Settling in Nicely

Trip Start Nov 14, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Monday, August 20, 2007

Quite a bit has gone on in the last month. Well looking at my notes it looks like it is time to do another entry. Anyway keeping it simple, we are still loving it. Manly has certainly grown on us over the last month particularly. The three of us are really starting to appreciate how beautiful this place is. It is perfect. Just half an hour on a very picturesque ferry ride from the big city it has everything you need. On Fridays I just pop into Shore Club to watch Martini Club play (house/band), eat Brazilian food in the little cafe, in the mornings before work you can't beat a jog with the hundred of other fitness fanatics up and down the beach as the sun rises over the Pacific, surf in the Afternoon (Ben is getting really good) I am being a bit lazy - Shit there is just way too much paddling involved and of course there is the mad 48 hours of drinking goon (cheap boxed wine), Tooheys beer and the hostels new drink Maligoon Bull (guess whats in it) binges that can easily happen at time of the week. Usually when it is raining and everyone has work canceled.


Everything is going good on the housing situation. Amy and I have the studio apartment in the Backpackers which is perfect as we can escape the madness that goes on in the courtyard and having our own toilet and kitchen is a luxury while at the same time being able to keep tabs on what's going on so we never miss out. Instead of looking out of the window to check what the weather is like we look out to check what the crack is like. We have got the flat because I am now the receptionist there and rapidly becoming in charge as the others are leaving and Pete my boss, gets away to the snow as much as he can. It is a great job, pleasantly laid back and at the same time very entertaining. Pete the boss is a great laugh and doesn't treat us like employees but rather his mates. One downside to the living situation is never really finishing work. I find myself putting things away on an evening and of course people knock on my door whenever they loose their key. Can be annoying but that is the reason Pete has given us the room for cheap. Ben has moved into a really nice house just up the street with Jose, Russel, Emma, Ruben, Viking and Amie. It's perfect having him just being there because its place to get away from the hostel when it becomes too much.

Ben is still grafting on the building sites with Paulie and Toddy and still enjoying that. I worked with Ben one week and we went to a house in Coogee to demolish it on our own. The view from the roof was amazing. Tearing the roof down was fun but demolishing walls with a sledge hammer was something else :-s. Apart from a bit of graft for Paulie and Toddy I have also worked with a Kiwi Jehovah Witness building walls ironically enough. More irony is that since living in Manly I have become exactly that haha. I could build and decorate a house now I reckon.
Amy has come a long way in such a short time. She went away to Adelaide for the week to work with a guy called Karl who was a complete twat. He treated her like a slave for much of the week, was condescending at any given opportunity and thought one day he would be able to walk on water. He also believes he can change peoples' will. Amy asked him to stop her smoking. He gave it some sort of spiritual hand movement and then said "you are free from smoking". She said "thanks" and quickly sparked up a cigarette right up in front of his face. It was when he rang her one night to ask her to cut him his half of the pineapple they had bought, into cubes for his breakfast the next day, that she cracked. She sat him down and accused him of being the most selfish person she has ever met, that she is not his skivvy and all the rest. I imagine she was awesome and since then she has become Team Leader, had to sack someone, been given a salary and sponsorship to stay in the country. Meanwhile Karl has been sent on a people skills course.

People we have met

Of course there are too many people that come in and out of the hostel but a few deserve a mention. Cockney Paul and Nathan are the night managers. This means they get free rent to check people in throughout the night. They are both a good laugh for different reasons. Paul is always up for a party and Nathan just sits in reception all day with you thinking of strange things to do and wacky ideas. We both had a tree-off. Nathan was telling people how he had seen the best tree ever. I couldn't believe it, only days earlier I was thinking the same thing. We took Robin to judge and his tree won although I still think mine is better. Mine looks like a tree that a wizard would live under while his was more perfect like it should be in Barbie's back garden. See the photos and you decide. Apart from taping leaves to Apples to make them look perfect and showing me 'really amazing' things such as his washed car he has been teaching us to surf and saved my life when I didn't realise I was being taken to New Zealand by the current.

Walker has become the new entertainments manager as we said goodbye to Robin. He is hilarious and has the wit that you get from drinking in workingman clubs since the age of 14. He is from Corby where everyone has close ties to Scotland. It baffles me that a town in Northamptonshire can be full of people with Scottish accents, but apparently that is the case as he and his mate Miller prove. He tells stories about his mates back home (the Corby boys) and gives it all the arm movements to express what he is saying. He can't half tell a story and when we have challenged him to tell a story about random things such as a pavement or apple, then sure enough he can think of a humourous anecdote about one of his mates falling asleep on a pavement or throwing an apple at a policeman.

Also there is Ruben who we first meet when we got here. He was naked and dancing on the pool table. He is a laugh but can get way too drunk and hardly ever gets in any bars. One time he did, we went to the Karaoke where he convinced Russel, Matt and I to sing with him. Thinking oh well it's a group, it can't be that bad we all got up. He wouldn't tell us what the song was so we all presumed it would be Eminem or something similar. We looked at the screen in horror as we saw the words YMCA come up. He looked at us and said "What?? It's a really good song". Unfortunately we say farewell to Ruben tomorrow as we have Matt, Danny, Gemma and Linda.

Earlier in the month we were joined by the very nice Canadian Lindsey, young ozzys Alex and Sam, Yorkshire Mike, and Tristan who annoyingly hasn't got over the fact we have the same accents as people on Byker Grove yet. At the beginning of the month the hostel was full of excitement when a load of American girls came. Sam, Kevin and Tom, three English lads capable of getting the House of Lords to party were in top form and of course the English ganging up on Americans who really do know nothing about the rest of the world began. We had them convinced that in Northern England, men and women at the age of 15 had to compulsory serve two years down the coal mine.

I have started training with a local premiership team Manly Vale which has been so good I can't tell ya. They are a decent standard, the Australian players are skillfull but run around like headless chickens while the four or five English tend to play it 'properly'. Don't mean to be condescending to Ozzy football but it is true. Unfortunately I am too late to register as the season is just about to finish and they don't start training again until the New Year.

What we have done

We managed to get out of the city for the first time. We went for a boys weekend away in Bendalong in Nowra with Toddy and Paulie, Ben's gaffers. It was excellent. We spent most of the time drunk and talking shit in the massive tree house Paulie had built for his kids. Some of the time fishing and not catching anything and a bit of time in the pub drinking with the country bumpkins that honest to God all wore lumberjack shirts. It was excellent. On the way down we stopped at a restaurant to see the view of Wollongong which was sensational. One night when the two oldies had long fallen asleep Ben and I went on a mission (a walk) and were delighted to come across a Kangaroo going about its business.

Amy and I went to Palm Beach with Nathan and Emma where Home and Away is filmed. It was beautiful and the view from the lighthouse is one of the best I have ever seen. It is here were we encountered one social difference to living in England that is not to be messed around with. Amy and Emma thoughtlessly threw their lit cigarettes out of the window and unluckily for them two Countryside Rangers were right behind us. This is one thing you must never do in a country where deaths and millions of dollars worth of damage is caused by forest fires every year. I agreed with the lecture he gave them and the $200 fine they received and said "it's like throwing Foot and Mouth out of the window in England."

Another first was getting out of Manly for a night out. Walker's second love after Celtic is Hard House and he convinced us to go see a DJ. The crack was hilarious but the music was poor and the sound system in Home (Sydney nightclub) just wasn't loud enough. No more Hard-House for me, House only!!!!

The Arrival

Our friend from home Jill arrived two weeks ago for here family holiday. It was great to see her and we met her parents Tom and Brenda and the kids at the airport. Then Tom drove us all to the Blue Mountains. It was great catching up and hearing about everyone back home. We had a great time in the Blue Mountains which is more like a vast tableland of dramatic eroded scenery rather than a mountain range and they are not even blue??? We enjoyed the magnificent view from Echo Point where stood the Three Sisters (famous rock formations). We also went on a couple of cable cars and a very steep train into the valley. The National Park probably deserves more time but we headed back the next day. Not before having the worst Italian ever known to man in the small town Katoomba. We headed back to the hostel and Jill took the place by storm. We partied hard for the whole time she was there. We dragged Pete, my boss along for the ride and completely took it out of him. With the mini Durham invasion of Ben, Amy, Jill, Emma and I most people agreed that they had to visit Durham for a night out when they get back home. We got a break when Jill went off to Queensland with her folks but she came back for round two at the weekend which was another write off but very very funny. Jill is leaving tonight so we get to recover until the next Durham lot come.

Australia and Australians

What people often say their first impression of Australia is is that it is so big. On the map it is huge and once we leave New South Wales (the most populated part of Oz) and travel around I am sure I will understand what they mean. I haven't felt it yet as living in a city gives you a closed in feeling. I am really looking forward to a road trip and seeing this 'bigness'. The Outback conjures up ideas of driving for days and not seeing anyone if you're lucky and if unlucky you meet a lonely gun toting, Alf Stewart look-alike psycho, who shoots backpackers and makes dresses for his wife who is also his brother out of your backpack. Coming from a crowded island like England, I cant wait to experience the enormity of this country and its endlessness. However, as Amy pointed out, the horizon on the sea looks bigger than anywhere else and for some reason it does. Hard to explain but looking out over the sea from places like Goa, Ko Chang and even Seaham should be the same shouldn't they? Now every time I look over the Pacific from Manly I see what she means.

Of course the Australians themselves are every bit as friendly as Mick Dundee, Harold Bishop and Karl Kennedy would have you believe. Like us in most ways but certainly more laid -back. Take my boss for instance. Many times I have stood in a queue waiting for the person behind the counter to stop talking on her phone or to their friend in front of me. 'No Worries' is the Australian ideology and it suits me down to the ground. I am never in a hurry and as I start to settle into my job as receptionist in the backpackers I am beginning to embrace it. Although watch what happens to the Australians you work with as news filters in from the beach that there are large rips, high tubes and great short board waves. Then its clock watching time at work as they all worry that by the time they get out of work the waves will be gone. Not bad, if that is all they have to worry about.

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