Friday, September 30, 2011

Follow Thy Gut

I’ve been here a couple days in Melbourne, and I can definitely say it’s been different than Sydney. First off, Melbourne itself seems much different. It’s more calm here, there’s less hustle and bustle than there is in Sydney, you feel the rush around mentality much less here. Melbourne is a beautiful city, a nice mix of modern and colonial architecture. The downtown core nicely straddles the Yarra River, making for a nice stroll. And I must say the weather is definitely different. Sydney seems to stay pretty constant for the whole day, while Melbourne will fluctuate in temperature and conditions throughout the day. Take today for instance. It started out a nice, warm, sunny day that invited me out for a walk, only to finish two hours later in a cold breeze with threatening rain clouds overhead. And it’s been raining for the past three hours. The rain has been keeping me inside most of my time here, but I have managed to get out and do some walking around. I’m pretty familiar with the riverside area and some of the downtown core, and today I discovered a nice open market about five minutes from my hostel, with a great selection of deli’s, fish, coffee and vegetables.

And on to my hostel. This has been the biggest contrast of all. Coming from a fifty bed, low key hostel to the gong showed monstrosity that I’m in now has been quite the shock to the balls, so to speak. It really puts in perspective how great life in the Blue Parrot Hostel was. I was able to chill out on the back patio every day and socialize with the group that because of the size of the hostel, becomes quite tight knit. This place I’m in now is nothing short of insane, there’s so many people here, it’s almost overwhelming. I’ve been cooking in the afternoon and storing leftovers for the night simply because I don’t want to venture into the insanity den of a kitchen, packed with more people than it was designed for. I think from now on I’ll try to stick to the more low key, smaller hostels. Though for the next couple weeks I won’t have to worry about that; I’ll be splitting a room with my Dad when he gets in on Monday.

On the job front, things aren’t progressing, yet they are. I wasn’t able to land any work in Melbourne this week, BUT I did get a call today from TasRail for a second interview next week. And lone behold, they wanted to fly me to Melbourne for it! It looks as if following my gut instinct has proven correct after all.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rainy Sunday Sydney Finale

In the spirit of a crappy, rainy day in Sydney, an American, Andrew, and I decided to try and spend the afternoon at a local strip club, which are basically everywhere in Kings Cross. Upon arriving inside one, it instantly turned weird. Instead of the basic setup of a North American strip club with a runway and a bar-like setup, we instead found ourselves in a dark room with nobody else, with some folding chairs in front of an empty stage. We turned to leave but were intercepted by a dirty old Italian man who asked us if we wanted to see a show. I replied that we were just looking to chill out and have a couple drinks and watch a dance or two. "Do you want sex?" was the reply. "No", I said. He told us to wait and disappeared into a back room, our cue for a rapid exit. While half jogging down the stairs a woman who, from her attire, was clearly a stripper stopped us and asked us if we wanted a dance. I repeated my original response, and was informed that no other place has shows before 9pm, and that a show for us would cost two hundred and fifty dollars. Dollars, not Yen. I indicated this was much more than we were looking to spend, and in turn received a rude response about here in Australia Australians have to work for their money, which I have yet to see put into action. I looked at her beer gut and gave her a well-wished "good luck".

On that note I'm glad I'm moving on from Sydney, and more importantly King's Cross. I'm hoping my bus ride to Melbourne tomorrow takes me to the place I've heard so many positive things about. I know that wherever I end up, I'll make the most out of it and still have a good time. My philosophy these days. And with the thought of seeing my Dad in one week, who I haven't seen in over a year, all I can be is happy.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Unfortunately there was no success with the railroad job. Fortunately I have a phone interview on Friday for a train driver job in Tasmania. Hopefully this bears fruit, because after being here for a month I'm in the position where the realization that I'm not accomplishing my goal of saving money is starting to hit home. I think I'll give Sydney another week before I head somewhere else to try and find some work. I can't help but hope that coming to Australia won't set me back in the long run.

Still going strong with the thirty day challenge. Six days in and not a drop consumed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The One Month Challenge

Last night was the final bender for this guy for a while. One of the managers from the hostel was leaving after working here for many months, so for his departure a local night club threw him a Disney themed party. Everyone from the hostel dressed up as a Disney character. Naturally, due to my impressive facial hair I was nominated to dress up as Jafar from the movie Aladdin (picture to follow). Armed with a giant towel on my head and a cobra staff made from a broom handle and a goon box (goon is the shit boxed wine), I rocked it hard and got plenty of compliments on my attire.

Due to this heavy session I am now challenging myself not to drink for thirty days, starting today. Mark the day, I cannot consume a drop of alcohol until October 13th. I figure this is going to quite difficult due to the abundance of microbreweries and hostel drinking events that are constantly in my face. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm A Working Man Doing the Best I Can

This post is being typed from the inter city train from Newcastle to Sydney, returning from an interview for a Railway Network Controller, which I am confident I aced. The whole idea of coming to Australia was to make money to travel further. Pure and simple. I figured taking a job as a train driver would be a quick and easy way to make more than enough money to accomplish that, but as far as things were looking that wasn’t going to be as easily attainable as I had previously thought. So I basically threw out resumes for any railway job I could find, and lone behold I get a call back for this position. The opportunity being clear to me, I jumped on the three hour train ride to Newcastle with haste. The interview went smoothly, and now I return to the hustle and bustle of Sydney.

For a while I had been contemplating moving to Newcastle anyways, and today was a good opportunity to scout out a future home for myself. From what I saw during a quick stroll around the city centre, it could be good and it could be bad. It definitely has that low key feeling down, sort of like a small town in a decent sized city. It was funny to see people walking around downtown in bikini’s and board shorts (downtown is right on the beach). The bad is that it could be possibly white trashish. I did see some quite hickish looking people, which is always a presence in a strictly blue collar city that Newcastle is. It sort of reminded me of pictures of the old neighbourhoods in the American port cities like Baltimore or Boston. Either way it remains to be seen how I’ll actually like Newcastle, but I know whatever my situation turns out to be, I’ll make the best of it.

On the work note, I have managed to get a couple shifts of labour work. Last Friday I did some landscaping work for cash in hand, and on Monday I was called for a shift unloading twenty five kilo sacks of potato starch from sea cans onto pallets. I calculated that I lifted roughly ten tons that day. And I get to do it all over again tomorrow! As ball busting as that manual labour is, it’s money in the bank. And if I do that regularly, I definitely won’t need to be hitting up a gym!

I managed to do some more sightseeing the other day as well. A bunch of us from the hostel donned our beach wear and took the ferry to Manly Beach for the afternoon. Apparently we were a day late. It was not a hot day by any means. Not even warm for that matter. I sat on the beach in board shorts and a hoodie and didn't dare jump in the freezing cold water. All in all it was a nice beach that will turn out to be a great spot in summertime if I'm still in Sydney.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Are You Looking for Work?

I put up an add on Gumtree a couple days ago advertising myself as available for labour work. The next two out of three responses were a little strange. The first one went like this:
Person "Hi, I saw your add on Gumtree for labour work. Are you looking for construction work?"
Kyle the Great "Yes I am."
Person "When are you available?"
Kyle the Great "Tomorrow if you have some work."
Person "Ok, what pay rate do you ask for?"
Kyle the Great "I don't know, what are you offering?"
Person "$350 a day cash in hand."
Kyle the Suspicious "What kind of work is it?"
Person "Well basically I'm looking for men with good bodies to show them off."
Kyle the Creeped Out "Ummm I'm not really looking for that kind of work."
Creeper Delux "Ok thank you."

I know I sound very masculine and sexy on the phone, but after losing nearly thirty pounds in one year, I am no longer stripper material, or material for whatever that supercreep had in mind. The next response was a text offering a job cleaning or massaging, which is quite the odd combination. I declined. Finally a legit one came in, a guy looking for a labourer for a day to do some landscaping work. The downer to it was I had to wake up at 4:30am to catch the first train out of Sydney to the location over an hour away. The day was filled with a ton of shoveling work, moving heavy wheel barrows and planting plants. It was tough, and my muscles are already sore, but it feels good to have to done a solid day of hard work. And the one hundred and fifty straight up dollars I earned sings from my pocket. And the labour agency I was hired at gave me some work for Monday! The ball is rolling, however slowly, it is rolling.

Now I'm going to take the weekend off and finally do some sightseeing!