so after a casual interview and hanging around for three days camping to discover the outcome we finally moved into the Bayview Chateau Tongariro as paid employees. The Chateau is an isolated hotel which was built in 1929 set amongst Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngaraheu AKA Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. The hotel still holds the old world charm, chandeliers and many of the original features even if it could so with a little TLC around the edges. Upon driving to the hotel it suddenly emerges out of nowhere and really does have the *gasp* wow effect with the backdrop of the beautiful mountains.... still beautiful even without the snow which covers the land later in the year and skiers and snowboarders flock to enjoy the cold white stuff. The mountains are actually active volcanoes but I didn't tell my mum this. In the hotel I was to be working as a section waitress in the 4* A La Carte restaurant (with the full shabam of airs and graces). Dom meanwhile was to be a porter/food runner/housekeeper... basically a dogsbody!
When we arrived at the hotel we were shown to the staff accomodation which was a million, maybe even a googoloplex, times away from the guest rooms and ambience of the Chateau. In our room was one chest of drawers (minus the top two) and a sink. No bed. Oh, there were a couple of toenails on the floor and some old curtains. Within a couple of hours a new bed was sought (we hoped it wasn't one of the beds which was refered to on the poster advertising an outbreak of bed bugs) but the lock on our door was well and truly b*****ed. This couldn't be fixed until 'first thing the next morning' so we spent the rest of the day in our room guarding our belongings as theives obviously operated in the area (suppose they could have just been bed theives?) Anyway, first thing the next morning was actually 12.45pm but at least the lock was fixed.
There was actually a range of staff accomodation options including full on family houses, self contained apartments, en suite rooms and then ours.... a room in a block of s***ty rooms with a s***ty common room consisting of two broken, torn sofas and a 10" TV (probably black and white) and four s***ty toilets (actually covered in s***....plus pubes) and showers which we were quickly told not to enter without your flip flops on or risk a fungal infection of some kind. We were to share this complex with other staff members, mainly school leavers who wanted to get away from home and live the uni lifestyle of partying without actually going to uni. Great. We found the staff at the hotel to be friendly and welcoming but when asking us where we were staying, upon mentioned that block of rooms, we were always greeted with an 'unlucky' face or a sharp intake of breath or that funny face people pull where your bottom lip goes to the right and your top lip to the left and you raise one eyebrow. We soon found that these expressions were not unduly uncessecary. One group of people from our block arrived back around 3:15pm one day in a state of serious inebriation. By 5:00pm we had seen one person throw up outside, witnessed another vomming out of his bedroom window and heard another puking into an undisclosed location. Another night of partying continued into the early hours of the next day (4am to be precise) where drug taking, excessive alcohol consumption, running up and down the corridors, screaming, shouting to one and other, slamming doors, peeing on the bathroom floor, spitting in the corridor and loud music playing, including one particularly lovely song only including the lyrics 'ginger c*nt', were all acceptable. All good fun and mostly behaviour we would in other circumstances may have warmly embraced, but a nightmare when trying to sleep and when it's happening right outside your door...and you know it isn't a one off.
I enjoyed my time working in the restaurant. Trying to silver service an assortment of buttered vegetables proved tricky but hilarious at the same time. Luckily the customers saw it like this too and much banter was had whilst I awkwardly tried to get the veggies from one dish to their plate without any broccoli landing in their hair or giving them a buttery splash back. Dom was not entirely enamoured with his housekeeping duties, particularly after vowing to never again change another bed after making so bloody many at Warkworth Lodge. The hotel was very isolated with the nearest town being around 30-40mins away. When we first applied for jobs we saw this as an advantage as we wouldn't be able to while away our hard earned cash. And anyway, who needs shops when you've got full use of a swimming pool (plunge pool that we were later told we weren't allowed to use), fitness center (broken bike, loud stepper machine) and a cinema (at managers discression). Being bored s***less is the understatment of the year.
So with all above factors considered we decided, after five days, to take back to the road. The Chateau itself is beautiful and the meals in the restaurant are to die for but unfortunately we realised that we just simply couldn't live there. So, here we are the other side of the mountains volunteering at a horse trekking company whilst we work out our next moves. We've only been here a few hours and already ridden horses, sweeeeeeeet! Although I did have to inform Dominic that it does state in the handbook that bare backed riding is unacceptable.