Mooloolaba Beach Packers
I am living on land. I know, weird, right? But it's cool. In fact, it is really fun. However, finding the balance between working 10-12 hour days, socializing/partying with all the cool people here and still managing to get a bit of sleep is proving to be a bit tricky. Fortunately the weekend (and the end of days, according to some) has arrived and I survived.
Mark sailed for Brisbane early Monday morning, and after working all day I moved into Mooloolaba Beach Backpackers hostel. I have partied here quite a bit but up until this point had not had the pleasure of sleeping in a hot and stuffy cinderblock room with three other people on a terrible mattress on a rickety bunk bed.
Aside from the crappy rooms and funky amenities, this place is really cool. People are super friendly, there is a pool, pool table, free surfboards to use, bikes, paddle boards and of course, a party every night. I must admit it is fun to get off work after a long, hot day and and relax in the pool with a beer or run down to the beach for a quick surf, but it doesn't leave much time for, say, making a nice dinner or taking a nap before the night's festivities start.
You would think it would be pretty easy to sleep after cleaning boats for ten hours, surfing in the evening and drinking a few beers, but last night between the stifling, still heat, the mosquitoes in the room, the electrical storm outside and the people next door having ridiculously loud sex, it was nearly impossible. I was finally able to get to sleep around 3am, only to work at 5:30am. Such are the joys of living here.
Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining about working or living at the hostel. It's all good. This last week we worked on a boat down at Bribie island, close to Brisbane. I worked with my boss and my co-worker Pete, who are both good guys. At one point Pete asked me, "What is your least favorite thing about living in Australia?" I had to think about it for a while because generally things are pretty sweet as here.
"I would have to say, my least favorite things about Australia is how quick people are to become violent here. (That, and the fact that all the waves are so crowded)," I told Pete. It seems like people have more brawls, fights, road rage, and domestic abuse here than other first world nations. That being said, there is very little gun violence. Gun control laws here are very strict as I believe they should be in the States. People here also seem to be pretty conservative. I told Pete that whereas I find Aussies very extroverted and open, I am careful about what I say to them. Not that I would ever not stand up for gay rights or immigrants rights, but I don't start preaching my liberal views when I first meet somebody.
Random wave picture? Why not.
Later that day as we were finishing up the boat we were working on, the owner came down. He knew I am a Yank traveling by boat and wanted to give me a few Australia t-shirts. I thanked him and he told me that they were made in Australia and all that good stuff, and wished me well carrying on sailing into Indonesia. As we were packing up to leave, the owner and his wife came out to have a chat with us. He told me to be careful sailing into Asia: "There's a heap of pirates up there and you have to be careful. You should get a gun. An AK-47 would be best."
"Ummmm...thanks. I think we will be alright though... I am not too worried about it." I told them. Then the man went off on a rant about asians immigrating to Australia and how terrible it is, while his wife said under her breath, "If you want to buy a gun without a license I am sure we can arrange that for you." Thanks, but no thanks.
As we pulled away I asked Dusty, "Did that 70 year old lady just try to sell me guns illegally?" "Yep! Welcome to Australia mate!" Dusty said. "She's a nice lady, isn't she? Bat shit crazy, but a nice one, hey?" Welcome to Australia.
As might be able to tell, I am having a great time. Working, surfing, partying, meeting new people, having new experiences - it's all good. And while I am having a blast living at the backpackers and working for Dusty, he is taking a vacation and we have knocked off for the holidays. I fly down to Sydney on Sunday to meet up with Mom and Dad, who have been sailing down there. I plan to spend Christmas and New Years in Sydney with them and then... who knows?!