Christmas, NY and a whole lot of work

13 Jan

Christmas and New Year pretty much passed us by – it just felt wrong having them in summer time! We had a barbie for tea on Christmas Day

and a long-staying guest at my hotel bought me a bottle of Baileys so that served as lunch and then watched the utter rubbish that was on tv (any good programmes here go on the Aussie equivalent of Sky so all the free channels are left with are reruns of To the Manor Born and Doctors. Dire!). There was an amazing electrical storm out to sea when we popped to my friend’s house for a drink though. New Years was spent in much the same way – when a pint costs $10 in a pub – £6.50 – and you only earn $350 a week, going out loses much of its appeal as after rent and food, $10 is pretty much all we have left! Craig marked our two year anniversary which falls on New Year’s Eve in typically romantic fashion by falling asleep at about 9pm so I watched Sydney’s fireworks (they’re two hours ahead) by myself and then went to bed just after 10. Bah humbug.

Martin emailed from back home to say it is -5 in the mornings…whereas Broome has just had its hottest December since records began, with highs of 44 and an average night time temp of 27. Even the sea is 32 degrees all year round. ‘Hot’ has now become an emotion:

‘How are you?’

‘Hot.’

‘How are you feeling?’

‘Like I’m on fire.’

‘What do you want to do tonight?’

‘Sit in a bucket of ice water, in the freezer. Or die.’

Gets a bit repetitive after a while! I think it’ll be a shock to the system going home…at least the coldest part of their weather is pretty much over now but will have to stock up on woolly things just in case :) So with our physical work, lack of funds and the weather, Broome is turning into an excellent test of endurance. But once we’ve earned enough cash and stayed put long enough to become Aussie residents for tax purposes (end of March – meaning instead of getting taxed at 32.5%…ouch…we get an $18k tax free allowance and then 22% on everything else, meaning we should get a nice refund when we leave Oz) we will finally be able to travel again. Getting up to go to work every day is hugely overrated and astonishingly, not something I have missed one tiny, tiny bit. But it does mean that when we get back to England we will hopefully not have to live in a box immediately so it will worth it in the end. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway as I scrub the loos.

As it’s the wet season here, there aren’t many tourists so I only spend 3-5 hours cleaning a day which doesn’t earn much so I got another job in a bar for the evenings. It’s an Oirish pub (or meant to be) so everyone who comes in asks me which part of Ireland I’m from…except the guy who said he liked my Dutch accent the other day! This has backfired slightly as the other girl I clean with is going to Melbourne for 6 weeks, meaning I clean the entire hotel by myself which can take 6-8 hours depending on how busy it is. Which leaves an hour to cycle home, have something to eat, shower for the nineteenth time that day – it’s a wonder I’ve got any skin left – and cycle in the opposite direction to the pub to begin another 4-8 hour shift. I am looking forward to the weight just dropping off me as a result of all this exertion! Our housemates lent us their car whilst they visited family in Perth for three weeks and it was absolute bliss not having to cycle everywhere. I think the first day we just drove round with the aircon on marvelling at how little time it took to get anywhere and going to twenty different places just because we could :)

Other than that, we’ve been plagued by monster bugs

…been catching fish (this is one of mine, my second fish in my whole life! Look how enormous he is!)

WOW! LOOK AT THE SIZE OF IT! He made a lovely fish finger. (He didn’t really, we chucked him back. It seemed like child abuse to eat him).

….playing lawn bowls as part of my work’s Christmas party

the lovely fools I work with!

…and enjoying the rain when it does finally come

It’s been an interesting week as there was a cyclone which for a while, looked like it might hit Broome (it didn’t, it hit further south). The nearby oil rigs all shut down and all the men who worked on them came to stay at the hotel where I work in the bar. They hadn’t been on dry land for a month so several of them got stuck into the beers despite knowing they could be called back the next morning. Oil rigs have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to alcohol – members of staff are breathalysed on the helipad before being flown back to the rigs. One person had alcohol in his blood and was sacked on the spot…from his $260,000 a year job. Hope that beer was worth it…

On Wednesday we will have been travelling for a whole year, which is an amazing thought.

NYE 2011

This time last year we were gathering up all our bags to get on the train to London to stay with Gemma and Joe for the last few days before our flight, tying up all the loose ends – or not!, saying goodbye to my lovely dog Holls and all our friends and family and trying not to burst with excitement. We were dressed in coats, hats, jumpers and boots and our bags were not woefully overstuffed like they are now :) We didn’t have a plan of where we were going, or how long we were going to go for, what we were going to do or when but looking back over this blog, we have had an awesome year despite being away our friends and family…we’ve done some amazing things, ate fantastic food, rescued a puppy, ridden elephants and camels, got food poisoning a rather extravagant number of times, met lovely people, worked hard, caught tropical diseases, put on weight, lost weight, drank Laolao with a dead lizard in it, nearly pickled ourselves in various different climates and temperatures and were real life cowboys for three months in the Outback. 2012 was our Year of Adventure…2013 is likely to be our Year of Bankruptcy and Harsh Reality, but we’re not quite ready for that yet. Please sir, can I have some more?

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