• Photograph si897
  • Photograph si898

Sydney, Villawood Hostel. Payday was on Wednesday, so after the first pay, the chef and me, we drove to a bottle shop, I bought beer and Vodka, and as it is usual in a kitchen, offered drinks for everybody. With this I was accepted by the crew and like everybody else, Wednesday after collecting the pay, put 5 bucks in a pot to buy vodka. From Thursday till Sunday, normally it was Smirnoff, from Monday till Wednesday it was something milky, it tasted awful but it kicked like a mule. In the beginning, starting with ½ cup of vodka at 4 am was hard to take, but I did like everybody else. Having a stagger before 5 am brought some grins. I suppose by being the youngster, little weaknesses like this were allowed. For breakfast the mess halls opened from 6 am to 9 am. Lunch from 12 noon to 3 pm. Dinner from 6 pm to 9 pm. Traffic slowed down after 8 pm, that’s when the afternoon crew had dinner, followed by further cups of vodka. Some of the morning shift joined and sometimes we sat till after 11 pm, drinking and singing. I felt good here; it was a kind of; at home feeling. Since then, hearing Russian songs, brings this warm feeling back. By this time Laszlo, my room mate, found work in a factory, but stayed in the hostel, the two Tunisians had moved out, the Spaniards had taken a seemingly good opportunity and went working in the bush cutting timber, being paid on the quantity they cut. They came back shortly later, as good as without money, those who hired them told them how much they would be paid for what quantity of wood they cut, but they forgot to tell them how much they charged for the rent of the equipment and the prices charged in the store owned by themselves.

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