the cold weather and the rain, I haven’t really given it much thought). The red, falling trees in Tasmania made my brain have a little adjustment to the new season.

12:10 jam jar

I decided to take cover in this little abode for some (I had hoped breakfast) lunch. The place was dubbed “a bit of New Orleans in Hobart”, and it was rightfully quite thematic and lovely. The dumplings, whilst quite creative and presentful, lacked any decent amount of taste. The veggies were done quite well.

Jam Jar lounge on Urbanspoon

1:30 mt wellington

The winds roared at atop of the mountain, like a monster guarding the truly stunning views; Bruny Island, Hobart and the Southern Wilderness unveiled themselves in front of us. It made promises of lands where no soul lived, where the exotic awaits.

As usual I am consistently annoyed by my fellow tourists – the bus driver declaring quite confidently that this must be one of the best views in the world. Now, I don’t want to rain on Australia’s parade, but it isn’t. Really. It nice, it great, but wouldn’t declare it best in the world.

How to get here: There are 2 daily buses from Hobart Information Centre (Elizabeth St corner to Davey St), one leaving at 10:30 and one at 13:30. It’s best if you call in advance on the day to book it on your name (0408341804). The ticket is 25$, and it takes about half an hour to get to the top where you are left by yourself for another half an hour. If you feel adventurous you can buy a one way ticket for 15$ and then come down the Zig Zag track which should take you about 1.5 hours. The track is market but the weather is quite shifty so come prepared.

19:00 boredom in the hostel

Hostels. Oh how much I despise you. For several reasons, surely. Firstly, I’m a snob and would much better prefer to be in the Savoy. With a proper bathroom, with intimacy and expensive linen. I want to be able to go to my room and prance around naked in a dance of energy renewal! To be able to use all the sockets and just generally muck about. After an entire day of running around and finding something to do, it is vital to have a little oasis somewhere.

Here lies the paradox though – from which only wealth will be able to save me. On the one hand, one wants to make his trip as pleasurable as possible: staying in cozy places with great views, eating at all the famed restaurants of that place, taking a ride on a boat or on a flight to see views that few others have. But then you realize all of this has an opportunity cost: for each dollar you spend on nice accommodation and nice food, you have one dollar less which you could invest in a future trip. Traveling is like a disease: it takes over you completely, and the only cure is more traveling. Like a heroin addict all we want is the next shot. But drugs are expensive, and so is traveling.

So we try and balance our trips, spend enough money so that it is worth it but not too much so that we still have. Then we get upset of not spending more money so that our trip is absolutely amazing, but then when we spend the money we think of how we could have just eaten cheaply and then save for another flight to some exotic place.

Also, people in hostels always seem to annoy me so deeply. Somehow, their travel ambition is so… Cheap. I’m not sure I can explain it. Sure, I do think we need to balance everything, but there is something about most people in hostels – a rudeness, a lack of real appreciation for travel that you can see whenever they open their mouths to spout their boring life story.

With the guise of night, Hobart went completely dead. Not in a “the walking dead” kind of way, with drunk women barely holding their feet together, and most certainly not holding the contents of their bowels. But just empty. Everything seems closed. So i return to the hostel and take up my book. I cant possibly go to sleep this early.

At first, a random Asian denizen was casually having milk and cereal. He, off course, quickly decides he’s in the mood for something more than just breakfast so together with another Asian colleague of his, he brings a foul smelling pot of what seems to be stew.

It reminds me of the movie “Planet B-boy”, of how the Koreans brought with them kimchi and used to cook their own food at the world championship as they couldn’t stand not eating their precious cabbage. It makes me wonder whether these Chinese are eating that hell-spawn food because they want to be cheap or because they cant adapt.

20:00 Vietnamese kitchen

Under the insistence of Daniel, I go to Salamanca in search of a place to eat (eating – another dilemma in my life). I decide to keep it cheap (very surprising, to be honest), and go to Vietnamese Kitchen. Food was quite cheap – 15$ for a huge meal and a bubble tea. Good quality considering the price.

I will leave you today with a quote from Flaubert, who, just like me, very much enjoyed traveling and very much disliked other people (quote is from a letter written after his return from a holiday in Corsica): “I’m disgusted to be back in this damned country where you see the sun in the sky as often as a diamond in a pig’s arse. I don’t give a shit for Normandy and la belle France… I think i must have been transplanted by the winds to this land of mud; surely i was born elsewhere – i’ve always had what seem like memories or intuitions of perfumed shores and blue seas. I was born to be the emperor of Cochin-china, to smoke 100-foot pipes, to have 6,000 wives and 1,400 catamites, scimitars to slice off heads I don’t like the look of, Numidian horses, marble pools…”

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