Posted by: Mandy | October 5, 2009

Quick Update

Claire and I survived the dingoes on Fraser Island!  We had a great time camping and were with an awesome group of people for the most part.  I’ll be doing a more detailed post with pics on that later as we just got back to the hostel about 2 hours ago.  Showering after being on a sand island for 3 days was amazing, haha.  We’re heading to Byron Bay at 8 am tomorrow and have booked 4 nights in Nomad’s hostel there.  Love and miss everyone!

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Posted by: Mandy | September 30, 2009

The Last Blog I Will Ever Write About A Zucchini

Despite what may be portrayed in this blog, the majority of my time spent in Bundaberg took place on Arnicar’s zucchini farm…not various pubs.  So here’s what went on at the farm I spent about 6 days a week at for 3 months 🙂

First we’d all drive off to work at 6 am in one of the lovely hostel vans.  This is Shitbox, and yes that is the van’s official name and it is called that for a reason.

Work Van

Work Van

Then we’d walk up and down rows and rows of zucchinis, cutting them off and filling buckets…

Zucchinis as far as the eye can see...

Zucchinis as far as the eye can see...

Brad comes around in the ute and picks up our buckets full of zucchinis.

Bundaberg 157

Zucchinis go into the washer…

Bundaberg 158

And come out into the wheel, where the 5 us will stand around at tables and pack boxes until there are no more zucchinis.

Bundaberg 159

To give you an idea of how many zucchinis we’ve been packing, we pick about 8-10 buckets per row.  6 of us pick a bay and a half each day, there’s 12 rows to each bay.  You can do the math 🙂

The Zucchini Crew

The Zucchini Crew

Posted by: Mandy | September 24, 2009

The Escape Plan

As I was walking down a row of zucchinis this morning, for probably the 700th time at least since I arrived in Bundaberg, I thought to myself,”I’d really love it if I never had to pick another freaking(something like freaking anyway) zucchini again.”  This of course got me to thinking about how much longer I want to stay in Bundaberg.  Which happens to be not long at all.

Claire and I are not really fond of the new people in our unit.  It’s not that they’re bad people, it’s mostly that they are replacing people that just can’t be replaced.  And the unit has been overloaded with girls, girls who complain about the dirt, who would rather watch Home and Away instead of the Simpsons, and who thought vacationing on Fraser Island was hard work.  I miss my boys.

So Claire and I decided that instead of spending a bunch of money going to Cairns and then having to come back and work for a month or so we are going to skip it (as much fun as it would be).  We are planning on leaving Bundaberg on Thursday, then we’ll be heading to Fraser Island for 3 days, stopping in Noosa, and Byron Bay and maybe a few other places on our way to Sydney.  As of this moment, we’re contacting our friends in Sydney looking for job leads and places to crash 🙂

Bundaberg has definitely had its moments and I’ve met so many people here that I’m grateful to have met, but our time is up here and it is definitely time to move on.

Posted by: Mandy | September 21, 2009

We’re on Holiday!

Tinkerbell aka John left on Saturday, which was sad, but we got to see him at the pub that night.  And Marc is leaving on Wednesday so we are still losing people 😦  Two English girls have moved in though, Kim and Kelly, they’re really nice.  They like to do dishes and clean moldy food out of the fridge too so there’s a bonus too!

Claire and I almost got kicked out of the hostel last week along with 17 other people because John, the hostel manager, is an unhappy man with anger issues who decides he needs to go on a power trip occasionally.  But things have calmed down considerably this week anyway.  Claire and I might be going up to Cairns though to meet up with Kristian, Dan, and James for a mini vacation from the hostel.

Nothing much new to write about, still picking zucchinis 6 days a week 🙂  Dan and James are going to be stopping through Bundy this weekend and I can’t wait to see them again even if it’s only for a short time.

Oh and I had to post this here, if you recall my happy Monday picture, this is the entire crew decked out in their ladies night attire 🙂

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Posted by: Mandy | September 16, 2009

You Remind Me of Home

On Sunday Claire and I went with some of our friends from the hostel to Duke’s organic farm. It’s one of the farms that some of the backpackers work on from the hostel. Duke’s has a lake on their property and the farmer, Darren, was having a barbeque near the lake for the people who worked on the farm and their friends. It was nice to have something fun to do on Sunday since the boys had just left.

The lake was so nice; it reminded me a lot of going to the lake at home. They had a floating raft in the water and a “speedboat” complete with tubes, wakeboards, and kneeboards. The speedboat was interesting, Claire and I had heard about it before we got to the lake that day. When we got there we basically saw this one seat little boat thing with an outboard motor on it, not quite the speedboat we were expecting, but it got the job done.

The food at the barbeque was amazing; the farmers here really know how to have a good barbeque. There were bbq ribs and lamb chops, chicken skewers, sausages, and plenty of beer. Almost everyone had a turn on the tube. It was a lot of fun, but my knees were completely black and blue the next at work from it. Claire and I also got to see a baby goanna in one of the trees while we were there. It was about 3 feet long and quite good at climbing the tree. It was cool seeing one in the wild; I’ve only seen them on Crocodile Hunter before 🙂

I was back on zucchinis today, I thought I’d be happy to be back on them, but I actually prefer sweet potatoes now. My feet and jeans didn’t get soaked and I didn’t stink like the zucchini fertilizer 😛 And there were so many mosquitoes in the field this morning! That’s something from home I didn’t miss…

Posted by: Mandy | September 14, 2009

Happy Monday

Bundaberg 092

Posted by: Mandy | September 11, 2009

Unit 8 Goodbyes

This weekend and the upcoming week are going to be really crappy for lack of a better word.

Practically everyone who was here when Claire and I first got here is leaving for other places in the upcoming weeks.  This called for an outing to the bar, excuse the follwing pictures, everyone was acting quite giddy that night.

Kristian is getting on a bus for a 20 hour bus ride to Cairns at 11pm tonight.  I’m going to miss my fellow Norwegian.

Norwegian Love

Norwegian Love

Dan and James are leaving Saturday morning which I have not been looking forward to since the middle of August when they were originally supposed to leave.

Dan and James with Mal's Harvest Crew

Dan and James with Mal's Harvest Crew

Marc is leaving in about 2 weeks and John is leaving sometime soon also.  It’s going to be quite somber around the unit for awhile, but hopefully we will get some cool new people coming in.

Part of the Unit 8 Family :)

Part of the Unit 8 Family 🙂

Posted by: Mandy | September 11, 2009

Hostel Olympics

Yesterday, John from our unit decided to make up something called Hostel Olympics.  The units and the house would compete against each other in 6 events.  The events were consisted of tug of war, a three legged race, carrying an egg on a spoon, a slow bike race, dodge ball, and a vegetable hunt.  As you can tell the boredom that comes along with the routine of being at a work hostel leads to some creative ideas to keep things fun and remind people we’re still on vacation.

Dan (our team captain) and John represented Unit 8 in the tug of war match, which we lost quite quickly ending with Dan and John in the hostel swimming pool.

Tinkerbell and Dan

Tinkerbell and Dan

Claire and I were the participants for the three legged race.  The race ended at the swimming pool where you had to untie your legs and jump in.  The idea of jumping in a swimming pool was not very appealing at the moment so we came in last…

At the Starting Line for the 3 Legged Race

At the Starting Line for the 3 Legged Race

Kristian was our guy for egg in a spoon race, the Unit 12 girls had been practicing all day so we didn’t really stand a chance in that one.  I think Kristian came running over the finish line with a spoon sans the egg.

Yes, one of the guys is dressed like a woman...

Yes, one of the guys is dressed like a woman...

The slow bike race finally brought some glory to Unit 8.  The point of a slow bike race is to reach the finish line in the slowest time possible without setting your feet down, falling over, or riding out of the lane.  Dan won that event for us by at least 5 minutes, it helped that he rides BMX, haha.

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Dodgeball was also quite intense, we came in second with Claire, Marc, and John playing for the Unit.

We were in third place overall at this point, but the veggie hunt was kind of a disaster.  One of the judges hid zucchinis with the Unit numbers on them inside the house and the goal was to find the zucchini with your unit number on it.  Claire put forth a good effort, but I think there was some cheating and our zucchini wasn’t found until after the Hostel Olympics had ended.

It was nice to have the entire hostel really get into something together and even the people who didn’t participate in any events had fun watching everyone else.

Posted by: Mandy | September 7, 2009

23

So Friday was my birthday and even though I had to work it was a really nice day.  Before I went to work I got a card from the unit that all the guys and Claire had written in.  John attempted to sing me happy birthday, but it was a little too early in the morning for that, haha.

The zucchini bays that Paul had us picking ran out so Claire and I got put on the sweet potato crew on Monday.  Sweet potatoes kind of suck, I am really going to miss zucchinis.  For sweet potatoes, we have to go up and down the rows and pull up the vines and shake the potatoes off, and then we have to go back over the rows after the vines are pulled up and dig out and pick up all the potatoes and put them into crates.  Picking up the potatoes really isn’t too bad, it is a lot more physical the zucchini picking though.  There are also lots of little critters underneath the chunks of dirt in the field.  I saw a few really big cane toads; found a mouse sitting under some dirt, and a couple big spiders too.

So that is what sweet potato picking entails, packing is worse.  All the potatoes look different so it’s hard to size them.  So I was quite happy when I went to work Friday and the ground was too wet to do sweet potatoes.  Instead Paul had us do a last pick on the old zucchini bays, there wasn’t much to pick so it was incredibly easy.  We packed the zucchinis and helped the other crew plant for awhile which degenerated into a mud fight in the field.  After we finished that Paul had a barbecue for everyone.  The food was so good, he makes his own burgers and they were delicious.  So work was actually fun and easy for once.

I didn’t want to eat pasta on my birthday so Dan and I cooked dinner together.  We made chicken curry and it was so good.  On Saturday, Claire made me a birthday cake and Kristian (his birthday is on Monday) was able to convince the hostel manager to let us drink at the hostel from 6-9 since we usually aren’t allowed to have alcohol.

Birthday People (I cut my thumb slicing tomatoes for the tacos...)

Birthday People (I cut my thumb slicing tomatoes for the tacos...)

So the unit made tacos and we all had dinner together which was really nice (everyone ended up eating the leftovers for breakfast this morning with my birthday cake, haha).  After we hung out at the hostel and drank a bit everyone headed out to the pubs.  It was a pretty excellent birthday.

Posted by: Mandy | August 30, 2009

Elliot Head

Yesterday the hostel drove us out to the beach again.  We went to Elliot Head this time, Claire and I had been there before when it wasn’t really warm yet.  The weather was gorgeous again and it was a beautiful day to be near the ocean.

Elliot Head

Elliot Head

I didn’t really do a lot of swimming, it was a lot calmer than Mon Repos so you couldn’t just swim out and get pushed around by the waves.  Also there’s a channel that runs through the beach between some sand bars where fish like to hang out and because fish like to hang out there, sharks also like to hang out there too.  So it made me a little nervous swimming across the channel…

Bundaberg 086Last time we were at Elliot Head, we got wedges with sweet chili sauce and sour cream at this little shop near the beach.  They are amazing so Claire and I both had to get them again.  Sweet chili sauce should really become a more prominent condiment in the States, it’s amazing on pretty much everything.

Dan and I

Dan and I

Obviously Dan has been here a lot longer than I have.  I will be tan someday, haha.

Claire and I have today off because the zucchini bays have been picked to their limit.  Paul thought they would last another week so he thought he’d have time to set up for vining and planting.  So he’s rotating the zucchini crew until he’s ready for us to start planting.

So today we’re just hanging out around town, here at the library for a little bit, then getting lunch at one of the shops, and going to the local art museum.  Nice relaxing day 🙂  Love and miss you all!

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