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Things That Are Impossible

Brisbane, Australia


Looking cool on a Bright yellow rental scooter.

The shame.

Alas other impossible things include making the most of a place this size without your own transport; Whilst "Just Up The Road" for a Brit means nipping round the corner to the offy for 2 litres of cider and a Kit Kat over here it means a two hour trek to the Arse End Of Nowhere.

Hence the scooters. And although it was kinda good to get back on two wheels we definately deserved the unrelenting mocking we encountered on the way as we held up Miles of traffic, chugging along at 55kph, wondering if it was even going to make it up the next hill.
Thankfully Emma was navigating, even though we managed to get lost several times (even on a long, straight road) if she'd let me loose on the map book we'd probably be huddled round a makeshift fire somewhere in the outback, fending off dingos with sticks.

Despite two days riding round the furthest reaches of Nowhere we still haven't found a car but we'll be having another bash at that tomorrow, fingers crossed, its definately time to move on from Brisbane now. We gave up car hunting today and went to the driving range instead and apparently I suck at golf. This isn't a bad thing. I never looked good in argyle.

And it actually rained today for the first time since we arrived. Typical British luck, it waits until we hire the slowest bikes in the world and ride into the bush before the heavens open.

And yes, those are crocodiles on the front of that scooter.

  • cringes*


  • permalink written by  Koala Bear on May 28, 2006 from Brisbane, Australia
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    Wet N' Wild Water World

    Surfers Paradise, Australia


    One of the best things about being a Brit in Australia is the fact that my idea of cold differs completely from everyone else’s which means we get to enjoy water parks in what is officially winter while the locals are curled up on their sofas clutching a Cup-A-Soup and shivering.

    No queues to Battle through and sunshine for most of the day but we're both knackered now, I don't think we've ever climbed up so many stairs. Over and over again. I'll dream of stairs tonight which will make a change from dreaming about bloody spiders.

    And the best thing about water parks?
    You get to play in the sun and the water all day with no risk of sand in yer crack. Fantastic.

    Photos will be added when I get them developed, well I wasn’t about to take my £300 digital camera down a slide called Mach 5 now was I.



    permalink written by  Koala Bear on June 7, 2006 from Surfers Paradise, Australia
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    Went Snorkelling...

    Surfers Paradise, Australia


    Saw some fish. So that was nice then.

    I’d dragged my arse out of bed at some god awful hour leaving Emma tucked up so I could paddle my way out to an island in a kayak and breathe though a plastic tube for an hour or so. But it was worth it, I didn't see any dolphins or anything like that but I've definitely got a taste for this underwater lark now and there’ll always be a piece of me on Wave Break Island.

    Mainly because I stepped on a sharp Stone and took a bit of skin off my foot. Ouch

    permalink written by  Koala Bear on June 8, 2006 from Surfers Paradise, Australia
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    Pet Porpoise Pool, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales

    Coffs Harbour, Australia


    The Pet Porpoise Pool claims to be the most interactive marine park in Australia and you can't argue with that when they let you pet the dolphins and sit you down for a seal snog which seems like a cute idea until the smell of fish hits you and you realise that if it was having a bad day it could actually rip your throat out for fun.

    After the dolphin show they let you feed the little penguins and after they tell you not to stick your fingers in the turtle pool on account of the fact they’re wild and snap they hand you a piece of fish and invite you to go ahead and... erm... stick it in the pool...

    Anyway, we both left with all our fingers intact and I want a dolphin because they're bloody amazing.



    permalink written by  Koala Bear on June 22, 2006 from Coffs Harbour, Australia
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    Things To Do In Melbourne When You're Skint

    Melbourne, Australia


    Arrived: 25/06/06
    I Will Be Leaving: 02/07/06
    Emma Will Be Staying

    We've mainly been doing sensible things during our time in Melbourne such as shopping for protective gear for the vine pruning job I start on Monday and using the internet for evil (looking for work) for Emma online but we did manage to get a few obligatory tourist photos before reality set in.


    Rialto Tower

    Rialto Tower is Melbourne's observation deck, it's a high rise building with over 50 floors and you get to go right to the top for a 360 degree view of the city although we did spend most of the time watching the crazy Chinese guy who was wandering round and round, clutching a CD walkman and occassionally bursting into song.

    And I use the word "song" loosely.

    He ordered a cappucino and we sat there and watched him empty 15 sticks of sugar into it before he sat and ate it all with a spoon and continued his wandering and wailing.

    We quickly left before he went mental with a machete or a sawn off shotgun or something.


    Neeeiiiiiibours...

    Pin Oak Court is Ramsay Street. It's a real street in a suburb of Melbourne called Vermont with real people who have real jobs and lives and it's tiny. Seriously, there are like 100s of other streets just like it in the area but this one was chosen for the outdoor scenes in Neighbours so this is the one that attracts hoards of tourists on the offical tour and tight arses like us who just get their mates to drive them up there for a photo op.

    I don't even watch Neighbours unless I'm brutally forced by the majority but even I found myself clapping like a spastic and running round like a small child shouting "Oh my god, Harold lives there thisissocool!" before climbing sheepishly back into the car and wondering if anyone saw me.


    AFL At The MCG

    On arrival into Australia I dutifully picked an Aussie Rules Football team to support, making sure I ignored trivial factors such as league position, performance and indeed who my girlfriend supports and carefully basing my decision on who had the prettiest strip.
    After much soul searching and veging out in front of the TV with beer I proudly announced that I would henceforth follow Port Adelaide (nicknamed Power for reasons I have yet to fathom, especially after seeing them play). Emma is a West Coast Eagles fan. There will be fighting.

    Adam and Natalie (Emma's mates who we're staying with) both support Melbourne and today their team faced my team at the Melbourne Cricket Ground which is apparently the biggest staduim in Australia and the second biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. It's impressive, you have to give it that although the crowd was too small to do it justice.

    Once you get over the fact that it's only $20 to get in and you get your head round the fact that the pitch is round (Or oval. Whatever, it doesn't have corners and that's just weird) you have to deal with the mixed fans. There's no home stand or away stand, the fans from each team just pile in together and no one gets stabbed. How cool is that?
    Aussie rules is fast paced and high scoring (mainly because there's four goal posts and you get 6 points if you kick it through the middle which just seems like cheating to me), I'm surprised it's not played in other parts of the world because it really is a fun game to watch.

    Aaanyway, Power got thrashed and I'm writing at the bottom in the hope that no one reads it so that I might maintain some shred of dignity. The chances of seeing Power play at home in Adelaide are slim, by the time we get there the season will be finished but it doesn't mean I can't watch them on the telly with my head in my hands wondering if turquoise really was the best deciding factor in my choice of team.

    permalink written by  Koala Bear on July 1, 2006 from Melbourne, Australia
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    A Whole Day Of Education

    Melbourne, Australia


    I spent last weekend in Melbourne in a desperate bid to halt the slow deterioration of my thought processes brought on by an acute lack of Things To Do.
    We'd planned to go to Healesville Sanctuary ($22, probably only worth it if its sunny and you can do the whole day)[/i> in Yarra Valley and even though it was raining when we woke up we borrowed Natalie's car (smaller and cheaper to run than ours) and decided to go anyway. Y'know, maybe it would stop raining after a while, right?

    .... Right?

    No, apparently not. It rained constantly all the way there and for the entire time we walked round so we found things to do that involved standing under shelters and learning about stuff.

    Koalas
    Koalas are the students of the animal world, they sleep for 20 hours a day and spend the other four hours eating food that has no nutritional value which is a bit like me spending four hours eating Pot Noodles before passing out for 20 hours straight.

    Maybe I was a koala in a previous life, that would explain alot.

    Platypus
    We just missed the platypus talk but from what I gathered they look weird and they smell. That is all I learned about platypuseseses. See, I didn't even get to learn what the plural was.

    Reptiles
    I pushed my way to the front for the reptile talk making sure that the small children knew that my elbow was roughly the same height as their face and I wasn't afraid to enforce that knowledge if they tried to steal my place.
    We learnt all kinds of exciting and useful things such as how to treat a snake bite and not to stand in front of a monitor lizard while it's being shown round in case it poos. I learnt the latter the hard way.

    We also learnt that lizard poo stinks, I mean really, [i>really[/i> stinks and the smell sticks to you and grows and eventually you're surrounded by this aura of Inside Of A Lizard which is impossible to escape from until you incinerate your clothes and remove the top layer of your skin with a wire brush or at least have a proper wash with soap and everything.

    And the learning didn't stop with Healesville Sanctuary, it was when we stopped for petrol on the way home that we learnt that the worst time to lock yourself out of a car is after 5pm on a Saturday when it's not your car, both mobile phones are in aforementioned car and one of you has just been pooed on by a lizard.

    It doesn't help when neither of the staff members at the petrol station have been employed for their innovation or intelligence and no one in the world will admit to knowing how to break into a car with a wire coathanger. I thought it was a stroke of genius that we even managed to obtain a wire coathanger at 5.30pm on a Saturday somewhere on the outskirts of Melbourne but there's a subtle difference between actually having a wire coathanger and knowing how to use it for purposes other than hanging things.

    After about two hours of battling with the coathanger and pleading with the staff for some kind of help we caved in and joined the RACV (breakdown service) which cost $175 and it was just as Emma hung up the phone that the woman behind the counter handed us a card for a locksmith with the words, "Last time someone locked themselves out of their car the locksmiths that came out gave us this card in case anyone else did the same thing."

    I quickly lead Emma away before the other girl learnt what it felt like to have all her teeth removed by force.

    permalink written by  Koala Bear on July 22, 2006 from Melbourne, Australia
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    Job Satisfaction

    Echuca, Australia


    Pruning vines isn't the most enjoyable job in the world so I've been trying to think of ways to make it more bearable and I have decided that if I knew exactly what I was pruning I would find my job more fulfilling and meaningful.

    The vinyard I work for sell their grapes to a company in Griffith who turn them into [yellow tail] which apparently they do sell in the UK but I wouldn't have noticed if it didn't have the words "Special Offer" or "Buy 3 For A Tenner" written on the price tag.
    So in a noble attempt to keep the Australian economy afloat I tracked down a bottle of [yellow tail] Shiraz which I purchased for the princely sum of $10.95.

    Less than a fiver.

    The only way this wine could be any more Me is if it came in a box or was in fact Lambrini if Lambrini was to be made from grapes which of course it isn't. I'm not too sure what it is made out of. Alcoholic's Piss, I think.

    Anyway, I drank the bottle over the weekend and returned to work on Monday hoping to feel somehow more enlightened but by then we'd started pruning the merlot and the bottle of Shiraz that I had painstakingly consumed seemed somehow wasted. Once again I felt empty and unfulfilled.

    There's only one thing for it; extensive experimentation is in order.

    If you need me I'll be at the bottle shop.


    Edit:

  • hic*


  • You're larrrverly you are arentchoo ay?

  • hic*


  • Gisha shnog.


    permalink written by  Koala Bear on July 24, 2006 from Echuca, Australia
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    Echuca In "Stuff To Do" Shocker

    Echuca, Australia


    As a rule, Blues music grates like coarse sandpaper on the soft underbelly of my soul but when faced with the choice of spending last Sunday in the hostel watching a black and white TV with a potentially psychotic Kiwi nut job (more on him another time) or live bands in the street, the Echuca Winter Blues Festival won out.
    Anyway, I figured that the Fingernails Down A Blackboard quality that Blues possesses could be suitably numbed with some wine tasting and a few pots (which are the pathetically small measures that beer comes in round here. It's about three mouthfuls and it's so dainty you get the urge to stick your pinky up whilst you drink)

    As well as a live bands playing surprisingly bearable music on every corner there was other stuff to watch and do.
    The bakery held a pie eating competition with pies that could quite possibly have been made from one or more of the backpackers that went missing in regional Australia last year and there was a chance to meet a slightly mange ridden Peter Rabbit at the book shop. Three of us from the hostel huddled together on the sofa for a photo op and quickly left before we contracted myxamatosis.

    A couple of thimbles of beer and a shameless attempt to get our photo in the local paper later we headed back, all that excitement being far too much for us Fun-Starved Backpackers.
    Actually it was a bit of a laugh, it was something to do and a chance to get to know a few of the people I'm living with at the moment.

    Photos will be added when I've got them developed (Edit: Aaaall sorted). I've been using a 35mm camera (remember them? How quaint) because my digital camera developed an error. I've been without digital photography for over a month, can you imagine the horror?!
    Anyway, I'm visiting Emma in Melbourne this weekend coming so that should stop my brain from completely rotting and I'll get my beloved camera back along with several Pot Noodles and some Salt and Vinegar Squares that mum sent over.

    It's weird what you miss init.

    permalink written by  Koala Bear on August 3, 2006 from Echuca, Australia
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    North West Victoria Magical Mystery Tour

    Mildura, Australia


    Currently, the most exciting thing to happen in Echuca was my recent foray into the world of flip flops which they call "thongs" over here even though thongs are underwear you spend most of the day removing from your crack. I'm in pain but damnit I WILL get used to them because they leave better tan lines than sandals and I'm sure no one will notice the pussing wounds between my big and second toes.


    On A Mission

    Anyway, I digress. The point I was trying to make was the only was to make Echuca interesting is to leave it so last Saturday me, Becky and Maaike (also staying at the hostel) decided there was only one thing for it; ROAD TRIP!

    It is the law of road trips that you eat your body weight in junk food and listen to music that would ordinarily make your ears bleed so armed with $25 worth of crisps and chocolate and an MP3 player full of cheese we set off for Mildura to visit a couple of mates.

    It's a mere four hour drive if you don't take long, winding detours through amusingly named places, climb all over an oversized cod or stop and photograph things like llamas in a field, lizards in the road which get bigger and scarier the closer you get to them (so we backed off before I got pooed on again or something) and kangeroos.

    Yes I know its not a particularly lively 'roo but I come from a place where the most exotic thing you see on the side of the road is half a badger. The 'roo is cool, OK?


    Fnar Fnar
    Some of you might know that instead of growing up and getting a proper job it's my lifes ambition to travel to all the places in the world with rude names and last weekend I crossed Tittybong (heh heh) and Bumbang (tee hee) off my list.

    The thing with Tittybong is, it doesn't seem to exist outside of the map book. We drove through it so I've officially been there but there's no signposts to it and nothing to tell you you've arrived, before you know it you've passed it and didn't even get to point and laugh at the sign. Gutted.
    Bumbang isn't actually a place either, it's an amusingly named island in the Murray River just North East of a town called Robinvale which isn't half as funny. They have something that passes as a sign though so that appeased me, I got to snigger childishly and take photos.


    Not Quite A 24 Hour Party Town
    Anyway, a good time was had in Mildura, I had a good night anyway, I hadn't drunk in ages so it was fun to pump my body full of Vodka Cruisers (a bit like Bacardi Breezers, overpriced and full of E-Numbers) and jump around on the dance floor to mix it all up with the chocolate and crisps we munched on the way although I did spend part of Sunday morning wondering what number bus hit me and why I wasn't actually dead yet.
    Mildura is quite a bit bigger than Echuca, I wasn't there long enough to get a proper feel for it but there are quite a few backpackers and it seems like a laugh. They also pipe music into the streets at night for reasons I have yet to ascertain and there's sort of a park down by the river which is wicked to go and chill by in the 31C heat (yeah baby!) with a few beers and a frisbee.

    The journey home was a bit quicker, we only stopped to see Bumbang Island, eat more junk food and to see if Becky really could keep up with the car doing 20kph whilst she was on foot.

    And yes, I still have "Tie My Kangeroo Down, Sport" stuck firmly in my head. Meh.

    permalink written by  Koala Bear on September 19, 2006 from Mildura, Australia
    from the travel blog: Sod Off Great Big Mission Round Oz
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    Rogue Traders (& TV Rock)

    Melbourne, Australia


    To celebrate finishing the work I needed to do to extend my visa, last night I went to see the Rogue Traders at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, Melbourne because they bloody rock. Oh yes they do.

    I believe they released Voodoo Child in the UK or something but they're huge over here, probably because they're Australian and fronted by Natalie Wots-Er-Face. You know who I mean, 'Er Wot Played Izzy In Neighbours. The hot one.

    Am I helping?

    I was sat right at the front, I was so close, I could have reached out and touched her if I had psychotic stalker tendencies which of course I don't, that's just a vicious rumour spread round by people who don't like me.

  • subtly kicks telephoto lens away with heel and stashes dirty old mac under the bed*


  • Anyway, I didn't want to get arrested or beaten up by security so I kept my hands off and contented myself with jumping up and down and waving my arms around and apart from nearly taking out half the audience with my Bingo Wings I had a wicked night.

    Enjoy the photos, just try not to drool on the keyboard.

    permalink written by  Koala Bear on October 1, 2006 from Melbourne, Australia
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