Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A rather meaningless update

Really not much has happened, it's just been business as usual and trying to save up for what is going to be an epic summer trip (details will be posted here when it is all confirmed).

Aside from that, I should also apologise (again), I keep thinking of things to put up here then always forget them...

But honestly, not much has happened!

So until next time, when I'll try and put something random and interesting up, you should check out Nick Bryant's blog on the BBC.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Week 13 or A Quarter Done or Three-Quarters to Go or Month Three

As my mother took great delight in telling me last night (repeatedly) I am now a quarter of the way through my time here. Yesterday (Thursday 15th October) marked exactly 13 weeks, and today marks exactly three months. So either way, 52 weeks, or 12 months, the last two days have covered that quarter of a year milestone.

Another duty done this afternoon, and not much to report. A game of indoor soccer tomorrow, and umpiring/coaching my Year 9 B side tomorrow morning. Unfortunately all grades of cricket have been cancelled tomorrow afternoon by the ATCA, which gives me sleeping and ironing and relaxing time. And saves on my subs. Though is still overall a bad thing!

So anyway, what I have I learnt since I've been here? Here are some thoughts, hopefully for your general amusement and entertainment!
  1. (And most important) Granny likes my blogs and I haven't emailed her enough (Sorry!).
  2. Neither have I emailed my Mother enough.
  3. Australia can be very cold, and is not sunny and nice all the time!
  4. Australia is HUGE.
  5. Australian's, especially anywhere other than Queensland and New South Wales, aren't actually very good at rugby.
  6. Australian's drink a lot of not-very-good-beer.
  7. There are several different variations on a "pint" down under.
  8. Its O.K. for a male to order a class of wine in a pub!!!!!
  9. I am more likely to be a Padre than I am a teacher (and given the extreme unlikelihood of that, again, sorry Granny, the chances of me being a teacher are extremely slim. As I heard one boy put it "the vending machine is more likely to fall on me").
  10. Iced Coffee is the greatest drink in the world.
  11. I understand why Mum likes her 0.9 or 0.8, or whatever it is, teaching.
  12. Australian males are all sports mad, but don't all have blonde hair and perma-tans.
  13. Kangaroo's don't hop around everywhere but do taste nice.
  14. As do camels.
  15. Monopoly City Streets is quite possibly the greatest Internet game ever invented.
  16. P.O.M. stands for "Prisoner of Her Majesty", which now means I really do take offence to it.
  17. Most Aussies don't know the difference between England and Britain, and think Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (if they know there are two) are entirely separate countries.
  18. The financial crisis will strike here in about two years time - they are quite a way behind in everything!
  19. Not knowing who Kevin Rudd is is a good thing and entirely understandable.
  20. The Red Centre really is Red. Very Red.
  21. Did I mention they drink a lot of beer?
I would say that's a pretty good list. And sums up my time here quite nicely!

So I'll leave you with a few photo's from my first three months or so here...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Two weeks of many, many interesting events, continued...

Week Two:

Despite a minor drama involving Tom being breatho-ed (because his Dad's car is not registered as being on a provisional license...), I got to the airport in time for my flight up to Alice Springs. After a Coffee and a Sfogliatelle, it was on to the plane. After a quiet flight reading Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" and sleeping, I touched down in Alice Springs. The jumper was off, expecting scorching outback heat, but was nearly straight back on - it was no where near as hot as I thought it would be! After grabbing my luggage, it was on to the airport shuttle and a short hop to the Heavitree Gap Outback Lodge. After a chill by the freezing pool, a bit more reading and a few piccies of the Wallabies at sunset, I headed up to the Tavern to listen to Chris Callaghan, and have a look at Rex's Reptiles, all whilst enjoying a ten dollar roast (which included roast camel...) and a few "imperial pints" (in Adelaide a "pint" is only 350 mls!).

I headed to bed early, in anticipation of a quarter to six pick up! An Iced Coffee and an Uncle Toby's bar which I had got at the supermarket the day before made it that but easier though! After meeting Lisa, our tour guide, and picking up the rest of the group, we headed to the Adventure Tours office in Alice Springs to pay our Park Entry and sort out sleeping bags and what not!

The three days that ensued are well and truly some of the most memorable of my life and ones that I shall never forget. Impossibly, I feel that it is hard for words to do justice to! But I'll give it a go!

After a bit of an epic journey, in which I rode a camel and nearly got fooled at "Fooluru", we arrived at our campsite in Yulara, very near to Uluru. After lunch we took a short drive to Kata Tjuta. This was absolutely stunning. A sacred Aboriginal Men's Shrine, it is still used for initiation ceremonies. For this reason, we are only allowed on the pathway. It is still stunning. The "many heads" - the literal translation, relating to the Anangu's creation stories - tower in the desert and, in my opinion, are far more dramatic and impressive than Uluru. Having said that, after our walk that afternoon we drove back to Uluru for a true "once-in-a-lifetime" moment: champagne and a beer at sunset in the middle of the outback with "The Rock" in the background.


That night, too, was pretty cool. After Kangaroo steaks and Camel sausages, it was marshmallows on the campfire before we went to sleep in swag (an Australian institution that was actually invented by a German) under the most incredible night sky.

It was another early start so we could get to one of the most impressive sunrises I have seen. The stars were even better when we woke up, and the drive across to Uluru, after Vegemite on toast (see here for details on "the Vegemite scandal" that is threatening to destroy the brand....) was definitely worth it. Though I'm not quite sure it actually did turn pink. After a nice stroll round the base (not only was the climb shut, but given the cultural and religious significance, not to mention a bad dream the night before, I didn't really want to. Plus, Lisa did a great sell that we shouldn't!), which included some amazing rock paintings, basic geology lessons and some fascinating Anangu creation stories, it was back to the campsite to pack up, have a quick swim and head to King's Canyon (named after a bloke with the surname King, not the King).

Another sunset and another night under the stars. Just as stunning, though with less viewing owing to tiredness! Another early start so we could beat the heat and do what was quite frankly the best hike/walk that I think I've ever done. It was awesome! Amazing views and incredible scenery. Not too mention that we were there on one of about five days in a year that it rains. Not much rain, but rain out there is rain! We then packed up and climbed back on to the bus for the trip back to Alice. After an awesome shower I headed back into the town for a brilliant five dollar meal at Annie's place. So that was that. What an experience, and I knew words couldn't justify it!

The next morning I hopped on the plane to Perth, watching some of the Blues Brothers, until my iPod threatened to run out of battery, and sleeping! It was a pretty chilled out time in Perth; going to an awesome Japanese called Taka, chilling at the beach and watching Carl Riseley at the Ellington.

Overall, a pretty awesome week. And on Monday there was Parklife. But it is now definitely bedtime. I hope this post quenches the thirst of many of you, until tomorrow though, I must say good night. And a massive thank you to Ben and his brother Gideon in Perth. Legends.

Two weeks of many, many interesting events.

As promised folks, here is the low-down on the last two weeks and a bit, in two, juicy, action packed editions!

Week One:
The last week of term approached with great excitement, although I admittedly didn't really know why. This accounted largely for my lack of an update - at the beginning of the week not much happened and I left it 'till later. Then, BOOM! Thursday hits and I've got no time! Thursday was the Achilles Cup which is the local boys schools' Inter-collegiate cup. Officiating there (in the hammer-throw) was a great day off work (and earned me a fair bit of cash), and also saw Saints win the overall competition!

Thursday evening is what everyone was excited about though. It was the School and Allen House Dinner 2009. It was a fantastic formal evening, with a good guest speaker and a fascinating insight into some of the... finer aspects of a boys boarding house! The pub afterwards was great too, though did make work on Friday morning a little harder than usual, but luckily being in the library... well it was easier than it could have been! And it was only a morning!

After all of that, it was the 2009 "Blue and White", that evening. A huge, American high school style school dance basically... There was free ice-cream, free soft drinks, a DJ all night, LOADS of camera people, lots of dancing and a very good time had by all! Like the Commem ball, but on big, nasty American steroids!

Saturday saw the Australian sporting event of the year. As Geelong triumphed over Saint Kilda in an excellent game, I was on the barbie (at least for a bit) for my first Aussie BYO barbecue. Awesome. After an excellent curry with the Coupers (three-fifths, at least), it was back to the boarding house to pack for my early start.....


Hello All,

It would appear I have a somewhat fervent and beloved following on the ol' Bloggeroo... So I apologise sincerely for my lack of recent activity.

I do, however, have a legitimate reason that I hope you will understand. Since 15th September I have been incredibly busy:
Firstly, the last week of term (21st-25th September) was packed with all manner of activities, including the "Blue and White" and School and Allen House Dinner. As well as all manner of other end of term activities which combined to leave me with little time!

Secondly, since leaving for Alice Springs on 27th September, I have barely been near a computer, let alone had to time to write a Blog post detailing all my amazing activities! Needless to say though, there is plenty to say!

Including a much needed and long overdue congratulations to the Big Bloke, who successfully completed his Big Bike Ride on 30th September 2009. Well done, Dad!

After cricket, which is where I am going now, expect a few fuller Blogs explaining and detailing my epic adventures.....

For now, though, here's a little teaser: