After such an arduous journey to reach Ko Samui, I finally arrived the following day and was happy to see the place. I comforted my growling tummy by having a bite to eat at an old favorite – Nando’s. Somehow seeing this New Zealand staple in Thailand calmed my scattered nerves.
I messaged Franzi to tell her I had arrived, but she was already lounging on the beach somewhere. I walked around the area and checked out the shops. It was your typical beach-side fare so nothing really caught my eye. I noticed that there weren’t many tourists about, but I suppose the heat kept most people indoors or near a decent-sized body of water.
For the next few days, Franzi and I spent our time at Chaweng Beach. The water was shallow, like most of the beaches in Thailand, and there were plenty of coral formations that didn’t make for easy swimming. People congregated in the scattering of sandy spots just trying to cool off. Some tried their hand at tossing a football around, but the humidity kept activity to a minimum. Mostly, Franzi and I people watched and our entertainment consisted of those trying to sleep off their hangovers on the beach loungers or those flaunting it as they walked up and down the beach. Either way, it was pretty amusing.
After spending a month in Sydney with no really good job prospects on the horizon, I decided to head across the Tasman to visit friends in New Zealand. I spent a couple of days in Christchurch to explore the city and found evidence of the 2011 earthquake everywhere.
All around the CBD, buildings stood vacant and waiting for repairs. Many that collapsed in the earthquake didn’t look much different now. There were fences and barriers keeping the public out of the buildings. Unfortunately, I could find very little evidence that the area would become a vital working center any time soon.
It felt bizarre walking around the CBD during the day as streets were vacant of not only businesses but people. I felt as though I took a wrong turn and was on the set of a post-apocalyptic movie. Some streets were eerily quiet. Broken glass, crumbling cement and other shards of life were strewn about the area.
On a positive note, in an effort to revitalize the CBD, the city erected the Re:START mall, which houses stores, cafes and banks. These businesses have returned to the area inside funky shipping containers on Cashel Street. According to its website, Re:START began with 27 retailers and now boasts more than 50. The space is unique and worth visiting if you’re in the area.
The hunt is on for a job in the city! Well, on the North Shore of the city, if I can help it.
After settling into my new digs in Crows Nest, I began my online job search for anything in hospitality. To be honest, I don’t really want to wait tables again. It was fine in New Zealand because the staff were mostly travelers and people were nice. But, I have a feeling customers in Sydney are a bit different that those we got in Rotorua.
During the first few days of living in Sydney, I sent out several resumes to restaurants in the area. I walked up and down the main drag in Crows Nest to see if any restaurants had posted ads on their windows. The few places that did need help wanted you to have a liquor license, which I didn’t have. I don’t even have a tax ID yet since I haven’t worked a real paying job yet.
I was really hoping a Japanese restaurant I contacted while in Toowoomba would hire me. But when I went in for the interview, I was told they already filled the position. Still, I had a nice talk with the manager and he said he’d keep an eye out.
A few days later I had a trial at a different Japanese restaurant, which was about a 45 to 60 minutes away by foot. The place was pretty small and the wait staff had to do everything, including dressing dishes with various sauces, pouring all drinks and washing glasses. It didn’t seem very hygienic, that’s for sure. Most importantly, the people didn’t seem all that friendly or happy to be working there.
In the end, I passed on that job. Walking to and fro every night would get old pretty quick, and the buses weren’t much help in cutting back on the commute time. I’d just have to keep looking for something better.