Rawr – Don’t forget to carry the M!

Friday was a quiet day as I said before it would be, with one of the boys from my friend being struck by a stomach bug, we took things slowly. Given my tiredness from the previous days I wasn’t really complaining about that!

The Friday night came along and we headed out to the Burswood Theatre to watch Eddie Izzard live.. And boy, enjoy we did. What a great show it was with so many high-points. Some of the best bits were undoubtedly the bit about language and the lack thereof with the dinosaurs.. Rawr!!! The veliciraptier being stopped in the car and asked for his papers when stopped by the police (how fast did you think you were going sir? Rawr, raawr, rawrrrr, rawwwwr.. 45?) had me and my friends in stitches and we kept rawring at each other the following days 🙂
Another great bit was the part where he was talking in Latin, well.. actually it was a mixture between English, French, German, Italian and funny as heck. When he started counting out in ‘roman’ (How many people you say? MMMCXLVXIMMM .. only 43?? No, don’t forget to carry the M!!)

As it was a fairly new, at least on Aussie soil, there were a few bits in the show that didn’t work for the majority (I guess no one saw that movie!! Make a note of that) despite that a very entertaining evening was had by all. Very happy that more tickets had become available at a late date!! 🙂

Saturday was a calm day as well;, with poor one sick boy who fortunately started to bounce back during the day. Saturday evening we spent the evening at home, as a kind of impromptu birthday party where Trish gave me an authentic Aussie hat (no, no corks dangling from it like Crocodile Dundee’s hat!!) On Sunday afternoon we went for a tour, given by two friends whom I’d met the night before of the local wine area. The chocolate factory was a must-stop for some!! 😉 Then it was on to a winery where several wines were tasted (I’m just not used to the taste at all btw) and we had lunch.

As we drove back, we stopped opf at an ice salon and got some icecreams.. My first pistachio icecreams in years and years then to head back to the tour guides place to hang out a bit there. As the day was progressing, I could feel my stomach starting to protest and it looks like I too had gotten the stomach bug that had been doing the rounds (I wasn’t its last victim either as it turned out). By the time it was time to transfer me over to another friend in the area to stay there for a few days, I was having a lot of trouble keeping anything down..

After a decent night’s sleep given the circumstances, we were off to the mall to get some supplies and then off to the Zig Zag, a road in the hills above Perth which give you a great view over the city, then lunch for some dim-sum, which was good but I didn’t dare to eat much yet. After lunch it was off to the Cohunu Wildlife park, where they have kangaroos (you are allowed to feed them), wallibis, koalas etc and I really enjoyed myself but by the time we got back home I was so tired and dizzy that the only thing I wanted to do was to sit down and make the world stop spinning! After watching a movie or two (or trying to at least) it was time for an early night.

The following morning I felt a lot better and was able to eat somewhat normally again, after breakfast I jumped ontop the train to the city and went to visit Scitech, a hands on science museum and a planetarium. At the latter I saw two amazing shows, planetarium technology has come a long, long way since I was last in one!!

Aftewr dinner, we headed off Riverton Bridge and then to the Zig Zag again, but this time for some night shots over the city with more stunning views over the city

Aussie 2011

After a long trip yesterday (and the day before) I’m back in the Land Down Under. After two flights (Amsterdam – Singapore, 12h25m and Singapore – Perth (4h45m) and an incredibly quick pass through customs and immigration (5 minutes tops!!) I’m back!

I was soo out of it last night after that long trip and not having slept more than 4 hours since Tuesday that I crashed really early. By 20:30 I was down and out, and not before I started to talk Dutch to my friends and it not registering with me till after I had repeated it (in Dutch again).

It was really good to see my friend again and I slipped right back in my brau-pair role it seems! The youngest one gave me a big hug last night, when I had been there for only an hour or so. All in all it was a really long birthday, but well worth it!

Today will be a quiet day and then tonight we’ll be going to see Eddie Izzard. I’m really looking forward to that!

Over and out for now!

A week and a bit later..

Well, it’s hard to believe that it’s all over and done with already!! I’d been looking forward to this trip for so long and once it started, it was almost over before I really noticed it. Being on the go for almost four weeks straight, with just the occasional ‘slow’ day it’s only now starting to really sink in what an amazing time I’ve had Down Under!

 

Meeting my friend in Perth after talking to her very often via email, msn, sms and the occasional phonecall for nearly 5 years was definitely one of the highlights of the whole trip! (Yes, I know it sounds a bit corny, but it’s the truth!!) It’s such a cool thing to notice that you also click in real life and not just through a keyboard! She and the rest of her family (and friends) really made me feel at home. And the kids were great to get along with as well! It’s definitely not a ‘standard’ thing for a holiday but I enjoyed myself tremendously with them and I’m very glad it worked out like this!

It’s so much better to talk about certain things when you’re face to face, compared to digitally.. Even though we do seem to manage to get the message across pretty well, it just added that extra bit to it all! I now know how she’d say certain things she says in emails 🙂

 

After having been with them for about a fortnight, it was time to say my goodbyes for a short while and head out to Alice Springs and from thereon to Kata Tjuta, Uluru and King’s Canyon. I’d booked a 3-day camping tour through that area.. And before I went I was a bit in doubt about that, since I am not a camping type person at all!! But in retrospect, I should’ve gone on the 5-day tour.. It was soo much fun and I’ve seen soo many gorgeous things during those three days and had such a great time walking and ‘climbing’ through the valleys.. I really surprised myself I liked it that much!! I’ll know for next time that I can take it, as long as there’s some creature comforts around!!

 

Then it was on to Sydney.. After a rocky start, with it not working at all between me and the acquintances I was gonna stay at.. I went to the city itself and checked in in a backpackers hotel. That hotel was situated just to the south of the city centre and most of the things I’d wanted to see and knew about beforehand were in walking distance (for me anyways) The Harbour Bridge was about 45 minutes walking, but I liked that! I got to see more of the city that way then jumping on a bus or train..
The Harbour Bridge.. Now, climbing that was surely one of my favourite things to have done during this trip. It’s soo cool to walk through the structure of the bridge and really see and feel how it’s put together! plus the views you get standing on top of that thing are simply awesome. Walking up and down over an iron grid and just seeing water 80m or so beneath you is cool! you really shouldn’t have vertigo, it could be difficult for you then!!

 

The only thing during this holiday that was a bit disappointing actually was the tour of the Opera House. When I went on it, most of the halls were closed due to performances at night, copyright reasons etc.. Now, I can fully understand that being done, but put up a notice at the ticket desk saying that the tour won’t go through certain areas and maybe adjust the price accordingly! Other then that, I loved Sydney.. It’s got far more a city feel then Perth has (I like Perth a lot as well, but it’s just different) and with me being a city boy, I felt at home there. It wasn’t too hectic, still pretty relaxed just like the rest of the country.

 

Then after Sydney it was back to Perth again, to stay a few more days at my friends and celebrate (and help preparing!) the 1st birthday of their second son.. That was a lot of fun as well, all the kids had a great time (and that’s why you do it mostly anyways) and I got some shots of mom at the party with the kids, she normally doesn’t get many of those since she’s the photographer!
The last normal day fell in the water, almost literally. The weather forecast had several severe weather warnings in it for the Perth area.. So, instead of going out and seeing more stuff I stayed ‘at home’ and just mailed with my friend whilst she was at work, just like I do at home almost 😉

 

And then leaving day came around.. I was out of sorts all day, stomach somewhat upset, not feeling very happy.. I didn’t feel like going home at all and I certainly didn’t like the fact that my friends are now again on the other side of the world! I knew I was going to miss them and I was/am right in that. I do miss them, even though we’re back at the old routine of emailing, SMS- and MSN-ing with each other.. That 3rd dimension is missing now! 🙁 Saying goodbye was pretty hard to do for me..

 

After a long trip (18h flying) I got back home and that felt pretty weird at the beginning I can tell you. Normality had resumed for me, even though I wasn’t ready for that at all yet! What with the jetlag, getting ill after I’d gotten home and having all those great memories it took me a while to readjust.. I’m now pretty much back to my ‘normal’ routine, though I still miss my friends. (and no, not miss them in such a way that I’m gonna do weird things!!)

 

I’ve really had a great holiday there, and I’ll definitely be going there again. Both to see my friends again (still so much to see/do in their area as well) and see more of the country of course. Don’t ask me yet where I’ll be going to then.. I really don’t know yet..

 

(oh yeah, I’m almost done sorting the last pictures to put up.. As my friend says.. I’m quite the shutterbug.. and I have a hard time deciding what to put up and what not..

Home again

After a long day of travelling I’m home again, to arrive in a cold and wet Holland. Only 10C when I arrived!!

I was incredibly tired after the trip and the four weeks in general. Until you actually sit still and don’t do anything anymore, the tiredness strikes you big time. But it was worth the tiredness I have now without a shadow of a doubt, I’ve had such an amazing time over the last four weeks.

 

I know for certain that I’ll be going back there! Of course to see my friends again but also to see more of the country. I was quickly glimpsing through my pictures this afternoon, some of them I didn’t really had a chance to look at properly due to circumstances, and it started to dawn on me even more how great a time I’ve had over there!!

 

 

The nanny/au-pair is about to go home again!! :(

Damn, it’s almost time to go home again.. In two days time I’ll be on the long plane trip back home and I sooo don’t want to go home!
I’ve fallen in love with this country, it’s just a very unique place in the world. Because of the people, the sights, the isolation, the size of the country.. they all make it a very special (or maybe different is a better word, good different mind you!) place. I’ve talked to several people who’ve felt the same way I feel. On the Sydney Harbour Bridge I talked to a couple who’d been out here for a holiday and they were back (for good!) about two years later and I must say, I can totally see why!

 

And of course, having good friends here makes it even harder to leave! We’ll go back to our old routine of emailing, sms-ing and chatting but it’ll be different from now on. Since we now know each other for real (and still get along!! ;)), the bond has grown stronger. Knowing someone through the net is one thing, knowing for real just adds a whole nother dimension, and I’m not just talking about the 3rd dimension!!

 

Today, was the 1st birthday party for my friend’s second son and a whole lot of preparations went into that.. The shopping and baking yesterday, the preparations last night and this morning but it was loads of fun being at the party.

 

Even though I’ve still got little under two days to go I want to say a huge thank you to my friends here, they’ve helped make this a great (if somewhat  unconventional!) holiday.

 

ps. All the rest of the pics will follow once I get home probably..

pps. About the title.. My friends call me that jokingly since I get along with their kids so well, even advising me think about a career change!!

Quick update

Just a quick update for everyone who reads this..

The Bridge climb was awesome, that gave so many great views and was a lot of fun to do!! And more then 1400 steps can’t hurt you now can it?!? 😉 After that I went into one of the pilons (only there for show basically) which had a great exhibition on how the bridge was built and some more great views (now with photo opportunities!

Then it was on to the Opera House for the tour there, but to be honest that was slightly disappointing.. Several of the halls were shut and no mention was made of that before getting your ticket.. I was a bit bummed about that. I did stick around the quay though and got some great nightshots of the city, the bridge and the Opera house!!

Yesterday morning, I went to the National Maritime museum and onto the destroyer and the sub! (I could never work on that sub, I’d be knocked out in seconds!! Way too low for me!! The destroyer was pretty cool though. Later in the afternoon Iwent up the Sydney Tower, or whatever it’s called nowadays and enjoyed some great, great views of the city

 

This morning it was the Sydney Wildlife, followed by a tour through the harbour.. Now I’ve just checked in for my flight back to pErth, and am mailing with my friend a bit and I’ll be off to the Aquarium next!

All in all, having a great time here, though also very happy I’ll see my friends in Perth again tomorrow!

 

Sydney

Well, I’m in Sydney now.. Not 70kms north of it but smack in the middle of the city..
It didn’t quite click with the people I was to stay with, so I’ve gone away from them.. And even though I was pretty stressed about that at first, I’ve now come to my senses again and will be starting to enjoy it.

 

Today, I’ve been walking through the city, following a route in my National Geographic guidebook for Sydney just to get an idea of what’s where, how far away etc.. Seen some pretty cool stuff already. Tomorrow it’s Bridgeclimb time!! And after that I’ll probably do the tour of the Opera House. My friend in Perth has advised me to do the ferry through the harbour to go and see other parts (cheaply) and I’ll probably do that as well (but not tomorrow I think ;))

 

I’m also planning to go up on the tower here and get a great view of the place from way up high! I’ll possibly through in either the aquarium or a zoo with Aussie wildlife (so far, I’ve only seen a kangeroo, a dingo and an emu.. None of the more exotic animals like the platypus e.g.

 

Oh, and those waiting for pics.. That’ll have to wait till I am back in Perth (from friday again)

The Red Centre (or dust, flies, rocks and flies)

On day one we started out at 5:45 in the morning picking people all around Alice and even a few near Uluru. We started to drive there round there 6:45 and we wouldn't arrive near Uluru till 13:30, it's quite a big distance to cover.


The bus we had was pretty comfy and the 3-dayers were lucky ones this trip because it was a combi-bus for 2, 3 and 5 day trippers and we were going to do something on day 3 from the day 5 program. Normally, they drive back
to Alice over sealed roads (via Stuart highway) on the 3-day trip. But the 5-day trippers go to another camp and to get there they go across a huge stretch of gravel roads, which we now also got to experience! (more on that later)


Once we got to camp on day 1 we dropped our stuff, had lunch and went to Kata Tjuta the Olgas)where we did a walk of about 2 hours through the Valley of the Winds.. That was a great start to everything, if a bit steep at times. (worse was yet to come! ;))

After we were done there we went to Uluru to see the sunset.. And that was pretty good!! Seen a lot of colour changes in the rock with the changing different lighting conditions.. chocolate-brown, light red, bright red, dull brown and just rock once the sun set.

After that we went back to camp where the guide/host started to make dinner. There was a huge hotplate (I guess that's what it's called) at the camp site on which he
warmend loads of sausages, steaks and some veggie
foods for the vegetarian (and the rest of us) in the group. Dinner was outstanding and there was plenty to go around for everyone!! He said it when the tour started that the amount of food wasn't going to be a problem and he was right!!

After dinner and cleaning up we sat around the camp fire just talking and soon people started to turn into their tents for sleep.. I of course was one of the last ones, partially because of me and partially cuz I just had
to watch the evening sky.. Unfortunately the guide didn't know many constellations so all I got to see was the Scorpio one (easy one and my own star sign!) and
apparently the southern cross as well.. :\

The beds in the tents were fairly comfy but the slip-sheet for the sleeping bags was way too short, so that made sleeping a bit tricky. I kept waking up every hour or so, nd seeing as I turned in round 11-ish and we had to get by 5 again, not much sleep was had by me.. (2nd night in a
row)
After a good brekky @ camp we went to Uluru to see the sunrise and do a walk. The sunrise (as the sun set) was cool, but not as much of a colour change as usually happens apparently (pretty hazy). After that we were dropped for a walk round the rock, you couldn't do the
whole circle and the sunrise so I had to make a choice, I picked the sunset and the half length walk. I 'had to make
do' with half of the walk.. It's a pretty impressive feeling walking next to that giant piece of rock I can tell ya.. Seen some great views and took loads and loads of pics. Having come back at the beginning, the guide was
doing an hour's guided walk along part of the rock, which was very cool because he told loads of stuff about it!

After the walk had ended we headed to the cultural centre which had all sorts of very cool (and bloody expensive!!) aboriginal art pieces, as well as an intro into Aboriginal culture which was pretty cool. Next to this was an art
shop, and in that were a few aboriginal women doing their
painting, sitting on the floor of the shop. That left me, and several other from the tour, with a funny taste in our
mouths.. The whole purpose of the centre to us seemed to bring the aboriginals more into the western society in Australia.. And the only place you see them with one the holiest places for Aboriginals was almost as animals in a
zoo or circus doing their tricks. All the people behind the register etc were all whites..
 
And yes, the shop also had cheap(ish) stuff but that was
pretty tacky for the most part.. It was either genuine art at hugely inflated prices or the cheap tacky touristy stuff and nothing in between.

After Uluru, back to camp, have lunch, clean up the tents and the kitchen, pack the bags and head of to the
next camp, at a cattle station.. When we got there the guide was going to cook dinner on the coals of the fire, chicken, veggies, damper and a pasta.. It all tasted pretty good!! After that, sitting round the campfire
again in a very stuffy and clouded evening.. So not seen many stars that night unfortunately :( I am in one of the darkest, least light poluted places on Mother Earth and it's cloudy... :s

Another early start on day 3 (0500 again) we had lunch, packed up and went to King's Canyon for a 3.5-hour walk along the rim of the canyon.. The first part was
incredibly steep and we did that in two stages, to give everyone time to catch their breath! And even though it was round 7 in the morning, we all got pretty hot. I went to my first water bottle in that climb alone almost! :)
 
Once we got to the top we were treated to some stunning
views and the walk around the rim was pretty steep at times, climbing over rocks, walking close to the edge of a cliff.. About 1.5 hours into the walk we got to the 'Garden of Eden' which was simply stunningly beautiful.. It's a place covered on almost all sides, which has loads of trees, other plants and a small river and lake in it. After talking loads of pics there we went back up to the top and made it to the other side of the canyon and had some of the best views of the entire trip there.. (Parts of Priscilla, Queen of the dessert were shot there!!!)

So, afer about 3.5 hours we got back to the car-park, all soaked in sweat and thirsty as heck (I had emptied 3 bottles). That was followed by a picnic lunch very
close by.. Then we made our way to the next camp-site (for the 5 dayers) where a bus was going to pick us up and take us to Alice..

As said before, this was a huge stretch of unpaved gravel road (about 200kms or about 125 miles for the metricly challenged), and boy was that fun!!!! As I said, we drove in a pretty big truck and the guide didn't exactly took it calmly.. When we approached the gravel road we were
doing about 110km/h and he slowed down just a tad, to around 90km/h or so!!! The bus was shaking all over the place and we hit quite a few big ramps in the road, where you'd be launched from your seat without the seatbelt!! :D

That whole piece was about 3.5 hours of rally driving in a truck (almost) and loads of fun!! Almost better then the entire camping trip.
 
It's funny, most people go to the Red Centre to see the Rock (Uluru) and many don't feel that that was the best part of the trip. For me the King's canyon was by far the best part, followed by Kata Tjunga and Uluru the last. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy Uluru, far from it.. It was very impressive and aweinspriring at times, but the walks were just that bit better then Uluru
The heat wasn't all that bad in this time of the year in the desert (it's very early spring mind you) but the flies were bad, at some points you really had to keep waving your arms around to make sure they weren't all over you. At one of the stops we made along the way, they were selling caps which said.. Wot flies? I found that to be pretty funny!
 
Anyway, it was a great, great trip and I have no regrets at all that I went there.. In retrospect, I should really have done the 5-day tour instead of the 3-day tour but who knows what the future will bring?!

I’m pretty sure I’ll be back in Australia.. I just love this place!

Alice Springs

What a day..

I’ve arrived in Alice Springs, but it was cutting it pretty close. Checkin for my luggage closed 30mins before departure time and we got there 5 minutes too lte baically. If I’d not been able to take my bag with me, I’d have been in a lot of trouble. After making a call,  could still get my ag on fortunately..

I was taken to the airport by my friend’s parents and she was pretty sorry things had to go like this… I didn’t realy enjoy my flight over adam not feelig all that happy about it all. Hopefully it’ll all be over tomorrow morning round 5:45 when  am gong to leave for th rock!

I’ll be back online on Thursday, so I’ll see yu all later!

 

King’s Park and Aqwa

Yesterday, we went to King’s Park in the morning and enjoyed some great views from up there. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t quite cooperating with us and we went back pretty quickly due to the rain which was coming down hard and long (unusually apparently! ;))

During the afternoon, my friend hosted a kid’s book ordering party so I got to meet some more of her friends/relatives wchich was nice.

 

Today, we went North a bit to the aquarium and everyone had a blast. We got to see some gorgegeous fish whilst we were there. The oldest of my friend’s kids had a blast and didn’t quite know where to look basically. He saw loads of animals he knows from Nemo! 🙂 Even the youngest one didn’t quite know where to look. (Oh yeah, us adults also enjoyed it!!)

 

Then to the harder part.. Tomorrow, I leave for Alice Springs/Uluru and then onto to Sydney for a week after that. Whilst I am looking forward to that a lot, I also know I’ gonna miss my friends here in Perth a lot. These last two weeks have been such a blast, it was soo good to finally meet (and click) with someone I’ve know virtually for 4.5 years by now.

Both of them were ‘afraid’ that I would be sick of the kids by now, but that’s totally not the case. They’re a bunch of great kids and I get along great with them.. I’ll see all of them again before I go home again, but it doesn’t make it easier to leave. I know I’ll be doing loads of other great stuff but I wouldn’t have missed these two weeks for the world!