A Travellerspoint blog

October 2010

'I think I was Asian in a past life'

sunny 20 °C

Just a quick update before the weekend commences. Spent the last few days around the Chinatown district immersing myself in all things Asian. Yes you read the tagline for this post correct, I think I was Asian in a past life! Lol. No seriously I'm loving the Asian influences in Sydney there's times where you feel that you aren't even in Australia. So what did I do that was Asian this week?

1: Had a Korean BBQ with Frankie - meatalicious

2: Went to the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour (so beautiful and peaceful)

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3: Went to Wagamamas (never been before it's great! My new fave restaurant)

4: Went to Paddy's Market in Chinatown to try and get a last minute Halloween costume but to no avail. However I came across this poor '78 year old Korean war veteran' dressed in a highly questionable and camp outfit donning a huala hoop. I gave him a dollar don't worry!

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5: Tried Squid for the first time! It wasn't bad, a little chewy but I liked it. Does that count as Asian? :)

Ok so I haven't become a Buddhist just yet (but if I was to pick a religion it would be that one - the more I read about it the more interesting it is), but I am already looking forward to spending more time in Asia next year on my travels. I'd love to fit China and Japan in if I could afford it, must look at that more closely.

Two annoying things this week. I haven't been able to get any volunteer work which is something I really wanted to do. I emailed about 10 different companies and only half came back to me! I booked an appointment with the volunteer centre and it took me a week before they would see me - absolutely rediculous. They then said nothing was on offer during that time. I have to get a police check done which takes weeks etc. and it needs to be more long term. I would have been happy to help out at Meals on Wheels even behind the scenes for a few weeks even but no they wouldn't let me do that. I'll definitely do something next year when I'm home. And the other thing is I'm missing Halloween in Ireland! People are dressing up here somewhat but it's just not the same. Halloween in 20-25 degree weather = wrong wrong wong. So enjoy it all back home, for the first time on my trip I'm slightly jealous! Have a great one x

Posted by mattld 00:26 Archived in Australia Comments (5)

Cairns to Sydney Route

sunny 22 °C

Hey guys,

Had a quiet enough weekend (in comparison with the rest of you Irish people who seemed to have gone out binge drinking 3 nights in a row for the long weekend!). Stayed in Friday night with my lobster like sunburn and decided to watch Wolfcreek. It wasn't as scary as people make out, and it hasn't put me off travelling on the West Coast! On Saturday I headed along to a house party made entirely of Irish and French people at my mate Frankie's place. Very good night had, although I couldn't resist bringing up the Henry handball! More apologies came my way lol, I need to stop milking that one with French people. Oh and I found an off license selling Swedish cider on the way! Had really missed that but damn was it expensive at 6 dollars a bottle. Bought 3 anyway :)

Sunday and Monday I just chilled out and went to the cinema, saw Buried and The Social Network (which just got released here, seems Australia are a little bit behind on a lot of films). Both really good.

On Tuesday I met up with Andrew in Newtown and had lunch at his university, and then went to the Sydney tower for some amazing views and took a few snaps. That evening I had dinner at my mate Neil's apartment with his other half Ben. So all in all, I've been well behaved!

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Finally booked everything from Cairns to Sydney for my East Coast trip and I'm really excited about it. The whole thing cost me 1,900 Australian dollars (about 1,350 Euro) and is looking like this but subject to a few little changes as I need to look at all the dates and make sure I'm happy with everything before I pay in full:

November
16th - arrive in Cairns
17th - Great Barrier Reef Trip with 1 dive and 2 snorkelling
18th - chill out day
19th/20th - Cape Tribulation Rainforest Tour
21st - Bus - Cairns to Townsville
22nd/23rd/24th - PADI Open Water diving course
25th - Bus - Townsville to Airlie Beach
26th - chill out day
27th/28th/29th - Whitsunday Sailing Adventure
30th - chill out day

December
1st - Bus - Airlie Beach to Harvey Bay
2nd/3rd/4th - Frasier Island Off-Road Jeep Tour (you take turns driving)
5th - Bus - Harvey Bay to Nuso
6th/7th - Canoe/Hiking trip folllowed by Bus to Brisbane
8th/9th - chill out days
10th - Brisbane to Byron Beach
11th - Byron beach followed by 7pm bus to Sydney
12th/13th/14th - Sydney
15th - Home to Dublin for Christmas!

The Canoe/Hiking trip was offered for free. Most of you know hiking is not my thing (does that involve outdoor exercise?) but I'm just thinking of it as a 2 day boot camp trip. God the thoughts of my arms already after hours of paddling. You can look forward to be me moaning about that when I'm doing it lol.

All accomodation and bus travel is included in the above price. It also includes meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner and snacks) for all tours which is about 2/3 of the above. You can't go wrong with that I don't think. Well happy. I better enjoy chilling out the next 3 weeks here so as I will barely have a minute to myself once this trip starts.

For those of you who have done the East Coast (I'm looking primarily at my college friends!), drop me an email on what you think re: the above, especially if you think I should make any changes before settling it. Cheers!

PS: Finally figured out how to put pics up on this (thanks Suze). It's quite slow to upload so only putting up 1-2 per post at most. I've put in a few from previous posts of mine so take a look back if you haven't got access to Facebook (Mike and Daniel!). Otherwise everything will be on FB.

Posted by mattld 16:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

City Tour, Bondi, Coogee and Manly

sunny 25 °C

Well I finally went to a sushi restaurant! The one with the food going around like trains - the only way to do it. I tried a number of dishes - prawns, scallops and some chicken. Yes what a cop out lol. Strangely they were the worst ones - don't know what it was but the seaweed around them was very strong so the whole thing was quite salty and fishy. A good enough start lol. The prawns and scalllops were very nice though. I dared my mate Andrew to get a raw prawn (at least that's what I think it was) which arrived in the body with the eyes and all. Rotten looking! He ate half of it, fairplay to him (pics are on FB but will try to upload some onto this blog going forward once I figure out how). It was an enjoyable experience but I'm not converted yet.

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I'm thrilled living so close to Chinatown you can actually leave the apartment and walk for a number of streets without seeing any Western people - almost feels like you're in Asia for a few minutes. Lots of nice restaurants nearby including a lovely Thai place I've been 3 times already. They're a bit stingy on the duck if you order that as your meat though!

I met up with Frankie on Tuesday for the cinema, she's my new cinema buddy. It's only 10 dollars this day compared to 18 every other day - look at me I'm budgeting! We saw 'Let Me In' a vampire flick - load of rubbish don't waste your money! If it was any slower moving it would have been in reverse.

Spent a lot of the week finally getting back to sightseeing. Did a 2 hour city tour on Wednesday where I stopped off at Circular Quay and the Opera House. I had been before but I still can't get over how amazing this place looks - it really is a work of art. You will all know I'm not the theatre/opera sort (do they have key changes?) but I will definitely go to one of the shows before I leave. On Thursday I did the Bondi tour which stops off at all the main beaches in Sydney. Hopped off at Bondi and Coogee - Coogee is actually really nice spent about 2 hours there. Got fresh prawns and chips and sat out listening to my ipod just taking in the view.

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On Thursday Andrew took myself and Aidan (who is visiting from Ireland and heading back home today) out to Circular Quay where we got the ferry to Manly Beach and did a 2 hour walk to North Point for a savage view of the city and harbour. Really great day although with only a factor 30 on me, I decided not to apply any sun tan cream until it was too late and by that stage I was well burnt! I'm sitting here in my bed like a lobster. The pain is awful - the aftersun does nothing! Fingers crossed now I don't peel.

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I've been off work for just over a month now and over three weeks into my travels - officially the longest holiday ever! Thanks to those of you reading this! Bear with me, should get more interesting once I do the East Coast as I'll be moving around and there'll be a lot more to report on. I've booked my flight to Cairns for the 16th November. For now I'm just enjoying living in this city.

Posted by mattld 03:36 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Iranian Men, Cher Megamixes & Pushy Sales Assistants

sunny 25 °C

Well the weekend is all a bit of a blur! On Friday I met with the volunteer rep and registered my details - so waiting on a call this week to see if I can get something. I planned a quiet evening in with my book until my camp landlord [remember, Edna from the Incredibles] asked me out for a drink - I wasn't going to refuse! I spent a good three hours listening to how he's in love with his Iranian friend who has a girlfriend but of course he's 'straight' even though they sometimes sleep in the same bed together and the Iranian guy tells him what to wear and who he can go out with and how much he loves him as a friend etc. - I told him to go watch 'Not Without My Daughter' [if you've seen it you'll know what I mean] before he plans any trips to Iran in the near future! Made me appreciate how lucky I am growing up in a tolerant and modern country.

They shouldn't be allowed to open clubs at 6am and run them until 1pm - it's not good for an Irish guy who is used to being told to go home at 2.30am! So after a long night of drinking with Will the landlord I ended up in some after party club [I could only manage untul 9am] where most ppl were on every drug I had ever heard of, and a few I hadn't! 'G' anyone??? Half of them were also topless with the stereotypical Home & Away type body and then some! Got talking to a few lads who were just on alcohol though and made a few new mates. Happy days. Have to say everyone is very friendly over here - as soon as they hear you're from Ireland they want to hear all about it and hear me say 'To be sure to be sure'. We don't say that! One girl demanded I take her number and offered me a place to stay in the Blue Mountains if I go to visit. I had only met her 10 minutes previously and could have been a murderer for all she knew. Very kind though.

Saturday I just died all day but ended up out again as I had to meet my Ozi mate Andrew and his friends. Good night had in a club called Palms, which had the cheesiest music I have ever heard and remember I've been on a few Eurovision holidays - a 15 minute Cher Megamix got played twice! After a few drinks I admit it, I loved it. Haha. The crowd were mostly 40+ but was a nice change from the previous night. Nobody gave a crap and it was just fun.

Sunday was a complete write off but today I headed out to Rhodes to meet one of my mates - had lunch there and then went to a big shopping centre nearby. Some of you may know this story as I posted it briefly on FB (far more detail here mind), but I had a funny incident in one of the clothes shop. Walked in and it was completely empty which I never like as all eyes are on you. There were two women at the counter and immediately they started shouting over at me to make conversation. I hate when shop assistants do this. Just leave me alone and let me browse! But no, they had to come over and help me hand pick items to try on. The problem was, most of it was very country and western (think Cotton Eye Joe) which is not me at all [Barry if you're reading this, you would have loved it all though!].

So in I go to the changing room and realise there is no feckin mirror there. THE annoyance! Which means I'll have to put on the clothes and then go back out in front of them. When I shouted out about the mirror to see if they might change my room, the pushy sales woman simply replied 'Well honey we don't put them in there as we need to advise you on how you look'. Eh no that's not how it works! So out I come in my first outfit and of course I had a huge 'That looks AMAZING. WONDERFUL. FABULOUS'. etc. I looked like a hillbilly. Now I'm thinking, they are never going to let me leave without a purchese and the cheapest item is 100 dollars. Not paying that! 'I really like this one so I'm just going to go to the ATM and get money for it and I'll be right back in a minute'. That will get me out surely. 'No problem', she says. 'The ATM is just around the corner - seeing as you're new here I will walk you to it'.

Noooo!! Why?? Is the shop about to close if they don't make a sale today? That's what it felt like. So out we walk together and she goes 3/4s of the way and waits and watches while I load my card. I pretend to take money out and think to myself, it's now or never. I look around and she had turned her head. Feck it time to run! So off I ran as fast as I could down the opposite end of the shopping mall. It must have looked rediculous to everyone else - maybe people thought I had just robbed the bank.

When I got to the other end, I realised I couldn't get out that way and had to go back past the shop. Noooo! What if they see me? So I wait 10 mins and creep back slowly. There's a lift across the way from the shop so I don't have to pass it by - as soon as it opened I ran straight for it, didn't look back and hit the highest floor button. Phew.

Ok that's my anecdote for today. Going to a Sushi Train restaurant tonight with some friends - dreading it. 'Is there one with chicken??'...

Posted by mattld 16:56 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Settling into Sydney

sunny 24 °C

Well I've been in Sydney now 8 days and I'm starting to feel settled in. I got my apartment sorted on Pitt Street and am sharing with two guys - one of which I still haven't met yet and I 've been there for two days now! We keep missing one another - his name is V and he is from Vietnam, that's all I know lol. The other guy is Hikaru from Japan. Only 22 and here to study English - god love him it's quite broken but you can have a basic conversation so it's all good.

Been catching up with all the people I know from Ireland who are living here - was out with Frankie last Saturday but met up on Monday and went to the cinema to see Dinner for Schmucks - better than I expected, if only for the ventriloquist and animal medium who were completely rediculous. On Tuesday I met up with Aidan who is over seeing friends for two weeks - another long night out ended up in Scruffy Murphys again for the Ireland vs. Slovakia game! But I could barely keep my eyes open by half time so I had to go home. Just as well as it ended on the same score as when I left. I think Ireland are playing for 2nd place now, and will probably lose in the play-offs. Same old story!

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On Wednesday I met up with Angelica an ex of one of my mates and she brought me to Bondi Beach for dinner and a drink - had a really nice evening there catching up. Started the gym today which my apartment has on the ground floor - lets hope I can keep it up! Probably taking it easy tonight in the apartment and willl hopefully meet the illustrious V. Already I'm enjoying living with the Asians - they're very clean and rarely ever there. I just have to remember to take off my shoes everytime I come in the door. My landlord (who is very camp and reminds me of Edna from the Incredibles) almost had a seizure when I didn't do it initially!

Weather is finally starting to get a bit warmer here but it's still raining every couple of days - but it's not that heavy. I'm enjoying the cooler weather after Singapore as that was far too draining. Meeting the volunteer rep tomorrow at 2pm so fingers crossed they can give me something for 4 weeks.

Posted by mattld 09:56 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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