Memoirs of an English Girl Working in an Australian Casino in The Northern Territory

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Started my job on Monday at the Casino, and last night was my 3rd shift. I worked 12 hours, from 5pm until 5am this morning and I am shattered. It got so busy and I was on until close, and it took 2 hours to clean up the bar. I have blisters on my little toes, and no skin left on the backs of my ankles. I have cheap crappy $10 shoes as there is no point investing in a decent comfortable pair as I will not be in the job long enough, but MY GOD, my feet are going to fall off, and I can barely walk or use my legs today. Its HELL ON EARTH and I hate the job with a passion – come back G’s Wine Bar, all is forgiven. Everything is so proper and anal being a casino with rules and regulations about everything. If you work more than 6 hours then you get 30 minutes meal break where there is food in the canteen (you are allowed 1 free meal), but my break was at 11.30pm, so no food for me, just a packaged pie to be blasted in the microwave (yum). At the end of the night the supervisor has a check list to make sure you have cleaned everything perfectly, if not you do it again. The other local bar staff are lovely, although I do find it hard to understand the Aussie accent, you wouldn’t believe we speak the same language, and the Aussies have about 50 million types of beer, which is really hard to get used to, what’s wrong with the standard Carling????????? There’s ‘light’ this, and ‘low carb’ that, “mid this’ and ‘premium’ that. Have 5 types of lager and be done with it for Christ’s sake. The clientele are nice enough and are fascinated that I am English, but there are some proper red necks here as well, which are the guys in their 20’s – total losers. It’s my day off today, then I’m working Friday and Saturday 12 hour shifts again, finishing at gone 6am apparently – whoopee, can’t wait!! I was lying in bed with my feet throbbing and on fire, and serious cramp all down my legs. It feels like when I was a kid and used to have really bad growing pains in my legs and I would sit in bed at night and cry with the pain (bit wrong really considering all that pain only made me get to 5 foot 4 inches – something not quite right there!!!), and my mum used to come and soothe me with hot water bottles and leg massages. Well now it feels as bad as that, but there’s no mum, no hot water bottles and no leg massages – and that sucks. I’m using muscles I did not know existed and I can’t face the thought of another 3-4 weeks of this!!! I just want to cry. I moved into the hostels long-term accommodation house yesterday just across the road which is $6 cheaper a day, and we have a pool in the garden too (not that I’ll use it as its filthy). I never did the whole student uni living thing, so I can imagine what it’s like as the place is a bit of a tip, but the others are really nice. I’m in a 4 bed room but it’s just me at the moment which is utter BLISS, but no idea how long that will last before I’m bombarded with others, which again sucks because of the hours I work. I got my head in bed at 6am this morning, and the rest of the house got up at 9am, so no rest for me!! Oh the joys. Anyway, it’s these moments which make it all so much fun (ahem). I do absolutely HATE the job, but I just keep thinking how much I need the money, but I really don’t think I will manage 4 weeks, maybe 3 at a push, but I felt physically sick last night from exhaustion and I could barely walk, but luckily shared a taxi with one of the barmen who lives just down the road, and he paid for it, I don’t think I could have managed another 2 steps. Help.

Well its 7am Monday morning and I got home from work at 4am. Why am I still up? I made the mistake of drinking a can of ‘mother’ which is cheap Red Bull at 3am whilst clearing the bar up, and now my body is exhausted and ready to drop, but my mind is like a spaghetti junction with a million and one thoughts racing around, and I was lying in bed wide awake, so thought I’d pop the 50 metres over the road to the hostel to grab some ‘free’ morning toast and a cup of tea, to chill and fill you all in on my exciting life here in Alice Springs – and plus I’m hoping for a miracle that the ground may open up and swallow my disgustingly repulsive, snorting, grunting, snoring, lip smacking, jaw chomping, talking in her sleep German roommate – although that’s highly unlikely. Damn. I was told travelling made you more tolerant, I think it’s doing the exact opposite to me. It’s amazing how many disgusting, vile people there are in this world, and most of them are backpackers (myself excluded of course; I am truly amazing as you all know!). Okay, so I have been in my bar job for 2 weeks now, and it’s been an experience. Basically you spend your life there. Weekdays I start at 6pm, bar shuts at 1am, and after cleaning and shutting down, you get out at about 3.30am. Weekends you start at 6pm, bar shuts at 4am, you get out about 6amish. These are looooong shifts. My feet and legs have adapted (although throbbing right now in furious argument against that comment). The work sucks, but the bar staff are fantastic. I work with a load of Aussies and Kiwis, and they are such a great bunch, we all have such a laugh together, and I am the token ‘pommie’ behind the bar. Every day I’m greeted with “Awight Guv’nr!”, and they ask me to say certain words so they can try and imitate the English accent, and it’s a mutual piss taking session out of accents every shift, but it’s all in jest. The customers love it. I constantly get “Ooh, are you a pom? Where are you from?”, so I will say, and their all like “Wow, I just LOOOOVE your accent” – and they honestly do. I am like a circus attraction, and they can’t get enough of the accent. It’s bizarre. It doesn’t work both ways, their accent really grates on me it’s so whiny. Also, they don’t have pint glasses, their glasses are slightly smaller called ‘schooners’ and the half glass of that is a ‘pot’, and their bottles are ‘stubbies’, so when I ask if they want it in a bottle, they all imitate the way I say bottle (their impersonation of an English accent is horrendous), but it’s their entertainment of the night. Bless them. I will miss everyone there as it’s so nice to be working with the locals and getting away from being surrounded by Dutch and German backpackers. It’s such a breath of fresh air, shame the town is boring as hell and the job sucks so badly. Damn it, I truly am wide awake and will be working in 11 hours’ time. We had the busiest shift on Saturday as it was the bars 1st birthday, plus they had the Cup Ball (its horse racing time here in Alice), and I think it’s the busiest night I’ve ever had working in a bar, and I worked in bars for 6 years. Also, there is an Asian/Indian guy who is a pot washer cleaner in the kitchen and he brings empty glasses into our back bar kitchen on a weekend. He always calls me ‘girly’ after everything, e.g. “can you move that tray girly?”, so I put up with it for about 3 shifts, then due to my serious lack of patience I thought that was enough, so I very politely and calmly said to him “Can you please stop calling me ‘girly’ as I actually find it quite condescending”. Well, he threw the tray down, stormed out the kitchen and shouted “f*** you!” to me, at which I was taken aback and started laughing as I thought it was a perfectly reasonable request. He probably doesn’t even know what the word condescending means, most likely had to go home and ‘Google’ it. Later on he came back in when I was doing glasses and I just as calmly and politely said “And by the way, please do not tell me to go f*** myself as that’s actually really quite rude” – at which he stormed out in silence. He could never look at me after that, he put his head down and diverted his eyes, until about a week later. I was just leaving the building, and to my back he said “Goodnight ‘girly'”. I burst out laughing and told him what a loser he is.

I handed in my notice yesterday and it felt so good. Craig the manager of Food and Beverage told me he was going to offer me a full time permanent position –No. Last shift on Saturday though, then next Tuesday I’m out of here!!! Can’t wait.

It wasn’t until a while later whilst watching the film ‘Priscilla Queen of the Dessert’ on TV in a guesthouse that the realisation came. The end bit where they go to perform at the casino in Alice Springs – which was the whole reason for their entire trip – that Casino was Lasseters Casino. Oh yeah baby, my residence of work. Claim to Fame!!!

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