So, a few things have happened since I wrote my last post. First of all, I have got a second part time job working as a receptionist in a youth hostel. I've been working for about two weeks, and it's a pretty fun job, though it manages to be both laid back and hectic at the same time. Most things are pretty straightforward, and it's gotten easier as I've learned the ropes. And of course, the number of weird requests I've gotten has decreased with each shift. My first shift was the hardest, with people coming in and asking for all sorts of things not covered in my training, like if they could take showers here (they did pay for them). Now people mainly just ask the same questions (where's the nearest....) or if they can have change for the washing machine. The hostel is in the middle of Adelaide (Adelaide "city" is a square mile of mainly commercial buildings, what we would call a down town. Everything else, what we'd call neighborhoods, are called suburbs. So even though I live a 10 minute walk from central Adelaide, I say I live in the suburbs. Confusingly, they also call the suburbs "suburbs" though they have fewer of those because there's less urban sprawl. Not that Aussies don't like the same sort of picket fence/McMansion houses we do, there's just fewer of them to sprawl out.) But anyways, that's a bit of a digression. My hostel is in the Northwestern half, kind of on youth hostel row. It's the area of town that was fairly seedy and is now getting funky/trendy with young people. It's still a mixture of mattress and auto shops, cheap cafes, strip clubs and hipster bars (there's some sort of strip place I walk past that lists its hours from 10-6pm. can't figure out the exact clientele they're catering to.) According to google earth, it's almost exactly 2 miles from my house, and I tend to walk there because the bus schedule doesn't really work for me, I can either get there half an hour early or 5 minutes late, neither of which is desirable. But it's a nice walk and it's a way to get some exercise so I don't mind.
The hostel is run by a Swiss woman probably 5 years older than me who has married an Australian. She's nice, although I'm a little bit intimidated by her, mainly because after my first shift, she listed off about 20 things I'd done wrong, and then at the end she said, "well, not too bad for the first day." Though seriously, when not telling me what I'd done wrong she is very friendly, as are the people staying at the hostel. Many of them are Swiss (does she advertise? is there some sort of secret Swiss guidebook?) There are also lots of people from the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany, as well as a few Italians, French, and Canadians (though no French Canadians). There have been relatively few Americans, though I did manage to offend several of the Canadians by asking them if they were American. There was one guy from Oregon though, who was from Eugene.
I don't have much occasion to use my Chinese, though I did get to take a booking in French. It was rather pitiful. However, I managed to get her credit card number if not exactly her name ( unless it's Bulamerv...). But anyways, have to go and deal with some laundry. I'll try to update more often in the future.