Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sydney to Byron Bay Day 1

Last night I ended up at Jordons again and got to catch up with some other peopel I knew who worked there. I even had a nice chat with George my former manager and it was good talking to him again.

In the morning I woke up qutie early, checked out and made it over to the Oz Experience Bus Stop. A huge green bus pulls up and we all get on it. This time the bus was a giant coach and the group was about 40 people rather than 20 like on my last trip. I met a french canadian from Montreal and sat with her on the bus. First we stopped in a place called Bilpin for a quick bite at the bilpin Fruit Market. then we drove through the edge of the Blue Mountains until we hit a spot called Lithgow. We passed through Lithgow until Mudgee where we bought food and headed to the Poets Corner Vinyard where we had a picnic and then a small tour and some wine tasting. For 4$ I got 4 glasses of wine and a port, not bad. Three hours later we got to the Warrumbugles.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Sydney Reloaded

OK! Now that I updated what I did over my Melbourne to Sydney Trip (see comment in March 22nd post) I can tell you what I've been uip to since I've been in Sydney!

So I got into Sydney on Monday and spent the night at Footprints. Yesturday morning I made my way to IEP to say hi to the friendly staff and then jumped on a train to the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountians is a really beautiful country area about 2 hours from Sydney. I went on a walk in the trails and it was AMAZING. The view is great! I got lots of pictures and will put them up soon. There is this famous rock formation there called the Three Sisters which is basically 3 giant points next to each other hanging out of the moutain cliff.

It was 5pm and I decided to walk along a path that sounded really cool called Giant Stairay. It was 900 steps down! After that I went along a trail and it started to get darek. I ended up meeting this Irish guy so we wlaked together which was nice since i was starting to get scared. Finally we made it to the end of the trail but then there were 900 steps UPWARDS! It got really dark, I was getting rteally tired and sweaty and couldn't see ANYTHING! I thought after a while I hallucinated the guy since he disappeared for about 20 minutes but he was just walking alot faster than I was. I was afraid I wouldn't make it out alive!

Now I am back in Sydney (Alive and Well) and am going to take tonigt easy, hopefully at Cohi Bar where I'll see some more Jordons friends. I won't be out too late for I have to get up super early tomorrow to hop on the bus where I'll be on a 3 day trip to Byron Bay.

I'll try to updat emy blog in Byron Bay and hopefully will have lots of photos ready by then!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Melbourne to Sydney Day 3

ot up early again and had breaky. I slept on the bus for a while until we hit Canbera, the capital city of Australia. It stands for Meeting Place in the Aboriginal language and is also home to legallized porn and marianna. There are a lot of museums and galleries in the city but we ended up at the House of Parliment. There are actually 2 of them - old and new. The new one is where I walked around, The old one is accross the street and is know a museum.
After lunc, we ended up at the War Memorial. Australia really likes to show that they care for all the soldiers they had participate in wars and peacekeeping incidents. They ave one in each state and I think Canbera's represents Australia as a whole. It was quite sad in there but the details they went into showing what happened witht their involvement in the wars was crazy. the had models and paintings and all sorts of things that were very interesting. The whole place was HUGE and I only got to see a little bit of it - mostly stuff on world war I and a bit on world war II.
Three hours later... SYDNEY! AGAIN! It felt like I never left. I checked in at my hostel, Footprints, dropped off my stuff and then ran to Jordons to see my friends. I saw a few people I recognized but there were a lot of new faces. I promised I'd try and go back on Wednesday before I leave for Byron bay on Thursday. I then made my way to my buddy Blair;s where we caught up for a bit but couldn't stay too long since i had to run to Scubar where I partied one last time with all the great people from my trip. It was awesome!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Melbourne to Sydney Day 2

oday I got up really early again. We all got up at 6am but in reality it was only 5am because we had to put the clocks back the night before to accomodate for it getting darker earlier. We left the hostel and on the drive spotted all kinds of wildlife - kangaroos, wallabies, emus, cows and even a rooster on the road! I got some really nice pictures of the snowy mountains (I promise to put them up in the future).
We passed by an area called Suggan Buggan where there was this really really old and tiny school.
Finally we reached out hostel in Lake Jindabyne. It was actually a motel/hotel and was by far the cleanest coziest place I have been to so far. We had out own fridge, tv and kettle in the room. There were 4 bunk beds and 1 double bed and we were only 6 people in the room so it was a nice. After lunch, we drove to Charlotes pass where lies Mt. Kozciviszko, Australia's tallest mountain at 228km! We ended up climbing up halfway to a lake known as Blue Lake. It was FREEZING and most of us, including me, had changed into shorts because it was so hot when we had lunch. The hike was 5km to the lake but a lot of fun because Luke, our TRES COOL guide, kept finding all sorts of bugs and anumals to look at. I saw a skink, alpine grasshopper and a millipede. I missed it but he also found a wolf spider.
After the hike, we went back to the motel/hotel where we played drinking games all night. The group I'm with is made up of really great people. I wasn't the only canadian this time. There was this guy from Calgary named Kyle who happened to go to high school with Stephanie, the girl I lived with for 3 months in Sydney. Small world eh? The othets were from England, Wales, Sweden and there was a guy from California.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Melbourne to Sydney Day 1

Today I got up at 5:30am and hoped onto the Adventure Tours bus. First we got to St. Kilda where I had to pay 60$ for the 2 nights accomadation, breakfast and park fees. 1 hour later we had breakfast in the tiny town of Yarragon. About 2 and half hours later we reached Barnsdale where we had lunch and finally after that reached Karoonda Park where we were going to stay the night. As part of the extra activities we could do, some did this thing called a flying fox, where you strap yourself to a cable and glide accross a tiny lake in the forest. I chose to do Rock climbing instead. Inside the hostel we were in was a gym type room with a ping pong table, volley ball net and a climbing wall. For 12$ I ended having a proper home cooked meal. It was SO good! I had some appetizers, soup, chicken and then chocolate cake for dessert.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Melbourne Day 66

[NOTE: I am currently on the move and it is difficult to update this weblog at the same rate I am doing things, and believe me I'm doing A LOT of things as of late. Therefore I have started writing my entires in a real journal and will recopy them onto this blog. I want to try and label the comments on the same days I actually wrote them down in the journal. Therefore, some post will appear all at once with several past dates. I hope this won't confuse anyone. Right now it is in fact March 30th and I am in Sydney but this post is about my last day in Melbourne on March 24th. Enjoy!]

Last night I went to Dallas with this canadian guy I met at the hostel named Graham. He was from Vancouver. Dallas is the all you can drink/kareoke bar I went to almost every thursday while in Melbourne. It was a lot of fun and it sadened me to leave it behind. Today I went and bought 2 CDs for to listen to on the upcoming trip - Queens of the Stonage's Lullibies to Paralyze and The Mars Volta's Fances the Mute. Both really good disks! I later met up with Nick a british guy I met through IEP and went to watch a comedy show I had tickets for. It was called Best of the Edinburgh Fest. the headliner weas actually from Calgary and asked if any other Canadians were present. I was the only one. Since I announced my attendance whenever he made a Canadian joke he'd always say "my Montreal friend knows what I'm talking about!". The whole show itself was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Melbourne Day 66

So it finally paid off. Since I'm leaving saturday from the beautiful city of Melbourne I decided to squeeze in just one more street art painting (pictures to come in the near future I promise). This time I went all out and did a comic book super hero called Deadpool. It was so complicated because it was so detailed. After 3 hours I hardly got far so I called it quicks and returned the next day. Tuesday was a much better day I finished the other 2/3 of the picture within 4 hours. I also got to meet a lot of nice people. I would always mark that I'm from Canada near my money box so a few people who come and ask where in Canada I"m from and then tell me what part they are form and we'd chat about our travels and how we enjoy Melbourne, etc. In fact I met a lovely couple in their 50s from calgary who were originally from Montreal but moved away during the first referndum scare back in the 70s. The woman was from Cote St. Luc so of course she was Jewish and the couple insited on not only taking my picture but taking down my parents e-mail address and mailing them a photo and a short message on how they are travelling around australia and met this nice boy from Canada i.e. me. They insisted my parents are worried about me and thsi way they would know I"m still alive. It was the weirdest thing and I can't wait to hear my moms reaction when she gets this e-mail from strangers with my photo in it.
WhenI finally finished the picture, I packed my stuff up and ended up earning $9.20! That was the most ever! So being a tuesday I treated myself to a 5$ movie (Be Cool - it was an amusing movie btu I never saw Get Shorty so I didn't get a lot fo the inside jokes) and then headed to a bar (Birdie O'Reileys) that has kareoke and 4$ Guiness pints on tuesdays. I even got to hang out with some Melbournians! I finally meet some actual people from Melbourne but I'm just about to leave! I may meet up with them one more time. All in all it was a great night.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Melbourne Day 61

First off, I'd just like to apologize to everyone who received this invitation for some website called Hi5. All it is is basically a "friends network". You join the website and then get your friends to join and now I have a record of how many friends I have and through them I can meet other people. I recieved one of these e-mails and by accident pushed the wrong button and ended up sending aninvitation to everyone on myu hotmail address book. I have over 300 people on that address book so all of you who recieved this junk e-mail, I apologize.

In other news, I have been quite busy these last few days working out my next leg of my trip.
Here is a map of Australia!
What I have done so far is start in Sydney and live there for 3 months then I flew to Adelaide where I spent 1 night followed by a 3 day drive to Melbourne where I have been living for 2 months.
My plans are to leave Melbourne on March 28th and do a three day trip to Sydney where I will spend 1 night in a hostel. The following day I will make my way up to the Blue Mountains which are 2 hours away from the city. I'm staying there 1 night and then returning back to the hostel the next day. The following mornign I'm back on the bus for a 3 day trip to Byron Bay whcih I plan on staying there for 5 days. Once i'm done soaking up the sun it's off to Surfurs Paradise in the Gold Coast which is in Queensland. I havn't booked any hostels after Byron Bay but I'm planning on going to Brisbane. Working at Peter Pan, the travel agent, as a flyer guy paid off! I just exchanged the 205$ I earned for 20.5 hours of work for a 3 day canoe trip in this place called Noosa. It looks amazing! I also got 2 nights free in a hostel in Noosa and 1 night in Brisbane with the money I earned. I have a lot planned for after noosa but it's so far away I'll worry about it when I get there, besides I'l be really busy with what I'm already going to do that I won't even have time to think about it!
Here are a couple of maps to help you get a better idea of my trip:
New South Wales

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Melbourne Day 56

I'm extremely tired and hungry right now but I have to right this down so I won't forget it happened!
I got home at 3:30am last night from partying with my work friends and at about 7am I got woken up to "FIRE! FIRE!" *Bang on the door*. I was so out of it but we all got outside and then the firetrucks showed up. it ended up just being a small garbage fire but there wasn't even an alarm that informed everyone of the potential danger, only a smoke alarm in one room went off. Before we even knew it was ony a small fire, while standing outside, the owner opens her window and looks out at us all confused and we're all yelling at her to get out quick! After about 20 minutes we were all allowed to go back inside to which I slept another 5 hours. Lets hope in the next 2 weeks i"m still here this is the worse it gets.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Melbourne Day 54

no much has happened in the past week. The wether was cold at first but this weekend has really gotten beautiful. It's now around 30 degress celsius! Perfect timing shince this weekend is the Moomba (Water) Festival. It basically a lot of activities, live shows and a full carnival with rides and what not along the Yarra River. The Yarra River basically runs right along the outskirts of the major city center. I went by there on Friday, when they were first setting it up but there weren't that many people there because it was early. Monday, however is not only my day off work but it's also Labour Day. Thankfully I do have the day off since restaurants usually don't close on such holidays and mine definitely is still open. Also my friend Tyler who I met in Sydney and hung out with in Melbourne (who;s from Ontario) is coming back today into Melbourne so hopefuly he'll stick around a couple of days and we can hit up the fest together.

Other than that, I tried street painting again. I went to a completely different area this time and I loved it! The pavement was not as smooth so I was able to get really dark and thick colours out of my drawing. I went to an area usually dominated by this amazing artist. He/she had about 10 murals on along the sidewalk and they look like they would take hours to draw. Then I come along and I drew Bartman! It looked really awesome though. I took tons of pics of it and will put them online as soon as I get the chance. Hopefully sometime next week I'll get a chance to go back to the same spot and do another drawing.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Melbourne Day 47

I finally decided I had enough of Melbourne. Dont get me wrong, I love the city and have been having a great time out here but I still have so much more of Australia I want to see and time is flying by! Come March 26th, i'm be on a bus heading up the east coast.

Aside from that, today my hair has finally gotten long enough fo rme to start gelling it again.

And as promised - PHOTOS!:

Street Art - As I have mentioned before, I have a permit which allows me to draw on the street and make a little bit of cash. I havn't done it since my hat with money got stolen the last time but here are photos of the first two pictures I did (click on the highlighted words):
BUD - For my first drawing I tried a graffiti logo of the word BUD. For my first try, I quite like it. I earned 40 cents with it.
Charlie Brown and Snoopy - For my second picture I figured I'd draw something people would recognize. The colors are a bit off since I didn't have any black at the time. A lot of people enjoyed it and took pictures of it but I only earned 50 cents. It was a step up though!

Meet the Neighbours - These are pics from a special night I went to at a bar called The Elephant and the Wheel Barrow. Melbourne is home to a very famous prime time soap called Neighbours. The show revovles around the lives of people that live on a street called Ramsey St. The show is filmed in a studio in Melbourne but any scenes involving the outside of houses is actually shot on a REAL street in Melbourne (who's real name is not Ramsey). The show isn't that popular in Australia but is geared more for british people. Thatnight at the bar was a chance to meet 3 actors from the show. I went with my friends James and Fiona (the ones wearing the Neighbours T-shirts) who are die hard fans and having seen the show 3 times, I thought the night was ok, but they were going crazy! The whole bar was filled with brits so I felt kind of out of place. But now I have pictures with actors that no one knows! For the record I met the characters known as Tody, Izzie and Dr. Karl.

Royal Botanical Gardens - It's seems that every city has a Royal Botanical Gardens. The Melbourne one is quite beautiful and right in the middle is a huge Shrine of Remembrance for soldiers lost in past wars.

St Kilda Beach - Here are photos from the St Kilda Area in Melbourne. It's basically the beach area in Melbourne. Lots of bars and night life. I went there at night and got to see a penguin! The last pic is of a star fish someone caught on their fishing line.

St Kilda Festival - On Feburary 13th, all the major streets of St Kilda shut down and were filled with people for a huge festival. It was a lot of fun. The pic of people making out infront of a stage was the attempt to break the world record of most people kissing at once for 30 seconds. Malaysia held the current record of 12000 and according to officials Melbourne was just short a few thousand people. The other 2 pics of the stage are of a famous melbourne musician, Xavier Rudd. He plays all his insturments himself at once and his music is very similar to Jack Johnson.

Night with Carolin from Germany - Carolin was this nice German I met at the hostel we hung out a bit. These are pics from a night we went to a few bars for some live entertainment along Brunswick Street. First we listened to an irish folk jazz band and then we went to another bar and listened to a latino hip hop ensemble. They were really cool and the night was a lot of fun. Carolin has since returned to Germany btu we've been in contact since she has left her camera in my hostel room and I'm trying ot send it back to her. I lost her address, so the process is slow. Hopefully I won't lose her friendship either, hehe.

Phew! That took a long time to set up! I hope you enjoy all the pics. I'm bound to have tons more in the future!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Melbourne Day 44

As I promised - more photos!
I didn't have enough time to upload all of my latest pics but here are pics from Australia Day - Jan 26th!
Enjoy and I promise to put the rest up later this week.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Melbourne Day 43

Alright so In the past week I've actually done more sightseeing. I went back to the Center of the Moving Image, this time with this German guy I met named Greg, and saw more shirt animation films. Some are really great. Afterwards I ended up at the Kylie Minogue exhibit at the Art Center. It is filled with Kylie clothes, awards, records and videos. She is ONE TINY PERSON. She is the size of Gary Coleman. Following that I went to this Art Gallery that had an exhibit called Grotesque and had images from artists in the 1500's about their interpertation on stuff like Satan and mystical creatures, etc. It was quite good. Not bad for a full day of activities and all of them were free!

Today marked the first day of the Grand Prix. Being the 10th anniversary of it being in Melbourne, the city made today a free event and I went down to the race track which is built around a lake in a place called Albert Park with a bunch of friends from the hostel. We just hung out all day on the side lying on teh grasss and watching the cars go by. Just before I left because it was so sunny today and I felt I was int eh sun for too long, there was a race between a normal BMW, a Super V8 car (Nascar racing) and an F1 racer. They gave the BMW a 15 second headstart over the Super V8 and 27 seconds later of the super car left, the f1 caught up to follow. It was crazy, The second car caught up withthe BMW and then the F1 racer was right behind. In the end, the F1 car passed the V* and just barely won by like a fraction of a second!

Still plenty of more to come in Melbourne for the month of March. There is a comedy festival as well as a food and wine fest and other stuff. I'm planning on staying until April so hopefully I'll be able to check everything out.