Monday, September 8, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Today we woke up at 6:30 am to see the sunrise at Bronte Beach which was quite the effort seeing as we didn’t actually make it to bed until 4:30am (yes....only 2 hours earlier). We got our a little later than we had hoped, so an not to miss all the sunrise, we ran to the beach. When we got there it was gorgeous! The kind of thing that makes you very grateful you are in a position that you get to experience it. Really, I am so lucky to get to be here, even if it is costing a fortune!

Wen we made it back we were all exhausted and fell back asleep till 12, which was definitely not planned because we had quite the day planned before we went to the airport. To no surprise, we were barely able to fit any of it into our day. We did make French Toast and then we just packed and made our way to the airport, stopping along the way to try some gozleme at Kings Cross. (Gozleme is a turkish crepe-like things with cheese and spinach that we had heard all about and hadn’t gotten a chance to try until now).

We took the train to the airport and when we got off and swiped through our passes we discovered that the airport link is privately owned, so although our passes worked to get on the train, as long as you got off on one of the airport stops, you were required to have an additional $10 ticket. This put a damper on things because had we known we would’ve taken a bus that would’ve been free with our tickets.

It was pretty crazy going though security here in Australia because it is a lot more lax than what we were expecting. We had paid for a discount ticket that didn’t allow for any checked luggage, which made things interesting as we had to pack for a 10 day adventure in two places, one with a warmer climate, and the other colder. So we decided to split the cost and share an extra duffle bag to check.

When we went to check it, it ended up costing more than they had quoted on the phone, and because it wasn’t very large the attendant told us to just nonchalantly carry it through and we should have no problem. I don’t think she realized that we all had big carry-ons and big purses as well so, adding an extra bag was quite the stretch. While we were in the security line we realized that we had all of our liquid beauty products that we’d probably have to throw out because we didn’t check a bag, but to our surprise we were never even questioned about it. No one even ever tried to check our ID’s to see if we were the correct person boarding the plane. So there we were with our discount travel tickets, and like 6 pretty good sized bags, really it was pretty humorous.

We made it on the plane with only a slight glance from one of the attendants acknowledging she noticed all of our hand luggage, and the flight was only a little under 2 hours, so not bad for sure. Things would have run smoothly from there, except about 20 minutes before we landed my ears started killing me. It was literally so painful, one point I really thought something was seriously wrong, luckily we landed and my ears were still attached, and I just spent the night with very limited hearing. We picked up our rental car and were slightly nervous to embark on the challenge of driving on the wrong side of the road. Don’t worry though, Jayne took charge and performed valiantly.

Our first car! We were so happy to have a car and not have to deal with public transport for a while!

We, after only getting off course a few times, found the house thanks to our mad map reading skills. It was a very beautiful house owned by Gary and Pauline Scallan, who were related to Jayne’s soccer coach from high school and they were great! We didn’t do much that night, just introduced ourselves and tried to pln out our next days adventures, and then made our way to bed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thursday, July10, 2008- Friday, July 11, 2008

Today Jayne and Wendy met me for lunch and then after I got off work I met up with them to check out New Town. Thursdays are the days shops stay open later than the usual 5 or 6 so we were just going to check out the stores. Everything was really expensive, so we had a quick look around and then went home so Michel could come over and visit. Michel is the guy we are renting the apartment from that was super helpful in getting us over here and settled. That was pretty much our night, and we ended it with our favorite, so you think you can dance, via youtube.

Friday I came home from work and we decided to go out to a dinner and try to catch a movie at the theater. We went to Guzman y Gomez, one of the only Mexican chains in Australia. It was okay, but nothing compared to Mexican in the states. All of us ordered really spicy burritos so our mouths were on fire for a bit after dinner.

We then went to the Bondi Junction movie theater and went to Hancock, the movie with Will Smith, which I thought was a let down. We ended the night by staying up literally all night so we could figure out all the money we had been swapping before going on our three week adventure and pack for the trip.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 -Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jayne and Wendy met me at Cook and Archies, my favorite little café by my work where I got the Pumpkin Chicken Wrap that is literally amazing. I am trying to figure out how I could it, I am sure I’ll have to experiment a bit, but I am gonna get it eventually. That night we just did the norm, made dinner and ended the night with a wee bit of blogging.

The next day was way great. I met up with Jayne, Wendy, and Jess as soon as I got off work and we went to this awesome Malaysian restaurant called Chinta Ria at Darling Harbour. We got the banquet that was like $32/person but was literally the most food I have ever eaten. The food just didn’t stop coming out, but it was really great!

Don’t worry, that isn’t where it ends. Jess took us to this amazing chocolate café. Yes, I wrote that right, a chocolate café, called Max Brenner, Chocolate by the bald man. It was a super cute café. Everything was like a gourmet chocolate dish, it was amazing, and pretty pricey in terms of just desserts. Jayne and I ordered a belgian waffle that came with bananas, strawberries, ice cream and a cup of chocolate that was literally divine!

Jess is so cute! She is just so willing to drive us around everywhere, we are definitely going to miss her when we go back to the states. (Jess Goes Up!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just a note to anyone that does read this. I can't believe it, but my internship is pretty much over. I come home on Wednesday, and as you can see I am more than a month behind on my blog which I still plan on updating for my own sake when I get home, so if you are still interested in seeing what went down while I was in Australia and New Zealand, you are welcome to continue visiting my blog. When I got back from my 3 week adventure I planned on blogging my life away, which I started to do, but then was informed that we had practically used up our internet so my plans had to change. (Yes, internet here is "unlimited" which means that you are only allowed so many gigs which they claim you will never exceed, I guess they didn't plan on some American chickas to come and blog there lives away).

Anywho...See you soon, I know you thought the day would never come, but I am coming back!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Blue Mountains

Today I was still feeling sick enough to not want to be at work, but apparently healthy enough to go on a day trip with my amigas. The following is a long story about my near death experience in the Blue Mountains. Sorry if the story seems all over the place, there was so much to write that it was difficult to put it into words on paper. The moral of this story is that if anyone thinks that there isn’t someone watching over them, they are indeed wrong, and there is evidence of that here!

(The aboriginal people must've been watching over us in the story that is about to take place)

(This is the emu sausage Jayne made us try before starting on our adventure. Jayne said that we were finally getting revenge from our experience at Featherdale Zoo)

So, if you haven’t heard of the blue mountains then they are the major mountains in Australia, and there are always all these stories about people going hiking there and getting lost for days, and then their bodies are found later because the bush is so thick. So.... we decided to head there on monday morning.

(Drinking water straight from the mountain.)

(We couldn't fingure out why they were called the Blue Mountains because everything was green. This particular area smelled fowl.)

It is like a 2 hour train out, and we caught a trolley to this place called Scenic World where they have the steepest train ride in the world and this really cool Sky Cable Car that takes you over the huge mountain valley on a cable, kind of like a zip line, on a large scale. So we planned on staying at Scenic World for a few hours and then moving on to another part of the mountains. Scenic World has 3 trails, a 10 minute, 30, and 50 minute, so we decided to take the 30. We got on what we thought was the trail and were goofing off taking pics, and going off the trail, but we always got back on the main trail and would continue on our hike. We were enjoying ourselves like normal, not knowing what our day had in store.

(This is the Sky Cable Car that goes over the valley, it has a glass bottom so it feels like you are floating over the trees below.)

(Here is the famous three sisters. I didn't know yet but I'd be seeing plenty more of these!)

About an hour in we were thinking, this is weird that it still doesn't seem like we are getting close, and we hadn't seen anyone all day, but we still for some reason kept moving forward. Like an hour later we see a sign that says 1.3 km to Scenic Railway, (we later realized this had said 13 km) which is where we needed to go so we kept trucking on. So another hour later we see another sign that says Scenic Railway 2 hours and then all these other trails pointing in the opposite direction.

(We hadn't realized yet what we had got ourselves into. This is where Jayne was playing our Australian tour guide, explaining that she had cleared the trail for the "advanced climbers." If only she knew that she wasn't kidding!)

By then it was like 3:20 and it for sure is dark by 5:00 here and we had little water left, no food, and no flashlights so we kind of got nervous, but we figured if we moved at a faster pace we could get back before dark. We all just were trying to act like it was going to be okay, So we literally started running at a pretty fast pace in the same direction we had been heading, for another 30 minutes, when we came to another sign that said Mt Solitary one way, and then the Scenic Railway 3 hours back in the direction we had come from.

(Part of the trail we walked on for what seemed like hours....Wait, it was hours!)

So you can imagine our horror. We had just ran for 30 minutes in the wrong direction, And it was getting later and later, and we had seen nobody all day, So we said a prayer as we all were realizing the seriousness of our circumstance and really didn't know what we were going to do. We decided that we obviously had to run at a pretty fast pace so we just started running back the way we had come from because we didn't know what else to do.

About 20 minutes into our run, we heard voices, and low and behold we see 3 boys walking towards us. These boys looked to be about Tyler’s age, and were all geared up for some camping or something. We were so happy to see real life humans and asked them if they knew what we should do. They said there was no way that we would be able to get back to Scenic world, and couldn't even believe we had come from that far, but that there would be a sign that said the Golden Staircase that was a harder hike, but that it could get us out of the mountains before dark. They said it would take us to a road, and if we kept right on it the whole time, eventually we would get to the town. They honestly didn't know how long this would take, but that it would be a much safer bet. We thanked them and went on our way. Obviously knowing that we were being watched over and blessed because there was no way we could have known any of this without their help. (Just on a side note they we hiking to Mt Solitary to camp for the night which was another 10 km)

We said another prayer because it still was getting later and later, and knew that we still had quite the journey ahead of us. Because we knew we had a hard hike we tried to pace ourselves a little bit so we walked a very fast pace to the sign that was roughly 20 minutes away. When we got to the sign we started up on the Golden Stairs. Remember that we had literally been hiking all day, running even for part of it, so we were extremely tired. Because we felt an urgency to get out of the mountains as soon as possible we kept trucking forward.

(This is the only picture I took in all the chaos. It was a beautiful view, but we pretty much ended up seeing the three sisters from every view possible. At this point we were on the completely opposite side of where we had started.)

(This is close to where we started out.... notice how close the three sisters are compared to the picture above.)

We started up and soon realized why it was called the golden staircase. It was a straight hike up and it literally almost killed all 3 of us. The sign at the bottom said 1 hour to the top and we knew we didn't have an hour. We really were dying, had to say another prayer so we would have energy to do it. I wanted to give up so many times, but obviously knew I couldn't, and somehow made it in like 40 minutes, right as darkness really started to cover the mountains. I honestly don’t know how we did it in 40 because we all started out exhausted, and it seemed like we weren’t going as fast as we would need to be to even make it in the hour the sign had stated. Miracles do happen!

(A sign that we saw on the dirt road...notice the Enjoy your stay, we definitely felt like that was an over statement)

When we made it to the road, it wasn't like a civilized road, it was just a dirt road in the mountains, and we couldn't see any houses so we still were nervous as to how we were gonna get out before it got super cold. The boys had told us what to do, so we weren't nervous how to get to town, just how long it would take. We all really were so dead tired, but had no choice but to keep walking. We walked for like 20 minutes when a car drove by, and Jayne tried to get it to pull over, but it wouldn't. So we walked, and walked, and walked. For about 20 minutes more until we came to a road that was paved and saw some houses. The boys had told us to keep right so we turned right down a road that eventually had some people on it, so we decided to ask them to make sure we were going in the right direction.

We asked a man and he told us we could stay on that road but that it would take much longer, and he said he would walk us to a better route. As we walked we told him our story, and he couldn't believe it, minus he said they get horror stories of people going into the bushes and never coming out. He pointed out where we needed to go, and by now it was completely dark. He said it would be at least 30 more minutes but we were happy to hear an end was almost in sight. We kept walking and I was really in a lot of pain in my legs, but we were by a road with people so I felt a lot better about our position so I kept moving forward.

Eventually we made it into town and found somewhere to eat. Right as we got into town, it started raining, another instance showing how blessed we were, having been outside for like 6 hours lost in the rain forest, and no rain! So we were able to catch a train home and had the 2 hour trip home to think about what had just happened.

(We were exhausted so as soon as we could accept that we were safe and sound on the train, we took some zzzz's before getting to Sydney)

I really did think I would have to spend the night in the bush, I was so scared! This is when we realized why they are called the blue mountains rather than green, because as it gets dark the mountains turn a very convincing color guessed it, BLUE! There was so many things that should've set us off, like there being nobody on the trail, but somehow we overlooked them. I just feel so blessed to be alive, and I really do know that I am being watched over!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

(Waiting for the doctor, don't usually let people see me in my glasses, but the eye infection wouldn't allow for contacts! Traumatic, I know)

Today I decided I had to get to the doctor to get some medicine that would hopefully help me in some way. My eyes were still super infected and I couldn’t get rid of this nasty cold. The doctor wasn’t much help, but I was written a prescription that I hoped would help. Between me, Jayne, and Wendy we decided we had spent way to much on health care in the last few weeks; 2 doctors, plenty prescriptions, and heaps of over the counter drugs. Ugh....

After my doctors appointment we went to Paddy’s Market in China Town to see if we could get anymore souvenir shopping taken care of. I was able to find a few things for my nieces and a cool statue for me, oh and I can’t forget our Australia T-shirts. After that I went home and rested for a bit, then showered to get ready to meet some of our friends at The House Club.

(Don't we look ready to hit the clubs?)

We didn’t end up making it out until like 11:30pm and so we didn’t get in the club till like 12:15. It was a very different atmosphere than what you’d find in the states for sure. The club had girls walking around on stilts wearing floro clothing. (In case you are wondering, floro is what the Aussies use for florescent). We stayed at the club till late, because by the time we walked the 30 minute walk to the bus, waited, took it home, got a taxi, and got home it was probably almost 5 am. Not the smartest idea for someone that had been sick all week.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Today I went to work because I had to meet with a client with Greg, and had to suffer while I sat there trying to see if I could sniff enough to keep my nose from becoming a dripping disaster but not too much to disgust the client and anyone else that happened to be sitting in the room with me. I only made it a little over a half day, then I came home to rest for a bit. I wanted to feel better so I could celebrate Independence Day with Jayne and Wendy but all I felt like was dying. When Jayne and Wendy came home from the store with cute little gifts to celebrate the 4th from home, I tried to make my best of it, but was only able to celebrate for a bit and then run back to bed.

They had bought red and blue food coloring to make patriotic shakes, and sparklers, and gold medals because Jayne found out today that one of her best friends qualified to run the steeple chase in the Beijing Olympics. They went all out, and I tried my best to stay out of the pictures, but unfortunately ruined a few before managing to get to bed.