26 September 2007

Time passes by so quickly!

Oh dear! More then two weeks ago, since I told you the latest news about my life underground. Unbelievable, how time goes by... and it’s still not boring!
Of course, life out here gets a bit more of a daily routine, but that’s cool – and interesting, cause as soon as we knock off from making beds, wash the linen and vaccuum the floors, there’s plenty to do, even though you wouldn’t believe it if you’ve seen this place for a few days.

My 55. week in Australia has begun. And I still don’t have my 2nd visa. I called the Health Services Australia, to finally get this health examination done, and the good news is – there’s an HSA-accredited doc in Broken Hill, “just” 300km from here. No Adelaide, no Melbourne, no Sydney. Broken Hill. The weird news is: The lovely lady on the telephone was not allowed to provide me with his contact details! But she is allowed to send them out here via mail. Australian bureaucracy is strange.
Well, now I’m waiting for this letter, to get in contact with that doc – to eventually get my 2nd visa some day...

I celebrated my first year in Australia with Richard, Markus, Martina, Denise, some Baileys and a funny millionaire, who couldn’t stop telling us how his yacht sounds when he starts it. Was a funny evening!

We got a little less busy in the last two weeks, none of us is really happy with the money he or she earns, but well, that’s life. The people we’re dealing with are great personalitys, provide you with plenty of tipps and always wanna hear your story.
Our new team member, Rhonda, hasn’t turned up for work again. Richard said, she can work in the summer time, when Denise, Martina and I are gone. Til then he prefers our young blood to run around in the motel... and he also mentioned, that we became a great team, he wouldn’t like to put someone new into our group.
Cause there were not enough bed to be made to occupy all of us, I became the motel gardener, gotta water the plants now, renew the dirt in the landings and started to build the new chook house. Richard plans to bring up to 100 chooks out here, to always have some eggs and nice meat and maybe he even starts to breed them. Why not? I’m happy to do some different tasks, including tree-pruning, tidy up the workshop, clean the pool and stuff like that.

In my spare time, I finally lodged my tax return. First estimations told me, that I’m entitled to claim all my tax back! Wohoo! I’m just waiting for some incoming money... :-)

Us four Germans really get good mates. We always have funny ideas how to spend our free time.
One evening, we connected mobiles, MP3-player and Markus’ and my laptop via bluetooth, to exchange some music and have sort of a LAN-feeling.
Next day, Denise and I started to eat heaps of ice-cream. We ordered 10l of banana and chocolate flavour, accidentially, but now we had to eat it. And one liter per session made the ice-cream last 5 afternoons. *g*

Apropos the food: We had some funny experiments going on here in White Cliffs, Martina learned how to bake bread, designed the first outback-pizza and Markus made some real German pretzels! Oi, our guests were amazed!!

We all went to see Jock’s place, a funny underground museum, sort of, where there seems everything to be left behind from the middle age or sth like that. The most interesting stuff for us were some German beer cans, from brands, we had never heard of! Incredible.
We went to visit Irene, a German lady, and her husband, Peter, as well as Uli, another German. He seems to be a big fan of Adolf Hitler, had lots of pictures of that guy and even a bottle of wine with that face. Unbelievable, what you meet out here in the Outback!

On 23rd of September we decided to open the pool season and had some games of frisbee and yummy ice-cream on the pool. But the water’s still so f*** freezing, you can hardly stand it!

And finally, yesterday was the day when our homebrewed beer was ready to drink! Not bad, that stuff, noone complained, and we had a long evening with the boss, sitting out in the warm spring night, talking about good and bad times and everything in-between.

Well, now you know approximately, why it never gets boring in the middle of nowhere. When we head down to White Cliffs, we chat with that lovely lady from the post offive, go shopping at the markets or burn our rubbish...
Our newest ideas are: Plan the Octoberfest, go out to shoot some roos and create a comedy film about some funny backpackers in the Outback. Yeah, Youngsters just wanna have fun. :-)

Some more news: Isable comes out here! Today. She’s already on her way. Has been exactly 2 months, since I saw her the first time... and now she’ll be back! Party!

So far, so good, hope, the German autumn is not too bad and you’re all enjoying life as much as I do. Not long, and I might be back in Germany, thinking about all these good times I spent here and wish I could be back in the past... oh man, why is time passing by so quickly?

11 September 2007

One year away from home!

365 days have passed by, since I’ve left Germany. 365 days on my own, far away from my family, most of my friends or any relatives – even though they were always with me, with their thoughts, accompanying and supporting me with emails, texts, letters, postcards or phonecalls. Thanks for that!
1/20 of my whole life! Incredible! Almost unbelievable, if you note, that the longest period I’ve been travelling for on my own before Australia was less than 3 weeks, when I took off to the yearly holiday camps to Greece, France, Denmark or somewhere in Germany.
I’m really proud of myself. It wasn’t always easy, thrown into the cold water, all of a sudden on my own on the other side of the world! I had never had to go shopping, do my own laundry, think about a place to stay overnight or care for transport before. Not really. It was all provided from home. Then, suddenly I found myself down under, and had to organise everything by myself. On the one hand, it’s pretty hard, of course, to get used to all those duties you should take care of, on the other hand, I’ve never felt this kind of freedom before! Do whatever you want to do, go, whereever you want to go, whenever you want to go, the way you want to go... it all felt so unreal! No one there, who told you, what to do, no obligations, no time limits, no nothing – just me, myself and I.
It all worked out perfect, I surrounded Australia, met great people and saw places, which other people will never discover, probably not even in their dreams!

It wasn’t all planned, of course. It just happened. I had the dream to get to know Australia, but no clue how, with whom, and what to experience on the way.
First, I wanted to work in Sydney for a couple of months, ended up in Finch Hatton Gorge, where I earned my 2nd visa, as it has turned out. I never even thought seriously about applying for a 2nd visa at that stage, but well, that’s how things went. Two amazing girls and I explored the South Coast together, they sold me our campervan, I found heaps of jobs, my four mates from Germany arrived in Australia without any problems and we discovered the West, the North and the East Coast together as well as the Red Center. The first part of the journey ended in Sydney, where it all began, and just by chance I heard about the job opportunity out here, where I’m stranded now and am still happy about the way things turned out. Oh dear – if someone had told me that one year ago, I probably would have laughed about his fantasy...
The day after tomorrow, I’ll celebrate one year Australia. Incredible. Time passes by so quickly...

I wanted to thank all of you for reading this blog, for being interested in my story, for taking part in my life. Special thanks to my parents, my sister, my brother, to all my relatives and friends – I could have never reached the point where I am at at the moment, without knowing that there’s always someone to rely on, someone I could run back to, someone who’d cover me in case everything goes wrong. This awareness kept me going in the (up to the present) greatest adventure of my lifetime. Thank you very much.

Currently I’m hoping to get my 2nd visa granted. The show must go on. And: It will go on. Cause: I haven’t discovered everything – but I tell ya, it’s on my list!

09 September 2007

Happy by staring into space

So I went to the dentist two days later. She was very happy with my teeth, no holes or anything bad, and praised the great work of my German dentist. Don’t know why, but she charged me 50 bucks and said, that’s a general fee for overseas visitors. Still pretty cheap.
So now, that I already was down there in White Cliffs, the lovely lady from the hospital arranged me an appointment with the doctor, to get that check and my 2nd visa. Luckily, he was there the same day, cause he’s only out here once a week. No worries. Well... some worries: This nice guys from the Royal Flying Doctor Service told me, that he’s not authorised to do the kind of examination I needed. And the nearest, authorised doc would be either in Adelaide, in Melbourne or in Sydney! Yabbadabbaduuuh! Shit.
The problem is the money: A trip to... say ... Adelaide would cost approximately 600$ for transport, 500$ for the examination, 100$ for food and accomodation plus ca. 300$, that I’d loose, because I couldn’t work here for 4 days. Adds up to 1400$!!! What the f***?
So I wrote an email to the Government, hoping for any useful reply, maybe I can do the check later or do it here ot sth like that. Richard supported me with writing an email himself, telling those guys that I became a very important staff-member, and he couldn’t run the motel for 4 days without me. Nice chap. :-)
What I found out while dealing with all this stuff: I urgently need a health insurance! Always thought, my current insurance would pay for general examinations, but – no way, they refused to send me a single cent! Beautiful. I love aifs and the description: You needn’t worry about anything with this insurance package. *§%/&=)§#*

There’s some more news out here: We might get another staff-member tomorrow, a 65-year-old lady. No one knows, why Richard wants to employ her, we think, he might feel sorry for her, she’s a widow and unemployed. Richard says, she’s very slow with working, and us Germans are afraid she might ripp some of our precious hours off. We weren’t really happy to hear about that – we thought, that we had done a good job so far and ran the motel very well... maybe we did, maybe we didn’t. Ozzies are not good in critisising someone or telling the truth about what they think. They’ll always tell you no worries, no matter, what happens.

Last week, I worked almost 50 hours. Was very happy. Richard wasn’t. He said, he can’t pay me that much. But – where’s the difference, if he pays another person or me? Don’t have a clue.
There’s quite a lot to do: Many rooms need to be made, Daug and I had to spray the walls of the new tunnel with boncrete, so they won’t break down as soon as they dry, and I learned how to clean the pool. In my opinion, I earned my money with good, hard work.

Richard explained to me, that the season might slow down by the end of October, so probably my stay out here’s gonna end sooner than I thought. What a shame, I already made my calculations what to do with so much money... in this case, I might have to work again somewhere else. We’ll see.
The boss became a little stricter, told us, we’ll have to pay for our own breakfast in the future and maybe for other stuff like milk and bread as well. Wouldn’t impoverish us, but it’s still not nice to hear. We all thought we could save every single cent we earn. Seems as if we had thought wrong.
The good news is: I got a tax refund estimation from the Government, and they told me, I’d be entitled to get all my tax back! We’re talking about 1000$!!! That’s gonna be a big party! Just have to wait for two more group certificates, and off we go.

Denise and I already bought 10l of ice-cream. Just in case... you never know, what’s gonna happen. And I’m sure, we’ll be damn happy about it, cause it gets up to 50°C out here in summer! Oh yeah, and we’ll sit in the pool, relax and eat heaps of ice-cream. Life’s good.

Ey, eating reminds me of a premiere: Markus ordered a pigs head, cooked it and fried the brain. Was worth an experience to try that, even though it won’t become my favourite meal, that’s for sure...
He also showed me how to bake proper bread. Pretty handy here in Australia, where there’s normally just toast on a backpacker’s plate!

Denise and Martina are making big plans about their future: They might wanna travel on together, see the good parts of Australia. Maybe they gonna buy a car out here, even though I dissuaded them from that. There’s only one single car for sale in White Cliffs, no choice. I advised them to go to a bigger city, and I think, they’ll listen to me.

The four of us became a great crew over the last few weeks, we love sitting together, having endless chats, watching hours of movies or – go to dig for some opals! One sunny afternoon, we grabbed two shovels, a hoe and a spade, walked 500m into the Outback and started digging. Good fun for the first 15 minutes, after that everyone became impatient and annoyed because of no huge opals, but thousands of flies instead, and we headed back home. Was still worth a try, wasn’t it? *g*

All in all I’m still happy out here. The sun is shining, haven’t had a single drop of rain since I’m underground. All I miss is a hammock, or maybe a deckchair, to sunbake. Because of the lack of one I always sit in piles of dirt, on stones or lie down on the ground. The surrounding is spectacular, I can sit outside for hours and just gaze towards the horizon – it hypnotizes me somehow. And I always feel unbelievable happy by staring into space...

03 September 2007

I love it!

Steve and Chris have left. Denise, Martina, Kylie (25, an Ozzie girl, who lives out here in White Cliffs) and I are caring for the motel now. I strip the beds in the early morning, chuck all the stuff in the laundry and start vaccing the floors. Denise and Kylie make the beds, while Martina cares for the bathrooms. Quite busy, sometimes we work up to 6 hours in the morning! After all the rooms are done and the laundry is finished, we have some lunch together and enjoy a (mostly) free afternoon, before we come back in the evening to serve out dinner. Markus is the chef, he runs around in the kitchen all day long and prepares excellent food, which is loved all over the place. Good stuff.

So – where’s the variety? I tell ya: There are days, when we’re not that busy, so the ladies take care of the rooms and I’ll get to do something different. In the last week, this was digging a tunnel to the staff quarters. Daug, our neighbour, and I are about to build a new staff kitchen and a 2nd bathroom. Fun, fun. Digging a tunnel means, you just take a jackhammer and start jacking a huge hole into the wall. Some pipe gives us an approximate direction... but that’s it. After 3 days of digging, Daug remarked, that we have to dig upwards, to match our level with the level in the ground quarters. Security doesn’t really matter, you get two gloves, a pair of glasses and get going. I love it. Never done anything like that before, but no one cared. Daug showed me, how to do it, and since that day I can dig whenever I want – and whenever the boss is willing to pay me.

Today was the big day: Daug got through! Was a little bit dangerous, because there are a couple of electricity wires in the wall, but he hoped for the best and managed not to hit one. Good job. Now we’ll have to shovel heaps of dirt out of the tunnel, put some cement in instead and maybe one or two lightbulbs. Then we’ll start with kitchen and bathroom.

Next week, Daug will have to work on another job, so Richard told me to build a new chook house. Markus and I will start planning soon, with a fox-proof fence and some specials, if Richard lets us. Maybe he does. He’s still the cool boss like last week. Brilliant!

Because of the digging, I get a lot of extra hours, as well as with general maintenance of the motel, like glueing down some carpet, refilling the bar or serving out breakfast. Richard made me a VIP by showing me, how the generator works. I’m the only person out here (except for him, of course), who knows that. Yeah. Next project: He wants to teach me, how to clean the pool. Oh dear, I’m gonna be so rich after my time out here! And even richer in life experience...

In our spare time, us four Germans do some crazy stuff: We brew 23l of beer and 20l of cider, watched a luna eclipse, went out to a big BBQ, where whole White Cliffs came together, burned all the rubbish from the motel (no, no refuse collection out here!) or went for some shopping down to Wilcannia. There’s always something to do, and if there’s not, we relax and watch a movie...

The day after tomorrow, I have an appointment with the dentist. She comes out here every 3-8 weeks, and appointments with her are for free! I thought, it might be a good idea to go for the yearly general check.
Haven’t been to a doc for my chest x-rays yet. Should do that some time. But somehow I’m not motivated, neither to spend that much money nor to take a day off. Wanna keep working! Besides – don’t know, if Richard would lend me his car again...

Besides all those actions I’m trying to find some time to create a homepage. Not like the one, I created myself last time, this one’s gonna be a lot bigger and better. The topic will mainly be Australia, to help other guys getting out here without a useless organisation like mine. However, after my designer asked me for the concept, I had to confess that there is none. Well, so he told me to create one, and that’s why I spend quite a few hours on the computers, typing, typing, typing. And besides that, I have to answer loads of emails, I should book my flight back home some time, have to select the best pictures out of thousands of photos to save some space on my hard drive... unbelievable. Always something to do! There is something for sure: Even though you have some time to relax and chill out, it won’t get boring out here! Not within the next few weeks. That’s why I love it.