<<  Byron Bay, 14-Dec-2013  >>

"Breaking news" from Down Under

Pans and plates, visa issues, a new minivan and a new surf board. Irene.

I’m working these days. Plates, pans, pots, ladles, whisks, cutlery, baking trays – that’s my world.
After they fired the other dishwasher and I had to work all the shifts my hands fell apart, I literally lost half of my skin on my palms and fingers, from being soaked in water 10 hours a day and being burnt by the hot water. That’s when I turned gay and got me a wide selection of hand cream and protective cream and pair of rubber gloves (na ja, gummihandschuh!).

When I don’t work I do programming. I’m generating global wind patterns, climate and vegetation on the Earth and subsequently on random planets. Very interesting stuff! :-D I’ll come back to it later in some blog post.

I surf little. The waves usually suck and I’m too tired to go surfing. But at least I can go surfing more easily now because…

…we bought a minivan. From one of the families where Irene is cleaning (and actually also teaching Spanish). It’s 1990 Toyota Tarago. It looks in good condition but the truth is that it’s not in such a fancy state. They told us couple of things that had to be fixed and actually the second day after we bought it we already had to bring it to a mechanic because the alternator was dead, but luckily it didn’t cost too much to fix it, because the mechanic managed to get a second hand piece. Anyway he already told us another thing that has to be fixed soon, otherwise the alternator will break again. Oh yeah, the pleasures of second hand car.
We bought it because Irene needs it for her “business”. As she couldn’t find any work she is earning money by cleaning houses. She put an advertisement to a local newspaper and now people are calling her when they need some cleaning. She has a nice portfolio of “loyal customers” as she calls them. You should see her, she really looks like a business woman when managing her “company”. :-D And because her business is growing and the customers are spread around nearby cities and she had to hitch hike all time, we bought this minivan because the family was selling it very cheaply, so most probably we will be able to sell it with profit when we leave. In the meantime we can use it for trips around Byron and I can use it to get me and my surfboard to the beaches.
The woman who owned this van is a very karmatic creature and as a result the van has totally cool registration plate: ZEN 456. And there is also this sticker “That was ZEN, this is TAO”. Wow, zen-linguistic jokes rule! :-)
So we have a ZEN mobile. Sweet.

One of the first chance to use our ZEN mobile was when Irene’s brother’s best friend from Spain came to visit us as he was traveling in Australia for 3-4 weeks, and so while he was here in Byron Bay we all (me, Irene, Olga, our friends Maria and Helen, this guy Antonio and his Australian friend Johnny) went for a little trip to Mynion Falls. The waterfall was basically off, as there was no rain last weeks, so there was just a bit of water dripping, but the scenery - a sheer cliff with over 100m drop off and the jungle around – were beautiful. We did a bit of walking in the forest and it would be a great forest for some B-grade horror movie about haunted forest.

Another breaking news from the Down Under: are visa was prolonged.
Our visa was about to expire on 16.12.2013, or more precisely, we had to leave Australia for at least a day on 16.12.2013. Our visa expires in March, but every 3 months we have to leave the country. Because Australia is not an easiest country to leave, everything is far away and the flights are expensive, especially before Christmas, we asked (and paid a ridiculously high fee cca 220 EUR) for prolongation of visa. Luckily, the Australian Immigration Office doesn’t read this blog or my Facebook profile and so regardless of my tourist visa non-compliant activities over here they granted us visa prolongation so that we don’t have to leave the country.

Yet another breaking news:
My wife sent me to buy milk to supermarket.
45 minutes later I came home with milk... and a surfboard.
I'm like a man from an old joke 
But come on, it's not my fault that a guy was selling a board right outside the supermarket.

The Gay Koala surf board unfortunately suffered a sad loss of one fin, so I bought a "new“ surf board. When we were moving to the garage, I left Gay Koala in the hostel for 2 days before I picked it up, and some idiot broke one of the fins, so although it is still usable, but with only 2 fins it sucks. So I got me this board that the guy was selling in front of the supermarket. It’s way too small for me, but I decided to give a try, or sell it later.

Enough of breaking news, here’s something else:
After Irene finally find a job (well, that actually is a breaking news!) and started to wash the dishes few evenings a week and I got my first Saturday evening off since I have started to work, I went out, while Irene was working and suddenly Australia was exactly was it had been before I met Irene: weird, emotionally flat place of little interest for me. It took only few minutes and I regained the feeling that I had had in Australia before I had met Irene, that compared to fully loaded destinations like India, Nepal and Indonesia, Australia has little to offer to me. This does not mean that I’m addicted to Irene and I cannot survive without her, in fact I have lots of things to do, especially my programming, this simply means that if Irene wasn’t here, I would simply run away from Australia right now and would go somewhere else, somewhere where I could do my stuff while living cheaply, like Asia or Central America. It is Irene who sparks up Australia for me and makes is actually a nice place. And it’s also thanks to her that I have necessary determination to work here and earn money for further travels. But the truth is, that apart from the opportunity to earn the money, I don’t feel any need to stay in Australia for one day more. But with Irene, this place is great! It’s amazing what presence of somebody else can do to a place.

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak