Thursday, September 29, 2005

Shitty Weather

Todaym the weather sucks! It's cold, windy and rainy outside. Makes me totally miss the weather in Australia, especially Cairns, where it was warm all the time. Well on the bright side, I hope to spend all today working on my photo album. As of this morning, I finally finished copying all the photos from the CDs (I have 12 CDs of photos). Minus all the pictures that didn't come out, I took a total of 3696 photos and have placed them in 118 folders. Don't worry, a lot of them are duplicates of the same thing, and I'm hoping to choose the BEST photos for my album. That should narrow it down to at least 1000 pics. That may seem a lot but it'll take about 10 minutes to look through them all at a slow pace, probably 5 minutes at a faster pace.
The next step I have planned is to take the selected photos and label each one properly and set up a photo CD that can be viewed on a DVD player. Once I'm done that, I'm hoping to make a more in depth slide show for the computer. It' sa good thing I'm not going to school or working right now...

Speaking of schools I started to look into a dew of them. I havn't contacted any yet but I've researched the websites for Dawson, Cinac and Inter-Dec. Each offer slightly different programs for different prices and the duration of each program is varied. I spoke to someone who recommended I contact McGill and find out if they have a career or conceling service with resources to look into other schools. I e-mailed them and I'm waiting for a response.

As for what I've been up to, Monday I went to another McGill Drawing Society workshop. I met a girl there from Australia so that was a lot of fun talking to her. Then when the workshop started, this time the model was an older guy. Yes, he was naked. No it didn't turn me on. I tried using different kinds of pencils this time and mostly stuck with 2H and 2B. They gave a nice contrast to each other and helped me to shading. I'm still not that good but some of the pictures were not that bad.

Tuesday I went downtown for an Improv show. The show was at Gerts. THERE ARE FREE SHOWS EVERY TUESDAY AT GERTS LOCATED IN THE BASMENT OF THE SHATNER/SSMU BUILDING ON MCTAVISH! COME! BRING YOUR FRIENDS! BRING YOUR ENEMIES! I actually got to perform. I felt a little rusty but the show was pretty good although the only audience we had were people involved with McGill Improv. I can't wait until Saturday foir an actual workshop. I want to get back into improv and really try to improv my technique. I feel less stressed since I"ve been away and I'm hoping i can incoporate that into my acting.

Besides that, tomorrow (Friday) I'm going to be participating in the McGill Chemistry Pub Crawl. I happen to be at the right palce at the right time and ended up buying a T-shirt for the crawl. 15$ and we go to 5 different bars! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone that I still know who are studying chem (most are grad students).

Also, I went to SUS (Science Undergraduate Society) and spoke to Marta, an old friend, who is now the president. I asked if I could be the official poster guy to help design stuff and build a portfolio for potential schools and she said they needed a guy and they liked my asking price (free...). That being said, someone I know gave me links to free open source versions of the programs I'll need ot get my graphic design career started so I can't wait to download them and start playing away!

Things are looking up for the Budman!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What a long week...

Just as I started to feel settled in, things just went off the wall. Monday, I was informed that my uncle, all of a sudden, got sick and was sent to the hospital. My mom and the rest of us were worried, but our worries came to an abrupt end when, sadly, on Tuesday, he passed away. My uncle was only 73, although he had bad hips all his life and was recently confined to a wheelchair. I hadn't seen him since before I left for Australia, and was never that close since he lived in Toronto with his family, but nonetheless, I was sadenned by his loss.

It was oubvious that we would all go to the funeral in Toronto, the only problem being that our bathrooms were being renovated. My mom was worried to leave the contractors alone in the house so orginally she had asked me to stay home. I was upset because I wanted to go and pay my respect like everyone else. Thankfully, we got a cousin of ours to stay at our house for a few day.

Wednesday morning, I got up early and took a shower in preparation to leave for Toronto. As I come out of the shower, I start drying my hair and then I hear 'clink'. I look down and see my eyebrow piercing lying on the floor. The end that kept it in place was nowhere to be seen and most likely was washed down the shower drain. I wanted to put it back in but knew it wouldn't stay without the end. Normally I would have rushed to a piercing studio but since we were on our way to Toronto, I just didn't have the time. My mom never liked it to begin with and since she was mournign, I figured I'd save the trouble of arguing with her and just accept that it's gone. I told my mom I guess it was meant to happen since I had it on my eyebrow for 8 months and I never had a problem of it coming off. in any case, although I thought the ring made me look cool, I KNOW I'm cool with or with out it (haha!).

Wednesday afternoon we got to Toronto. Since we were 4 people (my brother and my parents and I), there was not enough room for all of us at one of the places we were offered to stay at (on a side note EVERY hotel in Toronto was full for some film festival), I ended up at my brother Mark's wit his wife, Connie and their baby Charles, and the rest of us were at my aunt and uncles.

The whole week was full of mixed reactions. On one hand everyone was sad that my uncle passed away, but on the other hand I never saw my nephew before, and my mom felt much better when she got to hold him and see him as well. Also, almost all the family that was there at the funeral and the shiva house (the place appointed for the mourners to mourns and have people com eby to give their condolences) are family I hardly see since they all live in Toronto. In fact the last time I saw most of them was right before I went to Australia for my other uncle's funeral (unfortunately before I went to OZ, my mom's brother passed away and just now my mom's other brother passed away - she only had 2 brothers, no sisters).

So for the past few days, we spent most of our time at my cousins house, either praying, eating or just talking about whatever to others.

The last two nights when the tension was easing, I went to see two movies, Flightplan and Corpse Bride. Corpse Bride is quite fun and I enjoyed it although it's short (about 1 hour, 20 min). DO NOT SEE FLIGHTPLAN! REPEAT DO NOT SEE FLIGHTPLAN! Three quarters of the movie is about Jodie Foster looking for her duaghter on the plane. Then everyone convinces her she's crazy and she starts to belive she may have made up the fact her daughter was alive (since her husband had died and she was travelling to the states from berlin in the first place to bring his body over in a coffin). Then, she realizes she's NOT crazy and spends the rest of the filming STILL looking for her daughter. Did I mention the WHOLE movie takes place on a plane?!?! Finally RIGHT near the end the plot twist emerges, she saves the day and all is well in Narnia!

Anyways, I'm home now. It was a crazy week since I had planned to go to Toronto at a later time and I was still getting used to the fact of being in Montreal as opposed to Australia. Now I'm tring to get back into things again. This week I hope to start and finish my photo album! Also, I want to start looking for schools. Anyone know any good schools in MOntreal for Graphic Design??? (or somethign similar?)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Getting Started

Last night I went to a life model drawing workshop at McGill. I'm not even a student anymore but I went to this workshop. Three guys and 12 chicks. It cost 6$, all th esupplies included. We all sat around the center where a model stood in various poses. When I showed up, the model was sitting down and fully dressed. Then I bend down for a second and as I look up I see she's stark naked and her ass is facing me. Anyways, the workshop was fun. The model, probably in her 30's, started with 5 minute poses, then moved to 10 minute poses and finally 15 min poses. My stuff came out ok. I wish I could post it on here but I don't have easy access to a scanner.

In the meantime, I thought I'd start with posting some pictures of the various street art I did while I lived in Melbourne. It' snothing crazy, and I wish I would have had time to do more but, I had fun doing them none-the-less.

So here goes:

I decided to start simple and drew the letters B U D. I hadn't yet come up with an idea on how to outline the letters in black (it was a law that I needed to use materials that washed away and there was no black colored chalk in the bucket), so it is kind of hard to see.

For my second try I thought I'd do something most people would recognize. Charlie Brown and Snoopy seemed like a good choice. The only problem was, again since i had no black, I used brown as the outline color, so I ended up changing all the colors. Charlie Brown's skin had to be yellow (closest I had to skin color), so then his yellow shirt became purple and his brown pants, green. I guess it came out more RETRO.

For my third try, I went back to grafitti. I had planned to draw while my friend Nils would play guitar but it never happened. Anyways, I came up with a crazy and wacky font for the word MELBOURNE. I actually made some money off this one but before I could count it, my hat got stolen by some bum. It didn't slow me down, though, and I finished the whole thing. Here I used washable black poster paint as a means for outlining the letters. It really made a difference.

After having my favorite hat with money in it stolen from me while I was distracted drawing, I decided to move to a less busier area. So I switeched frmo the busy street of Swanston to the Southbank walkway along the St. Kilda River. There were less people but the surface was actually a bit better to spread the chalk, making the drawing stand out more.

My first drawing at this location was BARTMAN! I thought I'd do something everyone would recognize and a few people actually appreciated it. A lot of 15 year old high school girls hit on me because it was "SO COOL!!" (Don't tell my mom...)

For the final picture I had time to do while i lived in Melbourne, I thought I'd go crazy. I had orginally copied this picture on paper in my sketch book (it's not an original, I found the picture on the net). I liked it so much, I thought I'd produce it on the pavement. It took me about 9 hours over 2 days (3 the first, 6 the second). I was really happy with it although my proportions were a tad off. Passerby-people really liked it because I made 9$! That money went to great use. Being a tuesday, I spend 5$ on a movie and then 4$ on a pint of Guiness at kareoke night at an irish pub.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Settling In

I've now been home since tuesday and so much has happened already. It feels like it's all going by so fast and feels weird, like a dream I can't wake up from. Could probably be from the jet lag and the feeling of disorientation from being away for so long. You'd think not that much would change but so many little things have! Things look different, stores have opened/closed/moved, etc. Friends have broken up, gotten together with other friends, are now single, are now getting married or ARE married. My house has even evolved but thankfully my mom left the renovations of our bathrooms until after my return so atleast the house is pretty much the same as I remembered it.

Wednesday morning i woke up at 6am and weas wide awake. I made myself breakfast, first time in that house that I ever cooked eggs! I spent the whole day watching movies and unpacking my bags, doing laundry, etc. My brother Lorne came by and we went bike riding through the local woods. It felt good since I hadn't been there for years (ever since I was a kid) and I got to catch up with him.

That night I had my first meal with my parents in over 11 months. Oh how much I missed home cooked food.

Thursday morning I got up felling a bit better but still pretty tired. Went for breaky with my mom to our usual hangout, Chez Cora. The owner, Tony, was happy to see me and had been asking about me everytime my mom went here to eat.

After breakfast it was time to announce my return. I hadn't put it up on my blog because I didn't feel like making such a big deal about me being back so I just wanted to suprise everyone instead. I headed down to my old stomping grounds, McGill, accompagnied by my blue guitar. I was hoping to crash 3:30pm tea time and since I got there so early, I jammed on a bench on campus for about an hour. It helped me relax and then I headed over to the pulp and paper building. There, I got to see Dr. Gray, my old supervisor, and a bunch of people from him lab group whom I used to work with, including Emily. Tiff, a good friend, wasn't there so I was disappointed until Emily told me that Tiff and some others were supposed to go skating in the indoor rink (for thosae who are not Canadian, no it's not THAT cold all year round that we can go skating outdoors in september). That was perfect and i rushed down to the rink. I was wearing a baseball cap and had a hood on hopping i wouldn't be spotted. I wanted to wait until All my friends were on the ice and then get some skates and join them. As I checked the rink to see if I recognized anyone, my friend Patricia was walking towards me and when I realized she was looking right at me I pulled a 180 and bolted the other way. I stayed hidden for about 30 minutes and then when I saw her and Tiff on the ice it was time to make my move. I rented a pairof skates and hopped on the ice behind them. They were talking to each other and my plan was to pinch Tiff's butt and skate off but when I tried to grab her, I almost fell and in the mist of trying ot keep my balance, the girls looked up and were excited to see it was me. We hung out for a bit and it was fun.

once skating was over, I headed over to the Shatner building in time for activities night. McGill Improv had a table and I wanted to see eveyone. Most of the old gang was there and they were also excited to see that I had returned. I got to hang out withthem for a while and it was fun. I even signed up for a club even though I don't go to that school anymore. I hope to attend a live model drawing workshop on mondays to help practice my drawing. After activities night ended, Ken, Chris, Maryam and myself headed over to Wendy's for ice cream. Adrienne showed up and we all chatted for a while. When I got home i was exhausted and the day felt so jam packed and long.

Friday I returned to McGill for a more proper tea time and got to see all the people I missed on thursday including Sam. It was great to see that guy again and he just loved my long bushy hair. His seems to be getting pretty wild as well. I also got to see Norm. He was hapy to see me and we chatted for a coupe of hours. he was laughing at my stories so much he was on the ground in the middle of the hallway gasping for air.

After seeing everyone at McGill I headed over to my good friend Nadine's. It was SO good to see her again. We chatted for a bit and then found out that she used to play guitar and had one there! I got to play it and jammed with her for a while while she sang to some tunes. It was SO much fun!

Saturday morning I got up early because I promised my dad I'd go to Synogogue with him. My bar mitzvah anniversary was coming up and I didn't want to insult my dad by skipping out, so I went with him which I rarely do. The rabbi even welcomed me back in front of the whole congregation, so that was really cool. There was even a guest speaker there representing Jews for Judiasm, a group formed to counter missionaries such as Jews for Jesus which are targetting Jews to change religions. His speech was quite interesting, saying that those groups are usually fundamentalist protastans that have donned themselves as mesianic jews where they take the jewish faith and change certain symbolisms to represent Jesus. He said they have passover ceders that our warm and full of food and music and are so welcomed, good enough to pull anyone in. But then when they explain the purpose of the items on the table (which is the whole point of holiday, retelling of the story), they changed some meaning such as the breaking of the matzah represents the death of Jesus and when you put the half back in the matzah bag, it's his brial. Then later when the other half s found it's his second coming. The holes in the matzah represnt the holes made in him to crucify him, etc., totally changing everything to make it more christian. THAT"S CRAZY! Funny thing was there was a Jews for Jesus group in Melbourne and i was given a flyer a few times.

After synogogue I went to CAA and got my new drivers liscence. No longer amd I a probationary driver! I then drove home but found out afterwards by my mom that I was not covered by insurance yet. Oops...

That afternoon I went with my mom and my Aunt Ellen to see the Constant Gardner with Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes. It's a good movie but WARNING: it's EXTREMELY SLOW!And it feels even slower when you're still coming off of jet lag. During the last 20 minutes i had to struggle so hard to keep my eyes open. I finally fell asleep at the last minute intime for mom and aunt to get up and see me fast asleep.

The movie was just the beginnign of a crazy day. My aunt was kind enough to drive me downtown where I was meeting up with Norm and others I knew for a SUMS (math club) reunion. I wasn't even IN math but I became friends with all those guys so it was god to see them all again. We ate chinese and it was delish. I even met Norm's girlfriend who is a wrestler. WAY TO GO NORM! Her arms are so big, I feel pain just looking at them.

After dinner, I went over to Nads house and we headed together to a party at Andrew and Adrienne's. The party rocked because i got to see everyone else from Improv who I didn't get to see at activities night. I was really glad to see that Nadine was having a good time even though she didn't really know anyone. I stayed out until 2am and then I cabbed home.

So a lot of people have been asking me now that I'm home, what is the plan? Well, thankfully I have come up with one while I was away. After 11 months of thinking, I have decided I do not enjoy science as a profession and would rather do arts. I have decided I'd like to go back to school and study graphic design. I need to look into a few schools and start applying for either Jan 06 or Sept 06. I dont' want to go to a university but rather either a tech school that has some sort of intensive 1 or 2 year program, or try to get into the 3 year program at Dawson. In the meantime I need to start drawing again and build up a portfolio since most schools want to make sure you are artistic in some sort of way. That drawing workshop is a start and I hope to get copies of certain programs and start playing around with them. I still want to keep this blog going and since I won't have as many exciting things to discuss as wehn I was travelling I'm hoping to use it as a means to post my art, and criticism will definitely be welcomed. Once I figure out when I'll go to school, then I'll look for some sort of job to help me save some money for school.

It's going to be a few days still until I start the ball rolling since I'm still settling in and have a bunch of small things to get out of the way. One not so big thing is my photo album. I still havn't had a chance to even look at my photos. I have about 19 CDs with probably 2000 pictures. Once I set up some sort of slide show, I promise to host some sort of photo night, so those in Montreal, keep posted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Voyage Home

It's finally happened. I'm home. I couldn't write about my trip home on the plane so here is what I wrote in my journal on my last day in Australia:

It's my last day in AUSTRALIA! I got up pretty early in the morning, gathered all my stuff and headed for the front desk. Craig was working so it was good to say a final goodbye since this time i"m not going back to Footprints (well not for a long time). I really enjoyed it there with the staff, people, rooms, toga parties and of course the halloween boat cruise (my costume ROCKED!).

The bus was waiting outside and as I exited, I looked back at Footprints for one last time. Got in the shuttle bus and headed to the airport. About one hour later, I was checking my bags and heading to security. I had a couple of hours to wait for the plane and took the sudafed i needed for my ears and hoped they wouldn't be problem for the really long flight to come since they bothered me so much from the flight from Alice.

As I sat and waited, I reflected on what everyone has been asking me these past few days: "Are you ready to go home? Excited? Afraid?". The answer to all those questions is yes. I loved it out there in Australia. It was definitely a life changing experience but the way of living can't go on forever. I was afraid to go home and see that everything was different and changed but on the other hand hoping for a change since I didn't want to go back to the same thing as when I left.

For the past few months all I thought about was home. Then as the time to go home was nearing, all I thought about was the stuff i did in Australia. Now that I was in the airport, I couldn't think of anything. I felt brain dead, like my brain is turned off.

If I have changed in anyway, I think it's that I have become more relaxed. jess from IEP pointed out that I seemed a hell of alot more relaxed when I saw her on wednesday then when she kne wme back from back in October to January. I believe her since I havn't had a headache in over 9 months (except from hangovers which doesn't count. And about hangovers, I think I'm losing my immunity, since before I would never wake up with hangovers, and now I wake up still drunk, haha).

While I was still waiting for the plane, I got an extremely suprising call form my buddy Blair. I thought I wasn't going to get a chance to saw a final goodbye but we chatted for a few munites and really had a heart to heart until he said "Dude I really need to go to the toilet so I';m going ot have ot say goodbye", haha.

Finally got called for the plane. Once I was on the plane and heard the french welcome message it really started ot hit me that i was coming home. For once I got lucky and actually had an aisle seat! Plus the plane was so empty, no one was siting in my row, so I was able to lie accross three seats to sleep.

Once we took off i was a little worried about my ears but they turned out fine for the ascent. Then I put on the headset and the first thing I hear is "C is for Cookie
by the Cookie Monster, haha. Then the movie started and it was The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy which was quite funny and I recommend it. Afterwards was Mr. and Mrs. Smith which I always wanted to see and I forced myself to stay awake to watch it even though I was exhausted.

For the plane I had bought a Ralph Magazine which is basically an Aussie version of Maxime and on the cover was Jessica Alba. Coincidently when I started reading it I had the sudden urge to hit the toilet. I was happy I got a chance to listen to all my music. I was listening to Grinspoon and realized they are like the equivalent to Moinst or Our Lady Peace in Australia although their music is slightly different, more rocky and less poppy. I got into Grinspoon back when I lived in Cairns and my roomate left it out open in the living room.

I finally fell asleep but only for about 20 minutes. It was only 6pm OZ time but the sudafed pills for my ears are supposed to make you restless. I then listened to more new music which included the new White Stripes album and the John Butler Trio. The latter group is very cool. They sound like a cross between Big Wreck and Jack Johnson. Very rootsy blues.

Dinner was fettuchini, bread, fruit and chocolate. Not too bad for a plane. We then landed in Honolulu at 11:30pm (7:30pm OZ time). WhenI passed through security, they made us take our shoes off... weird. I had to wait around for about an hour and a half before heading back up in the air. While I was waiting I got friendly with a couple in their 40s from Halifx who was in Australia for just a month and they loved it (as they should have!).

At 1:02am we get back on the plane and the captain announces "some of you may have noticed that the left engine was being taken apart. Don't worry, one of the monitors that checks the oil levels was erronous and all is now fixed". I had no idea the wing was even tampered with and wished the pilot had kept his mouth shut! The captain also announced the flight was to be 5 and a half hours. Breakfast was then served (pancakes).

Five and a half hours later we landed in Vancouver. Along the way we encountered an electrical spcae/time dust storm which threw us back in the past, or at least it felt like we did, since I left Sydney on September 13th at 10am and landed in Vancouver on September 13 at 9:50am. Time travel DOES exist!

I found out that when I had called way back July to change my plane ticket, the woman told me i"d be on one flight from vancouver but the tickts in my hand were for a different flight. Therefore, instead leaving at 11 something I had to stay until 3pm. I had to go get my luggage and the re-check it in for the other plane but I ended uphaving ot wait about 40 minutes for my guitar to show up since it was stored as FRAGILE.

At 3pm, boarded my lst flight of the day, THANK GOD! Once in the air, I still couldn't really sleep, been restless for hours. The movie they showed was the Longest Yard with Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds. It was actually a pretty decsent movie, I quite enjoyed it. Then we experienced about 30 minutes of turbulence just as I REALLY had to get up from my seat to go to the toilet so I had to hold it in for AGES!

We reached montreal at 10pm. THE HOLIDAY IS OVER! I was really confused on what to expect now that I'm back. I went through customs and security, got to the luggage depot and my parents, brother and sister in law rush up to me. Apperently they crossed the security line and had to go back, so they ended up watching me for about 20 minutes waiting for my bags before they could actually talk to me. My suster in law draw a poster of a kangaroo with my head sticking out of the pouch and the words "WELCOME HOME CROCODILE BUDD!!!" and "AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE! OY OY OY!". It was so great I put it up on my wall in my room.

On the ride home, I was asked so many questions already and already my mom was nagging me so I told her we'd have to discuss the new terms and conditions now that I've returned home.

That night, once i got home, threw all my stuff on the ground, showed my parents I could play guitar and passed out in my bed. I slept under a giant flag of Australia that I bought right before leaving OZ.

It's good to be home.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sydney - The FINAL Days

I arrived in Sydney on Thursday. The flight was quite fun since I took the plane with Saturno, from the Wayward Bus tour I did from Darwin to Alice. There is aonly one plane that flies to Sydney per day so it wasn't that huge a coincidence we were on the same flight. I got to watch Monster-in-law which wasn't too bad for a Jennifer Lopez movie, it was quite watchable. After the movie we made it to Sydney, the whole flight being about two and a half hours. My ears went pretty haywire coming down and ended up being blocked for almost 4 days, but they're better now.

After landing, Saturno and I headed over to Footprints. I stayed there twice before and now it's been renovated (a.k.a painted) but none-the-less looks a lot cleaner and newer. I got to see crazy Craig who works there and remembered me from "my awesome costume on halloween" as he puts it.

Immediately after checking in, Saturno followed me around as I went to Jordons and Cohi Bar to say hi to everyone. I got to see George and even Roy one last time so that was great.

The following day, I spent the whole day with Saturno since it was his last day before going back home to Italy. We spent most the day shopping at Pady's market for souvenirs and stuff.

I then went to IEP to say hi to everyone and it was great.

My night went from a quiet one with Saturno to a pretty crazy night. I went out with Saturno for a beer at Side Bar but once there I bumped into Craig. He was really drunk and introduced me to his friend Jack. Jack was in charge of this pub craewl and invited me to join them to the last bar of the night. Being one who can't say no to randomness, next thing you know it, I'm on a bus full of hot German, Swedish and Dutch girls on the way to World Bar in Kings Cross. I ended up meeting three jewish grils from New York who Craig new and we hung out most of the night. Tons of fun, those girls were crazy party animals. In fact, so crazy I ditched them to go to sleep when it became 2am.

Next morning said goodbye to Saturno and went over to Jenny and Micheal's place. I expected a short visit and some dinner before saying my goodbye's. I was totally wrong, instead I ended up an hour and half away at Lily's (Jenny's sister) cottage and spent the night listening to them talk russian and watched Rugby League Football which is actually quite entertaining, more so than football (or grid iron as they call it here) since they don't even use paddings or helmets.

After sleeping over in Morriset, We took a drive to Toronto! There I got to see my brother Mark and Connie and Charles and.... No not THAT Toronto. Seriously though, the next comunity over was known as Toronto. The sisters went shopping and we drove all the way back to Bondi beach for a BBQ lunch at Natasha's, Jenny's duaghter. The WHOLE family was there and I got to say my final goodbyes to everyone so it was quite sad.

I returned to Footprints and then ended up going back to Jordans to see more people and say goodbye. I ended up at Cohi having a few beers bought by some old coworkers and met a german and Canadian girl. We all ended up at three wise monkeys and I was up until 3 am but it was a fun final party night in Sydney.

Today I've just been doing errands and trying ot keep my head clear. I went to IEP and said even more goodbyes. The whole time in Sydney has basically been sad with goodbyes! But i am anxious to go home, so those of you at home: I will be SUPER happy to see you ALL! At IEP it was great because I got to see Evan, Laura and Jess and foudn out that Joanna (the big boss) was really preagnant and even though Tim quit, he happened to be there for a visit so that was convinient and I got to see him one last time. He's moving to Canada so I may get to see him sometime in teh fututre.
The rest of the day I spent buying music. I really wanted some Australian stuff. I bought:
Xavier Rudd - To Let
Cat Empire
John Butler Trio
Midnight Oil
and at the 10$ shop, Jack Johnson and the new White Stripes disc.

Right now I'm listening to Xavier Rudd which is very much like Jack Johnson and really helpng me relax.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Alice Springs Day 2

After an amazing trip with outback I returned to Alice Springs. We finished the trip up with a free meal at Melankas which was the hostel I was staying in so that was convenient. All in all it was a good night. I got to hangout with everyone from the trip and we had a pretty good time together but all planned to meet one last time the following day. So I called it a night and took it easy most the day. Did a whole bunch of errands and ended up meeting up with everyone at Bogangles, this bar very close to my hostel. Now if I thought i had fun at Melankas, that was NOTHING. Bogangles was a REALLY fun bar with a lot of locals as well as backpackers. We danced all night long! The really cool thing about the bar was they had a web cam and an address which I sent to my friends Rachel and Glen. So, all the way in Halifax, Glen got to see me bust a move on the dace florr, 8am at his job. It was great texting him and finding out he actually saw me on his computer. I ended up staying up pretty late and then called it a night.

Tomorrow I fly out to Sydney, which means the trip is coming to an end!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Red Center Day 4

Got up SUPER early but for a great reason. Angus wanted to try and reach Kata Tuta for sunrise. This time, however, rather than seeing them from a distance we walked right into them. As we marched between the giant rocks we saw two kangaroos up ahead. Being so dark, all I saw were silhouettes but it was awesome. We moved on and got to see the sun rise change the color of the rocks just like they did at Uluru but this time we were completely surrounded and the color just got so bright. After sunrise, we did this huge walk through Kata Tjuta called the Valley of the Winds.

Once we were done with Kata Tjuta, we went back to camp to pack up and finish off all the food from the trip for lunch. We then hit the road back towards Alice Springs. The long drive was fun since we got to listen to funny music and stuff. Over the whole trip we listened to funny stuff including an 'all aussie' Cd of joke songs and Australian bands. Angus also had the soundtrack to Team America which we listened to the title track ("Team America - Fuck Yeah") which became the soundtrack of the trip so it was fun to listen to it one more time.

We stopped at mt. Ebinezer again and then a new spot, Stuarts Well where we got to talk to a guy who is starting up a baby kangaroo rescue center. He had with him 2 baby kangaroos and was feeding one beer, so it was hilarious and cute.

Also in the car, filled out a sdurvey and Angus asked us to draw a picture describign our trip and the best one gets a free beer tonight at the pub. I drew a funny picture and he liked mine the best.

Got into Alice Springs and then after a quick shower ate dinner with everyoe at Melankas and partied hard.

All in all was such a GREAT trip by far my favorite one!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Red Center Day 3

Dressing for the ice age paid off, for it got chilly at night and I felt warm the whole time and slept great.

We got up super early to go catch the sunrise at Uluru. On the way, angus was pumping the radio with Midnight Oil. The sunset was something to see but the sunrise was ten times better with the whole rock turning from a dull brown color to a bright red/orange color instantly as the sun was completley up. Incredible.

We then drove closer to the rock and did a 10km walk around the rock. Some chose to climb the rock instead. There is a very hard path to climb up the path if one choses so but the Aboriginals ask that you don't climb the rock since they believe parts of it are sacred. When I asked Angus why they just don't close the path off he said the two reasons are: 1. The aboriginals don't want to force you not to climb it, they just are afraid of your well being since people have hurt themselves and died trying to climb up, as well as people may not want to learn the cultural aspect if they can't come and climb it. 2. The organization that runs the national park threatened to sue the Aboriginals if they close it off. Originally the park was Aboriginal land and finally several years ago the Australians gave it back to them as long as they are allowed to lease it from the aboriginals for 99 years. That number was totally pulled out of someones ass but hopefully by then , they wil have full control of their own land.

As I walked around the rock, I was talking to the two french girls from Lyon who were both on vacation fro working as nurses back home. The best thing was I got ot practice my french sicne they didn;t understand a lot when Angus explained things. After the walk we drove to the Aboriginal Center where they expalained a lot of the culture and stories linked with the rock. I even bought a sticker that said 'I didn't climb Uluru'.

Went back to camp for hamburger lunch and then a swim in the public pool since it was getting hot.

We headed back to the rock and did a part of the base walk we missed earlier that was filled with all the stuff that the Aboriginal stories are related to. All sorts of things with the rock have a story to it and the aboriginals use these stories as lessons. Angus gave us a tour and told us a bunch of these stories. The french girls were totally lost so I kept translating as best I could to help them out and thanked me gratefuly. Angus told us that the name Kangaroo came from the fact that when Captain Cook came to Australia and saw the animals, he went up to an Aboriginal man and asked "What are those animals called?" assumig everyone knew english, to which the Aboriginal man replied "Kan ga roo" which means "I don't understand".

Also, Angus told us how the rock was formed scientifically. Way back in the past, South America and Africa were pushing towards each other with Australia in the middle, this caused a line of mountains to form in the middle of the continent. Over time the mountains eroded and turns into dust particles which got compacted into the ground. Later on in time, Australia moved north and this caused a whole bunch of mountain ranges to form horizontally and in the process, cracked the underground rock which uprooted to give us Uluru. The smae thing happend to form Kata Tjuta but they were more like splinters so their axis are at 12 degree while Uluru is at 90. The Aboriginal story for the creation is that two chirldren were making a mud pie and it kept getting bigger and bigger, so big the were on top of it and to get down, they had to slide down on their stomaches andwhile reaching out, their fingers caused these vertical lines (which are actually caused by water coming off the sides when it rains.

For sunset went to an area nick named the cattle grid to watch the sunset at Kata Tjuta. Not as impressive as the sunset at Uluru but still amazing.

Dinner was a HUGE BBQ meal cooked parially by yours truley. We ate sausages, marinated steaks, potaotes and onions, and fried rice. Didn't get a chance to play guitar since getting up at 4:45am tomorrow!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Red Center Day 2

Got woken up at 6am by "Welcome to the Jungle" by GnR. Angus told me he did that for me since i brought up the song the day before.

We left camp and headed over to Kings Canyon where we did a walk along the top edge of the canyon. To get up there we walked up a hill also knowna s Heart Attack Hill. Along the walk, we hit a part where the rocks formed a V shape we had to go through. This V shape apperently is important since it is where the three drag queens in the movie Priscila Queen of the Desert (starring Guy Pierce) pass through. We also passed through a part with water that was a bit inside the canyon and is known as the Garden of Eden. As we continued around the canyon, Angus stopped us to talk about several plants that we located up there.

We drove to a spot to have lunch which was just cold meat sandwiches and pasta salad. After lunch we did two more hours of driving until we stopped for photos of this really kool looking moutain called Mt. Conner. Int eh opposite direction of Mt. Conner was a giant salt lake that looked very foamy from our lookout. more driving brought us to Curtain Springs which is a cattle station the same size as Northern Ireland!

With one more hour of driving, we finally made it to Yulara, which was our camp site we stayed at that was not too far from all the sites in the area, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Angus joked that if you lok at Kata Tjuta, it looks a lot like Homer Simpson lying on his back and that Matt Groening was out here doing sketches and that's how he came up with homer, haha. That's as true as much as I am obese.

After setting up camp we drove down to Uluru to watch the sunset from the official sunset viewing spot. For those who don't know, Uluru is the LARGEST rock in the world at 348 meters above the ground (with more under ground) and has a circumference of 10 Km. As the sun set, the rock just started to change colors whch was really cool.

Back at camp, we ate chicken stir fry with potatoes, all of it cooked on the barbecue. I also got to play more guitar and then got ready for bed. I decided since I had bought this winter jacket and have been shleping it around have the country it was about time i used it and didnt' care if I looked like I was dressed for another ice storm with the jacket and my beanie (touque).

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Red Center Day 1

After my last post, I walked out onto the street just in time to watch this crazy parade going on for some music festival hapening during ht enext few days. There were lotsof crazy costumes and drumming music and all sorts of visual stuff. Tres Cool. Afterwards, I went back to the hostel and ate dinner with 2 Israelis I met, Liat and Yuval. After dinner we all walked over to the music festival and Saturno joined us. We ended up watching the last act called the Super Railene Brothers. I t was quite and interesting pair of guys playing folk music with one playing a violina nd the other a guitar and a stomp drum. Everyone there just went wild and started dancing. I liked it since all the songs were about Alice Springs and Australia.

Now to the juisy stuff:
This morning I got to sleep in since the bus ony came to pick us up at 11:30am. The tour guide was Angus and right away I could tell he was going to be a cool guy.

Our first stop was a very important stop at, wait for it... LIQUORLAND! Every loaded up on booze for the trip since its cheaper in Alice then out in the outback. We then made our way to the airport to pick up two more passengers.

Our first official stop was in Erldunda where I bought my first sticker for this trip. Once we were on the road again, while looking out the window, instead of seeing ht ecommon cow, we started seeing wild camels. Yes, there ARE camels in Australia. They were brought over as work horses and some how got loose. Now there are approximately over a million camels in Australia.

The rest of the day was all driving except for a quick stop at Mt. Ebiniezer truck stop and then another stop for firewood.

On the bus, angus made us go on the microphone and introduce ourselves. This group consisted of:
Peter, a tour guise in training
Chris and Kat, two german girls travelling together
Janina, a geran girl who had a terrible sounding cough
Charly, an older (47) german guy
Ben and Yuki, a british and japanese girl traveling together
Darren, an english bloke
Francois and her friend from France
Russell and Katie - a couple form England
Noriko, another japanses girl who happened to go to the same uni as Yuki
3 more japanese whose names I never got (one was named Tucker I think)

Eventually, by the end of the day, we made it to the Kings Canyon Resort where we set up camp. we made a huge camp fire and ate spaghetti with meat sauce and mashed potatoes for dinner. I got to play some guitar by the camp fire and made an effort to try out some new stuff I printed off before the trip.

Drank some wine and then headed for bed which was my sleeping bag inside a swag to help keep out the cold air while asleep.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Alice Springs Day 1

Been walking arond all day in Alice Springs. Met up with Saturno and went to eh very cool and interesting Reptile Center where I saw all kinds of kool things.

Getting booted off the computer but i hope everyone enjoys the last few posts of my journey and keep posted for tomorrow mornign I'm heading to the RED CENTER which consists of Ayers Rock and other great sites.

I'l try to update again when I return or when i"m in Sydney!
Sorry but you'll have to see the photos when I return home!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Darwin to Alice Springs Day 4

AUGH IT'S ALREADY SEPTEMBER! I MISSED OAP AND FROSH! I guess I need to realized i'm not longer a McGill student, haha.

The mornign was freezing. the freaky thing was I slept with my beannie on and when I woke up, I took it off in front of the mirror and noticed I had red dotsd all over my face. I looked like I had just reached puberty. I'm guessing (hoping) it was just some sort of bite but they were not itchy. I was lucky for two girls woke up with swollen eyes from some sort of bite to the eyelid.

After breakfast, stopped for fuel at Wyciffe Well which is apperently the capital of UFO sitings in Australia. The servo (gas station) was painted with grafitti of aliens and UFOs. Inside were paper clippings of all sort of findings and sightings and in the front were alien figures and a space ship.

We then stopped at Ti Tree for a quick break and then crossed the Tropic of Cancer border (which is cool if you think about it) and reached Alice Springs by 11:30am!

I got a little worried because as we were being dropped off at our hostels I asked Nathan about he place i was booked in, Melankas, and he told me the nick name around Alice for it is Skanky's. When I checked in though, it wasn't too bad so I don't understand why it has a bad reputation.

ended up walking around town and within 20 minutes bumped into a few people from the tour. Ended up having lunch with Leena and Gwenda and then chilled at the hostel playing guitar and doing Laundry.

Forgot to mention but I finally got to read the new book I bought while in Cairns. After finishing Scar Tissue, the autobiography of Anthony Keidis, the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I went and bought another fantasy book, the Magician by Raymond E. Feist. I've been meaning to get into it but actually got through a few chapters in the last few days and the book is great! I totally recommend it and i'm only on chapter 9.

For dinner, met up with the others from the tour at Toddy's for an all you can eat dinner.

Turns out Saturno is leaving the exact same day as I to head to Sydney and we're on the same flight! So I got a travel buddy!