Archive | February, 2013

London Buses

20 Feb

My experience of finding a job in Australia has been like a London bus. Not only in the fact that it’s been stressful, cost a bomb (in cv printing), and has caused me to come across some fairly socially challenged people, but it’s that age old analogy – you get nothing and then three (actually only two, but still) come along at once.

I have walked several laps of Melbourne’s central business district on my hunt for a job; I’ve ventured into the arse end of the city, begged borrowed and stolen (not really), and i’ve completed a trial shift in the most disorganised Italian restaurant I’ve ever come across. Every last member of staff (except me, obviously) spoke Italian, and made a point of communicating with each other in that language and that language only for the entire shift. Plus it was Valentines day and I was just about ready to be sick at the stream of couples fornicating explicitly over ravioli and veal ragu (I might also have been mildly jealous that my own boyfriend was nowhere to be seen.)

I was beginning to get offended at how horribly unemployable i must be, but then my luck changed. I ventured down to the Southbank (oh yeah, literally everywhere in Melbourne has a British counterpart – Croydon, Richmond, there is very little originality in the world) and out of that little trip I got two trial shifts. One, I later found out, only called me because I happen to share a birthday with the manager (good a reason as any) and the other is managed by a European-looking man who has affectionately named me ‘my new girl’ (but can’t actually remember my name) and who makes it his business to wear baby blue linen blazers. But who am I to judge; this is Melbourne. At the moment I’m currently juggling having two potential jobs but at the same time not really having any. My life’s becoming a web of lies about how long I intend to stay in Melbourne for (I have a leaving date; it is the end of March in approximately five weeks, which makes me far from employable – but it’s every man for himself and all that). I can’t remember who I’ve told what lie to and when, so I’m hoping in the next day or two to pick between the posh wine bar where you’re not allowed to hold some bottles of vintage wine upright (because of the sediment, so I am told) or the significantly more laid-back restaurant/bar which doesn’t appear to get all that much custom.

My living arrangements are somewhat more stable, though. We are now settled in a hostel in the centre of Melbourne after we originally went to a hostel in the promised-land of St Kilda, an apparently relaxed, backpacker-friendly beach town about 15 minutes from the centre. But it was less beach town and more dual carriageway on our first impressions. We eventually discovered the beach, which was hosting a festival on our first day where we ate paella and drank sangria and felt generally content aside from the blustering wind that felt a little out of place.

After a few days we moved to the city centre, feeling that if we stayed in St Kilda we would probably miss out on a lot of what Melbourne had to offer, and now we share a small 4 person dorm with two Germans: Lucas and Shhhtefan (phonetically spelt for you).

I really like Melbourne, there is so much going on. Always a busker (admittedly some fairly shite ones) or an alleyway covered in art that you hadn’t discovered before, but my favourite place so far is Federation Square. We are a two minute walk from the square which provides free deck chairs and more importantly, free wifi. I’m sitting here now as I type, enjoying the sun after a disappointingly rainy day yesterday. I love the good weather and my tan is coming along nicely (but so are the freckles) although 2 weeks in New Zealand towards the end of our trip will probably make sure I come back exactly the same colour as I left in the bleak mid winter. I hope it doesn’t become permanently cold in Melbourne any time soon though, I spend so much time doing things outside that I’m not completely sure how I’d fill my days. I also have very few warm clothes, or not ones that you can actually make an outfit from, as I learnt yesterday.

For now though, I am just enjoying the heat, the one dollar frozen cokes from Hungry Jack’s that are becoming a regular part of my routine, and the fact that I don’t have to pack and unpack my monster rucksack every other day.

And it’s pretty good that Mel and Alex are moving into our hostel on Saturday! Tonight we are going to a concert by the Australian Philharmonic Orchestra in the royal botanic gardens in an attempt to tap into our cultural side. (It’s free.)

Hope all is good in our green and pleasant land,

Cat xxx


An Overdue Update

7 Feb

I have left it quite a while since my last post; a combination of being really busy and not particularly enjoying the delights of my iPad’s ridiculous autocorrect function. We have done quite a lot in the last week, so here is a round up:

We went to a floating market, stroked a chained and probably sedated tiger at the anticlimactic Tiger Temple, offended a Japanese woman when Sana unexpectedly vomited all over her bare naked legs without warning, experienced the insanity of Thai drivers (I’m talking children driving mopeds, madmen minibus drivers driving in the wrong lane despite the correct lane being perfectly clear, being hissed ‘GO TO SLEEP’ at when i politely he requested he slow down, an abundance of undertaking and a massively over-used car horn), we nearly died again on the catamaran over to Koh Tao (cheers nobody for informing me of the vigorous waves which resulted in the entire population of the boat vomiting not-very-quietly around me while I sat bouncing and genuinely fearing for my life), I stubbed my toe on a rogue brick on the beach which is adamant it won’t heal (any advice? It’s been a week now and is still fairly gammy. I don’t want to come back with only 4 toes.) I burnt my face whilst wearing sunglasses so now look like I have participated in a ski season, I attempted to scuba dive at Nang Yuang island but concluded I am crap at life when I failed the skills test of clearing my mask of water and was not allowed to complete the dive, I snorkelled instead, we risked life and limb rock climbing at Shark Bay, we sang The Eagles and Van Morrison live on stage after a few too many gin buckets, I tried to find my inner zen by doing yoga in a hut on the beach (never found the zen), we watched the sun set on Chalok Ban Kao Bay, returned to Bangkok where we found ourselves in a room next to a Thai prostitute’s operational headquarters, and best of all I SURVIVED THE FLIGHT TO SYDNEY (with the aid of touch of Valium). And that brings me to the here and now, in a nice hostel in Kings Cross.

Oh, and Australia is really fucking expensive (nearly 3 dollars for a milky bar? Give me a break i’ll be home by next week at this rate.)

I think that roughly sums up our time so far. We head to Melbourne on Saturday, and when I finally find an Internet cafe I will put pictures on this so some of the adventures are evidenced. We are having the best time despite missing everyone at home. I hope all are well!

Cat xxx