It's a seal's life


Well like I said yesterday, having to move dorms today prompted me to take a day off from the job hunt. There's only so much rejection you can take before needing a day off.

And the plan for today, was really just to spend the 4 hours between checking out, and checking back in again at the hostel, doing more of the stuff you actually want to do in Victoria. Because as much fun as it is walking up and down the highstreet in a shirt and shoes everyday, handing out bits of paper, it's not really going to be top of your list of reasons you'd come to Victoria. You'd come to a place like this, more than anything for the scenery. It's an island. So you come here for the beaches and the coastal walks.

So the plan today was to just explore a bit more. Get out of the downtown area. Have a walk along the coast. Perhaps sit on a beach for a while. Just get the fuck away from the daily ritual that has become my life over the past week.

That plan all changed this morning though. I'd packed up my bags. And just before I checked out, I took the food I was keeping in the refridgerator in our dorm, and took it to the communal fridge in the kitchen. 3 floors away. And I walk out the kitchen, through the "dining room", past these 4 people having breakfast, and into the bar on the way out to the main reception, when I hear "Jethro"

I turn around, and amongst these 4 people, are Tom, one of the chefs from Pano. An English guy. And Craig, a security guard from Pano. The latter being, if you remember me saying this, the person whom gave me a lift home from the supermarket about 2 months earlier when my knee was really fucked, who I had no fucking clue who he was. Well I knew by now. Working on the Gondola everyday from then, you saw and spoke to people a lot. And these 2 were sat in the hostel.

The 3rd such time since I've left Pano that I've run into people who worked there. Once in the bus station when I was leaving Vancouver. I didn't bother writing that at the time, because I didn't really know them well enough to speak to. Then I saw a couple of housekeepers in the supermarket here in Victoria the other day. They were staying at this hostel as well, although I haven't seen them here. And then this morning, I see these guys. Also staying at this hostel.

They already have jobs lined up on one of the Gulf Islands. They're just here for a weeks visit. But still. Small world. But without any real plans, I decide to hang out with these guys for the morning.

And they were with a couple of girls, also from Pano. Although I don't remember ever seeing them. There were a lot of employees there though, so you don't remember them all.

Seal So that made a nice change. Hanging around with people rather than spending my days not getting a job. Went to this place, out of town and right next to the water, where I can only guess that seals had been trained, or had at least learnt, that there would be fish available if they hung out in the water near here. There was a water-side fishmongers stall. And they sold sardines that you could hold over the side of the wooden platform at the waters edge, and seals would bound up out of the water to grab the fish. Pretty cool. And I can only guess that the fishmongers trained the seals to know this because it's got to be a great way to sell some dirty old sardines excessively priced. Like I said, pretty cool though.

And at least they weren't in any kind of enclosure. Wild seals that just knew where to come to get fed. Still not ideal, but better than having them in a zoo or something to be gauped at.

Seal After which, I bid farewell to these 4, as they wanted to spend the afternoon fishing. Which has no interest to me. I say "they" wanted to. It seemed to be more, the guys did what they wanted, and the girls followed. But whatever works for them. But with no desire to go fishing, I decided to part ways with them here.

Where we were, was a little way out of town. Maybe a 30-minute gentle walk. And I didn't have a map on me or anything, so I was really just guessing at where I wanted to go. I wanted to get to the coast on the other side, so I just kind of walked. And came to something, that I guess you would describe as a suburban town of victoria. I was keeping an eye out, and didn't see any 'Help Wanted' signs. But still something of an untapped source regarding people looking for work. Afterall, this is my second time to Victoria, and I've been here a week this time alone. And I never knew this area of town was here. So perhaps worth a walk out tomorrow to hand out a resume or two.

Ogden Point, Victoria And after a little explore through this new town to me, I stumbled across the sea. Nearby to Ogden Point, which I'd never actually heard of, or been aware of before actually getting here. But it turned out to be a sort of, quay, that stretched, maybe ½km out into the ocean. On a day as sunny as today, it was quite pleasant to walk out there. The sun glimmering off the ocean all around you, with snow-capped peaks off on the horizon.

Something else I saw around here, was a woman walking, what I think was 2 otters on the beach. Just like dogs, on leashes. Just walking these otters along the beach. Very strange.

After which, it was a fairly short, but quite challenging walk over rocks with my knee the way it is, back around to nearby to the 'Mile 0' of the Trans-Canada Highway at the ocean side of Beacon Hill Park, leaving me with a 10-minute walk back to the hostel to get there for about 15:00 to check into my new dorm. A very pleasant walk, however tainted somewhat by the dead and somewhat decapitated seal laying in the middle of a beach. Something that looked uncannily like a rock until you're right next to it. So I wasn't too far from walking on this dead seal.

Ogden Point, Victoria Shortly after I've checked in, and still new in the room, this girl comes in. Shanice I believer her name is. Not that I'd ever remember that. But you get given cards to put on your beds here so they know which beds of make once people check-out, so I looked on that. And then again, shortly after that, another girl comes in. Jessica according to her card.

And we get talking. Well Jessica, she is in the same boat as me. She's here looking for work. She's been here a week, and she's got... fuck all. Bad enough for her. But what makes it worse, is that she came here with 3 friends. 4 of them in total. And after 3 days, she was the only one without work. That depressed me a little, seeing as these 3 people arrived at a similar time to me and found work. But on the plus-side, I don't have to hang around with them all day like this Jessica does. So it's obviously worse for her. Because she's had just as much success as me.

The coast, Victoria BC Like I've already said, it's simply a luck thing right now. With this many people applying, resumes don't do too much. You've just got to be in the right place at the right time. And all you can do to improve your chances, is get out there as much as possible. Keep on going into places and asking for work. And eventually, you're going to go into a place just as they need someone. But luck plays it's part. You could walk into a bar; first place you try and be there just as someone quits. Get given a job right there and then. Or you could go into a hundred bars, and never be in the right place. That's just the way she goes. And although this "Jess" is only in this dorm for 2 more nights, as long as she stays unemployed for those days, it's nice to be here knowing someone else is going through the same shit that I am. There is a lot of us out there I think. So that was this dorm.

The real head-fucker this afternoon came from this "Shanice" girl though. Well she's a real live Canadian. I can tell after knowing her for not more than 4 hours, she's kind of spoilt. Only in the hostel for tonight until she can move into her new place tomorrow. And "would normally have a private room." Just went and spent a butt-load on new clothes, coming back to the dorm with me, and this other guy in here, Mike, who's a labourer, but currently just working around the hostel for free-board and Ocean Island money. Well she comes in with this bag full of designer clothes, and pulls out 2 dresses. "I'll never wear these. I don't wear dresses, but I just liked the colour..."

Probably not the best audience for that kind of talk. From this point fourth, all of my clothes will be coming second-hand from Value Village. And I scrimp and save every penny I can to prolong my travelling. It's not that I don't have money. It's just that I may as well not have money with how tight I am with it. With good reason. And then you've got this Mike guy, working at the hostel, not even for a wage. So I'm not sure she picked her audience so well.

Anyway, where she was useful, was that being a real live Canadian, she knows about shit over here better than dirty foreigners like me. And she was telling me, and Jess was in the room at the time, about how the minimum wage here, of $8.25, was supposed to go up in January, but it got postponed until July. But it will be going up to $10 in July, and then I think she said $12 next January. So that's good to know. But she then started saying how that not only is the minimum wage in Alberta already much, much higher. Something like $16. It is the rich province in Canada afterall. But the demand for jobs there, is much, much lower as well. So you can get $18 for working in McDonalds if you go to Calgary.

Now I'm taking all this with a pinch of salt. Afterall, she does seem a little ditzy. But it's something that I'm going to be looking into. Because I'll be honest, there's a reason that no one is looking for work in Alberta. It's rubbish. It's flat. It's inland. There's nothing there. And I really wouldn't want to live there. However for $18 per hour in McDonalds, I'd live in a war zone. So like I said, I'm not taking anything that she said for granted. Nice girl, but perhaps not the brightest. Just starting to attend UVic (University of Victoria), which you would think gave her some credibility. Until you find out that her aunty is the Dean of the university. But if nothing else, what she says, is definitely worth looking into. Because if I lived and worked full-time, in a place paying $18 per hour for the next 6 months, I could save enough to extend my travelling by 12 months. Especially if I scrimp and save like only I can. So I'm not set on doing anything yet. But it's something to look into. Especially if I'm still unemployed in Victoria in 7 days. Because living unemployed here for 7 days, could probably pay to live in somewhere like Bolivia for 3 months (perhaps?). So it's just planted a seed in my mind.

Sir Wilfred Laurier in Victoria I said that if I was still unemployed here after the next 7 days, then I'd have to seriously consider my options. And being the transitional phase that I detailed this is yesterday, then earning money is a key to the next 6 months. So Alberta is on the radar right now. I knew it was a wealthier province. But if this girl is accurate in her amounts, I didn't realise that it was to the extent that she says it is. And it may well be worth being bored for 6 months if it means that much money, that much ease in finding work, and that much ease in finding a place to live. And think about it. If there's nothing to do, am I going to spend money? No. I'm going to work. And I can live in the gym. And I can learn Spanish. The only thing that I'd be missing from my plans here, is that I wouldn't be able to snorkel, which would again make my extreme sports head-cam obsolete. But worth the sacrifice? I think maybe.

Well that reality is still 7 days away. I said I planned on job-hunting here for the 7 nights that I have left. And I plan to honour that commitment. Because good money or not, I do still want to be in Victoria. It's just that maybe I have a less exciting, but more practical, backup plan. So that's perhaps in the works if Victoria doesn't pan out.

Oh and just to make things even worse, I got a message from Kirsty this afternoon. She went off to Whistler one night after we arrived in Vancouver at the same time. She was in Whistler for a week, or possibly even 10 days. She definitely arrived in Vancouver after I'd arrived in Victoria though. And well, she's already got a job in Vancouver. So although I'm happy for her; she's the kind of girl it's impossible to hate, had I stayed in Vancouver, like very nearly happened, then I may well have a job by now. Afterall, I had all those ideas for work when I was there. So as of right now, moving to Victoria isn't looking like the best decision. Lives and learns don't you though I guess. If my phone rang this second with an interview, it would all of a sudden be justified. So we'll just have to see how the next 7 days go.

As happy as I am for Kirsty though, it does kind of depress me a little.

One other work idea, is that Tom, Craig, and these 2 girls from Pano (Tara and some Asian name I can't pronounce). Well like I think I said, they have jobs lined up on one of the Gulf Islands. Well I wasn't especially dismissing that idea. But it's made it a more realistic possiblity now I know other people who have jobs at these resorts. And I've spoken to them about it. So that's another job idea there.

I'm not sure how this is going to go. I just wish my fucking phone would ring. With something. Even a rejection. I can at least feel better by knowing that the girl sleeping in the bottom bunk below me for the next 2 nights is in exactly the same boat though. I'm not sure how this will go though.

And just as a side note, another guy from my last dorm has also said that he's interested in sharing an appartment if we find one. Appartment is kind of off my radar right now, what with the uncertainty of if I'm actually going to stay in Victoria or not. But if I do, then there's a potential flat-mate there. Andy. Whom I also almost bought a car with yesterday. We were on Craigslist and found a car selling for $100, reduced from $400 the day before. And it said in the ad something like "Get this thing away from me. Tonight." Some old banger from 1984.

Well we said that if we could get this guy, who'd already reduced the price of his car from $400 to $100 in one day and wanted rid of the thing, to reduce the price to $50, then we'd put in $25 each, buy this car, not with insurance or anything, and just cruise around Victoria, hoping not to get stopped by the police, until it inevitably broke down. And then we'd just leave it at the side of the road somewhere.

Well perhaps for the best, because it might not have been the smartest idea, the guy didn't pick up his phone when we called him. And he didn't reply to the voicemail we left him. So we don't have a car yet. But $25 for half a car, however old and banged up, would have been awesome.

So that's where I am now. A day not job hunting was awesome. But then to know people are finding jobs after 3 days is a little depressing as well. My next 7 days are set. If I've not made progress by then, well it's going to have to be a case of rethinking my options. Maybe Alberta. Maybe Alberta.


A very long and unispiring video of those seals today


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