Cairns

Before we right a final blog about the Australian Trip (right now we are in a plane flying to Milwaukee), I just want to point out a few great things about our trip to Cairns/Palm Cove. This is going to be a short list because the computer battery will die soon.

1) Holding a Koala!!!!!

2) Taking a train through and a gondola over the rainforest!!

3) Green Island and snorkeling The Great Barrier Reef!!!

4) Our own personal bus driver and his puppy.

For now I’m going to end it on that, there is much more to write about but we are constrained by time.

You’re Aaight!

B&B


The Bathroom Experience / 302

This entry was written last week, we didn’t have internet, so here it goes….

Last Wednesday Jocelyn and I began our trip to Adelaide and Sydney.  We took the bus to the airport and then got on the flight to Adelaide in South Australia.  Adelaide is known for its small, tight knit community, where everyone is kind and open.  It is also the first city built only by Australians.  Churches surround the city and therefore it’s known as the “City of Churches.” Ok, now that the history lesson is over let’s get to some good old fashion story telling…

By the time the plane landed and we got to the hotel it was close to 7pm local time (some Australian States do daylight savings and others don’t) and it was light out! This is a change for us, because normally the Sun sets around 6:30 back in the Gold Coast.  We checked into the hotel and the guy behind the desk gave us the key and a map to get to our room. Ok, I understand that some hotels are confusing and once you pass the front desk you have to take a few turns to find your room…NOPE, this was NOT a hotel map, this was a street map.  Apparently, the front desk is not even in the same building as the hotel rooms.  We exit the building, take a right, then take another right (following the map) into an ally, walked about 500 feet, then used our key to open a door. It was the hotel.  Yup. It was located on the old “Directors” block of Adelaide, so the hotel was decorated with old movie posters.  It looked like a huge art space that was converted into two floors of about 25 studio-sized rooms.

We were both hungry so we walked around to try to find a good pub to go to.  About 80 percent of the pubs and bars were built in old hotels, and in some cases, they still have a few active hotel rooms.  These old hotel buildings are incredible, they are something straight out of Victorian England with wide open rooms and wide wooden staircases the ascend right out of the middle of the pub/bar/restaurant room.  Anyways, we ended up coming across a nice pub called the Crown and Scepter Hotel.  After that, we went back to the hotel to sleep.

I woke up in the morning by looking out the window to see a little puppy running around an abandoned parking lot with wrecked cars in it and I yelled for Jocelyn to look.  As soon as she looked, the dog sniffed, spun around in a circle, and stopped…we all know what happened next…

About 4 blocks away from us was Adelaide’s Central Market, which is a HUGE market.  I got a half of baguette and Jocelyn got a twisty doughnut.  Most people would assume I would get the twisty doughnut, but nope, Jocelyn got it. I can’t speak for her, but my baguette was yummy (the doughnut was good too because I had a bite)!!  We then walked all around Adelaide and ended up at the Rundell Street Mall.  After the open air mall, we took a paddle boat around the river. It was cutesy.

The next day we took a trolley to Mosley Square to go to the Indian Ocean!! This has been Jocelyn’s dream for a while! I took plenty of pictures, don’t you worry! We also walked around for a while, took pictures, ate, and watched the Sun set. The only ocean left for both of us is the Arctic Ocean…Wooo!!

THE BATHROOM EXPERIENCE (warning, this may get into too much detail, you may want to skip to the end of this section, also, JOCELYN does not approve of this section and I take full responsibility)

Ok, so this could be its own post, but here we go. While waiting for the Sun to set over the Indian Ocean, we walked to this little café overlooking the Indian Ocean. Next to the café was a steel public restroom, with four individual doors leading into four separate stalls. After pushing the button to open the door from the outside (kind of like a finger print scanner), I walked in, and the door shut automatically behind me. After the door shut, a woman’s voice came over the speaker and said “Welcome to the Public Restroom. When finished, the toilet will flush automatically when the sink is activated. In ten minutes, the doors will open automatically.” Good thing I was going number 1. Once the voice was finished, a jazz piano rendition of “What the world needs now is love sweet love” came over the speaker. Not only was I at the Indian Ocean, I was relieving myself to the tunes of Burt Baccarat; life was GREAT.  When I finished, I noticed that everything was steel, which was ok.  As the music played, I put my hand under the first sensor and got soap, the second and the sink turned on and simultaneously the toilet flushed, then the third sensor was the dryer. Perfect. I then pushed the finger print scanner button, the doors opened, the music stopped and the woman’s voice said “Thank you.” I immediately told Jocelyn about this and she had to try it out for herself, she loved it as much as I did. We then split a French Fry (chips) and got two cokes and had a great little snack overlooking the ocean at the café.

WARNING THIS MAY BE TOO MUCH INFO PLEASE SKIP THIS AND CONTINUE UNTIL I SAY “ALL CLEAR”

We were sitting there at the café when all of the sudden I felt a little gargle in my stomach. Uh oh…we all know what that means.  I proceed back to the public restroom and immediately think “I only have ten minutes before the doors open.” I pushed the button, the doors opened, I entered, the doors shut and again, I heard the woman’s voice said “Welcome to the Public Restroom. When finished, the toilet will flush automatically when the sink is activated. In ten minutes, the doors will open automatically.” Then again, the music played. I look up and see a red light close to the ceiling and under it I read IF RED LIGHT FLASHES PLEASE EXIT IMMEDIATELY CLEANING WILL COMMENCE. Luckily, this didn’t happen.  After about 2 minutes of going the bathroom, the woman’s voice came over this speaker again (I immediately thought to myself, Uh Oh, this didn’t happen earlier), “The internal sensors have detected that this room is empty and the doors will immediately…” My heart sank, here I am, in a public restroom, sitting on the toilet, in Adelaide, Australia, I thought, “Well, at least I will get a good view of the Ocean.” The woman’s voice continued “…If this room is still occupied please move so that the internal sensors will detect movement.” I then threw my hands up in the air and waved them around like a frantic airport grounds crew member directing a plane.  The woman spoke again “Thank you, your time has been extended.” Then a new song started. Well, I just avoided an interesting situation. Anyways, the rest went as planned.

Now, as long as that is off my chest…

ALL CLEAR

After the sun set, we took the tram back where we were staying, and hung out a little bit more in the city.

In the morning, we checked out and left our bags in storage since our flight wasn’t until late at night.  We walked around Adelaide some more and ended up walking around the campus of the University of Adelaide.  We took a cab to the airport a little early (4 hours early) to see if we could get on an earlier flight to Sydney. Unfortunately, Adelaide Airport is still fairly new and there were no other flights to Sydney on JetStar, so we hung around the airport for a bit and I watched Cricket while Jocelyn surfed the web (It’s currently The Ashes Cricket match now, which will be in another blog).

302 This is OK for all people to read

When we boarded the plane, there was someone sitting on the aisle seat, so she gets up to let Jocelyn and I in the row; Jocelyn takes the window and I take the middle.  She immediately introduces herself as Ellen.  She is a short, husky, Asian woman in her early 60s.  She was wearing a fanny pack with a water bottle holder on it.  She begins to tell us about her trips and asks if we want to some pictures; to be polite, I agreed to see some pictures (I couldn’t say no, especially because I was going to be sitting next to her for the next 2 hours and 20 minutes. As we are taxiing to the runway, she pulls out her camera, turns it on and says “Great, this will make the flight go a lot faster!” She hits the little play button on her camera, rests her arm on the armrest, and holds it in between us so her and I could both see the screen.  You know how on digital cameras it tells you the number of the picture you are on followed by the number of total pictures that are on the camera?? I immediately look down and see 1/302. Great. 302 pictures. Just great.  It’s loud and Jocelyn is far enough away where she doesn’t have to pay full attention and still make it seem like she cares; me on the other hand, I just dug myself into a hole.  She goes one by one through her pictures and of course, each one has a story.  At picture 83, I also realized that they weren’t just pictures, they were videos also; twenty second videos of her panning back and forth of the same views.  Seriously, “pictures” 83 to 88 were the same videos of her panning at different zooms of the same waterfall.  Well, I was in for the long haul.  At about “picture” 277, the videos started to get longer. I watched about 13 or so, four minute long videos of a panda bear running around.  One was a four minute and twenty-one second long video of a panda climbing out of a tree. By the time the pictures were finished, the flight attendants were doing their last sweep for trash. That was the LONGEST flight I have ever been on.

We arrived in Sydney, it was our third time in the airport (we were finally leaving it) so we knew our way around.  We made our way to the train and took it to Circular Quay.  We got off, looked up, and saw the Marriot (thank you Mr. Doyle!). After we checked in, and did a front flip on the HUGE bed, we went out. It was about 10:45pm; at midnight it was my birthday.  We first make our way 2 blocks to Circular Quay (the harbor between the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House), I look up and see the bridge. Jocelyn tells me to look right and there it was, the Sydney Opera House. Wow, we are in Australia.  Have you ever seen so many pictures of one thing and imagined what you would do, or think, if you ever got to see it in person? At first the only thing I could say was “Wow.” After about a minute, I looked at Jocelyn and screamed “WE’RE IN SYDENY AUSTRALIA!!” I think kept saying it for the next ten minutes; I couldn’t believe we were there.

We then walked to this little pub called Paragon to get a birthday drink, or two…? After that, we walked a little bit around The Rocks district until we found another little establishment.  It was great!

We woke up and made our way through The Rocks to find the Sydney Harbor Bridge Pylon climb.  We climbed up, saw some great views, and got some GREAT pictures.  After the bridge we made our way to the Opera House, again, Wow.  We ended up taking a tour of the Opera House and it was truly incredible. Also, one of the chefs from the Iron Chef Australia has a restaurant inside the Opera House so we tried to stalk and find him. No luck.  Oh, Ps, it was now my birthday. How about my 24th birthday in Sydney??!?! Not bad at all!!  It then began to rain, so we went back to the Marriot and had the best birthday dinner; ROOM SERVICE! Perfect. I played the birthday card for the whole trip, I mean, who wouldn’t??

The next day we woke up and we to Darling Harbor; it was absolutely beautiful there. It was about an hour walk through the city and it was similar to Circular Quay. It’s hard to describe and I don’t even know if the pictures will do it justice.  We ate there and walked around to stumble upon a free shark exhibit at the Maritime Museum. Jocelyn and I both loved it, especially researching all the shark attacks in Sydney Harbor.  After Darling Harbor, we walked back into the city and went into Sydney’s new mall.  We also, put money in the pig and rubbed it’s nose (not to sure of the story behind it, but it’s supposed to bring good luck) Then we walked to an incredible church through Hyde Park. We walked North from the park to the Botanical Gardens where we got to see a different view of the Opera House.  After that we walked back to the Opera House (I still couldn’t believe we were there) and took pictures on the steps. At one point Jocelyn was the only person in the world standing on the Sydney Opera House steps, and then I was. What a feeling!  We walked a total for a total of about seven and half hours that day.

The next day, was our last day. We woke up, checked out, and left our bags there since our flight wasn’t until 9pm.  We had a debate if we should go to Bondi Beach or Manly Beach, both of which are famous surf beaches. We decided on Manly because we could take a boat there through the Harbor, while it was a crowded bus ride to Bondi. It was also raining out. It was great to see different views of the Opera House and the Bridge from the boat! We walked a little bit around Manly then boarded the boat to head back to Circular Quay. At about 5:45 we boarded the train to get to the airport early to see if there was an earlier flight (yes we took another chance). We got off the train and tried to go through the turnstiles to enter the airport, but they didn’t let us through.  Apparently, the two airport train stations are privately owned and we had to pay $23 in order to get out of the station, wish we were told about that!!  By the time we made it to the check-in desk it was 6:30 and we got on a flight that left at 7:10! Woo! Good luck! It was one of the bumpiest flights we have ever been on. We are not talking about the up and down turbulence; we are talking the side to side kind. It was almost like the plane was forming into an S shape in the air. Scary.

On Tuesday is our final apartment inspection and then on Wednesday we head up to Palm Cove! Then on the 14th to Brisbane, then on the 17th we fly home!

See You Soon Boston!

B&B




The Haka / Schoolies

Imagine 15 Maori islanders, whose biceps are as big as your whole body, standing in an attack formation yelling this at you:

Ringa pakia!

Uma tiraha!

Turi whatia!

Hope whai ake!

Waewae takahia kia kino!

Ka mate, ka mate

Ka ora’ Ka ora’

Ka mate, ka mate

Ka ora’ Ka ora’

Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru

Nāna i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā

A Upane! Ka Upane!

Upane Kaupane”

Whiti te rā,!

Hī!

Yah, I’d be scared too.  They say that over 50% of rugby games against the Kiwis and All Blacks are won before the match even starts.

 

Anyways, last Saturday, Jocelyn and I got tickets to the Four Nations Rugby League Grand Final in Brisbane. We decided to head up there early to see all the wonders that Brisbane had to offer.  We took a bus to the Helensvale train station where we caught the “Air Train” (yes it does feel like you are traveling on air) to Brisbane. Once we got off the train at Central Station we sat and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the park. Yumm!  After that we walked around the CBD just exploring.  Our adventure led us to cross a bridge to the Art Center where there was a HUGE open air market, public swimming pools, a Ferris Wheel, along with trails through a garden. We had a blast walking around!

 

After walking around, we made our way to Suncorp Stadium to see the rugby game.  The streets were lined with bars and fans, picture Yawkee Way during a Sox/Yanks game.  The rivalry between the Roo’s and the Kiwis is almost the same, except it’s not just a city supporting the team, it’s a whole country. (up until this point I was tired and wasn’t going to add much ‘fluff’ but a schoolie just smashed a beer bottle so I woke up) Once in the stadium we got some chicken, a hotdog, and some fries!  Ketchup and mustard packets work a little bit differently here.  They come in, not a tear open pouch, but in more like a fast food sweet and sour sauce container.  At first this wasn’t a problem at all until it was finally time to mate the ketchup with the tower of French fries (or chips as they call them here); now there was a BIG problem. Unlike the traditional sweet and sour packages there was NOT a pull open tab to get to the ketchup, but instead there was ‘squirt open’ slit.  In order to ‘squrit open’ I had to apply a certain amount of force to the ketchup holder, this would build up pressure inside the holder, which would cause the ketchup to squirt out. I have never done this before, oops. How do they expect a rookie like me to know the correct amount of force to apply to such a intricate plastic box?? Anyways, at least my shorts didn’t mate with all of the ketchup, there was still a little lovin’ left for my fries. Jocelyn seemed to have no problem with her mustard.

 

After the anthems (on a side note NZ has one of the best anthems I have ever heard), it was time…the PA announcer let us know that we were about to witness “one of the best features in the history of sports, the New Zealand Haka.”  (There are certain things in sports that are considered GREAT to see live, for example walking into Fenway Park, being at a World Cup final, watching a team run a perfect two-minute drill in the Super Bowl to win, seeing a boxing fight at MSG, and so on (I could write a bunch more) and the Haka fits into this category.  It’s very commercialized now, so I’m not sure if it loses its intent to challenge their opponents to battle, but non the less it was still incredible to see. The game was also great! Australia was winning the whole game and NZ had a kick to tie with only 4 minutes left and it hit the upright; with two minutes to go the Kiwi’s took the ball 95 meters on a haymaker of a play to win the game and seal the victory!  We had a train to catch so we didn’t get to see the final celebration or trophy presentation, but I can imagine how devastated the Roo’s were after losing another championship to the Kiwis.

 

To make a long story short, the schoolies are here. Once each state graduates high school all the 18 year olds come up to the Gold Coast to celebrate and party. Not just a few hundred, there are 30,000! It starts today and is going to continue for the next three weeks.  So much for the relaxation of this place?!?! Every 2 minutes were either here a new person yelling, a horn beeping, a police car, or bottle breaking, good thing we are getting out of here on Wednesday!!!

 

I’m sure there is lots more to write about, but I just got tired again!

 

Cheers!

B&B

For new pictures please go to the following address

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2170720&id=29909214&l=0f82aacf42

Cricket

Now that the AFL season is over, it’s back to the cricket season here in Australia.  Although various forms of Ruby League and Rugby Union are still being played, cricket seems to have taken over the airwaves and people’s hearts.  The funny thing is, that the AFL was developed by the man who created Cricket.  It was a sport for cricketers to play on the off season.  Both sports play on the exactly same size and oval-shaped field.

I’m currently sitting and watching my first ever game of cricket and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The first thing that I can say is that cricket is a LONG game. The score is currently 240 to 2/36 This game has been on since 1:00; it’s now 6:15 and we are only in the bottom of the first inning (or at least what would be the equivalent of the first inning).  A lot of people compare this game to baseball, they do bat, bowl (pitch), and run; but, besides those three aspects, it is nothing like baseball. I’m actually finding this to be a great sport because of how different it is from baseball. I was a little worried because I thought it would be a bad variation of Americas Past Time, but really, they don’t even compare.

There are various game lengths of cricket and I’m currently watching a One Day 50-Over match between the Australian National Team and Sri Lanka.  I’m not a cricket expert, but here are some rules/variations of what I’m learning. What I’m watching, again, is a One Day match.  This means that the game must be decided in one day.  There are different length games ranging from one day matches all the way up to five day, or Test, matches.  The game I’m watching has been going on for so long that during the game (between sides batting) they took an hour break for dinner! Do you know of any other sport that would have a dinner break??  Everyone here is gearing up for the annual Ashes match between Australia and England where they play for an urn full of ashes. The match actually takes five days.  Hmm…

Now that I’ve explained the length or the game in days, now I will explain how the “innings” work. The length of innings is determined by the number of overs (the amount of time the ball is thrown multiplied by 6).  This match, which is 50-overs, is finished after each team throws (bowls) 300 playable balls (6x50).  Also, each team is allowed 10 outs (also can vary). So, the length is determined by which comes first, the maximum amount of overs or reaching the 10 out mark.  After that happens the teams switch sides and the team that was in the field is now up to bat.

Scoring is determined, not by running around the bases, but is determined by the amount of times a batter runs back and forth between the wickets.  A ball that rolls over the wall is 4 runs and a ball that goes over the wall on the fly (homerun) is 6 runs.

Outs are made by catching the ball on the fly, having the ball hit the wickets on the bowl, or having the ball hit the wickets before the runners reach the safe zone.

One of the strangest things that I have learned about cricket is where the “dugouts” (if you really want to call them dugouts) are.  The dugouts/team benches are not on the field like other sports, instead the players are sitting in first class quality boxes by the press boxes.  They have full leather chairs, wait service, and elevator access to the change rooms.  This comfort is simply because of how long the matches can last.  When a batter gets out, the next batter makes his way from the boxes, through the crowd, and on to the field.  Could you imagine A-Rod walking down through the bleaches in Fenway Park, on to the outfield, and across the warning track when it was his turn to bat? He would probably be stabbed. The full on respect and pride that fans and club members have is incredible.  Can you imagine your favorite sports star walking right by you sitting in the stands on his way to hitting a game winning home run? It’s really awesome.

Since I have been writing this, Australia has bowled some great overs and the game is speeding up a little bit… It’s now 7:15 and the score is Australia 240 (they are finished batting) and Sri Lanka 6/90. The 6 represents the number of outs and the 90 represents the number of runs. Currently they are on over 21.1.

Two updates in one day?? It’s been a while.

B&B

PS

Americain won the Melbourne up, if anyone was interested.

PSS

This cricket game is so long, that even the play by play commentators change! They have an hour on, then an hour off.


Hey! Nice hat! Did you cut the cheese?

Cheese. Cheese here is very interesting. Back home when I would go up to the deli counter and I would know exactly what type of cheese to order, Land O’ Lakes American. I usually would get the white, but sometimes I would get the orange. It all tasted the same. One of the challenges Jocelyn and I had was picking a cheese. Cheese is VERY expensive here, and of course, we went for the cheapest we could find. Now I know that there are various types of cheeses; American, Swiss, Cheddar and so on. The cheese we decided to pick is called Tasty Cheese. That’s it. The brand isn’t Tasty, the type of cheese is Tasty. “If it’s called Tasty it must be good,” was the thought that went through our minds. We don’t know what type Tasty is, we just know that it is great! Come to find out, a little later on, you can buy different brands of Tasty cheese. Here, Tasty is just a type of cheese just like Swiss. What is in Tasty cheese? How is it made? Why is it called Tasty and not something like “Australian Cheese?” I’m sure that we will never know. Maybe I will look on wikipedia. Also, one of the most popular brands of cheese is COON.

It’s been a while here since one of us has written.  It’s really great to be getting all of your feedback and demand for more of these blogs, so here it goes!

The tallest residential building in the Southern Hemisphere is about 2 blocks away. It’s called the Q1.  On the top floor of the Q1 is an observation deck. About a week ago Jocelyn and I made the trek over to ride up to the observation deck. We paid twenty dollars each for the one trip up (come to find out later an unlimited pass for a year is only $30). When we got to the top we could see for miles and miles, all the way north to Brisbane and all the way south to Byron Bay.  Nana if you read this, I just want to say thank you. I’m impressing Jocelyn so much with all the Claw Machine skills that you taught me over the years at the Boardwalk Arcade in Wells. On top of the Q1, I won Jocelyn a little stuffed Koala that she named Kiki Jr (after her dog) in a Claw Machine.  Then, we actually ran into one of my work mates named Gary and his friend Chef. To make a long story short, we all ended up going to an Italian restaurant called Al’Fresco, meeting and Australian baseball player and his pregnant wife, looked at the owners family photos, and got free shots of Sambuca (the waiter took the pregnant woman’s shot). Oh Australia…

We have been working a ton, that’s why we haven’t been updating this blog much. Last Thursday, we both had the day off and walked down to Pacific Fair.  We walked around the mall, both inside and outside, and then we went to see a movie! We saw The Town and it was all about Boston and Charlestown.  It was a really good movie and really reminded me of home. WARNING SPOILER ALERT. There is one thing that I didn’t find believable about the movie, it’s when they decided to rob Fenway Park. The whole movie at least one character had a Sox hat on and another either a Celtics or Bruins hat. There is no true Bostonian that would try to hurt the most beloved building in Boston, Fenway Park, or the most beloved team around the World, the Red Sox.

Halloween just doesn’t exist here. I mean, there are a few bars that were advertising Halloween costume parties, but nothing like it is back home. Last night, when I walked to pick Jocelyn up from work I only saw three people on the street dressed up. It would be the equivalent of walking through Faniuel (spelling?) Hall on Halloween and only seeing three people dressed up at 9:15 at night. It has started to become a little more popular over the years, but nothing like home.

People here are more excited about dressing up for the Melbourne Cup Tomorrow.  It’s the biggest horse race in the country and EVERYTHING shuts down. I believe they called it “The Race that Stops the Nation.”  It’s kind of like the Kentucky Derby but only on a much larger scale. The fashion idea is the same, only to a much bigger extreme.  Not only do the people that attend the race dress up, but even people who are just watching it on TV or at a bar dress up. A few people at work told me they will be wearing their big puffy hats just to sit at a bar.  Apparently, that’s what everyone does. They won’t dress up fun for Halloween, but they will dress “sophisticated” in tall hats and big suits for a horse race? I don’t get it.

Ok more to come soon!

B&B


Quick Update

Hey there!! Its Jocelyn with a quick photo update. Juts click the link below to check out some new pictures. We both had the weekend off so we went and did a few things, including going to the movies to see “The Town” which was AMAZING and made us miss home a bit. Who knew seeing robberies would make someone miss home? Anyways, Al will blog soon about our upcoing adventures and such. Hope you enjoy the pictures for now! 

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2170720&id=29909214&l=0f82aacf42

Love 

B & B



Quick update. The last few days have been weird. Jocelyn and I both started our job, but we have worked complete opposite hours! It totally stinks! Right now it’s about 7pm and I’m writing this while watching a movie alone on the couch. The good thing though is that we are going to make some money!! We already have a few more trips planned (or one last big trip planned) before we come home! We did the math and we should be able to get to (with the help of some frequent flyer miles and Mr. Doyle’s Marriott points, thanks Mr. Doyle!) Sydney, then New Zealand, then Cairns! It definitely will be a great way to end one of the best trips of our lives!!

B&B

Also, thanks to The Giant Pumpkin for sending us Halloween Candy!!