A Travellerspoint blog

Emirates Stakes Day

Saturday was Emirates Stakes Day at Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival and thanks to Trish & Brian I got a heavily subsidized ticket to the Members Only Panorama Flat I think it was. Basically we were in the most expensive section that was the highest up with the best views of everything except maybe the horses.. but only because they were so small from where we were sitting.

It was a great day - Candice Eden and I were all up early to get ready and be at his dad’s house by 11 for a few drinks before catching a Limo to Flemington Race Course. That’s right a Limo. I was stoked. First time in a limo - and I got to drink classy champagne to boot, because Brian only drinks the best. The limo even had a mirror on the ceiling, I was really impressed.

We pulled up to Flemington and went through the gates, and went up and up and up until we couldn’t go any further. No crowds, no expensive hot dogs and drinks for me, I love members only. It was beautiful. We had a great three course lunch (although desert left something to be desired) and afternoon tea and complimentary wine and beer.

We bet on some horses, I didn’t really win anything, but it was fun anyway, then went down to the lower areas to check out where the action happens. We stopped at the Champagne Bar and then went out to see the horses up close for the next race. We didn’t get that close but it was still kind of fun to be out in the crowds on the ground, but I was glad to go back up to our area at the end of it.

After getting back to Brians house and eating I was feeling pretty out of it so I just crashed on the couch and watched Sex and the City until well after everyone went to bed. Then was up again at six in the morning - I was not impressed. But Trish had arranged a big brekkie so I got to munch down on eggs and toast and bacon and a cappuccino from their cool cappucino machine that Trish showed me how to use but when it came to making my second one I couldn’t really remember and pretty much overflowed my coffee. Oops.

After brekkie we went home, I packed as I was flying to Gold Coast at 6pm, which I was excited for but at the same time kinda just wanted to sleep in my own bed that night. Candice was saying earlier something about Jetstar being shitty and that she wouldn’t fly overseas with them because they always delay everything and me and Eden said we wouldn’t care as long as it was cheap. BUT then when I went to drop off my bags at the Jetstar counter for my flight I realized it is terrible, you check in then stand in the line and it doesn’t even matter, because they didn’t go through the line. They just called all passengers for this flight come drop off your bags, and you’re just standing in line for nothing. It’s bullshit. At least now I know for next time - don’t bother showing up early.

The flight was fine and I got into the Gold Coast at 7pm except it was dark when I got here - disappointing. I wasn’t sure about my plan to walk to the hostel after all, but in the end decided to go for it and despite the fact that I didn’t really follow the directions I’d printed up, I found the hostel quite easily in no time at all, it was literally a ten minute walk from the airport. I was happy. Except you can hear the planes all night long. Super.

Which wasn’t as bad as the fact that our room is beside the pool and people were loudly playing music and talking and splashing in the pool all night long. I was tired and wanted to sleep.

I went for a walk around last night down to the beach which you couldn’t really see, and trying to find somewhere to get some food but the hostel is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and the most happening place is the airport. So after walking around trying to find some vestage of life I decided to hit up the airport because I’d seen some cafes and stuff there - except by the time I got there everything was closed. So I had to settle with a meat pie from a petrol station. Yum.

Not the greatest weather today, my original plan was to go out surfing but considering the fact that I need groceries I’ve booked myself onto the free shuttle into Cooly to pick up some essentials and check out the city and the beaches see what I can see. Hopefully tomorrow will be good for surfing. I just can’t wait until I have a car and can do stuff on my own terms.

Posted by clny 23:42 Archived in Australia Tagged events Comments (0)

welcome to the good life

I was really worried about turning 25 - a quarter of a century - it seemed too old. Now I think it’s going to be a really great year. So far I had a Mexican dinner party, played Singstar (which I was going to do again today but can’t figure out how to turn on the new Xbox), might have found an awesome hat for the races, got a haircut then managed to catch a train straight away which got me into the station by 6:20 and I really wanted a bottle of wine because hey it’s till my birthday in Canada I need to keep on celebrating, but I didn’t want to wait half an hour if I missed the bus. I decided to get the wine BUT I managed to make it to the bus stop in time to catch the bus. I was stoked.

My job seems to be wrapping up which is good and bad. Good because I’ll be able to get out surfing a lot more, maybe even move down to the coast for a bit and bad because I won’t have money coming in and if I buy a car and a board I’ll be pretty much broke. And it’ll be sad to leave the girls at work, they’re pretty cool, and I just figured out the secret to using the toilet without having to get buzzed back in to the office. Just when I get the job sorted, it’s over.

I’m so excited about everything ahead of me - surfing, driving around the country, surfing, going to Brissie, Perth, Sydney, everywhere, Candice’s wedding, all the adventures and new people I’ll meet. I can’t wait. Twenty five is gonna be epic.

Posted by clny 15:13 Archived in Australia Tagged events Comments (0)

best surf ever

I had a great weekend in Torquay despite having a bit of a meltdown as I lay in bed unable to sleep on friday night. As I stood on the beach Saturday morning in the hot sun staring out at the breaking waves with a board in my hand I couldn't help but grin and I knew this was exactly where I was meant to be.

It was a beautiful day and the surfing conditions were perfect for me. Nice clean breaking waves with a long period and enough time between sets to paddle out. It was grouse.

So I was out there doing my thing, catching some waves, eating shit - and I met this guy and he asks me if it's my first day (am I really doing that badly?) I tell him no I've been doing it for a little while but I'm still getting the hang of it. So he decides he's gonna help me out and give me some pointers.

First thing he makes me paddle, a lot, surfing back home in Washington I almost never paddle, we just walk out into the waves and hop on the board and go when you see a wave coming at you. Big mistake because a) you need to start paddling for the waves a lot sooner than I ever got a chance to, and b) you don't have a chance to get balanced on your board and are in too much of a rush therefore falling off when you try to get up.

So he got me paddling around on my board, paddling out and paddling back around to get in position and paddling for the waves - more paddling than I have ever done before in my life. It's good though because 90% of surfing is paddling and it was about time I started doing it. In conclusion the guy was totally awesome for helping me out and I really made progress and found it a lot easier to stand up and stay up after that. Although it wasn't very long before my arms felt like complete jello and it didn't matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get that last blast of speed to put me onto the waves.

Lesson learned I packed up and lay down in the sun for a while to rest before trekking back to the hostel with my board and all my gear, exhausted but completely happy. I spent the rest of the afternoon checking out some of the surf outlets until the other surfers got back and we hung out in the back yard and had some beers until dinner was ready.

A lot more backpackers arrived and the hostel was jumping that night, everyone hung around outside, and a couple of us more beginner surfers sat down with this Italian guy who moved to Melbs about 3 years ago to surf and he shared a lot of his surfing and life wisdom with us and gave us some tips.

I finally crawled into bed around midnight and set my alarm for early as I'd agreed to go out for a morning surf with two Canadian girls who were staying in my room. At six in the morning I dragged myself out of bed and into my swimmers and got all my stuff together and we piled everything in the car and took off.

I'd read the surf forecast on friday and wasn't expecting great things for the day but thought it would still be worth riding but when we pulled up to Torquay Surf Beach and looked out and the beach it was flat. Nothing. So we decided to go to Jan Juc maybe it would be better. The parking lot was empty when we pulled in and we knew it was gonna be bad, it was and we debated going home to bed but decided to go check out Bells just in case I mean we had got up at six in the morning for this and it was our last day. So we drove out to Bells and saw some roos on the way but when we got there it was more of the same, nothing.

So we drove back to the Hostel and sat in the car and ate snacks and talked shit. After a while we decided we couldn't sit around any longer and headed off down the Great Ocean Road for a bit of a drive and we would check out the surf on the way down and see if there was anything rideable.. but there wasn't so eventually somwhere around the historical marker we turned around and headed back to Torquay. We stopped off in Anglesea to check out the surf shop and grab some coffees then made our way back to the hostel where we had brekkie and talked to the rest of the gang about their morning surf.

Deciding that we had to go out, even if it's just for a bit of a paddle, we headed out once again, two of the German guys in tow, to Jan Juc. It was still bad and choppy and just a mess, but we went anyways. I lasted about an hour and caught maybe one wave and did a bit of paddling about but it was just no good. Rebecca stayed out the longest and came back to the car well after we'd all changed and were relaxing in the warm car.

If there's one thing this weekend made me realize it's that I love the surfing life, well I kind of already knew that but this weekend just cemented it. And I've got the hair for it, the curly mess that I always hated has been vindicated, in Westport before heading over the guy at The Surf Shop told me I had a classic surfer grom look and yesterday one of the girls complimented my salty windblown curls. I love it.

Now I am looking into buying a car because not only would it make surfing a lot easier but it will help me with finding fruit picking work and allow me to buy a board and take it around with me once I start travelling around and want to head up the coast. It will just make life a lot more convenient. The only thing now is finding a cheap car with registration.

And thanks to a Danish girl at the hostel I finally found the Australian equivalent of Craigslist - Gumtree. It's weird but I've kind of been lost without it. Being in a new city where I don't really know anyone or anywhere and it's just a great resource to find and sell things, meet people, arrange rideshares, look for jobs, whatever.

Well now I'm down to my last week at the Law Firm and although I like the pay check it will be nice to be done. I can plan my next move which will probably be down the Great Ocean Road or fruit picking.

Posted by clny 14:28 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

..back to Torquay

Torquay_008.jpg

I just can't stay away from the waves and so today after work I'm hopping the train down to Torquay so I can spend the weekend SURFING and hanging out with backpackers at a hostel. My first hostel stay in Australia and while I'm really not planning on partying it up you never really can tell what will happen when thrown in with a bunch of backpackers.

Also I hate Melbourne trains and I hate being a train commuter and I can't wait to be finished this job just so I no longer have to travel at peak hours. It's always crowded, late, or late and crowded and I just can't take it anymore. I also don't get how people in MX always see hotties on the train all I ever get is weirdos or smelly people - gross.

It's racing carnival time in Melbourne. I've never been to horse races before and for the Melbourne races you get dressed to the nines and don hats and fascinators and go out in class. My first time at the races will be exceptionally classy as Eden's dad got us tickets to the members only section where we will be served a 3-course meal and all booze is included in the ticket (which set me back almost $200) but considering what you normally pay to get into races, plus drinks I figure I'm pretty much coming out even. Who knows I may even be able to start going for one of my goals for Australia - namely marry rich Australian to stay in the country and not have to worry about work.

When considering my other Australia goals include being really tanned, getting sunbleached hair, living on a beach and surfing every day and working on a sheep farm - it seems a bit out there. And while it was mostly a joke I wouldn't put it past myself to up and do something like that.

So there you go, that's pretty much the word on the street lately. I'm totally stoked about surfing this weekend.

Posted by clny 15:08 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

one day on the Surf Coast

Last weekend Candice decided we should go down to Torquay, she loves it down there and I've been dying to go since I got to Australia. In short I was stoked and could not wait. This would be my first time surfing since I got here. My entire reason for being here - well maybe not my ENTIRE reason.

Friday rolls around and I race excited home from work. Throw my stuff in a bag and Candice and I set off for Geelong where Eden's friend Rob lives and where we would be staying for the night. I got to drive.

That night after we got into Geelong and found Rob's house (Eden wrote down the directions wrong) we packed into the car and headed out for my first glimpse of Torquay - but it was dark by the time we got there and my first impression wasn't all that impressed. We drove down to the beach, parked, and I went and stuck my feet in the ocean for the first time since being in Australia. It was a great feeling.

After that we headed off to find some dinner and were going to eat in Torquay but the place we stopped was too expensive for my liking so we drove back to a pub we saw just outside of Geelong for some pub grub. We spent the next hour or two watching Sex in the City before heading off to bed.

We headed out fairly early the next morning wanting to make the most of our day and pretty soon we were stopped at the mall of surf shops that line the road upon entering Torquay. We each made our sale rack purchases then headed off in search of somewhere to hire a board, I was a little worried about how we would transport the surfboard as Candice's car has no roof rack but the guy at the rental place just rolled down the window and stuck it across the back seat - sweet!

We got to the beach and it was pretty flat, it took a long time for me to find anything that was even rideable and there were long breaks between rideable sets. Finally I gave up and went back to Candice on the beach and we decided it was time to go to another beach. That was when we found the actual surfbeach which was just on the other side of the point and it was going off. This is what I had been waiting for. It was a lot different than anything I'd ever riden before, bigger, and the waves were more spaced out which was nice. After a couple hours I had caught a few waves and bit it more than a few times and exhausted and hungry rode the waves in to shore to go find Candice and go get some food.

We decided to drive down the Great Ocean Road a bit further, check out some other beaches and maybe go to Anglesea. We tried to go to the famous Bells Beach but after parking and following the path we thought would lead us to the beach we seemed to be going nowhere and turned around and went back to the car - maybe next time - and continued driving down to Anglesea where I got a supermarket dinner of coleslaw and bean salad and beer. Then we parked beside the road overlooking the ocean to eat our dinners. Side note- weird rules here, if you're not driving you are legally allowed to drink in the car. So I had a beer on the way back home.

We got back from the beach about 7:30 Saturday night, I'd come up with a great plan to go see a movie and try and use my free Gold Class upgrades which we didn't but we did end up seeing the House Bunny which besides being a little over the top was pretty cute and fun. Sunday morning I woke up early and went for a run then headed off to the store to pick up some veggies, before changing into my swimmers and lying out on the driveway for a bit of a suntan and a beer. After that things turned sour and I started getting bored and thinking about how I had to go back to work on Monday and that I wish I was still in Torquay b/c I could be surfing instead of lying around the house - the fact that I was stiff and sore from Saturdays exertions probably didn't help. I got cranky and sad and all I wanted was to be back on the beach, surfboard in hand carving up some waves or just biting it big time I didn't care. I realized then I should never have left. But sometimes you have to make sacrifices and I do need the money.

So here I am, back in the city, back at work, dreaming of the next time I'll get to go back for a surf. Which will probably be this weekend. I can't wait.

Posted by clny 02:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

guess who's coming to dinner

Glen is/was in town for a couple days after working up in Shepparton and yesterday we met up with him for dinner and drinks! It was great seeing him again, he's a real good guy and lots of fun - we went swimming in the fountain at the Leg on Canada Day, I'll never forget that - and because of it he's defenitely in my good books. We met up at this backpacker bar that I'd been to once before. We were supposed to meet at 5:30 and as I work in the City I was the first one there, I knew Candice and Eden would be late having to drive in but I thought Glen would be there at least. After about 15 minutes sitting in a mostly empty bar I gave him a call and it turns out he'd gone the wrong way down Flinders Street and was down past the MCG! Anyway I sorted him out and played some Pacman, and it was about this point when the other two people in the bar left and it was me and the bartender.

She told me it's usually busier and there's this group of guys from the hostel who are usually drinking there but TODAY there was supposed to be a big group of about 150 girls checking in to the hostel so the guys were sitting around in the hostel waiting - and I was the sole patron of the bar. Then the bartender left to use the toilet and I was the only person in the bar. At least I had my $4 pint of beer - which tasted pretty terrible. Finally at about 6 they all rocked up and we had a drink before heading over to the Cas to look for somewhere to eat.

There's just something about the Cas I don't know exactly what it is - maybe because it's always open and no matter what happens you know you can go there any time of day to eat, drink, shop even, or just go bowling at the Electric .. Circus (I want to say but I don't think that's what it's actually called). The Cas has got it all, it's a great place to start or end your night or just waste some time. Anyway we went there and didn't gamble and didn't meet any boys but the Pub we were at had a breathalyzer test in the toilets and I thought that was pretty damn cool. But you had to pay for it, not so cool.

It started to get kind of late and Eden wanted to go home to bed as he had to work early and so we parted ways. I told Glen I'd defenitely get up to Brissie before the wedding and I'll go for a ride on his cousins Catamaran and he told me he'd go surfing with me. So I can't wait!! Also he was stunned that I hadn't gone out and gone for a surf yet and I know - me too. So I've been thinking today and my original plan was to head up to Sydney after this job is over (which is either today or sometime next week - I don't know yet) BUT I think I'm gonna try and head down to Torquay again, see if I can't get a job there and maybe stay there until Melb Cup after which I'll head up to Sydney to visit Belinda and then over to Brissie.

All in all a good night. Then I had to work today, that's kind of painful, it's not that they don't have things for me to do it's that they are too busy to show me how to do them so I end up with these mindless easy tasks that in reality would take me half an hour to an hour sometimes but which I drag out for as long as I possibly can because when I finish and need something new to do - it's always 'oh - face scrunch - can you give me five minutes and I twiddle my thumbs until they figure out what to do with me next. Like right now, I'm completely done but my supervisor not here and so I sit here messing around and then retyping the same figures when someone walks past. Fun. But I'm still getting paid for it so can't complain.

This morning someone had made plunger coffee and I've been eager to try it as I don't really know how to make it this was the perfect opportunity but I have to say it didn't really do it for me. I haven't had a good cup of coffee since I got here, sure I've done the Flat White, Short Black, Espresso, Plunger Coffee everything and it just doesn't beat my good old double double. The one time I found an actual cup of joe it was from Starbucks where the coffee is always way too strong anyway and this one tasted like it had been sitting there since they opened in the morning (it was about 1 in the afternoon at this point) - so yum.

The current office craze is the Bubble Shooter Game all lunch hour everyone sits around and plays this game. My first day I thought what a bunch of lamos sitting around playing games when they could be going outside and doing something. Then they introduced me to the game and I too spend a large chunk of my lunch hour sitting around shooting bubbles. One day I played straight through lunch and when I'm trying to waste time I stealthily play between periods of traffic past my desk. Yes it's lame but it's so addicting.

Posted by clny 19:21 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

the Hawks win the Final..

.. much to my dismay. I believed the hype and decided to go for Geelong, they won the Grand Final** last year and had only lost 2 games this season so I was positive they would win. I'm tired of cheering for a losing team <ahem.. Blue Bombers>. But once again I was shit out of luck. It was a close game though, they were neck on neck most of the way through and it wasn't until the very end when the Hawks pulled out with a huge lead and brought home the Championship.

We ended up watching the game down at the pub and as excited as I was about experiencing the Grand Final I was also enthused by the prospect of meeting hot boys, and I wasn't disappointed either. Almost as soon as we rocked up to the joint we had guys chatting to us and offering us drinks.

There was one guy in particular I had my eye on, Matt, and I guess he had his eye on me too because we ended up making out for most of the rest of the night - and it was good. (I think I impressed him with my pint drinking, in my experience Aussie guys really seem to go for a girl who drinks beer.) By the end of the night I was pretty drunk and after exchanging numbers we parted ways.

Candice had left a while back having to work at 5 the next morning. So we caught a ride home with Eden's friend Mark, I think we planned on going out but in the end we really weren't up for it. I chomped down a bag of chips then passed out on the couch while Candice and Eden went to pick up some food which I completely forgot I'd ordered which I could barely eat anyway partially because I was full of chips and partially because most of my spaghetti ended up on the floor.

All in all I had a great Grand Final day even though my team lost and to think I was considering picking them as my footy team. In any case I think I'm going to end up going for Collingwood Magpies or The Pies as they're known, Candice was trying to recruit me as a Essendon Bomber fan which seemed to fit, Winnipeg Blue Bombers - Essendon Bombers. But the Bombers have done nothing but disappoint and while I continue to love and support them I'm going for The Pies after all I did live in Joyce-Collingwood in Van.

  • * The Grand Final is like the Grey Cup of Aussie Rules Football or Footy as it's called. It's a big deal. The whole week leading up to it there were tv specials and even a parade through the City the day before.

Posted by clny 18:10 Archived in Australia Tagged events Comments (0)

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