Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 47 & 48

Monday March 7th

Slept so well. I feel fantastic!

Just enjoying my morning cup of tea at the moment then I think I'll go walk around a bit.
I need to call the Cooper's today then I might go out to Vulture Street and go back to that op-shop I bought that amazing dress from way back in January.
I also need to get in touch with Kiz.


I went for a walk, got some sushi for lunch.
Stopped and bought some shampoo and conditioner since I haven't had any since I got to Australia and my hair was freaking.
Came back, showered and read my book for a while.

Called Len, I'm going up to Toowoomba on Wednesday! So stoked.

Lucy, Kim, Steph and I made dinner together. Just a simple pasta, but it was nice to eat with people again.

Tuesday March 8th.

Didn't wake up until like 10.30, I guess I needed the sleep.

I just relaxed for a while. Read for a while longer.
I didn't say this yesterday but I'm reading Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson.
A girl in my room is lending it to me, which is awesome of her. It's so good!

Around 1 I called Kiz and she said she was at the GOMA. Which is the Gallery of Modern Art and is somewhere I've been meaning to go since I got to Au. And it's only about 4 blocks from my hostel, over the river. So I walked over and met her & her friend Jake and we checked it out for a while. There was this infinity room where it's dark and mirrors and there's these sort of hanging glowing orbs of light. It's trippy and amazing.

second best room ever, after the balloon one.

We walked around and saw tons of other cool stuff.

close up of the elephant.

And we went into a glass room that's filled with balloons.

kiz loves balloons!

it was the best room ever.

There was also a Wish Wall, where there were about a million ribbons with wishes written on them. Everything from 'I wish I was a mermaid' to 'I wish my family loved me more' and you could take them, but for every one you took you were supposed to write your own wish on a piece of paper and put it in the hole the ribbon came out of. I took a bunch, including the mermaid one.

Wandered into the city and got some sushi, one of mine had goddamn mayonnaise in it. What is with Australian sushi and mayo? SUSHI NEVER NEEDS IT.
Also bought a battery for my alarm clock.

We caught the bus down to West End and went to some cafe and met some people Kiz knows. Angus for one, then a few other guys were were crazy as shit. Hung out there for a while drinking coffee and talking and playing guitars.

angus, gabriel and ben.

adorable dog who's name I never knew.

After a while I decided I'd had enough so I grabbed a bus back into the city.

Went to Coles to get some snack stuff for my 5 hours on the bus tomorrow, to and from Toowoomba.

Ate delicious pancakes that Kim & Steph made for dinner, I was the official taste tester. I can say that they both make a fantastic pancake.

kim's pancakes.

I cannot believe I'm leaving to go home on Thursday. I'm seeing Da on Thursday.
My father. And me. In the same place. It's madness!
And to this that in less than a week I will be with Mum & Magnus too, at home, sleeping in my own bed, eating dinner with them, walking the dogs with them...
I cannot believe it's been 6 weeks.
I basically just cannot believe.
I'm stoked though, honestly.
I miss them.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Days 44, 45 & 46. (Sydney to Brisbane.)

March 4th

In one week from almost exactly this moment, I will be arriving back at my house.


Went and climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Ward! It was outstanding.
Even though a view from a high place is the same from anywhere, when you've climbed something like 1,480 steps to get to that high point it's waaaaay better.

Behold some of these photographic gems. You're not allowed you own cameras, so these are just the ones they take of you at the special spots.

Oprah did it, so I needed too.

How sweet are those suits?

Ward even put this one on his 'bridge wall'. Basically one of the walls in his study is covered in photos from when he takes people on the walk. This was definitely the best choice.

We came back to the house and I went and grabbed some Indian take-out. Oh my lord. $10 for the most delicious dal lentil soup and these, slightly odd but still yummy, veggie puff/samosa thingys. I was in heaven.

facebook, lentil soup and veggie puff things.

the room the Young's so kindly let me stay in.

Re packed my entire bag and tried to figure out how the hell to get to the bus station.

Went to 'the shops'. It was the scariest part of my whole trip. Think Pleasentville scary. They're all so perfect and I went to the 'candy shoppe' and this kid was getting his usual end of the school week milkshake. Want to know what? He shook it up and got a chocolate instead of his usual cookies and creme. I kid you not.
I felt like they were going to kidnap me and make me sell perfectly shaped and coloured produce in the 'village shoppe' or whatever the fuck it was called.

I called Len and we agreed I'd call him on Monday to make plans to meet him & Kathy and go up to Toowoomba or have Doc & Phil come down. So stoked.

Re packed again since I needed something to do.

Ward & Kim had to go out for dinner but they figured they'd be back by around 8.30 so one of them coulee drive me into the bus station but, thankfully, I asked for a taxi number in case. Which is good because when I left their house at 9.20 they still weren't back.
I'm a little bummed since we didn't really say goodbye since they thought they'd be back to early, but hey, I left them a nice note and they knew I had to be gone from Rose Bay at 9.30 at the absolutely latest. So I mean, yes.

Anyway, my lovely taxi driver who had a hard to say Indian name that I've already forgotten and I had a pleasant drive into the city. We talked about India and travelling alone in other cultures. He's from the North, from a town I'd never heard of about 2 hours northwest of Varanasi. I think. Somewhere in that area.

I'm now sitting on some bench outside the Premier Bus Station on Eddy Avenue.
Of course.

My bus is supposed to leave at 10.30 so everyone's supposed to be here at 10.
So, of course I got here at 9.40. I feel so frazzled about this whole goddamn place.

I hope I can relax a bit more in Byron Bay, I really do.
I'm going to have a heart attack at this rate.


11.30 PM

Been on the bus for about an hour now.
I'm not going to lie, I started feeling calmer the second I got on.
I'm feeling generally spiffy as of now and am almost looking forward to the next 11 hours of the ride.


March 5th
7.50 AM

Well, I slept so well. I was pretty much asleep from midnight until 6. Hell yes.
We had a meal/stretch/smoke break at 1 so I woke up for that but then went right back to sleep.

Just finished another break. I had two cups of dreadful instant coffee and some toast.

We're about three hours from Byron I think.

The one photo I took. Somewhere between Sydney & Byron Bay.

Like I said before, I'm feeling 100% again.
I think maybe the fact that I was staying with someone so I wasn't on my own made me more nervous when I had to do things by myself? I'm not sure but I'm back on track.


I walked around for ever trying to find a hostel. Nomad's had no room and eventually I found the YHA. Which is actually a pretty nice one.

And well. It rained. All day. So no beach time for me!
My four roomates are two couples, so I'm not feeling 5th wheel-y at all. No sir.

But I went for a long walk all around town. Bought my bus ticket to Brisbane, I'm leaving at noon tomorrow. I had wanted to leave in the afternoon but it was about $25 cheaper to go when I'm going.
Ran into Hailey, one of those annoying English girls I met in Alice. The ones who wanted my help packing and were so dreadful. Except the older one's done and Hailey was way nicer this time around.
I went to Woolworths too. So exciting!

Then I came back and watched the entire 3rd season of Psych & Black Swan. That is a seriously crazy movie. It's on my top 10 movies of all time, but I think I'm going insane. More than I thought before. Little bit bummed since I knew how it was going to end about half way through, but it was still thrilling when it did.

Setting my alarm for pretty early tomorrow, around 7. I want to be able to go for a walk along the beach before I go, since I'm not actually going to get to tan/swim.
Oh well?

I started biting my nails again when I was in Melbourne for the second time.
I literally hadn't bitten them once my whole trip and now they're ugly again. Not nearly as bad as the were before I left but still not nice.
I'm really upset about it honestly.

I know what happened, why I started again. But I don't know what to do when I feel like that other than biting them. I need something to do with my hands and since I don't want to take up smoking... anyone have any good ideas?
It's not about biting them, so I don't need nail polish or bandaids or anything, it's about something to do when I get really stressed about something.
I realised the reason it was so easy for me to stop when I came here is because I'm not stressed in the slightest. Nervous, yes. But there was never any pressure. And when I'm by myself I'm never stressed, it's when there are other people involved that I freak a bit.
We'll see, hopefully I can get a handle on this.

There's no wifi here (!) so I can't update tonight, I guess you'll have to wait to hear about getting to Brissy too.


March 6th

Slept well in that I was asleep all night but I'm still super tired.
It's 8, so I'm just going to check out and leave my bag in storage so I can go for a walk until about 10.30, instead of having to be back at 10 to check out.

If all goes smoothly, I should be in Brisbane at around 2.30 this afternoon.
I can't believe that in four days I'll be getting ready to get on a plane to New Zealand, on my way home.

Let me tell you about the people in my room.

Andre. One of the Swedish couple. Looks ridiculous, has some huge tribal tattoos on his arm and chest and wears his cap backwards. But, of course, he's probably the nicest person in the room. Everyone else buggered off yesterday afternoon and we talked for a while. Nice guy, I got in his good books a bit since I recognised that they were speaking Swedish & because I know where Malmo is.

Yohanna/Johanna. His girlfriend. I've said about 10 words to her so far, she's really quiet and I think maybe her english isn't as good as his.

Morgan. English girl. She's the first one I talked to and she seemed really nice, but I'm not so sure now. She's really weird with Mark (her boyfriend/my other roomate). She always needs his attention so she'll start whining or something. Ugh. But she was really nice last nice when she came in a turned on the light when I was going to sleep, she was super embarrassed and got what she wanted quickly then turned it out. So kudos for that.

Marl. Nice english guy, he seems a bit fed up with Morgan to be honest. He's the one who seemed the most interesting is getting to know about me yesterday, which is always nice.

All in all no new BFFS but no real duds either.


Went and walked around for a while. Walked down to the beach, the surf was not too bad looking. Nothing exactly mind blowing though. Only stuck around for a few minutes since I didn't have a whole lot to do.

the beach!

Went and had a super amazingly delicious breakfast. Probably the best soy flat white I've had my whole trip.

Now I'm back at the YHA using the internet before I need to go catch my bus in an hour.


Back in Brisbane!

The bus ride was generally uninteresting. It took us about 4 hours, including a few breaks.

Got to Chill, everything was all sorted out from before so checking in was easy. I'm back in room 215, on the same bed I was in when I first arrived.
I will literally spend my first & last night in Australia on the same bed.

Popped over to Coles, then relaxed for a while. Ate some food and got hit on by some guy who thought that telling me how drunk he got a a music festival last night and how much he threw up would make me like him.
He also said that he pants he wore, and I quote "look like a hobo who hasn't washed them in a million years owns them."
What does that even mean? And how is that supposed to make me like you?

Talked to two of my roomates, lovely girls from Yellowknife. One's going to uni in Halifax starting in September. Go figure. I just realised I don't know their names, I'll need to find that out.

Elijah (for non-campers: Elijah is a friend of mine from the homeschooling camp I go to in Vermont.) and I are married on Facebook as of this morning and I keep getting message from non-campers asking if I'm really married or saying congratulations about it.
I just about die laughing every time I get one. I'm up to 7, non of which are jokes that I can tell.

Tomorrow I'm going to wander around for a bit, I need to call Len back to make concrete planes to see him/everyone else I'm related to that I've never met.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 43.

Around 1 Kim, her grandson Sachin & I went into Sydney to have lunch. Then they came back here and I went to explore Sydney & sort out my ticket out of here.

harbour bridge
the many step up to the opera house

walking towards the botanical garden

I went and got some ice cream. Coffee & chocolate and it was exactly perfect. I walked around the Opera House, took lots of photos of it and the Harbour Bridge.

detail of of the opera house

part II

Then I went and walked around the Botanical Gardens for a little while, chatted with a few people.

pan, just chilling. and so happy.

my bench.

look how great a bird it is.

Sat and watched a wild cockatoo crack some kind of palm nut for a while and became some sort of bird magnet. I had cockatoos in all the tree around my bench, ibises we flocking towards me, some black and white type magpie was sitting next to me. I felt like Mary Poppins.

Walked back along the water to the Train Station where I realised that it was going to cost me an arm and a leg to take a train anywhere.
So off I went to find the bus station. Caught a bus that I knew was going to end up at Central Station eventually but would have missed it altogether if it wasn't for the nice old guy behind me who told me when it was.

Talked to some person at information and discovered that, of course, the long distance busses don't leave from there. He gave me directions to the long distance station and I set off, feeling good.

After about 3 minutes I realised I was completely, truly, I-don't-even-have-a-tiny-idae-where-I-am lost.
42 minutes later I somehow ended up back at the bus station, on the verge of tear and general confused. I have no earthly idea what happened or where I was.

Asked a different information booth worker for directions and ended up at the lng distance station after a easy breezy 2 minute walk.
Booked myself a ticket for tomorrow night at 10, overnight to Bryron Bay.

Eventually made it back to Circular Quay and just missed the 5.50 ferry back. I was so sure that was the last one too, which would have meant taking a bus back into the city, a train to edgecliff and then another bus to their house.
Thankfully I was wrong, I just had to wait about 35 minutes for the next ferry.

The view was outstanding, that itself was worth the wait.

I went and grabbed some sushi, which wasn't that good. And it took like, 45 minutes for 8 pieces of take-away maki sushi. Ugh.

Talked to some friends of Wad & Kim's who came over to play bridge then skipped with my family for a a while.

Ate some cookies and now I really need to pack before I go to bed.

Ward & I are doing the Sydney Bridge Climb tomorrow morning, then I don't really have a plan. Probably go and see the Annie Liebovitz show that's going on at the Contemporary Art Museum at the moment, which I want to see oh so much.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

day 40 & 41

Woke up so early. At like 6. For no reason. Damn.

Took a shower and got everything ready for me to check out at 10.
Went out for a coffee & banana muffin for breakfast.
Came back.
Took a deep breath in.
Skyped with Magnus and mum for a bit.
Figured out everything with Ward & Kim and where they live etc.
Talked to Delano briefly before he went to work.
Checked out.

Walked down to Southern Cross Station to pay for my ticket, eveything's sorted and paid for now.
Walked around for a while, bought a new septum ring. It's tiny and I've been wearing it tucked up all day. It's really weird to not have it, but I dunno.

I went to the vintage store I've been wanting to go to since I was here before, nothing really amazing. Bought a swallow necklace though. It's very classic tattoo flash art-eque.

Walked around some mall for a bit, just enjoying the air con.

Then as I was walking down Swanson Street I ran into Rachel & Matthew! Rachel's someone I stayed in Chill Backpackers with when I was there at the very beginning of my trip and I knew she was getting in to Melbourne today but had no hope of seeing her. We went out for coffee and chatted for ages. Matthew left to sleep and Rachel & I walked back to her hostel where we went our separate ways. I'm so happy I got to see her! And meet Matthew of course.


Me & Matthew, taken by Rachel.


I wanted back to the hostel, where I'm now just relaxing in the lobby area for 20 minutes or so before I go to the train station.

I get in to Sydney at around 8 tomorrow morning, but since I'm not updating this tonight, I suppose I got in at 8 this morning. When you're reading this.
That's a tad confusing.


Waiting at Southern Cross now.

Talked to some Irish guy for a bit while trying to figure out what to do with my bag. Eventually found Traveller's Aid and they explained that for this bus I don't need to check in before like I did in Adelaide, they just put it in the bottom of the bus when you get on.

I feel really unprepared though, I dunno. I just feel like we could all miss it somehow.
By all I mean me, the irish guy and the muslim woman and her two children.

Like I said, I feel really anxious and I don't know how to calm down.
I drank some delicious juice, but vkmscg;dmvlcg,fdcgmv.


Well, it's fine. I'm on the bus. We've been on here since 6.30 and it's now 9.
At 10 we get into Albury where we switch to a train.

This old woman talked at me at the train station for like 45 minutes. I know all about her shoulder problems, her son-in-law's birthday, her friends trip to Alaska, her daughter's broken leg, exactly how long it takes her to get to Melbourne, her diabetes, how much weight she's lost in the past year, how astounding she finds timezones (very astounding), her grandson's height and a fuck ton of other stuff.
When I went to check in everyone was apologising since apparently she comes in 2 or three times a month, knows every bus driver by name and always picks a 'victim' as they refer to her targets as. Their advice was to be less friendly looking.
Thankfully we're on different busses.
But my favourite part of the whole story is when I was about to go hide by my terminal place she's like "oh what's your name?" and when I told her she goes "yes, I'm Mrs. Mconolley"
MRS??? Who even says that in that situation?

Anyway, I ate some chips and napped for an hour and a half and looked out the window for a bit and watched another episode of Psych.
Ah, now it's time to sleep for 45 minutes and then relax at a train station for an hour, then hopefully sleep the rest of the way to Sydney.

the bracelets in all their glory.


I made it to Sydney! I'm chilling in therein station for an hour and a bit so I don't get to War & Kim's house too early in the morning. Not that I know how to get there anyway. I mean, I know their address but you know, I don't know Sydney in the slightest. Oh well.

I actually managed to sleep a fair bit on the train, probably about 6 hours. So sweet.
I had these two woman in front of me who were drunk I think. And may have also been meth heads or something. They took heavy drugs often.
And then there was a couple behind me and he may have been mentally challenged. He spent like 45 minutes on the phone with his mother explaining what bag was in the 'hold all' and what was in said smaller bag and jesus christ I almost killed him.

Anyway, I'm sitting in the station in a sort of food court area eating a muffin and there are an alarming amount of pigeons about. Someone left some french fries on a table and they swarmed. Little terrifying because pigeons are scary animals.

I really want to check the internet but there's no wifi here, so I'm not sure what to do. There must be wifi or a public computer somewhere, there always is. Or perhaps I'll leave the station and go into the city proper? That would probably end badly since I don't even have a map.
My big pack is in luggage storage until 8 tonight if I want so we'll see. I think I'll just hang here for another hour and then try to figure out how to get to Rose Bay.


Eventually made my way to their house. I took a train to Edgecliff then a bus to Rose Bay. But of course I didn't know where I was really going, got off early and had to walk for aaaages (like, more than 15 minutes ages) to find their apartment. Which, of course, has a bus stop literally outside it.

I took what may be the best shower of my life. I actually washed my hair! I'm sure none of you know this since I haven't mentioned it, but I've just been using soap to wash my hair since I got here so I didn't have to carry shampoo and conditioner around. But I used real hair care products! It's all very excited.

Kim & I went over to the shopping centre place so she could have some stitches out and I could wander about the mall area. Got myself one of those slightly lame pocket watch necklaces, because I was developing a watch tan line on my wrist. Which means I have gotten oh so slightly more tan since I was here, which is good.

Bondi Beach!

Then we went to meet Ward for lunch at some lovely Italian place that overlooks Bondi Beach. I had the most delicious vegetarian pizza.


Then Kim & I went to 'The Gap' which is the opening to the Sydney Harbour or, to use it's real name, Port Jackson Harbour. It's also the most common place to commit suicide in the area. I thought it was really lovely, honestly.
I caught my first glimpse of the Harbour Bridge & The Opera House.
Speaking of that, on Friday Ward and I are going on the bridge climb. I am already nervous but terribly terribly excited.

The Gap.

Popped back into wherever the shopping place was so Kim could have her stitches out, there was some delay before and she wanted to meet us for lunch. I went and bought a new alarm clock, which is full of features like a radio and such. But it's all I could find, so I took it.

Came back and relaxed for a few hours. Napped a little, messed around on the internet a little... all the good stuff.

Had some dinner and then this lady Jan came over. Apparently her husband died this evening, after years of being sort of ill he'd been very ill for two or three days.
She actually was happy, in a good way. He was no longer in an pain and it was quick and painless. So that was a little bizarre because she kind of wanted to hear about my trip and stuff. I think she was just happy to think about something else, you know? She was lovely either way and hopefully she'll be alright.


Tomorrow Kim is looking after one of her grandson's, who's like four. So around lunch we're going to go into Sydney for real to have lunch and explore a little. Take the needed opera house photos etc.