Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Things I learned over the wedding weekend

Back in Auckland, NZ
  1. A surprising amount of my high school/university peers are engaged, married, and/or with children.
  2. A not so surprising, but extremely large number of them, are professionals.
  3. The above never fail to make me feel like a nomadic bum.
  4. They are all jealous anyway.
  5. It is nice to have different style weddings when you have two on subsequent days.
  6. It is even better that they are completely separate so the same outfit can be recycled.
  7. I love that outfit.
  8. Three consecutive nights in high heels after 6 weeks in trainers and flip flops plays havoc on calf muscles and feet.
  9. Drunken uncles of the bride want hugs goodbye even if you've only just met them.
  10. A bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a glass of bubbles in the afternoon is more than enough for me.
  11. It is possible to have a hen's night without completely embarassing the bride-to-be.
  12. Random guys at bars know the words to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" (aka the Bodyguard song). They chose the song for the serenade, and also finished it when the bride-to-be only sang one verse.
  13. A singles table can be composed almost entirely of lawyers and engineers (the exceptions being myself and a vet student). Guess which faculties the bride and groom were in!
  14. The groom crying will inevitably make everyone else in the room teary.
  15. It is possible for the bouquet to hit (and richochet off) the least likely girl in the room to be getting married (i.e. moi). The rest of those bitches made me pick it up and take it home.
  16. Cynical as I am, romance is not dead.
  17. The verdict is still out about chivalry (ha, bet Chris doesn't read this).
  18. I'm still not going to pay any attention to that damn bouquet.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Things I learned in Sydney

Currently in Sydney, NSW
  1. I can now say that I have been a victim of crime in Australia.
  2. Australia is full of criminals (kidding).
  3. Having my handbag stolen is not the end of the world (I knew that already).
  4. It was the coolest handbag I've ever owned.
  5. Reporting things to the transit police is as good as reporting it to the real police.
  6. Reporting missing travellers' cheques is a pain in the butt (and a 12-15 minute process, according to Ian, who thought that NSW was in the UK. He also asked me whether my TCs were in American or Canadian Dollars after I said I was in Australia. Nice one, Ian.)
  7. It is possible for me to lose another passport.
  8. The passport fees have gone up exponentially.
  9. There is some new, high-tech, "e-passport". They might as well implant a chip in my brain stem.
  10. The lovely photo I had was unacceptable.
  11. The new photo is ugly.
  12. They don't do digital passport photos here (so no choice between ugly photos).
  13. They found the first passport I lost in 2003!
  14. I will still be able to make my flight home on Thursday.
  15. My UK overdraft has come in very handy, as I had to cancel my NZ cards.
  16. I am very lucky that I took my phone out before the bag was snatched (although not lucky enough to have taken my wallet, passport and photo CD ... ).
  17. My usual security paranoia is well grounded. I had actually turned around to move it to a safer place when I realised it was gone.

Things I learned in Tasmania

Currently in Sydney, NSW

  1. Taswegians are as friendly as they're reported to be (just standing within a few feet of them is an indication you want them to start talking to you, apparently).
  2. Scenery there is phenomenal, even in rain, although it's much more preferable in sun.
  3. The pioneers had a sense of humour, evident in place names such as Break-Me-Neck Hill (followed by Bust-Me-Gall Hill), Duck Hole River (followed by Pigeon Hole River), Paradise, Eden and Nowhere Else. Oh, and there's also a bed and breakfast called Woolly Butt.
  4. The major tourist attractions are extortionately priced (e.g. $24 to get into Port Arthur to see the ruins of where they held the worst convicts in the British Empire).
  5. Port Arthur is probably the most overrated place on the island.
  6. Dolphins are really big when they swim within a couple of metres of you (phenomenal experience at Wineglass Bay, proported to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world).
  7. It's hard to take pictures of moving dolphins.
  8. It's possible to meet a real life alpaca outside a cafe on the main street of Sheffield.
  9. Alpaca fur is really soft.
  10. Tasmanian weather is completely unpredictable. We were lucky we didn't get snow.
  11. Hiking for four hours in freezing rain through bogs isn't really much fun. Especially when the weather is obscuring the view.
  12. Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is gorgeous anyway.
  13. Tasmania makes some decent white wine.
  14. The vineyard workers are so nice I brought three bottles back with me.
  15. Vodafone has no coverage outside Hobart and Launceston.
  16. Launceston has the longest chairlift span in the whole world (?).
  17. It is still possible for three mid-late 20s kids to do two mazes at student prices and come out to be greeted with an old man in a waistcoat and pocket watch giving us chocolate frogs. He also calligraphied our names on pieces of paper for us. Thanks Peter at the Richmond Maze.
  18. Richmond is also the home of the oldest bridge in Australia.
  19. Tasmania was renamed from Van Diemen's Land because there was such a horrible history of convict experiences there.
  20. Most of the island is wilderness.
  21. It is possible for me to spend a day out fishing on a boat and catch nothing of legal size.
  22. It is still satisfying to eat the fish that other people caught.
  23. Roadkill is EVERYWHERE. We counted over 120 dead animals in 3 days. I now know what flat wallabies, pademelons (Rufus wallabies), wombats, echidnas and Tasmanian devils look like, as well as multitudes of bunnies and evil possums.
  24. Live wallabies, pademelons, wombats and echidnas are super cute.
  25. Tasmanian devils are cute too, but I never saw a live one.
  26. Wallaby tastes fantastic. It is apparently like kangaroo, but I don't remember eating kangaroo. It's a very tender, light, red meat.
  27. Taste (more specifically, tenderness) can be somewhat proportional to cuteness of the animal.
  28. It is wrong to wonder what a koala tastes like.
  29. I like eating new animals.
  30. I'm glad the vegetarian part of the trip was pre-Tasmania.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Back in Civilisation (not for long)

Well I just arrived back in Melbourne less than an hour ago.  We are going to take advantage of the city and go for gourmet pizza for lunch!
I have had far too much happen to me over the last couple of weeks to really get it all in here, and will try and do some writing in the coming days.
I did have a too close encounter with a MASSIVE spider out in the bush the other day.  We were collecting firewood and apparently he didn't want us burning his house.  I managed to get rid of him with a huge stick, after some screaming and dropping of logs etc.  I will not miss the creepy crawlies!
Flying to Tasmania tonight for a new leg of adventure with different companions.  The girls have been fabulous, there were no bitch fights or anything, which is phenomenal really. 
I will say goodbye to the '92 Telstar (nicknamed Tiger) and look forward to picking up the '94 Laser tomorrow!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Things I learned in the desert

Currently in Coober Pedy, South Australia.

  1. An 80 year old ex crocodile hunter can still grope you.
  2. He also thinks I cook like a young Irish virgin.
  3. I can hate flies more than I did before.
  4. Ditto for mosquitoes.
  5. Flies can sit on your eyelids and not be shaken off.
  6. Heat rash sucks.
  7. All I need to get me up in the morning is the desert sun through my tent.
  8. I don't hate camping as much as I thought I did.
  9. Things still grow out here.
  10. The Northern Territory doesn't have daylight savings.
  11. The desert is very flat.
  12. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (Ayer's Rock and the Olgas) is phenomenal, and well worth the extra 1500km of driving.
  13. Wild camels are cool.
  14. Lizards are cool.
  15. Scorpions and snakes are cool, but I haven't seen any yet.
  16. Underground internet cafes are cool, in more than one sense.
  17. I can live without phone reception for more than one day.
  18. I have met more New Zealanders than Aussies living out here.
  19. There are more stars out here than anywhere else I've been in a long time.
  20. Leaving the headlights on to set up camp drains the batteries.
  21. It's possible to push start a Ford Telstar when you have the help of some passing Spanish people.
  22. You can drive around a storm.
  23. Storms can last for hours on end.
  24. I love fork lightning.
  25. Red sand gets everywhere.
  26. How to count to 10 in Irish (and other useful words).
  27. Sunset in the desert is stunning.
  28. A swimming pool makes a big difference.
  29. The Melbourne Cup is a big deal anywhere in Australia.
  30. I can write legible postcards whilst in a car.
  31. Don't walk backwards in a mining area.