A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

Drunken Nights

overcast 16 °C

Not much to report on as it’s been lashing rain for most of the week. Apparently it’s due to be the wettest Summer Australia has had for a long time – typical! Just as well I’ll be heading North in 9 days – surely I can’t go wrong there.

The highlight was definitely the weekend. Had two brilliant nights out on Friday and Saturday. Friday was Palms for seriously cheesy dancing followed by Nevermind where I went to see Therese perform. Who? She sang that song Put ‘Em High with Stone Bridge a few years ago. All 12 minutes of her show were great!

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On Saturday I escaped the city centre going to Newtown to the infamous Imperial club. This is where a small part of Priscilla Queen of the Desert was shot. Unsurprisingly, they had a load of shows on that night as a musical tribute. It was packed and actually very good.

Both nights were drunken to say the least. The less said the better – my stomach was not good today but I’m going to behave all week as I have to get more sightseeing in before I leave. Early mornings here I come (well 10am start that is…).

Christmas (or ‘Cashmas’ as I read somewhere on Facebook) is alive and well in Australia. Decorations are starting to go up. Not too weird yet as the weather has been so bad but it will be when it’s 30 degrees and I’m looking at decorations of Santa in his fur coat!

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Posted by mattld 05:41 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Halloween, Taronga Zoo and Red Paint

overcast 14 °C

Spending Halloween weekend in Sydney was interesting, if a little uneventful. For the first time ever in my life my ears weren't constantly listening to the sound of bangers and fireworks going off for at least a full week (maybe that's just from living in the Northside of Dublin then?). I have to say though I was missing home a little. To be fair to the Australians, many of them got dressed up and there were a lot of fancy dress parties going on. But knowing that most of the city wasn't bothered and that very few kids (I didn't see any living in the city) were not trick or treating was a little sad - you all know I'm a big kid and love Halloween lol. I couldn't resist a snap of the only pumpkin I came across.

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I tried to get a last minute costume but couldn't find anything reasonable in the end. I was in Paddy's Market when it was closing and panicked so I quickly tried to bargain with a 100 year old little Asian lady for a dressing gown, pyjamas and slippers for some sort of theme. I offered 20, she wanted 23 and was having none of it! Don't they bargain at market stalls, what the hell? Thank god though it would have been a crap costume. The club I ended up in on Saturday night had about 2% of the place dressed up. I would have been scarlet in my dressing gown and accessories. There's not many horror films on TV either here but I made up for that in the cinema seeing Paranormal Activity 2 (3 bits in that scared the bejaysus out of me) and Saw 3D (meh!) last week. I've had a cinema overdose lately so there's practically nothing left I want to see.

On Monday myself and Frankie went to Taronga Zoo. I had been two years ago but really wanted to go back - it's probably the best zoo I've been to and you can get a very nice ferry trip from Circular Quay over to the island where it's based. Unfortunately weather in the past week has been hit and miss and an hour after we arrived it started to lash rain! Feck it. We paid our money and we were seeing every last animal on offer.

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So off we went around the park in the rain until a point came where we were so wet it didn't matter anymore. That's when it's kinda fun! All the Australians had proper raingear and umbrellas - there we were the two Irish fools walking around with nothing and Frankie even had flip flops on. A good (if very wet) day was had and we managed to get a few decent pics and the few obligatory cheesy ones (Clare eat your heart out).

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That night I met with Andrew's mate Michael for Malaysian (see I'm packing in the oul Asian meals) in Chinatown and had a decentish curry (although I hate it when they give you half the cartilage with the chicken as well in the bowl of sauce!). Thank god I didn't opt for the fish option (as if) as poor Michael had about 50 bones to pick out of his mouth throughout his meal. The highlight though was a fine dessert, 'Roti Tissu' which is effectively paper thin batter, covered in sugar and all things fatty wrapped around in a cone shape. You can have it served with either fish or ice-cream. Hmmm what a difficult choice... As Bruno says, Carbicide! Loved it though.

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Today (Tuesday) I continued some more sightseeing by going to the Australian Museum with Andrew. Really nice place it focussed mainly on dinosaurs (my fave), animals, birds, insects etc. and a big section on the Aboriginal people (the PC term which I must remember when drunk is Indigenous Australians). I was nicely enlightened by the end of it! Although we were kicked out halfway through as someone set off the fire alarm so we had to wait in Hyde Park before we could go back in. Annoyance! Chilling out now back in the apartment and getting an early night.

FYI if you would like to subscribe to my blog all you have to do this click here and fill in your email address: http://mattld.travellerspoint.com/subscribe/

That way you can get notified when it's updated (no spam I promise) and don't have to be frantically refreshing all day long ;P Suze/Will that's another idea I've stolen off you from your travels sorry! I hope everyone had a great weekend - if you're reading this and haven't spoken to me lately drop me a line and let me know how things are going back home. Always great to get emails off you guys.

PS: Health Witch Mary Harney being covered in red paint on Halloween weekend in public - LOVE IT! Only in Ireland. It should have been my fave 'gay icon' politician Joan Burton throwing it at her :D

Posted by mattld 02:25 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

'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)

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