Sunday, 30 May 2010

Rain Rain Go Away....

G'day guys,

Well another week has come and gone. It's slightly worrying how quickly time is this rate, I would have soon finished my PhD! Obviously that's a slight exaggeration but never mind.

It's been another fairly uneventful week. The weather has been bloody shocking - it continues to rain almost everyday (Wednesday and today it hasn't rained) and it pisses it down. To top things off, it seems the weather is better in England, not fair! Forecast for this week....more rain! YAY! It's a good job I'm leaving on Friday, all the rain is making me depressed.

So on Wednesday, my friends came back to Sydney for one evening before continuing on their travels the next day. It was lovely to see them again, even for such a short time, and hear what they have been up to since I left them at Fraser Island. We treated ourselves to KFC for dinner (I know you're jealous Leigh-Ann) and enjoyed some goon (boxed wine stuff) in the evening before heading off out to meet one of the guys who was on our Fraser tour. Had a quick drink and off we went - everyone was tired and had to be up early the next day for their flights. Kerry and Claire were the first to depart, heading off to Fiji, leaving the pouring rain in Sydney to head to sunny skies. They got a bit emotional (fair enough after travelling solidly together for over a month) and off they went. I later found out they missed the bus I told them to catch, had luggage issues, and nearly missed the plane as they were at Maccy D's - I worry for them. Later that afternoon, I dropped Sam off at the bus stop (making sure she got the right one) and said goodbye as she leaves for NZ. I was sad to leave Sam (obviously I was sad to say goodbye to Claire and Kerry as well) as 1. she is now travelling by herself, and 2. I won't see her when I am briefly back in the UK. So Sam, if you are reading this - love you long time!

Friday, the PhD students at the CCRC decided to go to the pub. I thought this was an excellent idea as we rarely get to socialise with each other. After heading off at 5-ish I got back home at 2am! HAH! I was expecting a few drinks and an hour or two of socialising, not over 8! Nonetheless, I had a fantastic evening and, as I said, great to socialise with my fellow climate science geeks! Hopefully this will become a regular thing.

Today, I went and bought myself a new camera after my other one broke at Fraser Island. Hopefully I will have more luck with this one as mine seem to break after a year. It's nothing fancy, seems to have less capabilities than my old one, but gives better pictures, and it can make lovely panoramic pictures within the camera - clever eh. I'm sure none of you actually give two hoots about the camera anyway so I will wrap up. I find it surprising how much a manage to write after saying this week has been fairly uneventful.

5 days left until I depart for Norway! If anybody wants to come and see me at Heathrow on Saturday the 4th, I will be there for 12 hours from 6.30am until 7pm - so feel free to come entertain me.

Peace out.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Back to work!

So last Saturday (God I can't believe how quickly this week has gone), I said goodbye to my friends, set off from Rainbow and headed back to Brisbane to catch my flight back to Sydney. I really didn't want to leave my friends as we were having such a laugh but I was away for 15 days and had more off in Sydney, so I can't really complain.

Once I got back to Sydney, still complete with my lurgy, I was made to feel even worse by the bloody weather. Since being back, it has pretty much rained everyday, all day! It's very depressing, not what I expect from Australia.

I spent Monday through Wednesday recovering at home (well I went in for 2 hours on Monday and felt really rough so I left), making my presentation for when I go to Oslo. Come Thursday (yesterday), I thought I really should go back to work properly so off I went, and spent my first whole day in the office for at least three weeks! I would say it was good to be back but obviously it wasn't.

Today I had my first proper meeting with my supervisor since basically arriving in Sydney. It was actually really good and spurred me on to do some work before I leave again in two weeks. I showed him some of the work I had been doing, and from this, we decided upon the ways in which we can progress, and pretty much set out the first half of my thesis - plus we briefly stated what the second half would be. Along the way we discussed what papers I could write etc (they expect to have at least 3 in motion by the time of submitting the thesis). So all in all, a good motivating meeting! Made me feel much better about the work as well.

Nothing else to update! No plans for the weekend - need to save my money for Oslo!

Peace out

Fraser Island

Hey guys,

Well I completely forgot to blog about the final leg of my journey, Fraser Island. We payed to do a self drive tour - we basically got given a 4x4, got put in a group, given food and tents, and off we went. This was the past of the trip that I was most looking forward to, and the most expensive part of the holiday as well!

After gathering our crap, packing the jeep, we set off to catch a ferry thing (its not a ferry but I can't think of the name right now - a boat where the back and front fold down to act as a ramp!). After a short 5 minute trip, we arrived back on solid land, reaching Fraser Island - a world heritage site and the largest sand island in the world, complete with wild dingos, sharks, dolphins and turtles, a true desert island!

We were given an itinerary and pretty much had to stick to it - we could only drive on the beach at certain times of the day due to the tides - we did not want to get stuck, which FYI, we did not for the entire three days, pretty impressive non? I have to say, I bloody loved driving the jeep (although apparently others did not like my driving!) - it was really strange driving on the sand. In the deeper, soft sand, the car just kept swerving from side to side without even moving the steering wheel, but once on the harder sand it was fine! Zooming along the beach at 80kph, stopping to go through small gullies, visit secluded lakes, avoid dingos etc, what more could you want?

We camped both nights whilst we were there, which, to be honest, was pretty uncomfortable. We were told we didn't really need roll mats which meant that we got cold, and hand nothing soft to lie on. It also didn't help that it is winter and does actually get cold at night (we could see out breath!). But we survived (just about), and had good laughs along the way - one memorable moment was when Kerry told me not to turn the light on because she didn't want me to see her like obviously I turned the torch on, to find her wearing every single item of clothing, tops tied around her feet, and the drawstring on her hoody pulled tight around her face to leave only her eyes, nose and mouth - she had the biggest grin on her face and we both burst out laughing for a good 10 minutes! Oh, on this first night my camera decided to break - GREAT! So I only have pics from the first day, I was not happy! Enough of the ramblings - oh I did see a shark by the way, maybe 3 but we weren't sure whether some were dolphins.

Had an ace time though and met some fantastic people (13 of the 16 people in total were English!) and generally had a right laugh! I did develop the lurgy though which has stayed with me until today, a good 10 days on! Here are some pics:

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Rainbow Beach

After Brisbane we travelled further north to Rainbow Beach. This is a pretty small town with basically nothing there except three hostels, a petrol station and a supermarket. It's basically a starting point for Fraser Island tours which will be my next post. Rainbow beach does, however, have a lovely beach and we spent our day there soaking up some rays, playing Frisbee and chillaxing! We had some lovely people in the hostel with us so that evening we had a few drinks and a good old natter! These guys were going to Fraser the next morning whereas we were going the day after so unfortunately we didn't spend any more time with them.

The next day we had a briefing about our self drive tour to Fraser - we basically just watched some DVDs telling us what to do if a Dingo attacks us, how to get out of the sand if we get stuck - very boring stuff!

We also went on a guided tour to the sand blow located about 30 minutes away from the town. When we got there, we got to throw some boomerangs - I was much better than I thought I would be - the boomerang at least did come back to me, I just couldn't catch it! We also got to go sand-boarding which did not end well for me! I was doing fine until I reached the bottom at which point I flew off and got covered in sand - it was everywhere, even in my eyes! Was great fun though. After this we got to watch the sunset before making our way back to the sand cliff for a lovely walk back along the beach - easier said than done.

By the time we had finished playing, it had started to get dark and a storm had started very close by. We rushed down the cliff to also notice that the tide had come in much quicker than expected. We were trying to rush along the beach in the dark, with the only light being the random strikes of lightening. At one point the tide had come in too far so we had to clamber up the sand cliff again (it wasn't that steep at this point), and walk along to avoid getting taken out to sea! It was actually pretty dangerous but luckily we all made it back to the town, just in time for the heavens to open on us! That night a German guy was in our dorm and as we had spare beds, 2 of his friends were crashing for free. I wish we never agreed to of his friends was snoring SOOOOOO loudly he woke us all up! This went on for ages and ages so Kerry and Claire were shouting at him to wake up and ask him to roll over so the snoring would stop! Eventually Kerry had to go and poke this guy and ask him! A bad nights sleep with more to follow in Fraser!

Rainbow Beach

Some wicked clouds

Playing frisbee

Playing with the boomerang

The effect of sandboarding

Kerry sandboarding

Group jumpshot at sunset on the Rainbow beach blowout

The multi-coloured sand - hence rainbow beach

A storms a brewing!

We awoke early the next morning to prepare for our trip to Fraser (see next post)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Brisvegas (Brisbane)

Hi guys,

It's been a while but I am finally home which means that I can finish writing the blogs for the remaining places I visited. I have also edited my previous posts to include the pictures so take a look at them if you wish.

So...Brisbane. It seems like forever ago that we went to Brisbane but hopefully I will still be able to remember what we did (in reality it's been just over a week!). We spent four days in Brisbane, Queenslands capital, in total and it was such a lovely city, much quieter than Sydney which is nice but still with a lot to offer (perhaps less touristy things to do). It was nice to spend a few days in a city after spending time in coastal towns - there is a lot of contrast on the east coast.

On our first day we generally just wandered around, getting a feel for the city. As I said, there isn't a massive amount of typical touristy things to do (as there is in Sydney - e.g. with the bridge, opera house and beaches) but we managed to entertain ourselves. I was speaking to one guy and he said that Brisbane has changed a lot in a short time - definately an up and coming city. As Brisbane is a river city rather than a coastal city, the council decided to build it's own beach/sea (the sea is just a swimming pool) in the South Bank region of Brisbane. It's really nice there, lots of greenery, fountains, chinese gardens and a London eye type thing. Here are some pics:

View whilst crossing the bridge to South Bank

Sam in the Chinese Gardens

Walking down the river front at South Bank

On our second day in Brisbane we took a trip to the infamous Australia Zoo - home of Steve Irwin, Crocodile hunter! It was actually wicked but kind of weird - definately a shrine to Steve Irwin. It was also strange because a lot of the attractions were basically named after his daughter Bindi - she has her own DVD range, own dolls, clothing range etc - whereas his son has nothing! Some favouratism there I think. We saw the famous show which included quick demonstrations of the elephants, reptiles, birds (mainly parrots which were flying around the Crocoseum like crazy!) and finally the crocodiles, where the keeper taunts a crocodile until in nearly bites. It was really fun, much better than Woburn shows! We got to hug possums, stroke koalas and kangaroos - very hands on here! Here are a few piccies:

Enjoying the show

Croc attack

Riding the shuttle bus

Stroking a koala

Chatting to a roo

Our third and fourth days involved more sight seeing and wandering around. We took the river cat up the river, giving us some nice views over the city, went to some markets and suitcase rummages, had a few ice-creams and had a night out. We also took a bus to Mount Coot-tha lookout to get some fantastic views of the entire city. We later stopped off at the Botanical Gardens - it seems that I visit a botanical garden wherever I go nowadays...

View from the river-cat

Group shot at New Farm Park

View from the river-cat

Night out

View from Mount Coot-tha

Group shot at Mount Coot-tha

The botanical gardens

So I had an awesome time in Brisbane and definately plan on going back at some point during my stay in Oz. I should also mention that our room-mates in the hostel were really nice - they're from Switzerland and Finland - very friendly and chatty! The beds on the other hand were very squeaky and wobbly - they did not feel safe! Weather was also pretty good for the entire time but did get a bit cloudy. Sorry this turned out to be such a long post.