Friday, January 28, 2005

Melbourne Day 11

Since my last post I started getting settled in the city. I have moved hostels. I went from a large expensive one to a much smaller, quiter and cheaper hostel. Plus, I convinced the friends I made at the old place to come with me and on top of that, my british friends that I made in Sydney are also staying there until the end of this week. Also, I met these four canadian girls from Saskatoon who are also staying in the same room as my british friends.

Besides the move, I've spent all this past week looking for a job. I'll admit it hasn't been easy but finally today I got two interviews lined up for monday and tuesday. The jobs are to be a sandwich hand and a kitchen hand. Nothing exotic but it's something and both are not too far from the hostel. Also, January 26th was Australia day! I ended going to a busking competition and saw some real funny street performers and some talented magicians and jugglers. At night I saw a great fireworks display and took a free boat ride on the Yarra River.

Now back to the details of my trip!
By the end of the second day of the trip we made it to the beginning on of the great ocean road. It sure was great, with all these crazy rock formations and beautiful views of the ocean. Our first stop was at the Bay of Islands. It had this huge rock cliff face and all around were these 'island' formations. Next, we ended up at the Bay of Martyrs. We walked along the beach and found all kinds of things washed up on the beach. The waves were really cool and we just had a lot of fun goofing around. We even found a blow fish on the beach. At first it looked dead but then we noticed it was still breathing. Firie tried pushing it back in to the water but on the way back to the bus we saw it again on the sand but this time upside down. R.I.P fishy! After the Bay of Martyrs we went to check out London Bridge. The story behond the name is that up until 1990, it was just a long path with two archways underneath it but in 1990, the one closer more inland collapsed, leaving it as it looks today, hence the name London Bridge (London Bridge is falling down...). When it happened, everyone ran off before they were stuck on the rock except a couple that looked happy in love. Well, apperently, the news helicopters came and filmed them stuck on the rock and turns out that the man was having an affair and his wife saw him and his girlfriend on national television! Our next stop was the Archway followed by the Loch Ard Gorge. It was named so after a boat in 1878 crashed, killing 54 people. There were two survivors, a young woman and the first mate of the ship, who ended up at the Gorge. It's a wonder how they got out, the place is HUGE! There were helpful signs stating that you can balace on waves and that there are portals in the water!

I still got more to talk about but I'll stop here since I'm getting sleepy. I promise really soon more pictures!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Melbourne Day 5

That's right! I'm currently in Melbourne. WARNING: I have a LOT to say about what I've done in the past couple of weeks so this is going to be a LONG one. There are also lots and lots of PICTURES!!! Please note, I have to keep deleting old ones to put up newer ones so in the future, the links may not lead you to anywhere. Here goes:

I had my last shift at Jordon's on January 14th at 9am. It was a nice last shift. Not too busy and I got to enjoy myself one last time. After work, I went to the apartment to finish packing and then made my way to Cohi Bar to meet up with everyone from work for one last time. So many people came up to say goodbye, it was really something. Even George, one of my managers, made an effort to come and buy me a drink even though he still had work to do in the restaurant. He even gave me this super duper reference letter to help me find a job elsewhere in Australia!

The next morning, after having about 4 hours of sleep, I got up at 6:30am and made my way to the airport. After a 2 hour flight I landed in Adelaide. Adelaide is west of Sydney in the state of South Australia. I was only staying in Adelaide for one day so I just walked around for a bit. I ended up at the Adelaide Zoo. I quite liked it and got to see a lot of Australian animals as well as other anumals from around the world. You can see the pictures by clicking HERE!
After the zoo, I went to the hostel I was staying in called My Place. It was a nice little place and every guest was German except me.

The next morning I jumped on the tour I had payed for and started to make my way to Melbourne. It was a three day tour from Adelaide to Melbourne. I had originally booked with a company called Oz Experience, where youhop on a giant coach bus and travel with tons of other people. Well, it turns out there is not a big demands for a trip between Adelaide and Melbourne, so Oz Experience sold that leg of the journey to a smaller company called Adveture Tours Australia. We were on a smaller bus instead and the groups was only 13 people. The small group made it a lot of fun, actually. I was the only North American let alone Canadian. The others were from Switzerland, Belgium, England, Denmark, Germany and Holland. Two girls from Switzerland and one from Belgium happen to be french speaking so I spoke french with the for 3 days! I'm a little rusty but it was a lot of fun trying to practice my french.

In three days, I saw and did so much, it was just too much fun. I have a lot of photos to show so I'm going to change the format I normally have set up to see photos. For those of you who do not know, just click on the highlighted, underlined words and the photos will pop up (mom and dad I'm looking at you here).

The drivers nick name was Firie. He used to be a fireman and took a break from it to do these tours. Our first stop was a short one at Bordertown. Basically, it was a town halfway between Adelaide and the South Australi/Victoria border. We got off the bus to see a small jail cell that got converted into a bathroom stall. Also, the orginal police station was still around and it was so small that a large bakery was biult around it.

Afterwards, we stopped briefly at the Bordertown Wildlife Park and saw WHITE Kangaroos! Apperently in 1980 a guy found a white kangaroo in the wild. Kangaroos are normally not white so he took the kangaroo and sent it to his sister in Bordertown who owned an animal reserve. In 1984, they successfully breeded another white Kangaroo and now they have a whole park filled with them!

Next was a quick stop at Pink Lake. The water is pink because the lake is filled with the Alga plant that produced Keratine which leaves a film of pink on the surface of the lake. Really cool!

After a bit of a drive we finally came into view of The Grampians, a chain of jagged mountains. We then climbed up one of the mountains known as Hollow Mountain. The climb was well worth it because the views from the top were phenominal. Click HERE!

After a quick encounter of almost hitting a Kangaroo!!......sign.... we ended up at McKenzie Falls. This was followed by a trip to Reids Lookout where we got to see Wahtook Lake and then a short walk to a rock formation known as The Balconies. I also got to see a wallabie (small kangaroo) in the wild! The night ended by staying over in a tiny hostel in Hals Gap.

The second started early with another walk through mountains. We went through the Mt Williams Range where I got to see The Grand Canyon, Silent Street and at the top of the mountain, the Pinnacle. Click HERE! to see the view from the Pinnacle.

I still have a lot I want to say but it's a beatiful day outside and this is taking a lot longer then I had expected. I'll give all of you a while to sink all of this in and in my next post I'll write and show pictures about all the really awesome things I saw on the GREAT OCEAN ROAD!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Sydney Day 98

Only 4 more days in Sydney! Saturday morning I'll be on a plane to Adelaide. I already confirmed everything and I'm all set. Tonight is my second to last shift at work and I officially finish on friday. For my last week, it's been pretty relaxing. I only had to work Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week and on Friday I have a mornign shift so I don't need ot work until midnight of anything.

Last night I went over for dinner at my relatives for one last time before I leave Sydney. They truley are great people and even though I called themon monday, they didn't think twice on inviting me out for dinner the very next day, no questions asked! I will miss them but I will be back in Sydney at least 2 more times before I go back home to Canada.

Last night after dinner, I went to my new temporary home and found a few cockroahces underneath my bundle of clothes so out of reaction, I vleaned off my bed and made sure there were none there and then went through ALL my clothes. Once I saw they were bug free, I packed everything back into my bag and then I moved aroundthe tingsin the room to find the hidden cockroches. I killed about 5 of them and 1 got away. I then took tape and paper towels and sealed any holes I found and this big grate in the wall. I even sealed the bottom of the door so none can come in from the hallway. Afterwards I was on my bed and saw the one I missed crawling on my sleeping bag! I made so much noise banging on the floor to kill them and moving th ebed that I woke up the person sleeping underneath me... oops! I did a double check before sleeping and the coast was clear. I put a trap under the bed and today I noticed some dead cockroches so it seems to be working since I think they hide under the bed. I've decided I"m going to skip the kitchen form now on and just eat out because yesturday when I bought some spray and used it in the kitchen, instead of killing the few I saw crawling on the sink, I ended up freaking them out and then tons of them started coming out from the walls and cracks and were just EVERYWHERE! Well at least I know what to avoid for when I'm looking for a place in the future. It's just terrible that the people who live there just don't care anymore and are not doing anythign about it. Thankfully I'm only there for 3 more days.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Sydney Day 96

Yesturday my lease at my apartment was up and I moved into my friends place. He lives on the adjacent street from my old place so the walk was short. As soon as I walked in, before I could even take off my bag, one of the guys hands me a beer and says "welcome!". After having the tour of the place, I learnt quite quickly that it's a typical student joint, similar to any place I've seen in the McGill Ghetto. Beer bottles on the floor, pizza boxes in the kitchen, novelty posters like "Crew Only Beyound This Point" located on the bathroom door, and of course, stolen street signs. The kitchen is pretty dirty but the room I'm staying in is extremely clean, big, and even has a patio. Last night I slept on teh couch but tonight i'll get the bed since, Mark, the guy who invited me to stay is going ot be in Tazmania for the rest of the week. Hey, at least I have a bed and I/m not paying alot of money for it. It's still only 5 minutes form work and thats what's great about it.

It's quite sad what has happened with the Tsunami and all that but it's great to hear that Australia is really helping out. Red Cross alone donated 64 million $'s and there must be over 100 million from all of Australian combined. Even though it wasn't my decision, I even donated some money to the Tsunami victims. As I mentioned ebfore, I had a great time on New Years eve, well, it turns out a lot of alcohol went missing form the bar at work that night and the genral manager decided to bust everyone who had a drink. I never knew the rule for staff drinks was 1 beer and having had 3 beers, I got in tourble for it, so as punishemnt, the general manager donated my tips, which must have been at LEAST 100$ to some charity. It sucks but things happen and at least in turn it's for a good cause. I hope everything works out in all those countries int eh coming months.

Finally, since my last post, I went to Many beacha nd tried surfing again. This time I was horrible. I didn't have my goggles because it was all last minute. The water seemed a bit more rough and instead of surfing I felt liek I just got beaten up by the surfboard.I had so many bruises and cuts. On top of that some girl in a bikini laughed at me for falling off my board. Don't worry though, it's not going to stop me from trying it again in the future.

As promised, more pics:

Christmas and New Years Eve

Pauls Final Night at Jordans

Monday, January 03, 2005

Sydney Day 89

Happy New Years Everyone!

Since my last post, I've basically been working and getting myself organized for whats to come. Oh yeah, and also having fun!

On New years eve I had to work. I ended up working until 2am but it was a lot of fun and I also got to see the Darling Harbour fireworks quite up close. Since all the customers got up to watch them, the managers didn't mind if we took a 10 minute break to watch as well. After work I ended up at a bar and two house parties. The last party, George, the most awesome manager I've ever had for a boss in a restaurant, even showed up even though he had to work at 12pm on New Years Day. By 6am I called it quits. New Years day itself, all I did was sleep in until 3pm, chatted with family back home on the phone and went to work at 5pm.

Thats basically all that I did for celebration. Aside from that, I booked a place in Melbourne to stay for the first week when I arrive. Also, I fixed my apartment problem and someone from work offered me a spare room in his apartment for the last week I'm in Sydney. It's comepletely bare but I know someoner else from work who will lend me an air matress so thats not too bad. it's better than paying 170$ to stay in a hostel and heeps better than the 240$ I'd have to pay if I stayed in my place that final week.

Speaking about my place, I'm glad that I'm getting out when I am because it's just getting too crazy in there. Currently we have THREE lorean girls in the living room bringing our total to 9 people in one place! One of them has to sleep on the floor!

Anyways, may everyone have a great year ahead of them. I'm going to put up more pictures very soon and even a movie of the fireworks I took with my camera.