And the rest of the South Island – All in One Entry

11 03 2012

Item’s I’ve learned today

-blogging about your travels gets old, especially when you want to be able to complain/moan about your current life.. haha

S0 I am condensing my last few weeks in the South Island into one entry. Partially because I’m tired of writing about what happened a few months ago, and partially ¬†because I would like to catch up on this blog sometime before the end of 2012! ūüôā

So I will capture places and highlights, and not update on each and every day (as I had done previously).

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

BEAUTIFUL. Absolutely amazing. ¬†We headed there after our glacier hike in Franz Joseph. ¬†Stopping first at at Lake Matheson for some amazing photo’s ops. The lake is so crystal clear that it literally looks like a mirror reflection of Mt Cook. ¬†It’s not quite so peaceful when instead of walking the 20minutes and turning around and walking 20 minutes back, you accidentally do the full loop.. and practically have to RUN back (a 6-7k run I might add) to the freaking bus in the hopes that it won’t leave you behind… sigh. asdhjksahdjk.

So insanely beautiful

So insanely beautiful

In Lake Wanaka I was offered my first work for accommodation job.. working at the hostel pub.  I had for all intents and purposes planned on moving back there but then some how ended up going back to Welly. Lake Wanaka was so peaceful and serene. A small town yes, but being right on the lake, and having all these gorgeous mountains near by made it one of my favorite places to visit in NZ.. and almost ended up being where I lived.

Queenstown

Bekah, Delphi, Mike and I

Bekah, Delphi, Mike and I

We spent a week there.  WATCH OUT. Queenstown is AMAZING, but non-stop.. and not great for the budget or for the liver for that matter.  I loved spending a week there, but it was just enough time. Queenstown is said to have the highest living expenses in NZ and the lowest hourly wages. There is also pretty much something going on at all times.. always.

Michelle, Reyana, Alex and I

With a little bit of this

And some of this

And some of this

And that...

And that...

Captain Morgan? I think?

AND........ Yeah

It’s a really fun place to be, but not one that I could spend ample amount of time at. ¬† For the adventure-seekers, its home of the Nevus Bungy (which no I did not participate in) and the Canyon Swing. ¬†What’s a canyon swing you ask? ¬†Google it.. haha ūüôā APPARENTLY the two are huge rivals…. It also has the best burgers I have tasted in New Zealand.. the FERG Burgers.

Late night ferg burger stop

Late night ferg burger stop

They are about the size of half my arm (not kidding.. well maybe exaggerating SLIGHTLY) and DELICIOUS. Perfect late night meal.. or breakfast.. or lunch.. or brunch haha.

It also has an ice bar… amongst other things.

Posing in my thermal

Posing in my thermal

In the one week I was there I managed to spill a drink served in ice (literally a glass made out of ice), go on a pub crawl with a 100+ people, drink out of a tea pot, witness Reyana (a girl I met and adore) down an ENTIRE bottle of cough service to calm her nerves for her bungy jump, dance on multiple platforms, eat so much pizza I thought i was literally going to be sick

fat badgers pizza.... one of the 5 million we ate

fat badgers pizza.... one of the 5 million we ate

have a friend go missing (ahem.. Jo), wear a dress (not a normal occurrance for Maria), ride up a gondula, see a bunch of dudes run around naked, watch about 15 people I know jump off a bridge

nuts...

nuts...

(no.. I did not do it myself) and spend entirely too much money.  All in all it was a pretty good week!

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

We took a day trip from Queenstown to go to Milford Sound. Did you know that Milford Sound isn’t actually a Sound? It’s a Fiore.. incredibly interesting I know. I heard that wonderful factoid about 20 times during that day trip. ¬†Milford Sound is AMAZINGLY beautiful though. ¬†You see mountain upon mountain rising up out of the water, not to mention the incredible drive up there. ¬†They say that going to New Zealand and not seeing Milford Sound is like going to Egypt and not seeing the Pyramids. ¬†It’s on the list of becoming of the top natural world wonders. It was pretty cool to see, although as usual a bit windy.

Apparently one of the top walks in the world is a 4 day trek around the Sound. ¬†I obviously opted to do the day trip instead, in the comfort of a bus and boat with a catered lunch.. hah ūüôā

Christchurch

christchurch

christchurch

I decided that I had to see it, and honestly it was rather hard to see. I would have regretted it if I hadn’t gone and seen the city and the after effects of the earthquake (or current effects as they are still happening). The city centre itself was closed off, so we couldn’t even walk around.

The closed off city centre

The closed off city centre

Earthquakes were/are still happening so the city couldn’t even really begin rebuilding/let alone demolishing the damaged/condemned buildings. ¬†One church had a huge graffitied bandaid on it.. that stuck out as a symbol of hope. One building that had been demolished now had a make shift book exchange. ¬†Cashel Mall had gone up..

Cashel Container Mall - literally made out of shipping crates

Cashel Container Mall - literally made out of shipping crates

Cashel Mall is a make shift mall made out of shipping crates which some people see as a big f’ you to the earthquakes and others were/are opposed to as peoples lives were lost where they are now building a shopping centre. One area I remember most is a demolished site where a family posted pictures of their mother with a note saying how that they missed her (concluding that her life was lost in that very spot)… yeah… Christchurch was depressing. But again, I’m glad I saw it.

Kaikoura

Apparently it’s one of the most interactive dolphin experiences in the world, but because I had already seen whales in the Bay of Islands, and the weather was quite crap.. we only opted to stay for a day. I did manage to see and eat at an excellent fish and chip joint there. Oh and watch the terminator at the “lazy shag” (the name of the hostel.. no I am not kidding). That was about the highlight of Kaicoura. It was slightly amusing though because there was this whole new group of people who were just starting on their bus tour. ¬†They were SOOO excited about everything.. ¬†asking everything and their mom. and introducing themselves to everyone and their mom… OVER and OVER again! “Oh my gosh! Where are you from?? How long are you in NZ for?? What’s your favorite spot?? etc etc etc” ¬†Bekah, Katie, Alex, Michelle and I (the veterans and ones wrapping up the trip) were unfortunately kind of over it. Sure we were nice and civil and all that, but my goodness was there a difference between our energy levels and theirs!

The trip back up

After Kaikoura, Bekah and I slowly made our way back to Auckland stopping in a few places we had already been. A few nights in Wellington (where I solitified that I would be working at Rowena’s Lodge and ¬†managed to get my purse got stolen…camera gone.. so sad), few nights in Taupo where Katie, ¬†Bekah and I had a completely RIDICULOUS but fun Thanksgiving day celebration

Katie and I

Katie and I

and a few nights in Auckland where we tried to tear Reyana away from her boy (un-successfully I might add) and eventually parted ways with Bekah on her way to Melbourne and me ready to start over brand new in windy Welly.

All in all it was an great trip! The two months of travel had now officially come to a close. ¬†It was a bit hard at the end to say good bye and start out new and alone. ¬†I had found that I had made all of these amazing friendships only to have to say goodbye, plus to go from traveling somewhere new every day to staying in the same place/looking for a job was a bit of a shock as well. ¬†I wouldn’t take any of it back though. Although I haven’t seen everything I wanted to see in New Zealand, it was a great start, and a great way to open up the year that I will spend here (or technically 5 more months at this point).





Final days in the land down under

28 08 2011

Item’s I have learned today:

One year later, and on the exact opposite side of the world I have learned that I HAVE ISSUES. Yes ladies and gentleman it’s true. And that’s about all I am going to cover on that one.

On a lighter note, people don’t say “heart” over it here, its “love heart”

Bike is “push bike”

Bugger off = leave me alone.

Champers = champagne

Trainers = sneakers

Well, it’s finally down to my last few days over here. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it all. Of course it’s going to be hard to leave, Melbourne has really come to feel like home. At the same time, I don’t think it has hit me that I am actually leaving! I think it will take me getting of the plane at SeaTac (Seattle International Airport) before it finally clicks that “hey, I’m no longer in Australia!”

I will leave my next blog entry to cover off on my emotions, and will delve into the events of the last few weeks.

In my last entry I was freaking out about my final temp job at Macquarie Bank. It was a two week assignment to cover an executive assistant that was going on holiday. All I knew going into was that the Australian of the year Simon McKeon worked there, what I did not realize, was that I was going to be directly supporting him! Intimidating much??? Yes, I think so.

It took me about a day or so to get over my nerves. With Simon being the current Australian of the year, Executive Chairman of Macquarie’s Melbourne office, Chairman of the CSIRO and Business for Millennium Development, as well as on the board for pretty much every single charity in Australia (I might be exaggerating a wee bit), his schedule was just SLIGHTLY busy. I think he was in the office all of THREE days in the two weeks that I worked there, and then, of course, in meetings when he was actually present. But all that being said, I was really taken aback by his humbleness, and how approachable he was (not just to me, but to everyone). He went into pretty much every single task not as some high and mighty executive, but as he said in his own words “an ordinary Australian who has been inspired by others.” It was nuts! Even though I was only there a short period of time, it was just really cool to work with someone who had accomplished so much (and continues to do so everyday) but has this amazingly relaxed down to earth air about him. Long story short, I had no reason to freak out, it was a great few weeks. And it was nice to have that position close out my period of employment in Melbourne.

Oh, and the view from the office wasn’t too shabby either.

My last day - with the view

My last day - with the view

My mother had suggested that I ask him to take a picture with me, I felt that would be a bit too awkward (although I doubt Simon would have minded, he probably would have gotten a kick out of it actually), so a picture of me by myself will have to suffice.

The job wrapped up last friday, and I have spent the last few days pretending to take care of things. I did manage to sell my bed, so now I am sleeping on the couch. I have also managed to dump pretty much every article of clothing I own on my bedroom floor in my attempt to “pack” but other than causing Hurricane Maria, not much has actually made it into the suitcase.

I’m spending the next few days trying to catch up with friends and get all of those last minute details taken care of before I head back to Seattle for a month and New Zealand beyond that.

More to come soon.





Maria really needs a backbone… I think I have a problem with being too nice.

25 06 2011

Items I have learned today:

Today I have learned that I really need to stand up for myself a bit more, otherwise people tend to walk all over me! (well, I’ve known that for awhile, but still)..

(and back to regularly scheduled Australian slang programming)

-Bathers = swimsuits
-Trainers = sneakers/tennis shoes
-Solarium = tanning salon
-Bottle shop = Liquor Store (and beer/wine/any booze is ONLY available there, you can’t pick it up at mini-marts or grocery stores here).

ANYWAY.
I remember once when I was ordering coffee at a Starbucks in Seattle (I know Melburnians.. for SHAME.. I have had Starbucks coffee.. GASP). Anyway, I thought they had given me the wrong drink, so I sat there and instead of going up to the barista and asking… I cowered back and whispered to my friend “Does this look like a tall machiacco? I dunno, it seems a little to small? What do you think?” My friend replied “Why don’t you just ask them?” I answered “Because I have no balls!” The barista then turned around to the both of us and said “you seriously need to grow some, and yes it is a tall machiacco.” AWESOME. The point of that story, besides showing my embarrassment that the barista heard our entire conversation, is that no matter what the situation, I seem to have a hard time putting my foot down, even when it comes to trivial enough matters like making sure I’m getting the right amount of coffee.

So as you all know, I just moved back to Melbourne from Sydney. What you don’t know, is that I have now been screwed over by my second roommate there. I neglected to write about her before because I considered her to be a good friend and did not want to hurt her feelings. It’s not like that’s my intention now, but what I don’t understand is how she can feel OK about ripping someone off, especially someone that she called her friend? How does that work? How do you claim friendship but then steal their money?

Old Pic - but pretty reflective of how I am feeling at the moment

Old Pic - but pretty reflective of how I am feeling at the moment


Ok, let me get back to the basics of the story. I left Sydney on 20th May (again, this is how they write the date over here). I think I had really bad roommate luck in Sydney. This particular roommate KNEW that I had just lost 1200 from the other crazy roommate, and also knew that I wasn’t able to save up any money while living in Sydney. She originally promised me that she would have my 1000 bond returned to me “right away.” Right away then turned into “sometime this week.” That then turned into “as soon as I find someone to live here.” Long story short, I finally got part of my bond back today… over a month later. To be fair, she did recently lose her job and has had difficulty finding a new one, and apparently it took her some time to find someone to move in. But NONE of those problems are my fault!! So first off I have to wait quite a bit to get my bond back, a fact that i can get over, but am still frustrated by considering I had no choice but to dip into my “traveling/saving” fund.

Now here’s the kicker. I check my bank account today and 850 of my 1000 bond has been returned because APPARENTLY the other 150 went to an electricity bill! WTF!! Dude, I lived there for TWO months. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS? I think not. In her drunken stupor she once went off on a tangent to me about how cheap electricity was and that her last bill was only 170 dollars for 3 months. So explain to me how I then get charged that much when I wasn’t even there for a full billing cycle??? Nor was I even around much to use the F*ing electricity in the first place. Granted she didnt steal from me a huge amount of money, but that’s not it, that’s not what gets under my skin. It’s the principle of the whole thing, the fact that she decided to take the money to begin with.

I had been nothing but nice to her. Case and point – About 3 weeks in to not having my bond back – I sent her this message:

“Hey Sydney Roommate Number Two,
I hope you are doing well.
This email has been really hard for me to write as I don’t want to jeopardize our friendship or hurt you in anyway, but I really need to talk to you about the bond.
I understand that things have been a bit difficult for you recently, and I am sorry for that, but at the same point I really do need my bond back. In the ideal world, I would have it all back by the end of June, but if it is going to easier for you, I am willing to work something else out (maybe half this month, and half at some point later on?).
The fact of the matter is that my bond really should not be contingent on you finding someone else to move in, the money should not have been spent. I am really not trying to be rude and demanding, but its getting to the point where I am being put in a really bad position financially (as you know, I had already previously lost 1200 and this is putting me over 2000 behind).
Please let me know what we can work out.”

And this is what happens.. She returns what she decides she wants to return and full on takes advantage of me. I seriously wonder how far I would have gotten with “b*tch give me my money back now!” Ok, maybe not in those exact words, but still.. my point is.. apparently being nice (at least in my case) only seems to get you screwed.
Ugh.
Anyway.
Had to share, that’s all for now folks.





How I love the tribunal.. let me count the ways.. minus its enforcement

29 05 2011

Items I have learned today:

Garbo = garbage collector

Midday = noon.. and YES, I know I SHOULD know that.. but I can’t remember anyone telling me that we should meet at midday back at home.

Right-e-o – Australian’s way of saying “yeah, ok.. whatever”

Poo-Towels – toilet paper, a little disgusting I know.

I am now back at my home away from home, Melbourne! I arrived about a week ago (surviving a 12 hour train journey surrounded by a school of 15 kids from country NSW) My first weekend back I managed to sort out where I’m going to be living (Brunswick, yay!) find a new bed, eat some delicious thai food and watch 8 episodes of brothers and sisters with Clem (a good friend from the UK).

Blurry picture of Clem and I at the X-Factor Auditions

Blurry picture of Clem and I at the X-Factor Auditions


There was one final detail I neglected to cover with my last few weeks in Sydney, my court date with the tribunal. My old roommate, who I believe I named ‘John’ for the purposes of this here blog, neglected to show up. Because of that, the tribunal ruled in my favor and ordered John to pay me back the 1200 bucks immediately. HOWEVER, in order to enforce the decision I would have to register it with the civil court (another 78 bucks). From there I could then garnish his “wages” from his bank account, but as he has no income there would have been nothing for me to garnish. This would have brought my losses up to over 1300 (1200 + 35 filing fee for the tribunal + 78 to ‘register’ the decision). It was then explained that I could pay another 75 dollars to have the Sheriff’s office seize and sell anything that ‘John’ might have had (his car for example). But there also remains the wonderful fact that he is going to be evicted, so by the time the court processes all the necessary paperwork, I would have no idea where his car would be located to point the Sherriff’s in the right direction. I couldn’t really picture John volunteering information on where he is located so that the courts can seize his car. So rather than taking a 1375 dollar loss.. I decided to let it all go. I do have a legal ruling in my favor, HOWEVER I do not have the money that is entitled to me. So if any kind soul out there wants to donate 1200 dollars to the Maria needs her bond back fund it would be appreciated!! ūüôā I kid.

On a more positive note, I absolutely LOVE my new place. It’s in Brunswick, and has a really cool feel to it. The main strip here is called Sydney road, and its filled with hookah bars, delicious food and discount stores. I am living in a really nice house with Liz (who is fabulous, I have only been here a few days and I love her already) and Tiger (the cat). The house also has centralized heating.. which is pretty much amazeballs.. It’s unheard of here to have heating.. I was expecting to have to invest in a space heater. We also have a washer and dryer, which is the first time that has happened to me since being in Australia. No more trips to the ‘laundrette’ thank you very much!

I’m back at work at Downer engineering. The only downfall, it’s located in blackburn which makes my commute to and from work about an hour and a half. I have to leave here at 6:30am to get to work by 8:00. and I am NOT a morning person. Coffee has recently become my best friend.

So that’s the latest. I’ve settled back in to life in Melbourne and it all happened within the first week. It’s nice to be back ‘home’ that’s for sure, and strange to think that I only have a few more months before my visa expires.





My Final Days as a Sydneysider

19 05 2011

Item’s I have learned today.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again… Australian’s LOVE shortening their words, they apparently ‘can’t be bothered’ to pronounce the entire thing… I know it’s REALLY DIFFICULT to say something like “sunglasses” (sunnies over here).

avos – avocado’s

rellies – relatives

bizzies – biscuits – cookies – Cookies are called biscuits here, doesn’t make asking for tea and bizzies seem like such an strange request

Oh and a fun one –
Simple – mentally slow/stupid. Said along the lines of “is he a bit simple??”

So as weird as it was to try and get used to Christmas being in the middle of summer, it’s even more strange to have the fall begin in April. It’s starting to get cold, and more so then that.. it’s dark by like 5pm! Just when it starts to get light back at home. I can some what get adjusted to it in April/May.. but it will be REALLY strange in July and August. I will have my first ever WINTER birthday (in August).. even just writing that out seems odd.

Today is my last official day in Sydney. I leave by train early in the morning for the last leg of my working adventure here, heading back to Melbourne.
I have done my best to get a few more touristy things in. Which mean’s this will be a boring blog to all those who live in Australia, but do I care? Nope.

Photo from  Nothing Like Australia.com

Photo from Nothing Like Australia.com


Having, already seen Cirqular Quay, Darling Harbor, Toranga Zoo and the Opera house, I branched out a bit more.
First was a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens. According to the
http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au (the official Royal Botanical Garden’s website):

“The Royal Botanic Garden is a botanical and cultural oasis, a green sanctuary in the heart of the great city of Sydney.
The Garden covers 30 hectares and everywhere you go, you will see reminders of the city‚Äôs beginnings. Established in 1816, the Garden is situated on the land of the Indigenous Cadigal people. This was where Australia‚Äôs first penal colony was established in 1788 when 11 ships, the First Fleet, carrying over 700 convicts, landed here. This is just a glimpse of the fascinating Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.”

Photo from swiftcitytrips.com

Photo from swiftcitytrips.com

It is quite beautiful, you have these lush gardens surrounded by water with Sydney in the background. I think I walked through 2 different weddings in the 3 hour period I was there. Popular place!

Next was St Mary’s Cathedral, located just outside of Hyde Park.
According to their website – http://www.stmaryscathedral.org.au/

Photo from  sydney-traveltips.com

Photo from sydney-traveltips.com

“St Mary‚Äôs Cathedral stands in the centre of Sydney as a Christian statement of grace and beauty. Generations of artists have bequeathed to it their magnificent gifts in stone and glass, designing a unique space of solace and prayer within this vibrant city. This Cathedral represents the spiritual origins of the Catholic Church in Australia. It is one of Sydney’s most treasured historic buildings and one of the finest examples of English-style gothic churches in the world. William Wilkinson Wardell, the 19th century architect, dreamed of a gothic structure shaped from the local yellow-block sandstone on which this city is built. The building was finally completed 100 years after the architect’s death. The Cathedral is dedicated to Mary Help of Christians”

Photo from sydney-flick.com

Photo from sydney-flick.com


It is the largest church in Australia.
I went on Easter, though not being Catholic, I made sure to check it out outside of the scheduled Masses. I was blown away by it’s beauty and took a few minutes to reflect and be thankful for things around me.
Photo from clmm2011.org

Photo from clmm2011.org


Located right after St Mary’s Cathedral and on the way to the Royal Botanical Garden’s is the Art Galleries of NSW. Now my favorite part about the Art Galleries ??? The FREE Admission (have i ever mentioned how RIDICULOUSLY expensive Sydney is???)
Photo from laingsimmons.sobox.com.au

Photo from laingsimmons.sobox.com.au


As the website says “established in 1874, the Art Gallery of NSW is proud to present fine international and Australian art in one of the most beautiful art museums in the world. We aim to be a place of experience and inspiration, through our collection, exhibitions, programs and research.”
Photo from laingsimmons.sobox.com.au

Photo from laingsimmons.sobox.com.au

Their collection consisted of
modern and contemporary works with dedicated galleries celebrating the arts of Asia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
I must say I was quite moved by some of the aboriginal artwork.

My final piece of Sydney to share is Hyde Park.
Located right next to the CBD, it was honestly my favorite part of the city to walk through, calm, surrounded by a cave of trees. It was always my calm before the storm.. and honestly, I will miss it.
Hyde Park

hyde park

hyde park

Well Sydney, it has been fun, but it is now time to move on.





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





The Ins and Outs of Sydney Life

23 04 2011

Items I have learned today:

Relies = relatives

Ringins = I will bring more people with me.. said along the lines of “I’ll even have some ringins!”

Aunty = ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).. little weird reading emails and seeing things like.. good job Auntie!! (wtf???) yeah…

Pashed = kissed

So…. I am now living over in Marouba Beach with Shea and working at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I work in the Audience and Consumer Affairs department.. which means the first week I got the honor or “deregistering” duplicates/spam emails as well as logging the same complaint 500 times.. that WAS FUN. Ugh. In any event, now into week 3 I now have the honor of responding to emails about programming myself. So I spend the day telling people what shows are on and where they can watch them online, or that we may SOMEDAY repeat them so make sure to check out our online tv guide. GLAMOUROUS I tell you. But, I do enjoy that I’m back working in media again, even though it’s a slightly different role than what I did at the Seattle Times back home. It’s also kind of cool they they actually film and tape shows at the same building I work at… not that I know any of the people filming.. but still.

Leena has now left Sydney (off to adventures in Thailand, Hong Kong, then back to Australia). In her last few weeks here, Shae, Leena and I attempted to be tourists, and by that I mean we went to Toronga Zoo (the zoo in Sydney that has absolutely GORGEOUS views of the city). Now practically every where you walk in this particular zoo they have signs about their “breeding programs” and THEY WEREN’T KIDDING. In the approximately 4 hours we were there we saw monkeys kiss one another in areas that probably should not be kissed.. as well as two huge a** turtles going to town.
Pictures follow.

Leena, Shae and I after seeing a bird show

Leena, Shae and I after seeing a bird show

Giraffes

Giraffes


Inappropriate monkey love

Inappropriate monkey love


Maria meets the gorilla

Maria meets the gorilla


Can you tell what's going on here - I heard a turtle orgasm - SICK

Can you tell what's going on here - I heard a turtle orgasm - SICK


A spider monkey - smiling for the camera

A spider monkey - smiling for the camera

Gator or Crocodile.. one of the two. and a little too close for comfort

Gator or Crocodile.. one of the two. and a little too close for comfort

I have a court date in a week.. this is to take psycho roommate to the Australia version of small claims court (called the tribunal) to see if I can get my $1200 bond back. I am REALLY not looking forward to seeing him face to face again.. but… what can you do. Think positive thoughts people.

And let’s see what else is new? I went back to Melbourne for a weekend to see the formula one race.. and pretty much decided then and there that it’s home.. so I will be moving back to Melb in June (for my last 3 months in Australia).

The Formula One race was cool, but having never been to one before, nor really followed it on tv (my mother is an AVID fan.. by that I mean watching it at 5am back at home).. I was NOT expecting there to be 58 laps. It’s not like you can even see the cars when they drove by! I attempted to take pictures for the first 10 laps or so.. then gave up, and even though we found a spot right NEXT to the track.. I just ended up watching the big screen next to us.. it made it a LOT easier to follow.

Photographic proof that I was at the Australian Grand Prix

Photographic proof that I was at the Australian Grand Prix

Leena, Jon and I at the track

Leena, Jon and I at the track


One of the cars going by during one of 5002 laps ;p

One of the cars going by during one of 5002 laps ;p

So I’ll spend one last month here in Sydney, complete with a fabulous date with the Australian Court System.. hopefully that will be my last big adventure in this city! I’ll wrap things up at ABC, hang out for a bit and return to Melb by the end of May. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Sydney, it’s that I miss Melbourne… and Sydney is RIDICULOUSLY expensive. I earn less here, have to pay more taxes (because I cant get my living away from home allowance) and have a higher living expenses which equates to = Maria saving up Nothing. But I will enjoy my last month here, and do my best to see and explore parts of the city that I haven’t discovered yet, but I must say.. I am really looking forward to returning to Melbourne (and people from Melb who might happen to be reading this… SHUT IT.. I don’t want to hear any ‘I told you so’s)…

Until Next Time………








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