My entry into Australia was much easier than I had imagined although the amount of rain did surprise me!
Allan my couch-surfer host met me at the airport and arriving at his home I was introduced to Simon, a 19 year old German, also travelling and looking for work. Simon was a great guy, had a fantastic sense of humour and we enjoyed a laugh as well as helping each other out.
Simon had already made an appointment at a bank so I tagged along and managed to get myself an Australian bank account before we visited Kings Park with botanical gardens and great views across the city. We met up with Bruno, a professional photographer who gave Allan and myself some great tips as we took loads of photos of our ‘guinea pig model’ Simon. He was such a good sport!
On the way back we called at Heirisson Island, a piece of land in the centre of Swan River, were we were able to get up close to the 6 female kangaroos, made possible because there were no males around.
The next day after getting another task ticked off my list – getting a SIM card we went out to Freemantle on the train. We did the tour of the now decommissioned prison which was very informative and brought home how inhumane the conditions really were. The growing discontent of prisoners culminated in a riot in 1988, guards were taken hostage and a fire broke out causing almost 2 million pounds worth of damage; the prison finally closed in 1991.
Passing a football ground as the rain cleared we were told we could have free entry and even got a local to explain the Ozzy rules…although still not sure I understand fully.
Around the next corner was the markets, obviously nothing like Asia but still very interesting with a great atmosphere. I saw a stand selling local honey, not realising at the time that I would actually get to work at the very same farm!
While walking through the main street of Cappuccino Strip, known internationally as the centre of fine dining, we met Alexis a French guy who later came to live with us. We carried on past the beautiful buildings to the Round House, the oldest building still standing in Western Australia, where we were locked up in the stocks and given a sentence for an alleged crime.
We then walked alongside the cold beach, although it didn’t deter one of the locals entering the water which must have been freezing! The day ended catching up with some of the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games.
Another train journey took us to Swan Valley where we watched kayaks and speed boats racing as well as being entertained by a band and a cookery demonstration. It was here that I received an exciting phone call about a job; unfortunately it didn’t amount to anything as they hadn’t read my CV properly – disappointing and frustrating. I have applied for so many.
Sunday I was keen to get to church and found Riverview which has close ties to Hillsong (that I am familiar with) they are in the middle of expansion, taking their congregation from 2000 to 4000+. Brian part of the tech pack-down team offered me a lift back. He was a great guy originally from NZ and shared some of his experiences about working in Malaysia, Thailand and London. He wished me well and said that I would succeed in OZ; it was one of the nicest things I had heard in such a long time and boosted me no end as the search for work was not too successful and beginning to get me down.
Back at the house Alexis told me of some charity work, for which I would be paid, so after some calls the following day I got up at 6am, signed myself up, had some training and stood for the rest of the day outside a supermarket with my Samaritans collection tin. One of the guys I worked alongside had been doing this work for 3 years and made a good living but all day I wrestled with my conscience. Was it right to take a percentage of the takings??? At one point a guy coming out of the supermarket actually asked me what I earned, being my first day I wasn’t able to answer but it didn’t help me to feel any easier. Finally the day came to an end, I was collected and we counted out the takings. I had been given a target and had surpassed it; it turned out I was the second highest ‘earner’ of the day. But I didn’t feel like I had ‘earned ‘it and it made me feel very uncomfortable. After a sleepless night, praying for guidance, I phoned in to say I wouldn’t be going back. One of the guys questioned me on my reasons, accusing me of just being lazy – he really had no idea!
Over the next few days there were a few interesting job opportunities one which involved being marooned on an island in the middle of nowhere for 6 months. With nothing suitable being on offer I decided it was time to move on. I made a phone call to do some WWOOFING (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and set off to do some Bee Keeping.
I want to thank all the people in England that were in contact with people here in Australia on my behalf looking for work for me. I really appreciate it but it seems there is a recession on here too and the back-packing jobs that used to be on offer are now being taken by the locals who are struggling, which is only right.