I figure the best way to deal with the perpetual rocking is to go to sleep. Mick and Lee have opted to distract themselves by going to watch “Dinotopia” but I don’t think watching computer generated dinosaurs is going to comfort my heaving stomach. It’s ironic that I love traveling so much regardless of the fact that it consistently makes me violently ill.
My eyes shoot open as the front of the ferry launches off a wave and smashes violently onto the ocean. Dejavu. I remember the feeling of flying for the first time. The nausea. The irrational fear.
I roll over and close my eyes. The bench is surprisingly comfortable. I toy with the idea of taking my shoes off but for some stupid reason, I am paranoid that someone could steal them while I sleep so I leave them on. When you only have enough possessions to fill a backpack and you have no money to replace anything that gets stolen then you have to be extra careful. Just in case.
When I wake up we have almost arrived. Not that long ago, the idea of traveling to a new country would be so exciting that I couldn’t sleep for days. Now I’m so used to it that I can drift off on the short but turbulent ferry ride from Ireland to Scotland.
I was expecting Scotland to be almost identical to Ireland. I don’t know why I had that preconceived idea but as soon as we arrived it was obvious we were somewhere we have never been before. From the huge rock formations on the beachside to the strange road-kill that we couldn’t quite identify, everything was a little bit different to what we have previously seen. We decided to head for Edinburgh and the task of plotting a route was given to me. It may not have been the most direct path but we got there and we saw some pretty cool scenery along the way. And when we finally got there, we were blown away. Edinburgh is absolutely amazing. It has a real Transylvaniaesque feel about it. Ancient buildings, cobblestone streets, fog and in the middle of it all, perched atop a huge hill, is Edinburgh castle.
Unfortunately there is very little time to savor in our surroundings. The reality of the situation is we spent the last of our money getting over here and now we are all completely broke. It’s time to find some more jobs. The plan is to stay here for about three months and work our arses off to earn enough money to keep us going until we inevitably piss it all away again. Rinse, wash, repeat. It’s a clumsy little cycle but it will do the job until we get our acts together.
At first we don’t have much luck. We have acquired a taste for bar work so we decide to do a pub-crawl with our resumes and hope for a trendy little bar with three vacancies. After several rejections, we decide to turn to our good friend the Internet and Mick proceeded to post a ‘work wanted’ notice for three hardworking Aussie guys looking for some bartending jobs. Now we play the waiting game…
As we walked back to our van, we passed a Walkabout. Walkabout is the Australian themed bar chain that Mick and I worked at back in London. Despite being pretty cheesy, the job was a lot of fun, allowing us sing and dance as we worked and tell customers to go and *#$@ themselves if they were being obnoxious. We unanimously decided to go in and ask if they were looking for anyone. We were all hired as part timers virtually instantly and the next night we were pulling pints to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.
But this is where things got complicated. We received a phone call from a little restaurant in South Queensferry, a tiny country town about a half hour drive from Edinburgh. They had read our add on the net and were offering us three full time jobs and live in accommodation, as well as a free meal and alcoholic beverage with every shift. It sounded too good to resist so the next morning we handed in our notice to Walkabout. They knew we needed full time work so they were pretty cool about it all. In total, we only worked a grand total of two nights before we quit and moved on to our new home.
South Queensferry is one of the strangest little towns I’ve ever seen. In many ways it reminds me of Colac, the town that we grew up in. It is one of those small towns where everyone knows what everyone else is doing. If you pick your nose than its safe to bet that tomorrow’s newspaper headline will be somehow related to your nose picking escapades. The entire town is basically one stretch of beachfront cobbled road about a mile long. The pebble beach is quite picturesque and the symbols of the town are the two massive bridges stretching across the Forth river. It’s a friendly little town, but you can’t help but get the feeling that you are on the set of a bad horror movie and that at any minute the townsfolk will all mutate into zombies and go on a murderous rampage.
When we rocked up to the restaurant we are a little bit overwhelmed. It is a lot posher than we expected. At Walkabout there was only a small selection of alcohol to choose from. Here there was a whole wall of spirits, 22 different flavored vodkas, a dozen malt whiskeys, and a comprehensive cocktail, shooter and wine list. At walkabout, we were allowed to sing and dance and treat annoying customers like shit. Here, the customer is always right. I can’t help but feel like we’re out of our league. And I can’t help but feel that maybe we’ve made the wrong decision in committing ourselves to be here for three months…