Snippets

May. 8th, 2009 09:45 pm
juliet: (Default)
Two nice chaps from Pack&Send showed up this morning (on time, even!) and took my boxes away (2 x clothes/books/random crap, 1 x Cepheus-the-bike[0]). I am now left with (I hope...) belongings sufficient to fit into 1 x big rucksack & 1 x small rucksack. And the sheets, which I intend to post home from Melbourne, because 2 nights in a sleeping bag would feel just that bit too much like camping out, and would make me sad.

Last surf was this lunchtime. Wah. Conditions a bit choppy, but I had the fun anyway. I should mention at this point that Let's Go Surfing are awesome & I strongly recommend them. The instructors were good, but as well as that, all the staff have been consistently helpful and friendly every time I've been in. They look after your stuff for you while you're hiring, they're happy to advise on conditions (even by phone, so you can check if it's worth going down there), & the couple of times I've spotted an instructor when I've been out on my own & in need of information[1], they've been happy to help. Yay for them.

The ship I will be going to Mexico on! This is the couple I met on the train through Malaysia, back in November. I am v much looking forward to the trip, although sadly I do have stuff I have to get done while I'm on board. (ah, the joys of freelancing...)

Leaving Sydney on Sunday...

Oh yes, some links:
* Tiny pigs!
* Lovelace & Babbage Vs The Economy! Pt 1, Pt 2.

[0] The packing process would have been *easier* if they made bike boxes a bit bloody bigger. e.g. big enough so that you only need to take *one* wheel off. grumble.
[1] e.g. "I've just been stung by a bluebottle[2]. If I ignore it, will my foot fall off?" Ans: no. Also "This board is seriously playing up." "That's because it's 9' and you want 8' or 8'6". Go swap it with that one that's on the beach there."
[2] On Tuesday I was at the Australian Museum & found out that bluebottles are not actually single jellyfish organisms, but collections of zooids! This was v exciting.

Photos!

May. 3rd, 2009 10:37 pm
juliet: Sydney Harbour Bridge seen from the Opera House at night, with part of the Opera House  (sydney)
Finally getting around to uploading some photos, including ones from this week.

Sydney (including the view from my roof).

Mardi Gras.

Great Barrier Reef.

Mmm curry

May. 3rd, 2009 12:45 am
juliet: (sunrise over lake)
Things I love about living in Kings Cross: I can return home at midnight (thanks to train being 2 hrs late), & without detouring from my route home at all, pick up perfectly decent dal, saag aloo, and rice for $6, served up in the time it takes me to locate my wallet.

Of course, the price paid for this is doing the Drunk Person and Vomit Slalom along Darlinghurst Road, it being a Saturday night, but hey.

I am back from Queensland! After epic 16 hrs on train (well: waiting for 2 hrs at Brisbane station, *then* on train). After curry: sleep.

An update

Jan. 31st, 2009 05:08 pm
juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)

Things I have been up to of late:

  • Seeing Leonard Cohen, who was awesome, and I nearly cried, er, several times (Hallelujah was one of them; also I think the spoken word version of Thousand Kisses Deep). Very, very much worth it, even if I was right at the back (the advantages of a seated gig: decent raking, decent acoustics, so it didn't actually matter that much).
  • Surfing! Another lesson yesterday (at Bondi Beach this time). It wound up being a small class (only 4 of us) & all girls, and the instructor was incredibly enthusiastic and made cheering noises whenever any of us did anything remotely competent. I stood up all the way in! Albeit in a slightly wobbly fashion. Intending to get a couple more practices in by myself before the next lesson.
  • Getting up before dawn (i.e. 4.45am) this morning to go down to Bondi for the Dawn Chorus concert. It was lovely, and surprisingly popular. After which I went for a sunrise swim, which was also lovely. Bondi is pretty busy by 7.30am on a Saturday morning. Doubtless more so today because of the concert, but the lifeguards are there from 6am every morning in the summer.
  • Getting noticably fitter, thanks to a) the fact that Sydney is full of hills, & that there is at least one hill (depending on your definitions) each way between my flat & the two places I cycle to most often, viz the CBD, and Bondi; and b) carrying the bike up & down the stairs daily (I can now lift it straight up to my shoulder. I'll be doing cyclocross next.) Also clearly losing my mind, as evinced when I decided to race a roadie up the second half of the hill out of Bondi this morning. (I held him off till the last couple of hundred yards, which wasn't bad given that he was on Snazzy Unladen Bike & I had a pannier full of crap, as ever.)
  • Enjoying this whole "freelance & therefore no fixed hours" business. Hurrah.
  • Progressing to the point where I am capable of trapping a cockroach with the glass/paper trick & chucking it out of a window. What with that & the obsessive-nightly-kitchen-cleaning, I haven't seen anything scuttling for a couple of days, which I am tentatively labelling a Win.
  • Going native: not only have I acquired a pair of thongs, but the word I use for them in my head is "thongs" (this being Aussie for flipflops). They are strictly for the beach (I can confirm that sand + bike sandals Does Not Mix, so the bike sandals get locked to the bike on arrival) and for going upstairs to the washing machine on the roof, not for walking around the street, so I haven't gone that native. I have however worn running shorts to go to the supermarket, which I would never have done in the UK. It's quite a lot warmer here, in my defence. (I love the running shorts.)

I think that's it, more or less.

An update

Jan. 31st, 2009 05:08 pm
juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)

Things I have been up to of late:

  • Seeing Leonard Cohen, who was awesome, and I nearly cried, er, several times (Hallelujah was one of them; also I think the spoken word version of Thousand Kisses Deep). Very, very much worth it, even if I was right at the back (the advantages of a seated gig: decent raking, decent acoustics, so it didn't actually matter that much).
  • Surfing! Another lesson yesterday (at Bondi Beach this time). It wound up being a small class (only 4 of us) & all girls, and the instructor was incredibly enthusiastic and made cheering noises whenever any of us did anything remotely competent. I stood up all the way in! Albeit in a slightly wobbly fashion. Intending to get a couple more practices in by myself before the next lesson.
  • Getting up before dawn (i.e. 4.45am) this morning to go down to Bondi for the Dawn Chorus concert. It was lovely, and surprisingly popular. After which I went for a sunrise swim, which was also lovely. Bondi is pretty busy by 7.30am on a Saturday morning. Doubtless more so today because of the concert, but the lifeguards are there from 6am every morning in the summer.
  • Getting noticably fitter, thanks to a) the fact that Sydney is full of hills, & that there is at least one hill (depending on your definitions) each way between my flat & the two places I cycle to most often, viz the CBD, and Bondi; and b) carrying the bike up & down the stairs daily (I can now lift it straight up to my shoulder. I'll be doing cyclocross next.) Also clearly losing my mind, as evinced when I decided to race a roadie up the second half of the hill out of Bondi this morning. (I held him off till the last couple of hundred yards, which wasn't bad given that he was on Snazzy Unladen Bike & I had a pannier full of crap, as ever.)
  • Enjoying this whole "freelance & therefore no fixed hours" business. Hurrah.
  • Progressing to the point where I am capable of trapping a cockroach with the glass/paper trick & chucking it out of a window. What with that & the obsessive-nightly-kitchen-cleaning, I haven't seen anything scuttling for a couple of days, which I am tentatively labelling a Win.
  • Going native: not only have I acquired a pair of thongs, but the word I use for them in my head is "thongs" (this being Aussie for flipflops). They are strictly for the beach (I can confirm that sand + bike sandals Does Not Mix, so the bike sandals get locked to the bike on arrival) and for going upstairs to the washing machine on the roof, not for walking around the street, so I haven't gone that native. I have however worn running shorts to go to the supermarket, which I would never have done in the UK. It's quite a lot warmer here, in my defence. (I love the running shorts.)

I think that's it, more or less.

juliet: Uluru, NT, Australia, just before sunset (australia - uluru)
Oh god, some muppet has burnt their toast & set the building fire alarm off. One of those really unpleasant noisy ones you get in offices.

I have 0 intention of going and standing outside in the cold at this point. I do not believe for a moment that there is *actually* an actual fire (I can smell the burnt toast smell, and it's not getting any worse), and if there was I'm only on the first floor and could evacuate via the front window. My main concern here is that no one in the building will know how to turn it off. I certainly don't, and don't know any way of contacting anyone who does.

Spent the evening at a free concert by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Domain (big park-type area in the CBD). They finished off with the 1812 and there were fireworks! And I got terribly over-emotional, because a) I am a sucker for dramatic emotional music, b) I've played the 1812 and loved it[0], & c) we used to go to outdoor concerts with fireworks at Crystal Palace every summer when I was small, with a blanket and a picnic, and they always did the 1812, and it was aces.

In Cockroach News: I could not locate any borax (though apparently there's a shop in Newtown that sells it), but I did find eucalyptus oil, which is a repellent. Wiped it around the skirting-boards & over the cooker; flat now stinks of eucalyptus oil but did not see any scuttling when I got back this evening, so thumbs crossed. I was going to mop the floor tomorrow anyway, so will stick a little oil in the water & then EVERYWHERE will stink of eucalyptus oil.

That is, if I haven't been driven batshit insane by the fire alarm, which is STILL BLOODY GOING.

[edit:] It became clear that no one else was going to sort the alarm out, so I phoned the alarm company & then the fire brigade, who showed up v fast, confirmed that they couldn't see any fire, & turned it off. Hurrah.

[0] I was reminded of the time we played it at the Fairfield Halls & had proper cannon-explosions, but only for the performance itself. They were really very loud indeed from onstage - we all jumped about 3 feet in the air but kept playing.
juliet: Uluru, NT, Australia, just before sunset (australia - uluru)
Oh god, some muppet has burnt their toast & set the building fire alarm off. One of those really unpleasant noisy ones you get in offices.

I have 0 intention of going and standing outside in the cold at this point. I do not believe for a moment that there is *actually* an actual fire (I can smell the burnt toast smell, and it's not getting any worse), and if there was I'm only on the first floor and could evacuate via the front window. My main concern here is that no one in the building will know how to turn it off. I certainly don't, and don't know any way of contacting anyone who does.

Spent the evening at a free concert by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Domain (big park-type area in the CBD). They finished off with the 1812 and there were fireworks! And I got terribly over-emotional, because a) I am a sucker for dramatic emotional music, b) I've played the 1812 and loved it[0], & c) we used to go to outdoor concerts with fireworks at Crystal Palace every summer when I was small, with a blanket and a picnic, and they always did the 1812, and it was aces.

In Cockroach News: I could not locate any borax (though apparently there's a shop in Newtown that sells it), but I did find eucalyptus oil, which is a repellent. Wiped it around the skirting-boards & over the cooker; flat now stinks of eucalyptus oil but did not see any scuttling when I got back this evening, so thumbs crossed. I was going to mop the floor tomorrow anyway, so will stick a little oil in the water & then EVERYWHERE will stink of eucalyptus oil.

That is, if I haven't been driven batshit insane by the fire alarm, which is STILL BLOODY GOING.

[edit:] It became clear that no one else was going to sort the alarm out, so I phoned the alarm company & then the fire brigade, who showed up v fast, confirmed that they couldn't see any fire, & turned it off. Hurrah.

[0] I was reminded of the time we played it at the Fairfield Halls & had proper cannon-explosions, but only for the performance itself. They were really very loud indeed from onstage - we all jumped about 3 feet in the air but kept playing.

Busy busy

Jan. 19th, 2009 10:20 pm
juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)
I have been up to many many things in the last couple of weeks.

Campervan touring and festivals and beachs and beastwatch )

Sydney and my birthday )

Read more... )

Busy busy

Jan. 19th, 2009 10:20 pm
juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)
I have been up to many many things in the last couple of weeks.

[livejournal.com profile] uon and I had a splendid time touring New South Wales in the Kiss-Men (c. [livejournal.com profile] catsgomiaow van for 12 days. We went across the Blue Mountains, up the far side (so into some of the flattish, hotter, parts), then back up into the mountains and across the Great Dividing Range to Tenterfield, for the Exodus festival. The whole "mountain" thing was occasionally a little bit of a trial, since the van did not like going up hills very much and tended to overheat a bit. I can sympathise. There was only one occasion on which we turned the engine off and heard the radiator bubbling...

Beastwatch included:
* kangaroos grazing 50m away from the van as [livejournal.com profile] uon cooked dinner (that was in the Warrambungles National Park, which also had amazing STARS. And a to-scale model solar system en route to it, because there's an observatory up there. We have photos of most of it but the inner bits because we didn't actually go to the observatory.)
* more kangaroos bounding across the road etc (also in Warrambungles).
* wallaroos, or possibly wallabies.
* not one but TWO GIANT LIZARDS, as in about 1.5m long. I suspect them of trying to get in touch with [livejournal.com profile] uon's Alien Masters.
* lots of birds of various sorts.
* a possum! On the last night, when I woke up in the middle of the night & wanted to go to the beach to look at it in the moonlight. Possum was more exciting than moonlit beach, tbh.

The festival was fab, once we got over our fear that a little light rain on the Friday meant OMGELEVEN OCEANS OF MUD (everyone else was remarkably unbothered & seemed to be treating it as a nice break from the blazing sunshine. They were of course Correct.). There was a river about 2km away which we (along with everyone else) went for a swim in, which was absolutely lovely. More festivals should have rivers. Nice rivers, not "of mud" rivers. It also had a waterfall: best. massage. ever. Gum trees are particularly well suited to pretty shiny psytrance lights - the whole site was gorgeous, and remarkably litter-free.

On the way back, we managed both to cover 700km in two days in a van with a top speed of about 90kph; and to score a couple of afternoons on the beach. Hurrah. The v equitable division of labour continued, viz, I drove, and [livejournal.com profile] uon navigated, fed me water and chocolate, operated the iPod and magic radio whatsit, put up with me singing, provided alcoholic beverages on arrival at each evening's destination, cooked dinner, and washed up. He is either a sucker, or very very nice.[0]

Sydney and my birthday )

[livejournal.com profile] uon to the airport on Saturday (wah!), & have spent my time since then primarily trying to sort out gainful employment, unpacking, etc etc. Also wandering around the area, which has been most enjoyable. V v much looking forward to spending 4 months here - and it's incredibly freeing, not knowing anyone and not having any responsibilities beyond "making the rent". (Which is not to say that I don't miss y'all, I hasten to add. I'm having fun, though :-) )

Bed now - I have to get up earlyish tomorrow to wait in for the arrival of a shiny new fridge. Oh! And there are photos of my lovely flat available!

[0] To be fair, a significant chunk of that lot is definitely Passenger's Job not driver's; and it was quite a tiring van to drive, being elderly and a little recalcitrant, so expecting me to operate dangerous things like knives and fire after a day of van-wrangling might have been unwise. Which only leaves the washing-up, and as anyone who has seen [livejournal.com profile] uon at a party after about 2am knows, he is peculiar and actively seems to enjoy washing-up. So I'm not lazy. Honest.
juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)

Or more accurately: things [livejournal.com profile] uon and I have been doing in Sydney, over the last few days, viz:

  • Saw the NYE fireworks, which were v impressive indeed. To get into the Royal Botanic Gardens we'd have needed to start at about midday; but we were able to get into First Fleet Park (by the harbour) at around 11pm, and had a splendid view of both the bridge and the Opera House.
  • Went to a psytrance squat party for the rest of New Year's Eve, which was fun if significantly smaller than I'd been anticipating. (Also there was a long argument going on in the chillout room, which was also the house kitchen, about table football and some hypothetical $1000 bet. It was resolved without anyone hitting anyone else, though, so score.) The music was good, and I haven't been dancing in *months*.
  • Spent a fair amount of time sitting in parks.
  • I put a deposit on a v nice flat to rent but am not saying any more about this until I actually have the keys in a couple of weeks' time.
  • Walked from Potts Point along the bay to the Opera House, and had a drink at the Opera House bar. I had one of those "wow, I am actually in Australia!" moments.

I am now having a mild panic about my current lack of gainful employment, but am taking steps to rectify this; and anyway can't do much until I get back from the planned trip up to Tenterfield, 500km north of here. We picked up the campervan today (from Wicked - it has the X-Men painted on it!) & are off tomorrow morning.

Current conclusion: Sydney v nice. Hurrah.

juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)

Or more accurately: things [livejournal.com profile] uon and I have been doing in Sydney, over the last few days, viz:

  • Saw the NYE fireworks, which were v impressive indeed. To get into the Royal Botanic Gardens we'd have needed to start at about midday; but we were able to get into First Fleet Park (by the harbour) at around 11pm, and had a splendid view of both the bridge and the Opera House.
  • Went to a psytrance squat party for the rest of New Year's Eve, which was fun if significantly smaller than I'd been anticipating. (Also there was a long argument going on in the chillout room, which was also the house kitchen, about table football and some hypothetical $1000 bet. It was resolved without anyone hitting anyone else, though, so score.) The music was good, and I haven't been dancing in *months*.
  • Spent a fair amount of time sitting in parks.
  • I put a deposit on a v nice flat to rent but am not saying any more about this until I actually have the keys in a couple of weeks' time.
  • Walked from Potts Point along the bay to the Opera House, and had a drink at the Opera House bar. I had one of those "wow, I am actually in Australia!" moments.

I am now having a mild panic about my current lack of gainful employment, but am taking steps to rectify this; and anyway can't do much until I get back from the planned trip up to Tenterfield, 500km north of here. We picked up the campervan today (from Wicked - it has the X-Men painted on it!) & are off tomorrow morning.

Current conclusion: Sydney v nice. Hurrah.

Sydney!

Dec. 30th, 2008 10:18 am
juliet: (Default)
Spent Xmas in Melbourne with Carol & Mike (my cousins) & had a splendid time, featuring cricket on Boxing Day, winery-visiting (& wine-tasting) the day after, and wandering round antique shops the day after that.

Overnight coach to Sydney last night with all my belongings (bike, 4 panniers, big rucksack). Greyhound coaches: not *un*comfortable, but not the best night I've slept either. Unfortunately I was 90 min early & [livejournal.com profile] uon's plane was 90 min late, so I spent an exciting 3.5 hrs hanging around Sydney Central, but never mind. It was very lovely to see him when he finally showed up! We are now arrived at Lewisham, where we're staying (Croydon is just down the road, as well), and spent a very nice day pottering around, catching up, etc. The jetlag finally caught up with [livejournal.com profile] uon just after dinner, so he is now asleep; doubt I'll be much longer, but am sorting out Palm & iPod & laptop backup & so forth.

I have more things with me now! More clothes! My lovely Mac! Superted! It was like extra Christmas! Especially as there were chocolate-based gifts from [livejournal.com profile] dogrando & [livejournal.com profile] marnameow, & a really lovely skirt & top from Marna. Awesomeness.

Looks like psytrance for tomorrow night; though we'll try to catch the fireworks first, if it's not too horrendously rammed.

Sydney!

Dec. 30th, 2008 10:18 am
juliet: (Default)
Spent Xmas in Melbourne with Carol & Mike (my cousins) & had a splendid time, featuring cricket on Boxing Day, winery-visiting (& wine-tasting) the day after, and wandering round antique shops the day after that.

Overnight coach to Sydney last night with all my belongings (bike, 4 panniers, big rucksack). Greyhound coaches: not *un*comfortable, but not the best night I've slept either. Unfortunately I was 90 min early & [livejournal.com profile] uon's plane was 90 min late, so I spent an exciting 3.5 hrs hanging around Sydney Central, but never mind. It was very lovely to see him when he finally showed up! We are now arrived at Lewisham, where we're staying (Croydon is just down the road, as well), and spent a very nice day pottering around, catching up, etc. The jetlag finally caught up with [livejournal.com profile] uon just after dinner, so he is now asleep; doubt I'll be much longer, but am sorting out Palm & iPod & laptop backup & so forth.

I have more things with me now! More clothes! My lovely Mac! Superted! It was like extra Christmas! Especially as there were chocolate-based gifts from [livejournal.com profile] dogrando & [livejournal.com profile] marnameow, & a really lovely skirt & top from Marna. Awesomeness.

Looks like psytrance for tomorrow night; though we'll try to catch the fireworks first, if it's not too horrendously rammed.

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