Settling into Paradise

Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
Trip End May 27, 2008

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

My first few days here I stayed in a hostel called Parrotfish, which I'd heard was very nice and I had some money off vouchers for - I wasn't that impressed, mostly due to the staff and the state of the kitchen but we had a nice dorm and the pool looked good.  On the bus here I met a girl called Bierget from Germany and that afternoon we explored Port Douglas along with Alan - it looked gorgeous and I immediately understood why the locals call it 'paradise'.  We'd heard they were making a movie/series up here involving Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and we did manage to spot what looked like a bus for costume so maybe the news was correct. 

That evening we had some games of pool and table tennis as it was free to use at the hostel bar and caught up with Simon and Allan, Alan's friends from back home.  We also met a Spanish guy (Luis) which was nice as I got to practice my Spanish a bit again.  Funny enough in my dorm, I met two Irish girls, Bridgit and Sorcha who'd been at Teesside uni the same time as me so we instantly hit it off and had a mammouth conversation about 'the good ole days in the Borough'.

The following day myself, Bierget and Alan caught a bus to Mossman Gorge and spent the morning hiking, had a picnic and then decided to brave the freezing waters of the gorge for half an hour.  My feet were so numb after and I couldn't warm up but back at the car park we spotted an ice-cream truck advertising coffee - luck wasn't with us as there wasn't any coffee that day so we had to wait for the bus frozen cold. 

Bierget left port Douglas and I caught up with Alan, Simon and Allan fishing on the pier - what an amazing view and fishing never seemed so appealing until now!  Watched an amazing sunset then caught up with the Irish girls to go out for some drinks to re-celebrate my birthday.  Found a cool bar called the Courthouse that has a nice lounge upstairs with cheap cocktails and got chatting to a local dive instructor who informed us that we may be able to get work on a boat as a hostie if we simply head to the marina and seem keen.

Ended up in the Iron Bar, the only place with a late license since the town nightclub closed last month and it was a good night, much better than my birthday in Cairns! 

Sunday we checked out of Parrotfish hostel and into Port of Call hostel which was much nicer.  We then visited the local market, borrowed some fishing rods and headed to the pier with Bridgit and Sorcha - I caught nothing, had lots of bites though, but the others caught a blue swimmer crab and bream, although none were the legal size to keep.  That night I said my goodbyes to Simon and Allan who were leaving to head to New Zealand which was a shame as they were really cool guys and very funny to have around.

Monday I went to the marina to ask about work and didn't get very far - pretty much a case of 'we'll call you if something comes up soon'.  Work as a hostie is not well paid, involves cleaning the boat, making coffee and cleaning vomit, but on the flip side you get to take people snorkelling and can dive for free on your days off!  Spent the rest of the day asking about somewhere to live as I can't afford to stay in a hostel while I work here - everywhere is full with film crew which is a pain!

Tuesday I saw a job in the local paper for room attendants (cleaners) at a local hotel so I called them up and they asked me to go for an interview that afternoon, Alan aswell, so it sounded like they were desperate for staff.  We ensured we looked smart in a shirt and trousers but the interview was so informal and we were offered a job at a 5* resort straight away starting the following day! 

The first day at work was a bit problematic as we had to check out of Port of Call hostel that morning as it was full and move to a cabin at Pandanas caravan park which was quite nice but too expensive to do long term.  Our first day of work was quite chaotic and I had a lot to learn such as making beds and all the tiny details involved in cleaning and presenting the houses in the resort.  After a tiring few hours we had the rest of the day to search for rooms to rent and luckily we saw an advert to live with a young couple - we met the guy and the place was very nice but we couldn't move in unless his girlfriend was happy with us.  Eventually we got to meet her and the deal was sealed and we moved in on Friday, getting us out of the sticky situation of having nowhere to live.  The price for my room is great, the couple seem nice and I have a job so things are sorted for the moment.  I think I'm going to enjoy living here for a while!
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