Archive for May, 2006

3 Days!

Monday, May 29th, 2006

3 days, 3 days, 3 days! I’ll be home in 3 days! La la la!

Today was a good day: got my OSAP, skipped school in the afternoon to go diving, and lots of little happy things like hot chocolate with Nasim, and Budi coming back from Germany. But since no day can be perfect, the one downer is that my flat mate Jamie is quite ill. I nearly went to emergency with her tonight. She missed a final exam. We’re going to the doctor’s together in the morning, I made her an appointment. But other than that, a good day.

Listening to Sarah Harmer right now.

Ah, and Susan called! She’s no longer MIA. For everyone who was begging me to get in touch with her over the last week, she WAS in Fraser Island! Didn’t it say that in the last post? That was the last time I heard from her too, until today, but she’s fine. No worries mates! There’s just no internet or cell reception in national parks. Think of trying to phone someone who’s on a canoe trip in Algonquin Park. Can’t be done. So don’t worry. She’s cool. And once again gets reception.

3 days!!!! See you in 3 days!!!!

Byron Bay, Brisbane, and Noosa

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Well the 1975 carolla is treating use very well - still doesn’t like the mornings but she is purring by the afternoon. We headed up the coast the other day…. all the days here kinda blend together and stopped in Terra and then Vella which were both very small towns. In Vella we stayed at one of Naths friends cousin, moms, boyfriends, sons place they were both really great people and it was a beautiful place. In the morning we got up and went for a run, I saw dolphins so cool. Went for a swim and used our new found body board in the waves. Then we went up to Byron Bay and meet up with Simon from Kin which was a lot of fun. Had some very funny nights and ended up meeting some more random french guys who ended up car pooling with us to Noosa - its a pretty tight fit with four people in the car and all our stuff lol. Stopped in Brisbane for the Ben Harper concert which was amazing - Jack Johnson also did a special apperance!!!! We stayed at another one of Naths friends places who was very nice but not all that smart, asked me what part of the states is canada. Then we pick up the randon french guys, Tonguy and Thibault- both very nice and funny. Got to Noosa were we stayed for two days. The first night we wanted to ’sleep in nature’ but the national park doesnt have camping, so we decided to camp on the beach. Good tip for people dont put your tent up in low tide cause when high tide comes in their is no beach. So we had to pack everything up, I ended up falling in the water trying to carry the tent and my sleeping bag. Decided to just put up the tent in the carpark lol in the morning people were jogging by the tents and looking in cause we didnt put on the fly haha. So to bed around 4am got up at 6am and took the tent down so we wouldnt get in touble and then took our sleeping bags and passed out hard on the beach.
So those are some highlights from the trip so far, Fraser Island on thursday and then to the whitsundays to find a job

Bits & Pieces

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Just a few loose ends to tie up:

Susan and Nathaly did buy a car for their trip up the coast: a bright orange-yellow 1975 Toyota Corolla. It’s brilliant! And in excellent condition: some little old lady really did own it for the last 31 years and never drove it any further than down to the store at Bondi Junction. It has only 71,000 km on it! Hell, our ‘99 Corolla back home has well over 200,000 km on it already. Maybe closer to 300,00o by now. So this ‘75 Corolla also has its original engine in it still, which leaves an interesting problem: it only runs on LEADED gasoline! Yeah, can you remember that far back? Cars used lead? They have to buy these lead substitues and inject them into the fuel tank before filling up with gas at the station. Hilarious!

I had a highly successful DBC, and much thanks go out to Michelle for her chocolate Chai tea and coffee brownie recipes. I’m getting a reputation for being an excellent cook. Take THAT Mom! And Kushal’s taught Sue and I how to make dhal and proper curry. Ha! See, I can cook!

But seriously, DBC went down well, even though many people didn’t quite get the concept. First major difference between here and back home was that a lot of the guys I knew got really excited about this party, and about half the people who showed up were guys. Secondly, very few people actually made something from scratch. Most people just brought bars of chocolate or something from the store. Which was fine. I mean, I had about 9 left-over large Cadbury bars that we just had to suffer through over the course of the week. Life’s rough, eh? And the third odd happening, we actually had crashers show up, as if it were a regular party. Love it! Any time you throw any sort of party in this building, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have 5 people you’ve never met before show up, and still not know who they are when they leave.

Other happenings: We had a going away party for Sue and Nath on Friday. Potluck style. People also don’t understand the concept of potlucks here. Sheesh! I can’t feed 20 people on my own! Bring something people! Good thing Kushal cooked tonnes of birhani. We also had an awesome scavenger hunt, organized by Sue and Nath:


(Budi, Me, and random guy at the gas station on the scavenger hunt)

And finally, on Saturday Sue, Nath, Karolin and I went to the horse races. We spent the day putting $2 bets on horses like “A Country Girl” (Sue won $7 on that one!) and “The Power of Love” (everyone put their money on that one and lost). But I think the most entertaining part of the day was the outrageous fashion that the ladies exhibited:

Crazy Get-up.JPG

Blue Mountains

Monday, May 15th, 2006

The blue mountains in Sydney are amazing, so different from anything that I have seen. Nath and I decided to leave early since we are both done work and wanted to start our adventure in the mountains. We stayed at a very awesome hostel called The Flying Fox which was a very chill place, great staff and it was right next to a cheap fruit and veggie store. The first day we just looked around town in Katoomba, which turned out to be just one street so that didn’t take long.

We got up on the second day and did a great hike, we got to see lots of waterfalls and the forest was mainly rainforest-  lots of tree ferns. When we were done about half of the walk we got to scenic world, which is like a small amusment park on mining in the middle of the forest (So random). Then walked to ruined castel and climbed up the rocks where you could see 360 degrees around, just breath taking. So after 7 hours of hiking who wouldn’t want to end it by walking up the golden stairs, not so much fun but we did end up getting a ride back to town by some nice people at the top.

The next day I really wanted to do some rock climbing, we go to the adventure company ready to go and climb turns out that is not the company I booked with so we book it down the hill to the school of mountaineering. Turns out at this place they don’t have me booked for climbing either but do have a piece of paper with my mobile # and name on the desk (and I put down a $100 deposit). We ended up being able to joing the two other people going out so after a rough start to the morning it all turned out ok. We went to Mt.York to do our climbing, great view tons of cliffs. Outdoor climbing is a lot different from indoor climbing cause you have to find your own foot/hand holes. Turned out to be very challenging but great, and I love the fact that after knee surgery I am able to still be challenged.

On our last full day in Katoomba we went for a hike with some German girls we meet at the hostel. The hike was only suspose to take 3hrs but ended up taking 7 because of how lost we got. We pretty much did all the walking trecks in the national park and found a lost British girl along the way.

After a great few days in the blue mountains, Nath and I are moving up the coast for some fun in the sun. We are going to possibly buy a car, 1975 Carolla, oh the adventures of travelling.


4:16 am!!!

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Yesss! I’ve still got what it takes to pull an all-nighter!

I thought doing a PhD would be nice and slow and relaxing! What’s up with all this work? I’m crazy busy at school, 10 hour work days in the office/labs, all nighters on assignments (well, this is all-nighter #1. Maybe I’ll start a tally on the Random Facts page). When I did research in Germany I had time to read the CBC and other random news pages for 2 hours every morning, plus conduct random interest mini-projects with Manicom whenever I felt like it. I had healthy e-mail conversations going on. Back in Waterloo, Cluff shows up for school at noon. And here I am pulling all-nighters. Whoever said school in Australia would be laid back was dead wrong.
But I am loving it. The research is cool, and I’m conducting my own experiments. Plus all this work means I’ll actually finish my PhD at some point in the more near as opposed to long-term future. Hooray for being on a highly-motivated research team.
If my English no longer makes sense, just blame it on the fact that it’s now 4:24 am here in Ozland.

Man, I missed these days of not sleeping! One of the guys in my APV (Applied Photovoltaics) class was here until about 2am. And Kushal ordered 2 pizzas and gave us one of them. Kushal rocks. As does instant coffee mixed with hot chocolate.

Okay, the all-nighter is half my fault. I kept putting off this lab, then one of the guys at the centre works at the scuba shop and wanted to go diving tonight - discounted rates - so once again I said “screw the lab!” and I went diving. Night diving’s pretty cool - we saw lots of octopus, and one of those big puffer fish. Rob, guy from the PV Centre, grabbed its tail and it blew itself up like a balloon and we bumped it around like a beach ball (gently, we didn’t actually hit it or anything. Just kinda touched it. It’s prickly, you know!). That was the highlight of my day. That and pizza from Kushal. And Ian staying ’till 2 to work on the lab with me. Good night all ’round.

Okay, no more procrastinating on this lab. At 5am I’m going to do some laundry, 6am hang it up to dry, 7am go to school to finish all the figures and formatting before Alison comes in at 8am, then we can compare answers, do other work, hand the lab in at 11 and start the next one. See, perfect timing. Okay, lab. Later, y’all.

Sailing, Sailing, on the ocean blue…

Monday, May 8th, 2006

G’day mates! Saturday Sue and Nath and I went sailing with Beijing Paul and his mates, and I got this Steve Kemp-style sailing picture:


As previously stated, Sue and I met Paul in Beijing at a hostel, and met up with him again here. His buddy Craig has a sail boat and got it in shape in time to take us sailing in it. It was awesome - I got to steer, and pull mast-things up and down, I felt like a sailor! Yar! Or a pirate!

Craig is planning on sailing around the world, or at least the Pacific, in the future. He may get a bigger boat, but they’re considering sailing to Fiji in the one he has now. How awesome is that? Just gonna sail over to Fiji, be back in a couple of weeks. And when I say “they” I mean Craig and Paul. But I think all the real sailing will be done by Craig, Paul’s kinda, um, useless at sailing (unless you’re reading this Paul, in which case no! You’re great, everything’s just fine). Somehow Paul managed to turn one of the ropes into a giant knot the size of both my fists when we were trying to take the sail down, and he likes going to the washroom just at the time when Craig would need help with something. I’m sure it’ll be just fine though, exciting, at any rate. Craig knows what he’s doing. From what I can tell, which isn’t much really I guess.

Sunday Sue and I helped in the garden at the Crowe’s house. The Crowe’s are relatives of my friend Connor from Enermodal, and they make me feel incredibly inadequate. Sarah and Phil, the parents, are both Rhode’s scholars and surgeons, Phil used to play professional rugby in Australia and was named to one of those “best players in the world” teams one year, and Sarah was once a stunt double as a downhill skier in a James Bond movie. And they’ve done heaps of other things, too, and their children are all super smart (and musical, and great athletes). Anyways, I babysit there every Thursday and occasionally do other stuff for them, like helping at dinner parties or gardening. Now, I’m useless at gardening. Sue’s really good at it, and knows what she’s doing, but still we have trouble telling the difference between corriander and parsley, and what plants are weeds and what are meant to be plants in the indigenous garden. Sigh. Another area in which I feel useless. And I think we accidentally threw out all their celery seeds. Maybe after 4 years of helping out around their house I will also be a genius. Oh well. At least I can pronounce “Mount Kosciuszko” correctly (Aggie, you would kill yourself laughing if you heard how they say it here!). And Versace.

Sue and Nath left for the Blue Mountains today. I’m sad. I ate the last of our left-overs for lunch, so now I’ll have to start cooking for myself again. And doing laundry. And cleaning. Gah! I hope Sue runs out of money quickly so that she has to crash on my floor again! It’s been a great month, barring the slight flatmate conflict. Later-o!

Hostel People

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

For the first time since I started travelling, ever, I am meeting someone again that I first met in a hostel. If you remember, we met some Aussies at our hostel in Beijing. We met up with Paul from Canberra again last weekend. He introduced us to some of his friends, and this weekend they’re taking Sue, Nath and I sailing on Paul’s friend Craig’s sailboat. It’s weird seeing someone I fully expected never to see again, again. Paul, on the other hand, meets up with people he’s met at hostels all the time, one of his best experiences being in Canada. When Paul was in Toronto a while back, he contacted a guy from Toronto who he’d met for 20 minutes, maybe, at a hostel in Japan. The guy took him to a Jays game, then some friends of his took him to play slo-pitch later, then everyone was like “You’re Aussie! Come out drinking with us tonight!” so he had a great time in Canada from this random hostel guy.

Paul and his buddies got out a sail boat, are getting a keg (or at least a 2-4), some sausages and veggie burgers, and we’re going for a private boat party today. I feel so upper class!

I’m not sold on this blog thing yet. I think I like sending mass e-mails better, I get more responses. Or maybe I should set a counter, so I can gauge how many people look at this thing. It’s not nearly as interactive as e-mail, so I get a bit of a feeling of futility with this. Ah well. I’ll stick with it for a while. Peace out, homeslices.