Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ireland .. Part 2 the SOUTH

I went back to Ireland for a second go at it, as I loved it so, the first time and only saw the top end, so I tought I would see the bottom end. And it was well worth the trip.

In early December I went off to Ireland by myself, only the second trip that I took by myself whilst overseas. Now this is not because I was afraid of going by myself, as we all know I can talk to anyone, anywhere and am good in situations with random people. But it was only because every other time I went somewhere, someone else was already going or I asked people to come with (the later happened the least).

So, off to Heathrow I went from Tooting on the Bus and train at yet again some ungodly hour - On a Sunday morning. It was made worse, as I had to go the long way to get to the airport and was worrying the whole time that I was going to be late. Let alone I had left 3/4 hours before my flight, but you never know!

I got to Ireland A.O.K and hopped the bus to the backpackers (Its amazing what I remember about this trip, months after going). Anyways, I got to the backpackers, and then walked around Dublin again and just explored. I went across the river to a park where it was just beautiful, got stopped by the local constabulary as I was smiling too much for being in the cold and rain, so therefore I must be a tourist from Australia. Walked back to my hotel and just checked out the sights - one lady (american) stopped me because I had a map and asked me for directions and I took her back to where she needed to be. And just enjoyed doing nothing in this city, as I had already been there once, so I figured to just walk and see where it got me. By this time, I was buggered, felt like I had a massive head cold and so I went on a hunt to find a chemist and dinner. Found both in close proximity to my hostel and had an easy night.

In the morning it was all systems go, pack bags, eat breakfast, wait in common room. And then do the walk out the to bus, I swear this walk defines you for the rest of your trip, as I remember last time, walking out and being grumpy, but this time I was good, not thinking about what was going to happen and just let things happen. Turns out one girl started to have a chat to me about going on the trip and ... I'll stop here and say, I don't like to live by first impressions, but this one was true. She was a pain in the arse! And I knew it from the first moment she talked and was trying to buddy up with me. Now, don't get me wrong, I was nice all trip, but just could pick it straight away.

Anyways, on the bus, up the back. Sitting near two brothers, a girl from Brisbane and the other girl. Quiet we were on the bus as always, at the beginning and then the tour guy got us all talking. Found out the trip was full of people from Brisbane and that I was the only southsider - dug myself a nice hole there! But off we went, we drove across the middle of Ireland to the west coast to Galway. Stopping to see a monestry at Clonmacnoise, that got hammered in battles, but they just kept rebuilding . Then off to Galway - where that evening where we all went out for dinner and had a blast, laughing at random people in the pub tyring to do Riverdance whilst totally drunk and hey hey "It was my Birthday for the night". Well that was the reason that we were telling people why we had such a big congreation together - I wasn't part of that plan, just got forced into it. I obliged though, it was fun. Then back to hotel, where I managed to score a hairdryer without having to fork out 10 Euros for the privlege of taking it back to my room. I love my abilites to convince people that I am trustworthy.

Day 2 off to Kilarney, on the way we were told stories a plenty, heard lots of Irish anecdotes. We stopped of at the Cliffs of Moher, which are in the movie the Princess Bride (think thats it) and they were amazing, did some crazy things at the top - photos jumping because the wind was so strong, it would just kind of hold you up there. And then onto Kilarney - now, there were things that were options on our trip, but it just didn't seem to happen that we did them. So therefore, again we ended up in the pub for the evening - lucky we did as it poured with rain that night. So we ate, drank Guiness, had shots of baby guiness (Kahlua and Baileys - try it, its great) and then off for another night. This night though was quite funny, as the brothers were sleeping in our room again and they came in blind drunk halfway through the night and woke us all up and it was just hilarous listening to their gabber. It was a had to be there night.

Day 3 - Off to the Blarney Stone, which as I was told when I was younger, by Mr Nothling was awesome, but you had to do it lying on your back and lean out across too it. Sounds easy but it is not. There is a story attached to the stone that if you kiss it, it will give you the gift of the gab for 7 years. Right, switch to my turn to kiss it, the blokes are there, saying right, lye down, shuffle back, no qualms about where they touch you as they are holding onto your waist as you lean out over to the stone - they are really quite rough and gruff about it. And .... I missed, yes I missed, I climbed all those steep winding narrow steps up the castle and missed. I did think to ask for a second chance but no, I just lived with the experience of being there. Add in here, that it was all a ploy as I already have the gift of the gab and didn't want to risk loosing it for kissing the stone, and thats why I truly didn't kiss it. Plus, I heard that the locals used to go and pee on it as a joke on the tourists. Hmmmmm.

Then after that it was a long drive (4 hours - long in there terms) back to Dublin, where we would end our journey. It was a blast and I had a ball. Said goodbye to the friends that I had met on the trip and then that was it. Trip over. I joined one girl for shopping and a bit dinner afterward, but that was it. Memory from this, was walking down the shopping district street and hearing a gosh almight crash, smash and then a metal pipe hitting the ground. Turned out, the wind was so strong that it slammed open a full glass door back onto itself and it smashed, the pipe sound was the door handle hitting the ground.

Day 4 - I had a day to myself in Dublin and I think what am I going to do with myself??? I had thought people would stay the extra day and do a day trip. But no. So I filled in my own time. Went to the Jameson distillery - here I went on a tour of how they made Irish Wiskey. At the beginning they asked for volunteers - I shot my hand up straight away and got picked - wahoooooooo! Now, I have to say, I have done alot of distillery tours and this one was like the others, yes heres the based product, we frement it, heat it, cool it, age it ... blah blah blah. But still worth it. Onto the activity I volunteered for. I was a whiskey taster - 5 shots were on a table for us, and we had to sample all of them and pick which was which. It ranged from American, Scottish and Irish Whiskey. It was good fun and entertaining - but never having drunk the stuff straight it went straight to my head. Then after that the tour is done. So I am slightly passed what you would deem sober and decide to walk myself over to Temple Bar. Did I mention that it was 10am???

Get myself to Temple bar, taking photos along the way - yet to see what they look like, as I took them on a camera phone and only recently got the phone with the cord to download them, so they will be here soon. So, got to temple bar - yes the famous one owned by U2 - or where they have performed once or twice. I dunno. So I am outside the bar and I look in and its all dolled up for Christmas I walk in, set up a shot, of some random blokes drinking in the scenery, and I think, yeah, thats a nice shot. Go to take it and they have all realsied and jump up and take over the photo. Typcial. So I went and had a dig at them about it. They recognised the accent straight away and got to talking about just random things of Australia, Ireland and Wales (where they all came from). Now they all told me they were there on a shopping trip, but 8 grown men in a foregin country just for shopping - yeah, I don't think so either, but its still the story they tell me to this day.

They invited me to go to lunch with them, so I obliged, and off I went and had a lovely 4 hours talking to 8 people I only just met. Showing up the young blokes of the party (18) how to skull a beer and just having a lovely time with people I had never met. Then it was time to part they were going to their hotel, I was going back to mine to pack. So I said farewell, thinking I would never see them again. Well no, one of them found me on facebook and I still keep in contact to this day and I am being asked when I am coming back as they want to show me Wales. Thats kinda cool I think.

Anwways, back to London I go for my last couple of days, say farewell to Alex at CJ station for last time and spend the last night back in my house in Clapham Junction. Quite an odd feeling as it felt like it was no time before that, that I had moved in and lived there for a year.

I can say that I had the most memorable year, travelling meeting new people, whether it was in a bar (Alex, Brendon, Michelle - the Wales boys), at Camp (Wyoka Girls), on the street waiting for a bus (Michael) or over the counter at a hotel (Tate). I cannot fault the trip that I took and would do it all again, but a few things differently - only becuase I have now learnt the ways of doing things better.


Amsterdam is known for many things - Pot, Tulips, Cheese, Windmills, Sex and Bicycles. And I will tell you know, it doesn't let you down on any of those things, but it is also an amazing city which has been built by purpose and is now and quite a place that you must see.

I went with Tracey for her Birthday in November and had a great time walking around seeing the sights, sorry to dissapoint, but I did not sample whilst there. Besides that though it was a great little get away in yet another country, where I have no chance of understanding the language. Fortunately as soon as you spoke English they were more than happy to oblige, as they enjoy using the language to better themselves at it.

We spent our time seeing the sights, the canals by boat, museums, the red light district (yes it exists and yes its quite entertaining) though no photos of that place as there are too many people around going to have a go at you for taking photos.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

So here I go ...

Months and months after my travels ended, its time to put up some more photos here.

I went to Amsterdam after scotland, and then Ireland after Amsterdam. So a travelling I went and had a ball but just never wrote about it.

But, I did actually return from London and I am now teaching in BrisVegas again. And enjoying myself, but missing travelling whole heartedly, so I am planning to go again in December for my Christmas holidays and see what antics I can get up to then.

So here are some photos from Scotland.

Scotland is such an amazing place, a postcard on everyturn ... now, as most know, I am not a huge photo taker, but I was still amazed every place I looked in Scotland by its unique ability to stun.

Alex at John O'Groats, walking to find a good place for a facebook photo. And here, a phone booth in the middle of no where and sheep surrounding it, Alex woke me up for this photo.

Myself standing in Loch Ness - ever since I found out about this Loch I have always wanted to go there, I have to say it was the purpose of my trip. But then in going I found so much more that I loved and enjoyed of the trip. One of the winding roads, and about probably the only two lane one that Alex drove on, poor girl always seemed to score the single lane roads. And Alex standing on a wall that she wasn't meant to stand on.

More astounding photos from Scotland. The first of a a bridge that I saw on a postcard in a shop and figured my way into getting there. It turned out to be 2 miles off our track and an easy bathroom and driver stop. And a memorial to an author in Edinbrugh - can't remember who now. Woops.

Edinbrugh at sunset, just an amazing place.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Scotland ... a looonnngg time coming - UPDATED!

Well, way back in October in the last week, I went to Scotland with Alex.

How our trip went, well great! Cold, lots of driving and sight seeing.

It started by us both travelling from Clapham Junction on the train, and then the bus to Heathrow to the airport to pick up our car. Well, that was interesting, as first I was bummed that I was going to the airport just to go in a car, but then again, I was getting in a car for the first time in almost 10 months in England. (Yes I did drive in Canada, but that was on the opposite side of the road [not allowed to call it wrong side - sheesh])

So we hop off at Avis, where the bus driver told us that that was the closest place to our car company. Turned out we were ages away and ended up walking to the Holiday Inn - note to all travellers don't stay at the airport rooms were £250 a night ... thats about $700 AUD and about $500 Canadian - NOT WORTH IT!!!!! At the Holiday Inn despite their room prices, were very nice and called us a Cab, and off to get our car we went. We ended up having a nicer car than I thought, here I thought that they would stick us with a Ford KA and we would have no room and never get past any traffic, but we got stuck (cough cough) with a Brand New Peugeot 207 - Black. Very nice car - and off we went.

England roads are all numbered and motorways, once you are on one, you are pretty stuck, so it took us a little bit of time to get out of Heathrow - I had downloaded instructions from the net which were useless, so we had to go by the road map - off which was for all of UK (which does include Scotland - dug myself a hole there with car company), so we finally found our way. The downloaded instructions said that it would take 7 hours to drive to Glasgow. No chance, we ran into so much traffic, especially getting around Liverpool and Manchester (all on motorways) that at one stage took over 2 hours to go less than 80 miles. So we made it to a town called Hamilton about 20 miles out of Glasgow after 10 hours of driving we were done. Found our hotel, settled in came out and went to Dinner at an American dinner (I know all the way to Scotland and I eat in an american dinner), it was the closest to the hotel and it was great food.

Day 2 - Alex's main reason for going to Scotland was to go to John O'Groats - the northen most tip of Scotland, mine was just see what I could see and to stand in Loch Ness (but more about that soon). So today, day 2, we decided to see how far we could get, we drove all the way up to Wick about 15 miles south of our destination - we decided to stop here, thinking that their would be no accomodation further north. We stayed in a small quaint (dodgy), but still nice hotel called the Queens Arms - we drove around for a bit trying to find a place to eat, but no where tickled our fancy (look later on for what did tickle us ... lol) so we found a take away chinese place - now that was dodgy - what we ordered was not was we were expecting to get, but let alone you live and learn and pass the message on to others to tell them not to eat at the Hong Kong takeaway in Wick Scotland!!!

Day 3 - John O'Groats - along our drive up to here we saw lovely castles, winding roads and beautiful scenery - just amazing to follow the coast line along and to see rolling hills, and cliff faces were amazing. Then we roll into John O'Groats, passing about 10 B & B's on our way in, but you never know before, so it was best we stayed where we were. At John O'Groats, we stayed for about an hour, looking across to the islands, trying to take a good Facebook photo for Alex and just enjoying being as far north as we could. Now when we left, we took a side road up to a lookout, just for the sake of it, the lookout wasn't much, but as we were about to leave, I followed a sheep track (actual sheep track, as the sheep were walking around - reminded me of the Ag Plot) and just over the ridge, were these beautiful stacks (Scotlands version of the 12 Apostles in Victoria) and they were amazing - glad I followed the sheep.

Then we were to make a decision, to travel back the way we came, or to take a different route. The different route we took, we drove all the way along the northern coast of Scotland, on a single lane (doing at the most 30 mph) Alex, was a champ driving here and didn't tire of the endless winding or relentless slowing down speeding up, then we changed at Durness, which was about half way. Only to find the roads open up into two way most of the way - this was a recurring theme throughout our journey. So off we went down the west coast through Ullapool and then onto Inverness for the Evening - where we stayed in the best hotel of the trip. The Royal Highland, right next to the rail station. Lovely room - despite it being overheated all night (think we were right under the boiler) massive shower and great breakfast in the morning (all pluses on our trip).

Day 4 - today we drove the Loch Ness, here we left Inverness after a bit of walking around in the morning and sight seeing - we saw the Inverness Castle, which is now used as the local court house (I was very impressed) and we saw a Kilt making factory and sent postcards. We left Inverness being told that it was a 2 hour drive along the Loch - we thought is that all, and it was. The Loch is amazing and I would recommend the drive along it to anyone, and also to stand in it, but to stand in it during the warmer months, as though it was only October, my feet were still very very cold afterward. We drove all the way along and then back up to and around to Aberdeen (famous for their beef). Along the way I had seen a postcard with an beautiful arc on it, and it turned out that in the end we went their for a driver change, so we went to see the Carrbridge Arc - an amazing bridge which looks good in all seasons, but at it peak in Winter (covered in snow). Then off we go to Aberdeen, being warned along the way that their would be no accomodation on a Tuesday night in Aberdeen - we didn't heed the warning and go their about 6pm at night to find, that indeed their was no accomodation, so off we went to the next town 60 miles away - Dundee. Along the way we decided that it would be good to eat, as we hadn't eaten since Breakfast - too preoccupied with the scenary. Now every where else in the world there is fast food resuatrants along the highways. Not in Scotland we looked everywhere, and only 1 we found at 7pm at night in Forfar about 20 miles out of Dundee. We ate Maccas with glee, and here coerced my way into getting my sought after Chocolate Sundae - Alex tells a different story, but I stick to mine.

We got to Dundee and found the same story, no accomodation ... right, so we drove to the Best Western and asked them for a room. They were booked and said the only place to stay was the Hilton, so they called and booked us a room. So we paid the pounds and spent the night in a older hilton, still very nice, with a great breakfast but a lousy bathroom. If I haven't mentioned it, the Bathroom's of this trip were a standing point which made our accomodation - Alex and I both agree that the best Bathroom and Shower was in Inverness at the Royal Highland - despite the room being 40 degrees all night, we slept with the window wide open there.

Day 5 - And we awoke to Fog, not just a thing that lasts until 7am when the Sun rises, but kilometres and kilometres of it, so apart from wanting to see a bit of Dundee, we had no chance as we couldn't even see a metre infront of us, despite having the lights on high beam. So off we drove down to Edinbrugh, through the most amazing fog! I for some reason love fog, it hides the world and when it lifts the sky and air seem so crisp and everything looks awesome in the clearing fog. But I am distracted, right. Driving to Edinbrugh we were enveloped in fog so think that, even with the fog lights on we couldn't see and were taking it very easy. The temperature on the car's thermometer got to 3 degrees and started calling out warnings of ICE on the road, we were very excited about the car's ability to warn us. We have some awesome photos of the fog from the car and of trees surrounded in it.

Edinbrugh, we got there mid morning and found a hotel after much driving around of the never connecting streets of the city. But its an amazing city centralised around the castle and has kept its originality by still having many of the period buildings. We walked around, went up to the castle and the line was too long and I didn't really have any urge to go into the castle - some may say I was silly, but too bad. So we walked along the Royal Mile - the lead up to the castle and then down to Princes Street (shopping heaven for the shopaholic). Then Alex and I split up for the afternoon, I went to a street just off the Royal Mile which Trudy recommended me to which had alot of the original houses from the era when the Black Plauge was happening. It was called the Real Mary Kings Close.

This is a very narrow street, which has been built over years ago and they only re-discovered in the past 50 odd years. Here, they cut off the roofs of these houses and built a building over them, sealing them off from the daylight. And a host "from the era" takes you on a tour through the close, explaining the houses and the history that surrounded them. Two things that stick in my head, is the explanation of Day Light robbery - they used to charge you for having a window, by the amount of glass panels you had in that window - something I evidenced in Ireland afterward, where the parliament had all the windows were removed and bricked as it was turning into a bank and the accountants wanted to save money. Second - the scots were one of the first recyclers - to make their wall plaster, they used to use the silt from the river, combined with horse hair and the ash of the burnt bodies from the people who died of the plauge. Pretty gross, but you can still see the plaster, horse hair and all on the walls in these period houses.

We ended our night in Edinbrugh eating at TGIF's - Thank God its Friday - an american based resturant - great steak!

Day 6 - We shopped along Princes Street - With myself investing in a New Coat and Thigh High boots, at this point in time I can't remember what Alex bought, but I am sure she did - I think she was just impressed that I actually bought something - being the scrooge I am.

We drove on from about Lunch, heading to the Lakes District, in North West England. We got there about 4pm and same story, no accomodation - sheesh! So onward we drove out of the district, shame, but tomorrow was going to be our last day and well time was now ticking. We drove on, and originally saw a sign for accomodation - it was a truck stop, so we got some fuel and much needed food, but got that just wrong feeling from the place so pushed on and found a place in Preston - the Tickled Trout, now this might sound like one of those places that the Grizwalds had to stay in, in one of their "Vacations" but it was an amazing place, of good value, excellent Bathroom quality and good beds, so we were set.

Day 7 - We set off early, and didn't know what we were wanting to do, might stay over in Oxford or drive out to Cardiff - the Cardiff drive would of meant a big drive the next day as the car was due back. We decided on Oxford, but stopped off at a shopping village just outside. We shopped for a little while, and then kept driving - then in the car we were humming and harring about whether we stop in at Oxford and it just felt like we were so close to London so we came back. It was only an extra 60 miles and we were both pleased with our decision, as it saved an extra day of paying for the car and we were both ready to stop driving.

So we travelled back to Heathrow, stopping to fill the car up for the last time, drove around to the car place, and came in the guy, had this machine which he checked out the car, refunded the insurance back onto the credit card and we were done in 5 mins. It was great. And we found out they had a shuttle service back to the main terminal, so we caught that, and hopped a bus back to the train. We got to Clapham Junction, and took my bags back to my house, went to dinner and just wound down over a nice relaxing meal, knowing that tomorrow we didn't have to drive anywhere.

An all around awesome trip, which I would do again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Petition for Chocolate Sundaes ...


What are you doing!

Ok, so the story goes that ages ago (in May when Mum and Dad were here) I went to order a Chocolate Sundae from Maccas and they didn't serve them. I thought weird, but ok, its just one Maccas.

But, I have slowly been to see the world more and more and more I am testing my theory and McDonalds across the world are no longer serving Chocolate Sundaes. Sure they offer, Strawberry, Caramel and Toffee (aren't the last two basically the same??) BUT!!! No chocolate. I swear it is all a scheme, so that the chocolate sundae lovers of the world have to buy a McFlurry.

But, I did manage to get 1 chocolate sundae in Scotland. Alex will tell a story that I begged and pleaded the guy to use the Chocolate Sauce from the McFlurry's. The story is, is that I convinced him, and he obliged willingly. Other story about this McDonalds in Forfar Scotland, is that it was the only one which we found on the side of the road, luckily we did as it was 7:30pm at night and we hadn't eaten since breakfast.

So McDonalds Australia ... please still be serving Chocolate sundaes! And if they aren't, heaven help me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back in ye ol England town ...

Back to England.

It felt so weird coming back to England, as I felt that I should of been going home home, instead of my temporary home. But, I am back in the swing of things and its all going good.

Came home, and went out to dinner with Alex ( I think it was like the first or second night I was back) Great to catch up and talk and talk and talk. Not surprising when we had 3 months to catch up on. Sheesh, whats going to happen when I leave here and she stays, and then we catch up again. We'll never stop talking :)

Anyways, it was good to be back in a way, and good to be on the countdown to coming home. Work was very very very slow for the first month and I regretted not taking Haylie up on her invte to Cuba, but you live and learn. But work has picked up agian and I am working on average 4 days a week. So I can't complain.

In the time that I was waiting for work I took myself, to Brighton, on the very south coast of England. And had a lovely day in the sun - surrounded by bikers - Sundays are not the day to go to Brighton if you don't want to be surrounded, but it was great, looking at all the different bikes and feeling the air vibrate around you. I spent my time looking at the bikes, walking along the peir, reading my booking and taking a quick nap on the peebles (I am not and will not ever call it a beach - no sand, no waves).

Then about 2 weeks later, I went to a party of one of the people I know over here, Brendans 27th. I met Brendan and Michelle in a pub randomly and we've been friends since, even though I feel they will kill me one day when I go to Mexican night - damn hot food. But anyways, Brendan had a mate there, who had recently got engaged, and he was spending an extra week in London without her to spend some time with his Brother. But his brother was otherwise preoccupied, and hadn't shown him the sights of London yet. So I offered and took him on a whirl wind tour one Tuesday. We - started in Trafalgar Square, went and said hello to the statue of Captain Cook, watched the changing of the guard, walked to Buckingham Palace, walked to Green Park, caught the tube to Harrods, detoured on the way back at South Ken, to see Lambourghini London and then went to Tower of London. We were so tired after that, that we both fell asleep on the tube back to Brendan and Michelles - but we didn't miss our stop. And had another excellent Mexican night - damn hot food.

Then I went back into getting some regular work and got myself to this past week where I went to Scotland with Alex. We drove from London and then all around Scotland. But it deserves its own blog and another time I will write that as I am out of time at the library on the net. Now I am happier that I have written all this down and that I don't have to be told to update my blog again, well at least for another week. Bye for now ...

Catch up - the final days in Canada.

After saying that I would be here again, more frequently, I have not. It maybe because I just can't be bothered anymore, or that my social life has picked up so much that I just don' t have the time to do this anymore or simply that I am working too much.

Sadly it is none of those things, it comes down to two ... One purely and simply I am slack and two I am a sucker for facebook and once I am on there, get distracted easily. Especially playing pirates and bombing people. Anyways, so heres the recap (again).

Still Canada

Right, so we finsih camp, then for a day and a bit 4 of us hung out at Booms house those for - Boom, Wave, Aussie and Swing (I will never be known as anything else to these girls nor will I call them anything else - I love it). So we hung out, watched movies, went shopping, I got my hair dyed thinking it would be cheaper in Canada - it was, but it was still expensive. Then after those two days, off we went to Tanamakoon, another summer camp, but this one I would have to say is a true summer camp. I jut in here and say that not that Wyoka wasn't, but that this camp is more of what I thought I would be going to, but am glad for where I went.

Tanamakoon, situated in Canadas largest National Park - Algonquin - we went for Kindercamp, so we were looking after 4,5 and 6 year olds for 3 days. It was a full on time where you always were with Children, always running to an explicit schedule and rigiourous eating plan of 6 times a day (yes - thats right, 6). But it was great, awesome sceneary, good fun - Wave and I were in charge of fishing and archery - Fishing, I never thought it actually happened, that it was just a thing they set up for Huckleberry Finn books and movies, but we actually fished just sticks of wood with line. And it was great! It worked, the classic moment was when Wave said to the girls - any fish yet? The answer no, and then you could count it ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... All these young girls squealing and jumping because they caught a fish - 6 came up at once - Wave and I jumped in saved the fish from being squished, and I'll tell you crocs also come in handy for putting fish back in the water when you can't hold it because it keeps moving too much.

Then the next day, it was Archery - Huge thanks to Bigfoot here, as I remembered all the archery safety, and then ended up leading Archery for the rest of the day, as it seemed that no one else there was really sure what to do. So Wave and I stepped in, bouncing off eachother and it worked well - every kid got to have a go (3 arrows each) no child was speared and we had a good day.

Then after camp it was farewell to Boom and Swing - a touching moment as we hopped of the barge and then ran to get ourselves onto the bus ontime. And we waved goodbye from the back of the bus. Then we slept, until we got back to Toronto (about a 4 hour bus drive). After we hopped off at a shopping centre in the middle of no where, we found our way by train and then street car to our hostel for the night.

And a brilliant night we had - silly us, we said to ourselves, lets have an easy night and go to bed early. Well we could have, if we didn't bring Moose with us, who then opened us up to several people coming and asking us ... WHY????? Moose if you didn't already know is Waves blow up Kangaroo, and boy can he party - he kept us up until 4am, drinking beers, playing the burping game and sheesh can the boy party.

Then ... to Niagra Falls.

We had to be at the bus by 11 and so off we went to get Subway - when we got back it was time to hop on the Bus, seems like our Bus driver had had a long night as well, as my Meatball sub made him quite Naueous, where he doubled over moaning ... noooo not the meatball sub ... arghhhhhhh. It set the day off, as we were all having a laugh (very British of me there). But he was a trooper, he drove us around and down to Niagra Falls stopping off at a monument, winery and the whirl pool at the bottom of the falls - the option there to see the whirlpool from ground or above - Haylie and I chose above and up we went in a helicopter - toured the sky and say Niagra in all its glory. Best part of my trip - but I would advise, not to be feeling sick before you go up in a helicopter, as it just makes it worse. But ... I held it all in, and I didn't throw up once.

After we landed we went to see the falls, and they are amazing ... sooo much water all at once and only a few people have lived to tell the tale of falling over the falls. We chose just to look and then the boat ride - Maid of the Mist. Fortunately they provide rain coats - it was a great way to see the water of the falls and to taste it. As demonstrated by this picture ------> (if I ever get it up here).

Then we had a fabulous dinner, and saw Niagra Falls lit up and then it was time to leave. And time to say goodbye to Haylie (Wave). We both fell asleep on the bus ride back to Toronto, and only had a short fairwell, as we both know we will be seeing eachother real soon again - shes a Sydney sider. Then I was off to spend my last couple of days with Nutz.

Nutz house

The Moseleys, took me in very kindly for the last couple of days. Where I was given fabulous hospitality, great company and excellent food - a real treat in comparision to camp food for the last couple of months. Nutz and I spent the days, just lazing aorund, going to a food festival and then playing board games. A great last couple of days in Canada.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Slack Traveller ... Camp the last month and wind down

Well, haven't I been lazy, a month and a half since I blogged last ... and yes, I know this as I have had people telling me that I should update my blog. Here goes, everything is in one huge blur but I will try to remember most of it.

Camp first of all was amazing, to live with 35 girls (staff) and 100 girls (campers) for 10 weeks is a feat in itself, and believe me, there were times I thought I wouldn't come out alive. No no, it wasn't that at all.

So, if you didn't know from June 20 through to August 28 I was the Assistant Camp director at Camp Wyoka in Clifford Ontario - 2 and a bit ours North West of Toronto - middle of no where pretty much and where the Mennonites live.

I went into the job without much knowledge of what I was to be doing, as I had been told in my interview that theres no real description of the job but you will always be busy. And busy I was. During camp some of the duties that I performed, was first and foremost Chef, as our chef had to leave before camp started due to family reasons. So I was asked to help out where I could, and it entailed getting 4 staff to cook for 100+ people day in day out, luckily every second week, we had a volunteer come in and help us out, so some weeks I was others I wasn't a chef. Also, I performed the duties of Plumber - where I plunged so many toilets in my time there, that I lost count but I know that on every site, I plunged their toilets more than once - I also got to fix the kitchen since once too.

Chaufferr - whether be on the Mossy Mobile (golf cart) or in the awesome camp car (I loved that car) I would drive people to and fro or deliver people or pick things up. Computer Technician - may favourite line of camp to my director was walk away from the technology, poor Toad, if something technoligical was to break it would break on her, lucky I was willing to help. Animal Rescue/Murderer - now you may wonder why both of these are in the same catergory, well there were times that I would help the animals, like the countless racoons that I helped get out of the industrial bin (seriously you put a ladder in and they climb out - for rodents they is smart!) and then we have mruderer, where I was blame for leaving a bird to die.

Then there was the time I was a Mortician now this was a one time thing and I am sad to say I was a partaker in the death, but one sad afternoon Swing and I went for a drive on BT's super fast golf cart and were booking it (as the Canadians say) down the hill and a poor little chipmunk tried to run out of the way but the little sucker didn't have the legs to do it, so sadly he got hit and died (Swing claims he was on a suicide mission) so we found a shovel and I got the joyous occassion of burying him.

Assistant Maintenance - Felix wasn't a confident driver of the golf cart (well not at the start of camp, but she got better) and she needed someone to drive her around on the Golf Cart to pick up the Garbage (as if you call is Rubbish you get laughed at - damn Canadian English) - which I have to say isn't a great job, but ain't that bad. Until the day, when we went to waterfront and the day camp kids had been fishing, and they caught a fish and he died before it could be realised, so instead of putting in the water for some other animal to eat, they put it in the Bin (well in the area where the bin was not in it) - and yes, I was the lucky person who had to pick up a hard, stale dried fish (not a nice day).

Dryer Repairer - for days, people were complaining that the dryer was on the blink and I said I would have a look, there were skeptics out there, but I fixed it. Not hard when it had blown a fuse and just needed to be switched back, but still a job I picked up. Night Guard - now, this may seem bizzarre but there were definately a few staff members who didn't like walking to their sites in the dark, so I got to walk those people in the dark to the sites, so the White Girl (camp ghost) or Clarence (camp skunk, though it turned out we had several clarences in the one spot most nights) wouldn't get them. And it was all fine for me to walk them there, but then I had to walk back by myself - hmmmm planning Vic, nice work there.

Lunch Delivery - this was great waterfront (generally Swing) would need lunch and I would willingly take it down, but I would change into togs first and stay with her and have a lunch party, swim and wash the hair in the lake - best was to rinse your hair - jump off the life guard tower, puts lots of air in your hair.

More to add, but running out of time on the net here, so back soon to finish.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A great weekend ...

Saturday 10am through to Sunday 3pm is the time off that we get for a weekend. And this weekend we made the most of it
First off we had the duties of cleaning blah blah blah. At about 6 we all went out to dinner, Pizza. Then we came back to camp and dropped off the people who weren't joining us for the evening. In the end it was just 3 of us, Wave, Volley and I.

The fun began, as we were driving out of camp past one of the hundreds of grave yards which are around this area, and well there was this wrotten smell, so I said ... Well they must of buried a fresh one. It took a couple of seconds but afterward the car was in histerics.

Then off to Walkerton, to Rob's bar, where we walked in at 7:30pm and we were the only 3 in the bar. We stayed for two drinks and then decided to go look for somewhere else. Found a place which had a bit of atmosphere, but still there wasn't that many people there - stayed until 10pm and walked back to Rob's. Got there and started to play some pool. We were at the back of the bar and this guy came up to us looking for the exit ... now the exit is displayed with a brightly illiminated red sign, so I said to the guy in basically the same words were it was ... he took it well. Then about 30mins after, a waitress came up offering us more drinks, but also asked us why we were here and not in Hanover ... as there was a festival in town.

So in a cab we went, but first of all the bar owner was also catchinng a cab to town, so he joined us. And then, the cab driver said he had one more passenger ... Perry, and Wave piped up saying could we go to his door to get him and the cab driver said yeah sure, and Rob the Bar owner said if you do I will buy you all a beer. Incentive aside in we went and knocked on Perry's door and he laughed and off to Hanover we went. Singing camp songs all the way there ... I think we made the cabbies night.

In we went to the Queen's Bush Bar ... more than 3 people this time. And we ended up spending the night with Rob and Perry and are all welcome back at Rob's anytime. Now after a few more drinks and some dirty jokes and fun, we decided to move bars about 1am ... probably our mistake, as we went to one which was absolutley dead and then by the time we got back to the Queens it was shutting up. So we called our lift.

Piled in we went, and stopped at a Red and Wave saw a massive witches hat, which somehow got into the car all by itself. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Then off to Tim Hortons (the Canadian version of Starbucks, but cheaper and better). Inside we found 4 police officers, enjoying their coffee ... now by this stage it was about 2/3 in the morning and well Wave wanted a photo. She went up to them all innocent saying Hi, I'm from Australia, could we have a photo. By this stage I too joined in, and they were starting to joke around with us. Then I noticed, that one of the officers had a name tag on with only a number on it ... by this stage I thought I was safe to have a dig, so I said to the officer; Were your parents so mean that they only gave you a number instead of a name? The real cracker of it all is that he laughed and immediately went for his wallet, and turns out yup ... his name is a number, his surname was Twelves ... I kid you not.

By this stage they were warmed up to us, so Wave piped up and asked if they would handcuff us together. They obliged happily and were laughing along, so to thank them, Wave and I sung G'day G'day to them as a thank you.

The ride home from there was uneventful and we got our selves home and in bed by about 4. It was a great evening and we awoke at midday to start camp again in a mere 3 hours, how quickly time can fly when your having fun.

This week, has been going pretty great, things have been going along pretty well. Nutz had an incident where her hands became blue, and I said thats what you get when you play to hard with a smurf, there colour starts to come off. And today is wacky Wednesday and its pioneer week, so most of us has dressed up in Pioneer clothes and this is a photo of me typing this right now.