Been spending a lot of time in the East Bundaberg Backpacker's Hostel. As you can see from the writing on the pole above it wasn't always much beloved, was formerly much like the rest of the hostels in town. But Christine has been managing it for just over a year now and currently everyone there agrees it is by far the best place in Bundaberg.
So I've been there typically on Friday and Saturday nights so I can hang out with actual people and go out to the bars and not have to drive 20 kms to get home. The backpackers staying there are all pretty awesome and we have a great time.
It's interesting to compare the groups from different places. 90% of the backpackers seem to be from one of three places: Germany, Italy and the British Isles.
Most of the Germans spend most of their time speaking German and I never even learned many of their names. Recently most of them left though and we got three more who actually do talk to everyone.
Most of the Italians didn't interact much with the non-Italians either, but they had one who was universally acknowledged as their leader, and known as "the Don." Also the three Italian girls are all smoking hot. The Don is actually extremely laid back, always seems calm and collected, and everything he does he does "like a boss." On Christmas day when we were all at the beach he was wearing a speedo and santa hat, like a boss. Most of the Italian guys left before Christmas.
The third major group consists of people from England, Wales and Ireland. Whereas the other two groups are both mostly guys, the British Isles crew seems to be about 50/50 male/female. The guys seem particularly fond of playing devilish pranks on eachother and others. Recently a showerhead was unscrewed, filled with powdered soup, and screwed back on, so someone got a chicken soup shower.
Three Canadians recently showed up and seem to have attached themselves to the German group. They are fond of competitions and being proudly Canadian.
Many people left before the holidays though, both to be somewhere more exciting than Bundaberg for the holidays and also I think the vegetable picking/packing is at a temporary lull, so the population is at a nadir. When I arrived dozens of us would be going out every night, but by this weekend there were only maybe barely a dozen at the bar on Friday night and not enough people going out Saturday night for anyone to bother going out at all. And about five of the guys, including some of my favourite people, shipped out today to spend the week out pruning citrus somewhere far enough away that they'll stay out there during the week. Not that I'd be there much during the week anyway, but this morning as I too packed up to leave the mostly empty room I'd been in there, it definitely felt like everyone was leaving it deserted.
Driving home I thought about all the peace and quiet I'd probably missed out on that it would be nice to experience for a change (been at the hostel since Monday) ... and walked into my house to find four Indian guys asleep on the kitchen floor and beer bottles all over the place.
This evening there are six of them hanging out here. I think I miss the peace and quiet of the hostel.
And here's a cheery mural which pretty much sums up life in Bundaberg.