Day 347 | back to work for a change: hey, more windows to do

Esperance Day 49

It has been a while since I fraternised with any backpacker type crew.

The long term bookings here over Christmas/New Year have left no room for transitory travellers. It’s been all large 4WDs, larger tents, well an array of tents to almost fully cover each site, 4WD motorbikes, big surf casting fishing rods, roaming children, dogs, the full summer holiday.

There’s been a small group of us who managed to squeeze in: C, who has been here forever in his bus; G, who’s been the first to move on; me; and Marion, who has also been here since before Christmas and takes up site 47.5 stashed between two permanent caravans with no current inhabitants.

She’s been working sporadically at a coffee shop in town since she arrived with $200 in her pocket. Her French friends all left for the East coast and she has been stranded without transport. It’s a 45 minute stroll each way along the beach front to get to the centre of this strangely strung out town. With only 5 hours work in the last week patience has run out: she can’t wait a few weeks for the kids to head back to school when the mums will all be swilling coffee and scoffing cakes once again.

I’ve been peripheral to the usual backpacker conversation where the international travellers trade tales about the cheaper places to stay in Fremantle, or Carnarvon, run through the optimum type of work permits, figuring out the system for scamming permanent residency, finding an employer who will sign a certificate for more time than they actually done, picking grapes, mending fences or whatever. If you can handle 3 months of fruit picking or working cattle in a rural area you can get an extra year.

I’m lucky in having both my NZ and a EU passport but no major inclination to travel further afield. I haven’t bothered with completing the set by applying for what would be a redundant Aussie passport: it comes with conditions, like fines for the avoidance of voting in elections. My stay here has always been (long term) temporary.

I’m heading back to Kiwiland.