Kev in Aus

Chronicling the misadventures of a Canadian traveling through Australia. There's seemingly far too many of us!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Melbourne Identity

So I'm in Melbourne right now, situated on the southern coast of Australia. Really nice city, and very European, meaning that there are a lot of interesting little cafes and shops located right in an alleyway. Serioualy, walk down an alley, and you'll find a 4' x 4' nook that sells fresh sushi. It's bizarre. Really cool, and unlike anything I've seen in Canada really. There seems to be a very cultural vibe to Melbourne, lots of art galleries and theatres and such.

However, I've found myself very bored here. I'm not exactly sure why, but the things to do around here just don't seem very interesting. I could take a run along Great Ocean Road and take pictures of rocks and such, but it's pricey just to head out and look at the ocean. or I could run down to Penguin Island (no joke, they actually have a place called Penguin Island, though it's a bit of a misnomer. They actually send all their discarded Ikea furniture there. The gift shop is predictably boring).

But luckily I'm heading back to Sydney 0n Thursday for a while. Looking around I've found it to have more jobs and more housing, although it is a little more expensive than Melbourne. Luckily, I have extra organs I don't need. I can sell a lung and live like a king. Well, an asthmatic king anyways.

And to the hundreds of you who emailed me asking about the trees and why they seem to be barkless, I've found out the reason, so please stop flooding my inbox with crazy theories (for the last time, it's not due to rampaging bands of bark eating monkeys). Turns out the bark actually contains the seeds for these trees, so they're constantly shedding it to "spread it around" as they say. Scandalous!

So in conclusion: Melbourne = Meh, Sydney = Yay, Trees = Whores.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Canberra, Can You?

So I'm not in Sydney anymore, I've moved on to Canberra for a couple days, staying with an old friend Chris Corkery, who I haven't seen in a few years. He's out here doing his PhD at the University here for a few years. I didn't even know he was out here until another friend mentioned it, so we did the email thing, and he offered his couch for a couple days. I figured, why not I'm out here anyways.

Canberra is about a 3 hour drive from Sydney, and I hopped a Greyhound to get here and they showed the DREADFUL 'Around the World in 80 Days' with Jackie Chan. Luckily, I has heavily sedated and slept almost the whole way here. Although I probably could have spotted some kangaroos or other wildlife along the roads.

One thing I noticed, and I'm not sure of the reason, but all the trees seem to be stripped of their bark along the highway. Could be animals eating it, could be wind blowing it off, I have no idea. I'll have to look into it.

At any rate, tomorrow I leave for Melbourne where I'll stay in another hostel for a week or 2, and look for work. I've been going through my money a little faster than I had anticipated, though I still have enough to live for the next few weeks without worrying too much. But I don't think it should be too hard to find work anyways. A friend of mine called a place on Sunday, had the interview on Monday and they offered her a job right there, paying $16/hour. Not a bad deal, plus she found a place in Bondi Beach to live and it's literally a 10 minute walk from the ocean. Lucky girl.

Anyhow, here's some more pictures:

That's me hurtling towards the earth at breakneck speed. That guy would just not get off my back, no matter how many times I told him. I'm like, "Dude, I hardly know you!" and he was all like, "It's for safety and if I'm not here you'll plummet to your death, blah blah." I think he was coming onto me...

That's me aftr all the drinks were consumed with the shirt I won for doing it. Why is Canada a snail, you may ask? I don't know, I didn't draw the design. But there's 5 signs around the bar that say 'Mix with the World' and various sea creatures with flags on them. Germany is a crab, US is some sort of angelfish, Italy is an eel, and Canada for some reason is a snail. Slow and steady wins the race I suppose.

This here is Faune, a girl from Ottawa who was staying in the same room I was for about a week. She's trying out the steamy librarian look, and I think she may have succeeded.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Passport.... to Drunkenness

"And on this auspicious occasion, the day of our Lord, October Twenty-First Two Thousand and Six, a representative from Canada has met and broken a record held long by members from parts unknown. On this day, one Kevin Lambert did travel globally through the menu of the Side Bar in Sydney Australia, and drank one of each drink, a grand total of 21 elixirs, in a time of 1 hour and 53 minutes, shattering the previous record by a full 7 minutes. For this display of alcoholic prowess, a special T-Shirt was given, and his name shall go upon the Wall of Fame for all to see. Your country, nay, the world, is proud of this achievement."

So here's the deal. There's a bar in the basement of the hostel called the Sidebar, basically just a regular dance club type setting. They have what they call the Sidebar Passport, just a card listing all the various countries that have drinks named for the on the menu (ie. The Welsh Choirboy - Baileys, Kalhua and Milk; The Noisy Yank - Amaretto, Coke and Beer; Luck of the Irish - Red Bull and Jagermeister, that sort of thing. And no, Canada does not have a drink for them). If you get a card, when you buy one of the drinks on the menu, you get that country stamped, and once you drink all the drinks, this passport goes up on the wall with the rest of them. There's mostly people from the UK up there (just like there's mostly people from the UK staying in the hostel), one Canadian, a couple Finns, and that's about it. Well, I asked the event coordinator what I would get if I drank all 21 of the drinks in one night, he said not much but a wicked hangover the next day. Then I asked what the record was, and he said 2 hours and 19 minutes to drink them all. I said I could beat that.

Flash to last night. I had made the promise to beat this record last night, and it turns out someone beat it last week at 2 hours. I said I could still beat that. I've been training for the past 2 weeks. I told people in my room I would beat it, I told random strangers I would beat it. I couldn't go back on my promise. So I had to do it.

The timer started at 9pm, and so did the drinks. Let me tell you people, 21 drinks in less than 2 hours isn't an easy task to manage, especially considering some of the drinks (The Chinese Burn - Sambucca, Tequila and Tabasco. That's all in one glass). I kicked that menu's ass and came back for more.

Truly, I am a proud Canadian, and will be remembered in the annals of history for years to come, or until next weekend when some Scotsman no doubt destroys my record by half an hour.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Now I'm Freeeeee! Free Fallin'!


That's all I can say. I went skydiving today and jumped out of a plane at 14000 feet. It was quite possibly the most exciting thing I have ever done. I wasn't even all that nervous until we got to jump height, and everyone started flying out of the back of this tiny plane. But as soon as I was out, I felt so alive. My whole body was tingling afterwards.
It was about a 15 second freefall, and I was able to get it all on video, as I had someone fall with me with a camera strapped to their head. They shot video an took pictures, but I have to get the roll developed, then I'll put some of them up on the web page.
After I jumped, there was one other person who hadn't jumped, and the plane was pretty empty, so tey asked if anyone wanted to go on this load. I did, so I paid about half the price again, and went a second time.
This time was a lot better, the instructor got us to do some flips and spins, and it was about a 50 second freefall this time. Unbelieveable. I can almost guarantee I will be doing it again in the coming months. Only 10 more jumps till I get my skydiving license! Ha ha!
Other than that, I haven't been doing too much lately. I've been hanging out around the city, just checking things out, and getting used to being here. I coul easily live in Sydney for the rest of my life, it's such a great city. The people are really friendly, it's clean, and there's so many things to do.
I seem to have come down with a cold or something, as I couldn't sleep last night, and my throat is killing me, my head's stuffed up, and I break out into cold sweats every once in a while. Hopefully that will pass soon enough, cuz I don't like being sick on vacation.
Next week I'm going to Canberra to visit a friend, then off to Melbourne to see what they have to offer. I've heard that people who land in Sydney tend to like Sydney more than Melbourne, and people who land in Melbourne tend to like it more than Sydney. We'll see. I don't think any place could top Sydney right now :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

So many people!

Here's Matt and Megan, a couple from England that I met. They're pretty cool, we've been hanging out at the downstairs bar every couple days. Matt thinks he's really good at pool, and he keeps beating me. We're no longer friends because of that fact.

This is Ian and Amy, a brother and sister from England staying in the same room as I am. I think they're staying till the end of the week, since it's his birthday on Saturday and he's got some friends coming in to help him celebrate.

I was playing pool with this tall Irishman named Tom, and we stunk up the joint, not even potting any balls before Matt and Megan won. Apprently the rules are if you lose with 7 balls on the table, you need to run around the table with your plants around your ankles. I think they may have made that up, but I did it anyways. Crazy Europeans.

This is Carly, one of my roommates. She came in on the Thursday after I did. She's a little crazy, and is prone to ninja moves on the floor of the TV room down the hall late at night. Also, I'd recommend not falling asleep in her presence or she'll draw on your face with lip gloss, as one poor guy learned on Saturday night.

I have a lot of other pictures, most of which need more explanation than just 'here's so-and-so' so I'll have to make seperate posts for each of them, lest you think I olny took like 10 pictures this whole time.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More Pictures...

Here's the sunrise over the mountain just outside the the airport in Fiji. I couldn't even leave the airport, as we were herded from the arrivals terminal to the transfers terminal. This was the only spot facing East where I could get a picture out of the window. I'm going to spend some more time in Fiji at some time too, it looked beautiful as we were flying out.

This guy is The Duke, the very first surfer to surf in Australia. He started it all, by watching some locals in Hawaii, or something. I dunno, I was pretty tired when we were getting the speech about what was what. I'll pay attention next time, I swear.

Here's a guy in a monkey suit. That's all that needs to be said.

Here's a view of Palm Beach from the Barrenjoey Headland, a lighthouse at the top of a cliff. Palm Beach is apparently where the rich and famous have houses. They all average about $1m, so I will have to wait till next year at least before I get one here.

More pictures will be forthcoming in the next little while. Whee!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Test with pictures?

Yay! Me on the other side of the harbour from the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. I plan on doing the bridge walk possibly later this week, so I'll get some pictures and put them up.

First Post!

OK, so I've finally got myself a blog, now to figure out how to get pics and stuff... *sigh* So many things i have to do...

Anyhow, first post should be about what I've done, not me whining about what I need to do. So to those of you who did not get my last email, I've just been checking out the sights and sounds of Sydney.

I'm staying right downtown near Chinatown in the Wake Up! Hostel. This has been a great time so far. They run tours around the city every week, just to check out the various beaches and landmarks in the area. The Opera House is a lot bigger than I thought it would be, I'll tell you that. But it's pricey to see a show, so I may not be able to do that while I'm here, unless I get myself a high paying job. That actually seems to be pretty easy to do, some of the girls staying in the hostel have already gotten jobs paying them, like, $1000/week. That's not bad scratch...

Observations abot Sydney: Not having spent any time in a big European city, I don't have anything to cmpare it to, but it's different than any North American city I've ever been in. I can't find any 'malls' or big box stores. Even their supermarkets are no bigger than our 7-11's. Oh yes, and there's McDonalds out here, all over the place. I haven't eaten in one yet (why would I travel all this way to eat a Big mac anyways?) but apparently the Aussies go mental for them. Every time I've walked by one, they're always queued up 20 people deep, no joke. It's crazy!

But I'll end this here, and I'll update in the next couple days.