18.08.2014 - 06.09.2014
A couple of weeks ago I got my first taste of work in Australia and more to the point my first experience of a banana farm, and it definitely was a welcome change from hanging around the hostel. It actually felt surprisingly great to have to get out of bed on a freezing morning (yes you heard me right) at 5am to get ready for work. Somehow the first couple of days seemed to be both brilliant and mind numbing all at the same time. This I think owed largely to the job I was given and its tedious and repetitive nature. I was the tractor driver and my role was really just to drive in a straight line through the trams of bananas, in first gear and use the biting point to keep up with the people who were picking the bananas in order for the trailer to be within walking distance, which as I say was a little boring at times. But again it was also something that was a brilliant experience, as I never thought I would be driving these old beaten up tractors in the beautiful weather of north Australia. Sounds strange I know and perhaps a tad pathetic, but when am I ever going to have that opportunity again. The days were occasionally broken up by some of the other tasks around the farm, such as hanging the bananas in the shed or getting rid of the empty storks of the bananas, but all just as laborious as the next. I don't want to give off the impression that I am complaining or that I didn't enjoy it at all, as that would be untrue. As I said earlier it was a welcome change from days at the hostel, but more than this was the brilliant weather showing off the amazing landscapes of the farm and the surrounding areas that I was able to admire and appreciate on the journeys backs to the shed perched on the back of the trailer. This was really great thinking time and just time to sit back and take in the amazing journey I am on. There were also some really fun times when Ricky the guy who drove the tractor to the correct paddock decided to absolutely gun it around the farm and bounce me and the other guy on the trailer up and down like rag dolls, but it was hilarious!
Unfortunately that job seemed to be only filling in for someone else and so my second bite at work came this past week in the form of banana picking or more accurately banana humping to give it its proper name and wow was this a physically demanding job. I was constantly on the go, carrying sometimes quite large bunches to the trailer, but again it was so enjoyable and felt good to be so active and another experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Its also good that I can say that I have done it, as I would have hated to have left having worked on a banana farm and not done humping. It also gave me a lot of respect for the people who are self cutters, and that is nothing to do with teenage emo kids, but just the people who both cut the bunch and then carry it to the trailer, as I was just the latter. Think if I did it I would probably cut my head off!
It has not been all work and no play though, with my birthday weekend coming just after my first two days on the farm. I must say that I am not really one for celebrating my birthday in any big way, but this was an amazing weekend and the best birthday weekend I could wish for. The actual day was brilliant with a nice cooked lunch from someone at the hostel, everyone wishing me happy birthday as I walked round the place, the birthday cake my mate made for me and of course the usual Thursday night antics turned up a notch or two. A surprisingly good thing about it was all the people back home on Facebook all wishing me happy birthday, it felt good that people were thinking of me all the way over here and meant a lot. Sunday was another highlight of the weekend, with an impromptu visit to some of the waterfalls of the surrounding area with some of the guys from the hostel. We headed out to Babinda Boulders and Josephine Falls, had a barbecue, swam in the lakes, went down the rock slide and generally had a great day out of the hostel. It was every bit as much fun as the Uncle Brian day, but with a little bit more danger thrown in perhaps. Then yesterday there was also the mini festival that was organised at the hostel complete with tents, wristbands, face painting and of course BEER! It was an absolute riot, as everyone really got into the spirit and made it feel like the festival vibe. The back of E block had been kitted out like a poor mans park stage at Glastonbury, and everyone was loving it. There was that feeling that anything could happen, which is the way it should be. It was good to be doing something different, whilst so inscrutably same as ever.
The fact that I am still waiting for that ever elusive permanent farm job is beginning to give me itchy feet now and the feeling that moving on may be the way forward, but will have to see what this week brings and it will be the things that I described in the last paragraph that would make it a difficult decision to make to move on as it is so much fun here. Got to look after number one though and I will have to bear that in mind.
Keep you posted!