Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Too darn hot.

This will be brief as from the title, you can tell, it is hot.

I have finally left Sydney, but have come to melbourne during a heatwave. That was clever.

My last few days in Sydney involved park sitting, amazing film watching (go see Milk- Milk for the oscar!), visiting a water park (I felt very mature), catching up with some people I met in Amsterdam (a lask lustre affair, I don't think any of us really had our hearts in the reunion- sometimes what happens in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam), going for a hike, seeing the Australia day fireworks in the pouring rain and finally leaving Sydney.

Apologises for the lack of details, but as i said I arrived in Melbourne to a heat wave -45 degrees when I got off the plane. It is now 10 am and it is already 35. That all sounds fine and dandy to you cold Scottish people, but imagine that in an 8 bed dorm with no air con. Now you feel me.

I had a brief wander around last night night, but today I actually need to read my guidebook and see what Melborune is about- I used to be so organised. I turned up yesterday without a map or any idea where I was going. So unlike me. Isn't that good?

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Sydney still continued

As promised the second exciting installment.

Are you ready for an ardously detailed description of a play you will never see? (I know you care Anthony, my dedicated cate Blanchett lover). Good, I hope you are sitting comfortably and I'll begin.

The War of the Roses covers 8 of Shakespeare's plays covering the lead up to and end of the War of the Roses. The play by the Sydney theatre company lasted 7 hours in total and condensed Richard II, Henry IV parts 1&2 and Henry V into the first half which I saw on Monday night and Henry VI and Richard III which I saw on Tuesday.

Act one was Richard the II. Cate Blanchett (!) played Richard and the set consisted of all the players standing on the stage whilst being showered by gold confetti for the most part. Cate (my good friend, we are on first name basis now) was very good and even though the set design sounds odd it was very striking. However, my favourite of the two nights had to act 2 of part 1 (Henry IV and V). The actor playing Prince Hal (to become Henry V) was mesmorizing. Absolutely amazing, I cannot stress that enough. He managed a very awkward scene where he commited oral sex on Falstaff then spat out the result of it and smeared it over his face. I know it wasn't real, but it look very icky and the whole audiene did audibly gasp when he did that. However, he managed to make it really distressing and sad, which I know sounds a bit crazy. Plus there was a bit more action in this half mainly consisting of murders made more dramatic by the actor playing the murderer getting a mouthful of fake blood and spitting it over the victim. I'm sure health and safety wouldn't have allowed it back home.

Part 2 was Henry VI parts 1-3 and Richard III. Any of you who know the play Henry VI will know that it is murders and plotting abound and quite a lot to squeeze into 2 hours. However, they managed it incredibly well by suspending an LED strip light thing form the top of the stage which changed as the scenes changed eg The murder of ....., the deposing of..... which really helped things run more smoothly. There was approximately 7 murders in the first act so as you can imagine there was literally gallons of blood being spat in all the actors faces. Definitely not hygienic (I can feel you shudder at the thought Kim).
The final act was Richard III and again they had a woman playing the title part. The stage this time was a childs playground with black confetti streaming down over the players. Richrad was mazing, she managed to bring humour and tragedy to the part.

So in short, it was good. I feel very poetic and dramatic and full of the luvvie spirit.

Now, in all my ardent love for Shakespeare, I forgot to tell you about meeting Al. To those of you who don't know, Al is my good friend Andi's boyfriend and he had come on holiday to Sydney to see his sister (thanks for letting me know Andi!). He gave me a text and we had a lovely lunch in the botanical gardens and a lovely walk around some of the areas I hadn't been yet in Sydney. It was so nice to see someone from the mother country especially so unexpectedly. Ah the joys of a holiday maker!

Anyway the spirals of time are once again against us and I must depart. Farewell, my dear friends, good night!

(Sorry, just way too much theatre....)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Sydney still

So I left you thinking I was in the safe hands of a German hippy about to take me to an open air viewing of Run Lola Run. What could be safer? In fact it was safe, but I learned, what I suspect you all knew, that the mad German was in fact mad.

Now one would think a hippy type would at one with nature etc etc so I forgave her when she started protesting very loudly that standing waiting for the bus was 'very bad for my lungs, it is not good for us all this pollution' and I forgave her when she toook literally a thousand phots (who would have thought a monorail track was so facinating and requiring multiple shots?). However, I could not forgive the fact that on the very brief walk back to our hostel that she moaned and complained and shrieked and howled at every cockroache she saw (it's Australia there are lots). So after I managed to regain my arm from her grasp, I realised my escape must be made.

Fortunately, she sleeps in and sounded so the next day I crept out and spent the day doing what i love best- park sitting. Now this may shock you all, but I suddenyl found myself wanting to exercise! It came as a shock to me also, so i decided to go swimming. I went to an open air pool with every great intention, but then after about 4 lenghts a thunderous lightening storm erupted blasting bolts of fire that ripped through the air like a whip.

Okay I exaggerate slightly (I've been reading science fiction, forgive me), but they had to evacuate the pool so that was the end of my sporting moment.

On return to my room (a six bed drom with three inhabitants so naturally we all had a bottom bunk each) I found the German had moved her stuff on to mine. This was odd. Had she missed me so that day she felt to be above me. I worried this could be so and the Aussie girl who also shares the room feraed for me. I later discovered it wasn't amorous intention, but an evil power cable running under the bed was giving her headaches at night so she was compelled to move (subsequently claiming the move cured her headaches and proving her point). Mad, mad , mad.

Anyway the weekend came and after our bonding moment over the German, the Aussie girl and her English friend (who speaks faster than I do!!!! Really!!!) spent a bit of time together, book shopping, ice skating and beach lounging and all types of girlie high jinks. All good wholsome fun.

Now I must go as I am running out of internet time, but what awaits in the next entry is Cate Blanchett, showers of blood and unexpected meetings with old friends.....

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Sun in Sydney

Well, my new years resolution didn't last long. Apologises to my readers, after my last comment about not having any I now have 3 followers. A proud day indeed (FYI Emma, love the screen name).

I blame the vast majority of this lack of writing to the fact I have now moved on from Brisbane (and the jigsaw- I was defeated, Maggie finished two days after my departure) and am now in Sydney where my hostel doesn't have free internet. Imagine having to pay to use a service!

I am loving Sydney. Maggie very wisely told me to geta hostel out of the centre and it's a great place. Most of you know I am not adverse to the odd tipple, but a lot of the inner city hostels, that is all they do. I went to the Blue Mountains on Monday (more on that later) and on asking two English girls who have been here for a month what they most liked about Sydney, they said the pubs. Then I asked what they has been doing for the last month and they said the pubs. So as much as I like a drink, I actually want to remember some of Australia.

I've not been terribly exciting since my arrival in the social capital of Oz, but you dear readers should know that after the park extravanganza that was Tokyo. My hostel is in Glebe and had a masssive outside courtyard which is great. Every night for the last ten days I've eaten under the stars and there had been surprisingly few mossies.

On my first full day here I was surpirised to bump into two girls I went to uni with (Susan Dickson and Caroline something for those of you who care). It was quite surreal. Then the next day I met up with a lovely girl I had orginally met in Barcelona. Erin is a smashing girl, so so kind. I wasn't sure she would even remember me, but she welcomed me like an old friend and took me for breakfast and a wee tour of the eastern beaches. The poor thing is having a rather terrible time with a flatmate situation so it was so ncie of her to take the time. Hopefully, once that is resolved we'll catch up again.

So the rest of the this last week, I've done a lot of city investigating, book shop finding and botanical garden sitting,as you can imagine. Also to great surprise and joy the Sydney festival is on so they're are lots of plays and music around every corner. I went to go to sit in the park and have lunhc and suddenly I was surrounded by a thousand children and a juggler. That wasn't a highlight actually...

I have also made friends with the two girls in my room. One is an Aussie, living in the hostel while she sorts out a plcae to live and has similiar novelisitc tastes as I (we have made a date to go book shopping on saturday) and the other is a German woman who is very interesting. She is a tantra teacher (google it) and is hoping later in the month to go to a retreat to not speak for 10 days and find her inner peace. Cool eh? She believes in herbal remedies and the like and thinks she was a man in a past life. I think I was a cat.

Tonight we are going to see Run Lola Run, a very popular cult German film, in a open air floating cinema and have a picnic with her friend Hong Kong boy. I haven't met him yet, but I'd be surprised if that is in fact his name.

Oh I forgot, I did do something interesting. I went on a day trip to see the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are a famous range and they are most well known for the three sisters which are bascially 3 big rocks on top of a hill. The story behind it is that a Aborginal king changed his three daughters to stone to protect them from a magical predector, but then lost his magic wand sothey are stuck forever in stone. The tour was great bature wise. Saw big mountains, pretty gullys and tested out my new walking shoes. the people in the tour were so funny though. The guide was niceguy but the rest of the people were so funny. They without exception (and they weren't all one group or anything) had been out drinking till about 2 in the morning and were hung over. Most didn't wear anything suitable for trekking up mountains (one girl was wearing gladiator sandals and a sun dress) and almosty all of them moaned and complained about walking. It was a walking tour! People are strange. I think the poor guide was a bit baffled too. IT was a good day though and I took pretty pictures to bore you with once I work out how to put pictures online.

So finally, just to rub it it in. The weather here is so lovely. A medium 29 degrees the last few days. You know when the rain comes, it such a relief from the heat. I have to put sun cream on everu day in case I burn, it is so relentless. Poor, poor me, eh?!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

New Year and Jigsaw obsessions

Hmmm, I appear to have been neglecting my blog during this festive period.  Much like a child after playing with a new puppy.  At first it is fun and exciting, but too soon walking the dog becomes a chore.  However, I have resounded as my new year's resolution to be more attentive to my online readers- all one of you (thanks bro, feeling the fmaily loyalty).

Talking of new year, I do hope you all had a pleasing time of your choice.  After returning from the delight that was Chrsitmas, poor Maggie had to work and I too had some trip planning to do.  So of course I went to the park and read my book (no no not my travel guide!).  Yes, in my usual fashion I managed to procastinate fully for almost the whole 3 days Maggie was earning her crust.  However, I did manage to purchase a pair of shorts for the tiny sum of ten dollars (yes, me in shorts), meet up with Luke, a lovely guy I met initally in Berlin and of course see a movie.  

Luke is a born and bred Brisbaner and he felt it was his duty to how me a good time in Fortitude Valley (or 'the Valley' as the cool kids say).  This is the area of Brisbane where the young, the beautiful and the interestingly dressed go out to socialise and be seen (although I'm not sure who by).  One of the clubs was having a theme night called Fluffy, in which the dapper young gents of the city gathered to dance merrily together in a spirit of brotherhood.  I had a jolly time dancing away in my sensible shoes, drinking the finest gin and enjoying the entertainment by a very tall and glamorous lady named Alexei Paige.  I was such a fine time funking down with grooves that I didn't get to bed til 4 o'clock. What would my mother say!  

Fortunately for Maggie the second holiday of the season soon came around and we set off again, this time for a different coastal town called Kingscliff to meet up with Duncan and stay at his good friend Paul's house.  Now, if you have been reading closel, you will have remembered that in ou lat road trip, the air conditioning in the car had brken down.  This was still the case, but on this journey we were driving in the midday sun with top temperatures if 35 degrees.  I have had better experiences in my short life, but the extreme heat was made slightky better by a mid-way sop for a nice pie (Maggie doesn't usually let me ave junk food- she is so good).  We finally arrived in Kingscliff and may I say that Paul's dad Terry (who I met previously when he came to stay briefly with my moher a few years ago) has a rather spectacular house and pool placed a ten minute wlak away from a most delightful beach.  

After a 2 hour, 35 degree heat drive, I must say there is nohing better than putting on your cossie (I am so Australian now, I know the lingo) and running into the sea.  Delightful.  Then very excitingly , the host, Paul, his brother and Duncan returned from their fishing trip armed with a massive 15kg tuna.  Now I don't know anything about fishing, but apparenty This Is Very Hard To Do and is a Very Big Achievement.  So despite it being the 30th and most parties kept til the 31st as tradition dictates, a party for this fish was organised.  A mere 14 people attended, the fish was cooked 3 different ways and much merriement was had by all.  I have several pictures of the fish and it's delightful catcher Paul who must say is a lovely guy (a teacher no less) with a equally lovely aversion to wearing a T-shirt.  

Hogmanay then arrived and the weather coninued to get hotter and hotter.  So whats a girl to do, but hit the beach, meet some new friends (all school buddies of Duncan) and go to cafes to eat in the sun.  Then something quite extraordinary happened.  Maggie and Duncan had left for the afternoon to see his family and I decided to stay in Kingscliff to continue my research on whether or not Paul owned a shirt.  During our beach lounging earlier in the day, someone had mentioned they had recieved a miniture cricket set for Christmas and we should all go and play in the park.  Amd so we did.  I played sport.  Not only did I play, but I actually managed to hit the ball (with the bat) and run back and forth two bits of wood for quite some time.  When I was put out (I'm not sure what the rules of cricket are, but someone told me it was all over), i got a small round of applause and Sean (the owner of the cricket set) said it was greatest cricket performance by a Scottish person he had ever seen.  I took that as a compliment.

Well, after all the activities, you would think I would be just exhausted, but it was Hogmanay.  After much decision, that after the fish party, tonight should be a quiet affair between friends, of course a massive house party with loud dance music, more barbequed food, small children dancing (wih full supervision of their parents) and fireworks ensued.  In fact, it was quite the biggest party I have been to in some time, larger than even my dear brother's 30th and with much less good behaviour.  At around 4am and witnessing a party goer trying to smoke a cigarette backwards, I decided it was time for bed.  Unfortunately, poor Terry has been the victim of termites and his downstairs guest rooms are a no go area so all us waifes and strays had to sleep in the corridors.  This is not a big deal as it is so hot that anywhere with a pillow suffices for sleep.  However, this did mean despite by best efforts, I was very much trying to sleep in a thorough fair and presence did not go unnoticed by Paul's other brother Mark and a friend who decided that I would very much enjoy (at 7 am) to be serended by their imitations of crows and attempts at mastering the Irish accent.  This went on for approximately an hour and despite my several attempts to explain I was not Irish, they continued.  Their renditions were also heard by the rest if the house and I expect most of the surrounding households, so even though it was the first of a new year, I was up and ready for the new day by about 830am.  What an achievement.  This was aided by an early morning swim and a large bacon and egg roll.  Yum.  
Alas, good times eventually have to end, and after the worse of the sun had gone, Maggie, Duncan and I made our way home (via his mum's house for homemade ice cream) to Brisbane for a very early night.

Maggie again had to work on the Friday so I entertained myself by going to the art gallery and book shopping whilst the boys watched cricket onthe TV- all day.  Apparently, cricket lasts 10 days!?  The weekend brought 'a change in the weather' heralded by the newspapers.  It rained so heavily on Saturday that we had to shut all the upstairs windows and rescue the outside dining table.  The boys were still watching cricket so Maggie and I decided to be very wholesome, do some baking and buy a jigsaw.  However, the only one we could find in the limited number of shops in her neighbourhood was an 1000 piece Star Wars themed puzzle.  Maggie wanted to do it by house rules ie you are not allowed to look at the box.  This jigsaw has become an obsession.  It is incredibly difficult, massive and has consumed Maggie and I's time for the las 2 days, so much so that the baking didn't get done til Sunday.  We both just had to get out of the house for a walk yesterday, but couldn't stop thinking about it the whole time and hurried back.  I thought I heard someone move the table this morning so had to get up and check the puzzle and check it was alright (it was).  

It's all been very stressful and the worst thing is- it's not finished yet.