Going to “The Beach” – Phi Phi Island

8 10 2012

Item’s I have learned today:

-There is the whole system of organised theives on the overnight bus journeys in SE ASIA.  If you have anything of value.. keep it on you (or as they so over there “on your person”! ) I met quite a few people who had money, souvenirs, electronics, you name it stolen out of their bags that they were storing underneath the bus

-Fox caused a lot of drama when filming “the beach” as they tried to make it look more “paradise like.”  Having been there, I would say that’s pretty unnecessary as the place was AMAZING. damn film studios.. lol.

Lounging in Koh Phi Phi

Lounging in Koh Phi Phi

After a few days in Bangkok, it was off on an overnight bus adventure to Phi Phi Island (an Island on the West Coast of Thailand).  I hauled my backpack and gear to the travel office and waited. I should have known from the venture to my “bus,” that it was going to be an interesting journey. First off, I was supposed to leave from outside the travel agency at 6pm.. someone finally showed up to “escort me” around 6:45pm.  Next, my walking escort decided the walk was too far, got on a motorbike, sped down the alleys… and ever so politely occasionally slowed down so I could catch up (let me remind you I was carrying massive amounts of crap).  We ended up in one place, the motorbike escort determined it was wrong, so we walked to another.  On arrival at our second “pick up” location, Motorbike tour person realised that the first stop was the right place, and asked if I wanted to hop on the back of the motorbike. Um, Hello? Maria and coordination, and motorbikes in foreign countries are never going to be a good match, let alone when I have a 20k backpack on! So I trekked back to the original destination to board the bus. SUCH FUN. Not that I ever complain.. ever. But come on now? I’m not exactly the worlds buffest person.. so having a fun little adventure stroll with my massive back pack wasn’t exactly my idea of the best time ever.  Once I was finally on board….I pretty much had anything I cared about in a bag on my lap.. the only thing that actually went under the bus was my clothes.  The person next to me LOVED this. but whatever. I wanted to keep my personal belongings thank you very much!

The bus left at about 7:30pm.. we had a few stops.. took a late night break and then arrived some where else at 5:00am.  When I booked my ticket, I was told that it would be a bus and boat ride, and that I would arrive on Phi Phi Island by 11:00am the next day.  Well this wonderful little morning stop lasted 90 mins while we waited for bus number two.  We then drove for a few hours until we got to a travel agency where (surprise, surprise) we had to wait for bus number three.  This apparently happens all time. Tour companies will arrange the bus journeys, but you will make all sorts of “pit stops” where there is nothing but a travel agency or food.  The idea is that hopefully you book more, or buy something.  Finally after another hour, our third bus comes and we are off to the dock.  The boat departs at 1:00pm.  We get there around 4:00pm.   Not exactly 11!  I was fine, as I wasn’t on any sort of deadline, but I felt really bad for a couple I met on bus number three.  They only had a few days, this was supposed to be a nice romantic get away for them.. and they had lost a full day on our wonderful little bus excursion… oh the joy.

Reyana, a friend that I made while touring around New Zealand recommended a hostel called the rock.  She warned me that the beds are like rocks, but that I would walk in and make an instant group of friends.  Considering the fact that I was hot and cranky, I seriously doubted that I would form any serious friendships.. but she was right.  I walked in all tired and sweaty and was immediately followed by Lucy and Katie.  We bonded over our shared hatred for the stairs that led up to the dorm room, then immediately decided to head down to the beach.

Phi Phi island is a small island with out any cars. Everything is carried around in these huge trolleys.  It’s amusing because when you are in the way, the Thai drivers will literally just yell out “beep beep.”  The beach is beautiful, although it is slightly unnerving that a huge garbage pile boat lies smack dab in the middle of it… contaminated much? But on a hot day, when I had just lugged my 20k backpack around and climbed a butt load of stairs, I didn’t care. The water was warm and felt heavenly.. even if I was surrounded by yesterdays garbage (lol, aren’t I doing a great job of selling the place?)

It was then back to the hostel to meet the other roommates and head out on the town. The great thing about the rock is that it really does become an instant community as everyone is similar (well in the sense that we are from all over the world, on a budget, and travelling).    Phi Phi comes alive at night, with numerous parties on the beach and fire dances (where locals have batons made of fire and put on shows.. usually to trance music).

Entrance to our overnight camping trip (on the beach)

Entrance to our overnight camping trip (on the beach)

Reyana had also recommended doing an overnight camping trip at a place called Maya Bay.  Maya Bay is where they filmed the movie “The Beach.”  Aurelia, one of the girl’s staying at The Rock wanted to do the trip as well, so we booked it together.  Maya Bay has become an insanely popular tourist destination, with 5,000,0002  companies doing day tours out there. (I’m really not exaggerating…. all that much) The nice thing about doing the over night camping trip.. is that we had the beach to ourselves, it was literally just the tour group.  Although I do wish it had been a bit longer as the group was big and we were a bit segregated, but it was still amazing.

The overnight trip consisted of arriving just as all the day trips were leaving, having a pot luck dinner, doing a “jungle trek…” LOL now that one was amusing. I proceeded to change from my dress into pants and shoes… what I didn’t realise was that this trek was on a regular pathway with lights all along the side.. it was more like a leisurely stroll through the woods.. but hey, was still a good time.. although the gear change was completely un-neccessary.

We then all relaxed, took in the sites, and  of course went for a late night swim.  I almost forgot about the plankton!!  They are these little microscopic fish, but when you make movement they sparkle.. so literally it feels like you are swimming with fairy dust… straight out of a disney movie.  Probably one of the coolest experiences I had on the whole trip.

Maya Bay and I

Maya Bay and I

That and of course spending the night under the stars on the beach… that part was absolutely phenomenal..  you know just the small things in life 🙂  If you ever get a chance to make it to Thailand.. I highly recommend the overnight trip to Maya Bay.. it still has become a bit more touristy than years past. but at the same time, I am really really glad I had a chance to do it.





Hanging out with my bosses Fam

13 06 2012

Item’s I have learned today:

your man = that guy

The way Kiwi’s say their “e’s” sounds like the way Americans say their “i’s” so Yes becomes “Yis” … pretty sure that will be the only word that I will actually be able to say in a Kiwi accent when I get back home.

So back to the title of this blog… it all started on Christmas Day.  I had been working at LINZ (Land Information New Zealand) for  about 2 weeks… and had been in Wellington for about a month.  I was already quite homesick as the holidays were right around the corner, and I had to say bye to most of the friends I had met travelling. I was also stuck working 60 hour work weeks which didn’t leave much opportunity to make any new friends.

Now Ron, one of bosses, asked what I was doing for Christmas.  In my ridiculously retarded little mind (sorry rashi.. I still use that word.. all the time)… I immediately jumped to the conclusion that for some reason he might need me to work.. and I could earn some time and half.. and save up a bit more! WAY FESTIVE of me, eh? I immediately responded by telling him I had no plans.  “Well, that means you can come and spend it with my family and I”

Uh.. what?  Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly grateful for the invite, and the idea of spending Christmas with a family was quite fantastic.  I literally didn’t have any other plans… other than having to work at the hostel at 7:00pm.. but I am bit shy/quiet/reserved until you get to know me and I feel comfortable. The problem was I didn’t really know my boss, nor had I met any of his family before.   Of course I accepted immediately.. and stressed out about the appropriate gift to bring along even though I “wasn’t supposed to bring anything.”

So Christmas day comes along and it’s a pretty wonderful day. I meet his wife Judy, and his three daughters (Nicole, Michelle and Carina) who are all relatively close to my own age.  As well as Alysia (Michelle’s childhood friend) and her parents and boyfriend.  I was worried about feeling out of place or invading their family time, but I didn’t feel that at all.  All though..it was still a bit strange to have Christmas be a gorgeous sunny day, but that just goes with living in the Southern Hemisphere.

Alysia, Niki, Carina, Judy, Nicole and I at Nicole's place after the fair

Alysia, Niki, Carina, Judy, Nicole and I at Nicole’s place after the fair

So a few weeks ago I received invite number two, to go to the Martinborough Fair “with the girls.”  It’s a big huge NZ craft fair that’s held twice a year about an hour outside of Wellington.  It’s aim is to give local crafts people a chance to display their goods, and it has grown to be so popular that demand for the stalls exceeds the space available.

Carina,  (my bosses youngest daughter) picked me up, from there we went to Ron’s house, grabbed his wife Judy and his other daughter Michelle.

Nicole, the eldest and Michelle’s best friend Alysia and her mother Niki met us at the fair.  Were there a lot of craft booths? yes.  Did I stuff my face by eating pretty much everything in any food booth we walked past? yes.  Did we all sit down and eat at the side of building making us look “like homeless people” (according to Ron), yes.  But did I have a great time? Of course.

nice quiet place for a meal...

nice quiet place for a meal…

I don’t think this sort of thing would ever happen at home, or at least if it has, I don’t hear about it often.  Where you move to a new country and then sort of get adopted into family events. I must say aside from the amount of crap Ron gives me at work… and I mean that sarcastically of course (he often says things to get a rise out of me.. currently being that I should learn to wash out his coffee cup each day if I want a good reference from him).. I think that it’s incredibly nice/sweet/wonderful that both him and has family have welcomed me in… every now and then.

One of his daughters made me laugh when she asked me if I have been adopted by all sorts of New Zealand families and brought along on their family trips.. Nope.. Just hers 🙂





Happy Mothers Day!! A little belated in OZ time

9 05 2011

Item’s I have learned today:

If your mother would like an updated blog entry for mother’s day… you DO IT.

Not really having much to write about at the moment.. I have decided to dedicate this entry to my mother. WELL… that’s technically not true, I can always find something to write about, but it was just mother’s day… and the material my mother provided me with tonight proved to be much more valuable.

I read this email from her on the bus earlier today. I then preceded to look like a crazy person hysterically laughing into my phone… awesome.

I also note that it is currently mothers day back at home.. so TECHNICALLY this entry isn’t late.

While digging through her boxes my mother found a GEM. A journal entitled “Year of Her Words.” The year was in the eighties and the “her” was me at age 2. Here are a few examples of what she captured when I was whiny bratty little two year old living in London.. WITH an English accent mind you.

Mummy and I - I think I was 4? Maybe 5?

Mummy and I – I think I was 4? Maybe 5?

First come’s the three phrases that she gave me to decipher – the worse part about all of this is – I can COMPLETELY picture my 2 year old behavior and attitude – sigh.
1) “I nab it.” Maria’s note- I think that was me announcing that I stole something.
2) “I’ve got a grouch.” Maria’s note – I am not sure if I was saying I was grouchy or itchy or that I hurt myself.. my guess is that I hurt myself, but I will ask my wonderful mother to decipher
3) “Can I play the train?” – Maria’s note – I vaguely remember a train going around in the air somewhere that we used to go to??? If my memory isn’t completely failing me… the train was not allowed to be touched.. and I was asking to play with it.. although I think I might be COMPLETELY WRONG about this one.

The final part was a few of my mothers notes, verbatim (Please remember… I was 2! Don’t judge me for my previous actions!):
1) Maria consistently helps herself to items from the shop shelves — today it was custard cremes. The filling she eats, but not the cookie. In the past she has demanded only crisps and Smarties.
2) Maria likes to ride or push her big car up and down the hallway, and tonight I observed that there was something hanging from under her dress. She had put on a pair of my knickers over her tights, and then insisted that they were hers, both legs in one leghole.
3) “Look where you’re going, Mummy. For Heaven’s sake!” she said as I scattered her Smarties all over the rug. Maria had decided to keep them in a dish ON THE FLOOR.
4) April 1st: I told Maria today, with some conviction and for the first time, that we were going to have a good life. She started jumping up and down with joy and excitement which turned to anger when I did not give her a present to unwrap as she demanded “I want a good life! I want a good life, Mummy! I want a good life.”
5) May 21st: Maria’s vocabulary is growing so rapidly that I can’t believe it. Conversations are the norm now, but she is still heavy on the demands — very bossy. Dinner is accompanied by a constant stream of commands: “Eat your lettuce, Mummy; eat your plums; eat your meat now,” and when I’m finished, inevitably before her, it is “take your plate to the kitchen.”

———————————————
Luckily I have changed a bit from that horribly bratty child that used to throw tantrums over “iced lollies” (more wonderful stories passed along from my family). So this entry just serves to thank my Mother and all those other wonderful mothers for putting up with our hissy fits, and our tantrums and our demands. You’re Appreciated!! LOVE YOU.

My Mother and I - 2009

My Mother and I – 2009





Anzac Day – word for the wise – the game played is not called “tulip”

2 05 2011

Item’s I have learned today-

The Big Smoke = a big city

Devo = devastated

grog = alcohol

I had a first in my life experience last week.. a 5 day weekend, although one of the UNFORTUNATE joys of being a contractor… my 3 days of holiday had to be taken UN-PAID (meh). The fact however, that there were 3 public holidays in a row was still pretty nice. Friday was a good friday, which classifies as a day off here, Monday was ANZAC day (details below) and Tuesday was a substitute for Easter Sunday. I could seriously get used to 3-4 day work weeks, it was kind of heavenly, except of course for the lack in pay.

So Anzac day (Australian and New Zealand Armed Corps) is similar to Memorial Day for us, although the way it is celebrated is quite different from home. It is listed as a day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand for those that fought in Gallipoli, Turkey in WWI but has extended to honor all those who gave their lives in military service.
The day starts off with a dawn service (which of course, I slept through), followed by a parade in each state capital. Now here’s the kicker, after the parade the way to honor the soldiers is basically to go to the pub. I’m not joking.
Anzac day is the ONE day of the year where a gambling game called “two-up” is legal. Two-Up was an old past time with the soldiers. It took me a little bit to understand, though the rules are relatively simple. I will attempt to explain in pictures.

It starts with putting money on your head.

It starts with putting money on your head.

So let me set the game up – involves a coin, heads/tails and MONEY

The Two Up Group = Balmain Style

The Two Up Group = Balmain Style


Everyone starts around in a makeshift circle. If you want heads you hold the bill you are willing to bet close to your head.. followed by screaming “20 HeaD!!” “50 HEAD”” whatever your dollar amount is. Those that want tails hold their’s above their heads and scream “20 Tail” and so on.. until you have found someone who wants the opposite of you.

Sounds confusing…. but the basic version of the game is.. if you are willing to bet 5 dollars… you hold 5 dollars to you’re head and yell for heads.. and EVENTUALLY someone will come and say 5 for tails, If you are heads you keep the money,…. if you’re tails you pass the money along (to whomever bet heads) and pray for tails.

Lots of people making some change bendin decisions - do i bet? how much?

Lots of people making some change bendin decisions - do i bet? how much?

Next comes the coin toss.. It is either completed by the two what I called “officiators” (of course I didnt bother to read up and figure out what their names are – this ISN’T an f’ing research paper- – thank you very much). So THOSE Guys as we will affectionately call them, will either toss the coin or it will be some person who wants to try his/her luck and money. The crowd can be pretty rough if you dont throw it high enough/far enough/inside the circle/etc. It didn’t end up being compliment-fest for the actual coin throwers… and that’s kind of an under-statement.

giving the guy thats about to toss the coin some advice

giving the guy thats about to toss the coin some advice

So here’s the final rule.. if you wanted heads and the coin came up as heads.. the money was yours… if it was tails.. then you were screwed… and vice versa. Every single pub was pretty much taken over by the game. After I got the basic rules, it was a lot of fun to watch. A first I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of money being shuffled about. A friend gave me 10 dollars that I managed to turn into 20.. but that was it.. I was completely content to be 20 dollars up.

Imagine though, if on memorial day weekend, the national pass time was to go to the pubs and gamble? This is what I have heard the soldiers and veterans love. They will go to morning service, do their marches around states capitals and then after words.. head to the pubs.. to play two-up with the rest of us.. which I do have to say looking back on it was a pretty great experience.

I’m sure I am doing a ridiculously horrible job at describing the game, but honestly I think the best part about it was that EVERYONE – old, young… DIDN’T MATTER.. everyone was there to try and win everyone else’s money in what really was the most light hearted round of gambling I have ever seen.

As far as holidays are concerned.. I gave this one (i know.. dont shoot me) two thumbs up.

melissa and i

melissa and i


the betting and then.............

the betting and then.............

.

hopefully some sort of winning

hopefully some sort of winning





Sydney – Part Deux

6 01 2011

Items I have learned today –

-Upon arrival back to Melb/sharing with the people I work with my new found love of Sydney, I was informed that Sydney’s “where the convicts came from” and that Melbourne’s “full of free thinkers.” YEAH… ok.  Anyway 🙂

-Catch up = meet up, I know it’s said at home.. but it’s really commonly used here.

-Mine = my house

-Yours = your place (I have not heard the word house said.. it’s always something like “well we will go back to mine”  or “im on my way to yours”)

So Diverting Back…

Day 2 Sydney

We arrived back in the city and met Clem, Rani and Sobia’s friend Louise for dinner.  We ended up eating at this fabulous restaurant right in front of the Opera House (which ended up working out surprisingly well for me, as I had two friends from Melb who were at the Opera House Bar).   Louise was great, she is older and from Australia and full of stories.   She made me laugh quite a bit.  She’s the type of woman you would tell not to worry about something (like for example, folding the couch bed back up), who will then not hear you at all, and then 30 seconds later say something like “well I know, why don’t we just not worry about folding the couch bed up!” Brilliant. 🙂 I did enjoy her a lot though, maybe minus the gigantic 3 foot map she brought to dinner to point out where she lived (newcastle) compared to where we were (sydney).  🙂

After dinner I headed about 30 feet away to the Opera bar to catch up with Leena and Lisa. I used to work with both of them back at Hastings (my first temp job in Melbourne), and Leena recently moved to Sydney (I’m pretty sure I’m following in her footsteps in February), Lisa was in Sydney for the New Years.

Leena, Lisa and I - Opera Bar

Leena, Lisa and I - Opera Bar

Day 3 Sydney

The day before New Years.  We got a late start to the day that day.  Clem, Rani, Sobia, John and Louise set off to go see the beach that ‘Home and Away’ is filmed at.  Apparently it’s a HUGE tv show, that everyone LOVES.  I however, have never seen it.  Opting to not be fit in a bag in the trunk to go along for the ride (yes, Louise did actually give me that option) I decided to head to the beach with Lania and Alaina.  After they mapped out their second week of travels (they were continuing on their own adventure after Sydney) we took off to Bondi.

Bondi is BEAUTIFUL.. and I am not just talking about the half naked men that frequent the area (and yes, they’re quite a few beautiful ones too).  It’s pretty hard to go wrong with a beach though.  We attempted to find Alaina’s friends.. who some how managed to give her directions to the opposite end of where they actually were, and then set up camp.

Bondi - ignore my nasty hair.. it needs a cut

Bondi - ignore my nasty hair.. it needs a cut

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

I was only able to stay for a little bit as I was headed back to the city to meet up with friends.  Wiping my drool, oh um… I mean sweat…. aside, I hopped back on a bus and went back to the city.  I learn city’s best by walking.  So I decided to get off near the central train station, and walk from darling harbor over.  Here is one difference between Melbourne and Sydney… Sydney has a Christmas tree that actually LOOKS like a Christmas Tree…

I’m just saying….

I met up with Clem in Darling Harbor and we walked back around to Circular Quay to meet her friend Steve for dinner.  Apparently we took the long route.. and what should have been a 10 min walk.. took about an hour.  I didn’t mind though.. because I loved the scenary.

Clem and I on Darling Harbor

Clem and I on Darling Harbor

John (Clem’s husband) REALLY loved us at that point… almost as much as he loved being the unofficial photographer of the trip (meaning.. NOT at all).

Dinner was good.. although I ate some animals that I wish I would not have (yes, one of the national ones).. we also finalized New Years plans.. well kind of.

Sydney Day 4 – New Years Eve!!

New Years Eve Plan Debate Ensues.  On the one hand is Balmain – where Steve has lived for four years and promises us will be ‘f*ing great’ (his words, not mine… I don’t swear.. ever… 🙂  )  vs. Macquerie Court (I think that’s what it’s called) a gorgeous area right in the city where you are literally right by the fireworks, but unfortunately you have to line up for early in the afternoon to secure your spot.  After a few conversations.. (I was not around for them as I had already pretty much decided on Balmain after hearing Steve rave about it the night before), a verdict was reached… we were all going to be able to spend New Years together (yay)! and we WOULD be able to see the fireworks (double yay!) in Balmain.  So it was a ferry ride and pub crawl over and we ended up at our lookout.  The great part about Balmain was that they shut down the roads to cars at 3:00pm.. so it was crowded, but not overwhelmingly.  We were able to get to our look out spot 15-20 minutes before each set of fireworks (in Sydney there was one at 9:00pm and one at 12:00am) and secure a great spot…

Now I believe I have discussed before my fabulous photographic abilities.. so all pictures I took.. ended up looking like little blobs of color… If you want to see what I saw google “sydney new years 2010.”  It was fantastic.  I think I was most impressed that there were fireworks going off in about 10 different locations at once (off the harbor bridge/opera house/various buildings etc).

Day 5 – Sydney

This was my last full day in Sydney.  Leena ended up moving to a place right on the  beach (literally, you walk outside and the beach is RIGHT across the street), so I decided to make my way to Marouba beach to catch up with her and Helen (another girl that I used to work with).

We hung out at her place.. and then Leena hosted a meal.
After Leena took 4 hours to cook (just kidding Leena, the food was delicious!!) we ate.  Shortly after we called it night, and the next day it was off to brunch and then back to Melbourne.

All in all, I had an AMAZING time in Sydney.. so much so that I am pretty damn (opps I mean.. darn) sure that I am going to be moving there in a month.

Until next time….





Wine-ing Around the Holidays

12 12 2010

Items I have learned today:

-Apparently the Australian version of caroling involves a huge group of people (supposedly thousands) meeting in a park, bringing food and singing out loud together.  It sounds kind of  kumbaya- ish to me.. but meh? To each his own I guess.

Heaps = a lot of.

So it’s official.  I finally went through a little batch of  homesickness.  I mean, nothing bad by any means… but still.  It apparently snowed in Seattle last week (something that RARELY happens and when it does, it’s really exciting). The city pretty much shuts down, and everyone gets the day off work to play (unless of course you happened to work at the Seattle Times in which case you got a whole two hours… whoo).  Anyway, the point is that it’s fabulous, and it snowed at home on Thanksgiving.  It was then that I realized that I was sad to be missing out on it.  I mean don’t get my wrong, I am still totally and completely in love with Melbourne… but there are times when I wish I could be in two places at once.

It continues to feel strange to have it be the Christmas/Holiday season over here. I mean look at the city’s Christmas tree!  It looks more like something at an amusement park!

It's pretty.. but it looks like plastic

It's pretty.. but it looks like plastic

The Christmas commercials are amusing too, in no way shape or form is snow reflected at all.  Or Santa for that matter.   They usually just focus on presents and smiles.

A friend of a friend organised a Yarra valley wine tour last Saturday.  Not being much of a wine drinker, I figured why not?  I honestly can not taste the difference between a 200 bottle and a franzia (the 10 dollar boxed wine they sell back at home).  I obviously have a VERY sophisticated palate.  We were picked up at 9:30am in the city and then off to a day of tasting wines at 4 different wineries.

Yarra Valley Wine Tour

Yarra Valley Wine Tour

Our driver was named Sunny, and our tour guide was named Jane.  Our first stop was at Helen’s Hills. It was here that I learned that you should smell the wine before you taste. An amazing concept I know, because apparently the smell of something affects the taste. Whatever. Anyway. I was also confused when the first “taste” came out.  The woman that worked there said something like “on the first sip you swirl it around your mouth and get  all of the colgate/wherever is in your mouth cleared out.”  So I was thinking that it was mouthwash, and “skulled” (slamed/drank all at once) it.  Um, yeah. It was definitely wine.  The woman smirked and then moved on and said “Now, on the second sip…” at which point I sighed.. and pretended to have a sip of air.

moi

moi

Alaina and I

Alaina and I

Winery number two was called punt road.  Jane (our tour guide) loved it because it was owned and operated by a female.   The winery was originally based on one of the busiest roads in Melbourne in the 1850’s, has since then relocated but kept the name.

Winery number three was my personal favorite.  It was called Yileena Park.  I loved this one because it was a smaller winery, so we were literally being served and helped by the woman that owned it. You could tell how passionate she was about her winery. She also had pictures and told us stories of the big huge Black Saturday bushfires that occurred in 2009.  Yileena Park has an underground irrigation system, so because of that (and luck in a wind change) the fire actually went right past their property.  She said that all of the surrounding houses/property near her burned to the ground, and that she knew 12 people that had lost their lives.  Apparently this fire resulted in the highest loss of life due to a bush fire, with 113 people killed, and it displaced 7,562 people. It was incredibly sad to hear about, yet amazing that this particular winery had been spared.  The amount of energy released during the firestorm was equivalent to the amount of energy released by 1,500 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. Nuts huh!

Learning about Black Saturday at Yileena Park

Learning about Black Saturday at Yileena Park

Yileena Park - the pictures on the table were of the fire

Yileena Park - the pictures on the table were of the fire

The last stop of the day was Stick’s winery.  It was here that we took several group shots, of which I think one came out.  Please ignore the fact that the picture is off center.  Jane was a great host, but obviously not the worlds best photographer

 

Group Photo

Group Photo

The views

The views

 

After that it was back to the city.  All in all it was a good day, full of pretending like I actually knew something about wine.  I think the swirling it and then smelling/followed by announcing what you thought it smelled/tasted like was the most amusing part.  I became a big fan of saying that it reminded me of fermented grapes… witty I know.

The only other thing of note is that Oprah is here now.  She made a 15 minute appearance in fed square on friday.  People apparently spent the night Thursday night… to see her for 15 minutes! Ridic.  She will be taping two shows in Sydney this week.  They had a raffle to decide who would actually get tickets.. she’s taping at the opera house (the capacity is like 6000 or something like that).  I mean, I know Oprah is big and all at home.. but dang!

Anyways..  that’s all for now.

I think I’m off to Torquay/Lorne (one of the stops on the great ocean road) next weekend for a girls trip.. and then its off to Sydney for New Years, so there are quite a few things coming up.  Now, hopefully I can figure out something fun to do for Christmas.  That really is going to be strange, not being able to spend Christmas at home.

Oh well… C’est la vie.

Until next time..








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