Jul 6, 2013

Experimenting unusual environments while working in Australia: the roadhouse from hell

To give you a rough idea the small town of Yuleba consists of a pub, a roadhouse and a few residential houses along the motorway. About 200 people live on these lands 5 hours away from Brisbane.

Category: Australia
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To give you a rough idea the small town of Yuleba consists of a pub, a roadhouse and a few residential houses along the motorway. About 200 people live on these lands 5 hours away from Brisbane. I arrived in Yuleba right at the beginning of the summer last October and it was already more than 30 degrees every day. The heath was oppressive.


Pammy, the owner of the roadhouse is a very imposing woman who is as tall as me and 5 times bigger. She is the boss and she made sure that I understood it: “No one steal from me, no lies to me and if you have something to say you come to tell me and no one else. Now go to shave!” That's how she introduced herself to me as I was standing in her office as I had just arrived. My bedroom was right behind the roadhouse, a very small and basic room with a bed, a wardrobe and a TV. I was the only backpacker who was working in this patrol station. Only two girls living in the area worked for the boss, an older couple and Doris, the boss' right arm woman and the most unpleasant woman I have ever met. The work there was quite stimulating as it consisted of a variety of tasks such as stocking, serving, helping to prepare the meals – especially burgers. Though I started either really early in the morning – 5 o'clock! - or at twelve. I was working between 45 and 50 hours a week but I didn't mind it as it was allowing me to save money faster and continue my journey. I was payed 17 dollars per hour, cash in hand – the boss was deducting 80 bucks every week from my pay for food and accommodation – so I managed to save more than 2000 dollars in three weeks! A perfect place to save! But I had to deal with the aggressiveness and the nastiness of these people. I was extremely motivated when I arrived there but my good mood went down very quickly. After three days of training, I was not allowed to make mistake anymore. The boss' random burst of rage were unpredictable and it was better not to be on her way when she was getting really angry for no reason. Everyone was scared of her and there was a permanent tension in this roadhouse from hell . The way she was talking to her employees was just unacceptable. I should have resigned straight away but I wanted to hold on and keep going for a while to leave this place with some money. I don't know why but Doris hated me and I'm convinced that she was doing everything she could to make me lose it.

One day I asked her if she wanted me to cut some tomatoes, she replied me very coldly:

“No it's all right I'll do otherwise it will be done like shit and I don't want to have Pammy on my back for the rest of the day”


Another time she comes to see me with a big smile on her face: “Oh Morgan I have a good job for you, I've just dropped 50 cents in the bin, can you find it!”


I'm smiling as I'm writing this but at the time I felt really humiliated. I've probably never been put down so much in my entire life. Even a dog would have been treated better than me! Welcome to Australia!

Another time she put a sandwich in the toaster. After a few minutes I took the initiative to remove it from the toaster...She arrived screaming at me: “Mind...your!” And you know what I'm sure that if I had not removed this sandwich from the toaster she would have blamed me for having left it there! Again, I should have packed my staff and tell them to f?/! off instead of taking all that crap! As soon as I was finishing work I was running away from this horrible place to see the incredible sunsets and look for kangaroos that all come together in the evening. I'm pretty sure that most backpackers who go around Australia remember the time they saw their first kangaroo. For me it was a morning in Yuleba before going to work and ever since I'm amazed each time that I see one.



Finally 3 weeks after my arrival, a piece of meat not put properly in the freezer was enough for them to fire me!

This first working experience in Australia was rather difficult and really disappointing. I had been told so many good things about this countries. So many times I had been told about the Australian's kindness and their open-mindedness. My arse! I wasn't expecting living such a bad experience especially after having travelled for 8 months in the United States, South America and New Zealand where I had always been amazed by the kindness and the generosity of the people I had met. I was so disillusioned, It was like a poke in the eye with a drumstick! This was not the Australia I had come to visit. Unfortunately after having met many people, I've realised that racism, people's hostility and lack of education were a very present reality in this country – especially in rural Queensland – but that only a few backpackers seem to be confronted to.



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