Saturday, 23 December 2006

too easy, no worries, party on!

So much for emailing from Hervey Bay! My hostel turned out to be in the middle of nowhere with not an Internet connection in sight. Not only that but when i arrived, the reception was closed. Thankfully it was a family run business so i sat outside and eventually said family returned from a kiddies birthday do with balloons in tow.

Finally got to my room to discover I was on a top bunk with no easy access. I discovered on my 2am trek to the loo that my flexible days are all but gone as i propelled myself from top bunk to floor. Mattress was terrible too - it sank in the middle making for a very uncomfortable night's kip.

Anyhoo - no real worries because the trip to Fraser Island turned out to be awesome. Was picked up by a monster truck cross mini bus and headed across on the barge with about 20 other backpackers.

On the barge i got chatting to a guy called Phil from Banbury(sp?) who just happened to be the only other singleton on the trip. He was a sound guy with a slight cockney accent and an astutely non-existant backpacking history. There is one thing worse than over-travelled know-hows who insist on disecting their every journey with anyone in earshot, and that's someone who has never travelled and who finds absolutely everything 'amazing' or 'brilliant'. Phil had an amazing and brilliant time that's for sure. Admittedly he was good company throughout the trip but the 'amazings' and 'brilliants' did get somewhat tiresome. (He even found the horizon between sea and sky 'amazing' - coming from an island this was all but lost on me)

Anyway, I digress. Landed on Fraser Island and Alex (one of the tour guides alongside Kyle and Franz) grabbed the wheel and took us on a bone shattering, cross country, 4wd blast through mangrove forest, into rainforest then finally along the beach. It was a fab experience - or should i say 'amazing'!

After a walk through the rainforest where we came across a carpet python, we had lunch near the beach then headed down to Lake Wabby where we had a 1.8km trek across sand dunes to get to the lake for a swim. The walk was stunning. The closest i can get to describe Lake Wabby is an oasis in the Sahara - sand dunes to the waters edge on one side; forest to the waters edge the other. We spent the best part of two hours walking to and from the lake and swimming in it.

After that we headed along the beach to the campsite at Cathedral beach. It can't really be called a campsite because we had plush beds in each tent. We had great evening with delicious food (including kangaroo meat) and drink and spent the evening chatting before heading down to the beach to check out the stars. The stars were stunning although it was a bit creepy switching off the torches and knowing there were probably dingos about.

The following day we headed out to Indian Head - the only volcanic rock on the island which made a great look out point across the beaches. We managed to spot a couple of rays and a shark from the top of the point. We then headed to the Champagne Pools for a swim and sunbathe. They were more whirlpool than champagne and there were some strong waves - although thankfully no sharks or jellies!

We had a great picnic of wraps before continuing our rough 'n' ready journey to Lake Allam. We had a swim in Lake Allam and then one of the Dutch girls on the trip had the great idea of offering to teach two Korean girls on the trip, how to swim. They were fab! The poor girls hadn't been able to join in in all the swimming and were really enthusiastic about learning. Myself, another girl and the Dutch girl's boyfriend (names elude me) helped her out as potential life savers. Within one hour and after a bit of shrieking, the girls were swimming and got a round of applause from onlookers. They were absolutely thrilled. It was really great to see. They were so thankful.

After all the excitement of the two days it was actually quite sad to say goodbye to everyone. All in all it WAS an 'amazing' trip :)

Unfortunately, I couldn't hang around and had to jump on a 13 hour bus trip to Airlie Beach - i've just sat down to type and 28 lightly-clad drunken Norweigen 'Father Christmases' have just walked passed singing 'We wish you a merry Christmas'. Looks like it's going to be a fun Crimbo!

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

A quickie from Maroochydore

Well i'm a little typsy here at Maroochydore with my uncle. Thankfully he hasn't changed in 14 years so i managed to recognise him and Julie when i arrived here. Unfortunately he hasn't quite evolved to broadband so going to have to cut this message short or else his internet connection won't cope.

Had a wicked day with Kerrie at Australia Zoo - saw wombats and echidnas on the run, hungry crocs and a couple of energetic tasmanian devils. Full update tomo when i get to Hervey Bay!


Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Mozzie meat!

After a thirty hour trip door-to-door, I finally made it to Brisbane feeling remarkably fresh-faced. My trip from Bangkok ran the risk of being a disaster having been sat next to an 8-month old potential screamer. Thankfully the child was well trained and fell asleep with only a minor whimper.

Met up with Colin at the airport and his first words to me was a complaint about the Parking Nazis there – he and my father are so alike!

Dropped my kit off at the Scobbie household and met Steph's other half Paul who was dead friendly. Headed down to the art college where Colin works and had a wonder around southbank. I then had the chance to grab a couple of bikinis whilst Colin went to a meeting - i am now almost prepared for Christmas by the sea.

Last night Steph and Paul prepared dinner. We had a typical aussie bbq on the balcony with home made chips thanks to Paul. Watched the sun set across the stunning backdrop of the Brisbane skyline.

Today Colin and I took the citycat boat upriver to the city and had a wander round. Had coffee in the main shopping district and came across some amazing gymnasts/clowns in mid performance. They were hugely entertaining. I'm amazed just how clean Brisbane is. Compared to the grey smoggy and aged look of London, Brisbane is refreshingly clean, tidy and modern looking.

Met Alison for lunch and a few aussie bears at the Regatta bar up river then headed back down river to the house.

Tonight I think Alison and I are having a girlie night in with a vid then tomorrow Kerrie and I are heading north to Australia zoo then on to Maroochydore. Kerrie very kindly offered to drive me up there as she was heading north anyway. I'll be catching up with my uncle tomorrow afternoon but I haven't seen him since I was 12 so fingers crossed I'll recognise him!

I'm pretty gutted that within 12 hours I have been anialated by mozzies. I have at least six massive bites. I must have good blood!

Sunday, 17 December 2006

My Mecca - Boots!

Hi all. It's 4pm and i'm in the sparkly new Bangkok airport.

Journey went well - I was very impressed with the leg room on Thai airways...and the food. I was sat next to a couple called Liz and Rob - they were about my parents' age and were travelling to Bangkok to grab a cruise around the coast to China and Hong Kong. Dead friendly and well travelled peeps!

I've blanked out the two hour wait to check in and go through security at Heathrow and the bitter disappointment at discovering that Terminal Two departures lounge only caters for the rich and famous, which scuppered my plans to purchase a much needed bikini. Managed to bore a woman in the sunglasses shop for about an hour though, whilst she tried to find me a pair that didn't make me look like a wonky android (my ears are definitly wonky Vix!!)Found a pair in the end!

Managed a short amount of Nitol-induced sleep on the plane and arrived in Bangkok 11 hours later feeling rather like the back end of a mangey dog. I'm here until midnight for the second 11 hour leg of my journey (is the world really that big??).Had a wander around the shops - they're as useful as those in terminal two - and was getting desperate at the prospect of not finding toothpaste when, out of nowhere, I see the glorious sign of Boots. I've never been so happy to see Boots! After brushing my teeth and changing clothes I now feel like the better half of said mangey dog!

Going to finish this blog and find somewhere to fester with my new found Bible - The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Saw an interview with Dawkins about his book and it sounded like just my cup of tea - i know my brother has read it too. It is the Bible for atheists and it is the first book i've read about religion that actually makes sense. As Dawkins quite rightly says we should be proud to be atheists. It is the first time i have read something that fits my beliefs and it's quite comforting to know that I am not alone in my view of the world!

Anyhoo, going to have to head off to find food and coffee. More news when I get to Brisbane.