February 10th, 2008 – by: Ape
Boys and girls, welcome to our hostel. We're now in Stanthorpe, south Queensland, and basicly, there is nothing to do here, except for picking apples. And packing them. No cinema, no mall, one and a half pubs and a Woolworths. Oh and some farms. That out of the way, you're not allowed to drink alcohol at this place. The internet doesn't work, we do have a kitchen, but we don't want you to use after 8 o'clock. You might make a mess, see. You can't watch TV after 11. That disturbs us, see. Now, I know I started and own this hostel, but really I dispise backpackers. Don't try me. Especially if you're Irish.
Was signed, Jacko the hostel owner.
What have I run into now? I arrived in Stanthorpe a week ago, after I fled from Brisbane
My main place; selecting the apples, colour, shape, size, variety, bruises, abnormalities, whatnot. Pretty mind numbing you could say.
I'd been looking for a job in Brisbane for two weeks, but other than some loose labour work, I couldn't find anything. I decided enough was enough and got the early morning bus to Warwick, the place for fruitpicking, according to the Lonely Planet. There was no fruit picking work at all in Warwick, but in the local boozer I was offered a job in the meat factory. Tasering sheep to death, hanging them of big meat hooks, cutting them open, snapping of hoofs. Sweet. How much is the pay?
That afternoon I decided I didn't want to be a sheepkiller after all. Partly because it would take at least a week before I could start work, but mainly because I had the feeling my vegetarian sister would never speak to me again. On to Stanthorpe then. I arrived pretty late, but I was lucky enough to get a cab to te hostel.
Finally helping by selecting the apples for me
One of the total of two cabs in Stanthorpe. Just sayin', just sayin'. The next day I secured a job close to the hostel, on a small applefarm. Job description: pick apples, pack apples, and do whatever we say. Fair enough. We could start right away, really good.
Or at least, I thought it would be really good. My boss turns out to be the biggest jerk ever. Never have I heard anything positive coming from his lips, it's either commands or sneers. "You've got no bloody common sense", "Can't you backpackers understand?" and "You'd better hurry up! Good for nothing..." are among his favorites. The one I hear most is "They're eggs Nic, can't you understand, can't you see??" - whenever I "bruise" an apple. He hates me the most as I'm the only one of the crew who openly stands up against him.
Thinking himself the big guy. He's an ace driver, I gotta give that to him
After getting pissed on by him several times, I decided that I'ma tell the guy the guy when he's talking shit again, resulting in several clashes. I know fully well that I can't win them since he's still the boss, but I also can't keep still when he streats us like shit while we're slaving to pick his apples hour after hour. He has nothing on me because I'm a good apple picker - the only thing is that I don't work in the exact same way he cooked up in his little apple head of his. He's a simple minded farmer, who reckons the whole world - and especially those scum-of-the-earth backpackers - are working against him. Enough ranting about Wayne for now. Friday is pay day: let's hope my troubles are worth it.
The hostel is better now. The rules still don't make sense and are just as strict, but we formed a solid group to play poker and hang out with.
I'm getting to know lots of new people. Jerry "My-iPod-speakers-are-awesome-I-know" the German, Roland, a fellow Amsterdam pokerstudent, Manu the "I-pretend-I-don't-know-how-to-play-poker-so-I-can-whoop-your-ass" the Korean and Patty, my Irish apple picking collegue are the ones I chill most with. Then there's a bunch of Nepali guys with who I can discuss my Nepal journey back in '06. They make me relive Nepal all over again, so good!
More of my apples adventures and my struggles with Wayne will come later. Enjoy the pictures. At least Ape is having an ace time! For everyone who mailed me (and is obviously anxiously waiting for my reply): check back coming Sunday, as I probably won't make it before then. Sorry!