Wild West Tasmania

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I actually woke up early for once; despite going to bed at 12:30, I was up at 5:40 and on the road with Andrew about an hour after that. As it was only the two of us, the itinerary was pretty much whatever I wanted within reason. We stopped for breakfast in Westbury and looked at a big map they have on the wall of Tasmania. As Chelsea would say, “It looks like a heart!” The itinerary was a stop in some caves, a short walk in Cradle Mountain national park, and then camp. But I saw the Walls of Jerusalem park, which I’d heard was beautiful right beside it, so the next thing I knew, we were making steam for the Moses Creek track, a track that is classified “T-4: No groups over four, no publication or images, etc”. That is, when we were actually on the track, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I would later refer to the track as the “Lord of the Rings” track, because you kept thinking it was the end and then half an hour later, you were still not at the troopy. But we did find our way back… eventually.

We started out in the conventional way. Fairly clear track, walk along it, la dee da, fork in the path, which way do we go? But soon we got onto a much less used track. To give you an idea of remoteness, we would be on this track for 9 hours of arduous hiking and not see another soul. We trekked through forest and came across an area that had burned about 10 years ago and not though it no longer looked charred it was definitely still a clearing. The next clearing we came to was a peaty meadow-bog, which had a grand looking mountain on the horizon. Mount Ragoona, I was told, and was surprised to learn it was our destination today. Not only was it high up there but it was not exactly nearby. We closed the gap by going off trail and far more vertical than winding our way along the track on the backside. This was a great success, and we were up in record time. Andrew thought we might as well go down the other side and around to a trail along a different lake and have a different hike back, which I liked the idea of. Sure, a little more tramping off-track, no problem. What that meant, I would soon learn, was rock climbing down part of the face (not too far, thankfully) and walking under, around, over, and usually right through thick bush. Combined with a long walk up and a treacherous trek down, this was exhausting. Not only was my knee getting sore but I was getting physically exhausted. Had I known we still would be walking 4 hours later, I might’ve stumbled and collapsed right there, probably right onto a snake; snakes were just one thing to worry about. And then we kept going and going and not finding the trail. We were supposed to hit it right before the lake but we were just about on top of the lake and, given the increasingly late hour, even Andrew was starting to worry when finally we hit it. Yes, it still took a long time to get back, but at least not slogging through scrub.

We made it back to the car at 6:30, which made it the longest walk Andrew had ever taken anyone on commercially. To celebrate and soothe our aching legs, we went an extra 40 km to get some beer. It definitely hit the spot. Camp was nice, they had showers and everything there, and I was out like a light not long after the sun. The next day, we went to Cradle Mountain after helping another guide get her van started – the other guide had left the lights on. It didn’t take much and we were standing at one end of Dove Lake looking up as it reflected Cradle Mountain looming over top. It was a beautiful sight to behold and we had perfect weather, nary a cloud in the sky. We made our way up to Marion’s Lookout looking over Crater Lake and while Andrew had a sandwich, I ran up further hoping for some better shots of the lake. Instead, Barn Bluff was sitting over the ridge waiting for me. But it was not to be. Back down and on the road, iPod cranked, sun shining, and a nice cold Boags in my hand and we were on the road looking for somewhere to camp. We crossed the Pieman river and took a bit of a jaunt up a road that Andrew had blockaded (it cut the world’s then-largest temperate rainforest in two and is now known by locals as the ‘Road to Nowhere’) when he was 18. There was nothing to see but forest on either side though, so I didn’t feel too bad about it.

We set up camp nice and early, much earlier than the previous night. Andrew put on some Xavier Rudd, John Butler, and then a third guy he’d heard of from a Canadian friend with some sitar. It was strange to look at the fire with this music – one of the logs looked like a dragon’s face, one that was unhappy – possibly because it was burning? The smoke came at me not long after I flunked this Rorschach test, as though it were being blown from the dragon’s mouth. I clumsily leaned to try to get out of the smoke and it followed as I almost fell out of my chair. Flames started to lick from the would-be dragon’s mouth as the sitar played loudly in the background, and the smoke relented and swung over to Andrew. He closed his eyes and time seemed to slow. It was a weird moment, I didn’t think he’d outlast the dragon and smoke engulfed him as white flakes of ash danced in the air. The smoke kept coming and he sat meditatively. And then, when I thought he could hold his breath no more, the smoke drifted away and he opened his eyes like nothing had happened. I had just witnessed an epic battle between man and nature, and he had no idea. I thought to myself that this must be what it’s like on some sort of hallucinogenic drug. As long as my imagination is this overactive, not only do I not need them (or want them), but it might be downright dangerous for me! At the very least, it told me that I should stop imagining I have any ability to write fiction.

The next day, we took a hike up Mount Donaldson, which was supposed to give nice views of the surrounding Tarkine forest and the ocean, but the weather was clouded and misty and we could only just make out the slightly darker line of the ocean on the horizon. We took a trip further down the coast and had lunch where the group normally camps. The west coast is open sea all the way to South Africa, so the surf is huge. Even on a day like today, where the waves were calm it was still an intimidating sight. We made our way further along to Zeehan for a chai latte and covered a lot of ground that afternoon, making our way on to a long a rugged 4WD track just past Lake St Clair which led to a pretty nice camp site. That allowed us to get an early start the next morning and have a good day hike in the lake area. The weather had been misty and cloudly all the previous day, so it was very nice that we had absolutely perfect weather. We climbed Mt Rufus into the sun, which offered some great views of the lake and valleys along. As it was such a clear day and the air was recently washed of impurity by yesterday's rain, we could see all the way to Frenchman's Cap and beyond from the top. The track back down was long and mostly uninteresting beyond the first bits, which were in 'marsupial lawns', grassy meadows in the middle of the scrub and of course walking along a ridge returning to earth.

Camp that night was the best campsite so far, on the shores of Pine Tier Lagoon, a very Austrian-looking lake. On top of having a bit of a much-needed swim, we had a little wildlife show as a mother possum with a baby on top was lurking around camp and then a quoll was bounding around as well. We thought they might scrap it out but there was no fight that night. My final day in the bush was a trip down to Mt. Field National Park, home of the famed Russell Falls, which is probably the most impressive waterfall in Australia as well as a couple smaller falls, Horseshoe and Lady Barron. I did a circuit of all three while Andrew went to make lunch, as well as the Giant Tree walk. The giant tree walk is just that, a circuit among the tallest hardwood trees in the world, Eucalyptus Regnas. Some of these trees were 27 stories high. If you were to put one of these trees in downtown Saskatoon, it would make the highest mark in the sky. Only the redwoods of California, which are a softwood, are taller in all the world.

I did the loop and walked to what I thought was Russell Falls but was actually Horseshoe, and then down to Lady Barron falls after that. Then I returned to camp to discover I had not seen the main attraction and whatsmore, after dropping me off, Andrew had seen a Platypus. A Platypus!! I've been trying my whole time here to see a platypus and there was one right by our camp while I was wandering around in the woods thinking I should've stopped by a washroom before my hike. I went along the river hoping to spot it, but to no avail, and then came back and had hamburgers. Andrew and I hiked up to Russell Falls which was not running at full strength with the drought, but was still incredible, especially with a little imagination. There was a wildlife park nearby and we stopped there as there are supposed to be plenty of platypi around. Again, no luck. We also went up to some more really tall trees that were slated to be cut down until some protesters managed to save them, but the amount saved was not exactly generous. Then back to Hobart, for some pizza, a stay with Kerri (another couch surfer), and I was off to Melbourne and civilization once more.

West Coast Tasmania Photos

Under Down Under

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I arrived at my Hobart hostel, City Central Backpackers, exactly when I predicted. The stroke of noon. The flight down to Tasmania, the last state to be explored on my rapidly concluding Australian journey, was pretty uneventful. My laptop battery didn’t last long playing a game of Civilization IV (when was the last time I played a computer game, I don’t know) and so I got started on my new book, The Kite Runner, which Daren and Janine had given me for Christmas. As much as I’d enjoyed reading Xenophon’s take on Socrates, I was looking forward to a more entertaining read, and right from the book’s first line, it delivered. But I digress. I met a Swiss guy on the bus into town staying at my hostel, and we chatted a bit as the bus crossed the Tasman bridge and the sky was suddenly filled with kites. It turned out, rather befitting my new book, there was a kite festival in town. As we couldn’t check in for an hour anyway, the two of us wandered in a direction we thought would take us back there. It didn’t, in fact, it was the complete opposite direction, but as someone once told me, “Adventure comes from poor planning” and indeed it did.

Having realized our mistake, by which I mean my mistake, we wandered back in the proper direction and took a walk through Battery Point en route to the park. I’d called Leo, a CouchSurfer, a local expert of sorts that invited Flavic (my Swiss friend) and I to take a spin with him to the top of Mt. Wellington and see the views. So, all that walking and we wound up back at the hostel instead, to check in and put our bags in our room before Leo met us at the botanical gardens. Unfortunately, ‘our’ room meant my room and his room, which had different numbers, floors, and locations, and we didn’t cross paths again. I went on to the kite festival myself, and noted, not for the first time, at how friendly Tasmanians are. Hardly a hint of the spinning dervishes I was expecting. Then, on to a quite long walk to the botanical gardens, through the memorial to the 500 Tasmanians that had died in the great wars (one tree for each soldier), where I looked around, snapped some photos, and read a lot more of my increasingly excellent book.

Leo met me there, eventually, and we drove up to the top of Mt. Wellington as promised. It’s a hard place to get to, unless you have wheels, which I was seriously contemplating. Tours up here are pricey and there’s no bus, but there WAS a long trail. It would’ve been doubly long as it was quite chilly at the top and I don’t have much left in the warm clothes department. We got some nice shots and Leo described the history, geography, and layout of his new home in Hobart. He kind of reminds me of Terry a bit, actually, and we got along pretty well. I met his two roommates and we had a bit of dinner there before meeting another CSer for coffee, whose name was Kerri. She was pretty nice, too, and I thought that I should’ve gotten more involved in this whole CouchSurfing community much sooner. Then we all parted ways and my first day in Tasmania was over.

The next morning, I got my life in Tassy sorted. I tried to figure out if there were any ‘adventure’ tours, by which I meant multi-activity. A bit of trekking here, climbing there, and so on. One of the things I really wanted to do in Tasmania was the Overland track, an eight day hike through some amazing terrain, but as I considered the other things I wanted to see and do and the fact that I had booked my flight back to Perth for the 23rd of January from Melbourne, time was not on my side. I found a company, TasSafari, that did do a lot of day hikes into some nice scenery over about 10 days, and given it was already the 7th of Jan and I really only had two weeks anyway, that sounded about right. It would give me a few days in Melbourne (I booked a flight that morning for the 19th) and let me get a rough scraping of the island, which was probably the best I could hope for. You can’t see and do it all, you really can’t. So I booked a tour leaving Hobart on Wednesday the 9th, and my Tasmanian experience was sorted. Having done this, I stopped by a travel agent to chat about my trip into Asia and was a bit discouraged that the requirements for proof-of-intent-to-depart were so strict.

I soothed my thoughts on this with a nice piece of pastitsio at a Greek restaurant in Salamanca Square, one of the better ones I’ve had from a restaurant (still nothing compared to Aunt Nicky’s), and sat in the sun reading my book. It reminded me of the month I spent in Crete, sitting in a café, reading my textbooks with a bowl of Greek salad and eventually yogurt and enjoying the afternoon. I felt relaxed here in Tasmania almost instantly. I walked around the city for a while and then met up with Kerri, who picked me up for a BBQ at her place where we also met another CSer, a Belgian named Will. We had a good barbecue, some nice wine, and a good chat before calling it a night. The following day, I got a few supplies, met up with Will for dinner and met a girl named Clare and some of her friends who were good fun, and played Wii and music and had drinks. When I was walking home, a girl pulled over to ask me where I was heading and if I wanted a lift, presumably because of my backpack and Canadian flag. Yes, these Tasmanians are a friendly bunch, and Hobart certainly was good to me.

Bright and early the next morning, 6:15 to be precise, I was leaving all that goodness behind and venturing up the east coast. I met my fellow travelers in our 4WD, loaded my bags, and jumped on. Mostly older people, though an Italian, Fabio, was my age, but they were all pretty nice. We drove up the Tasman peninsula to Port Arthur, a historic place where Tasmania’s first convicts were kept in quite brutal conditions. The security for the place was a line of hungry dogs on chains and the fact that it was otherwise isolated by water. Then we drove down to the peninsula’s southern point and walked, I’d say a good 15km to Cape Raoul, which was a beautiful walk. It starts in the forest making its way for the coast which is framed with some of the highest seacliffs in Australia. Once upon a time, a whole bunch of hot magma forced its way to the surface, only to stop short, buried by a bunch of soft sedimentary rock which over time was eroded away again. The result is a bunch of columns of rock shooting straight into the sky like the water being dashed against its face far below. There were plenty of spectacular views and it was a definite walk off the beaten track.

We caught dinner at camp, which was a bit late because our camp spot had been taken and we had to track down another one. Fabio and I shared a tent, we all shared some Boags, and we sat around the campfire and watched the stars start flickering on. My knee has been acting funny after lots of exertion lately, and it was pretty sore the next morning; I was and am a little worried about it, actually. We walked to Wineglass Bay anyway, because of clouds we didn’t climb to the top of Mt. Amos, and once it warmed up my knee wasn’t so bad. Wineglass Bay is an isolated beach on the opposite side of the peninsula from the main road, so the only way in is to hike. It is so named because the curvature makes it look like a giant wineglass filled with absynth. Again our weather was not so cooperative, but we went down to the beach anyway as the cloud finally started to break. It was beautiful from the bottom, bordered by orange-tinged rock (rusted iron deposits) and forest, and the sun was peeking out from time to time from the racing clouds not too far above. We set out for our second camp in an abandoned town on a mountaintop. The town is gone, but grassy plains remain and a lot of trails to nearby mountains and views. We had what has to be one of the best dinners I’ve had since I took Daren and Janine out to dinner, topped off with chocolate bananas (my first attempt at them) and I took a quick run up to the top of the nearest mountain before the sun went down.

The next morning we went back to that same mountaintop, and it was even more spectacular as the clouds rolled around in the valley below. We took a second walk through some forest to another lookout, and then did two walks in the Blue Tier forest. It’s a little bit sad that the Blue Tier forest is slated for logging. Normally, it would be protected as old growth forest (in other words, forest that has never been replanted) but as the result of a trench running through it, the entire forest is instead ‘re-growth’ and I hate to think that in a few years it won’t be there at all. Hopefully something is done about this silly classification system. Anyway, it was beautiful. There were some massive, massive trees (one 20m in diameter), lots of very old and tall fern trees, and a beautiful creek running through. We had lunch near the largest tree, which had a hollow cave in it that could probably fit 15-20 people and climbed back up. After some more backroads driving, we were off to Launceston to end the eastern leg of our trip with some parmy and delicious Boags beer. Now I have three nights here before catching the western side of the island-state and wrapping up my Tasmanian adventure.

The three nights in Launceston went quite fast. My first day was the arrival, which was marked by going out for dinner with the group. The second day, I walked around the city centre and bought some more shorts for the warmer climes and did the approximately 10km walk around Cataract Gorge, a beautiful gorge that’s literally a ten minute walk from the city centre. I walked all the way to the Duck Reach power station, which is pretty remote, and there were lizards everywhere sunning themselves on rocks. I was really hoping I didn’t come across a snake and kept a keen eye out but it wasn’t my day to get scrappy with the locals thankfully. On the walk they have a free swimming pool right on the river running through the gorge not to mention the nice walk. A very impressive park to have in a city. My final day I had planned to bike up to the Tamar Valley and do a bit of the wine circuit, but the wind was against the idea from the start, so I settled for a tour. And before I knew it, I was getting ready for bed to get up and head off into the wild west of Tasmania for a 5 day trip back to Hobart. Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair, and who knows what else is on the itinerary, but I happen to know that I’m the only one booked on the tour and Andrew is my guide once again, so we should be pretty flexible and able to do some unique things. We’re leaving the trailer behind to get to some really off-the-tourist-track type locales. But that’s enough foreshadowing for now, I’ll see you soon.

Hobart Photos
East Coast Photos
Launceston Photos

White (Hot) Christmas

Saturday, January 05, 2008

As Christmas approached, I began to accept more and more that there would be no Christmas here for me. In addition to being all about family, all the usual cues were absent. Snow, cold, Christmas carols (I don’t listen to the radio, so I don’t hear anything of the sort), all absent. The decorations are definitely up, but I just wasn’t feeling it. The restaurant was busy, definitely that’s a Christmas-time cue, and then it completely died the weekend following Christmas. Then Christmas day came. I dressed for work like any other day, went downstairs, and Daren and Janine were sitting down by the Christmas tree wearing their red hats and telling me Santa had been by. And he got me a red hat too, not to mention a book called The Kite Runner. I have to say that this gesture and waking up to find people in the home besides me made me feel like it was indeed Christmas and there was something special about today. But special or not, I still had to go to work...

I got there early because it was going to be a very big day. And a hot day. In fact, it was 44 degrees Celsius, setting a record and giving Perth the distinction as being the hottest city on Earth that day. I showed up early so I could use the phone to call home, where it was still Christmas Eve, and wish my family a merry Christmas, and then it was time to run around and get everything done. Santa needed to know where to stand, what to do. Christmas menus needed to be on the tables. More salt and peppers needed to be found. Since we were adding a ‘starter’ course, more entrée cutlery needed to be found, too. And then it was noon, we opened the doors, and things went just fine. Sure, the power went out for about 45 minutes thanks to the fact that all our coolers and air conditioning overloaded the circuits, but we trucked on and everybody was quite happy with their meals. Even given the fact that they had prepaid for their meals and only had to settle their drink tab, we still got $600 in tips, which is pretty unheard of here in Australia.

We worked until about 5:30, and then Adam, Cam, and I caught a cab to Scannell’s where a Christmas party was just warming up. A bit of a swim, a few drinks, some bbq, and since we had Boxing Day off for our staff party, Cam and I didn’t want to get too revved up today, so we grabbed a cab home to rest for what would be our real Christmas. Doug and Tom arranged to pick me up and they were a bit late. We were supposed to be at the East St Jetty by 10:30 AM and we were picking up another couple at that point instead. I was worried we were going to miss the boat but we got there just in time to help load up. Whew. It was another scorcher, 45 degrees today, a beautiful shiny day to spend on a boat on turquoise waters sailing out to an island and going for a swim and BBQ. This day was a true Australian Christmas and I was so happy to have been here for it. We set off to the island and parked. You could see a bunch of sea lions sunning themselves on the beach, so I took a swim out there. I wish I could’ve brought my camera, I would’ve had some amazing photos, they really didn’t like being approached TOO closely, but I could get within 10 metres of them sunning and others alert on guard and it was just amazing to me to have them sitting there in the wild and to be right there watching.

I also donned my red santa hat and went for a swim and Crown Lager in the perfect waters and of course took part in the delicious buffet Warwick had provided. Steaks, scallops, prawns, lamb, salads, you name it, it was there. We drank champagne, we ate like kings, and sat on the beautiful waters enjoying the fruits of a very busy Christmas season. But all good things must come to an end, and we found the shore far too soon and after a bit of a situation involving someone stealing drugs from the ship’s medical kit, we were at the Newport having a few drinks, then at Megan’s house making what I can only imagine would be a horrible mess for the next day. I feel pretty bad for her.

I had the next day for recovery, and Daren made dinner, I made dessert, and we say around chatting before going to sleep. Then, some packing, and I was on a plane on the 28th for Sydney, where I would be celebrating New Years Eve. Virgin Blue, not as bad as I thought it would be, they even gave us free TV since the reception was so poor, but after watching a segment on an assassination in Pakistan – I’m so disconnected from world events here, both a nice feeling and disconcerting – I wound up typing up this blog and captioning some photos anyway. My pre-New Years resolution is to get this site back up to date before I leave Sydney, and I’m pretty on track to doing that I think. Anyway, I arrived in Sydney at 7PM and the North Sydney line was closed so I wound up on a bus and then not knowing exactly where I was. Carrying around all my stuff and trying to figure it out with sunburnt shoulders wasn’t as pleasant as it might’ve been, but I found Diane’s finally, and had some nice wine (yup, Rockford) with her and Craig.

The next day I went and picked up some hiking shoes since there were boxing day sales still on; I’ll need them for hiking in Tazzy and probably Asia, too. Then I met up with Jill, whom I met up in Darwin back in September, and Mel for some drinks in Darling Harbour. They were off for dinner and I decided that I’d watch Beowulf in the IMAX since I’d been wanting to see how this “new 3D” phenomenon I’ve been hearing so much about was going to pay off. To be honest, the movie itself wasn’t that interesting and the technology, while definitely adding a dimension to the show, didn’t seem that incredible to me. I guess years of 3D at theme parks and whatever has made it seem gimmicky instead of immersive, which is something I don’t think you want when you’re trying to generate verisimilitude. Maybe as more movies are made in 3D it won’t be as distracting. The next day was more catch up, another movie (No Country for Old Men) which was excellent, and grabbing supplies for my New Years Eve picnic. I got a hold of Andrew, who was coming down from Newcastle, Nathalie, who was coming up from Melbourne, and the English girls, and it seemed that everyone was content to meet at Mrs. Macquaries Chair, which is just as well, because that’s where I was going regardless.

So I woke up at 8AM the next morning, got ready and packed for the day, and was at the ferry by 9, though one didn’t come until 9:30. I knew the line would be growing and I really wanted to stake out a good spot – the gates opened at 10. I made my way straight to the line up and discovered it was HUGE. From the front gates I though I could see the end of the line way down the street, but it was just a slight curve and it kept going down Art Gallery Road, past the gallery, into Domain park, and wrapping around. I thought about walking all the way back and trying to sneak in, but no, it was my own fault for getting here at 9:45 instead of 7:45, so I bit the bullet and joined the line at the back. I made quick friends with some Americans in front of me and we had a pretty good time even waiting in line for the 3000 people ahead of us to have their bags searched. It took an hour and a half to get to the front, and they didn’t even search my backpack, I definitely could’ve brought in some champagne or spirits, but oh well. We spent a bit of time debating spots and I found one that I could fit that had a great view, but I couldn’t fit all my newfound American friends with me nor even any of the people that were supposed to be meeting me later, so I went for a different spot with them which still had a pretty decent view though no breeze. And it was HOT. This was probably the best decision I made that day, however, as it was good fun throughout the afternoon.

The park kept filling throughout the day and soon we had a friendly guy from Finland in front of us, Andrew showed with his Columbian friend, Nicholas, Nathalie showed with (eventually) her German friends, and some of Amber’s friends showed too. Although we were at the park 14 hours before midnight, the time flew. We played cards, chatted, drank, and joked around. Every hour from 1PM onward, something different was happening. The theme was “Having the time of our lives” and it was very appropriate for the day. Skywriters writing things like “Time Flies”, tiger moth biplanes doing stunts, cannon firings, and the list goes on. The sunset, a boat light show/parade, and then the first major event, the family fireworks at 9PM. Well. They were great. They put an hourglass on the bridge this year and it dropped a little ‘sand’ grain every five minutes until 9 and then thereafter. I was thinking they were going to have a tough time topping the family fireworks. Amber and I rejoined the gang from our vantage point and hung around until 10. Then, I decided I wanted to get a good spot now for the midnight fireworks, so I went with Nathalie and got a spot right on the water, or as close as we could get at any rate. Nobody else was interested apparently, but it was so worth it.

The countdown began and every five minutes another grain of sand and the circle around the clock lit 1/12 more. It was getting very exciting. 15 minutes left. 5 minutes. And then the pillars on the bridge started their countdown… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1. Pandemonium. Fireworks everywhere. “Happy New Year!” being screamed by 22000 people also in the park with us. Fireworks off the bridge, the hour glass turned over, and kept turning and then spinning, the water reflecting the shining skies. Off boats to the right, and in the distance, far away but over the opera house, the main firework show (they do the same fireworks throughout the harbour, except for the bridge, which was a special treat for those in the centre). And then they started launching them off skyscrapers in the city centre. It was a panorama of explosions and beauty and it just kept escalating. Especially the fireworks off the boats, it just seemed like they could get any bigger or more frequent, but they did. I tried to capture a bit with video and photos, but without a tripod and an ultra-wide angle lens, I might as well have been trying to capture the entirety of the Great Wall of China from 30m back. And then came the finale, which literally dropped my jaw and camera. A ‘waterfall’ of white lava off the bridge, fireworks in every direction, colour, shape, and size. 3D fireworks. All at once and the most amazing pyrotechnic display I’ll probably ever see. The New Year had reached Sydney and I thought there wasn’t a better way to conclude a year down under or start 2008. This was the grand feeling we always try to get on New Years but are always disappointed by when it turns out to be like any other night on the town.

We left the park and Andrew and I crashed at Amber’s place, the York hotel right in the city. The next morning we had breakfast with her and her parents and they all went to Manly, which I was going to join them on, but by the time I’d ferried to North Sydney, changed, got my swimming stuff, showered, and got a ferry back, it was going to be 5:30 before I got there. I got on the ferry anyway, thinking I’d grab a bite in Manly anyway if I missed them, but then as I sat on the ferry it was delayed and more delayed and 30 minutes later I decided I’d had enough. So I went and saw another movie, The Golden Compass which was surprisingly good. I’m definitely looking forward to a sequel. I saw Bee Movie the next day, which was likewise good, clean, Seinfeldian fun - the glut of movies is in part because I had a bit of fever and achyness and wasn't up for much else. When life gives you lemons, go see a movie! But my holidays have been anything but a lemon. The final two days were, admittedly, marred by some severe technical issues with FrankBlack.Net, but my stay in Sydney comes to an end tomorrow morning, when I fly to Tasmania for a couple weeks of exploration, outdoors, and hopefully not too much internet. But the conclusion of this post marks the first time my blog has been up to date since the beginning of August, so at least all my work has come to something. I'll let you know what my Tasmanian adventures come to soon.

Christmas Photos
New Years Photos