More or less one month ago I arrived in Auckland. With a slight feeling of panic, first thing on my to-do-list was finding a job. If not, budgetary reasons would have forced me coming back, which would be a sad sad thing. I decided not to move back to my euhm beloved home country before a stable government is formed. Well, seems like I’ll be gone for another couple of months (decades).
Tips for tips
I have been working as a waiter/bartender for the last month, so please allow me to share a few of my experiences .
Working as a waiter is all about collecting as many tips as possible. In the meanwhile, my strategies improved significantly and I am able to lift up the poor payment with some nice extras. Time for some tips for tips!
– Greet foreign costumers in their mother tongue. Especially German and French speaking fellow citizens seem to fall for waiters that switch to their language.
– Give some attention to the opposite sex. Especially when a bit older, that extra bit of eye contact or an extended Colgate smile can make the difference.
– Ask the client if he/she liked YOUR service. If positive, it would be a bit cheeky not to reward your good effort with a small financial compensation.
– Serve Americans. It is a fact that it is very common to tip in the States. Kiwi’s and Australians do not have this habit at all. One night, I was able to collect 250 dollars in one single night, mainly American generosity.
– Do not spill drinks. Dropping a glass of white wine on the customer’s table is not the way to go. As I dropped a full glass on one of the tables, I found out that the poor man actually wanted a glass of red. A blessing in disguise.
– Use humor when possible. Unless the client has no sense of humor that is. A thin line, I must admit. How on earth can you know if someone has (no) sense of humor? When complaining about a black hair on her plate, a complaint was filed by the same customer later that night. Apparently she could not really appreciate my comment (“well, it can’t be one of mine”).
– Act as if you’re the most confident and competent waiter around. Smile, walk with style between the tables simultaneously checking them for every small detail. Even if you’re feeling bad and your confidence reached an all time low (you’re tired, hungover, in a bad mood or don’t feel like speaking with people at all).
Wait(er) a minute
Well, it’s kind of fun to act my way through the hospitality business. But (surprise surprise) it’s not exactly the job of my dreams for various reasons.
– Authority problems: Especially one manager does not like my style. Every evening under his command I get called in his office for another “incident” or action he does not like.”Tom, this place is all about fine dining.” At the same time, a bunch of drunk and joyful Australians call me at their table “ey mate!! Could you get us another 6 beers?”.
– Working behind the bar: Every week I get to serve the same people (mostly spoiled-drunk kids) and the same music is played (a combination of up-beat Spanish/Brazilian salsa and dodgy electronic music). On Fridays and Saturdays, being a bartender means working until 7 am the next morning. Which is kind of exhausting.
– The removal of my sideburns. As I am probably not the most bearded man, it took me ages to save for decent length burnsides. Consequently, shaving them was a near to traumatic experience.
“Stuck in Auckland”
Auckland is the largest and most populous urban area in New Zealand with a population of 1.4 million (31% of total kiwi population). The city scores high on different quality of living rankings. It has to be said, the city is ridiculously clean -especially compared to any South American city- and no signs of poverty at all. Its location by the sea is quite unique, so boats are never far away.
The sky tower is one of the most spectacular buildings forming the skyline. The tower is 328 meters tall (higher than the Eiffel tower) and the 12th biggest construction in the world (more facts and figures here). Especially when climbing up at night, an amazing view over the Auckland skyline can be witnessed.
Random Auckland/NZ impressions
– I nearly got run over 5 times. Yes, they do drive on the left (wrong) side of the road
– After having tasted South American and Californian wine, it was about time to enjoy the diverse range of New Zealand grape varieties.
– Since Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world and a higher proportion of people of Asian origin than the rest of New Zealand, there are a huge amount of Sushi take-away selling delicious yet incredibly cheap food.
– How’s it going, bro?, good on ya mate!, sweet-ass! are only a few examples of the wonderful slang I’ve discovered in the last couple of weeks.
– The unavailability of free internet is striking. In the States every single spot is connected with a free wifi network of some sort. Here in Auckland, paying (way too much) to get connected and data limitations are the standard. Which pretty much explains my prolonged stays in the Auckland Central Library.
– The 2011 rugby World Cup will be hosted by New Zealand. Hence, a huge countdown to the event is set up. The All Blacks are the pre-tournament favourites (allthough they’ve only won the world cup once) and are especially well-known for their Haka (a ritual Maori dance performed by the team prior to a game).
I just moved into an apartment with co-workers, mainly young Mexicans traveling around the country. Finally I no longer have to stay over in a hostel, having to face the “do you want to join the pub crawl tonight?”-speech twice a week. Next to that, living is a lot cheaper now aaand, it’s tequila time!
However, I am pretty much looking forward to go and explore the wonderful nature on the south island. Settling in a city like Auckland is not the worst, but I’d rather pick up my backpack and get on a surfboard, glacier or mountain again. My hiking boots have not been used for months, and are screaming to get dirty again.
Beginning of november I’ll be visiting some interesting sites around the Auckland-area (Waiheke Island, Volcanic fields, and the Goat Island Marine Reserve). Afterwards I am meeting up with Kerry in Christchurch for a little roadtrip. What will I do with my life after that? Good question! All I can say is that after reading Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy in one week I was so excited that writing my own thrilling story is very high on the list.
As for now, duty is calling. Another day of serving people as a servant-slave in the wonderful world of “fine dining”. All the best to you all as I am slowly fading into winter oops , I mean another summer!