Life Down Under


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Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Blue Mountains
July 29th 2012
Published: July 29th 2012
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Firstly, apologies for not writing for so long! The main reason being, that after a couple of weeks spent being a tourist in Oz, inevitably meant that my funds were dwindling somewhat and therefore I took the decision to try and find work in Sydney for a few weeks to help me on my way. So unfortunately, as you will see from my distinct lack of photos these past two months, there's not an awful lot to report! However I will fill you in anyway on my life so far Down Under...

So, after returning to Sydney from Melbourne, I'm greeted by another weekend of carnage including an Aussie "barbie" at Scott's house that didn't really involve any food, just a whole load of booze, a hot tub and a very messy ending, I decide I need to stop having so much fun and get myself a job! It might sound odd but I really just want an easy, menial job that's stress free... Somewhere I can go to work, meet people and have a bit of fun along the way. I used to love waitressing when I was younger and since the wages here are pretty decent for any job compared with back home I figure this is a good avenue to go down. I write up my CV and set out round the city to many of the hundreds of coffee shops and hand out my resume. Most people are pretty nice and say they'll call if they need anyone, so I'm feeling pretty positive about being pro-active... That is until the most demeaning moment of my entire life happens.

I walk past a cool little coffee shop in the trendy Surry Hills area and notice an ad in the window..."Full time Barista required, min 3 yrs exp"... Perfect! I have 3 years barista experience, be it that I haven't actually frothed a cappuccino for the last 7 years but that's besides the point. I go in and chat to the manager, who is slightly overweight, slightly Italian looking and has greasy long black curls..."to be honest" he says " I kind of need someone who can hit the ground running and I think you'll struggle..." A bit taken aback by his bluntness but not to be defeated easily, I argue my case until he says "ok do you wanna make a coffee now?... Can you make one that looks like this" he says while pouring a latte into a coffee glass creating one of those gay feather effects on top. "Of course" I say confidently even though I suddenly feel a bit out of my depth. Hoping that it'll all come flooding back to me I start to make my latte and needless to say I fucked it up good & proper. It was embarassingly bad. The fat greasy Italian just raises his eyebrows and says "yeah, nevermind, thanks anyway" in the most patronising of tones, looking at me like I'm the shit on his shoe. In fact not even shit on his shoe but the bacteria that feeds off the shit on his shoe and for 5 minutes I feel absolutely and utterly worthless. I really didn't think it would be this hard to get a job in a cafe for god sake!

So something snaps inside me - I'm too good for this... Why the hell do I want to serve coffee snobs all day working for fat greasy Italian men and getting spoken to like shit? It might have worked for me 7 years ago but let's face it, I've moved on and to be honest, deep down I know that the minute someone complained that the feather on the top of their latte was slightly off centre, owing to my erratic temper they'd end up wearing the pretty feather down the front of their overpriced fake Armani suit and have a "fuck off to Starbucks then" comment garnished on top. (I did, in fact, during a busy Sunday brunch shift years ago, use this on a customer who when he complained he'd been waiting 10 whole minutes for his full English breakfast, riled me so much to say "fuck off to Mcdonalds then" only for him to then come and apologise to me afterwards! Quashing the theory that the customer is always right...

I get back to the flat, get on the Internet and start searching for designer jobs. This is what I do, it's what I'm good at and if I'm gonna work I may as well earn some proper money. There seems to be a few roles out there, and the salaries are HUGE... I calculate that to save that sort of money in a waitressing job I'd be here for 6-8 months... If I get a fashion job I only have to work for one or two... Suddenly working in the industry again, no matter what long hours or stresses it brings, doesn't seem a bad idea at all! And to be honest, I do kind of miss it!

I send my CV over for 3 different roles that evening and by 11am the next morning I have 3 interviews lined up. Boom! The first one being at 8am the following morning which I excitedly agree to despite going to a Lady Gaga gig the evening before with Alex. Still, the concert's good fun and I make the interview in good time. It goes well... They call me back on the Monday for a second interview and by Tuesday they're making me an offer. Of course I don't accept their generous offer... I push them for more money (hey if they want me, they want me) and by the Wednesday my contract's in the post. Yay!!!

So time to reward myself before I go back into employment for the first time in 6 months, me & Tortose take a trip to the Blue Mountains for the weekend. The skies are clear blue and I'm soooo tempted to hire a convertable for the road trip (missing my MG back home!) but I think, let's not get carried away, I've not been paid yet! So Tortose drives in his old but trusty Volvo which gets us there... Almost... We get within 5 minutes of the place and smoke starts to seep out of the bonnet.. "It's fine it's just the fog cos it's cold" I say optimistically... "What's that burning smell then?" he says... Oh shit. Being used to cars breaking down a lot, as I used to be on first name terms with some of the RAC men back home it happened that often, I'm pleased to find that Tortose has the same plan as me to just keep driving, hopefully we can make it and we'll worry about getting home later! It's dropped to 5 degrees outside as we're up in the mountains and I don't fancy waiting out in the cold! Luckily we make it, even via a cheeky booze & food stop, and we settle in to our cosy villa, whack the heating up to 35c and crack a few beers.

The next morning we have a good long walk around the Blue Mountains - they 're pretty stunning and it's hard to belive they're only a couple of hours out of Sydney. But are they blue? Of course not... Just like in Jaipur, the "pink" city is actually terracotta, not pink, their more a "covered-in-green-forest-and-if you-squint-I-guess-you-kind-of-get-a bluish-kind-of-colour" blue. There's a few sheer drops as we walk around, but I'm pretty pleased with myself that my fear of heights is getting better still... I even managed to sit on the edge of a particular steep cliff that maybe 6 months ago I wouldn't have gone near. Progress! Even the "steepest train ride in the world" didn't scare me... Though I think the fact that they were actually playing the Indiana Jones theme tune to add to the drama (Mel - you would have loved it!) definitely helped!

That evening we head into the town of Katoomba for a few drinks, and I'm treated to the delights of my first RSL. These are like local member's drinking clubs, a bit like a British Legion back in the UK but these places are huge, have restaurants, cafes, fairly cheap booze and gambling. But not casinos, no, this is just pure dogs on tv type gambling, the type you can imagine a couple of big fat bald men called Bruce sitting watching and betting all day, swilling their 10 dollar jugs of Boags. Oh... Wait a minute... That was us one Friday night... But we did come away 50 dollars up! Mainly due to me picking with a hunch which dog to back based solely on if I liked the name... How else do you pick?

Speaking of big fat bald men, I know I mentioned before how generally good looking everyone was in Oz... Well, the minute you get out of the city and into the suburbs, it's like "Where did all the hot people go?"... It's like it's a breeding ground for the fat, the chav & the ugly, probably not helped by the fact that every few hundred yards you drive past a Maccy Ds, a Hungry Jacks or a KFC, which considering it would be sooooo much cheaper to eat here everyday than buy groceries in the supermarket, doesn't really surprise me. But then it's nothing you don't see walking round Leicester!

So after a fun weekend it's crash back down to reality, my first "Sunday night feeling" for some time, but I'm excited about the new job and the new challenge. I meet my team (of whom I'm actually in charge of - a scary thought to say the least!), the brand director (who actually lived in Hull for a while) and a few other designers whom I have mutual friends with back home! Such is the small world of fashion. Without sounding big headed, it's amazing how easily it is to impress when you've got a couple of major British retailers under your belt! The Aussies just seem to love British designers at the minute, and I guess I just landed on my feet, in the right place at the right time!

I move into my new place in the district of Newtown the same week, renting a room off a friend that's travelling in Asia for a month... It's not exactly a palace but it's my own room, it's cheap and it's a 10 minute bus ride to work. Newtown is a strange place. On one hand it's become this trendy student area, also popular with gays & lesbians, people who want to dye their hair green or pink or both, artsy fartsy type people and then just random nomads such as a guy I saw walking down the street in a maxi skirt. He wasn't a tranny, he was just wearing a maxi skirt with his scruffy jumper & trainers... Anyway, you get the picture of this place? Nevertheless, It's also full of cool bars, cafes, the cheapest & best Thai outside of Thailand & trashy pubs. Which by the end of my first week of work I'm more than ready for making the most of! I join the boys in the usual pub crawl, jugs of beer, pool & carnage, finishing back at mine only to have our small party rudely interrupted by my first meeting with the nutter next door. "Fuck off the lot of ya!" he starts shouting "I'm sick of you lot making all this fucking noise!"... Now considering normally, anyone having a go at me, especially after a drink, I'm usually ready to fly off the handle straight back at them, I actually manage to stay calm, diffuse the situation and before we know it we're all chatting along like old mates. Although he did go on a bit too much, and while me, Joel & Eugene manage to escape one by one back inside, poor Tortose is left to listen to the old nutter carrying on for another half an hour while we somehow feel the need to hide on the floor behind the fridge in a fit of giggles...

I might just add that after living in between 2 nutters in Brixton for a year, one we called Crazy Jazz Man and one who used to shout at trees and call them "Saddam", the guy next door here is somewhat tame in comparison...

So that's my life in Oz so far! Pretty uneventful I guess, compared with the last 6 months of travelling, but it's great, I'm having fun, working hard, playing hard and saving for my next adventure!


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The Harbour BridgeThe Harbour Bridge
The Harbour Bridge

Never tire of this view!
Tortose in his thongs at 5 degrees!Tortose in his thongs at 5 degrees!
Tortose in his thongs at 5 degrees!

no wonder people mistake you for British!


29th July 2012

Ozzy Land
Oh its nice to see you, enjoying yourself, love the pic of Lady Gaga too. bet she was great.
29th July 2012

Congratulations on finding the right job that you enjoy...
Many TBers have taken jobs in Sydney to save up for their next adventure. But we will enjoy hearing about your time in Sydney too. Unfortunately we will only have a couple of days there in mid October before moving on to New Zealand...a reason to return.
15th August 2012

:))
A fun blog ! :))

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