A Travellerspoint blog

Day 251 - 255 - Memoirs From A Strawberry Farm P7


Monday I had to get up at 4.25am, as I had stupidly decided that I didn't want to part with my job so would catch a train to Caboolture & get picked up by Sonia. This was difficult enough but with lack of sleep due to our inconsiderant French roomates & our bed being practically on the train tracks it wasn't surprising I fell asleep on the train! Luckily I managed to wake up at the station & catch my lift to the field to work a 6.30-3.30pm shift. The extra travel took its toll though. I didn't get back to the hostel till 5ish & fought to stay awake as Vicky told me about her unsuccessful house & job hunting & meeting Gabriel to give him his passport he'd forgotten.

Tuesday was a relaxing day off spent wandering round town, chilling at the hostel chatting to other backpackers & enjoying the pool.

Wednesday was another long train journey to Caboolture with an Irish guy, also working at the farm staying in town called Shaun. Sonia picked us both up & we worked 6.30-1pm.

Thursday was another day off so consisted of a long lie in, nice walk round the botanical gardens for lunch, buying skype headphones so we could ditch the huge cumbersome ones we'd bought in Vietnam & hop on a ferry to view an appartment across the river.

Friday was the last day on the field. Belinda, one of the hands, had been left in charge & Cliff, one of the supervisors was quite helpful. The day was short & hot, Belinda calling finish as I was halfway through my first row of the second field. The 12.30pm finish was strange but killing the fields were over a month overdue so not surprising. I was back at the hostel relaxing by 2.30pm.
After lunch we walked round the shops then caught a train to Elimbah & were picked up by Hendrick in the evening. The reason for this was the big goodbye party Cheesecake had decided to throw at his place. The chilled atmosphere was accompanied by delicious home-made food - lasagne, quiche, rice 7 spicy korean dishes followed by apple & strawberry crumble. Sonia 7 her fella Eric turned up & we played drinking games till 2ish when I passed out on the sofa bed inside.

Posted by Eemail2004 02:36 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 245 - 250 - Memoirs From A Strawberry Farm P6


Tuesday we were forced to work in the most difficult conditions yet. Heavy rain soaked us as we worked lashing us with the strong winds & then came the thunderstorms. Now I've heard people survive lightening strikes but wasn't keen on putting it to the test, especially as I was probably the tallest thing on the landscape for miles & I was encased in metal! So I was very relieved when Sonia called a halt & we abandoned our trolleys, making a dash for our cars. The drive back was down right scary as torrential rain brought visibility of the road to zero. A brief pause in the weather allowed us to complete our journey & get inside before another barrage knocked out the power & water!
In the evening Daniel & Gabriel fetched pizzas from Dominos as we couldn't cook & we sat outside enjoying chatting & drinking especially with new arrivals Yan & Laura, Hendrick's friends from Germany & a Brit Alex, who sounded just like the legendary comedien Alan Davies!

Wednesday was another windy day & we were faced with a trolley appocalypse. The storm had not only tipped most of our trolleys but also blown them across several rows, sending trays & seats flying everywhere. It took fifteen minutes to clear up. We finished our half done rows & did afew others, ducking as WWIII took place between Daniel & Hendrick squishy fruit style. At the end of the day me & Hendrick pre-empted Daniel in a cunning pincher movement, pouring whole trays of rotten strawberries on him then legged it as he was out for blood, chasing me across the rows & splattering me with the disgusting fruit. It had probably been one of the best days on the field but sadly was also the last for the two Swedes.

Thursday was a tough day feeling sick from ingesting goon the night before but nothing special.

Friday was Vicky's last day. Hendrick drove us to work & the day went quite fast, but not so well. Halfway through I somehow lost control of my trolley & crashed into poor Alex, spilling his trays of fruit. In almost comedic fashion Vicky then lost control of her trolley as the wind caught the poncho sail & sent it careening down her row, her chasing after it. Too late she reached it as it plummeted down a crater becoming a twisted mess, sending the precious red gold flying. It took four of us to salvage some of the fruit. Luckily she only lost two trays.
After lunch me, Alex & Hendrick drove to Glasshouse Mountains Lookout, walked the 800m trail down through the forest & back up in a circuit then drove to the foot of Mt Ngungun. It took us an hour to climb up the steep path, which in places became rocky steps, not good for people wearing sandals. At the top we had an amazing view of the landscape, making out the farm & several other mountains. We enjoyed the peace & serenity perched on rocks then raced back down as it got dark. That evening Vicky said goodbye to Agron & we ended the night drinking & singing.

Saturday was a quick & enjoyable day & the evening we said goodbye to our house
mates & were picked up by uncle Kev to stay overnight at his place.

Sunday we enjoyed a lie-in till 8ish & a healthy breakfast & nice chat.
Later on he took us to Bribie for bbq sausages & canoeing, & bought my trusty spork from Aldis for $10. Bargain!
In the evening we were dropped off at the elusive Yellow Submarine (more a big house than hostel), snuggly tucked away in the basement & were just in time for the free Sunday feed of salad, thick Aussie-style burgers, bread & gravy. We were stuffed.

Posted by Eemail2004 02:01 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 238 - 244 - Memoirs From A Strawberry Farm P5


Tuesday was our day off so we managed a lie-in till 7.30am. Today was to be a fun, tourist day. Daniel & Gabriel drove us down the road to Australia Zoo laiden with snacks for 9am. The entrance fee was $54 each but the crafty Swedes were able to blag student discounts!
At 9.30am we were wandering round looking at lizards & otters & bizarrely a woman walking a possum on a lead. The cute, furry creature seemed to enjoy it especially as hoards of children crowded round to pet it. Further on there was tortoise feeding, a tazmanian devil (cute but extremely ferocious) & dingos - that by all appearances were skinny dogs. Next we made our way to the Crocoseum Show held in a huge circular stadium in the centre of the park. Seated near the top we squinted down to the arena, watching big snakes swim gracefully through a pool, exotic birds of prey fly around between & above us; a poor new girl losing her birds during audience participation & Acco, a huge croc demonstrating his cunning & speed on 3 guides watching him & bravely splashing the water to attract him.
Strolling away from the show we came across cute koalas sleeping in an enclosure on bare branches seemingly oblivious to the masses of snap-happy strangers intruding on their sanctum.
In a different part of the park echidnas strolled along (odd-shaped, long-snouted porcupines/hedgehogs) & we were able to feed the grey kangaroos (Daniel named one Daisy). We crossed the wetlands containing tons of lizards & exotic birds, had a picnic lunch in South East Asia, then spent time watching the elephants & the tiger show where the latter behaved like big, cute cats chasing footballs, playing with rope, swimming & chasing the handlers playfully.
We watched a cute red panda, petted koalas & fed the smaller, red kangeroos. We passed through the avery, observed a pig-like creature called a wombat & finished by identifying the 10 most poisonous snakes & eyefully watching alligators from the safety of our platform.
It had been a fun day & thankfully the weather had held. In the evening we all parted at Cheesecake's place, enjoying the beer, bbq & being wrestly into his freezing pool fully clothed!

Wednesday was a difficult adjustment back into hard labour but we managed the 6am to 4.30pm shift, just. In the evening we hung out with Hendrick & met his ex-roomie Darren, a British plumber.

Thursday we got up 5ish & worked 6-12pm. For once we were ahead of the others & completed 4 rows of 25+ trays. After lunch we trained to Brissie to check out the hostels, opting for Yellow Submarine. Unfortunately it was a mile in the opposite direction to where the station guard had told us (lesson learned never ask anyone working for the council for directions). Having found the place we did our now familiar foodcourt bargain shop & caught the train back shortly after.

Friday was a crap day with us struggling to find good fruit through the cloud of flies attracted by the sickly stench of rotten strawberries. The field should have been killed off. The evening got as exciting as me, Daniel & Gabriel put our unused brains to the test on a crossword.

Saturday & Sunday was just work.

Monday the same except Darren left for another job & I attempted to make savory pancakes - disastrously so - if it hadn't been for Daniel's intervention they would have been inedible!

Posted by Eemail2004 01:08 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 230 - 237 - Memoirs From A Strawberry Farm P4


Monday we were glad to find that Agron had finally made the decision to give us designated rows, which meant we were responsible for certain rows & couldn't rely on others to tidy them unlike before. After work we took the train to Brisbane & scooped up several $3 meals from the foodcourts (it was after 5pm) before sorting the travel insurance on gay computers for 210 quid & were back by 8.35pm.

Tuesday we were awakened to the sound of Germans conversing - our new arrivals Hendrick, Stephanie & her boyfriend Paul. Hendrick was chilled out, friendly, spoke good English & got on with everyone. The other two were younger & didn't seem to understand the concepts of living with 10 other people, prefering to speak in German & keeping to themselves most of the time. Still it was nice to have new people especially as work was appalling on both Tuesday & Wednesday thanks to lazy pickers. Still we had a fun time on Wednesday afternoon at Caloundra - swimming, snoozing & eating delicious fish & chips, only slightly ruined by us getting lost driving back, arriving home after 8pm!

Thursday we were so tired we missed our chaos window & were last to mad-dash around making breakfast & lunch. Daniel drove us to work for a reasonable day with less people & decent fruit from correctly cleaned rows. It was so hot Sonia was constantly on a water run to keep us from fainting. Back at the house we enjoyed steak, forked potato & gravy then sang as Hendrick played his guitar. The beer flowed for hours as did the conversation.

Friday & Saturday were unexciting apart from my faithful sandals finally breaking apart - gaffer tape couldn't help this time!

Sunday we worked 6-11 then drove to Morayfield shopping centre where I grabbed some new sandals from Priceless Shoes for $25.

Monday was a long day 6am to 5pm, owing to lots of fruit to pick. We were too exhausted after that to do much!

Posted by Eemail2004 00:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 221 - 229 - Memoirs From A Strawberry Farm P3


Saturday we struggled through a long hot day finishing work around 3pm with 100 trays between the two of us. After a shop at Caboolture we chatted to Emily, her French boyfriend Tony & their two German hanger-ons Alysia & Paul. An hour later people started to arrive from the farm for the reorganized party. At 7.30pm it was in full swing with Dave, the Kiwis, Tom, James, the friendly Japanese Cheesecake (not his name but the close-sounding equivalent), Jun, Steven, our supervisor Sonia & everyone else. Like before me & Vix showed our age by retiring by 10pm while others partied through till 2am.

Sunday I was up by 4.50am but Vix stayed in bed & was the only one lazy enough not to turn up for work. It was an amusing day watching people struggle to pick slowly, nursing hangovers. Karma took over though as the axle on my faithful trolley broke so I had to spend time finding another. The heat made things worse as picking the big fruit became near impossible. As such we broke off at 1pm.

Monday & Tuesday became like others long & hot & difficult, although we were picking better now.

Wednesday began as a typical, hot one but became the weirdest day ever after 9am. We had by now become accustomed to the piercing sun, covering our delicate fruit with our ponchos to keep it from spoiling. What we hadn't expected was gale force winds to build up as the morning progressed, fighting to keep our trays on the trolleys as we were buffeted. It was then that the landscape started to become alien as the colour changed before our eyes. The plants, fruit, trolleys & pickers all blended into the background as a thick, red mist descended on us turning our lush, green field into Mars in minutes. The red dust & heat blasted us as we struggled to breath, unable to comprehend the red sky. Bravely a few of us stayed till 4pm then were picked up by Paul & William to enjoy a bbq at the Irish girls' house.

Thursday, our day off was just spent shopping in Morayfield for a $700 netbook & Vicky's long-awaited hair straighteners.

Friday, Saturday & Sunday were pretty standard except Padrick, Amy, Stephen & Siobhan had left as well as Emily, Tony, Paul & Alissa. The change in dynamic made the days different, as we realised we were becoming the only long-termers - no longer the newbies.

Posted by Eemail2004 23:42 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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