Sunday, July 30, 2006

The new city, the new flat and the all-new job struggle

Day 30 over here, and I'm relatively settled down in Dublin.

Got here okay and without a hitch. Settled back into life in 10 bed dorms pretty quickly too. It was good to be back in that environment. It's fun. It's very much an International vibe, I've got chatting in the room this week to Germans, Italians, Swiss, Spanish, Canadians, Americans, Scottish, Welsh, Russians, Irish and countless French people. (French students dominate for some dull reason.)

Haven't really done much touristy stuff, bar walking about the city. Which is enough right? But on Canadian recommendation I did do the Guinness Storehouse, which was well worth the (student) entry fee. It's known as the most popular tourist attraction in the city, and after getting over the odd cringe at how advertisingy the whole thing felt, it's good fun, they've got a lot of interesting 'shizzle' in there. And the views of the city you get in the Gravity Bar at the end of the whole thing makes for one of the best bars on the planet probably.

What else? Oh yes, bars are much better here too. Forgetting for the moment that like everything else in this country they're more expensive, the fact that there's no smoking in them makes up for it. To come home without your clothes smelling of smoke was surreal at first.

So I've been trying to find bar work. No luck yet. One manager in the overly popular Temple Bar area said that he was getting 10 people a day in asking him.

Outside of such places I've come close on a couple of times, have heard positive things from a couple of people, blah blah blah. Two bars said they would've taken me on if my stay in the city wasn't so brief (fair enough, there's less than 7 weeks left now), so in response I've edited my CV to hide any references to my ongoing degree (I'm now a graduate, woo!), or intentions of returning to Blighty. A worthwhile sacrifice of ethics, no?

I'll see how much success that change of tack has over the next couple of days. In the meantime, I've successfully managed to find a flat! It's a student halls set-up, running until September 1st when we have to make way for them all to come back again. It's the same kind of set up as Oxford Court (for those of you who were familiar with that. For those not, 4 single rooms in a flat, sharing a kitchen and living room, all already fully furnished) but a bit bigger, a bit nicer and pretty much the same price. Which for Dublin is very good. Moved in this afternoon, and my one flatmate (the two other rooms remain empty for the mo), James from Limerick seems really sound, and I reckon we're going to get on well.

And that's pretty much everything. Not really the most entertaining of blogs to date I admit.

Peace and love,

Saturday, July 15, 2006

5 random pictures from Tenerife

I've not been taking many photos out here, partly cos my camera's shite, but here's a few terribly random ones, taken on one day in Tenerife where I went a bit photo-crazy.

Fat people and weird art. Must be a tourist town then

Me? Pose? Pffft, never.

Clubbing in Tenerife. Hardcore. Stealth should get one of these laser thingys

Geniune Aussie one time flatmate-to-be Pete. He's been mugged at gunpoint twice you know. I have no idea why this photo is smaller than the others.

More wanky not-looking-at-the-camera stuff

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The school reunion, the rubbish job situation and the change of scenery

Day 23, then...

So when I last updated I was just about to go for a couple of PR jobs, yes? Well that night I headed down to the main patch of bars, and it was like Welcome to PRsville, population: everybody. I got chatting to a couple of them who bemoaned how quiet it was over here for this time of year, and that they were really struggling to make worthwhile amounts of money. Those who know me well will know that this was enough to put me off the idea immediately.
So over the next couple of nights I started to come to the conclusion that it might be time to move on from this place. Back when I first thought of coming over here for the summer, I had another place in mind as a sort of back-up, that I also liked the idea of living in for a couple of months. That place was Dublin. So sure enough, on Monday I booked a flight, for today, to Dublin.

I'm really, really excited about it, but I knew as I was finishing making the booking that I was bound to get a job offer through, just when a non-refundable plane ticket has been brought. Sod's law isn't it? Sure enough, and surreally enough, that's kind of what's happened.

The next night I logged on to MSN Messenger to see who was online, and started typing away to an old school friend Ivanka (one or two of you will know her, yes?), who I thought was living in Spain now. Turns out she's actually been living in Tenerife since January, and works for a magazine just up the road from where I've been staying. Yeah, imagine how shocked both of us were.

An hour later and we're out drinking in the beach-front bar Pete (who was going to be my flatmate out here before I U-turned and booked this flight) is running. Over the course of the evening we establish that with her contacts she easily could of sorted me out with a flat, a couple more flatmates, a job - quite possibly behind a bar - and generally helped me set down roots over here. Bugger. Great and utterly surreal night though.

The next night, last night, also happened to be Pete's one night off this week.Excellent. Me and him went out for a meal, then drinking to The Bull's Head (where I worked for that week) to say goodbye to the staff there. That came with another shock, the really cool girl there, Lorna, who was absolutely lovely, had just a couple of nights before got engaged to her equally really sound boyfriend. God bless her. So that was cause for another celebration.

After that headed to a Spanish bar on the beach-front, (Pete's Australian, but is good at speaking Spanish) then, at about half 2, when we knew we had to to carry on drinking, headed into the main patch where all the touristy loud clubs are. Sat in one that overlooks the street and watched a couple of nasty fights break out (one involving half a pool cue and a broken bottle, nice.), and then headed over to Tramps, probably the best known nightclub on the Island.

The highlight of that? For just the 3rd time in my life, getting thrown out of a bar. Go me! It was for semi-deliberately dropping and smashing a glass on the floor. The bouncers came over and chucked me out.

More entertaining though, was going to the toilets of the bar next door, slicking my hair back, unbuttoning my shirt, and walking straight back into Tramps. And not getting noticed. And staying until 6:15 when the place shut. Hardcore.

Was asleep by 7am, woke up at 11:30am and arranged to do lunch with Ivanka as a final goodbye. Then return to the hostel to pack (they don't seem to know or care that I haven't paid for tonight, and check out time is 11am).

And that's pretty much it. In half an hour I'm leaving to catch my bus to the airport. Given the chance to stay now with Ivanka sorting me out for a job, I probably would do. But it doesn't matter, because I'm really, really, so excited about getting to live in Dublin for the next 6/7 weeks now. I reckon I've learnt a couple of good life lessons over here, and these last 3 days have been fantastic, but what could happen next is just to exciting to give up now. Despite being born in Dublin, I don't really know or remember it at all. So this is a great opportunity. Can't wait.

How cheesy.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The job hunt, the fake accent and the dreaded PR

It's day 18 here (it's quite sad that I'm keeping count of that, isn't it?), and the job hunt continues largely fruitlessly. Have been all over the place and hear one response more than any other: It's too quiet to be taking on staff. Tenerife seems to attract less and less tourists every year, and yet the resort area continues to grow up the coast regardless as more hotels, bars etc get built. Mental.

I did have an interview on Wednesday for a bar called The Irish Times that I was pretty confident about getting. Didn't though, and I think I know why...

You see, when I had that job last week, occasionally whilst serving people I would fake an Irish accent. It was amusing to do in the middle of an 8 hour shift, and I noticed it would make a slight difference to how much I took in tips. People like getting served by the Irish type it seems.

So, extending this logic, when I went into this pub The Irish Times to ask if they had any bar work going, I put on said Irish accent again. It might of given me a better chance of getting a job there, right? They said they'd take my name and number, and get back to me if anything became available.

The next day, 2pm in the afternoon, and I'm lying on the beach. My mobile rings, it's Darren from The Irish Times, could I come in some time for an interview? It's about 5 seconds into this conversation when I realise I'm not talking in the Irish accent. So, in blind panic, I gradually put the accent back on again as the conversation goes on. Oh yes.

We arrange an interview for 8pm that day anyway, and I go along having decided to drop the accent completely. It went pretty well, but they haven't got back to me, so I guess they weren't interested for some reason, hmm?

So, with no real leads left, I've been offered PR work at a couple of places (for those that don't know you try to draw in punters off the street into the bar, and get usually 1 Euro per head for each success). I'm going to give it a go I think. People often say I'm a good salesman, so I might just get rich from it. Especially if perhaps, I fake an Irish accent for it?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The england defeat, the flat hunting and the sacking

Day 12 then, and there's a lot to talk of...

How was England V Portugal for everybody else? I watched it with my workmates in the pub where we all work. It was tense stuff, not quite as tense as seeing the same fixture (and result) two years ago at Glastonbury, but certainly close.

As is traditional with England's tournament exits, I was upset for 5 minutes and then got over it.

I've been getting on well with the guy in the room next to me (in the hostel) of late, and he's looking to get a flat as well, so we've been doing some flat hunting over the last 3 or 4 days. It shouldn't be too hard, there's loads of empty places about, so we should have somewhere within a week I reckon.

Which brings me to the final bit of news: I got sacked last night!

Well, not exactly sacked, but after the week's probationary (is that the right word?) period finished last night, my boss told me they weren't going to keep me on.

He was very frank as to the reasons why, and to be honest he's absolutely right. It's a really really particular work place, and everything has to be done exactly as the book says. Coming from Rescue Rooms, that was a bit of a culture shock, and I wasn't doing all I should of been. Add to that the fact that we turn people away most days who are asking if we've got jobs going, and you can see why I wasn't kept on really.

The couple of member's of staff who know already are pretty taken aback, and one, Dale (having a wealth of contacts as he does), has told me a couple of places who are looking for people at the mo, so with any luck I'll be back in work fairly shortly.Still, this is the first time I've ever been laid off from a job. It's very disconcerting!

Love to all,