A Travellerspoint blog

February 2015

Off the boat, in the penthouse

We did three more dives before lunch on the last day of the trip. Everyone said goodbye and then we went to Eddie's penthouse near the airport.

The hostel next door had cheap dinner, so we went there, and swam in their pool. Our pool was nicer, so I'm not sure why that happened. Anyway, that was fine.

There was a diving party at some beer garden downtown and everyone wanted to take a cab, but I wanted to walk, so I didn't go. I didn't really care if I saw any of the boat people anymore anyway.

Nice balcony

Nice balcony


Pastafarians

Pastafarians


Me vs. wine on the balcony

Me vs. wine on the balcony

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Second day of diving

Today I went snorkeling with my German friend again. We saw a turtle on the third time, but on the second time, he went on his own private dive without me. So, what I did was go on my own.

A few minutes into the snorkel, I saw a giant ugly fish. All kinds of little fish were in its mouth eating things that were left over there I didn't want to have anything to do with that fish, so I just came back. This thing was extremely massive. Just can't handle that.

We played cards again for many hours and also drank a lot of wine. I can't wait to get back to dry land. Seriously. Wow. My hair is caked with salt, my skin is coated in it, everything I taste is salt. The one good thing about it, is that my retainer is crystal clear. It has been cleaned by all the salt water.

Don't wanna wake up

Don't wanna wake up


I'm awake

I'm awake


Sunset

Sunset


Me vs. mac and cheese

Me vs. mac and cheese


Playing cards

Playing cards


I'm wearing a dive suit

I'm wearing a dive suit

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Photos for Lena

This is irritating. I tried to be as nice to you as possible and you're just rude.

Get your own computer Lena. And believe me when I tell you you can't copy photos back onto an SD card.

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Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The ocean is terrifying

Well, in the morning we headed on down to the dive shop, where they brought us to the boat at 6:20 a.m. and we took off for the ocean, far away from land.

After the night before, I was not feeling social at all, also everyone except Eddie, Luke and Stuart were 10 years younger than me and I was not interested in making friends for two days with them. I don't like group trips in general and being stuck on a boat for three days with these people was not looking good. <br style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: arial, sans-serif; line-height: 18px;"> After breakfast we watched all the safety things and then went out to the water. It was OK for me because I went with one other German snorkeler. We were the only two not diving.

I thought the German knew what he was doing, so I followed him out. He went way too far and soon we were in some really really shallow coral. We couldn't put our feet down without touching it. Not good. Our dive master came out on the boat to yell at us and get back to the boat.

There were lots of fish, and I'm irrationally afraid of them. So, I knew this whole trip was gonna be really a challenge for me. But, I wanted to try anyway.

Everywhere you looked there were big fish and little fish all different colours and beautiful coral etc etc etc. It was surprising to me that ANY of this existed, thinking about all the tons of crap we throw into the ocean on a scale like never before. So, that part is good, I just feel that I don't have the need to go and see it anymore.

On the second snorkel, I went by myself, I couldn't find my snorkel buddy. I was doing alright, sort of dealing on my own. When suddenly, I looked down on the bottom and there are like, FOUR small reef sharks. I stopped dead in my tracks and high tailed it back to the boat. Done.

The next time, I went with my German friend again, and we saw a giant turtle. We kind of followed the route the divers took, it was the best one.

After all the diving there was a feast of curry chicken and clearskin wine. I slept on the deck of the boat under the shimmering starry sky.

On the boat

On the boat


I&#38;#39;m on a boat

I&#38;#39;m on a boat


My new towel

My new towel


There goes Australia

There goes Australia

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

I&#39;m going on a boat

So Eddie's friends were supposed to arrive today, and they did. After I was already tired of everything.

I went to Kmart to get a towel, because I forgot mine, and it was so hot, that by the time I got back I was wiped out. I took a little nap, then went down to the pool, where I met a nice British lady and we were chatting when someone who looked a little older than everyone else (like my age I mean, not doing a gap year tour) walked in with a suitcase. I waved and shouted LUKE and yep, it was him. That was funny because Rachel thought I knew him but I had never met him before, just guessed.

Anyway, we went to some pub to meet Stuart and then to a topless bar (seriously) to meet some other friend. I realized I had crashed a boys' weekend without knowing it. Shit. Sorry.

From there, we went to The Pier Bar to have pizza, which was coconut and prawn and therefore awesome.

Earlier in the night, one of the guys was saying how he "respected women" when we were at the topless bar. I didn't' really believe him, and then suddenly he started using the word slut. And I just had enough. I went to the bathroom and never came back, went for a swim, had a shower and went to bed. Whatever.

The Pier Bar

The Pier Bar


Coconut prawn pizza

Coconut prawn pizza


In the cowboy&#38;#39;s truck to the topless bar???

In the cowboy&#38;#39;s truck to the topless bar???


The Pier Bar

The Pier Bar

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

All signed up

I woke up having a terrible dream, that I missed my flight to Cairns today! Everything was exactly the same. I was in Eddie's house and I woke up at around 10 a.m. and my flight was leaving at 10:10 a.m. I frantically tried to smash everything into my bag and get to the airport but it was no use. By the time I was ready to go out the door, it was hopelessly late. I pouted and moped and angrily accused Eddie of not waking me up, but he didn't care. Then, I woke up and it was 7:43 a.m. Ha. In real life, Eddie brought me to the airport right on time and I boarded my JetStar flight. Yeah, I know, I vowed never to fly with them again, it's ridiculous, but I had no choice this time. After I got to the airport, there's no public bus, so I took a shuttle bus for $16 to town! The driver dropped me off right at my hostel which was next door to the dive shop that I needed to register at. Six hundred dollars later, and I was signed up to a snorkelling trip, leaving on Friday.

I wandered around the town for a while but it was retardedly hot and the ambiance was cheesy and sort of run down, like Niagara Falls, so I just stayed in my nice cool dorm room the rest of the night.

Birds at Eddie&#38;#39;s house

Birds at Eddie&#38;#39;s house


Salt water lagoon

Salt water lagoon


At the marina

At the marina


Pelicans

Pelicans


Pro-Dive

Pro-Dive


The Esplanade boardwalk

The Esplanade boardwalk


Pelicans

Pelicans

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

In Darwin for like, an hour

There were a few cool people on the train who were going to Darwin, so we sort of tried to organize a short road trip when we got there. However, when I got to my host, he was like, yeah I'm going diving in the Great Barrier Reef in a couple days. Um, can I come? Yeah sure. So I decided to do that instead.

We had all promised to meet at Tim's Surf and Turf for dinner, so I had to break the news to them that I couldn't go on the road trip anymore! I think it was OK. I had some barramundi, but I wouldn't order it again. The crocodile was OK, I'd also just rather have chicken though.

Me vs. crocodile

Me vs. crocodile


Me vs. barramundi

Me vs. barramundi

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Quick stop at Katherine Gorge

The train picked a few people up in Katherine, and while we were waiting, you could pay $30 to go to Katherine gorge, along with a bunch of other more expensive things. So, I went hiking with Keith from England. We went up to the lookout point, but the woman at the info centre said we wouldn't have time to complete the short loop of a hike connected to it, so we just came straight back down and were really early for the bus back to the train. Other people did the whole loop without asking the lady, and came back just on time. Lies!

Katherine Gorge

Katherine Gorge


Katherine Gorge

Katherine Gorge


Katherine Gorge

Katherine Gorge


Katherine Gorge

Katherine Gorge


Me at Katherine Gorge

Me at Katherine Gorge

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Stop in Alice Springs

Finally the train stopped in Alice Springs. I looked in my guidebook and there was a hill you could climb to look out over the city and the mountains around. So, I decided to skip the fancy tours and just do that.

I thought it would be a lot taller, but I was finished hiking it in about 10 minutes. What do I do the rest of the time? I guess shop at the Salvation Army and buy some more dip? I got a new hat and some more vegetables, then tried to find a place to have a picnic, but it didn't work out.

A tour group suddenly came onto the train and sat all around me. They were so loud and annoying I moved to the back of the train. I couldn't survive five minutes in their presence. I listened to music and watched the desert disappear and change into grass land, as we entered the more tropical part of the country. The rest of the night I hung out with two of the people that guy tried to set me up with. We tried to plan some adventures but our schedules were too different and it didn't work out.

ANZAC hill

ANZAC hill


ANZAC hill

ANZAC hill


ANZAC hill

ANZAC hill


ANZAC hill

ANZAC hill


My new hat

My new hat


ANZAC hill

ANZAC hill


I don&#38;#39;t know

I don&#38;#39;t know


ANZAC hill

ANZAC hill


The Ghan

The Ghan

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Taking The Ghan

Sunday morning was uneventful. For some reason, I woke up at 3 a.m. and started packing for my train trip to Darwin. After that was completed, I went to sleep and dozed until it was time to go. By the time 11 a.m. came around, I was prepared and unhurried. I briefly entertained the notion of going to Uluru by stopping in Alice Springs, but then I realized I wouldn't have enough time to make it to the airport in Darwin because The Ghan train line only leaves from Alice Springs once a week in the summer. Sad face again.

This time on the train, I managed to buy lots of food the night before. Last time, I barely managed to scrape together some crackers and cheese and honey and nuts. I suffered. This time, I was stocked up with FruChocs, a delicious fruit chocolate snack native to South Australia and a bunch of hummus and pitas, which I cannot hope to find in China at all. Dan also gave me a pile of hot dogs he cooked the night before on the barbecue.

I sat beside a retired Canadian man and he proceeded to try and set me up with every single person on the train that looked about my age. Annoying.

Fru Chocs

Fru Chocs


Lots of leg room

Lots of leg room

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Hiking and soccer gaming

We had planned on going up Mt. Lofty for a hike early in the morning before it got hot, but both of us slept in and regretted it. It was at least 35 degrees by the time we got there. The path goes pretty much straight up at a 45 degree angle during the entire 4 km trek, and I ran out of water way before we got to the summit. The path leads through some really nice gum tree forests, and a "bog" which is dried up, and past a small waterfall.

Dan has been to something like 90 countries already so I was thoroughly impressed and we exchanged random travel stories while walking up the mountain, in between gasping for air and gulps of warm water. The most interesting thing I thought, is that we also do the same sort of purchasing acquisitions as we travel. Every time I go to a new country, I try to make sure I get a nice piece of art before I leave, sometimes I don't have enough time for "nice", so it ends up with a funny result. Dan does the same thing, but with flags. One time someone stole a flag off the top of a museum for him. Love it.

After the hike we were dehydrated, stinky and famished. We took showers and went out to procure food for the barbecue. Jeremy reminded me that I should have some shrimp on the barbie, so I bought a few skewers and some steaks, along with some snacks for dinner. A couple of Dan's friends came over and we had a feast.

After dinner, it was time for a soccer game. The home team scored a goal right at the end of the game and traditionally, when this happens, everyone throws their beers at random into the air. Unluckily for me, I happened to be walking back from the bar, and a giant cup of it landed at my feet. Thank you soccer hooligans. Thank you again Dan for being hands-down the best host EVER.

Soccer

Soccer


Me vs. shrimp

Me vs. shrimp


Soccer protest

Soccer protest


Shrimp on a barbie

Shrimp on a barbie


On top of Mt. Lofty

On top of Mt. Lofty


Soccer

Soccer


Shrimp on a barbie

Shrimp on a barbie

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Surfing with Dan

In the morning, Dean had to go back to the airport. Dan offered to pick us up and he even took Dean to catch his plane. We looked out at the beach for a bit and then Dean was on his way back home already. Sad face. We might go traveling in the summer though, who knows. The rest of my time in Adelaide, I spent at Dan's house. He owns a bunch of companies, one of which involves him serving tons of beer at festivals. He inevitably has a whole bunch of weird ones which were leftover in his fridge. He estimated we probably had "about 7,000" of them in the course of the next three days.

So, for lunch we went out for cider with some other graphic design business people he knows. Then, we went down to Glenelg and watched people jump off the pier. There were quite a few Australian rednecks, so that was entertaining. At night there was a basketball game. Somehow, I had a free ticket to it, and Dan bought me some Tasmanian brew which tasted like fish. I tried to pay him back a little (which was next to impossible) by buying him some fish and chips.

After the game, his friend (also named Dan) came over and we went to the Fringe Festival, where we wandered around and then went back home to bed.

Glenelg

Glenelg


Basketball game

Basketball game


Me vs. cider

Me vs. cider


Glenelg

Glenelg


Me vs. Tasmanian beer

Me vs. Tasmanian beer

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Dean came to visit

Today Dean flew in from Melbourne for one day to meet up with me. He got in at around 1 p.m. and I was super lazy. I didn't feel like pushing my two big bags up the giant hill so I waited around until Kelly's mom was ready to leave for the day. She had offered to bring me to the train station whenever she left. It took about 3 hours for her to get ready, true story. We talked all morning and Kelly's mom made me lunch and corn on the cob.

I met Dean at his hotel room, where he had been snoozing. After giving me a sufficient guilt trip about being lazy, we tried to go to a street party that my next host Dan was working at, but the line was just too long, so we had a burger at Grill'd and that's all. On the way home from dinner, I saw a sign advertising a two-day festival with Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden headlining. I prayed to god the Pumpkins were playing on Saturday night, because I had to get on the train to Darwin on Sunday. I looked it up at the hotel, and nope, not a chance. However they WERE going to Melbourne a few days later, something I could have attended if I didn't decide to use my rail pass to go up to Darwin instead. Another chance for Dean to guilt trip me. Watching the news that night, there was a hurricane slamming the north coast. I sighed with frustration. What did I do to myself again?

Me vs. lamb burger

Me vs. lamb burger


Me and Dean vs. bronze pig

Me and Dean vs. bronze pig

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Wine day!

Today's theme was wine. Adelaide is Australia's wine area I suppose, and I wanted to try some of it. I had a nice breakfast of crackers, honey and nuts with chocolate oatmeal and headed out to the botanical gardens to work up an appetite for lunch. It was a really nice and cool place in a really hot, dry place. There were lots of types of cacti and a rainforest as well as an experimental rose garden. Nice. There was also an artificial wetland, which was dried up. Not so nice.

After the garden, I had a chicken salad with tofu on the patio of the National Wine Centre along with 1 1/2 glasses of white wine. Three different types: full, medium and light bodied. I think I am getting the hang of this wine thing. Maybe not, better go and taste some more.

From there, I had to go and visit Penfold's, the famous Australian wine company place. I walked straight up to the bar and asked for some tastings. I thought it would be like, a dollar a taste or something, but NOPE. ALL FREE.

"OK&#8230; so I can just chill out here until you close?"

"Yep, why not," said the hipster with the waxed moustache filling my glass again.

We had some incredible wines, fortified wines, ice wines, red wines, some of which were $200 a bottle! I was FLIPPING OUT. Soon, alas, it was 5 p.m. and the bar was closing, I had to go and meet Jess, Shoko and Sophie for karaoke.

I was 20 minutes late *sigh* but they waited for me and I found them! We went to an Australian hawker centre, where we shared some more wine and then a pub where we had some beer and went to the karaoke place.

Some really awesome singer asked us if anyone wanted to do Love Shack with him and I was like GET OUT and slapped him like Elaine on Seinfeld. It was great. I couldn't keep up with him he was so good and funny that I screwed up most of my parts. Oh well. We sang the rest of the night and then I took the last train home, exhausted, again.

Water feature at botanical gardens

Water feature at botanical gardens


Me and Jess

Me and Jess


Rainforest

Rainforest


Lily pads

Lily pads


Wine is sunlight, held together by water

Wine is sunlight, held together by water


Rainforest dome

Rainforest dome


Penfold&#38;#39;s winery

Penfold&#38;#39;s winery


Botanical gardens

Botanical gardens


Cool indoor ish garden

Cool indoor ish garden


An arch

An arch


Me vs. Australian wine

Me vs. Australian wine


Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens


Rose garden

Rose garden


Penfold&#38;#39;s winery

Penfold&#38;#39;s winery


Me vs. Penfold&#38;#39;s wine

Me vs. Penfold&#38;#39;s wine


Cactus garden

Cactus garden

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Fringe Fest again

In the early morning we got to Adelaide. Jess' mom picked her up and offered us a ride downtown. After she went off with her mom, Shoko, Sophie and I went for breakfast in the market. Adelaide has free wifi everywhere so I just sat down and updated stuff and tried to find a host in Darwin, which I didn't have yet. Shoko and Sophie went to check in to their hostel, they stayed at the same place, and I hung out in the market until my host was home from work at about 2 p.m. I showed up to his beautiful Eden Hills home, where his mom was waiting for me and we chatted until it was time for me to go back downtown to meet Kelly, her son. We went to see Pants Down Circus and that was really good. It was a hard rock circus show. Pretty creative and cute-funny if I do say so myself. I think they are regular fixtures at this Fringe Festival, so if you are in the area next year, they'll probably be there again. After the show, Kelly took me to a gyro place and then we went home to bed. I was supppppperrrrr tired. Finally I had a flat nice bed again. Nice.

Mall&#38;#39;s balls

Mall&#38;#39;s balls


Me in the car with Shoko

Me in the car with Shoko


Internet in the market

Internet in the market


Fringe Festival ferris wheel

Fringe Festival ferris wheel

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)