Night Shift Blues
Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
85Trip End Nov 31, 2005
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I went to the jetty one evening with Alexa and the three Aussie bricklaying guys who stay at the hostel, Mark, Scott and Troy, to go "jetty-jumping." It was my idea to go, so I was mercilessly mocked when we arrived and walked out about half a kilometre to a spot where there's a wooden ladder back up out of the sea and I stared down and said, "Oh, man, I don't think I can do this." The guys had actually swum out to the spot and were now doing back flips and somersaults off the top rail of the jetty while Alexa and I stared down
Finally she said, "Look, I'm counting to three, and that is definitely it, we are jumping," and I did. Shockingly cold. We jumped in a bunch of times, the warm wind drying us off between each jump so that the water seemed just as chilly each time we bombed in. As we were walking back down the jetty I spotted two fins curving downwards into the water off to the right---dolphins!
On Wednesday the grape-picking began. For the first day it was only a three hour shift to introduce us to the means and methods of picking. We yawningly piled onto our bus at 5:30 in the morning and drove down through a valley of vineyards north of Margaret River. There were people at the vineyard who came from places other than the Busselton Backpackers, so there were about thirty pickers there to train. We got handed a series of number tags, tupperware buckets, shears, and told to go at it. That was the training: "go pick the grapes. Put them in the bucket. Put your number tag in the bucket." So we were going to be paid by the bucket. For that day we were doing Chardonnay grapes, which are green, and therefore often hard to find amongst the (also green) foliage on the vine.
I carefully counted and by the end of the three hours I'd managed to fill twelve buckets, which I thought was alright, and seemed to be about consistent with what everyone else was managing
At the hostel we shrieked about how we were going to be broke, until Alexa said to three of us, "Look, do you wanna work cleaning the supermarkets at night with me? I can get you jobs. It's $14.50 an hour normally, time and a half on Saturdays, double time Sundays, double time and a half on bank holidays . . . but you do have to work at 2:00 to 8:00 in the morning." We didn't care. We wanted fat paycheques, not $2 a bucket. So we signed on for the cleaning and by that night we were yawning again as we walked through a dark and empty town to the local Action supermarket. Sweeping. More sweeping. A bit of mopping. Back to the hostel in the dawning light.
Last night was the second night and the other two girls Alexa had hired got stoned at 10:00 PM and refused to get up for work at 2:00. So Alexa sacked them and we went off to work, where she taught me how to use the floor buffer, which I detest because it always tries to run away from me and makes me smell of gas fumes. We finished early that night and got out at 5:30, so I managed to get some good sleep in this morning.
Now I have to get into a pattern of finding times to sleep, times to enjoy Busselton, and time to work. I'd like to mix the cleaning with the grape-picking, if it works out to be possible, since I did after all come to the area to pick fruit and would like to say that I'd done it, at least for a bit. But considering that one job starts at two in the morning and the other requires getting up at 4:30, they may not mesh too well.