Wednesday, December 27, 2006
My first day in Sydney was spent exploring around Circular Quays (where the Opera House and the Bridge are, the Rocks as well as the Sydney Museum and the Contemporary Art Gallery. Sydney is very different from Melbourne, and feels more like a city and is very spread out. It is very beautiful though and you are constantly surrounded by amazing views over the water and the bay. After wondering around I headed back to the University, where Greg was running the reactor (poof that he is actually doing a PhD) and learnt a bit about palladium catalysts... we then headed off to the Petrie's house near Manley where we have spent the last few days, relaxing by the pool, walking on the beach and having an amazing holiday.
Tal arrived in Sydney in time to spend Christmas Day with Greg and I, and we were also joined by Greg's flat mate Kurt. After a Jew-friendly Christmas dinner, things started to get very festive with lots of singing and dancing around the house. Boxing Day was spent watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on the cliffs of the Sydney Harbour National Park and then we went for a beautiful walk along Manley to Cabbage Tree Bay in the evening, followed by the most delicious Indian food at one of Greg's favorite restaurants in the city.
More exploring followed today, when we went down to Bondi for lunch and to hang out with Tal and her niece and nephew, who are very sweet and I then took the ferry back to Manley this evening which was beautiful. I can see why people love ferries...
I have decided to head back to Melbourne in the new year as even though Sydney is beautiful, Melbourne will be easier for me to settle into at this point in time and it will be very easy to base myself from there. We are off to the zoo tomorrow and will keep you posted, when I am able to steal Greg's laptop away from him, in between him writing up his thesis!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Tal has been able to take me into the city this weekend to explore the lane ways, art galleries, VCA, and the outer areas of Melbourne. The mayor of the city is very into preserving culture in the city, which includes the grafitti in the lanes, installing light boxes, putting masses of cash into the arts and museums, which is amazing. Something South Africa should definitly encourage more, but alas I suppose our cash has to go else where.
The food here is also amazing and I am going the have to start a food diary to remember it all, the tastes and influences. Eating out is relatively cheap and there are hundreds of bars, cafes and resturants lining every street. Many of the areas in the city have local expat communities so there are pockets of italian, greek, asian and vietnamese influenced places. Everything is fresh, sasonal and made to order. And the coffee is always good! Sydney will have to prove itself as having the best coffee in Oz.
Today Tal and I went to Soul Mama in St Kilda, were apart from the some really bad beach party playing shocking music, we had a delicious lunch over looking the sea. Virtually all gluten free and the best thing was the chocolate espresso pot, which I loved, even though I am not a chocolaty person.
I am working off all this food by tackling Tal's garden which is a complete overgrown jungle. I have filled four black bags with weeds so far and have planted a herb garden and some sunflowers for the house. They have a rose bush which is the size of a small tree! I have taken before and after shots so will keep you all posted. Tal lives with really lovely people, Lil who is a Vietnamese, freelance journalist, Miya who is a Polish photographer and Ram who is doing his PhD in human rights law. This make life interesting but they have been very welcoming and we have been hanging out while Tal has been working.
Off to Sydney on Thursday where I will be for Christmas etc! And appologies, spell check is not being my friend...
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Today we wondered down Brunswick St which was great, first having breakfast/brunch at the Tin Pot and then off shopping and to the famous Fitzroy Nursery. Here we bought seeds and herbs for Tals garden make-over (my project is to tame the jungle in her back yard) and I am going to apply for a job there if I come back to Melbourne in Januanry as it is a very cool place.
Despite the day being very smoky, due to the north wind which is blowing the smoke from the bushfires into the city, Melbourne is very pretty with lovely houses and beautiful shops. Tal has to work tomorrow, to fund her next project which sounds amazing, so heading off to the big city on my own to explore!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Hey Hey - I have finally arrived in Oz and very happy to be in Melbourne. It's great to be with Tally, despite my extraordinarily long trip and encounters with a number of strange but interesting people. I suppose that most people appear rather strange after not sleeping for 30 hours, and when they haven't slept either...
Thursday was rather frantic as I had a scholarship interview an hour before I had to be at the airport, but I managed to catch my flight and was picked up by Em at the airport. After a whirlwind tour of her garden, with house attached, we headed off to Greenside for a yummy dinner and a crash course in antibiotics. I will now be able to save myself from deli belly and amoebic dysentery thanks to Em's prescription scrawled on the back of the waiter's pad.
I spent Friday, being bossed around by Jack in his shop, having tea with Fran and driving around Joburg trying to find Indi in Cresta of all places. Dinner with the Joburg crew in Melville in the evening and it was great to catch up with Dr Phil, Kenjamin, Kirst, Crazy Cath, Paula etc. Lots of wine, delicious Thai food and a drink at Tokyo Star, but the music was horrendous so we headed for home rather early.
Indi dragged me off for a shopping spree like only India can on Saturday morning. Most of which was spent in downtown Jozi in the Chinese supermarket and fireworks store where we bought presents for the Medics Christmas party happening that afternoon. We finally escaped after buying half of China town and chatting to the shop assistants who were threatening to toy-toy if they were not let off early to go and watch the soccer, only to be caught up in the Pirates/Chiefs taxi jam, a fire at the train station, one body on the road and narrowly missed being killed by a bus driver speeding and talking on his cell phone. Oh, the joys of Africa....
The first leg to Dubai was difficult as I had a man on steroids with the largest biceps I have ever seen sitting next to me and he needed two seats, but we arrived safely at about 4:30 am. You have no idea how many people are shopping in duty free at 5am, though I am sure that the neon lights and them pumping in oxygen has a lot to do with it. But that is the point, as they even pick you up in a golf cart and whisk you off to your boarding gate from duty free if you are too busy swiping your credit card to make your flight. The airport is enormous and the frightening thing is that they are extending it even further.
I arrived in Singapore only to be accosted by reindeers leeping through banks of orchids, Visa having sponsored Christmas and clearly the gift of giving, 30 degrees and George Michael singing carols.... I quickly fled to the traansit hotel and passout for 12 hours. The next morning I spent drinking coffee in the orchid garden which was beautiful. As I was making my way to me boaring gate I narrowly avoided being killed by the police (who are armed with AK47s, pistols and huge knives), when a group of American tourists flocked around them. "We sure love you alls outfits and your hats are so cute!" The police were not impressed.
Finally arrived in Melborne at 2am on Tuesday morning, having been the only person not over 50 and visiting there greek, cypriot or italian relatives. Did you know that Melbourne has the largest Greek community outside of Athens? Collected my bag and headed to the taxi rank where I was collected by a Somalian, who made me read the map, broke the speed limit and spoke on his cell phone. So you see, Australia isn't so different from Africa after all!
Rudolf, looking pissed off in the orchids...
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Can't believe that I only have three days left in Cape Town, as I am running round like a headless chicken trying to get everything done before I go. Spent the afternoon being told that I was going to die from everything under the sun in Asia by the paranoid doctor at the travel clinic. I escaped a R1000 poorer but safe against the ravages of Hepatitis, Typhoid, virilent eColi and Cholera which were out to get me. I even have a cooler box with another dose which I have to take just before I leave. I know, I know - yes I am also a bit of a hypocondriac but I do have a medical kit too...
Thank you to all of you who came to Relish on Friday. It was great to see you all and to say goodbye. For those of you who couldn't make it, you missed out on some damn good mojitos!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Next couple of hurdles are sorted – got my work visa and sold my car! Poor snowflake (currently not as clean as the driven snow…) is being abandoned but it is time that we go our separate ways. I have my last function this evening and only 7 more days left of work! I am getting extremely excited and can’t believe how quickly time has flown. Have a bumper holiday weekend coming up, thanks giving dinner on Friday evening and early Christmas on Sunday. Hopefully I will be able to keep my eyes open on Monday after the amount of trytophan I will be consuming…
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Well the good news is that I finally have my passport after many delays and I am TB free! So now I am in the process of applying for my Australian work visa and hopefully, with some help from my new friend Maggie from the Aussie Embassy, it will be ready before I go. Only a month left and getting really excited! Melbounre here I come.