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December 02, 2005

The Harry Christner place

We stood on a remote ledge overlooking the city of Perth. “You see, I don’t know about you, but it’s them damn blacks that are causing all the problems, it really gets to me”. Des, in his usual bold manner, was describing the problems of the health service in England. I thought the health service would be the last of our worries. Unknown to Des, but known to me, standing behind us were a large group. Lets just say they were not white and we in the middle of nowhere.

As we drove off, celebrating that we were not over the cliff we had just been standing over, the city illumined in front of us. It was like a big glowing Christmas tree, it’s just despite being December, Christmas was the last thing to come to mind. Des continued with the stories, the time he was stabbed by a flying pigeon whilst riding back from the army, the time he smashed a glass with his fist to get into a military pub. “I was in Paris and I had just had my bag stolen, those French police are fucking idiots, they tried to escort me out of the police station but they soon held back when I said I was a black belt in karate”. For a man of forty-five, he was going to have a few stories, but I didn’t realize just how many.

We were eating in a Harry Christener restaurant, not surprisingly it provided one of the most bizarre eating experiences. Apparently you could eat as much as you wanted of the Indian cuisine and then pay whatever you felt like paying. It was true. One dollar, five dollars or twenty cents. Apparently this was a charity based restaurant, all the donations would be given to promote the religion. We were joined on the table by some friends of friends from another hostel. It didn’t take Des long to get into his stride. “You know what, I’ll be honest. The French are arrogant pigs, they are rude and I just hated France. That’s why when French people come here I treat them like shit, just how I get treated when I go to France. I’m not the only Aussie that thinks this, word gets around you know, yes, I hate the French”. Just as he ended his tirade, Des spoke to guy opposite who was serving him some water. “Where are you from mate?”. Just as he had finished serving the water, he looked up and said “I’m from Paris” in a very French accent. This was going to be an interesting meal.

The bus is always an interesting way to observe local culture. The 401 went to Scarborough beach, a twenty minute ride. Just as I was settling down and observing the views, a voice came from the front. “Who is listening to headphones, turn them down, I cant concentrate driving this bloody bus”. Great. I had a school teacher as a bus driver. I could hardly hear the music coming from his headphones and I was sitting behind him. If there was any doubt who’s bus this was, it quickly vanished as the passengers looked at each other with disbelief. Half way through the journey, the firm voice was to be heard again. “Oh, YOU, give that seat up for that lady now!”. The poor man stood up in shock. I just had to make sure I had the correct fare on the way back or I will be spending the journey with my hands on my head.

On my return to the hostel, I found they were serving a bottle of wine. It was for the Danish ‘stare at Coops’ girl who was celebrating her twenty first birthday. We had the wine in typical hostel fashion, using a wide arrange of stone chipped and multi-coloured mugs with dark stains. The token cup of wine went down well. It was time to move on out, apparently we were going to a Harry Christener restaurant. Whatever next.

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