A fairly uneventful week, during the week at least. I treated myself to some 8am lie-ins in anticipation of the hard work that fruit picking would turn out to be. I had a lovely sail on Wednesday (again, everyone else sailed and I had the important job of putting weight on the rails. I am an indispensible part of the team) and did research about what I'd need to take to Tully. I invested $15 in the Sally Army shop getting some old clothes, and searched fruitlessly for gum boots everywhere. Ah feck it, I thought, they'll have gum boots in Tully.
Friday was the day I had to pack, and it was almost harder to pack up that day than it was coming to Aus. When I came over here, there were only a handful of clothes that were suitable for Aussie weather so deciding which went into storage was fairly black and white. But packing after I'd packed was difficult. In the end I still ended up with far more than I really needed, I looked like a princess waltzing into the Mission Beach hostel with my own pillow, heels and hair straighteners.
The drive up to Mission Beach was smooth in Mum's swanky new Subaru (thank the lord for tinted windows and excellent aircon) and the scenery on the way was spectacular. Seeing acres of sugarcane makes you realise you're really abroad; not just living in a warmer version of England.
We made good time and got to mission beach just before sunset. The hostel staff gave us a warm welcome and we settled in quickly. Declaring that we were 'on holiday' Mum treated us to dinner at a lovely restaurant by the beach. Why does food taste SO much better when you're eating it under plam trees, watching the moon rise over the sea? -smug face- After a few more glasses of wine we came back to the hostel and had a few entertaining conversations with various people who were passing through. Two Aussie guys who looked and sounded like they'd come right out of a Chris Lilley skit were particularly hilarious, as was the extremely efficient German night porter. He came out to tell us all to be quiet and ended up sitting down with the rest of us, going to bed way after us troublemakers did...
Now. The next part of this story demonstrates that either, 1. I'm a jammy bastard and someone somewhere always makes things go my way, 2. Everything happens for a reason, or, 3. Coincidences often occur and people read things into them.
I haven't been looking forward to banana picking. Why would I? I was excited about meeting people and earning money, but I doubt even the most twisted sadist would enjoy being woken at 4.30am for eight hours of manual labour in 30degree heat. I also really liked mission beach, and felt quite at home with the laid back hippy atmosphere. One of the reasons for doing my picking was to get my 88 days for my second year visa, and I knew I'd have to do some with my little brother and sister when they came out anyway.
After Yasi ripped through in Feb it took out two of the four working hostels in Tully, so I only had a choice of two places to stay, one of which was fully booked for weeks. The only other hostel I could stay in has a policy of only letting you book in the day before you arrive. I've no idea why, but I guess it's probably to do with the flakiness of backpackers. They told me on Friday that they had plenty of avaliabilty but when I called them on Saturday morning the girl on the desk couldn't find the book, told me to call back and when I did they'd given all the places out... Thanks girl on the desk at Hotel Tully.
Oh shit, thought I, it doesn't matter how much I didn't want to pick fruit I've got to work somewhere and I didn't want to go back to Townsville with my bags packed...
Luckily, on our way to the beach on Saturday I'd noticed a sign next to reception saying they were looking for a housekeeper. When I asked about it the manager Stacey practically jumped for joy - they'd been desperate for someone! Working 8-11am six days a week pays for my accomodation and internet, so I figured that I could get another job and live cheaply, doing my best to save. Oh, and you also get a free skydive if you work for a month. Huzzah! Of course as I'm a jammy git, it turns out pretty much everyone in Mission beach wants to hire someone to be a waitress/potwash/barmaid too. Even luckier, the couple who own the hostel also own a bar/restaurant about 2 minutes down the road which is also desperate for staff. When Stacey realised I'd work all hours, had loads of bar experience and my RSA...well, she was very happy indeed.
So I'm going to see how I do here for a while; I think I'll be just fine bumming about on the beach for a couple of months.
After I'd sorted myself out both Mum and I were a lot more relaxed. She did me a big 'pre-uni' style shop on Saturday afternoon so I've now got enough food to last until my birthday, or perhaps Christmas if I get really hungry. We had dinner in my future place of employment and fell into bed exhausted from all the sunbathing at 11pm, sleeping like well behaved babies until the morning.
Another day of the beach beckoned, and we had a lovely time soaking up the rays and going for a splash when it got too hot (SMUG FACE). Poor mama though, as she had to drive back in the afternoon to make sure she was fresh for work tomorrow morning. Who will make her lunch every day now??
So I've spent the last few hours settling in to my new home, chatting to people and explaining my change of plans to Tash on skype. I'm typing this sat in the lounge area which has no need of walls, being interrupted occasionally by the seeimingly thousands of little gekkos that live in the roof.
Tomorrow I shall clean and have an afternoon on the beach, enjoying some free time before I start my other job on Tuesday.
My plans now? Well, this has taught me that I shouldn't really make any. People tend to come here for a week and stay for months - it's so beautiful here, literally paradise. At the moment I think I'll head back to Townsville at Christmas and head to Sydney mid-Jan, but who knows? I'm going to embrace the hippy lifestyle and just go with the flow.
I know I promised less smugness, but I'll just have to go back on that. Sorry everyone...