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Flat 17

Written on: Sunday March 16th, 2008

A journal entry from: Australia

G'day to all, and please forgive me for the delay in posting this next entry. I hope all the readers with internet in their homes understand what a luxury that is. Honestly, it's my fault I've taken so long to write; I put the latest pictures on my laptop and then erased them off the camera, so I've been searching the city for the best and closest place to use wireless internet so I could add my pictures to a new entry. It was not easy. I tried yesterday, but the evil empire called Starbucks wanted 12 dollars an hour to use the internet. You can understand why I waited another day.

I'm in the most gorgeous and gigantic library I've ever seen at the moment, the State library of Victoria. Here I have found my free wireless internet, excepting the cost of the tram ticket to get here. So now I can report on my extremely exciting life.

I'm actually lying, it's not been all that exciting. It's almost making me sad. You haven't missed a whole lot, if you've been wondering what we've been up to. As for me, I spend the day walking around handing out resumes, and then at night Adam and I watch a movie or two. That's it. We don't go out to eat or to bars or clubs or anything, seeing as we're on a budget. At least not yet.

But this is bound to change soon as I have found at least a few hours of work a week. Once again, Adam and I both got jobs at the same club. This one happens to be THE club of the moment in all of Melbourne. It was the easiest hiring I've ever seen. Adam got called to fill in for the night at this place, and I was amazed at his ability to keep getting jobs (although this in part has to do with his being less picky about where he works than I am). I whined about how I was going to have to start begging for change soon if this job situation didn't change so Adam called the manager back and asked if they might need a bussie or something too, because his girlfriend needs a job. "Yeah, sure, bring her in, mate." It was that easy. I never even spoke to the guy before I came to work.

Actually, we were supposed to start work on Thursday, but we ended up waiting an hour and a half and then being told to come back and start tomorrow. The manager (curiously named "Tendy") was too busy to bother with us when we came in, because there was a fashion show going on. We were getting a little annoyed, but then just decided to enjoy the fact that we were at an invite-only fashion show for free at the hottest club in Melbourne. So we did.

So we both worked Friday and Saturday night at this place, which, by the way, is called Electric Ladyland (we had seen this place before and thought it was a strip club, because of the name and the fact that you couldn't really see the inside because of the massive carpeted stairwell you'd have to climb first. Don't get scandalized, it's actually a really nice place). Adam was a bartender and I did a little bit of everything. Mostly, that first night, I was a cocktail waitress. I was actually pretty pleased to be making such easy money. All I did was go around asking people if they'd like a drink, and if they do, I take their order and bring it to the bar. I don't make the drinks or even make change for them. I just bring the drinks and their change to them. That's it. The only hard part about this is carrying a tray of drinks through the place after it gets really crowded, which it does. It's insane. People are packed in there like sardines (Mom, you would have a panic attack in this environment).

After that I picked up glasses and brought them to the bar to be washed. And I cut some limes. Easy! Minus the crowd and the heat and constantly having to move move move. Saturday was even easier, though more boring, because for some reason I didn't do the cocktail waitress thing at all, just limes and glasses and general clean up. I wonder if they were just experiementing with the cocktail waitress thing on so busy a night, because someone else who worked there said he'd never seen anyone do that at this bar before. Maybe they saw that I had a hard time carrying drinks through a crowd like that and decided to forget about it on Saturday night. I don't know but I'm going to ask. I think I did a good job because I made a lot of tips, and tipping isn't even expected or common here in Australia. Who can resist an accent?

We each get 15 dollars an hour plus tips, so it's not bad, but we only get Friday and Saturday night. I don't really want to work every Friday and Saturday night; I'd rather have the weekends off for traveling but that'll do for now.

I've got another lead for a better weekend job and also a retail job during the day. There's a place called Rios down the street from where we live. It's a Brazilian restaurant whose format is kind of along the lines of Medieval Times. You pay a certain amount of money (not sure how much but am sure that it's a lot) and you get served a four or five course meal that you don't choose. While you eat you watch a show of traditional Brazilian dance and costume. Afterwards, there's a live latin band and everyone dances salsa and rhumba and mumba and all that great stuff. We talked to the owner, Darren, and he seemed to like us a lot and said he needed people. In fact he did call us Saturday evening but of course, we were already scheduled to work at Electric Ladyland. I was a little disappointed because I'd rather work at Rios! He said he might not be open next weekend, for some reason, but if it is I'm sure one or both of us could start work there.

Darren also said he's opening a clothing store soon and will need staff for it and I told him I was very interested in that. I plan to keep bugging the crap out of him until I get a job there.

So, maybe I'm on my way to finding steady, full time employment. I like the people at Electric Ladyland, they were all (well, mostly) very nice and welcoming and real Aussies, which was exciting, because we reeeeeeeeally want some friends! Especially real Australian friends (as opposed to other travelers)! People who call us mates! We're starting to gather them, I think.

I'm anxious to find a job not just for money to stay alive and meet friends, but so that we can do all the things in Australia we want to do. We've got a hefty to-do list. Here's just some of what we want to do:

* Ayers Rock, or Uluru, as the aborigines call it. It's basically a giant rock formation in the middle of nowhere. It's a sacred site to the aboriginals, but of course now it's become a tourist trap, which reminds me of the Lakota and the Black Hills, as well as all sacred sites and lands to the American Indians. It's known for appearing to change color many times during the day becaue of changes in sunlight, and it briefly seems to glow fiery red at sunset.

* Great Ocean Road. It's an extremely long, extremely beautiful scenic highway along much of the coast of south eastern Australia. You drive along and all you see is beautiful beaches, mountains, forests. Everyone says this is a must-see.

* Phillip Island. Specifically, we want to do the Phillip Island Penguin Parade. You can watch the world's smallest penguins (how cute!) come ashore every sunset. The Island has a nature park that apparently has a lot of cool stuff to do, like the penguin watching and koala cuddling. It's also supposed to be very beautiful.

*Great Barrier Reef. Duh.

*Surf camp. Even if it's just a one day camp, which they do have, I want to surf in Australia.

*Zoo. We'll probably be going to the Melbourne zoo soon. We have yet to see a kangaroo, so this needs to be remedied asap. (On a side note: apparently if you're driving through the outback you run the risk of accidentally hitting a kangaroo that might hop it's way onto the road. That is some serious roadkill.)

*Queen Victoria Market. This one's right here in Melbourne and we've yet to go to it. It's the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, so it's a must-do.

Not to mention all the museums and historical sites we need to see. We better get to work.

We've kind of decided we want to have two major themes on this big trip of ours. In Australia, we want to experience big city life. Do all the things you do in a big city, plus the touristy things as well. When we get to New Zealand, we want to have a different sort of experience. New Zealand is world- renowned for its natural beauty, so we want to spend our time there in the midst of it. We want to hike, kayak, canoe, swim, climb and camp our way through it. We want it to be an escape from big city life. We want to live in a small town. With sheep. We're thinking we might start off working at a ski resort, which is something that can be arranged before you go, so that's nice. They also put you up in the lodge if you work at a ski resort, so that takes care of accomodation. Then we might go somewhere else and pick fruit. Yes! This appeals to me so much. Something about working the land, working with your hands, outdoors in the sunshine. Then who knows? We'll see where life takes us.

I'll end this entry by letting you know that the last few days has been unseasonably, unbearably hot. I'm talking at least 100 degrees fahrenheit each day. And we don't have AC in our apartment. Walking around town, I feel that my innards are liquefying. That is not good. Luckily it's supposed to cool down considerably starting tomorrow!

Oh, and I know have pictures of the apartment from when we first stepped in, so there you go!


From T-dawg on Mar 17th, 2008

First, I giggled a bit when thinking of you as a cocktail waitress, I'm not entirely sure why. Second, I can totally picture you as a migrant fruit picker. I like that idea a lot. I hope something exciting happens to you soon! Oh and please never again complain about the heat. I live in Minnesota and it's WINTER. I'd kill for some sunshine and hotness!!! It snowed again today. Damn.

From Courtney's mom on Mar 17th, 2008

Yeah...just go ahead and put me in a straight jacket if I have to work that bar....Talk about invading my very small personal space!! YIKES!!