From Austin to Oz. I'm planning to flee the country for 7 months - working for 4 and traveling for 3.
Departure = 03 Sep 2003 / Re-entry = 03 Apr 2004

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I was called a "seppo" today

I was hired at Caxton St. Catering on 15 Nov for a four-week stint. I have had 4 shifts since 15 Nov. And, that's it. I haven't had any shifts since, including next week, which would have been my fourth & last week, had I any hours to work, which once again, is zero. And, my connection with Caxton is now one for the history books. So, for 2.5 of 4 weeks, I had a "non-job"; I am officially employed, but I don't work. No work = No money. Dag. Oh, well, it was a great learning experience.

Fortunately, not one to rest on my laurels, I found work last week thru a professional hospitality recruitment agency, a "temp agency" for chefs, waiters, banquet/event staff, etc. Pinnacle People needed 50 people to work the bars and food stalls at The Gabba for a 5-day test cricket match between Australia and India from 04-08 Dec. (The Gabba is Brisbane's cricket field, short for "Wooloongabba", the suburb where the field is located.) Pinnacle just needed bodies, no experience necessary. Fortunately, I meet those two criteria, so I was in. Today was my first of two days slingin' plastic cups of XXXX Gold and Hahn's Light to the masses of blokes who fork up A$4.70 for the former and A$4.30 for the latter. I worked with four women, 3 Aussies and one quebecoise (French Canadian) who, like me, is on a working holiday visa.

Eight point five hours later, our day was done. It was heaps of fun, actually. Everyone loves the bartender.

I didn't get to see any of the cricket match, tho. Maybe tomorrow.

Things that I have learned today:

* When someone orders a "rum & coke", he means a Bundaberg rum and Coca-Cola, not a Bacardi Rum & Coke. The first few rum & Cokes that I made were with Barcadi. Coming from North America, rum = Bacardi. In Australia, rum = Bundaberg (or "Bundy", for short), Australia's national rum made in Bundaberg (in the heart of sugarcane country, just a few hours' North of Brisbane)
* XXXX beer is called "banana juice" because XXXX is made in Queensland (Brisbane, actually) and QLD is famous for its bananas.
* The carrier trays that hold four plastic cups cost A$0.60/each. Forces people not to waste them.
* Above the soda dispensers, there are spirit dispensers that release 30ml of hard liquor every time the button is pressed, located below the upturned bottle. Perfect amount every time. No messy shot glasses to deal with.
* Aussie men have great queue manners. No pushing, shoving, cutting in line, stealing beer, griping about the wait, etc. Nada. I give heaps of respect to the Aussies for that, even when a bit tipsy.
* Women don't really buy beer. They get men to do it.
* Coins/change is called "shrapnel", as in "I've got a pocketful of shrapnel, here." (I like it. I think that I'll start using that one.)

PS: So what is a "seppo"? Aussie English also incorporates some Cockney-style rhyming slang. Thus, using the nickname for any American ("Yankee"), then shortening it to "Yank", then rhyming it with "septic tank", and finally shortening it to "seppo", some Aussie block tapped me with a nickname that takes four steps to create. "Seppo" is not derogatory. More on the unique characteristics of Aussie English, soon.


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