Monday, August 29, 2005

Life's two beaches

Well, where was I? Next stop was in Coral Bay further up the coast. This was a nice little resort town, with a good beach and snorkeling. We stayed in a caravan park there, and sat on the beach most of the next day. The water was nice 'n warm by now, and the temperature mid-twenties... absolutely perfect. Some time to work on my tan.. some time for the Germans to work on their burns... heh.

Next stop was Exmouth, a few hundred kilometers further up the coast. We ended up staying for a couple days at a caravan park here, it was very nice. We drove to the local national park and did some snorkelling and sunned on the beach. Another nice location, not too many people and lots of stuff to see. I must've spent a couple hours out swimming... I finally had to stop when I was more wrinkle than man. Plus my legs were starting to cramp up. haha

The next day was a big driving day... we started out with Stephan driving, and had our second driving incident. He took a right turn onto the main road in Exmouth, looking for the bottle shop... I wasn't paying attention since I was messaging someone on my phone while I had service. I look up, and there's a car right in front of us flashing his lights (driver cursing too I'm sure). Yeah... my heart was pounding. We didn't get in an accident or anything, but Stephan didn't live that one down for a while.

We stayed that night at another caravan park at a town called Tom Price out in the outback. Cool little mining town... I haven't seen so many trucks since I was back home in Canada. Getting to it was interesting (well, frustrating)... Stephan was driving again, and we got onto a dirt road for 50 kms or so. Stephan and Ann are both German, and neither had ever driven on dirt roads before. It took us well over an hour to go the whole 50 kms... every time Stephan hit a rough patch he'd brake and go 20 km/h for a while. And the ride was still rough. Ah well.

Next day was probably the highlight of the trip, in Karijini National park. I was driving along these dirt roads, and things went a little quicker. :) But the gorges in this park were amazing, and of course nothing beats swimming holes by waterfalls. I have a picture of me sitting in the waterfall (of course) but it didn't turn out that great. Just imagine me sitting down there, I guess. heh.

The rest of the day spent sitting around different waterholes, and hiking around through some of the gorges. Here's one more picture from the park, me driving along the road when it was paved again.

By this time we had close to a thousand kilometers to cover, and only two days left so most of the time was just driving after the park. I probably spent most of the time behind the wheel, because the others weren't very good at staying awake when driving for more than an hour. (with nothing to see!) I don't think they have careers as truck drivers, unfortunately.

Well, here I am in Broome. Not a bad little town, it's not quite the place I expected but it's still pretty good. The hostel we've been staying in since we got here is probably the worst I've been in, unfortunately. They have a free pool table and a swimming pool, but other than that everything is terrible. You're not allowed to bring your own alcohol on the premises (!) and the drinks they serve are horribly overpriced. Also, there's a jukebox, and they keep skipping songs people pay to hear because they don't like them. Heh, just a ton of little things besides that. With hostels, it usually doesn't matter about the facilities too much, it'll be a good place no matter what if the people are good and friendly. That's really lacking here. So tomorrow me and Ann (Stephan has to leave for Germany today... d'oh) are going to move to a different hostel, closer to the beach. Ohhh yeah.

My plans for this week are to start the job search over again, and have a couple more beach days so I'm not quite as white as I am now. haha. Don't really know what kind of work I wanna do yet, but something on a pearl boat or working at a pub in an outback town would both be pretty sweet. I've still got a bit of money saved from the last job in Perth, so I don't have to rush or anything.

That's all for now, just a couple more random things from the roadtrip.

-most times driving on the wrong side of the road: Stephan
-most animals almost hit: Tie, me and Stephan. I almost hit a lamb and a kangaroo, and Stephan almost hit a couple cows.
-most beers in one night: Me. heh
-most times almost lighting the campsite on fire: Hey, also me :)
-best tan: Ann
-best burn: Stephan
-most times getting lost: Tarja. One of those inside jokes from the trip, "Where's Tarja?" Over and over... haha



Friday, August 26, 2005

Life's a beach

Finally made it to Broome! And an excellent trip (of course). Stephan and Ann (the Germans) were great to travel with... we had a fantastic time. Tarja was kind of annoying all of us by the end pretty badly (Very early on in the trip I noticed an uncanny resemblance between her and Marvin the chronically depressed robot from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). Not good when you start thinking of her name as Marvin either :)

I've got too many pictures to post on the blog here, but I'll upload all of 'em to Flickr and you can see them here.

Well, the trip... we left Perth Saturday to a great send-off... about 15 people from the hostel waited around for us and waved goodbye and stuff... when you've been at the same place for a couple months it almost feels like leaving home. (tear) It was kind of a rough morning though, our campervan was dropped off at the hostel at 10am, and I got to bed at roughly 7:30. heh. Plus I was the driver. :)

So the first day we finally left around 3 in the afternoon, and drove a couple hundred kilometers south of Perth, and stayed in a hostel since it was rainy and very windy. At times it seemed like the campervan was gonna get blown right over.

Not much done the first day, but the second was a little better. Still rainy 'n stuff, but we got to see a little more. We went to an eagle reserve, and a chocolate factory, and tried to do a bit of wine-tasting but the wineries seemed to be all closed. Heh, had our first minor incident of driving on the wrong side of the road too, Ann was driving and she pulled out of a gas station onto the right (wrong) side. My comment... "Other side of the road please!" heh. That night we stayed in another hostel again, and had a good night of drinking and playing games. (and keeping everyone else in the hostel awake. Whoops!)

By this time we'd all had enough of the cold, so we decided to start heading north. Mostly a driving (and recovery) day, so we ended up staying in the campervan just south of Perth. The campervan only slept 3, so the whole trip I slept outside in my tent... which was great once the weather got better. But cold at first. Oh yeah, that morning before we started driving, we did a tree-top climb that was in the area. That was a lot of fun to do, even when you're swaying slightly before even getting in the tree. heh.

So the next day we did a lot of driving, and passed through Perth early in the morning. This was Stephan's birthday too, and the people back at the hostel in Perth thought we were going to stop by and stay for the night, so they had a party for him even though he wasn't there. heh. We made it to Geraldton that night, and stayed in another hostel. One of the attractions along the way, the Pinnacles... yet another attraction in Australia that involves rocks. Seems to be a lot of those!

That night we tried to surprise Stephan with a birthday cake... but it was too windy outside the campervan and the candles kept getting blown out. So we made him go sit outside while we lit them in the van. heh. Turns out he knew about the cake anyways, when we were driving earlier that day and someone had to brake hard the cake fell down from where we were keeping it, practically on his lap. Ah well.

The next day we went to another country... very cool. Back in the 70's a farmer seceded from Australia and formed his own country, the Hutt River Province. They have their own currency, and a post office and church. They really made it into a tourist attraction (we even got our passports stamped). That was fun anyways. Plus the guy who started it has a big carving of his head in stone. It doesn't get any better than that.

Around now the weather was starting to get a little better, but I kinda caught a cold or something and ended up sleeping a lot of the next couple days in the van. Sigh. While I was out we went to Monkey Mia, a fairly big tourist resort along the coast. Every morning they feed the dolphins in the bay, and everyone crowds around. Pretty neat seeing dolphins up close like that.

Well, this is gonna have to be a two-part post. I'm having a hard time thinking of all the funny stories.. most of them were inside jokes anyways (a lot of Old School and Wedding Crashers stuff. That glass IS half full! hahaha)

One more picture, a shot of me driving the beast. The road to the Hutt River province was really muddy, so we kind of had a red van for a while. heh.

Couple more days and I'll post again. It's kind of a shock to have to pay for internet again after getting it free for so long! Hope this appeases all those living vicariously through me. :)


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

6 months!

Yay, been in Australia for 6 months now. I can hardly remember what Canada is like now... I have to concentrate for a while to remember what it was like to drive on the right hand side of the road, or what our 110V outlets looked like, or how stinking hot it gets in the summer. haha. Hungry Jack's instead of Burger King seems normal, I agree when people complain about how cold it is when the temperature is +15 degrees... and no pennies (which is fantastic).

So my plane ticket's good until the beginning of February next year. I don't have a return date set yet, but I'll have to decide pretty soon I suppose.

Lets see... updates. Hmm. Well, there was a reason I haven't posted in a while, and thats cause I've been doing nothing. The odd bit of drinking, working, sleeping, guitar... same as the last couple months. But the next couple of weeks are going to be great! We're leaving mid-day Saturday, and have two weeks of freedom. And beaches. I can't wait.

So nothing really new until after the trip. Then I promise heaps of good pictures, and plenty of stupid stories. Our drinks of choice for the trip have already been planned, good 'ol White Russians. Our route hasn't been figured out yet, but our drinks have. heh. We have our priorities straight, that's for sure.

One picture this time, yet another sunset over the ocean. There doesn't seem to be much else I can upload right now, just parts of town that I've been to, jobs I've done at work, and parts of my walk to work. Nothing that interesting.

Work has been pretty busy. Steve's taken on a few too many jobs the last couple weeks, so we've been working flat out the whole time. He's still behind on just about every job... his phone is ringing almost non-stop all day (mostly customers wanting to know when the job is going to get done). Only two more days though, and I'll once again become a bum. Hopefully a beach bum this time.

Okay, time to go keep people awake with my guitar for a while, then off to bed myself.