Some Natives from North Germany

I’ve sent over a couple of locals from here to visit the Great Southern Land, so they can meet all my friends and family.  If you hear the German accent or German language near you, make sure you greet them warmly, help them in whatever way befits you and say “Moin Moin” in greeting!  If you do meet them, they’ll probably send me a Whatsapp picture with you in it, it’s like we’re together again!

I wish them all the best and I hope they enjoy their time in Australia.

Farewell Ingrid

What a hard day to get through.  Saying goodbye is easy compared to spending a day with a person you don’t want to leave but know they are only hours away from going.  Especially when the tunes you decide to play are a little too fitting in the melancholic connection.  I think this morning’s playlist included Dead Virgin, The Birthday Party’s “She’s Hit” and lots of Portishead.  I was going for ‘chilled out’ but I couldn’t help and match the sense of joy being lost knowing that this time has come to an end.

We went out for breakfast, Henri Marc gave us a delicious start to the day.  Ingrid claims to have had possibly the best coffee of her life, I think she ordered the Colombian one, but I cannot be sure because I lack an interest in such caffeinated dranks.  I love the face Ingrid pulls when she really enjoys the food, I saw it a few times during the trip and then I couldn’t help but use it to judge pretty much everything we had: food, beer, wine, coffee, chocolate, tim tams etc etc

Yeah, then the packing & sad music happened.  I don’t know if much else took place.

We got in the car and gave Penrith the horns.  I put on Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill because it’s one of Ingrid’s favourites.  Turns out there’s a few too many songs on there that can become tear jerkers and so sometimes when I checked on Ingrid, she was crying.  Basically the only option I had on the USB stick in the stereo was to change to Limp Bizkit hahaha

Sydney happened, Ingrid bought the final stages of Australiana: Boomerangs, soft toys of Koalas, Wombats, Platypii & I think an Echidna…  On our way to KFC (I had vouchers and neither of us had a lot of money) I mentioned how for my birthday I wanted to try this Colombian place, that should be nearby, out for food.  Ingrid insist we check it out.  It was really good.  Both our dishes had some kind of slow cooked meat, unless it always turns out that way…?  We also had Colombian juices, they were both nice, not anything too different from any normal juice or combination of juices you can get from most stores.
We returned to the car to move it to a better parking spot, and caught the train to the Airport.

I don’t think she cried the whole time.  Ingrid was impressed that I could take her all the way and wait with her at the gate until she left, neither Colombia nor Germany allow this apparently.  We win again!  We talked all kinds of things and the time passed quickly.  Too quickly for me.
I watched her board her plane, left the airport, came back to the airport just in case she needed a ride home and then, on the train back to my car I realised her carry on bag had my book that I wanted to read on this train!  We’ll just say it’s one of those things you do, so you have to see the person again.
Ingrid’s flight from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi is late…

I guess that means I’m going back to Germany to get that book!
Come back eventually for updates.

Post Queensland Summary

Another backdated post, not sure how it comes out to you few people who read here, no complaints?  No worries.

Our last few days in Queensland involved an amazing trip to Australia Zoo, no, we didn’t see any Irwins, we made it to South Bank Brisbane & graced Dreamworld with not only our presence but also our patience (lol).

Australia Zoo
If you’ve seen the photo in the previous post, Ingrid and I went to the wildlife park with my niece Mia & her awesome mother Kate.  Naturally there was a 3 car accident on the way in.  Queenslanders speed a lot, tailgate and avoid using indicators (I assume it’s a lack of intelligence thing).  We all hoped nobody was badly hurt, but there was a head-on element and combined with the speed of the road (ignoring the likelihood of speeding) anything over 50km/hr is generally lethal.  Look it up and stop driving like an idiot, please.
There wasn’t much of a queue to enter and the train/shuttle thing was just pulling in as we were ready to go.  The place is very different from what I remember – they have other worldly sections, it’s huge!  The shuttle took us to the African part, after showing most of every other part, which we’d walk back to.  No goading would make a rhino or zebra fight a giraffe, which is a shame, but understandable, I suppose.  After that we looked at the Asian section (perhaps South East Asian… will confirm in 100 years), then we got to the business.  Ingrid need to see, touch, taste & smell a kangaroo & koala, at least.  We could see koalas in their section, sleeping it up, the patting would come in a few hours.  Girls were squealing in the “it’s so cute” way at many furry things.  At one point some tourists were sneaking photos of me in, I saw you, you bastards, cover my entry cost!
After the big midday show, with all the birds and croc action, we all got to pat a koala, I’m not actually sure if that was before or after patting some kangaroos, except for Kate.  Every time she got close they seemed to take issue.  Mia even threw a stick or something, kind of at one (2 year olds throw like unco’s) and it didn’t move, but when Kate wanted to pat “Hey!” and it freaked the ladies out.  Kate had to take Mia home in the early afternoon, Ingrid and I planned to be out of there not long after, but we saw passed out wombats, some fairly still dingoes and a catbear/Biturong… never heard of it either, that’s why you have the gift of a link.
I think after that we went to the Botanical Garden in Brisbane, it was very small, but quite nice.  Stupid mosquitoes.

South Bank
Ahhh the elusive South Bank of Brisbane… we were delivered to Caxton St and had a good time, what will this new approach to the old problem of “getting there” show us?  We parked in the city center, paid for the privilege and walked there, that’s how we solved that riddle. I’m not happy about it, ok?  If you want to know something rebellious, know that we were late returning to our car and got no fine!
South Bank was very pretty, they even have a public pool, that’s kind of set out like a beach, with its own lifeguard and everything.  When we soaked our feet in the waters many drunk late teens were trying to sexually impress each other with dumb things.
We went to a Russian restaurant, because that’s what appealed to us out of all the Indian/Thai/Usual-in-every-place restaurants that was in the area.  Russian food is hearty and good.  It grows your back for mighty tasks.  By the time we’d finished eating we were late for the car.  Originally Ingrid convinced me that getting a fine wasn’t so bad.  Then I remembered that they can actually tow your car… that would be far worse.

Dreamworld
Our final day in Queensland saw us drive through Brisbane to the Gold Coast for a tipple in Dreamworld.  There wasn’t really any queue to get in, we figured because we were kind of early.  Turns out the park was kind of empty for most of the day.  Thank you school children!  One issue this posed was that the few people who were there all wanted much the same rides (I think 3 of the “thrill” rides were out of order), so while the queues were minimal at some rides, they were still present at the better ones.  Another, we would later discover, is that pretty much all the food joints inside close really early and we learned that if you don’t have at least 8 adults on a roller coaster, you cannot complete a loop de loop.  😦
At one point we ended up in the animal section and got to see more dingoes amongst the regulars.  We also got to see our first Tree Kangaroo and Bilby.  The Tree Kangaroo is kind of like a possum and kanga combined.  I’ve seen a bilby before and you can look it up if you want to.
A highlight was entering a “Zombie” laser tag game and then being forced onto the other team from Ingrid and then her getting the lowest score of the game – including the little children that played.  Her team won though.  The town was overrun with zombies and my team of defenders just couldn’t cope apparently.
Ingrid really liked the Tower of Terror rides, the giant drop and car thing. They were pretty deece.  Good times for all, except when we decided to get something to eat before we left.  Closed mate.  Closed.

Once all was done, we got in the car and headed to Byron Bay, where we would stay the night, warm, in each other’s arms, while a storm approached where we had left.

Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!

I’m sneakily putting this on its date when I’ve actually writing it 11 days after.  The wonders of technology!

Ingrid and I got up early to go to Alexandra Headlands beach to watch the sunrise, we then fell asleep on the beach for a little while.  After a walk we were ready for food, which continued with our established theme of mashing most of our meals together because time didn’t really have a meaning.  The cafe we went to explained that it’d be around a 20-30 minute wait for food, so I ordered a piece of carrot cake to hold us off until the main meal.  The piece they served was huge and delicious, although apparently not the best Ingrid has ever had, but very close to!  This created a problem, our large drinks arrived and not so long after the huge servings of our meals turned up.  By the end we were both feeling a little ill from putting too much in, I think Ingrid went to empty herself out, involuntarily.

We eventually returned to Kyle & Kate’s place to plan what our evening would be.  Being our final weekend in Queensland, we decided to give Brisbane’s nightlife a good go.  I think by this time I’d driven to Brisbane 3 times, so I was getting used to getting in and out.  Brisbane itself is a mess.  Stupid one way streets which mean that if you’ve missed the planned turn or the planned turn is infact forbidden (due to a one way street) going around the block to start again is almost impossible.  It’s almost as if somebody planned Brisbane to be like Melbourne in layout but Parramatta in road usage (don’t get me started on Parramatta!).  The blocks appear to allow easy navigation, but it’s only if you’re local enough to know which streets are permitted on your journey or not, that you will gain much success and joy!

Upon the recommendation of Kyle we headed to South Bank.  The above paragraph meant that we actually ended up somewhere else.  Luckily we still had our tourist books, so the place we ended up offered some ‘cool’ places to check out.  Without having done a night out in South Bank, I cannot compare, but Caxton St was rad.  There was Brewski, a place that has a lot of beers, like a 6 page menu of local and imported, in order of style: lager, pale ale, ipa, stout etc etc.  I was driving so I had 2 beers and forced Ingrid to have 3 with the promise that I’d not be driving until about midnight.  The last one Ingrid had was like 9% or something and she was saying that she was a little dizzy from all those beers and food was needed.  Smart, beautiful girl.  Across the road was an interesting place, apparently we got in just before the kitchen was closing, both meals were awesome!  The final destination was a place that claimed to know whisky (Ingrid’s favourite drink) and had bearded barmen.  They did have a lot of whisky, that was true.  Their facial hair was wanting, I think the closest to a full beard I saw was one guy who had maybe 2 weeks worth of growth.  Another was only sporting a mo and one was disgustingly clean shaven!

There was a live band playing, a kind of gypsy, country, blues combination.  They were pretty darn good.  The funny thing was that they would say they are going and we’ll see them again some time in the future.  Implying that they were leaving for the next den on the horizon.  What happened was they returned in about 20 minutes and played more songs.  It was a kind of odd.  Forgivable, because we enjoyed dancing to them.  Around midnight I was feeling like a pumpkin so we started to leave, then Ingrid’s ears picked up Rage Against the Machine playing upstairs.  We had found THE PLACE!  hahaha!  It was nowhere near as crowded and the people seemed cooler (downstairs we were laughing at this pissed dolled-up chick who kept saying to her friend “I hate this place, why do I come here?” – because you’re a vacuous idiot who wants to be seen I imagine).  We watched lone ugly men hit on a table full of women and we’re not sure if they succeeded or not, but some of them seemed to be around them later on.  RATM played until we left.  Ingrid got a whisky, the barman looked a little like the drummer for Broozer but was keenly interested in what she liked about whisky so she would get the right one (I was ordering, don’t think he was trying to get into her pants, maybe, didn’t have that vibe though).  We watched as everybody lit up when Killing In The Name Of played and then I laughed as nobody knew the better songs like Bulls On Parage or Bombtrack – Brisbane loser hipsters it seems hahaha!

We returned to sleep at 4ish in the AM.  Oh!  On the way home I stopped to make toilet.  I returned to the car and Ingrid was gone.  The passenger seat was empty.  I started to panic a little, where could a drunk, tired Colombian girl go when we’re at a petrol station half way between Brisbane & Sunshine Coast?  I was still approaching the car but looking around the car park, then I saw her.  She’d climbed into the back of the car and was asleep on the bed we’d set up.  I tried to wake her a little, because it’s not safe, but we made it home fine and she had a sleep.

Driving and looking for a car park

Taught the poor girl how to drive on the wrong side of a car on the wrong side of the road and then put that education to a grueling test: substitute driver for a 11-13 hour drive to the Sunshine Coast.  It went pretty well, just got some traffic here and there.  Ingrid suspects she may have had the honour of getting her likeness caught on a speeding camera. We’ll see what interesting things happen there.

Kyle and his gift for creating monsoons has discouraged us from going much further north.  I don’t believe we’ll make Bowen this trip.  Future plans perhaps…?

Woke up as soon as Mia announced that she was awake, after probably 5 hours sleep.  Played with some puzzles while eating breakfast.
So far we’ve battled Brisbane, we drove in because the trains don’t really make sense and we have no idea of cost.  Parking was interesting… customer only you say?  We had a look at your wares and chose not to follow through to being a full fare paying customer.  We still believe we’re entitled to your 3 hour free parking though, thanks. 😉
We used the parking time gifted us to get some information on what to do in Brisbane.  By the time we actually got to the information centre (naturally most locals don’t know where anything is) we had to have lunch & look to leave.  We ate down by the river, a beautiful view and very relaxing.  Then we left…
I sent Kate a text, it time stamped our departure.  Due to driver incompetence and I think there was an accident (hope nobody got hurt) a little over an hour drive took 3 hours.  Thanks Queensland drivers for wasting a large part of our day, learn to merge.

We then went to the markets with Kyle, Kate & Mia.  The drive in saw me knowing more Wiggles songs than I was aware of: Mia, Ingrid and I were dancing it up in the back seat though.  The market was pretty good, quite busy.  Highlights included finding a bar that had Colombian beers & spirits.  Had to try it, did a shot (Aguardiente) with the beer (Cerveza Aguila) to cruise through.  The shot has a slightly aniseed flavour and was whiskey-ish in strength.  The beer is smooth, low carbonation with a slightly sweet flavour.  Apparently both are dirt cheap in their homeland, naturally, not so here hahaha

Tomorrow being Valentines Day, we’ll see if we can make the beach by sunrise.  Other plans are currently unresearched.

Melbourne: The Friendly or Closed Chronicles

Our last few days in Sydney were characterised by trying to have a night out, but being too tired and piking on our own party hahaha
This was then returned to us when we attempted to visit the local chocolate factory.  It’s lunch time, Saturday, perfect timing for chocolate binge-ing.  Think again Mr Chocolate Man!  Factory is closed at midday, you lose, do not pass go, do not pay to collect chocolate.

So we run away to Melbourne.  Matt, of the band Nous (amongst others), picks us up from the airport, naturally our flight is a bit late, but he’s a friendly fellow.  We then meet his girlfriend, Tam, she’s a friendly lass.  The drive back is mostly dominated by our talk of recording technologies and techniques, which I’m sure, turned the girls on a lot and made others in passing cars want to come to the orgy.
For dinner we decide that Ingrid has to have Kangaroo, in BBQ form.  We go halves in a case of Boag’s Premium and buy our supplies.  As we’re cooking some unexpected people turn up, it’s an all out backyard shindig!!  Beers are smashed, the kanga bangas and steaks go down nicely and we score a bed in the back of a van, which rules.  We actually asked if we could stay in there for the rest of the time down, it was private and comfortable, just perfect.

I’m not sure of chronology at the moment, but on some day at some point we were looking for a restaurant that was recommended by the internets & the printed guide I picked up.  Both appear to be out of date or the place is so exclusive that you have to enter through a convincing karaoke shop front.  The next place we decide to go eat is closed, and it’s like normal weekend dining times, we weren’t be dodgy or anything.  Turns out most of Melbourne was closing up.  That was ok, as we were wandering, I pushed the others into a Jerky store, we bought all the non-spicy varieties but avoided all the horrid looking seafood ones: curried cuttlefish biltong anyone?
Look there!  Let’s go down there.  We headed down some random alleyway and noticed that the trendy beer garden-esque place was full, but those random stairs with a menu near the door looked rapey, so we entered.  I figured that Ingrid is the only girl amongst us and I could probably cork Matt’s leg if he runs faster than I…  It was a Polish bar!  To make things better they were giving away free drinks on arrival and were trying out a new menu, so we got free food!!  Your holidays suck, only travel with me from now on.

We journeyed out to Phillip Island to see Penguins.  Now the penguins were rad, so were the wallabies, but there were some shifty, shitty things afoot that kind of soiled the experience a little bit.  It’s $23 something to go see them, per person, not a huge deal, I suppose.  You enter this pretty tacky building that has some displays on penguins and all that, they have a horrid looking selection of crappy cafeteria food at stupidly high prices and the merch was pretty shitty.  What made things worse though was their weird attitude and hypocrisy towards people and penguins.

Dear Trip Advisor:
Today I went to see penguins, however every ranger or volunteer or knobjock whatever shouted and waved hands about there not being any photography.  Not just avoiding flash photography, but ANY photography.  They claimed that this disoriented the penguins & in some instances made them throw up food.  One fails to see how, unless the soul stealing stories are true, a camera using the low level of light available would achieve this.  That’s not so bad though, really, except the whatever people are driving around in buggies with flashing lights, they use a PA to say things, have floodlights shining over the beach, operate coffee machines, with drink fridges running (on the sand!) and have built fences etc that funnel the penguins…  Now I’m no gynaecologist nor animal expert but I understand how a flash could possibly effect the penguins, they are often irritating to humans and moody musicians or artists.  Surely, given the amount of crap they have though, a click of a camera is not going to do anything worse than what they have running.
There were also dicks shouting at anybody who stood up, to sit down, as soon as they stood up.  This did not seem to matter when they continually “upgraded” their seat though because they were old and it took time for the darlings to get up, to walk to the closer seat and then to bend those shitty knees.
Penguins & Wallabies 10/10
Experience at place 0/10

Next stop Queensland!