Happy Birthday, dear Mum! Hope you have a wonderful day, ey?
All right. So the next day we started to pick oranges. Pretty funny, in my opinion. Up the ladder, down the ladder, grab every orange you can reach and throw them into your bag. Empty the bag in the big bin and wait for it to fill up. Three bins per person per day is the general expectation. That’s approx. 1,2 tonnes of oranges we have to shift. Each. With bad trees. With the good ones, you can reach up to 8 bins each – set the case you’re a little more experienced than we are. ;-)
The money is not too bad, sometimes we reach an hourly rate of almost 25$, cause we finish our three bins within 5 hours and get paid 8. Great deal. *g* Furthermore, I became the driver of our little team, and we’re allowed to keep the car in the arvo and drive around town with it. Fuel is supplied. All good.
You’re wondering, how orange picking can be fun? I’ll tell you: We get up in the morning at 4.45, have some brekkie, brush our teeth and get going. Us, that is Markus, Isabel, Chris & Alex, two other Germans from this hostel, John, a Japanese guy, who joined the team yesterday, and I. We drive down to Dan’s place and pick him up. Dan’s our new supervisor, sort of. Relaxed Ozzie mate, doesn’t take himself too serious at all and is more shy than bossy. Awesome. Then we hit the highway, approx. 50kms out to the orange plantation. Long way, if you’re aware of that the sun isn’t even up. Why should we be?
6.30: We arrive at the orchard. Sometimes we get into picking immediately, otherwise we hang around for another half an hour, cause we’re not that motivated or maybe still tired. As soon as we get started, our brains go crazy, somehow. We philosophize about genesis, the roles of men & women as well as PCs and stuff. We found out, that there’s no computer game simulating the hard life of an orange picker, that men are the elite of the world and that Eva must have been Paris Hilton. Sounds weird? Well... maybe it is. But it also is good fun. And that’s the main thing, ey? ;-)
Backpackers are generally poor. Poor enough, to eat 2 oranges in a 10-minute-break, just because they’re for free. And poor enough to take loads of them home, even though they just store them in their room. Who cares?
Everytime you eat an orange or a grapefruit, which are grown on the orchard as well, you gotta say: “Die, scurvy, die.” Usually we say it in German, but that doesn’t change the fact, that we’re seriously fighting against this bad and painful diesease which once killed thousands of sympathetic sailors and seamen. Come and fight with us! Eat more oranges!
There’s another thing about backpackers: They never get enough. So – even though we’re earning over 100$ per day with picking oranges, we applied at Fletcher’s, a huge, local meat processing company. Just because they pay 17$ per hour.
The application was succesful. Might be, that today was our last day on the orchard. Tomorrow is some kind of job interview, but our hostel mates told us, that they’d take everyone. So we’re looking quite forward to that. No worries.
You’re wondering, why I’m talking about hostel mates? The answer is pretty simple: Markus had enough from being alone with a couple in a 3-bed-dorm. So we all moved out. Isabel and I booked into a double room, Markus has two mates staying in his chamber. And we’re all happy with this solution – even though I miss the space and the air-con. *sob*
The trouble with the undergroundmotel is almost over: Markus never got his last payment. Jenny’s explanatory statement: He was working on a contract, which bound him to a one-weeks-notice, in case he wants to leave. Markus had never read that contract, so he didn’t know anything about that. But he doesn’t worry.
We all seem to have received our final payslips, Jenny said she had sent them to our postal address. Letters of recommendation might follow. Only problem: My aifs-program has expired, and these guys sent all my mail back to the sender. Either to Germany, to the motel, to Jenny – wherever. They didn’t even tell me that there was any mail! Oh, I hate them. After having set my flight to the wrong date, they’re now sending all my mails back. I couldn’t believe it, as they told me so. What is that for an organisation? Why did I pay them any money? Must have been young and dumb...
South-East-Asia seems to be for sure now. Plans are changing all the time, so you can never take anything for sure, but I’ll tell you the latest: I decided to get my 2nd visa. All examinations are completed, I’m just waiting for an email from the government granting me another year in Australia. Why? Well – Isabel has some financial problems, and that’s not what you need when you wanna go on an unforgettable trip to Asia. So we thought about taking a plane by the beginning of December, work straight through until then, earn as much money as we can and relax afterwards. Without a visa, I would have had to leave at the latest by the 20th of November, so now we have 2 more weeks to work. At Fletcher’s – up to 2000$!
We’ll see, if they’ll take us. Shouldn’t be a problem.
I better switch off the computers now, sit down with Isabel and Markus and say: “Die, scurvy, die.” Maybe the last time as an orange picker...