Traveling in English speaking lands

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October 24th 2008
Published: October 24th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

Its about 5pm here in Melbourne and I am sitting on my balcony enjoying the sunshine drinking a glass of Australian wine (Wolf Blass - yum), moments like this make me wonder why I would ever want to live anywhere else.

Australia is interesting, funny, quirky and of course sunny. Funnily enough for such a large country they make it feel like you are in a small community no matter what part you travel in - people say hello and randomly start to chat to you - in bars, restaurants and whilst walking around the blue lake (a volcanic crater lake which looks extrordinarily blue) in Mt Gambier we felt like we were locals with all the “hello”s and “howya goin' mate”s which we were greeted with.

Our comment of the the week is from an advert for builders where one person asks another to put something on the barbque to which his friend responds “are your arms painted on” .

I saw my first Koala bear yesterday (in reality I nearly ran iT over in the car) out of the side of my eye i could see it bounding towards the car - thankfully I missed it and in my rear view mirror saw that it made it safely across the road. The Kangaroos on the other hand are another story - we have been duped - given the number of roadkill kangaroos that I saw on the side of the road - Skippy is probably already road kill! They just keep replacing him with another kangaroo thinking we don't notice!

we have spent the last couple of weeks since we arrived basically travelling around drinking wine - we went to Margaret river, the Conawarra region and the Barossa valley (had lunch at Jacobs Creek) - and yes I did go to all my favourite wineries and did some tastings - fantastic!

We also continued our year of the train by traveling on the Indian Pacific train from Perth to Adelaide which was super lovely (showers and everything it was positively plush in comparison to the Trans Siberian) - on the train we met lots of lovely people - i got offered a job (in Adelaide) which was nice! We had a two berth cabin which was tiny but actually managed to fit in - two beds, a sink, two seats (when bed where folded away) and a table.

There are many things which I have gained this year but it has to be the exposure to people who you would normally never meet - when we were on the wine tour of margaret river we met a couple (Nick and Melissa) who we would in Irish terms be called “civil servants” - words which bring to mind - job stability but not much excitement - bt not so in Oz - Nick spent 4 months in the Antartic studying techtonic plate movements and setting up GPS systems to track them and Melissa is developing a program to assist in the compliance of small countries with reporting on their compliance with Kyoto provisions (I think thats correct - we had already had lots of wine). Definitely not your run of the mill government jobs.

Also when we were in Margaret river we decided to try out surfing so we had our first surfing lesson (and for me probably my last given that I swallowed half the ocean - bashed both my knees and my chin - yes I was a pretty sight ) Jon on the other hand really enjoyed it (yet another sport for him to excel at - dammit) but at least I can say I tried.

We also had our first official Aussie barbeque - which actually was pretty good - maybe its because I was not doing the cooking!.

One of the quirkiest things is that old buildings which they are super proud of are like 150 years old - my parents have sheds out the back which are older than that! we went to visit the prison at Freemantle outside of perth for their torchlit tour - it was fun to do and the guide had originally been a prison warden in the prison (which only closed as a prison in 1983) - This was the prison where there was a famous fennean prison break ( and subsequent escape to ...... you guessed it - Boston).

Also I have a new phone - its totally cool - its a skype phone and a mobile phone in one so people can skype me (for free) and I can answer them anwhere - pub , beach etc - my skype name is seppymcardle.

Jon has been busy contacting rowing clubs and is going down to visit them tomorrow, we have tickets to the Melbourne cup (where some horse called Septimus might be running) and the international rules next weekend so lots to look forward to.


25th October 2008

Septimus is a bit of a machine from the Aidan O'Brien stable in Ireland and has a major chance in the Melbourne Cup - Ireland has won the biggest race in Oz a couple of times already so there's a bit of history. Over here Septimus is about 4/1 favourite for the race - any rain should help his chance as well. Get stuck in!!

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