I will add photos to this entry as soon as I develop my cardboard cameras!
It was the Australian Big Brother final this weekend, hence the title for this entry. I was going to buy tickets to see the event live since the house is somewhere in Sydney, but I haven’t followed it at all so it would be pointless. Anyway, we had our own good share of gossip, bad language, romance and much more at the Big Glebe House!
Yes, however much I hate hostels I managed to join by default the in-crowd, partly because I had been here long enough and partly because I moved into a room with 3 old timers.
Our room was a shit-hole! The carpet was covered with an assortment of rather soiled clothes and a selection of stinky adidas trainers; the bin hadn’t been emptied in weeks; we had our own veggie patch behind the sink, cultivating a variety of unclassified fungi amid crusty toothbrushes and used cotton ear buds; three multi sockets connected in series and several cables of power adaptors snaked through our clothes like roots through leaves, causing a serious trip hazard; and the air smelled of… well, plain and simple piss, we had reasons to believe one of us was using the sink as urinal! The phantom pisser :-) Needless to say, I wasn’t too impressed with my new pad, however I couldn’t change rooms because the hostel was full of pilgrims, gathered here this week to see the Pope play a gig for World Youth Day 2008. Bummer!
So, meet the boys: Robert, German young lad, working for his family’s company, keeps him self to him self and spends all his free time playing Command and Conquer on his laptop, he snores like an asthmatic bear! Darius, self employed roofer from London, loves to party and is pretty good at it, often coming home in the mornings with regular memory loss and throbbing head, he doesn’t snore often, but when he does even the door handle rattles; and finally Daniel, a complete yob on first impressions, but actually a clever Cambridge graduate, finishing off an internship with a large international bank, his snoring sound more like two pigs mating!
Believe me, they don’t make earplugs good enough for these boys!
Some other people I’d like to mention (so I can remember them in the future when I read this blog) are: Michael, environmental scientist from Ireland, I shared my first room with him and we became good friends; Clara, photographer, first Irish girls I meet who doesn’t touch a drop of alcohol but is always up for a good night out, and she’s pretty hot on the dance floor! Amanda, PA from Leeds, with a good sense of humour; the three Irish doctors, Quever, Clare and Nonnie; T-bo, Je-lo and Max from Switzerland; Sasha and Geza, from Germany; Arnold from Spain; Michele, Italy; Claudia, also from Italy; and Kirk from New Zealand.
L to R: Michael, T-Bo, Daniel and Clara
I was going to leave a big empty space here, because I haven’t been at all successful in getting a job. The main issue for me was time, I have been turned down for many jobs simply because I was only staying for 3-4 weeks. There is plenty of work, but you have to commit to a longer contract. However I have picked up a small private job painting a house, this was advertised on our message board and I was the first and only one to apply… possible because I took the advert off the board :-)
Now I wish I had left it up there and let some other muppet take the job, it turned into a complete nightmare! My customer was a charming old lady from Croatia, who wanted to freshen up the walls of her home for the arrival of her sister, but she didn’t want to pay for it.
When I showed up for work she presented me with some paint she had mixed her self from left overs, a broken roller handle with 2 cheap refills and a couple of dried up paintbrushes so hard you could use them to hammer a nail! Ok ‘where’s the ladder’ I asked, ‘can you use this stool’ she said… err… not for reaching the coving 10 metres above the stair case! She replied ‘what about strapping a brush with gaffa tape to a curtain pole? And I felt like saying ‘how about a shove this pole up your bum and lift you up so you can reach the coving? :-) Maybe I can use the gaffa tape to shut you up and get on with the job? Regretfully I started to paint, and as I anticipated we soon run out of paint. The next day she prepared more paint herself and it wasn’t exactly the same colour, well actually it wasn’t even the same type of paint… I think she bought white silk instead of matt emulsion and mixed it with paint from a sample pot. Tight cow! I carried on regardless admiring the different shine on the wall. On the last day I agreed to pick up a ladder from a hire shop.
Clara, Daniel and Geza
Naively I followed her direction and ended up in the wrong place, twice! When I finally got there, they told me that I couldn’t sign for it because I wasn’t an Australian resident. So I had to go back and pick up the old dragon. She kept moaning and complaining that I wasn’t managing the job properly as if I were a professional painter, so I reminded her of how little she was paying me and she shut up. It took me three day to paint the house, I worked flat out at the crack of her whip. I think she realised how much she had short-changed me on the job, so as a token of appreciation she cooked me a nice dinner on the last night and sat me down with her daughter, an all tits-and-arse youngster looking like she just came out of the playboy mansion! Is this how they thank you in Croatia? So what do I get if I fit a new kitchen I wonder?
Me and Frate Fabio
From Bat-mobile to Pope-mobile in one day, and pilgrims… many pilgrims!
The new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, was out this week, so a group of us went to watch it Thursday morning.
We all loved it, Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is brilliant and the special effects are pretty impressive, I want a bat-bike!! My only complaint is the length of the movie, bit too long for me. When we came out, we walked into town to join the many pilgrims gathered around the streets to take a photo of Pope Benedict XVI. We waited for ages and I bough a cardboard camera purposely for this event. It was dark by the time he turned up, and the pope-mobile was going so fast that none of us managed to get a decent shot, even Clara with a camera the size of a shoe box didn’t get a good photo.
The next day I came back to the city centre to join the festive pilgrims, not because I am religious, my dad is (or so he makes out…) and he would be pleased to know that his son participated in this massive event, World Youth Day 2008. So I blended in the crowds of colourful flags and cheesy backpacks, trying to sing along with every group I followed.
The Spanish and French chants were easy to pick up and I fitted in well, I can’t say the same about the Japanese or Chinese group, where I stood out like a sore thumb. At one point I spotted a group of dark, hairy and short people, carrying many guitars and a very familiar flag. It was white, with a red cross in the middle and 4 blind folded figures in each quadrant, it’s the flag of Sardinia ‘I Quattro Mori’. My home land, I couldn’t believe it! I introduced my self to Frate Fabio and his buddies, and within minutes he found out that I was single so he paired me up with a Sardinian beauty. We danced around in circles with the rest of the group and as soon as I could I made a swift desertion.
On my way home from the city one night I came across a very old bike dumped on a heap of rubbish.
It was in pretty bad conditions, all rusted up, no seat, a broken pedal and worn breaks. I thought I could do with a bike and I noticed the Italian branding plastered all over her, so I picked her up and cycled back to the hostel trying to remember not to sit down and to break pressing my foot on the tyre ��" wasn’t at all easy. I named her Lucky Blue, because she reminds me of a friend of mine, Blue, who used to ride a buggered up old bike around the streets of London. She’s lucky because I’ve rescued her from the dump of course. Accidentally, two days later I came across another bike left behind the hostel amongst the rubbish to be collected. This one was much nicer than old Blue so I took her as well. I know, I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to old crap that nobody wants and the boot of Bella was now looking more like a jumbo sale, but I was hoping to make one good bike out of the two.
Sardinian dancing pilgrims
Here’s a great tip for anyone who’s passing by Sydney and needs a bike.
There’s a place in Newtown called the Nunnery, where a bunch of people get together every Monday night to fix up bikes. They have a huge stock of second hand part from bikes donated by the public and you can come along to build your own, or have someone help you do it. It’s a non-profit organisation run purely as a social club where anyone with an interest for bikes is welcome. I loved it, I met some nice people and I was able to fix both bikes. Unfortunately I realised that I only had space for one in my boot so I decided to donate Lucky Blue to the Nunnery and keep the swanky mountain bike. I also picked up a free bike helmet from a website where people advertise stuff they no longer need and wish to dispose of it. I love recycling!! Anything I pick up for free will bee added to the sale of the car as a package and hopefully I can recover some money I wasted repairing old Bella.
Bye bye Sydney
I left Sydney with mixed feelings; On one hand, I was disappointed that I didn’t managed to see as much as I had hoped to and I didn’t make good use of my time, having wasted two weeks relentlessly looking for work to no avail; One the other hand I had a bloody good time at the hostel, where I met lots of interesting characters and went out most weekends to sample Sydney’s night scene; And on my third hand (if I had one) I have spent far more than I envisaged and although I like to party, I was very happy to snap out of this contagious and wasteful environment.
To be honest, I couldn’t wait to get back on the road and head south to wwoof in another farm. Well, I shouldn’t really call them farms because most of the places I stayed at were homes of very clever people (many are PhD graduates), who have been very successful working hard in the city and have managed to leave the rat race to start a new way of life out in the country. Learning from these people is what I am really interested in.