Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life Regarding Australia (Part 6 of 137)

The first icebreaker of my job was a Wednesday afternoon. I had stayed in my hotel room all day, venturing out only once to walk around. I even swam on the roof and took photos. I had all my lost bags now (they were delivered to my room). I wore my best-looking shirt and expensive shorts (I bought from the mall in Ft. Smith a few weeks before).

I walk to the office, which is in a weird mall-like complex and I try to pull open the door. Everything is not as it seems. I try the door again and Cherryn opens it from the inside, telling me to push. I smile and probably go red in the face... good at first impressions. I sit down with all of the employees of Reef Check Australia (all waiting for me). There is my boss, a beautiful thirtysomething with fair skin; a blue-eyed blond; and a dirty brunette with long, curly hair and nice legs. I don't remember what is said, but I remember trying to make eye contact with everyone I could. I remember Tara looking away in a coy way. She was young, I guess. Jo, when I looked at her, was more of a shark.

We go out for drinks across the seaway. There is going to be a lot of walking in Australia, but I do not know this yet. On Palmer Street, the bar is called Rhino, and all of us sit at a sidewalk table. Jos (my boss) tells us we "interns" need to find some good college parties and meet people. "Goat parties" or "pig parties" are occasions where said animal is thrown on a fire (to be consumed or desecrated). It seems that Jo has already met a guy-friend, and Tara is too destitute to explore. I never hear about any of these parties during my stay...

We eventually leave Rhino and head toward the yacht club (not far). I see a man who looks just like one of my best friends... beard, height and eyes. I tell him this, not realizing until much later that it is Jos' main squeeze. I meet a few others, and then we interns decide to go to Tara's hostel. We are all drunk by this time. It's pitch black, and the swimming pool is darkened. Tara swims while we watch.

Suddenly, it starts raining. Hard. There are no places to take shelter on the rooftop pool (a theme?) above the Indian restaurant and we are all soaked. It is a good hostel, and I plan on moving there.

Jo and I leave the walk to her hostel in the pouring rain. We skip down Palmer, past the upscale pubs and restaurants. I yell to some older people having trouble with their umbrellas. "It's raining, who cares?" They reply under their breath about hoonish behavior.

Jo and I walk and walk to her hostel, which is downtown across the bridge. We finally make it, and she tells me she has a television. She says "hi" to some big Islander looking neighbors and opens her room. Me and Jo shake hands, laughing (both cross-eyed drunk) and part ways at her door. It's 1 AM.

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