Thursday, December 31, 2009

one last entry...... for 2009!

WOW, I can't believe its 2010!!! So crazy!

Happy New Year to all my family and friends wherever you are on this wonder planet!

All the best for 2010!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

what a way to end the year...

With a nasty cold :(

symptoms got worse last night and after being woken up a huge crack of thunder I decided I was in no condition to be going to work. I'm not one that likes to call in sick all the often, however I would have been putting other sick people at risk, and working on an oncology ward, that is not fair to the other patients. Their immune system is already decreased and me being at work wouldn't be helping. AND, I don't get sick time - so you KNOW I'm sick!

Symptoms include: runny nose, sore throat, productive cough, sore chest, painful sinus, and overall blah.

I took half a sleeping tablet at about 1am, I couldn't sleep laying flat as my sinus's felt like they where going to explode and it didn't sound like the storm was going to end anytime soon. I crashed about 45 minutes after taking the pill, briefly heard Rob when he left work, then when he came home from work at about 1000, and proceeded to keep sleeping till 1340. I guess I needed it and today I am feeling a bit better. Rob brought me home some cup of noodle soup and I will be chugging the cough syrup all day! Today is New Years eve, and I'll be damned if I am spending it in bed! We have spent $120 on tickets to an all you can drink/eat party and have got a room in town - as we don't want to have to worry about a cab getting home.

So, here's to a snotty ending of 2009, and probably a snotty entry into 2010, but it will be a good one!!!

Merry Christmas!

Well, its a few days past christmas, but Merry Christmas!

I never did get my white christmas, but I have been cold!! Back to that later...

Christmas day was definitely one to remember! I managed to get through my nights, I phoned home during my break on my last night which was nice to talk to family, and I was spoiled Christmas morning!!
Rob wasn't too keen on getting up at 7:30 when I got home Christmas morning, but there was presents to open :)
For Christmas I got a shirt from my mom as well as a couple of necklaces and some much needed underwear - can't go a christmas without some new knickers!! I also got a new watch from Rob, some Versace perfume and a beautiful pearl necklace with three diamonds :) I love them all, especially the necklace, which I will be wearing to our New Years party tomorrow night!!
For Rob I got him a few small things - magazine, lotto tickets, a book and a kinder surprise, but it didn't end there. For his 'main' gift, I got him a 12,000 foot sky dive jump. I got myself one as well and when he opened the gift he was shaking!! It was great as he had NO idea when he was getting and I put the voucher in a booked stuffed with newspaper so it seemed empty - I had him convinced it was a box of 'love'!! We are plan to do our jump this Sunday - eeeeeeeeeeeeee - weather permitting :)

I slept for a few hours Christmas morning, as did Rob, and he was cooking turkey dinner. We where planning on having it ready for about 1:30 - 2:00 and then heading to a friends house for a few hours. However, Rob didn't wake up till 1:30, and so we didn't eat till about 4:00. He skyped his family back home and before we knew it, it was 6:00. SO, we decided to stay in as I had to work my last night shift that night.

Boxing day however, was a bit more 'fun'. After I woke up at 3:30 - I slept in :) we caught the bus and headed down to the casino :) I hadnt' been to the casino in ages and was so pumped. I went to the roulette table right away and within 30 minutes I had 3 numbers hit and was up over $2oo!! I cashed out and watched Rob play black jack, then went back to the roulette table and proceeded to play again, and lost $100! Nice one. Oh well, I went willing to lose $100, so I was still up! Rob and I decided to head into town to spend our winnings. We hit about three bars and eventually made it home at about 2:30 - after a $45 cab ride, I love living so far away :)

So that was pretty much my Christmas. Not overly exciting, but great company and great gifts!

After our night out to the casino, I woke up the next day not feeling the greatest, a little hung over and feeling a cold coming on. Since then, I have developed a nice chest/sinus cold and haven't been feeling great. I slept most of Sunday and Monday we went and say Avatar. I hit the sac early but was awake after 1:30am having difficulty catching my breath and coughing. I went to work feeling like shit and of course I was offered overtime...... I stayed, but I slept well that night! The worst is that we don't have much control over the temperature in the units, and lately is has been SOOO cold! I am currenlty in sweat pants and hoody! WTF!!! We actually turn OFF the AC every once and a while to warm things up. This I know, is not helping my chest, and considering I haven't been sick in over a year and this is my 2nd cold this month, I know my body is not impressed!
Rob has picked up some cough medicine for me and I am already starting to feel a bit better. I'll be loading up on in tonight as tomorrow night is New Years Eve and I want to PARTY!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twas the night before christmas

So here I am working a night shift on Christmas eve....technically it is officially Christmas day...


and I am completely bored!!! A good excuse to update my blog! I was going to do a nursing rendition of the poem "Twas the night before Christmas", but got stuck on the second line :) Not that imaginative I guess. Either that or haven't had enough or too much red bull!!!

So I'll just update my Christmas here in Darwin.
To be honest, its been a bit of a rough go! This is my third night shift of 4, and my first time as in-charge or team leader as they call it here. I am not working with the best of staff, of the 4, I am working with an enrolled nurse, like an LPN back home, and fairly new grad, and another nurse that is nothing but a bitchy disrespectful human being that should have NEVER taken nursing........anyways. The first night was pretty busy, trying to get myself orientated as team leader, and to be honest having to do a lot more thinking!!! Imagine that!! haha.
The second night was complete hell. Bitchy nurse was at her worst; I was supposed to have help from an attendant to watch 2 confused patients, but didn't get one so one of us had to be in the room the entire time; had patients spiking temperatures; and was trying to get through all the charts to update the care plan, among other team leader duties on night shift. Basically I did not stop working all night, a couple 5 minute breaks to use the toilet and drink some red bull, and didn't get off work till nearly 8am. Needless to say, I had a glass of wine when I got home that Christmas eve morning :)
Rob finished work early Christmas eve and after stopping for a drink or two came home at about 1:30. I woke up and vented about my shit ass night, and of course was all worked up and didn't get back to sleep. That's ok, its Christmas eve and I was prepared for that. Rob and I eventually went back to the pub, I had my one allotted glass of wine for the night, we played Keno - which we did horrible on, and had supper there. Supper wasn't really planned, but, what the heck, it was better then what we had planned at home, chicken.....and we hadn't figured out the rest yet! (and it was nothing compared to mom's lasagna and ceasar salad....mmmmm, ceasar salad!!) After a brief nap at home I prepared myself for my third night shift, and it truly was a struggle to come in knowing who I have to work with.....and I only dread the one person. Unbelievable how one person can make you feel like that.
Upon arrival to the ward I found out that we only had 15 patients (we have 30 beds) and 4 nurses. One had to float in case she was needed in maternity, so three of us have 5 patients and no one is extremely sick. Because I had one floating she was able to help with 2200 BP checks and meds ect, so by 2215, I was sitting down working on getting though all the charts! And because it was my third night, I knew most of the patients so it was a fairly easy check. By midnight I had everything that needed to be done, done, as well as even some of my morning things all prepared! Some of the staff brought in food so we munched away, and by 0300most of my staff where asleep at the desk. Nice.
So here I am typing away trying to keep myself awake, I think I am immune to red bull! haha

As for not being at home this Christmas season, it has been a bit tough! I miss my family TONS, and even though I got to see them in Cuba, I wasn't at home. I miss my dog, and the comfort of mom and dads house (my house I never really got to settle in so I don't miss it as much) I miss the fireplace, and if you can believe it, I actually kinda miss the snow.... but only for Christmas! I know, I know, I came here to get away from the snow, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas! Walking home from the pub Rob and I where saying that it can't be Christmas - the sky is blue, the grass is green and its 30 freakin' degrees out. WTF??? I didn't mean to rub that in, but it just plain seems weird. It also doesn't help that I am working and for the second year in a row, not getting drunk :(
It is going to be weird not have mom's turkey, and gravy, and potatoes, carrots ect, and of course dessert. Mom's cooking is ALWAYS the best so Rob has his work cut out for him. I get out of cooking this year because I am working nights and will be sleeping :) Food was another thing that we had to figure out. Our oven is about the size of a small microwave.....and we have very few pots/pans, and only 2 burners, which sometimes don't like to work when the oven is on. Rob found a small turkey that only takes about an hour and a half to cook and I don't know what else he has planned other then gravy! His family normally eats at about 2pm, and we are planning to go to a mates house for a couple of hours, so turkey dinner at 2pm is the plan (that is also going to be weird, normally at 2 we are snacking on Christmas treats and chilling out!) As I have to work my last night shift that night we will have to leave pretty early from our friends place, but that's ok, at least we are getting out of the house and doing something.

However, of all the things that are going to be different, and how much I wish I could be at home, I am grateful that I do have someone that I care for dearly to spend Christmas with! My thoughts and love are with all those that I can't be with and am grateful for the loving family and friends that I do have halfway across the world!

So, it is nearly 0400, 4 more hours and I will be opening Christmas presents, drinking a glass of wine and seeing the surprised look on Rob's face when he sees what I got him....... that will be later!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my family and friends, I miss you all so much!!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas in Darwin

I am having a very difficult time getting into the Christmas spirit in Darwin.

The city itself does not get all that into the Christmas spirit - very few Christmas lights, not many decorations around the city, and even the malls are very 'blazee". I've hardly heard any Christmas music, which is the opposite back home where all you hear is Christmas music as early as Nov 1st. I did however purchase a Christmas music album on Itunes, that I have already played about three times - but I can't play it when Rob is there, but that's OK!
It also doesn't help that I am used to a white Christmas. I have always been in Canada for the holidays and most of the time, there is snow on the ground!! Not a chance in hell that will be happening here - and not that I am complaining - I don't miss the winter drive and the cold weather, with wind chills on top of that, but nothing beats waking up Christmas morning to see snow falling from the sky.
Even the ward I work on isn't that decorated, we have some garland hanging from the ceiling with some ornaments dangling off them, and that's it!! However, due to the fact I work on an oncology ward, and we get patients with febrile neutropenia (basically no immune system and no white blood cells to fight infection) we can't put up a tree because of dust and debris.
I decided the best way to help my un-festive spirit, was to decorate my unit. Plus, I can't have a Christmas without a Christmas tree, even if it is a fake one!!! So I went to the un-decorated mall to get decorations.... and what a disgrace!!! K-mart had some cute small trees, but they only came in pink or purple (don't get me wrong, if I wasn't living with Rob I would have bought the pink one!) the rest where all huge and expensive. And there where hardly any decent decorations - like window stickers or garland, or anything!!!! I ended up getting most of my things at the dollar store, of all places. I picked up a cute 4ft 'green' tree for 10 bucks, some ornaments for the tree, a couple strings of garland, and a tiny wreath for the front door and a couple stickers for the window. I did get some battery operated Christmas lights at the Big W (aka, Walmart) and some outdoor solar Christmas lights from K-mart. All in all I spent about $45, well worth it to help get in the joyous Christmas spirit!

The minimal effort put into decorating the city
Partially done christmas trees
My front door - currently the garland is down as we had a storm over the weekend!

Our cute christmas tree!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'm staying for another year :)

Yup, it has been confirmed, I will be staying in sunny Australia for the year 2010 - CRAZYNESS!!! I received the email yesterday afternoon from immigration with the confirmation that I have been granted another working holiday visa!! WOOHOO!!!

When I first got the e-mail, my heart stopped, I was so worried that I would have been denied - why, not sure, but was just really nervous! However, as I read it, I had a big sigh of relief and a massive grin on my face :)

I am kinda relieved that I am staying for another year as it doesn't sound like there is much work available in Calgary right now. As much as I am missing my family and friends, I think it is a wise decision to stay in Australia where work is a bit easier to come by. Plus it gives my family more time to try and plan a trip to come visit!!! (and anyone else that wants an excuse to come to Oz!)

I will be headed back to Canada in August of 2010 as I CAN NOT miss the Diemert reunion!! I missed one 3 years ago and regretted it very much. I have promised myself and my family that I would not miss one no matter where I am in the world, so I will be back for a short time, but will be returning to the wonderful world of Oz :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Life at Staff Village

Sunday morning Rob and I moved to the staff village accommodation at the Royal Darwin Hospital. After almost 3 weeks of living in a hostel, even though we had a private room, I was excited to have my own place with no roommates (other then Rob of course!) no sharing a bathroom, kitchen, or having to clean up after other people and a bit of privacy!!!! Now I would have preferred not to move in on a Sunday as it was a friends last weekend in town and his going away party was Saturday night. BUT, it was the earliest I could get into a unit, and with the Monday being Rob's birthday and having to start work Tuesday, Sunday was the day. Check-out was at 10:00am, (lovely) and a workmate of Rob's was kind enough to pick us up and take us to the hospital. There are 200 units in the area, and they are nothing special!! We are unit 8, my luky number! and I am about a 1 minute walk to work! We settled in pretty quickly, not that we had that much to unpack, well, I had more then Rob! The unit came with a single bed, and when I talked to the manager of the units, he said he was going to look for a spare double if available, and if not, he would get us another mattress. When we walked in, we realized the the spare single bed he gave us, was a hospital mattress, not a big deal, other then it is about an inch shorter then the single mattress. Great!
Our kitchen is tiny with a bar fridge and a small oven with 2 burners. We have a washing machine which is a bonus and there is a clothes lines outside.
The only thing that REALLY sucks about the unit, is location. And not having a car makes it even worse. Monday we actually took the bus into the city, well, i should say "buses" as we have to take 2, and looked at a car. Unfortunately, it didn't meet our standards. SO, we got back on the bus and went to the Casuarina shopping mall where we picked up some supplies (kitchen stuff, cleaning supplies, and of course a 6 pack of beer) and headed back to the hospital, on the bus. The bus doesn't run ALL that frequently which kind of sucks, but there was no way I was walking back with all our things.
Sunday night we actually walked to the mall and it took us about 30 minutes - we where walking in the dead heat of the day, and I was sweating like crazy by the time we arrived there. Not something I do not want to do on a regular basis, but may have to.
The only good thing is that Rob has a work truck during the day and is able to go pick things up and bring them home during his dinner break. Which is what he did Tuesday. He brought back a couple small tables and chairs which now sit on our balcony, picked up a TV that I purchased from my friend who left, as well as a set top box so we can watch TV - that was all Rob's idea, I think I could have managed without ;) ......maybe. lol
It also makes it a bit difficult to go into the city on the weekends if we want a couple drinks. The cab ride home would be a bit pricey, unless we found some friends to go with and share a cab home, who knows??? Maybe it will be a good thing, we will save more money, but it could make for a bit of a boring 6 weeks. Maybe we will have a naked party??? K, I won't go there!! haha

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bali trip #2

Ok, I've been sitting in a hostel now for a week, not doing much, so I guess I can update my blog - and can still consider myself being lazy :)
When I booked this trip to Bali I knew it was going to be completely different then my first trip. There was going to be about 10 of us going and they where all partiers, unlike my last trip where they guy I went with - very nice and had a great time traveling with him, but not so much of a drinker!!!
Most everyone had arrived in Kuta, Bali on a Sunday night, whereas 2 of my friends and I arrived Wednesday evening. We had a couple drinks at the house before leaving as well as a couple more at the airport - so needless to say, we where feeling pretty good when we boarded!!! We arrived at the hotel at around 1000pm and they where all drinking!! Awesome! We had bought a couple bottles of jager duty free, and the drinking continued. Most everyone went out that night, but I wasn't feeling it, so I went to bed. In fact, the first few nights I wasn't feeling all that up to going out (jet leg? too much sun? who knows?) but once we got to the Gili Islands.......

Yes, so three days after we got to Kuta, we all (9 of us) went to the Gili Islands - this time, via the fast boat. Last time I took the slow boat which of course was much cheaper, but my goodness was it worth paying the extra $20 to take the fast boat. We left the hotel at 6:30am and was on the island by 10:30am!!! Time to get our drink on!!! 2 of the guys went and found us a room, this time a bit further from the beach, but nothing I couldn't handle!! haha We where on the Gili islands for 4 or 5 days - I honestly can't remember - and some of things we did - apart from drink - including going snorkeling where we saw hundreds of fish. I don't think I have been anywhere where I have seen THAT many fish. We got rained on during our last snorkeling spot, so that got cut short, oh well, it was still amazing.
We also took a boat, a private boat might I add (the bonuses of traveling with a large group) to Lombok where we hired a van and went to the small town of Senggigi. Here we had some amazing food and a couple beers at a few different pubs. I also purchased my 'Gucci' watch for a whole $10, as well as got some pearl rings and a pearl bracelet for not much more. One of the days was spent watching movies all day - lets just say I wasn't feeling all that well. It had nothing to do with all the alcohol and sun, no no, nothing at all!! DVD's are super duper cheap, about a dollar for one. One of the guys we where with went mad and bought tons, and I mean tons. I bet he has over 100, maybe even close to 200!!! I bought some myself as well. If you bought them in the shops you would get so many free, so I purchase 30 and got 13 free!!

Once we arrived back in Kuta, it was a whole lotta vegging around, getting massages and buying cheap things. Massages where about $5 for an hour, I got some more dresses (heehee) for about $30 all together, plus knick-knack's and Christmas gifts. It was also so hot there, hotter then Darwin I'd saw just without the humidity. I remember one afternoon I walked around Kuta for a bit, then headed down to the beach for a swim and some sun tanning. When I was about to put my shirt back on, it was soaking wet - so I just walked back to the hotel with my towel on!!! I also continued my partying when we got back to Kuta, going out 2 or 3 nights and having a blast. One bar we went to had a live band and Matty and I where up dancing away and singing our hearts out. Next thing I know one of the singers (there was 2) handed me the mike and I went up and sang with the other singer!!!! I probably did horrible, but I didn't care, I had a blast!! Next thing I know, they pulled Matty up and he went and sang a song!! haha There where about three different bars all next to each other and we would go to all three - mainly because they offered different specials. One of the bars had specials like 5 cent draft beef, or on Sunday's girls drink for free - although the drinks where pretty shit - things like that. And of course most of the bars stayed open till 3 or 4!!!
Oh yeah, and did I mention how funny these guys where?? Oh my gosh, I don't think I've laughed so hard, for so long. There was always something funny being said or being done. My cheeks still hurt from laughing so hard!!! There was also this Argentinian guy there who was hilarious. He would tell a joke, and half the time I wouldn't understand what he was saying or wouldn't get the punch line, but we would be laughing at him telling the joke with his accent. The guy had so much energy and would just go go go. I don't think he could slow down to even sleep!!!!
We did take one day in Kuta and 6 of us went white water rafting. I have been before along the Kicking horse river with work friends - and our boat flipped over at the start of class 4 rapids, and I went down the rest with just my lifejacket on. Well this time, wouldn't ya know it, our boat flipped over. Luckily it wasn't through any class 4 rapids, and the river was pretty shallow so we all just got dumped in one spot. Two of the other people we where with each lost a sandal, and I lost a paddle, but we got it back not much further down the river. We did get to go down a 4 meter drop which was also pretty cool! Oh what good times it was!!! After being on the water for nearly 2 1/2 hours (with one break) we had to climb this incredible steep hill (I had to stop twice!) for a buffet lunch. The food was pretty good considering we only paid $25 for the whole thing, including transport there and back.
All in all the trip was pretty freakin' awesome. Actually to sum it up I'd say it was one of the funnest and funniest trips I've taken with friends, and that says a lot as I've had some fantastic trips with friends from up north. Love ya guys!!!!

Snorkeling on the Gili Islands, on our own private boat
Party time at the pool in Kuta
Having lunch on the Gili Islands
Breathtaking views from Lombok
More party time at the bars in Kuta
The white water rafting crew

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

what a trip!!

After 5 weeks of endless time in airports and more time on airplanes, I am finally back in Darwin, my current 'home'!
After my fantastic Cuba trip, I headed back to Brisbane for a short 6 day stay, then flew to Bali for a 2 week unbelievably funny, fun and fabulous holiday!!! So, as can see I have been a bit busy to update my blog, but now that I am home, I will start updating you all on my adventures.
First off, Brisbane.
I had 6 days in Brisbane and I tried to keep myself a busy as possible!! I met up with a couple Irish friends who I met on tour from Perth to Broome. They showed me around the heart of Brisbane, touring around the city, catching some rays at the city lagoon, catching a ride on the city ferry's. So cool to be able to pay the same price for a bus/train ticket and go on the ferries!!! It was great to catch up with great people and hopefully they will come visit me in Darwin :)
I hit some of the beaches up the Sunshine coast as well. My friend, Shannon, and I took the 1 1/2 drive up to Kings beach and Bullocks beach. There was some kind of festival happening and it was PACKED. Now, I can head to a beach, lay out my towel and read a book or play Sudoku for hours - of course heading into the water every now and then to cool off! Shannon on the other hand, not quite so much!! He went into the water and as soon as he came out, he was bored and ready to move on!! So needless to say, we didn't stay at the beach all that long. We went for lunch - had to have fish and chips :) and then went back to the beach for another dip in the water. We decided that we could go check out another beach, so we went north to Dicky's beach where there was an old ship wreak. There where some pretty big waves happenin' so I opted to not go in the water. We stayed here for a bit, I checked out all the hot life guards :) and then we headed back home. I can't wait to go back and check out more of the beaches!!
I also went to Dream World on the Gold coast, south of Brisbane. It was a bit of a hassle trying to get in, but in the end, we got in just as the park opened and we where there ALL day!! Dream world has tons of rides, including 6 thrill rides, 5 of which we went on (the big roller coaster was down for maintenance, a big bummer). Plus the park also had a kind of a mini zoo. We saw lots of aussie animals, koala's, roo's, emos, plus reptiles, tigers and cougars. Of course the rides where my favorite!! There was the Wipeout, The claw - speeds up to 75km's per hour, the Drop - world's highest drop of 39 stories!!! What a thrill that was. A motorcycle roller coaster which was different, but not worth the 40 minute wait for a 25 second ride. And my favorite, which I went on 3 times, the Tower of Terror - 0-160mk's in 2 seconds!! Of course we also went on the log ride - and I got soaked to the bone!!!
The rest of my time was spent checking out the community of Woody Point which was where Shannon stayed and as well as a bit of shopping :)

Mr friends, Denise, Ciara and me at the Lagoon
The citycats with Brisbane in the background
On the city ferries
Bullocks beach, Sunshine Coast
Ship wreck at Dicky's Beach
Dream world - the claw is the red ride to the bottom left, and the tower to the right with the Drop, and the Tower of Terror

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cuba Part 2

I had a full week with all my family and friends, and to be honest, I was pretty lazy!
My days where pretty consistent, woke up between 7:30 and 8:30, went and had breakfast, off to the Internet cafe for about 30 minutes, then headed to the beach. I snorkeled twice, would have done more but a couple of the mornings where a bit rough and so the water was murky, and I didn't like going out alone so I always waited for someone. Both times I went, I went with my dad, the first time we saw a massive eel - I was proud to have spotted him first, he was pretty cool as he had his head out of his home opening and closing his mouth - I think he was hungry, so I stayed away!! And of course dad didn't bring his camera!! That was the only exciting thing we saw, but I can never get enough of the coral just meters from the shore!!! I would then laze around the beach, catching up with everyone until noon time when we would head into the beach bar/cafe for lunch. I wasn't always that hungry, but we where drinking pretty much all day, and I though it was a good idea to have something small, so I usually had a hot dog or a pizza. The afternoon we usually headed up to the pool - there is only so much sand I can take, plus the pool was always refreshing to jump into! We where at the resort during their Oktoberfest event, so there was always games or something going on. I didn't participate that much, but did in a couple of events. Thursday and Friday they cooked up sausages and you could get any of there main beers from a can (much better then the draft they served!). We usually had super at 7pm when the buffet opened, and there was different theme nights; seafood, Italian, Cuban, international ect. We went to the sit down restaurant our last night together, Saturday, and had a fabulous 3 course meal - seafood appy, ravioli, and garlic prawns as my main, oh so yummy!!
After dinner we would head upstairs to the piano bar, where we would have Spanish coffees, chat, and listen to the pianist playing. At 9:15 was the show, which we caught most of the shows except one as we where too busy chatting and then too tired and so we headed off to bed. The shows consisted of fashion shows, a show that was done in the pool, and other theme dances usually performed by dancers not working on the resort. By that point I was usually exhausted - was it jet leg? was it the heat? probably a combination, but I was usually in bed and asleep by 10:30!

Now there where a couple of days that didn't quite follow this itinerary. On Tuesday was Mom and Dad's renewal of their wedding vows. It was at 2pm on the grass in front of the beach, so after our lunch we all headed off to our rooms to get ready. It was a beautiful set up with flowers made into a heart where Mom and Dad stood during the ceremony. The band played a Cuban song as they walked to the front and the ceremony was done in Spanish then repeated in English. Dad said his vows first, then Mom, and I think by the end we where all in tears! It was very very nice. Afterwards we all had champagne and a toast to mom and dad plus some amanzing chocolate cake!! After taking some pictures, actually lots of pictures, we all changed and where off to the pool!! We where scheduled to have dinner at 6:30 and none of us felt like staying in our nice outfits, so we all chilled in the pool till we had to get ready again. I don't think any of us minded as it was a beautiful hot sunny day, so it was nice to chill out in the pool, and of course have a couple drinks! There where 2 weddings that day and we all had supper at the same time, which was again a three course meal, dessert, PLUS another cake (a flan specially made for mom by here favorite chef!). We where all pretty stuffed afterwards! We followed our usually plan of heading to the piano bar for some Spanish coffees, but I was too full and just stuck with water!! What an amazing day and was so proud to see my parents renewing their vows after 30 years!

The other day was Saturday afternoon where mom, dad, laura, rachel, rance, diana and myself all hailed a taxi and went into the closest town of Santa Cruz. One of the entertainers lives there and she was kind enough to invite us over to her house. We arrived at about 1:30 and had a tour of her house - never judge a house by the outside!! Her house was beautiful and we got to meet her husband, daughter, mom, dad and brother. They made fresh tuna dip with crackers as well as a cake for my mom and dad - which she was very proud to have put chocolate icing on (it is mucho mucho expensive to get chocolate). We went for a walk in town and saw her mom's house as well as some of the shops - it helped that they where air conditoned as it was a very hot afternoon. I felt very honoured to have been invited to a Cubans home and see a little bit of what it is like to live in Cuba. Such an honour that not many people get to experience! Thank you!!!

The family left Sunday afternoon after lunch and my flight was the next morning at 7am - a lovely 4am wake up call. Seeing the family off was very sad but was so glad that I got to be there and would have been more sad to hve missed the whole thing all together. That day was a pretty crappy day - very very windy, cloudy and on and off rain all day. After they left I spend the day in the room, and had supper with Roberta and Frank who where there for another week. I didn't go to the show that evening as I needed to pack, and tried to go to bed as early as possible. But that didn't go as planned - I was so worried I'd sleep through my alarm I was up every 20 minutes after 1am. My flights to LA where pretty good, other then getting sick of waiting in airports!! I had to recheck my bag in Cancun and when I arrived in LA I noticed I was missing the small backpack that zips onto my main one. It had all my sunscreen that mom had given to me, some of my dirty clothes and other miscellaneous things. The worst thing, it didn't have a bag tag on it as it was ATTACHED to my main bag by 2 zippers on either side of and a clip at the top - how it came off, I have NO idea. Anyways, they put a search in for it. My only saving grace is that I put a piece of paper in the front part that has my Australian address and phone number. Who knows if I will ever see it again?! I was informed that if they didn't find it in a week, they would mail me the claims form to fill out.
Anyways, I had a night and a full day in LA...... so I went shopping!!! I took the express bus into a popular shopping center and bought some more sunscreen - it is almost impossible to get anything less the SPF 30 in Australia, so I picked up a few SPF 15 and 12. I also found a wicked deal on an Olympus waterproof/shockproof camera plus I got some accessories. I headed to the airport for the last part of my flights to Brisbane. It left on time and I again sat next to a nice couple, and I once again was able to sleep for about 7 or 8 hours. But oh was I glad to have finally landed 2 days later!!!

All in all, an amazing trip, despite the flights and Mexicana losing half my bag, and once I get a chance to load pictures, I will!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Heehee, what a surprise it was.
You see it was my parents 30th wedding anniversary in September, and about a year ago they agreed that they would renew their wedding vows in Cuba this October. I was going to miss it though because I was going to be in Australia.....or so everyone thought. Mom and I briefly discussed flying me out to Cuba as a surprise, but we didn't make any definite plans. When I arrived in Darwin in June we looked into it and within a week it was booked!! I would arrive earlier then them so I could surprise them when they arrived at the hotel, and it would be the best surprise EVER!! I have to admit, mom had it worse then me as she saw and spoke to everyone about the trip, and the poor thing couldn't say a thing!!!
I left Brisbane on Oct 9th, a Friday, and arrived in LA the same day, earlier then when I left - such a weird feeling. I had 16 hours at the airport and do you think I could find Internet??? Nope, nothing, they had WiFi, but of course I didn't bring my laptop! SO, I rented a room at the Holiday Inn, which was conveniently across the way of an Internet cafe! Now, the difficult thing about my flights was the fact that I was flying to Cuba, via the States. Supposedly I had a completely different itinerary for LA to Mexico so the USA didn't know my final destination was Havana. Well, I get to the check-in counter in LA, and sure enough they knew my final destination!!! The girl went and spoke to her manager (great I'm thinking) but when she came back she just said she could only check my bags to Cancun. Fine, that's totally alright with me!!!
I then flew to Mexico City at 2300 Friday night, and had a horrible aisle seat. I am very picky about flying and really prefer to have a window seat as I like to keep my feet up and I can also lean against the window. Needless to say, I had a horrible 4 hour flight as I couldn't sleep. I arrived in Mexico at like 6am, and had a few hours to kill. I actually thought the airline had lost my bag as I thought I had to take my bags through customs and then drop them off again to be sent to Cancun, but no, I found out that they where checked all the way through and I didn't need to take them through customs......why can't every airport operate the same??!!!! I then had a shorter 2 hour flight to Cancun, where I then had to pick up my bag, and check it in again to Havana!! After another 3 or 4 hour wait, I got on my last flight and was off to Havana. It was a nice short, one hour flight and it was so nice to land in Cuba!! But, it wasn't quite over, I still had an hour drive to the resort!! I had a cab come pick me up and I was at the resort by about 5:30. I was so relieved to be there, and even had a bit of a cry when I got to my room!! Amazing how jet leg makes you feel!! I was feeling very very tired, and not sleeping much the night before didn't help, so I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed to bed. I don't think I lasted 5 minutes before nodding off, well actually, probably passing out as I didn't move until about 8:30 the next day!
Sunday was probably the longest day EVER waiting for my family to arrive. They where estimated to arrive at the 5:30 so I had all day to wait. After having breakfast i headed to the pool and hung out there, all day, waiting! At about 5 o'clock i couldn't wait any longer and headed up to the foyer. I put an order for drinks in for the family, and waited, and waited. At about 5:45 the bus finally showed up! I was hiding beside the bar and mom spotted me right away. I found this couple that I started talking to and I got one of the girls to video it on my camera. Once they all got there bags out and where checking in, I snuck in behind them all and once I got close enough I said "excuse me, could you help me", they all looked up and the looks on their faces was priceless - it could have been a Mastercard commercial!! I started to cry right away, and gave everyone hugs. As I was giving my dad a hug he still couldn't believe it was me, I think he looked at me about 3 times, and was still speechless. It total there was 8 of them on the bus, Mom, Dad, my sister Laura, her friends Rance and Rachel, my god parents Brad and Lisa, and my Dad's aunt, Diana. After everyone checked in and got somewhat settled, we all went in for some supper, then went for drinks and coffee at the infamous Piano Bar! Ah it was nice to be back in paradise with the people I love!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hello Brisbane!!!

I have arrived safe and sound in Brisbane, but missing Darwin like crazy, well, more missing Rob. Rob took me for a nice meal at an Indian/Thia/Malay restaurant before he took me to the airport at midnight last night. For some reason Darwin likes to have all their flights leaving and landing in the middle of the night. My flight left at 0110 and I arrived in Brissy at about 0500. Saying goodbye to Rob was really, really, really hard, but I know I will be seeing him in about 6 weeks, and I'm sure the time will fly by - I hope so anyways!!!! Thank goodness for texting and facebook chat!!!
I didn't get that much sleep on the plane so when I arrived at my friends place, we had a couple beers then he went to bed - as he just finished working a night shift, I put on a movie (of course after checking my facebook account) and feel asleep for a mini nap myself. 4 and half hours later I finally decided it was time to get up!!! Oh yeah, and might i add it was 13 degrees when we landed this morning.......can I say BRRRRR!!! :) I got up and decided to check out a bit of Brisbane. Shannon lives about 30km's from town so i more or less checked out the community he lives in, which is 3 blocks from the water!!! I took my book and music and headed to the water to enjoy life! I spend the better part of three hours there, walking around and reading. It was getting close to sunset so I decided to stay and watch the sun set behind the distant mountains. I can never get over a sunset and it was beautiful. I headed back to the house - after stopping for some beer of course and am just chilling out!!! I have a couple other friends in Brisbane which I will probably see over the weekend, so for now, it just relaxing and watching movies on Shannon's 42inch TV!! Shannon has to work tonight as well so its just me myself and I. I have Old School, Mr & Mrs, Smith and Transformers planned for the evening! Life's allright (apart from missing Rob!!)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ants, ants, and more ants!!!!

So throughout my travels over the years, there always seems to be some sort of bug/insect that either freaks me out or annoys the hell out of me. Calgary, there's the bees - don't get me started on the bees; Africa, well, there are tons, grasshoppers, roaches, scorpions, snakes, the list goes on; the Arctic there's the mosquitoes. They don't last year long, but the three weeks that they do come out they are HORRENDOUS. And now in Australia, its the ants. The cockroaches haven't bothered me that much - it helps that I live with three other men that can kill them for me :) and the spiders I hardly see - I've only had one encounter with one and it wasn't even in my room, but the ants.....the ants are driving me CRAZY!!!!!! You can hardly leave an empty cup out with ants coming along and finding it. How many times I have woken up in the morning to find hundreds of ants in cups or plates that where left out either in or by the sink is endless. I left a cup in my room once that once had spiced rum and coke in it (it was obviously empty!!) and there was trail of ants coming and going from it. It doesn't take long for them to disappear once you get rid of the food or dishes, but living with 4 other people, there is bound to be stuff left out. They are just tiny ants and they leave you alone, but they are EVERYWHERE!!!!
This morning was the worst, I came home to find millions of ants crawling from my window in my room, behind my bed along the wall, up and over a shirt that was up against the wall and into the hallway. I thought there was a cup left in the room, but nothing, I searched everywhere to see what they where after, but couldn't see anything. After getting ready for bed and was just about to enter my room when I noticed a bunch more coming in and out of my roommates room across the hallway. Ahh ha! Normally both Matty and Zoe are at work, and I knocked slightly and opened the door, but Matty was there. Oops, sorry, so I closed the door. I knew it was coming from their room and they don't bother you when they are on a mission, so I just went to bed. When I woke up in the afternoon I apologized for waking Matty up and I told him what I was doing, and he said that they had left some food on the floor that the ants where after. Why did they have to go through my room though!!! haha
One of the more funnier story involves my other housemate Cieran who came home slightly intoxicated one night and grabbed a piece of pizza and went to bed. Well, he passed out, I mean, fell asleep before eating all his pizza and woke up the next day to find hundreds of ants attacking the pizza!!!! LOL
So, that is my venting for the day - I guess things could be worse :)

Ants at the bus stop

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Darwin update

Well, things have somewhat come back to normal. Due to work and work, and more work, we have no longer had any naked parties :( not to say it won't came back though!!

My time is getting shorter here in Darwin, I have 5 more shifts left of work and I fly out of Darwin on October 8th to go to Brisbane for a bit then its off to Bali, again, for two weeks with friends from Darwin.
However, first, let me talk about the weather. More specifically, me riding my bike back and forth to work in this ridiculous weather. Not that I am complaining, as I am truly LOVING the warm weather - just not cycling 22km's daily. Wednesday morning, after my night shift, was probably to worst ride home. Well, I actually made it home in record time - 29 minutes, but when I got home, I was soaking wet, and didn't stop sweating for about 15 minutes!! I sat down outside with my laptop and could feel the sweat dripping off my face and down my arms and chest. I know you guys probably don't want to hear that, but seriously, I am not one who sweats a lot, and I was sweating buckets!! It was 86% humidity that morning, only to get worse as the days go on. I have yet to get stuck in the rain, however it did drizzle one evening as I was coming home. And I have yet to see a thunderstorm - although I did hear that there was one early early yesterday morning. Just a little fun filled fact about my cycling, by the time I have finished, I will have cycled approximately 1320km's!!!! That's like driving to Yellowknife or to Surrey BC and back!!!!! Craziness.

Alright, so, back to what I plan on doing when done work in Darwin. Well, actually, I don't really know. Things have been going really, really well with Rob, and we are thinking of traveling together. The problem is, he is having a bit of difficulty getting work here in Darwin. He worked one shift down at the docks cleaning a conveyor belt, and he might be back there again this weekend, however, that is not enough! There is not too much construction starting up, and he is a bricklayer by trade, and so not much in that area. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks more people will be leaving Darwin due to the build-up and wet season (on average, about 30,000 people leave Darwin during this time period) and work will become available. SO, my plans are a bit in the air right now as it all depends on Rob getting work. If he can get work for a couple of months, when I return from Bali I will get another short contract back on 3B at the Darwin hospital, and save more money. We could either get staff village accommodation at that time, or maybe stay with Zoe and Cieran if it is closer for Rob's work. Basically, I don't know what the hell I will be doing after I return from Bali in November!! My flight is also booked for me to go all the way back to Brisbane, so I might be changing that, or flying back to Brisbane, and renting a car and driving to Darwin. There is a website called relocate cars, and I could rent a car for a $1/day, approx $300 in fuel allowance, and drive it to Darwin - much cheaper option then flying!!

Things are also getting better in the 'house' situation. Coxy has now moved to Broome for work and won't be returning, and Kym is leaving tomorrow for 2 weeks of work. This leaves Cieran, Zoe, Matty, Rob and myself. Kym was staying in Coxy's room and he stayed there once Coxy left, with Rob and I still sleeping on the floor, so it will be nice to actually sleep on a bed for once! Rob is liking it right now as he gets to sleep on the couch while I work my night shifts, and when I get home I sleep in Zoe and Matty's room as they don't usually get home till 4:30. It has been a bit frustrating though with other people eat my food!!! Leave my cookies alone dammit!! haha Yeah, our bread and milk seems to disappear awful quickly as well as my cookies and even my coconut milk. We made curry the other night and I knew I had one can of coconut milk left, low and behold, it wasn't there. AND, we had just come from the grocery store. It was one of those days where I could have cried :( and there is no going to the store to get more, as I don't have a car. I think Coxy was most of the problem - the guy lived out of the local petrol station eating chips/pop and more chips, occasionally buying bread and milk. We believed that he was using more of our food then he should have been, I understand using it every once and awhile, we all do it, but it was a little extreme. Oh well. Not much I can do about it, and I will be leaving soon - which I am happy and sad about. Happy to be done work for a while and sad to be leaving Rob. Hopefully he can get work and come to Bali with me :)

I have also been looking into my second year working holiday visa. Word from home is that the work situation is not the greatest. More closing of beds and possibly lay-offs - not good. I would be coming home only to be heading back north again just to get work. If things work out well with Rob I am considering applying for my second year in November and just staying in Oz after my Visa expires in January, not going to New Zealand just yet. BUT, there are so many unknown's right now, I don't have any answers. If I do stay in January I will definitely be going home for a short visit in the summer so I can attend the bestest of the best family reunions :) but then returning for more fun and sun in Australia. Cieran is applying for permanent residency, and this is also crossing my mind to look into when I am on my second year - especially if things keep going the way they do in Calgary.

So much going on, good, bad, the unknown.....hopefully some answers soon :)

BUT, in the meantime.....keep working, and of course partying!!! don't worry, no more naked party stories will be told! LOL

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Naked parties anyone??

So, at first I wasn't going to add anything about my naked parties, however, over the last week it has proceeded to a hilarious new level and I just have to write about it. And no, there will be no pictures added to this post :) And it might also not seem that funny, I think it is one of those 'you had to be there', but well, its my blog and I'm still going to write about it :)

It started off when Rob and I were in Kakadu, I came back from the toilet to find Rob sitting naked by the campfire. I laughed saying what are you doing?!?!?!! He said, well, what does it look like?! You could join me you know?! At first I was hesitant, then thought, what the hell, I only live once, why not. We were parked in the back of the campsite, and no one could see us, so, naked I got and we sat around the campfire talking. I said to Rob at the start, what happens if someone walks by?? He said, just act natural - but what are the chances that someone will walk by, right? it was getting pretty late and it seemed as though everyone was in bed. Well, about 30 minutes later a girl, who we had spoken to earlier in the day, walked into our campsite saying, "hey guys, just wondering if by chance you have a cigarette, we are out of smokes AND alcohol".....and as she is talking and walking towards us, I just sat there saying yeah, sure, I looked at Rob to see if it was ok that I gave him a couple of his cigarettes, he nodded. We where briefly talking about the day, and about the fact that they are out of smokes and alcohol, then she stops, looks and me and Rob and said, are you guys naked?? Both of us laughed and said, yup! She said she was more embarrassed then anything else, and grabbed the smokes, walking away, yet talking to us at the same time. We jokingly told her that she and her BF could come join us, and she replied that she would ask him, and that they might be back! Oh dear! And sure enough, a few minutes later we see them walking over with their chairs in hand. As they rolled up we said, now this is a naked party, so clothes off ;) They willingly took their clothes off and sat around the campfire chatting and drinking beer. Rob and the other fellow went off to get more firewood, and yes, they went naked under the full moon - and yes, it actually was a full moon that night. Our new friends stayed around for about an hour and a half, then they took off. Rob and I laughed at the events that unfolded and it made for VERY, interesting day - and a funny story!
The next night at a different campsite, we found a spot away from everyone else, and decided why not, lets have another naked party. So we did, but this time we had no visitors!

And just when I thought the naked parties where finished, yesterday morning it hit a whole new level. Rob and I were woken up by my housemate Matty at like 0600 as he couldn't sleep and he wanted to do something. Skinny dipping? Sure why not start a Saturday skinny dipping. So I dragged my hungover ass out of bed and Zoe and I were the first to head down to the pool. No need to put on a bathing suit, my dress came off and Zoe and I jumped in the pool. Cieran, Matty and Rob where shortly behind us and we all made fools of ourselves skinny dipping in the community pool. We had a couple stares, a couple smiles, and couple people that just sped up as the went by! We didn't care, obviously! After a good while in the pool, we headed back to the house and continued our drinking, and hell, why not doing it naked. Before we knew it, all of us were naked on the patio, drinking our beer. We had a couple young guys show up at the house to fix Matty's windscreen (from when I took his car down to Katherine) and they couldn't believe that we were NAKED!! LOL They looked no older then 16 and I'm sure they were so embarrassed, but we didn't care, we carried on doing our business, just naked! Shortly after the windscreen boys left our other friends stopped by for a visit. What a time to stop by! It was Nialls birthday and they stopped over for a few pre-drinks as there was a bbq at their place later. The naked party ended shortly after they left, although if it wasn't for 'indecent exposure' we would have all headed over buck ass naked!! Once we arrived the nakedness just didn't seem to have the same effect, so we left our clothes on, even when we where in their new 'kiddies' pool that they bought earlier. Kinda funny that we spend all day naked, but kept our clothes on while in the pool. And lets just say the pool didn't last the whole day....before the sun went down their lawn was flooded! heehee

And now that you all know intimate details about me...till next time :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

what we do when hungover and bored

So my mac computer has this a photo booth program that does different effects with photos, and today, Rob and I were a wee bit hungover, and slightly bored, so this is what we did!

Ahhhh, GT's!!!! LOL

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

night duty at work

I have honestly never been so bored at work, well, night shifts anyways. Since working nights here at the Darwin hosital, I have become one of the laziest nurses, ever!! We work 10 hour nights, starting at 2100, getting hand over from the previous shift, and hitting the floor at about 2130. The first few hours are pretty busy, doing our 2200 vital sign checks, most people have 2200 meds due, going through the charts, updating care plans and making sure everything is up to date. At about 1130 - midnightish, things really start to slow down. Most people are asleep by this point, and because its a medical ward, most people aren't in pain, so they sleep most of the night. (Unlike the surgical wards i have worked on and most people require attention throughout the night as well as analgesia) Some patients require 0200 checks such as vital signs and blood sugar levels, however, most don't. SO, between 0000 and about 0500, there is nothing to do. I do go through my patients notes, get an idea of whats happened, lab work, ect, but that doesn't take long for 6, sometimes only 5 patients if we have empty beds. The first few sets of night shifts I did (we do them in blocks of 4) I was grande, awake all night, read my book, chatted with other staff. However this set, and tonight is my last night, thank goodness, has been horrendous. It doesn't help that I missed a day of sleep after my last set of nights last week as we went camping and was awake the whole day on my first set of nights this stretch, so needless to say, I think I am a little sleep deprived!!! Last night after finishing my 0200 things to do (which consisted of one set of VS, and one set of medications, which she didn't even want), I headed into the doctors room for a couple of zzz's. I slept for an hour, came back out all groggy and sleepy, asked if everyone was alright, and they where, and went back into the doctors room for another 30 minutes.....45 minutes later I came back out, and guess what, everyone was fine!! I had my 'station' set up outside the main desk area, and sat on my chair, and half slept for the next hour - I just couldn't stay away, and there was no point in drinking a red bull...they no longer work for me! It also doesn't help that most people I work with are not white, and speak there own language....... and this group of people right now are SOO antisocial, except one girl who is super nice, but the other three, are pretty quiet and you have to pull arms and legs to get them to help you.....but, if they need help.......(venting done now)...
Finally at about 0500 it was time to start on my notes for the night, and then it was time for all my 0600 jobs, which are the busiest, and kept me awake till we left at 0730.
AND, to make matters worse, on my ride home, about half way, I discovered that my back tire was flat. Lovely. Thank goodness I was fairly close to a petrol station, so I filled up with air and booked her' home before she became flat again. What a night! (and day!) I was able to sleep for about 6 1/2 hours, not nearly enough, but it was just too hot and muggy to sleep any longer, so I got up. Only one more night shift (can I say YYYYYAAAAAHHHHH!!!) and then 4 days off.......where I will have no where to sleep. Oh how this week keeps getting better and better :)
The only brightside, things are getting slightly better in the housemate situation, and a girl from work is going to pick me up so I don't have to worry about riding in with a flat:)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

i heart housemates......

.....well, sort of!

It has been an interesting couple of weeks in 'my' house. Rob arrived just over a couple of weeks ago and it was just Cieran, Rob and myself. My friend Kym came home from Thailand shortly after that, which was still cool. Rob and I went to Kakadu and Litchfield last week ( I will have a blog up about that trip shortly) and the day we left, Coxy, Zoe and Matty came home from Thailand. Since Rob and I came back from our trip on Saturday, its been a bit awkward in the three bedroom, one bath, six housemates 'house'. You see, Zoe and Matty hooked up while they where in Thailand and all they have been doing is hanging out in Zoe's room watching movies and taking sleeping pills. Coxy has been acting strange and he pretty much stays in his room the entire day, making the odd appearance to get food, barely saying making eye contact let alone saying hi. Zoe and Matty have hardly talked to me as well - which I believe is because Matty is upset that I left is car almost on empty and 'dirty'. I heard this from Cieran today and to my advantage, Matty left me with his car on empty and I was so busy before he came home that I didn't have a chance to have his car spotless for him - and i didn't leave it that dirty, I think he is just a bit of a freak about it. I feel bad it but he also hasn't approached me about it, I have just heard this from Cieran.
It kind of upsets me as well as it doesn't seem like they have been all that 'friendly' with Rob, not that I think it bothers him, but this is so not what they where like before they left for Thailand. We where always out on the patio having a few beers, chattin, having a good time. Since they've been back they have hardly done a bloody thing outside of the bedroom!!! Cieran is still himself, thank goodness, and he and Rob have gotten along great, but i don't know what the hell is going on with the others.
It has also been interesting with everyone home and me working a few night shifts. I got home this morning to not have a place to sleep. So I tried to cozy up in a bean bag chair, that didn't last long. Once Rob got up I tried sleeping on the couch which was worse then the bean bag (why, I don't know? I just wasn't tired for whatever reason) I gave up trying trying to sleep at around 1030 and just hung out in the hammock with Rob and Cieran (they weren't in it with me!), and went down to the pool, trying to tire myself out - not much luck. I ended up not getting to sleep till about 3:45 when Cieran offered me his bed and I was able to sleep till about 6:45. When I got up everyone except Coxy was outside (a first since we have all been home), I went out briefly until Matty reminded me of his windscreen I cracked and he asked if I could go with him to replace it.......awesome, now I get to spend a shit load of my money that I have been trying to save!!! Why do I have to be such a nice person sometimes??? I ended up going back into Cieran's room until I had to go to work - wasn't really feeling all that social.
Oh well, makes me glad that I only have a week left before I head to the east coast - everything happens for a reason, right???

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kakadu, Litchfield take 2.....

My friend Rob that has been in Darwin the last couple of weeks had not seen Kakadu or Litchfield national park, so on my days off we rented a Wicked campervan and took 5 days to tour around. We went to a lot of the same places I had been too about a month ago, as well as a couple new places. I finished a night shift Tuesday morning and when I got home I was supper excited!!! The plan was to pick up the van, I was going to go home and sleep for a couple of hours and Rob was going to get the groceries. Well, plans changed. My friend Kym was home from Thailand and he needed to catch a plane for work at 0930. So I drove him to the airport, then we picked up the van which took a lot longer then expected as we changed the contract and had to wait forever, blah, blah, blah. By the time we got home and I started packing up things, I was wide away and way to excited about the trip to sleep. So we decided to head out together, get groceries and then hit the highway. We had a small 'esky' as they call them here, aka, a cooler, with the wicked van, but once we started getting food, and of course alcohol, I ended up buying another esky as it wasn't all going to fit in the small one. I also bought an AM/FM transmitter as I wasn't about to listen to the same 4 CD's over and over and over again!! We left for Litchfield national park and I thought that I might be tired enough to sleep for some of the drive, but nope, I was WIDE awake!!! We went to the Florence Falls and Buley's Rockpools in Litchfield and we spent more time at the falls then the first time I went as we had more time as we decided to camp in Litchfield. We found a campground, and set up our campervan. In the van was a small table (TV tray type style) and two chairs, one of which was practically broken, but Rob managed to somewhat fix it, dishes and cutlery, pan, pot, small propane tank with a burner and a sink. We made burgers for supper that night and ate before it got too dark as we didn't really have any lanterns other then my small bike torch and Rob's small magna torch. It was pretty hot out, but we stated a fire anyways - probably a bad idea as we where hot when we got into the hot campervan! We actually put the AC on for a bit to cool us down before going to sleep! The next day we started off at the beautiful Wangi falls - where I was attacked by the evil cane toads!! I was in this small rock pool on the side of the rock face when I felt something against my side, I looked, and it was a cane toad, I freaked out yelling "Ahh! get it out, get it out". I scared Rob and he jumped out of the pool trying to see what i was yelling at, and before i knew it the toad had jumped out of the pool and was making his way to the main pool. Gross, gross, gross! Shorty after the cane toad experience, we left and headed to a place called The Lost City. A 10km, 4WD road, a very bumpy road, to this area of rocks that where formed from wind and water, but it looks like an ancient town built with rocks, of course. It was pretty neat and after a walk around the 'city' we decided we better head on and drive into Kakadu. We took the long way into Kakadu as I wasn't confident the van, even though it was 4WD could make it through the 4WD short cut that we took last time. The wicked van, was a van of course, not a trooper, and so it was low the ground, and didn't have a snorkel, which I knew one section of the road recommended you have a snorkel to continue. We didn't want to risk it and so took the long way. We arrived in Gunlom mid-afternoon and we climbed the steep walk to the top of the falls - this time with running shoes on! Wasn't about to do any climbs with flip flops on again! We decided that we didn't want to arrive anywhere after dark and seeing as it was close to sunset, we stayed at Gunlom falls. This also allowed us more time at the falls to chill out and enjoy the picturesque view from the top. We made out way down and found ourselves a nice campsite, but opted to not have a fire as we didn't want the same to happen as the previous night. The next day we started off at Makok falls (aka Barramundi falls, which I wasn't aware of and when I was planning the trip) I though Makok falls was going to be new for me, but alas, I had been there last time. That was alright as it is a beautiful gorge. We did some cliff jumping, and on my second jump I got a bunch of water in my ear which was very painful, so no more jumps for me. Our next stop was Jim Jim falls, 60km off the main drag, all on dirt road, once again, very bumpy corrogated dirt roads! We thought it was going to take a long time, but in the end, it only took us about an hour and 15 minutes. The last 30 minutes was rough 4WD roads, and one guy got stuck trying to get out of our way. As it turned out, he wasn't in 4WD at all, so once he got that right, he had no problem. A lot of the track was really sandy, so we where bouncing all over the place, loads of fun! We arrived in the car park and there where about three tour buses in the car park - not what we wanted to see, but oh well. We actually got stuck behind one of the tours for a bit, but they stopped for a water break and we buzzed past them. The last time I was at Jim Jim falls, we where there first thing in the morning and the water was FREEZING ass cold. This time, it was about 3:00 when we arrived, and some of the sun was hitting the water, so it wasn't 'that' cold. Plus we where so hot and sweaty from the walk in - it was much much more humid then a month ago, so it was so refreshing to get in and cool down! However, when we swam to the falls - not that there was that much water falling - and we got to the shaded part, the water was pretty freakin' cold! We spent a bunch of time just relaxing and sun tanning at Jim Jim and just as one of the tours was getting ready to go, we quickly got changed and headed out infront of them. We arrived at the campground and set up camp again. We had a pretty good routine and where set up and had supper on the go in no time. We decided to have a fire this night and just sit metres away from it - not necessarily to get the heat from it, but just have something to look at!! The next day we where back on the sandy 4WD road, but this time to go to Twin Creek falls. We where about 6km away from the car park when we came to a river. It was somewhat deep and we weren't 100% convinced that we would make it without getting water in the exhaust. We waited a bit to see if anyone would drive by that we could catch a lift, however after 10 minutes of no one, we decided to pass up Twin Creek Falls and just head to our next destination......Nourangie. Here are massive rocks with rock art from the aboriginals date over 10000 years! We walked the 1.5km trail checking out all the art, getting attacked by fly's left, right, my ears, on my face, up my nose.....I had had enough!! There was a viewing platform which both Rob and I weren't overly keen on seeing, and so decided to head back to the air con'd van!! Our next stop was the small town of Jabiru. The only town in Kakadu national park...... and they didn't sell alcohol :( We picked up a few groceries and made our way half way to Darwin to pick up some beer before stopping in Corroboree caravan Park for the night. I considered going 25km north of Jabiru first to a place with more rock art, but we where tired, and tired of the flies, so we just decided to keep going. The caravan park had a swimming pool and after cracking a beer we headed to the pool to cool off! It didn't seem as hot the last night compared to previous nights so we sat a bit closer to the fire!! It was a full moon that night and not many clouds so it didn't matter much that we didn't have a torch, none was needed! We were up early the next day as we wanted to see the jumping crocodiles and we had to have the van back at 1500. We arrived just in time for the 0900 jumping crocodiles and where out on the water for about an hour and 25 minutes. We didn't see as many crocs as I did the first time as it was high tide and so its harder to find the crocs, but we still saw a bunch of them and it was cool, plus, there was only 9 of us on board! After the crocs we headed to Barry Springs, a great way to end the trip if you ask me. The water was refreshing, not overly crowded, and we hadn't been for a swim yet that day, so it was a good excuse to go! After a nice relaxing swim and brief suntan it was time to head back. We washed and cleaned out the van....ugh, i hate that part about camping! and after a fun 5 days of driving a wicked van (can cross that off my list now) we took her back to the dealership. It was such a fun week and I could go back to either, or both of the parks in a heartbeat!! By the time I leave here I think I could be a tour guide! LOL

Me and my Wicked Van!
The Lost City
These are all bats hanging from the tree at Wangi Falls!!
Rock art
Me at the jumping crocs again!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Katherine road trip and other stuff thats been going on!

Things are still going great here in Darwin. If any of you remember my previous blogs, Rob who was on my first tour - Perth to Broome, has finished work and arrived in Darwin to chill out and enjoy the nice weather! He arrived last Friday and it's been pretty full on since he arrived. We went out the first night he arrived after I finished work. We tried to get into a silent disco - where everyone is given headsets and there are two DJ's rippin it up, and you get to choose which DJ you want to listen too. However there where only 90 headsets and we where about 120 in line, so we decided to hit one of the pubs to drink and catch up instead! Saturday night was a friends BD party - a silver themed BD party. I thought it was a good excuse to go out and buy some silver bangles and earrings :) We didn't know too many people (it was Karen's BD, the girl I went to Kakadu and Litchfield with, so I knew Karen and Troy), but we made friends with others and had a good time. Plus we shared a cab home with a couple other people so it cost us hardly anything! I worked late shifts that whole weekend, and then had to work an early shift Monday morning, so Sunday was pretty laid back, as was Monday night as I had one last shift Tuesday morning. Then, party time!!!!! We just stayed around the house and drank as it is such a pain in the ass to gets cabs around here, plus its cheaper! Thursday Rob and I went to Crocodylous Park - a research/education place that has been open for 15 years. Not only did they have crocodiles, they had lines, tigers (no bears!) monkeys, birds, turtles and snakes. On a free tour of the park we saw them feed the hungry crocs, had an opportunity to feed them ourselves, but wasn't aggressive enough to get in front and so didn't get to. (I was kinda scared anyways!!) and we got to hold a baby crocodile! So very cool I might add! After spending a couple hours there (and purchasing some croc meat!) we headed home to pack for an overnight trip to Katherine.

My friend Matty (Irish Matty) had an appointment in Katherine at 1000am Friday, and needed a ride in. I have been given the use of Matty's (Adelaide Matty's) Subaru and got permission to take Matty to Katherine in it. I also thought it was a good excuse to go on a road trip and take Rob with me. We left at about 4:30, stopped for some nibblies and for the boys to grab some booze, and off we went. It's about 300 and some kilometers into Katherine and I had to drive about an hour in the dark, which I hate doing here. First off, the speed limit is 130, and driving on these 2 lane highways with big road trains comin' at ya, it's kinda scary for me! Plus, there is always that chance of having a roo run out in front of ya. Luckily, no roo jumped in front of the vehicle, and I managed fine with the massive trucks whizzing by me!! We arrived in Katherine, found a motel and I cracked a much wanted beer! We found a pub that was open so we ordered food (yummy fish and chips!) and of course more beer and played a couple games of pool. We where going to go to another bar once that one closed, but we couldn't find it and we where all pretty tired. So back to the room we went, found a movie on TV, and crashed!! The next day was pretty boring in Katherine, not much to do in the small town of Katherine, Rob and I had brunch then chilled by the pool for a bit. Once Matty was finished we decided we better hit the road as I had to work that evening and I wanted to take Rob to Edith Falls. We fueled up and arrived at Edith falls in the heat of the day. There is a lower pool to swim in that is right close to the car park and then the optional 2.6km return trip to the upper falls. Rob was keen to go, I however was not. But, he had never been there so I sucked it up and off we went. I tell ya, once we arrived in at the pool, I was right in cooling off as it was freakin hot out and I was dying! I had a bit of a 'freak out' as when we where chillin in the water, there was a lizard sun bathing on the rocks that decided it had had enough and jumped in the water - the same water I was in!!!! MAN ALIVE THAT FREAKS ME OUT!!!! LOL

We headed back down to the lower pool and once again, I was extremely hot, so we jumped in the pool as soon as we arrived and cooled down. The falls is quite a swim out and decided to get our exercise for the day and swam to it. The swim back was a bit easier as the current helped out a bit. It was getting late so we grabbed some cold treats and water and hit the road. It was 4:50 and we where still a longs ways from Darwin, and I had to leave at 8pm for work. Cuttin' it a bit close!! Luckily I got home just in time, 7:45, to get my stuff ready and hop on my bike. It is going to be a long night!!!

(oh yeah, on the way home I had a rock hit the windshield, and low and behold, somehow, 4 cracks appeared at the bottom of the windscreen and conveniently made there way up and across the windshield. It hasn't blocked the drivers view, but it is going to have to be replaced. Lovely.)