I'd been back in Airlie Beach and working at the internet cafe for a week when my employment agency called me up and asked me work as a housekeeper at the Day Dream Island Resort & spa. Luckily for me I had the next day off so I seized the opportunity to make extra money while I could and hustled down to the harbor at an ungodly hour of the morning to catch a ferry over to the island.
After being kited out in an extremely fetching floral shirt and navy blue Bermuda shorts I was introduced to my cleaning partner Jan. Jan was a Danish backpacker who'd been working at the hotel for the past 6 weeks. She was glad of the help but was surprised that they would pay for a temp as today wasn't particularly busy. Yesterday, she said, had been hectic and she'd been literally running from one room to the other to get them all done in time.
There were many little time consuming touches that were necessary to service the 4 and a half star rooms properly. Superfluous little things, like arranging the teabags and sugar packets nicely in the basket and correctly folding the towels so that they all hung nicely on the rail.
Then there were the little things that you'd never think of, or even notice, such as making sure that all the balcony doors are closed so that the islands wild Cockatoos can't get in and raid the snacks on the mini bar (they have become extremely proficient at pecking holes in the bags of peanuts and eating the contents).
But all of these things were not enough to keep all of the customers happy. Jan told me about the time she had been accosted by a guest for not doing her ironing. It is not the job of the housekeepers to do guests ironing. Yet this woman got into a tizz because the clothes she'd left out had not been neatly pressed and folded for her.
All Jan could do was apologize and explain that this was not a service they offered, while the woman spouted off about the fact that other hotels she'd been to did your ironing for you before complaining to the manager about the poor service.
During tea breaks the housekeeping staff congregated on the verandah outside the Head Houskeepers office teaching each other how to say "2 Beers quick, bitch!" in various languages spoken by the foreign staff.
"Allez vite, du bier, saloupe!" (French)
"Schnelle, Zwei bieren, weibchen! " (German)
I can't remember the Danish version it was very complicated and difficult to remember but the French one was easy; you just have to remember to make a popping noise with your lips at the end of 'saloupe'.