It took one shipping container, two days, three coffee runs (precariously juggling trays of coffee and a baby for several blocks), four cleaners and eight removalists but we are now out. Our worldly goods are separated into sea and air freight, and although there was a moment when we realised the coffee machine had been packed with water and beans still in it, the situation was rectified and we’ll see it all on the other side. Leaving our home, I grabbed a handful of the newly blooming jasmine from our fence, and it’s now perfuming our otherwise blandly generic hotel room (well, jasmine and eau du weetbix, lopped everywhere by the baby this morning).
The night we arrived things started to feel real. As we were loading our car (passports, check; baby, check) it hit me – it’s just the three of us now, exploring the world together, unencumbered by possessions, routines, rules. I felt light, free. (Of course, as soon as we arrived at the hotel, possessions, routines and rules became the thing I tried to organise and establish immediately. Ha.)
I had done a bit of research prior to moving here about hotel living with a baby, particularly around food preparation (our girl is a good eater, but still primarily eating purees slash mush). There were a surprising number of articles on how to make toasted sandwiches with an iron, how to cook soup in a coffee pot, and how to reheat food with a hairdryer. Wow, people, just…wow. Surely if you are going to procure everything to fix a sandwich, wrap it in foil and proceed to iron it you could just, I dunno, buy a toasted sandwich? We decided to go with fresh fruit and yogurt (which we’ll feed to the baby and sneak out for pastries for ourselves, I suspect).
We’ve tried to set the place up to be as comfortable as possible, since we’re here for a week. We’ve obviously unpacked, and made the baby’s room up with the monitor and her little travel cot and change station. We’ve set up a play area for her, with the few toys and books we’re taking with us. She promptly ignored it and has spent her time playing with the bin, television remotes and any and all power points. She is halfway through learning to wave (she’s got the action, just no idea of context yet) so a fair bit of time is spent by all of us waving aimlessly at each other. Living the dream, so we are.
The rest of our time is being spent catching up with friends and family, and finalising the last few chores before we go. We need to sell our car – and speaking of scams, we were hit with one ourselves. Tim’s advertised the car on a prominent website for car sales, and we’ve had several queries. One, fairly early on, came from ‘Henry’. Henry was a (supposedly generous) father who wished to buy our car for his son; the pickle was that he is a sailor and lives on board a boat. He claimed he has no access to his bank account or his credit card (yet he does to the internet, email and car sales dot com). He offered to pay us an extra $300 to remove the ad, but stipulated that the car would need to be couriered to Darwin as a surprise for his son. Tim was immediately suspicious, but I am embarrassed to admit that I thought it was feasible; primarily because I didn’t see how we would be at risk. We wouldn’t be handing over either the car or any cash so I wasn’t sure how we’d be hoodwinked. Tim sent a fairly lengthy email back detailing what we’d expect before any transaction occurred (‘Henry’s’ license details, a paypal contract, no liability with couriers etc) and of course we heard nothing back. I later googled it and it’s known as the Oceanographer Scam (rather than being a sailor often the scammer poses as an oceanographer, whatever that may be) – basically, people agree to a paypal transaction where they receive the money and then send on several thousand to the ‘couriers’. After this is done, the Henrys get a full refund from paypal (which generally favours the buyer not the seller), leaving the seller a few grand out of pocket. We had a brief encounter with scammers on holidays a few years ago, so I am totally mortified I thought it may have been legit (sketchy, but legit). Anyhoo, no harm done, and we have a real life guy coming to look at it this morning – although given the fact we’re living in a hotel, he may have some question marks about how legit we are.