I arrived in Queenstown early evening, having only a vague idea where the hostel was. The coach journey, which to be honest I was dreading, turned out to be more than bearable in the end.
During the ride down, we stopped off for a lunch and toilet break at a lake called Tekapo. It's not quite pronounced "Take-a-poo", but given the nature of the stop I duly christened it so. Photos can be found here.
Once here, I dragged my sorry ass and 4 huge bags down the road to the hostel, checked in, and then went out for dinner with a few friends from Canada, one of whom is staying in Queenstown for the season and has offered me a room for a while.
I had visited Queenstown during the winter of 2007 when I was based in Wanaka. Having been in Wanaka (population: 4) for most of the season, I found Queenstown to be quite a large intimidating place. Having now been here a few days, it is smaller than I remember, but largely uphill.
Situated by Lake Wakatipu, it is a town that feels like it was designed by M. C. Escher, as it tends to defy all gravitational and logical laws that would suggest that you would walk an equal distance downhill as you would up. I seem to have just walked up. I feel like I should be at the top of Everest by now. If it weren't for the fact that I am some thousands of miles away from it.
Since being here I have joined the plethora of individuals running around town, handing my C.V. into various establishments in the hope of finding work. And somewhere to live.
As far as finding somewhere to live goes, after viewing many nice places, many not so nice places, I narrowed my choice down to 3. Out went the spacious room at the top of a hill occupied by a Japanese guy called Yoshi (honestly! The whole time I was talking to him he slowly morphed into a little green dinosaur), who had what seemed to me to be an unhealthy obsession with ensuring all plates are rinsed after washing up. Something he told me that people from the U.K. and New Zealand don't do which is the oddest racial stereotype I can ever recall having fallen into. Out also went the Japanese girl who opened the door with a cigarette in her hand who seemed totally non-plussed that her pit-bull terrier was fiercely determined to chew off my genitals during the tour of bedrooms to rent with mattresses on what used to be the floor, but actually resembled a landfill site.
The 3 I had to choose between were:
- 3 rooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 current occupant - English fella, 1 occupant yet to come
- 3 rooms, 1 bathroom (that I saw), Kiwi couple owning, potentially renting other room to another couple
- 2 rooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 current occupant - English girl - whose bedroom was mezzanine and opened up into the lounge/kitchen meaning living in my room while she was asleep/in bed.
Now finding work has been slightly harder. The ski season really kicks off later in June, and the Queenstown population is expected to expand in the next few weeks, so most places won't be hiring for a week or so yet. I have had limited success; in following up a few leads my 2 seasons at Olympic Park in Calgary as a ski instructor have helped me get a foot in the door with people familiar to the park, but as expected everywhere seems to have a stack of about 20 million CV's to trawl through. Ideally, as with most people here, I am looking for something that is not Monday to Friday 9-5, as I am here to ski and ride. So working at a bar would be ideal for morning riding and evening working. And as you should all know, I have a LOT of bar experience, albeit the wrong side in this situation. But I am at that age where I know that in this town right now there is a ton of more suitable people for the job, who are younger, have blond hair, big blue eyes, and massive tits.
Which leaves me with fewer options. Ski rental shops would also be ideal, as the hours can be irregular and it is in the industry in which I have experience, but they are few and far between.
So essentially I have applied for anything and everything. My diligence has got me an interview on Tuesday - kind of. Quiksilver are opening a branch in Queenstown soon and I have scored a group interview (as they have had a ton of applicants, they are interviewing all in group sessions), which includes "Meet & Greet, Q & A, Group Games". This instantly strikes fear into my heart, as it screams "role playing" at 16 million decibels through a megaphone the size of the Hubble space telescope at me. And I hate role playing almost as much as I hate that smug-twat-with-a-major-God-complex Bono. It is an informal interview, so we are meant to go along in clothes that we would wear should we get the job. I have t-shirts with me depicting the brand of many Quiksilver rivals, but none of Quiksilver. So I may have to go topless. Here's hoping my massive tits get me a job there.
Wish me luck.