Good afternoon from Freycinet National Park!! I apologize for the long delay, but the communication system here is quite lacking, therefore this might be quite the marathon update. Today ends my 16th day in fine dining at Freycinet Lodge, waitressing the evening shift in the resort’s Bay Restaurant, overlooking eastern Tasmania’s Great Oyster Bay. Training commenced my first day of arrival, three Wednesdays ago (Feb 20th); and while I can’t say the first week was the easiest or the smoothest from my end, I am slowly but surely learning the tricks of the trade. Tucked in the middle of the Tasmanian boonies, the lodge lies on the inner shore of Freycinet Peninsula, across the water from the ‘town’ of Coles Bay. Known for being the first ‘town’ to completely ban the usage of plastic bags, it consists of about a population of maybe a hundred people, a post office, a small supermarket, and most importantly, a pub & bottle shop. While the area contains some of Australia’s most spectacular beaches and bushwalking, unfortunately the Lodge and surrounding area is not the most exciting scene, or even the slightest bit socially thriving or stimulating. It would be safe to say, I was bored shitless and extremely lonely my first few days; but during the past weeks, my regret has left, and I am now thoroughly enjoying my new Tasmanian life in Food & Beverage.
I live in the ‘bunkhouse,’ a large cabin up the hill from the main lodge, tucked in amongst the guest cabins. About half of the staff live here, majority of us backpackers, committed to stay for a minimum 3 months; but all secretly counting the days, with the help of ample wine, until we can rejoin civilization. I share a room with Jo from Holland, a kinky dutch house keeper on her second one year visa, with whom I bond over a shared pain of bed bugs and mossie bites. Others in the house include, but are not limited to, the shagging Swedes, an adorable couple in room two that exemplify the meaning of PDA; Rodrigo from Chili, who is prettier than majority of the females in Coles Bay; Vicki, Coles Bay bicycle, who ticks all the boxes for a one night stand: cute, big boobs, and only speaks when spoken to; Rebecca from San Diago, who ended the only time in my life when I have felt unique to be American; and of course my new English pal Jess, who I bond with over late night cocoa puffs, lodge gossip, her puppet dance, lodge gossip, our lack of shagging, lodge gossip, Australian road signs (Ex: ‘Merge, like a zip’ & ‘Speedo Check’), lodge gossip, and word pronunciations, when I constantly must remind her that Americans in fact perfected the English language. Majority of the remaining staff live off site, about a 10 minute drive away, in a small cluster of houses known as ‘Sharingo.’ There resides nomadic Angus, the red head bartender who unfortunately shagged Karen the chef, not once but three times, and now is permanently known for dipping his pen in the company ink; Cassie from Western Australia, our 22 year old Bay Restaurant Manager who has yet to wear the same blouse twice; and Dutch Lotte and Aussie Cameron, the Lodge’s staple couple who foster routine weekly poker games. A few stragglers live in random cabins or houses around and in ‘town,’ including Vim, the current Food & Beverage manager on his way out to be replaced by newly arrived Benito, both who live on Lodge grounds yet feature widely different personalities. While Benito can frequently barely be heard while giving restaurant commands, Vim on the other hand, if not heard is made sure to be seen, and admittedly lives by the motto, ‘When in doubt, fuck.’
This past Monday morning I experienced my first Tasmanian adventure with a small crew from the lodge. For a little background, Freycinet Lodge sits at the base of a small cluster of granite mountains called the Hazards. While the area features many hikes and walks around or through the immediate and surrounding area, there is one particularly difficult trek to the top of Mount Amos. Since Vim will be leaving the lodge in a few days, he convinced five of us to join him on an early morning expedition to the top, in order to reach the summit by sunrise. Because he ardently claims (without backing evidence), that he once completely the climb, roundtrip in 48 minutes, consisting of a few steep patches with a slight scramble at the end; me, Jess, Angus, Kate (another waitress), and Kate’s French friend Adrian agreed to the challenge. Naively believing Vim’s nonchalant description, Jess, Angus, and I obviously attended an all night poker party Sunday post work at Sharingo, during which I was the only one to snag an hour or two of sleep, before we all headed to Mount Amos bright and early, with a slight buzz, Monday morning. To summarize the experience, it was one of the scariest things I have ever done. There were not a few steep patches, but rather literal rock climbing up 80% inclines in the pitch dark, up wet granite rock for an hour and a half straight. Luckily, once we reached the top, well, all but Angus who quit half way, Vim surprised us with an assortment of fruits, juices, and cake from his back pack, and of course, a diet coke for me. While the descending trip down was equally, if not more, scary and spent 60% of the time sliding on my butt, the view at sunrise over Wineglass Bay and the surrounding area was absolutely breathtaking, and no doubt worth every resulting muscle ache.
Life as a waitress is not extremely exciting, but features day to day challenges and surprises. On one of my first days, earlier that afternoon I spotted my first wallaby outside the bunk house, only to serve the same that night. I am finally getting used to the changing of cutlery through out courses, polishing of silver at the end of the night, serving only from the right, and endless questions regarding the menu and wine list – my most popular dinner query being: Who do you think will win the States’ Presidential Election? Which I am quickly growing tired of. Like most fine dining restaurants, the chefs are stuffy, the bartenders chatty, the guests picky, and the food wonderful; but whether I will make it 3 months here, I haven’t yet decided.