CV Farming (Other Teachers Do the Work So YOU Don't Have To!)

I was curious to see what the competition on the job market was like; having just moved to a new place to hunt for work.

I went on to Craigslist and posted an ad, pretending to be a school looking for teachers for the forthcoming year. I pretty much copied the ad from a reputable school in another country.

Thankfully anonymous email addresses on Craigslist meant I didn't have to bother making a fake account to divert emails to.

After posting the ad, I sat back, and within the week I got about 15 different emails applying for the job; with the following coming my way:
  • CVs
  • Covering letters
  • Photocopies of certificates/degrees
  • Personal info (phone numbers, addresses)
  • Email addresses of other teachers looking for work
It's amazing what people are willing to give away so easily... Somebody with more malicious intentions could surely put some of this data to questionable use. I guess it's lucky I'm too lazy/nice.

What I did gather however, is that:
a) The competition is pretty weak. I actually now feel a little sorry for DOSs who have to recruit from this steaming pile of shite.
b) Most CVs look like they've been puked up by a drunken dog.
c) Everybody has taught refugees/worked in a youth centre prior to becoming a teacher.
d) Teachers aren't the most aesthetically pleasing flowers in the garden.
e) Covering letters are copied and pasted over shamelessly, regardless of whether any of the information is relevant.

Though more interesting is that now, I've discovered, I have a whole wealth of people who can assist me in planning lessons and writing out pre-interview tasks; just simply delegate them to other teachers under the name of the 'application process.'

So yeah, if you need some degree templates, personal information, inspiration for a future CV or just want to fuck around; you're welcome to use the above. Let me know how it goes...

Recipes For Tired (& Broke) Teachers : Chicken Moussaka

Busto again. No work until September and trying to grind out life on $5 a day.

Gone are the days of eating out at restaurants every other day or getting da bitches to cook up something. I've found myself back in the kitchen, and armed with masses of time. Gone are the days of pasta and tomato sauce; time to get some real shit going.

Here's my take on a Chicken & Vegetable Mousakka.

  • As much chicken as you can spare
  • 2 aubergines/eggplants
  • 2 courgettes/zucchinis
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Thyme
  • Tomato paste/puree
  • Olive oil
  • Some yoghurt
  • An egg
  • Some cheese

Preparing the Aubergines
Oven should be preheated to 200C sometime during these steps.

1. Wash those fuckers down and slice them into 1cm thick slices.
2. Lay them down on some kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt, put more kitchen towel on top and place a plate on top. Then proceed to build a tower of stuff on top to weigh it down and squeeze out the juice.
3. After however long you can spare, wash off the salt, and dry with kitchen towel again.
4. Grease them up in olive oil and bake for 30.

Preparing the Other Veggies
As those aubergines are getting baked up....
1. Wash the veges, at least 4 times if you live in Egypt.
2. Peel and slice the potatoes / chop up the courgettes into thick long slices
3. Fry them up (at seperate times) until golden.
4. Pat out the grease with a kitchen towel and leave aside.

Preparing the Chicken
If you're lucky enough - time to wash out that second pan.
1. Dice the onions, crush the garlic, and cut the chicken as small as you can.
2. Fry up the onions. Add in the garlic, and thyme.
3. Turn up the heat, watch it sizzle, take in that beautiful smell and stir.
4. When starting to soften, throw in the chicken. Lower heat.
5. Season and let cook until satisfied or growing impatient.

Preparing the Sauce
1. Pour some yoghurt until a bowl.
2. Crack an egg into it.
3. Grate some cheese into it.
4. Mix together until thick and you can't see any pieces.
5. Maybe stir in a little black pepper if you're feeling cheeky.

The Final Furlong!
1. Grease up the baking dish, or whatever you've found which doesn't set on fire or melt when you stick it in the oven.
2. Put the dried up aubergines on the bottom until covered.
3. Pour some chicken mixture on top.
4. Add the potatoes
5. Pour chicken mix on top.
6. Add courgettes..... ,etc, etc, etc
7. Layer until everything is gone.
8. Pour the sauce on top....
9. Bake for an hour, or until sauce has browned.

Final product: delicious. Serve with whatever you have left in the fridge, and be sure to save at least half for the next day, so you can earn yourself some valuable drinking time!

Parting the Red Sea (Nuweiba - Aqaba)

After waiting for around 2 hours in the departure 'lounge', excitement started to spread across the room and hordes pushed there way towards the double doors where we had set up camp.

It was as if aid had arrived, and masses of raggedly, tired looking families shoved their way to the front, for no particular reason; the ferry wasn't going to leave without them. We took a step back, and let them act like idiots, and ironically were ushered through by the security guards - the least we could expect after paying nearly double for tickets than the locals.

Even though the ferry was about a 5 minute walk away, we were crammed into a coach which took us to the land's edge; to the huge open entrance to the ferry. After dropping off our bags in a little cart, we crossed onto the boat, and again, waited, and waited....

The cyclists had there bike parked nicely down below, and didn' even have to pay extra for the privilege. Meanwhile, we had passports and tickets checked like 5 times. Maybe after 30 minutes we were allowed upstairs.

The ship itself was a stark contrast to what we had waited in before: 3 modern, comfortable lounges with cafes, tables and even a Jordanian visa booth, and after about another half hour of waiting, we finally disembarked; en-route to Jordan.

Half way through, I gave my passport to the border official, we took it, gave me a ticket and told me to collect my passport in Jordan, and passport-less, I returned back to my Japanese travel companions. A Jordanian guy was asking her about his iphone he had recently accquired and was wondering if he could bluetooth pictures to another device. It was quite funny how he was attempting to hide and quickly pass over the masses of porn he had stashed away.

Not too sure why people bother with Apple products and their nazi-ish ways. Why the fuck would I want to do all of my business conducted through itunes? Long live freedom with technology and the ability to see, do, transfer and modify anything I please.

As we touched down at port, names were being called out; apparently the names of those whose passports had been taken. I didn't hear mine, but porno guy informed me I should head towards the front of the ship to collect my passport. I heeded his advice and was allowed off the ship, as the others presumably had to wait another hour or so. The luggage had been unloaded and I was told by a border official to "find my bags" in 5 carts packed of bags. After a lot of heeving and rearranging, we found everything and made our way to the border. I was given my passport, with a nice fresh Jordanian stamp inside, and we were free to enter the country...

Before exiting the terminal, I changed up all the currency I had left; totally 16JD. I was so broke that I even scrounged everybody's remaining Egyptian coins and bundled them on the counter for an additional 2JD. On the way out we met the cyclists again, who were going to make their way into Aqaba. Whilst the Japanese were going to crash a hostel, I couldn't quite afford that, and we decided to sleep on the beach and arranged to meet outside the main mosque in town in a few hours.

Together we left, out unto the hordes of taxi leeches demanding exortionate rates of 100JD and claiming Aqaba was 100km away. The journey costs 5JD maximum. Keep laughing at their stupid offers whilst walking forward and stating 5JD maximum. The Jordanians/Egyptians won't pay any more that that, and if they don't take you they're just wasting their time sitting around. It might seem daunting at first, but if you make yourself and your price known, one guy will break the party line and take you.

And that was that, along to the beat of some 80s retro classics, we made our way into the city of Aqaba...

Bye Bye Sinai (Dahab to Nuweiba)

So, the wait in the departure lounge is over; I'm leaving Dahab en-route to Nuweiba, where I'll catch the ferry to Jordan. It was a pleasant stay, full of doing absolutely nothing. For those who don't know, Dahab is regarded as a backpacker's mecca on the Sinai peninsula, full of divers, rock climbers, etc. But more importantly beer and hostels are dirt cheap, and there's plenty of good food and skirt around; bliss after living in Cairo for nearly a year.

I spent a little more than I should've, courtesy of meeting some locals with alcoholic tendencies, but I'll worry about that further down the road. I've got about 700LE ($100), which after the overly expensive ferry and visas, will probably soon reduce to near 0. In reserve, I do have 2 bank cards, but the UK account is blocked or something, and the Egyptian one is waiting for funds to be sent from the former.

Not sure what's going ot happen tonight, or for the next few days for that matter as I'll be broke, practically mute (picking up no more than 10 Arabic words during my stint) and without a clue where's where or what's what. It's a nice trip into the unknown, and I'm sure it'll be a good bit of fun.

In other news, death tolls have been rising in Syria, and everybody is trying really hard to convince me not to go. But after watching how the BBC reports on the situation on Cairo and how it corresponds to reaility, I'm very weary about actually listening to anybody who hasn't had their bollocks firmly on the ground - and when in a hippyish place like Dahab - that equals practically nobody.

The violence doesn't really bother me though, it's only the fact that I don't know whether it's possible to buy a visa at the border. Travelling all this way, and getting rejected would be a huge slap in the face.

After haglging for a dollar or so for the taxi in Dahab, I finally set off to the port, bringing along 3 Japs for the ride. The driver wasn't messing around, and it wasn't long before the calm and blissful presence of Dahab upon the sea disappeared, and that we entered a dusty crimson labyrinth of endless jagged rocks. The road was as rocky as our surroundings, and the suspension as hard as the cliff faces, and with every bump it felt as though it knocked a little more of my spine out of place.

The scenery is alien here, especially for one hailing from the UK and spending a fair bit of time in Eastern Europe. Apart from the odd passing 4x4, checkpoint and Bedouin camp, life isn't to be found. The aspiring rock faces on either side are strewn with age old eroded etchings, giving the impression that higher beings had placed them there as building blocks.

It must have been a good 2 hours before eventually, as if summoned, a flurescent blue shone under the midday sky again, straddling a shanty looking settlement and a few awaiting ships. As we veered closer, I noticed 'AB Maritime' on the side of one; our ship.

The driver dropped us off at the ticket office, where quite visible differences in prices for Egyptians and foreigners were displayed in Arabic on the wall. $60 - $90 for us, about half of that for them. On top of that, we were paying in Egyptian pounds and got struck with a very unfavourable exchange rate, as well as having to pay a departure tax. I know it's a pleasure to finally leave Egypt, but fuck, I didn't expect to have to pay for the privilege.

My 700LE dwindled to around 200; not quite enough to get to Turkey, in fact, I'm not sure if it will even cover the Jordanian visa.

The city of Nuweiba looked a proper dive; a monstrosity compared t the beauty of the sea and mountains which blesses it. Legions of lorries were parked between various run-down shack-like buildings; little ran wild amongst the town's main road, and there wasn't an ounce of care in sight.

"Red Sea Port Authority" denoted our destination, along with some soldiers and barbed wire. The place looked designed for freight and cargo, and it took a while for the guard to let us through a small side door, where we had our baggage scanned, sans my bag with cheese and bread. Order was non-existant around the complex, and navigation simply was a case of going somewhere you weren't supposed to, and being redirected. Eventually we made it to a huge concrete block of a building, which inside looked like a refugee camp: bodies strewn everywhere in tattered clothes and a feeling of boredom and depression lingering in the air amongst the other bad smells. A white guy and 3 Japs sure looked conspicuous amongst the mix and earned a few stares, but as we dropped our bags and started dealing cards on the floor, they eventually got bored and went back to being even boreder, on the border...

(pictures to come)

The Road to Perdition

So, thank fuck for that. Another chapter finished, and another beginning to leap from. I've just escaped from a stint at the called dogs bollocks of language schools and can safely say it's the worst place I've ever worked at, making the Russian, Ukrainian and Polish outfits seem like Google HQ in comparison.

I had a 2 year contract, but terminated it after 9 months. Life's too short for corporate box-ticking. I gave the required notice, and offered to pay them around $1000 to make up for flights, hotels, etc, but after a month of receiving no reply on even confirmation of the email, they eventually said they wanted $2000; effectively wanting me to work the final 2 months without pay.

They refused to negotiate, and I refused to teach there ever again. Only their greed surpasses their disorganisation.

Having quit in early May, I still had a months worth of rent paid, so stuck it out at home for the rest of the month; existing, drinking and saying some difficult goodbyes. Come June, I couldn't really afford to live in the city for another month, so decided the cheapest way to exist and get to Istanbul would be to travel there overland. Not really caring much for the region, I had to open up Google Maps and see how that would pan out.

Upon tracing the map up there I found out that I have no choice but to either pass through Iraq or Syria.... I would've flipped a coin to dictate the route, but I guess I'm not that suicidal to risk Iraq.

I've budgeted around $500 for it all, and my itinerary so far consists of getting to Dahab to chill for a few days more and catch the word on the road. It's so great to be free again; to face the unknown and have no idea where you're going to sleep or be. Game on!

'Russian Winter' - First Chapter

The blog's been on hold... But in the last few weeks I've been working on putting together a little story. Here's the first-ish chapter, any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

The mammoth 22:38 train shrieked to a halt, and gave a relieving hiss as the carriages opened onto the central station. Weary faces, now impatiently crammed in the narrow corridors before him, showed new signs of life as they scanned the platform in search of those awaiting them, and as they unloaded – one by one – they hustled off into the horde of vibrant expectance.

He observed through the condensation as loved ones embraced, before dispersing in whirls of joyous smoke. Last of the rabble, he was gently told to hurry up by the all-helpful provodnitsa*, and as he carefully clanged down the train's steel stairs, the once bustling combustion of life and love was beginning to evaporate into a lingering mist.

They had arranged to meet here; his hasty message notifying them of his departure around 50 hours ago. Their receipt was an assumption, and its confirmation impossible with his foreign devices failing to operate in this new land. He glanced from left to right, at decreasing intervals, but nobody appeared as though they were looking for anybody. The only body aware of his arrival was his provodnitsa. Her eyes, surrounded by a stern and aged shell, worriedly and curiously watched over him, and as the train doors crashed closed; a distant whistle wailed, and he knew from then on – there he remained alone.

The platform on which he stood, a wide bed of dusty concrete, stretched into darkness on either horizon. In ages past, it would have undoubtedly harboured and embarked populations of passengers, but now, on the verge of a starless midnight, was only host to a litter of used plastic and aluminium, gracefully buttering around the boarded kiosks.

Behind him, the 22:38 to Moscow was gathering momentum; carriage upon carriage rhythmically clattering past. He turned towards the weary faces gazing through the windows, and for a moment wished he was still with them; tucked up in his warm platzkart bed, safe under the auspices of the trains predictable tracks. Low on money, disconnected and apparently without a job, it seemed a far safer route than the darkness and the unknown laid before him.

Originating seemingly from nowhere, the last of the crowd - an old hunchbacked babushka – waddled past him towards the stairway; somehow managing to trawl piles of luggage behind her. Snapping out of his delirium, he instinctively asked if she needed help. She continued trotting past, unaware or unwanting of his request. Having probably never encountered a foreigner before, an ingrained force within was commanding her to ignore the stupid, pestering foreigner. But after a second attempt, and a tap on the shoulder which shuddered throughout her body, submission eloped from her weak and ailing mind, and her head slowly turned upwards, revealing pinhole eyes devoid of colour. She vacantly focused up towards him.

Robert pointed at her bags, and muttered something resembling the local language. With a reluctant smile, she crokeadly whispered “спасиво” (spasibo: thank you); allowing the lost and weary foreigner to lead her up into his vast new world. Warming to the assistance, and allowing curiosity to ignite from within her, she helplessly initiated conversation, at a speed to which Robert could not comprehend. All he could do was nod, squint his eyes and smile in return. Unknown to him, she had arrived from her son's new home in a distant city, and was returning to the place she had occupied her entire life. A widow to alcohol; lonely, it seemed her only reason now was to exist.

As they reached the final step towards the station's main hall, the old babushka hobbled off into the sea of Russian, leaving Robert to wade around the lobby in a useless search for somebody whom he had no idea who. After a few moments of aimlessly exploring the station's grand embezzled halls, he realised all was in vain, and the faint beacon of hope which once shone, had faded into a siren of warning.

Unsure of how to react, he retreated into one of the numerous rows of seats; his single bag clutched between his thighs. And if it weren't for the metal armrests barricading him on either side, he could've quite easily slumped over and slept the night away. Though nonetheless, slouched; resting on his arm, and thumb caressing his chin, his body began to recuperate. A far cry from his thoughts; jumping from wall to wall, floor to ceiling and colliding at interstellar pace, leaving nothing to rationality. Not once did he consider that those he were expecting could be late, or his train could have been early, and instead assumed the worst. Ill feelings began to creep from underneath the chairs around him; their tentacles slithering around his legs and protruding to his soul. The once subtle hum of the passing passengers flared into a snide, aggressive beast; petrifying him with hostile stares, and hissing at him in undetectable alien tongues. The only information he could decode appeared to be his name, nationality and reason for being here. None of which he wished anybody would know.

“The sickness and travelling sure has taken its toll” he eventually realised; snapping out of his semi-slumber and becoming aware of his current state. Not only had the journey taken in excess of two days, but he made the foolish decision of purchasing meat, from a trader at one of the stations, for lunch; confining him to the carriage's unsanitary toilet and the provodnica's cabin – where she duly looked after him and acquired medicine - for the latter half of the journey. Even though cooler now, the preceding days had been some one of the hottest recorded in recent years, and blinded by hunger, he failed to think how even a few hours in such blistering heat would turn the freshest meat rotten.

Relaxed, and regaining an essence of his adventurer's spirit, prompted from a deep and lengthy rumble from his stomach, Robert stood and doggedly tossed his bag over his shoulder. He concluded that business could wait until morning, and the most important deeds for now were to sleep, eat, and find the nearest bar – in reverse order - so that tomorrow, he could set out to accomplish what he came here to find.