I’ve been home for 6 weeks already. Time. Where does it go? It’s crazy to think that 6 months ago I was all covered in banana sap on a grubby, sweaty, humid, spider infested banana farm in Australia, living in an 8 bed dorm for 3 months, and counting those days away with so much resentment. Now, the days are flying by quicker than I can even imagine.
The boring stuff: To summarise the end of my time in Australia… Hayley and I worked in Dingo, Australia for three months, and it was an interesting experiences to say the least: from baby kangaroos to light aircrafts filling up at the service station, a town with a population of 56 people, one dingy pub with no ambiance in the slightest, lots of hours spent cooking burgers for truck drivers in the roadhouse, mopping kitchen floors, but most importantly at this stage (at the end of a year of travels), we were saving money. I know money isn’t everything in the world, and I try my best to live with only the necessities,but in order to come home and happily settle my feet back down on the sandy shores of Cape Town before starting to look for a job here, money is a necessity!
We’ve finished 6 weeks of our interesting experience of working in the teeny tiny town of Dingo, in Central Queensland, Australia at a Roadhouse/Truckstop/Petrol Garage/Servo. As a reward for reaching the half way mark, Hayley and I took ourselves off to Splendour in the Grass for a week of magical music festival twirling, floating, tambourine jangling, sunshine, happiness, and an overload of musical sensations. Continue reading
To be done with banana farming is a dream come true. We left Innisfail rapidly and happily and headed off to Cairns for a couple of days at Lex’s house (our home away from home). After our final weekend of drinking ample bottles of red wine and doing a final shop of all our necessities, we headed off on a week long road trip down the East Coast of Australia, from Cairns to Rockhampton, and from there, we then inland to a tiny little blip on the map called Dingo: our new home for the next 3 months.
The past 3 months of living in Innisfail and working on a banana farm have probably been the shittiest 3 months of my life. It’s been a roller coaster of squished rats, spider bites, cockroaches, frogs, rat piss and long hours of physical labour, working side by side with the stinkiest Frenchman of all time. To top it all off, I have also been living in one of the worst towns I’ve ever traveled to, in a hostel that I probably wouldn’t recommend to anybody else, ever. The job on the banana farm has been by far the worst job I have ever had (so far), but it has also been the job that I have been most scared to lose. This job, doing 3 months of regional work, enables me to extend my working holiday visa in Australia by an extra year. Continue reading
The only way to truly experience a country as a backpacker, is to meet some locals. The locals will take you to the most intimate secret spots imaginable. They will go out of their way to share their beautiful country with you. When I am at home, and I come across travellers, it is my favourite thing to show them how beautiful Cape Town is. Karma comes back to you. Continue reading
Two weeks ago, the town of Innisfail was in a panic because of a category 5 cyclone headed our way. Although it is incredibly selfish, my mind was secretly hoping that there would be enough devastation to the banana farms that Hayley and I would lose our jobs and have to relocate, but obviously in reality I didn’t want any devastation to be caused for the locals. It was just a little inside pang to get out of here, any excuse would do. The cyclone did hit, but further up the coast in a town called Cooktown. They will have a lot of work to fix up the damage of this natural disaster and its a sad situation for the residents of that town. Every few years, a bad cyclone hits in this region and causes so much damage and loss. A few years ago, cyclone Yasi hit in Innisfail, and it took years for them to redevelop the area. A lot of the houses are relatively old (in Australia terms), and are easily ripped apart by the heavy winds and rain. Luckily for Innisfail, we only got the aftermath of this particular cycle, with some heavy rains. Our bananas won’t be in the best state, but at least the town wasn’t completely wrecked. Selfish reasons aside, I am happy for this town, that it withstood another test from nature.
That was the little bit of excitement that hit our town this past weekend. Other than that, not much news. I’m just slowly but surely counting down the days until my farming career is over. I’ve passed the half way mark now, and its only 6 weeks to go until I a have done enough regional work to be granted my 2nd year working holiday visa.
Banana farming is not for the faint hearted. My heart might be faint. Everyday while I am working, my mind is in a spin. Why am I doing this???? The money is great, 3 months of this regional work and my working visa for Australia gets extended by a 2nd year. All the right reasons. TRAVEL! But still, my mind is starting to doubt that that is enough. I hate every moment of every day here. I’m in week 7 now, with 8 more weeks to go after this. Only 8. I’m almost half way already. But still… sometimes I wonder if it is really worth it.
Why am I doing this????
I’m in Australia, in a dingy little shit hole town (for lack of a better description) called Innisfail. I’m here for the next 3 months. I’m currently in Australia on a 1 year Working Holiday Visa. The Australian Government offers the option of converting the visa into a 2 year Working Holiday Visa in exchange for working for 3 months doing “regional work”. Regional work can be anything from farm work to construction, but it has to be in a regional area and has to be primary work, as in actually picking fruit or packing it or physically building houses etc. Working in a construction office as an Architect or something of the sorts would not classify as “regional work”. So here I am, in Innisfail, working as a banana farmer. Continue reading
- Mike and I went to a rally in Hyde Park. The rally was against the new lockout laws that the government is trying to introduce in Sydney. Basically, there was a fight in the famed Kings Cross party area in the city, and a guy was sadly killed. Now the media has basically forced the hand of the government, to pass a new law that night clubs stop selling alcohol at 1:30am, and close all night clubs at 3:00pm. To me this seems acceptable because at home in South Africa, it is relatively similar, but I understand that it’s not what they are used to in this huge metropolitan city.
- My cousin, Anton, and his wife and their gorgeous little 19 month old twins also live in Sydney, so I spent a night with them and got to meet my second cousins. I also got to catch up with Anton after not seeing him in about 8 years. So happy. Family is always family.
- The famous Bondi Beach is really quite beautiful, but also rather over saturated with people. On this particular Saturday afternoon, I met up with an old friend from High School, Natalie. It’s been about 6 year since we last saw each other. Well, whenever the last time I was in London was, that is when I last saw her. She lives here now. It was really interesting to chat to her about different visa options if I ever decide to settle down in Australia permanently, and obviously just to catch up in general.
- The Sydney Opera House is of course a must see tourist attraction, and with my interest in Architecture, it was incredible to be standing next to this huge piece of art, carefully crafted against the skyline of Sydney and the harbour. There is a bar just next to the Opera House, called Opera Bar, and it’s a must see for anybody visiting the area. I went alone and had a beer, to the delights of an American family snickering next to me about how they feel so sorry for that girl sitting all by herself. My patience for American’s is still very very low, because every time I come across American’s, they prove to be the identical mould of the stereotype that they are perceived to be (bar a few special cases, where I have met and made amazing friends with).
- Back in the days when I grew up in Johannesburg (between my age of 0-11 years), we were good family friends with the Zock Family. One of their sons now lives in Sydney, so of course our mothers co-ordinated for us to meet up. Him and I went out for beers and dinner, and I spoke so much that instead of waking up with a hangover the next day, I woke up with an aching jaw from all the chatting I’d been doing. Poor guy, having to listen to me nonstop chatting for hours. It really was a great night though and I’m happy that I saw him.
And then off I went again, as I do, always moving, never staying still in one place for too long. The next flight out took me to Cairns to meet up with my friend Hayley (a girl I met in South America), and the two of us will be going out and searching for jobs on farms, fruit picking, for the next three months. More to come on that in the next post……