Australian Odyssey

Catalan Christmas

The wait was a bit long. Not for the number of days. Rather it was the cold and the anxieties that tensed the atmosphere quite a bit. Christmas made things lighter and was one of the few moments in which the talk did not fluctuate around the bikes and the journey. We ate without stopping. We pause chewing with wine, beer, champagne or water. (That was the order by quantity.) Sepia, pork and a thousand canapés of all colors and shapes decorated the long table. We were almost thirty. The dessert was my perdition. I do not know how much Spanish nougat I ate. Surely it was not because of hunger. Soft nougat, jijona one, semi-hard and hard. The chocolate one was also present among the others, camouflaging its little Catalan authenticity. Not being on the road yet the hypotheticals are always on the table, leading to banal discussions and in a senseless conversation, we talk for hours. The equipment assembly motivated us, calmed us down and was the beginning of the end of the wait, stage. I would call this one a “contact” phase. Between us, with the technical equipment and with the bikes. Disassembling and putting them in boxes was not an arduous task. The airport was our major fear. The overweights and the amount of luggage. The next paragraph is dedicated entirely to Mona Lisa. The woman behind the counter that made it possible to arrive in Australia.

 

Maxo setting up his new bike to then disarm it again.

The Mona Lisa

Impossible to forget her. Blonde, with blue eyes and from Albania. Data that we resolved after asking. We ask a lot. She was the only one who showed interest in helping us. We arrived at El Prat airport, Barcelona, 5 hours before takeoff. We had planned a tactic. Dani would show up alone at the counter and after he resolved, the rest would approach the counter with the remaining packages (if he could get an agreement, they should accept the same for the rest …) We wanted a viable negotiation and knowing that we were with weight excess we had on some dollars just in case. Dani showed up at the counter and after a while we all got nervous. He spoke with one person, then another one appeared and we, taking turns, got closer in between times to visualize what was happening. We had four bicycles, two trailers, two large bags, a Peruvian box, a guitar case and four backpacks. Not wanting to tense the story I will anticipate that we traveled with everything and in the end, cheaper than calculated. The company allowed 30 kilos per person and a handbag of 7. Each one of us had 30 kilos on the bike, the bags weighed the same and the trailers were around 26. The backpacks had an extra of 3 kilos each and there was also the Peruvian cajon. It is curious to thank this woman that much but without her it would not have been possible. They wanted to charge us 80 euros per extra kilo resulting in a quirky and ridiculous amount of money (the website was not so clear on the policies and when receiving the information from one of the airline operators we thought she was mistaken. We usually pay 150 dollars per bike under the concept of sports equipment. Even sometimes we took the bikes for free).Dani was more nervous than ever and came back to us with the two boxes (trailer + bike). He had not been able to negotiate anything. The bikings were in a hard situation. We decided to appeal to “touch fiber” as we use to say. The four of us decided to approach the counter with the confidence to travel and the good intentions of our project. There she was. Beautiful, a little nervous, besieged by questions. To our amusement, she began being admissible. Without looking at the weights she accepted everything and in no time showed herself rigorous. We left half of the backpacks  along with the trailers that we already knew were not going to travel with us. Once checked in, Dani and Aleix went to the other terminal to send the remaining bags and the two trailers as cargo shipment (we are still waiting for them but hope they will arrive the day after tomorrow.) Maxo and I waited with the certainty that the leader was going to solve in time. And so it was ! On their way back we ran to the gate . The last warning had already been given. With the Peruvian cajon in my left hand and flight ticket in the right I present myself to the last control. There she was again, Mona Lisa! She looked worried. To her left there was her supervisor (the one who did not want to help us in any way). Making a fast twist taken from a movie scene, I got into the airplane without even giving anyone time to ask about the Peruvian cajon and with a victorious shout I exclaimed: Happy New Year!

 

“The company allowed 30 kilos per person and a handbag of 7. Each one of us had 30 kilos on the bike, the bags weighed the same and the trailers were around 26. The backpacks had an extra of 3 kilos each and there was also the Peruvian cajon”.

 

Happy after handling the trailers via cargo.
We made it! Sitting next to each other we flew to Dubai. The plane took off with two hours of delay. Once in Dubai, we were escorted, with a bit of rush, to the plane that would take us to Australia. With another two hours of delay, we arrived in Perth around 7 pm instead of 11 am as we were meant to.

Hello Perth, hello Australia

Through an application, we rented a house outside the city. Here we will spend the next week acclimating the bodies and assembling the bikes. Perth is the most isolated city in the world. The next town with a million inhabitants, Adelaide, is more than two thousand kilometers away. I have never felt something so strong like the Aussie jetlag. I feel like a plant, sleeping all day and without appetite. I am the only one in the group that has this feeling and they are surprised about the near future that awaits us.

 

“Perth is the most isolated city in the world. The next town with a million inhabitants, Adelaide, is more than two thousand kilometers away”.

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