Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Working in Oz

Its my second official day working at surf camp and it's pretty sweet so far, a little hectic, but mostly a great time. We eat and live for free and the work is basically feed the hungry Europeans and clean up their shit when their done. Everyone I work with is incredibly nice and welcoming and though it's a large mixture from many different parts of the world everyone seems to have a very similar mindset. Surf, eat, drink, sleep, repeat. If there's ever a place to get lost to find one's self Gerroa Australia may be just the place. There is nothing here except for surf camp, and a pub, the Gerroa Boat Fisherman's Club LTD. I'm currently having a pint amongst the club goers as I write this blog. 

The rules are a bit different in Oz. They have proper casinos which have all the games you'd find in Vegas and then all these privately owned and operated clubs have "pokeys", slot machines. And apparently people here fucking love them. I've never been much of a gambler but if I play I'm definitely not playing slots, but the people here eat it up, to the point that they have gambling addiction signs everywhere. The Pokey area in the picture is sitting directly across from me at the moment while I type this. Also the booze is ASTRONOMICALLY priced. The pint I'm drinking right now is $5.30 not terrible but it's a 12oz pour. And most bars have a bottle shop connected where you can get booze to go, seems nice but a six-pack of LOCAL BEER here is $16 for the cheapest brand! A case of Corona (also known as piss water in the states) will run you about $70, and I'm in the middle of nowhere, it's even more expensive in the cities. If I would've known that before I left I would've stopped drinking all together, it's currently the only thing costing me money while I live and work at surf camp. 

Enough about the high prices of booze though because it depresses me just thinking about the roadies I'm gonna grab when I go to watch a movie later back at camp. The main guy in charge here is a Aussie named Shayne. He's only 24, and he's old compared to everyone else. I'm basically a grandfather here. I've met one person older than I am who was cool as hell, a 30 year old gent from England, everyone else I've met isn't old enough to drink in the states. It's kind of cool that there are so many young adventurous people from around the world but it also makes me think a bit. I would never have been ready to do something like this when I was 18, neither would most of my friends from high school. So what are they doing differently overseas that creates these teens with the balls to go out on their own for a year. I'm not exactly sure but it kind of makes me sad for Americans in general, not only do we not encourage this type of behavior it's usually looked down upon. The opposite is true for all the foreigners I've met, they'd be looked at as weirdos if they WEREN'T traveling. It just makes me realize that if I ever do have kids one day I'm going to encourage them to go out and explore, it'd be a shame if they missed out on the experience.

Back to camp however. It's just so weird I've only been here a week but it feels like longer. I feel blessed that everyone has accepted me so quickly and I'm already part of the team. What we may lack in travel experience we make up for in work ethic though, and not even working HARD by any means I've already had some Europeans thank me for all the hard work. I guess that could be construed as a good thing or a bad thing but for the moment I'll stick with the former not the latter. I'm hoping I will be able to keep my promise and stay the two months I told them I would but I find out tomorrow if I got the job I applied for in Melbourne. If I don't get it no big deal I get to stay and surf but if I do and I don't start for a couple weeks I'm in the terrible position of being honest with Shayne and hoping he simply lets me stay until I leave for Melbourne. If not it will be a tough couple weeks coodinating housing and work while I wait to make the move. They all seem to like me though so I'm hoping they won't kick me to the curb as long as I'm up front with them. 

So basically twice a week they get new people here. They do a five day session monday to friday with eight lessons throughout the week. One the first and last day then two-a-days tuesday-thursday. When I went last week there was only 16 of us in total in our five day group, this week there are 44. On the weekends they get a load of people in late Friday, wake them up early Saturday for two lessons and one on Sunday before they head back. The catch is on the weekends it's a shit-show, 91 people this past weekend. You hardly get to know anyone and the group is so big they are split in two to make it more manageable. It's crazy but it's fun and it keeps you busy. I'm not sure how the days off work (if there are any) but right now I'm kind of assuming I'll just be working 7-days a week. It sounds like the opposite of a vacation but it's actually not too bad. It's forcing me to wake up and go to bed early (I've been up by 7am this whole week) and the "work" consists of grilling burgers and cutting tomatoes. I highly recommend if anyone is thinking of doing a work holiday, try to find a place like this where you get room and board covered. I would never stay here the whole time, but if I did I could pay for a whole year with the little bit of money I brought with me. 

As far as the rest of the staff is concerned it looks like something out of a surf movie where you would think, "That's so generic not every surfer has long blonde hair and dresses like a bum", ya... ya they do. Every member of this staff guys and girls has long blonde hair except for two, but one has blonde hair it's just short. They all say "gnarly" and "wicked" and they're all from different parts of the world. Moral of the story is, sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. But they are all some of the nicest people I've ever met and everyone is dying to get me back out on the waves (I don't know what's wrong with me but both my ankles, BOTH of them are fucked up and won't seem to get better). I'll be pretty pissed if I stay here this whole time and don't get any better at surfing because of a stupid injury. So there are a load of coaches but the main few are Shayne, the Aussie, Rob,  a Brit, and Jordy, from South Africa. Rob has the cutest little girlfriend in the world, and she's even got a cute name, Jazz. They live in a trailor currently, while the whole of surf camp is a cool upgraded trailor park, but they have their own right behind the staff trailor, which is now my home. The bed's for shit and it's cold as hell right now, but it's home and it's fun and... I need to wash my clothes. In the little over a week I've been here so far I've only worn 3 shirts and used four pairs of underwear (the magic of free balling). It's actually pretty cool having your whole life in a bag. There's something to be said about being able to fit all your possesions in a bag smaller than some of my exes would take for a long weekend. I look forward to doing some yoga tomorrow (with the short haired German), and maybe just maybe trying to catch some waves. Also I'm hoping we get some cool campers, and maybe this week I'll get a chance to make some new friends. Thank God for Facebook otherwise these people would only be memories.

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