Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

Welcome to the Bundaberg Gulag!

   So I arrived in Bundaberg yesterday, and, well, ended up spending the night in jail. So this isn't really my favourite place.

   Now it's not as bad as it sounds -- the hostel I stayed in is called "the Cellblock," because its the old police station and jailhouse. Cheery isn't it? And what's worse, this town is chalk full of backpackers "serving their time" doing fruit picking work. In order to get a second year working holiday visa you HAVE to spend at least three months in agriculture, so backpackers from all walks of life, including pretty girls who've probably never worked a day outside a clothign boutique in their life, are packed into hostels here and shipped off in trucks every morning at 4:30 like, well, the migrant farm-workers they are.
   The hostels all seem to have contracts with the farms and/or are outright owned by the farms, so the organization of who's going out to work on what farm actually takes place in the hostel itself.
   This afternoon I came back from the farm to see three of my roommates cellmates sitting on the floor of the room, wearing none-too-flattering jumnpsuits which could well have been prison uniforms, staring forlornly at their filthy hands. They'd been picking weeds all morning. Amother backpacker described picking tomatoes as "by far the worst job of my life." In fact I haven't met a backpacker who doesn't hate it here and long for the day they can leave and never come back.
   Thank the lord that I don't have to do that I guess -- I'll be the head beekeeper on this farm it looks like, and getting paid pretty decently for it (50% more than my last job!). On the downside, its still on a farm in Bundaberg. And the farmer was shocked that at my previous jobs we _only_ worked 5 days a week ... so I don't think I have an overabundance of days off to look forward to. And even if I did, everything in this town seems to close at 2 or 3 in the afternoon. d:
   The farmer hismelf, Trevor, seems pretty friendly. When I first saw him he was supervising some bellpepper ("capsicum") packing, wearing those shockingly short shorts guys wear in Australia sometimes, and no shoes -- so that he looked to me practically undressed. He took me on a tour of the farm, during which he parked and got out to talk to people on numerous occasions, and never once put shoes on. He looks, and his personality kind of reminds me of the irrepressable Steve Erwin. His labourers all seem to be Vietnamese, but he seems to know them all by name and be on friendly relations with them all. Two of his older caucasian farmhands both wore gruff expressions, had hulk hogan mustaches, and wore those alarmingly short shorts.
   I'm already working on a shitty mustache for "movember," maybe when next you see me I'll also be wearing alarmingly short shorts like a true Australian ;D

   Anyway, tomorrow at 6:30 I'm moving into the farm. I have my concerns (mainly that life here ain't gonna be any fun), but I'm optimistic it'll be better than last time.

Tags: australia, travelogues
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