What to do when you’re itching to provide a new set of adventurous musings to a vast and willing audience but, well, you haven’t been up to much? When your pen hand is literally aquiver at the thought of transferring your innermost musings to the page but when those thoughts are of interest to one person and one person alone (that person being oneself, obviously). This is a dilemma that has plagued me for the last 3 weeks. Woe betide. Not that I’ve been doing nothing nothing. I’ve actually been ridiculously busy as I’ll get into in a sec. The problem was…well. You’ll see.
Last entry I went into some detail about the hostel I was currently inhabiting. It’s not often I do this as I explained before: it takes either a really good or an awfully bad place to shift my brain based writing muscles into action. Thankfully the Flying Fox was the former. When last I wrote I was preparing to head up the East Coast for several months of jolly escapades involving beaches, surf boards and perhaps the occasional alcoholic beverage. Instead, come the night before my departure I found myself sat on the floor in the common room looking with increasing desperation at the ridiculous prices being asked by every Australian bus company under the face-meltingly strong sun. I know the distances being discussed are, in comparison to good old England, astronomical but the systems involved in placing value on each trip seemed well, as broken as an Aussie batsman facing Darren Anderton on a good day. A 16 hour ride from Sydney to Byron Bay: $91. Fine, fair enough. A lot but understandably so. A 4 hour trip from Sydney to Coffs Harbour? $60. Mental.
Anyway. Long, boring story short I stayed in the Blue Mountains. Then I got offered a job at the hostel in the Blue Mountains. Then I lived in the Blue Mountains for a month. It was, to use common parlance, a rollercoaster. Days usually went a little like this:
– Wake at 6.30 if I’m lucky and hear my alarm. Wake at 7 if I’m not.
– Place sunglasses on face.
– Clamp headphones to ears.
– Emerge from dormroom. Try not to make eye contact with anyone up at this ridiculous hour.
– Clean the bathrooms while listening to loud music hiding behind said glasses. This is nearly impossible as they’re in constant use.
– While the bathrooms are in use, sweep the outside campfire area. Become frustrated that someone has moved the dustpan and brush again.
– After ineffectually moving the leaves around with a broom for 20 minutes, check on the bathrooms.
– Become slightly more frustrated after discovering they are still fully engaged.
– Grab the vacuum cleaner and almost break your back hoovering the living room floor with the 20cm long cleaning nozzle.
– Check bathrooms. Swear profusely at whoever the fuck is having an hour long shower at 8 in the bastard morning.
– Have breakfast. Feel guilty about not working.
– Get told you’ve done everything wrong and start over.
And that was just the morning duties. After followed bed making, laundry, kitchen restocks, general checking-in checking-out duties, wandering around looking for something to do, walking a dog, falling asleep in the middle of the living room and various other activities that have aged me at least 20 years in the last 4 weeks.
Some of that is rather hyperbolic but still. In a period of busyness usually catered to by 4 volunteers and the owner, the hostel was instead being run entirely by myself and, even moreso, a young German girl not entirely dissimilar in demeanour and appearance to Angela Merkel*.
After a few weeks of this my spirit was absolutely broken and a re-read of Oliver Twist was sorely in order (having now experienced conditions surely comparable to Victorian work-houses). When the owner reappeared and offered me another week or two of work I think I may have been a little overzealous by screaming “Fuck. No.” while making for the nearest liquor store. Another, far less stressful week was spent at the Fox making friends, drinking cask wine and being driven into the amazingly beautiful countryside by some fantastic people and generally having the time of my life. It was a fantastic way to end my time in Montagnes de Bleu.
Right now I’m about halfway through a roadtrip of colossal proportions. As I type I am sat drinking cask wine*, having pasta thrust in my general direction and wondering how we’ll end up passing the seventh night on the road. More on this later if I can be bothered and/or survive the frankly fucking terrifying driving of some of my compatriots.
Song of Working
Well youtube is finally unblocked so I can actually post a video. Due in part to the aforementioned mop incident, I created an Angry playlist to listen to while cleaning the kitchen for the sixth time on one particular morning. This is an example.
I was very angry.
* Cask wine, known apparently as “goon” in these parts is something of a backpacker’s bane. It’s got fish eggs in it and gives worse hangovers than drinking a pint of battery acid laced with chicken fat.