She stood there, tan with blonde hair, on the side of the road. She looked to be about 25, and she was very beautiful. A man stood beside her who looked almost like an alternative-pirate, with a red scarf wrapped around his head, shirtless, and baggy pants. They looked like the biggest contradiction. When my Australian driver got out of the vehicle, the blonde woman said, “How are you, Charlie?”
“I’ve been good! You guys looking to head into town?” The Australian man, Charlie, answered.
“Yes, please. That would be great. We are starving!” The blond woman says, emphasising the word starving.
The Australian turns to me, “My wife will help you with your things.”
Before I knew it a small Thai woman is at my side, leading me up a small hill. The blonde woman and the alternative man had gone with Charlie the Australian and were heading back to the town.
The Thai woman leads me up to her house where we are meant to eat breakfast (if we choose) every morning. I could see the cream coloured apartment complex in the back, stuck between the steep hill and the ocean below.
Another Aussie, this time a woman, takes my bags and starts leading me through the complex. The whole apartment was built out of cement and sandstone. It had an open-air concept, so everything was outside. We duck and turn our way through the maze of halls, and finally she stops at a door and says, “Welcome to Hobbiton,” and ducks inside.
Hobbiton the room was called because the door was very small and hidden. I ducked under the doorframe and came into the room.
The room was small, but cozy. It had three walls, and where the fourth wall should’ve been was replaced with an open balcony with views of the ocean and mountainside. I had to sleep with a bug net, but falling to sleep with the sounds of the ocean crashing every night was worth the trouble. The bed sat in the middle of the room, with a small kitchen opposite the balcony. A small corridor lead to the bathroom, which is where the apartment complex met with the mountain slope, meaning that my bathroom was an oddly-shaped wedge with an uneven floor.
After the woman left I hunkered down for the day, deciding to spend my time reading a book and relaxing after the terror of making my way to this place (That hill, oh god, that terrible hill!).
The next day I make my way, by Australian-chauffeur, to the town. The second time making my way up and down the mountain was worse than the first. This time I sat in the back where there was no seats, just an open area where you tumbled and fell on top of anyone else that was also back there. Alternative man was in the back with me, and the blond girl was sitting in the front passenger seat. Nobody said anything, and I think the blond girl and alternative man were hungover.
“Oh my god, is there a McDonald’s on this island?” I ask out loud, partly to break the awkward silence, partly because I actually just really really wanted McDonalds. I was sick of asian food, I waned greasy burgers and fries.
Everyone laughed, and the the blond girl answered, “No, there is no McDonald’s here, unfortunately.”
I hadn’t noticed before, but the blonde girl had a British accent.
The Australian-chauffeur, Charlie, dropped us off at a gas station in town. He told us to meet him there at 4pm if we wanted to be taken back to the apartment. After he drives away, the blonde woman and the alternative man disappear down a street.
Walking down the narrow streets, trying to find a place to eat that wasn’t asian food, was painful. My stomach growled and moaned for food, but I was stubborn and wanted a burger (all that McDonald’s talk made me excited). I stumbled upon an Australian BBQ restaurant and decided to look at the menu.
My eyes scanned for one word, and with a glorious hallelujah I read it: BURGERS.
I almost skipped inside and sat down and ordered my food, making sure I got the most greasiest burger on the menu.
Suddenly, two people are starting to sit beside me. I look up and see that it’s the blonde girl and the alternative man.
“Do you mind if we sit here?” the blonde girl asks, “We saw you sitting by yourself and thought that maybe you wanted some company.”
“No that’s fine, you can sit here.” I answer.
“I hate how you mentioned McDonald’s this morning, made me want it so bad!” The girl laughs, flicking her blonde hair over her shoulder, “What’s your name?”
“I’m Cody,” I reach out my hand and the blonde girl shakes it.
“I’m Blaire,” The girl says, “And this is my friend, Patrick.” The blonde-girl-Blaire gestures toward the alternative-man-Patrick, and I reach out and shake his hand.
“How you going, buddy?” Patrick says, “If I’m not mistaken, you sound Canadian!”
“Yes, I am.” I reply, noticing that he also sounded Canadian (well, actually, it’s hard to pick Canadian accents and American accents, so I’ll just say that I could tell he was from North America). From up close Patrick looked less pirate-like. He still wore a red scarf around his head, and he was still shirtless, but up close he looked more normal; just like a regular backpacker.
“Awesome,” Patrick says, leaning back in his chair, “I’m from Vancouver.”
“I love Vancouver! I am from Calgary,” I respond, always excited to meet other Canadians on the road. I turn to Blaire, “Where are you from?”
Blaire smiles, “I am from York, England. But I live in Sydney, Australia.”
“Oh cool, I am planning to go to Sydney in a few weeks.” I say, excited by the prospect that she could be the first person I get to know that’s from Sydney. So far I knew no one that lived there, and it was scary thinking I was going to be going there for a year without knowing anyone.
“You’ll love it there! The city is so amazing! And the weather is perfect!” Blaire exclaims, but she suddenly goes quiet and leans in closer to me, “I hope this isn’t awkward, and I hope that you don’t get offended, but I really need to ask you a question.”
My mind races.