A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: blondesock

Ireland (ok so I lied when I said it was the end...)

Dublin and Tipperary

sunny 18 °C

hello!! Long time no see. Ok, so I missed it so much I thought I'd carry on...

Right, so I flew to Dublin from Edinburgh after a shift in the local pub which finished at 2am, got to bed at 3am and up at 5am to have a shower and get to the airport. Cheers for taking me Dad!!

After a 45 minute flight which I slept through pretty much, I landed in Dublin. The trolly dolly guy had a fabulous dublin accent.. mummble mumble dooblin, mummble mumble hertz.... The radio shows are equally as funny, I just love the banter and the accent. Aisling that I travelled thorugh Indonesia with last year was there to meet me and we headed to her car. A woman in the airport was handing out leaflets, I took one and was very surprised to read the cover "You haven't been to Ireland until you've been to Northern Ireland" hilarious given the fact that I was in southern Ireland...

Anyway Aisling took me for a tour of the ghetto where a few days before some young folk were gunned down in the street by a machine gun weilding youth.. went back to her house, had a quick sandwich (I took a loaf of Genius bread with me) then hopped in the car and drove the long way to Tipperary... it's a long way to go, it's a long way to Tipperary traalaalaalaaaa. We stopped off at the Rock of Cashel on the way which was ace. It's a massive old castle on top of a hill. We took the tour but dipped out when the bloke taking the tour got a bit too boring for our liking. He did however tell us about the stone that if you can put your arms around it and touch your fingers you'll never have to go to the dentist ever again and also if you hop around the stone 9 times, you'll be married within the year. I tried the dentist trick but not the wedding one, no point expending all that energy for nothing... poor me I hear you cry haha

After that we went to get something to eat, the nice resturant was waaaaay too expensive, the next one down smelled really bad like old toasty machines or 10 year old chip fat and the bloke behind the counter looked like he'd been washing his hair in said chip fat so we opted for a wee shop with a granny and grandson in, a good cuppa and a scone for Aisling. After that we headed to a hurling match in Thurles where Aislings partner Phil is from. It was 20 euro to get in so we didn't bother in the end, the atmos outside was great tho and Tipperary won hurrah!!

We were to stay in the champion of all campervans. Phil has been doing up an ex mobile library van for over 2 years and it's amazing!! never before have you seen a camper quite like it. Full kitchen and shower room, 2 double beds/seating areas, swivvel chairs in the front, surround sound and even otside speakers for when the decks get set up!! fabulous a total labour of love. We didn't actually stay in it that night as we carried on with the party after the pub shut at 3am round a friends house which was great, it meant Aisling and Phil got to take the camper for it's maiden voyage the following weekend to the Oxygen Festival. We went out to a bar hat night which had live bands on, a young boy band doing metal tunes, a band called Jester who had a very manchester kind of sound and were really good then Atonomise I who were brilliant!!!! I was asked if I was swedish or polish yet again...

The next day, a little worse for wear, Aisling and I headed back to Dublin and out to meet my cousins Garry and Robert. Robert and Catherine live in Dublin and Garry and Mairead drove all the way from Killybeggs to see me, how cool is that?? thankfully when we met up, they were a little worse for wear as well but we all soon livened up with some coffee and food then onto the drink even if it was just water for me. Had a top night!! Rested most of the next day then went back into Dublin to Temple Bar and met up with my cousins again which ended up with us going into a vintage shop and trying on weird and wonderful clothes and hats, drinking more coffee then finally went home for a curry and an early night!!

On my last day we looked after Aislings neice Olivia. We took her round the harbour in Skerries and had some famous fish and chips which were lush. Apparently St Patrick, before he was a saint, and his goat moored his boat in Skerries. The people of the town then ate his goat so the local church has a stone memorial on the wall in memory of the delicious goat. We then had loads of trouble getting the buggy to fold down so shoved it in the back of the car with Olivia and dropped her off at home before taking me back to the airport. Back on the plane and off back to my Mums. A top weekend indeed!! Thanks Aisling!! xx

Posted by blondesock 13:56 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

The End

London then back to reality...

rain -50 °C

Hello for the last time... well, for now anyway. I'm sad to be ending my blog and even more sad that it's the end of my trip.

I arrived in London after a long flight, made longer by the small brat sat in the row in front of me. It's father had his chair back as far as it would go until his head was nearly in my lap and the spawn of satan was let loose in the aisles of the plane and took great joy in hitting everyone who was alseep or otherwise as he went running up and down. I know it must be boring for a child on a plane but there is a limit... Got off the plane and stood in the customs queue for ages, why don't these people smile?? Once through, I stopped at Costa coffee and bought a rubbish latte then made my way over to the phone chip vending machine then spent near an hour on the vodaphone website trying to activate it, finally got it going and hopped on a train to meet up with new friends who let me kip on their couch which I shared with Daniel the Spaniel who snores...
They were so welcoming and I felt instantly comfortable and relaxed with them all, they even had a wee shindig in my honour on my last night, how nice is that?? I also met up with my mate Alex who I went through Vietnam with, she's ace. We had lunch and coffee and did some mooching about London. I also met up with my friend David who took me to a very posh resturant in Pall Mall where you're not allowed ot have your mobile on. I didnt know this at the time, so when my phone rang I thought it was hilarious, the Ace of Spades blaring out of my shopping bag handbag hehe I got a few furrowed brows for that haha
I went to a gallery and found my way to the london office of my old work to see Tracy and Neelai which was great. Londons a funny place, the tube is mad, no one talks to you or looks at you, they all just stand there looking at the floor or read the free metro paper for fear of making any sort of eye contact. One morning the tube stopped between stations and switched it's engine off. Deathly silence filled the carriage and I burst out laughing, I couldn't help it, it was just so weird. I got a lot of room after that with people slowly edging away from the nutter on the train... While walking the streets a woman handed me a flower wrapped in tin foil and asked me for 'money for the children' I asked her for her ID and she got all shirty with me 'I don't need ID laaav' so I didn't give her anything and handed back the flower, so rude. I also asked someone for directions in the street and they didn't want to know, it was an italian man who helped me in the end. Londoners are so mean, even in Morrisons while shopping for pavlova ingredients I felt intimidated and small. I wouldn't live in London if you paid me, it's mean and nasty. Of all the places I've been in the world, London is the only place that made me feel scared, intimidated and unsafe. Well, I'm not saying I'd walk the streets of La Linea on my own at night, esp through the ghetto at the border and esp after I got mugged there a few years ago and again, I might not feel too comfortable alone at night in Edinburgh but London just has that air of trouble brewing about it. You might think I'm mad but it's true. I got off the tube after my meal in Pall Mall and practically ran all the way home after texting my friends to let them know I was on my way. It was dark and wet and a big dog barked at me and 2 big burly blokes stood on the corner and stared at me eeek!! me no like. I suppose it doesn't help that all you hear in the media is bad things, I'm sure it's lovely and paved in gold somewhere... The people I was staying with were from Tazmania, Finland and South Africa by the way, not london and like I said before, very nice indeed.

Back on a plane and off to Scotland, got off the plane and no one was there to meet me... poor me... nearly a year away and not a parent in sight. Do you know why? they were having a drink!! shocking isn't it, had to wait outside in the cold for them to arrive, I'm not sure if I'll ever get over it... Being back in Scotland is just weird, in a nice way but strange all the same. I haven't lived here for 14 years so don't really know anyone, it's great to see my family and LeeAnne tho. For the first 2 weeks I was just waiting on my next move then realising I didn't have one I got the post travel blues and booked a flight to Spain. Being back in Spain/Gibraltar was great, I missed my friends so much and even tho it rained quite a lot when I was there it was still warm and felt like I was home. I threw my girls around the room and got jumped on in the guise of Auntie GiGi, went out with Lee-Ann in Spain, great night that was. Drinks with the lads and lunch with friends. On my last night I sat in the pub from about 12 noon and watched people come and go all day. Felt like the queen sitting there hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye then back on the plane and back to Scotland... time to look for a job boohoooo still looking...

Well what can I say, it's been a stormer of a year and I have loved every single minute, day, night and second of it. I have loads of favourite places I would love to go back to and loads of favourite people I'd love to see again and will see again for sure. Off to Dublin in July to see Aisling that I travelled through Indonesia with for a start. I've been to amazing places, see amazing things and met totally fabulous people along the way (and the odd weirdo). I've basked in the sun on glorious beaches, climbed volcanos, snorkelled the great barrier reef, got drunk on buckets of mekong whiskey, fell over a lot, jumped out of an aeroplane, threw ninja stars, meditated on a hill top, danced the night away and fell in love with the world and everything thats in it. I met a dog that got eaten by his owners dad, took a dip in a volcanic lake, had lunch in a hill tribe house, held hands with a wild orangutan, got eaten alive by mosquitos and bed bugs, lost a toe nail, got robbed in the street and on the beach, got stuck in a hole and broke a rib trying to get out, flew in a helicopter and treked through the jungles of Thailand. I went to festivals and gigs, zoos and ninja castles, got beaten at pool, played on a climbing frame, triumphed at singstar and buzz, scared a wombat and cuddled a Koala. I've eaten weird and wonderful food in resturants and hawker stands, on the street and in road side cafes. I stayed in hotels and backpackers, tents, squat like holes, on sofas at friends houses and even shared peoples beds (it's cheaper to share a double before you start thinking that I'm some sort of floosy) I travelled on planes, buses, trains, tuk tuks, cars, trams, boats, by elephant, truck and motorbike.
People ask me all the time what my favourite bit or place was. I can never come up with a straight answer. I loved SE Asia a lot esp Vietnam and Cambodia then I can't forget Laos it was gorgeous and the north of Thailand was amazing then of course there's Japan, it was crazy and brilliant. I had the best time ever in Australia meeting up with old friends and new, Melbourne being my favorite city there, for lots of different reasons. I loved Indonesia and LA, Vancouver was fantastic and Malaysia was great although the food didn't like me. Oh I loved it all, I didn't want it to end, I still wish it was last year now so I could do it all again.
The people I met and travelled with with truely brilliant and I plan on keeping in touch with them.. you have been warned... I'd like to see more of Vietnam and Japan and will definately go back to Australia. I'd also like to see some of Europe, Africa, South America and do the transiberian railway trip. I love travelling.

Thank you to everyone who's been reading my waffle and kept in touch while I wondered the world. Also a massive thank you to everyone who supported me, put me up, fed me and entertained me. You are ACE!!

Better get saving for the next trip.....!!

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee x

Posted by blondesock 02:48 Archived in Scotland Comments (1)

USA & Canada

Malibu, Hollywood, 34 hour train & Vancouver

sunny 25 °C

They took away my tiger balm Grrrrr

so hello there, how's it going? Almost at an end now boooo and hissss

I arrived at LAX in Los Angeles after a mega 3 flight, 4 countries and 2 days twice from Auckland to Tonga where I met 2 ladies who were off to meet Princess Anne then to Samoa where customs took away my lighter, tiger balm, face moisturiser, deoderant and perfume all because the next stop was america. No other country that I've been to have cared if my under 100ml liquids were in a plastic bag or not, just the USA. I still managed to get my lip gloss and lip balm and other lighter through and would you believe, nothing untoward happened, imagine that... anyway, rant over.
I sat next to a guy that looked like Johnny Depp's younger brother which was nice, he even had a sense of humour which is just as well as I was laughing out load at a Bill Bailey programme about the orchestra for an hour, very funny. I had ordered a GF meal for all the flights which was going well till dinner time. Everyone was getting a big tray with lots of dishes on it and I began to wonder where mine was so I asked the air hostess, trolly dolly, steward or whatever the PC is these days and she went to have a look... came back with a kiwi fruit and a banana. That was it, 10 hours on a flight and nothing to eat but a banana and a kiwi fruit, not even a knife or spoon to open the kiwi. I got breakfast later which was ok except the GF sausage tasted like it was made of sawdust held together with camel spit and polyfiller.
Marie, my friend Sally's mum, picked me up from the airport in LA holding an emailed photo of me on her phone and took me to her house in Malibu. I was totally spoiled for the 5 days I was there, they're such a wonderful family. On the way to her house were signs at the side of the road that said 'Drunk Driver, call 911' I'm not sure if that for the passanger, for the driver, or for others on the road. 'excuse me driver, are you drunk?' 'yesh' 'right, I'm calling 911'.
The beaches in Malibu are beautiful. Where Marie and Jim live is about a 2 min walk down a hill, across the road and you're on the beach. Marie let me use her car and I drove to Hollywood up Sunset Boulavard, passed Rodeo Drive (baby) through Beverley Hills, Bel Air and into Hollywood. It was wicked, the car is automatic so you just sit there. I got a bit lost a couple of times (on a straight road I hasten to add) but got there and parked up. Hollywood is so removed from reality it's brilliant. I got my photo taken with Elvis, Elmo, Zorro, a dirty looking Shrek and Catwoman. They all stand outside the Chinese Theatre where all the hand prints are and you give them a dollar for a photo. I also saw michael jackson who had obviously had work done to complete his look, darth vadar who was seriously tall and just kind of wafted down the street with a stormtrooper by his side. I didn't manage to get a photo with him tho unfortunately. I took pictures of the Hollywood sign, was asked out on three dates by three random men in the street, a wannabe hip hop star who failed to sell me his CD so offered me a night out cos he'd never had a scottish gilr before, a guy called Henry who wanted me to go on his tour then suggested dinner and a movie and finally Elvis bless him, I don't actually think they were interested in me, just my wallet. I also had a song sung about me by a guy on the guitar for a dollar, it was really funny. Ordered a soya macchiato in starbucks and got given real milk so they made me another one and I gave the first one to a surprised looking homeless person. I'm sure he would have preferred the money really.
They have many museums in Hollywood, I went into the max factor one which was class, so much stuff and lots of it really up to date. Clothes and props from films in the cinema now like the Twilight saga although thier clothes are a bit boring really... When I got to the top floor there was a young couple sharing a seat infront of a glass cabinet watching the new Star Trek film which I thought was a bit bizarre but why not..?
On the way back out of Hollywood I passed a place called In and Out Burger. I'd been told to rty it but due to my stomach I'm guessing it really would have been In and Out.. I also passed Fat Burger who were doing a 2 for 1 deal for $2.99, no wonder there's an obesity problem in the states, it's cheaper to buy fast food than go to the supermarket.
Marie took me to the Getty Museum on top of a hill. It was fabulous. I really enjoyed the paintings and the photography section but the building, gardens and the location make it quite spectacular. You can see for miles, all the way from Malibu, across orange county and into down town LA. We got there on the famous highway 110 or was it the 104? I can't remember now, thought I'd written it down but I didn't, why doesn't that surprise me. Anyhoo, the museum is free but you have to pay for parking then get on a wee train up to the top. I really loved it and would definately go back. You can take pics of the paintings but not the photos, something to do with copyright. It's obviously easier to pass off a photo as your own than a painting from the 18th century... I went a bit mad in the gift shop and could have gone supermarket sweep crazy, in the aisles if I hadn't have been short on cash at that point in the game, so many things in there, really interesting and different kinds of gifts and books and prints and odities. I said cheerio to Jim and Marie at the train station and went off to Vancouver. Marie had very kindly packed 2 shopping bags with everything I would need for my 34 hour trip from dark chocolate to sandwiches, crisps water and bottle of beaujolais - very nice indeed. They also sorted me out with a mobile in case I needed any kindof help I could call them, how nice is that?? Shame it didnt work, AT&T were useless, they guy Jim spoke to didn't even know where LA was, hadn't even heard of it. It's not like he was in some call centre in outer mongolia either, he was in Texas!! madness.
The train ride was fabulous. The seat was massive, I got a pillow, a wee bottle of water and a snack pack which I donated to a wee girl sat in front of me and settled in. The views were amazing, from beaches and coastline to snow and trees and mountains, I would recommend it to anyone. Much better than flying even if it was 30 hours extra... I also saw a man smoking crack under a bridge in a place called Riverside and wonder if thats the place that song is from... "Riverside Motherbeeeeeper" There was a guy on the train sat opposite me who waffled absolute tosh on his mobile most of the way to Seattle, I've never heard such flirtatious drivvel in all my life. By the looks of him the girls he was talking to had never clapped eyes on him before unless they like a bit of homeless chic... Anyway, I had 2 seats to myself most of the way then was joined by a gothic girl who lay down and didnt move for 4 hours, she was very pale indeed. I tried to talk to her but she just looked at me as if I was mental and shut her eyes.
We got to Seattle on time after making up the 2 hours we'd lost due to some fault with the train and I got on a bus to Vancouver. We got to the border about an hour later and through passport control. The woman who stamped my passport was very excited about all my stamps and I decided there and then that I would like Canada and I did.
My friend from school who I hadn't seen for about 14 years came to pick me up from the station which was bizarre, much like when I met up with Jeni in Melbourne. Back to his and a cup of tea and off to sleep, it was about 1am after all... The next day he took me to see some totem poles and the beach, it was a damp day so very atmospheric. I then met my friends girlfriend who is a calanetics master, they're well into it in Vancouver, I didn't join any classes tho... The olympics had just finished by the time I got there but the para olympics was still on, how amazing are those people?? Blind cross country skiing for one, thats just fantastic!! I went shopping with Linda and to the Olympic torch which was amazing, loved it, you can feel the heat coming off the flames, it was ace. She also took me this shop which was selling olympic souvineers in a sale, the main thing everyone was after were red mittens. You were only allowed to buy 12 pairs at a time!! 12 pairs?? madness, only kids ones left when we went. The news were showing the madness of people fighting over them when they were taken out of the box, crazy people. In town they have an outdoor ice rink going on and a death slide from the centre to the museum over the crowds, I thought it was pretty cool, didn't go on it tho, massive queue..
Vancouver is also well into ice hockey, the whole city goes mad for the canucks. I'd love to have gone to see a game but the tickets are seriously expensive. I just wanted to see a fight really hehe
Vancouver has an amazing food market down by the water, the fruit and veg is gorgeous and the cheese counter was unbelievable. I'd move there just for the market and the blossom on the trees in Spring, very beautiful indeed. We walked upto Elizabeth park on top of a hill. We could see America from there, this huge big mountain covered in snow looked like it was floating.
I loved Vancouver and was so nice to see my friend again after so many years, had a right laugh!! We got the train to the airport for my Air Alaska flight and found myself back in the USA before I'd even left Canada which was odd. The flight was good tho. Spent the next 5 hours I think it was mooching about LAX waiting for my flight to London Booooooooo Once I'd checked in my bags were scanned about a trillion times before I said cheerio to them and headed for the gate.

Next stop London.... sob sob

Posted by blondesock 05:29 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New Zealand

Wellington, Taupo, Auckland, Bay of Islands

overcast 24 °C

hellooooo

Well, first impression of NZ is that I feel I've gone back in time to somewhere in the 80's. Nothing on the radio apart from Wham, Right Said Fred and that hateful song Come on Eileen. Feck off Eileen I say, hate that song. Everyone eats pies and it's a bit chilly here but the people are seriously friendly and the scenery is amazing.

I flew to Auckand from Sydney then caught a bus down to Wellington to meet up with Sally who I met in Cairns. She's so lovely I'm glad I met her. The flight from Sydney was fine but the the safety video was mental. Everyone in it was naked!! they had Air New Zealand uniforms painted on which I thought was bizarre but makes you watch it, you never know when a bit of paint might flake off. Their motto is something about there fares and having nothing to hide. Quite clever really. The bus ride down to Wellington however was 11 hours... don't think I slept for about 40 hours in total from getting up at 6:30am on saturday in Sydney to getting to bed at 2am on monday morning in wellington. The bus was terrible, it was comfy enough but I had a heater at my feet which was actually burning my legs so sat most of the way with my legs in the air, not too comfy but cooler. When I say in the air I don;t mean like straight up, if that was the case I'd have amazing stomach muscles, I mean I was sat by the stairs so my legs were kind of perched on the wall thing in front of my seat. When I was waiting on the bus I befriended some locals who had a cute wee baby with them. I tried to entertain him and make him giggle and all was going well till we were queuing to get on the bus. I was playing that hide behind your hands game with him then without warning he belted me on the head!! I stopped playing after that.
Wellington is a really nice town, it's a university town so lots of young folk about and lots of hills. I expect the people of Wellington have the best calf muscles in the southern hemisphere. We went to a farmers market and I bought a GF Pie, if everyone else is eating pies then so will I. It wasn't that great but hey ho, the market itself was lovely. We walked along the pier and to the wee beach they have there. Almost got fishhooked by a man fishing obviously with poor eyesight then Sallys mate took me to the local museum which had a thing on Alice in Wonderland on. It was bizarre, some of it very bizarre but then thats what it's all about I suppose. Can't wait to see the film. mmmm JOhnny Depp.... slips off into dream land.. The museum also had a statue of a sinister looking dog which you had to pat for good luck, can't remember what it was all about to be honest but I patted him anyway. We had a quiet night in with tacos and school of rock then went to the uni in the morning so Sally could do some work while I played on the computers. We walked back to town via the botanical gardens which are just beautiful, the flowers are amazing. I think if I'd have been there about a week or so earlier it would have been more amazing as some of the plants were dying off. They had a garden full of my favorite flowers, lillies and a rose garden which smelled so good, you could just sit in there all day, unless you have hay fever I suppose. I've never seen so many different types of rose. We saw some Tuangara lizards in captivity, they're well cool. I remember one of them was called Kevin I think... named by Sally. That night we went for Korean food in a restaurant that just happened to have a karaoke hall upstairs where you could rent a room for an hour just like in Japan. So much fun, I did a Pantera tune to keep the rock going in between mama mia songs. When the song you've picked comes on, the room automatically goes dark and flashing disco lights start up, it was brilliant. I videoed some of the action, looking back at those has been hilarious, I'll never be a singer thats for sure... I called my Granny to wish her a happy birthday then 3 of us then went to Nomads bar and I felt well old. Loads of teen backpackers falling about the place in their new wave 80's style dresses and bad makeup fresh off the kiwi experience bus... that was just the boys..
Next stop Taupo...
I said goodbye to my friend Sally who put a packet of sheep poo in my bag to take to her parents who are putting me up in Malibu, LA and I headed to Taupo on a 6 or 7 hour bus ride. The sheep poo was chocolate covered peanuts by the way but same same really.
Taupo is a really lovely place. It reminded me of Cairns but in a more subdued way. The people there are very friendly and the hostel I stayed in was great. Having not slept in a hostel for quite some time I was a little taken a back at the unfriendly backpackers I met first in the room and how much they didn't care about getting up at 5am and making as much noise as humanly possible russelling plastic bag and shining torches all over the place like a strobe light but they soon left and the other people were very nice. one of them was in bed by 9pm and moaned about me putting the light on, I said sorry and switched it off again but still she moaned *rolls eyes*
I didn't do much my first night, watched the sun set over the lake while munching a carton of noodles and massive bag of prawn crackers then went for a walk and to bed. The next day I got up, went downstairs and booked a skydive EEEeekkk!!! How brave am I? how brave have I become in this last year?? I ate a spider leg, I snorkelled, I jumped into a bay off a pier and I jumped out of a plane!! OMG I'm so proud of myself. The weather wasn't too good in the morning so I had to hang about till 1:30pm to see if it was going ahead which it was. This is about the time the panic started to set in, my heart thumping in my chest and nausea rising within me as I was going through my ipod wondering what song went best with jumping out of a plane and in the event of my demise what I'd like played at my funeral. Even in the van to the flight place I noticed my palms were getting sweatier and I started doing that hand rubbing thing kate bentley knows only too well. It wasn't till I actually got to the place and was watching the previous videos that I started to feel excited. We then got into our red boiler suits and leather gimp hats and boarded the plane. They don't give you any instructions apart from lean back like in the shape of a banana just before you fall out of the plane. Nothing about landing, they tell you that as you're floating down. When I was in the helicopter going over the 12 apostles all I wanted to do was jump out. I've had a similar feeling at the top of the Scot Monument in Edinburgh and from other high things, it's a weird feeling but in the plane at 15,000 feet up with my oxygen mask on all I wanted to do was jump out. It was sooo cool for want of a better word. Dare I use supercalifragilisticexpealidcious again? you sit on the edge of the plane with some bloke you've only just met attached to the back of you who has just asked you as you're sat in the plane to sit up on his lap so he can strap you on properly, then away you go, tumbling out of the plane backwards and head first. I didn't scream but I did close my eyes at first then opened them till they looked like saucers with my mouth open too, I just couldn't believe I was up there, it was truly a wicked experience that I would recommend to everyone. It's a bit like the feeling when you go over a wee hill in the road in a fast moving car or going upside down on a rollercoaster. When you're done with the 1 minute free fall and posing for photos, Amos (my backpack) let the parachute go. Now it's a bit scary that bit, it felt like he was undoing me and I was going to plummet to the ground but thankfully not. Loved the floating down bit but my ears were killing me, it took 2 days for me to hear properly again, think if I ever do it again I'll take some ear plug things that people use on planes. Anyway, brilliant!!! I had a pizza from Hell that night to celebrate. Hell is a chain of pizza places with grave stones by the tills and a menu with the 7 sins on it and other scary things like the Mordor pizza etc. I had a GF Lust pizza with a small amount of cheese on, it was lush.
I left the next day to head back to Auckland for a night before heading up to the Bay of Islands. I think it's safe to say I didn't like Auckland very much. It might have had something to do with being all alone or that my hostel was the pits I don;t know but I hated it. I dumped my stuff in the scabby hostel that employed very nice and friendly staff but reminded me of a squat. That was at 4pm and I didn't go back again till 1am, took myself out on a date. I had a bus to catch at 7:20 so when I got back I just lay on top of my bunkbed and tried to sleep then got up and left, it was minging. My date was good tho. I took myself for a romantic view of the city from the skytower where I saw a weegie couple, the bloke of which told his woman to offer 'tae waash the windeez eh' which made me giggle. It's much like all the other towers I've been up to be honest except the coffee was really nice. Sat and read my book for a bit then went for some japanese food and took myself off to the cinema to see Shutter Island which is a great film. Slightly disturbing but well directed and made me want to read the book. After that I sat on skype till the internet place closed and like I said, tried not to touch anything in the hostel.
In the morning I caught the bus to Paihia in the Bay of Islands and totally loved it, what a gorgeous place. The bus ride was good, I was on the Magic Bus Ooooo I hear you cry, very exciting. Met some wicked girls on the bus who I spent the next day and night with till they got kidnapped by a south island rugby team. I was offered a ride down to the beach on the back of a 7 foot avatar rugby bloke who told me it would feel like a horse but would actually be him... I declined and went to bed. First of all, Paihia. I didn't do much the 1st night apart from catch up on my hand written blog and sit by the sea soaking in the view which was fabulous. An Israeli bloke chatted to me for a while trying to poach me from the YHA and into his guesthouse claiming amazing views and free interent. I left him searching for a bus full of tourists and headed for the hostel kitchen to make spaghetti on toast and went to bed wishing I could eat real bread. We got up early the next day, 6am to be precise and headed for the northern most point of new zealand, Cape Reine (that might be wrong, I didn't write it down) When the first alarm went off in the room everyone started to get up and sneak about getting ready. After about 10 mins I sat up and said, I think it's fair to say we're all going on the same bus, will someone please just switch on the light... Cape Reine was gorgeous and you can actually see where the Taz sea and the pacific meet, theres a line in the sea and everything. We stopped off earlier at a bakery where we were told to buy something for lunch as we wouldn't pass another shop for 5 hours. All lies, we passed loads of wee shops. I imagine the bakery wouldn't do as well as it obviously does was it not for bus tours. Of course I couldn't get anything out of there so went to the handy wee shop next door and bought some fruit and crisps and a tin of tuna. Took some dodgy pics by the lamp post at the tip of NZ and it was back on the bus and off to a beach for half an hour to eat lunch then to Sand Boarding. It looks really fast and scary but in reality it wasn't all that. The guy driving the bus went through all the safety proceedures... nothing like the bit of plastic a 9 year old child rents you in Vietnam and just lets you go, it as all keep your elbows on the board, toes together etc... The walk up the sand dune to the top was horrible for everyone, not just weaklings like me, it's really hard to walk up a windy sanddune with a boogie board in your arms. I went down twice, we were told we could go as many times as we wanted but most of us just did it twice, knackered after walking up the dune. First time I couldn't get going then stopped just shy of the bottom and made a bloke wipe out by being in the way. He wasn't too chuffed but i don't really care, he should have been looking where he was going. Second time was better but to be honest, I wasn't that impressed, I've had more fun sledging and for the rest of the day I was finding sand in places I wouldn't care to discuss. After that we went to 90 mile beach and to the hole in the rock which is pretty cool. Can;t say I've ever driven along a beach in a big bus before... Apparently it's called 90 mile beach for a number of reasons, one of which being that some bloke used to take cattle across it and it took him an hour or something to travel 30 miles so he did the whole beach in 3 hours so it must be 90 miles long. Just re reading this... he can't of been walking 30 miles an hour and as far as I know, cows don't run that fast.. I'm sure someone has actually measured it at some point. It's used a bit like a highway, lots of cars and motorbikes drive along it. You're not allowed to swim in the sea at 90 mile beach, people die cos of the strong current according to our driver who also added that he wasn't a strong swimmer, so if we did go in and got in trouble there would be no one to dive in and help... nice. The driver was a bit of a dough ball really, trying too hard to be down with the kids. He said some weird and sometimes inappropriate things, then at the end of the trip asked for tips, said he was going to leave his hat next to the door of the bus and if anyone wanted to give him a dollar for a beer then that would be very nice... cheek of it all. Fish and chips on the way home or as they say in New Zealand... fush and chups. They went on about it for ages, how amazing the fush and chups were but I've seen better coming out of the Tower Chip Shop round the corner from my Granny's house. The chips weren't even hand cut, they were frozen!! disgraceful, I had prawns which were lush. When we got back we had a bit of a rest and went out for the night dancing and playing drinking games. Not easy to skull a glass of wine... That was the night of the kidnapping and avatar horse. The next morning we headed back to Auckland via a big old tree and a town where a dolphin once lived and played with children in the 1950's. He lived in the water obviously, he didn't have a wee house with a plunge pool or anything. Apparently the dolphin was so popular people came from far and wide to see it. Rumour has it that it was killed in a freak storm but some people believe the locals blew it up for being too popular and the town couldn't handle the amount of tourists. You can make your own mind up about that one. They have a big statue of a dolphin in the town in it's memory. Wish I could remember it's name. It wasn't Flipper but maybe thats how Flipper started... what's that Flipper? Jonny's stuck down a mine shaft??
Back in Auckland for 2 nights which I wasn't too excited about but having people to play with made it much better. I had dinner at my friends hostel which was hilarious. You could get a free starter size portion of the nights delights or a normal size portion for 3 dollars, for an extra 2 dollars they gave you a drink as well. One of the girls asked for the free portion but said she just wanted the nuggets and not the chips so she got one chicken nugget on a saucer, one nugget, it looked so pityful, could they not have given her two at least to make up for the lack of chips?
So, me and my new chums went to the last night of the chinese new year, bought a lantern each and sat on the grass watching the amazing fireworks while having an in depth conversation on meditation, out of body experiences and how the real world isn't really the real world. This american guy was telling us all about it. Yes Dad, I can here you saying mumbo jumbo haha it was actually quite interesting. Said cheerio to everyone as they were all leaving the next day and I went to bed.
I woke up to news about the next stage of my travels. I was supposed to go to Samoa for a week but the hotel I booked got evacuated cos of a tsunami warning and it kind of put me off so I sat on a bench in Queens Street and waited for a sign as to what to do. Mum told me to go back to Melbourne for a week. I hummed and hawed about it till I saw a sign that said 'stupid kiwis ignore tsunami warning' then across the street another sign flashed 'buy tickets' so I changed my flights and missed it out. This also meant I missed out on having two birthdays but it's ok, I'm having Christmas again when I get home to Mum's. Fingers crossed santa bought me the Beano Annual...
All in all I loved New Zealand and would like to go back again another day to see more of the north island and do the south island which I've heard is totally amazing. I'd better get saving again...

next stop USA after a week back in Australia. 4 flights in all from Melbourne to Auckland then from Auckland to Tonga, Tonga to samoa then finally to LA... all on the same plane might I add..

Posted by blondesock 14:54 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Australia Part II

Cairns, Melbourne, The Great Ocean Road, Adelaide and back to Sydney

sunny 34 °C

hello again and sorry I'm a month or two behind... this is a whopper so go put the kettle on...

well, where do I start? I snorkelled the great barrier reef, danced on tables, drank fabulous wine and ate amazing food, found a wombat in the tent, got the mumps, saw more views than you could shake a stick at, flew in a helicopter, escaped from a meditation course, cuddled bats, went to two music festivals, played buzz and hungry frog like a maniac, jumped into a bay from the pier, got caught in the jaws of a shark, got my hair cut and best of all, met fabulous people...

Ok, so I flew to Cairns and booked into the Bellview Guesthouse which is right opposite the lagoon, a big pool thats free to use, bit like the one in Brisbane but not so oasis looking. The sea is right beside it but very mud flatish, would probably get stuck or perhaps eaten by a shark. Saw something in the water one day, loads of people were crowded round watching this thing moving in the water. More than likely it was a cat fish or something but I like to think it was nessy on her holidays...

The hostel was ok, the room I got was a bit nasty the first night but then I moved into a 4 bed dorm with wee kitchen and ensuite and even a fridge. The girls in the room were really nice and after I got back from Cape Tribulation the new girls in the room were even nicer. I got a bus up to Cape Tribulation which reeked of BO, the bus like, not the Cape, and settled into my hostel which meant making my own bed, being ignored by the weirdos in my room and paying for a box with kitchen stuff in it like bowl, plate, cutlery etc... people must have stolen these things in the past, why I don't know. Went on a river cruise up the Daintree River and saw one very small salty croc and a tiny wee nectar munching ginger bat. I love bats. There's a bat charity place down the road from the hostel which an old bloke runs. He had 2 baby bats in the shop. One of them was obsessed with me (snow white again) they love having their tummys tickled. We stopped at a rain forrest on the way up and saw a water lizard which our guide tried to pull off the tree by it's tail, when she let go of it, it got up on it's hind legs and ran away, quite right too. We had a chance to eat some green ants in the woods, I was still full from breakfast so couldn't possibly have fitted one in, they taste of lime apparently, even if you just lick them... They must like being licked cos they run about with their bums in the air I imagine saying 'pick me, pick me' if our hearing was good enough to hear them. I wanted to go to the fruit farm but it was closed the days I was there so just mooched about the woods, cuddled the bats again and swam about in the hostel pool. As beautiful as cape trib is, it's also a bit boring, not much to do really unless you can afford to do all the tours which are very expensive. Also I wasn't told I'd need shoes that covered my toes or trousers for the night walks. The stars are amazing up there tho, it's so dark at night they sparkle like diamonds in the sky. Went out on our last day with the new and much nicer people from my room to the look out but took the wrong turning and ended up at the beach. Very nice beach but you can't swim in the water or lie on the beach cos of all the crocs that live there, not that I saw any. On the way back to Cairns we were taken to Alexandria lookout.. nice view, back in the bus and across the daintree river to the Mossman Gorge which was baltic. Did you know that rats wee on sugarcane plants can give you a disease thats eats fat and muscle? You can die from it if you waste away but there is a cure. I wouldn't mind it for a week or two... Anyway, Mossman Gorge is amazing, the water is so clear and crisp and bleedin freezing. It's full of massive rocks and boulders and has a waterfall at one end which you can slide down if you're crazy enough to get in the water in the first place. Strictly toe dipping for me, wasn't too keen after the warnings of injury and death. Next stop was Port Douglas. We only had 40 mins there which was such a shame cos it's gorgeous, I could have stayed there a couple of days for sure. Checked into Rehab there who say they have the best coffee around and I'd agree with that, was lush. I even had a GF sponge thing to go with it. Got back to Cairns in the lashing rain and went to woolies for supplies to find it shut at 6pm on a saturday?? hello like So ended up in the Woolshed with my new room mates Bernadette the austrian, sally from malibu and vandana from new dehli. Cheap food and drinks, dancing on tables and general hilarity ensued, "I don't wanna be friends, I don't want to friends I DON'T WANT TO BE FRIENDS".
On my last day in Cairns I went out on a boat to a reef and snorkelled. Yep, I got in the sea and put my head under and snorkelled. It was amazing, totally and utterly amazing, I loved it!! On the way out to the reef the water was a bit rough. I have never seen so many people puking in one place in my whole life. I went downstairs to the loo and saw a bloke hanging onto the side of the boat looking rather green holding a cup of ice in one hand and a sick bag in the other. I'm not sure he was enjoying my company as I hung onto the side whooping and swaying shouting this is ace!! wooohoooo!!! as the boat lurched up and down in the waves hahaha poor bloke. I was very scared when my beginners class got cancelled and I was taken out on the aventure tour with the people that can swim but the woman taking us had a big rubber ring on a rope with her which I clung to like a limpet. At first I couldn't put my face in the water but once I did I didn't care that water was going in my ears and over my head, the sight of the reef under me was truely magical. Totally loved it. I found nemo!! I saw amazing colours and sizes of fish and coral. The woman dragging me about got stung by a jellyfish bless her. I went out twice more with the green faced bloke from earlier without clinging onto a ring and felt very proud of myself. You have to spit in your mask then wash it out before you put it on to stop it from fogging up. Yuck. The ring woman did mine for me... pretty minging having someone elses spit in your mask when you think about it. Back to shore after some lush food and had a drink or 2 with Maureen a woman I met on the boat then off to the woolshed again for another night of dancing. We met up with some american blokes who took me to the crystal caves the next day and numerous waterfalls. I have to say, they were nice lads but boring... OMG I couldn't wait for the day to end. Sally took me and vandana out for the night with her christmas present from her parents, how nice is that. Went to a gorgeous resturant, I hadn't had a meal like that in ages and almost forgot how to use cutlery properly. After that we went to the irish bar where they had jelly and mud fights going on then to the woolshed again. I should have known better than to do shots being that I had to get on a flight the next day but it was too late by then. Great last night. Got in at 4am and got up at 7am to do my washing between runs to the loo then got on a bus feeling like death warmed up and then on a plane to Melbourne. never good to be hung over on a flight...

I landed in Melbourne after the slowest decent ever. Having caught a cold along the way and also being hung over, my ears were really hurting, esp the left one. Met Jess at the pickup point and she took me to her mate Lara’s, quick change and off to the Elephant and Wheelbarrow in St Kilda to meet up with some other people she’d met travelling. There was a quiz on which I think our table came second in or did we win? I can’t remember. Anyway we had Helen, Laura, Helens cousin and her boyfriend, Sam then later on a girl called Kate turned up. All in all a lovely crowd. I had some rubbish so called stirfry which was dripping in oil and wasn’t too good but I was starving so ate it.. Had 1 drink I think and felt sick, not good at drinking and travelling and meeting new people all within an hour plus I probably ate something naughty on the plane…nothing to do with being hung over from the night before or anything... Anyway we went off to the ESPY place and watched some bands, loud and rocky and I really liked it there. From there to Cushion which I think is more for the younger orange skinned crowd. They played drum and bass stuff which all sounded like the same tune although the DJ seemed to be enjoying himself.. Chatted to Sam for a while, he told me he was like a chef and a musician. I very rudely asked him he was like a chef or actually a chef. Sarcasm being something deep rooted in my blood. Thankfully he gets sarcasm unlike a lot of Australians.. I drove Helen and Sam back to his flat then took me and Jess back to Lara’s. The next day Jess and I picked up Helen and we all went to Spoonfuls where Sam work’s in his, like, chef job. Food was lush. Jess took me down to Torquay for factory outlet mooching and we stayed at her parents house.
Next day was the Hot BBQ in Portsea. I loved it, the weather was great and the music more so even tho I hadn't heard of any of the acts. Favs included Bertie Blackmore, Sneaky Sound System, The presets and grand master flash who was hilarious "scream if you've been waiting for grand master flash" to which I shouted back "I don't know who you are!" We slept in tents in the garden of local shop owners who were away for the weekend, didn't get much sleep but what do you expect really...? Jess then went off to Byron Bay and I moved onto Sam's sofa in South Yarra for 3 nights. Lay about in the botanical gardens reading my book, went to the art museum which was shut, did a bit of window shopping but couldn't find any windows I liked so bought some trainers. Also went to the museum of moving images in Fed Square which was brilliant. It has lots of buttons to push and stuff, loved it esp the strobe room. I then went for sushi and accidentally fell into the Lindt Chocolate shop and walked out with a large dark hot chocolate drink and coconut macaroon for dipping, was totally fabulous. Saw some bagpipe players which would bring a tear to a scottish glass eye. One guy was playing a set he'd made himself out of the silver inside of a box of wine, very clever.
Said cheerio to Sam and got on a bus to Adeliade along the great ocean road. I had a bit of trouble finding my way to where the bus was picking me up what with stupid taxi drivers not knowing where they're going then the second taxi driver got all upset when I told him what had happend with the first one, it was quite amusing really 'why?? why do they do this? you are a tourist, why? why??' he said in his thick moroccan accent as he banged the stearing wheel and cursed all indian taxi drivers warning me to look before I get in next time and not to trust them...
The trip along the great ocean road was class, the driver was late and looked like a stereotypical australian man, small shorts, boots, wife beater and hat. All he needed was a small tin of beer and a large knife in his pocket to finish it off. He lost 5 of the people we were to pick up and I got a phone call from the organiser asking who was on the bus already before we found the missing girls. The tour was good although rather expensive being that we hads to make our own beds, wash dishes, go shopping for dinner and walk back from some caves cos the woman driver from the hostel couldn't be bothered to pick us up again. She also didn't give us the cheesecake we were promised cos we didn't help her with the dishes, not that I can eat cheesecake but still. I paid 350 dollars for 2 nights and 3 days of tour, I don't expect to be harrased by a drunken kenyan man, have to protect the young swiss girls from tequila swilling english potato pickers, wash dishes and shower in a midden. Apart from all that tho, the tour was great. The Great Ocean Road is pretty fab, I had a spin in a helicopter over the 12 apostles of which there are only 8 left and have never actually been twelve... The helicopter staff and pilots were all dashingly handsome which was nice.
Our first stop was by a cafe, I went in and bought the biggest bag of torilla chips in the world and when I got out again everyone had gone. When I found them they were all stood under some trees with their hand out like they were checking for rain. What they were actually doing was enticing birds to come and munch the seeds in their hand. No birds appeared they just mocked us from the tree tops. This is the first time they've not come down our guide says... yeah right. The first hostel we stayed in was great, it was in a place called Woollenbloenblobinblah... can't remember. It was big and comfy and clean and great. I beat the lads at darts and me and the teenage boy on the bus taught the others the travellers game of shit head.
Our driver guide bloke got up late so I sorted out everyones breakfast like the old mother hen of the bus and off we went again. We had to climb up a hill, I wasn't too keen but went anyway and actually quite enjoyed it, it was just so hot, sweating like a pig in labour. On the way to the next hostel the wind got up and bits of gum tree started flying across the road, was mad. We even had to stop at one point and move some branches. Our next hostel was horrible. Most of us were put in the converted shed. I ate kangeroo that night, very nice indeed. No pudding tho as I said before the big fat miserable owner was miffed at us not helping with the dishes which she must have mentioned at least a hundred times. She also went on about me being Gluten and Dairy free and that she'd bought special things for me which she wouldn't have done normally like I should have bowed at her feet and bought her a medal or something. The drunken Kenyan bloke was a right nuisance and scared some of the young girls so much so a korean bloke also living there wanted to fight him. Was like living in a council estate. On our last day before hitting Adelaide we went to a vineyard as a treat and also to a cave. It was really cool, lot of dinosaur bones and stuff. The time difference between Victoria and south australia is 30 mins... thats half an hour... bit mad isn't it, I thought the driver was making it up but no, it's true. Next stop Adeliade.

Jim came to pick me up from the bus station and we went to get his brother from the airport. We all had a right laugh. Wine drinking and playing buzz followed by a tour of winerys where I wish I'd bought that bottle of dessert wine, it was lush!! Milkshakes in a train carraige, fast and furious hungry frog games and a fabulous roast dinner cooked by Jim himself. On my last day we went to a lovely seafood place by the beach and watched for dolphins in the water, I had my photo taken in the mouth of a great white shark and we messed about on the beach, so much fun, they're a great family. I got an email while I was there telling me I'd been accepted into the Vipassana course I had applied for. Very happy abotu that at the time, more about what it was like later... I then flew back to Melbourne and got picked up by Jess again and whisked off to a burns supper in my tartan leggings. There were only 2 scottish people at the supper, me being one of them. The hosts had even made their own haggis - pretty impressive. We watched the Tattoo on a big screen, drank whiskey and recited burns poetry before doing the drops of brandy in the back yard - top night. Next day was Australia Day, Jess had a ticket for the Big Day Out so I spent the day with Sam drinking wine, sunbathing and swimming in the city pool, decorating roulades, drinking more wine, playing pool and doing shots in a pub then ended the night with a bottle of wine and a box of fireworks in the park before I squeezed my way through a hooped bar thing and down the slide in my high heels. One of the fireworks was like the box in hellraiser, very funny and fabulous day indeed. The next morning I had to get up very early and drove with Jess to the meditation centre in Woori Yallock which was about an hour away. We got there just before 7am, it started at 7:30. I didn;t see anyone about so when a car drove by I stopped the bloke and asked him where to register to which he replied, you're 12 hours early, it doesn't start till 7:30pm!!! OMG!! What an idiot. Hungover, tired and hungry Jess and I laughed our way into McDonalds where I bought her breakfast for getting up so early to drive to all the way there and all the way back to Melbourne again... eeegit that I am. As it turns out I was so excited about being accepted I didn't read the whole email so missed the times and what I needed to take with me. I ended up getting a train and a bus back later equiped this time with a sleeping bag and other bits and bobs I hadn't had with me the first time. Met 3 other girls on the bus who were also going. One was a really happy cheery person who I ended up feeling sorry for cos by the time I left she looked miserable bless her. Another woman had the hairiest pits I've even seen and was obviously well into the whole thing. The other one who ended up being my roommate looked exactly like Inma Cobos that I used to work with at Fid Man... weird. She'd done a similar course in Thailand and was well into it. The long and short of the story is I hated it. When I told my Dad I was going he went into folded arm defensive mode and said only village idiots did that, people that had something wrong with them, for gods sake, bloody mumbo jumbo etc... end of conversation. How he laughed when I told him I'd escaped. I went in on Wed afternoon and chatted to some of the other women there which looking back shouldn't be allowed cos there you are forging friendshops and stuff then bang, it's 7:30pm and you're no longer allowed to talk to anyone, raise an eyebrow or give any kind of reaction to anything. It's pretty hard, esp when you're sat in the dining room eating your brown rice and veg and staring outside if you're lucky enough to be at the window. It was driving me insane listening to everyone chew their food. I know we all make chewy slurpy noises but when the whole room is in silence it's way worse. I got up at 4am the next day and fell back asleep till 6:30 even tho I was meant to be meditating, I didn't hear the gong. Breakfast at 6:30 then meditation then rest then more of the same till lunchtime then more meditiation then an apple for dinner and more meditiation in the hall. We had to sit crossed legged but for the first few days you can move about cos it's quite uncomfortable. You just sit there and think about the air going in and out of your nostrils trying not to think about what might be going on in the local pub or if someone had been stabbed with a pitch fork in Eastenders. We watched a DVD about how we should all be feeling which just made me want to leave more. During the rest periods you can walk but thats it. No excercise, no reading, no writing, no meditating outside incase the wind messes with the breath on your top lip. I walked round in a circle round a well worn track in the ground. Tried a shower but it was baltic so gave up. We were all in bed by 9:30 and up again at 4am. I thought ok, I'll give it a try again so started to meditate in my room. I heard someone coming up the steps so lay down and pretended I was alseep then this dark figure leaned over me as I opened my eyes, put it's hands on my shoulders and shook me!! I was petrified, I couldn't shut my eyes again. There was nothing there, it was proper spooky and that was it, I'm off. I waited till after breakfast to speak to the female leader type person and told her I wanted to leave. She tried to talk me out of it then took me to the teacher. I told him it really wasn't for me and that I didn't need it to realise that I'm a happy person who enjoys life. I then told him that if he didn't let me leave I would stab myself. So he said ok, butdon't pack or anything till everyone is in the hall at 8am, no problem I said even tho I'd already packed. I had a cup of tea, retrived my valuables which were in a bag and included my wallet, mobile and strawberry chupa chup lolly, got in the taxi and sped off feeling relieved that I didn;t have to endure any more time there. So, arrived on wed and left on Friday. Glad I went but glad I left too. 10 days of silence is sooooo not for me. I headed back to Melbourne looking like the littlest hobo and sat on swanson street people watching and listening to a legally blind man in a mobility chair wired for sound singing country songs as he drove up and down the street. Jess was in Wooga Wooga by now so I called Sam and stayed at his again. I arrived looking greasy, shell shocked and homeless. Even the Big Issue sellers on the street just winked at me instead of asking if I wanted to buy one. A shower and a glass of wine later I was feeling grand again. I got some bad news from my Mum the day after and wondered if the thing that shook me had anything to do with it as I wouldnt have been able to talk to my mum while in the retreat... you never know...
Jess came back and we went off camping in Wilson Prom on the coast for 2 nights, was a great laugh. I had a sore face but thought it was from smiling too much so didn't think anything of it till later. We saw 3 of the most poisonous snakes in Australia, a red back spider and one night even had a wombat in the tent!! We also saw kangeroos and wallabys in the wild. We drove for about 3 or 4 hours and pitched the tent. Lesson there is to pitch a tent on grass and not sand... it was very windy at night and by the morning the inside of the tent looked like a scene from Pompay... The second night was worse tho and we ended up sleeping in the car after breaking into it through the wee back window after Jess locked the keys in the boot... We BBQ'd and went to squeaky beach which actually squeaks when you run through it, and watched the sun set while taking silly photos of us doing cartwheels and jumping. I can't jump very high which was of great amusement to Jess. That night I got up at about 4am for a wee. I zipped up the inside of the tent but left the outside bit open. When I came back there was a great big wombat in the tent!! He looked like a hamster on steroids and freaked out when he saw me and ran away into the bushes. I thought I was going to wet myself with the laughter. Woke up with serious face ache and swollen glads that looked like I was hiding food. I tried to eat a bit of meat but couldn't even chew so Jess took me to a doctor in the nearest town laughing all the way about me having glandular fever or the mumps. It could hardly be the mumps could it? yes it could. Great, serious pain killers and no solid food till I felt better. The mumps?? I mean isn't that for kids? anyway 50 dollars lighter, instructions not toshare a bottle, kiss or sneeze on anyone with low immunity for a few days and still with a swollen face we stayed another night, not in the tent tho. I swear I didn;t touch Jess but she caught the mumps off me bless her. The wind was blowing a gale and so much sand was coming into the tent we decided to sleep in the car except Jess had locked the keys in the boot. Midnight with a torch fast running out of battery cos of playing cards and taking more silly pictures and a snake on our patch we tried to break into the car. Eventually a couple we met earlier helped and we got the wee window at the back of the car out, opened the back door and got the keys out of the boot. Great nights sleep.. yeah right. The next morning we dismantled the tent, shook the ten tons out sand out of it, I resuced a stick insect and we headed back to Melbourne. Went shopping in the uber cool brunswick street hunting for bargains in the 'op shops' found one or two great items then it started to rain, in no time the street was ankle deep in water so we ran into a coffee shop and watched people chasing flip flops down the street. We then moved into Jess's mate Coleens and stayed on her sofa for a few nights being woken up every morning by the next door neighbour practising piano scales at 8:45 on the dot. I love the piano and as a child I loved listening to my Mum play one tune in particular but scales do begin to grate after a while. One morning her claranet playing friend came over, it was wicked!!
That weekend we went to a place called 'Oktobar' to watch some bands including one Sam was playing in. It was good fun and Jess got quite drunk, I drove us home via burger king then via the wrong side of the tram tracks. If it had of been during the day I reckon there might have been a call of 'help help, there's been a terrible accident' if you've ever watched Chewing the Fat you'll know what I'm on about. Anyhoo, on valentines day the St Kilda festival was on. It was such a hot day and I loved it!! Loads going on, even an arrest like something you'd see on the telly, loads of coppers, pepper spray and a man shouting gerroffmeyabigalaaa I added the big gala bit, he didn;t actually say that but I wished he had of. The bands were brilliant esp The Mess Hall and The Bamboos. Leaving Melbourne in 4 days, loved the city, apart from Edinburgh, Melbourne has to be my favorite city so far, it has it all, it even has my old friend from school Jeni Hay, now Seaton. Was great to meet up with her, bit weird at first to see her in the flesh but we waffled on for ages, can't beleive it's been about 14 years since I saw her, mad.
Sam took me to a place called Sorrento where he grew up and made me jump into the bay from the pier. I mean you know me, I hate deep water and the fact that I snorkelled the great barrier reef was a major achievment but jumping into the bay was really hard. I was even being heckled by a man pushing another man in a wheel chair. They actually stopped to watch shouting 'come on you chicken!! Jump!!' I wanted to shout back 'thats what you said before he was in a wheelchair!' but stopped myself and jumped. I can't say it was my favorite thing to do but at least I did it. He also took me up Arthurs Seat. The view was great. Isn't it mad that there are so many place names here that match over there. Well, when you think about it I suppose the first lot of people over there were from here so... ah you know.
Next stop Sydney...
Jess took me to the airport and I bought us dinner. I also bought a GF carrotcake to eat on the plane which I forgot about until I got to Sydney and found it has exploded all over the inside of my handbag... nice, icing everywhere. I made it to Rob's house (the brother of Jim in Adelaide) had a cup of tea and went to bed. Got my hair cut the next day using a voucher I got the first time I was in Sydney. The woman said I had gorgeous natural blonde hair that didn't need much done to it so she gave me half a head of underneath peroxide strips.. sorry highlights which I hate and chopped about 6 inches or more off it. It looked nice when she'd finished with it but I felt totally bald. I think she only took so much off cos she was very short and couldn't reach without me kneeling on the floor. It's better now but I do miss my long locks. Ah well, was time for a change I suppose. On the way to the hairdresser I was standing by the side of the tube and would you beleive my friend Pat that I haven't seen for about 7 years sinbce he left Gibraltar saunters up beside me. Of all the places in the world to meet. I wished I had of been staying longer to meet up with him again but alas I had to fly to NZ the next day. Rob took me out for an amazing dinner at the Rocks which we got to on the harbour ferry thing, was ace!!
Next stop New Zealand....

Posted by blondesock 15:02 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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