Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Year to all my friends and family in all hemispheres!

The Update:

* Worked in the kitchen last night, cooking at the Melbourne Museum. Could have been worse, I suppose

* Still coughing. Thinking of going to the doctor

* Having a bit of a homesick day

* It's a lovely, sunny, hot day in Melbourne

* Thought of Raye this morning and how she inspires me. I'm going to go out and do something that brings a little measure of joy to my life. Something silly and nice. Because that's what she would do. She just has a way of making everything special

* I'm going to call my sister because she's alone and sad on New Years Eve

* New Year's Resolution (life resolution): live life with passion!

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

I should know well enough to keep my mouth shut and my fingers quiet. David does not understand Canadian sarcasm and is now at home majiking me a computer.


I slept a little better last night (more than three hours anyway - maybe even five hours!) but am still coughing and the cough syrup recommended by the chemist did nothing. Dammit.

~ Cough Cough Cough ~

Tonight is New Years Eve and I'm working at the Melbourne Museum, catering.

I'm hoping I get paid well for this. I'm also hoping it doesn't suck ass. I have no patience for a crappy assignment tonight.

Yes, I'm a baby and I'm grumpy.

On the YAY-side of life, yesterday was 35-40 degrees and right now it's 23. And I'm wearing my new pretty shirt, although there is no one here to appreciate it. And I finished The Little Prince and it was the cutest and made me think and I love that. Thanks Raye!

Monday, December 29, 2003

So why did I have to get SARS? OK, maybe Tony's not right, maybe I have bronchitis or something instead. I don't know what it is. But it means that I'm getting only three hours of sleep every night.


Just cannot stop coughing.

Well, at least it's stopping me from going out drinking. But it's also preventing me from going to yoga. Man, I feel like a lazy ass!

On top of that, have been eating yummy marble cheesecake that David bought. YUM! And have not been working catering or doing much of anything except coughing. So my back and head hurt. Sigh.

Enough complaining.

But that's part of the reason that I've been so delinquent with updating my site. Well, that and the fact that David keeps promising me a computer and not delivering....

Sunday, December 28, 2003

My four days of Christmas holiday were fantastic!

Watched Return of the King twice. And it was good but had a little too much homo-erotica for my taste.

Listened to my Sarah McLachlan CD too much. Ate too much cheesecake and strawberry sandwiches.

Shopped at the Myer stocktake sale and bought myself a new cute outfit, restraining myself from buying more shoes. Went window shopping on Brunswick St (Melbourne's equivalent of Queen West in Toronto). Restrained myself from buying so much...

Got very little sleep due to an annoying cough that refuses to go away. Last night, I managed to get three hours of sleep. David keeps telling me I should go to the doctor but I don't want to be a baby. We'll see...

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas to North America, happy Boxing Day to my side of the world!

I had such a good day yesterday.

I spent a leisurely morning painting my toenails, cooking my famous pizza, doing email, talking to friends/family on the phone and figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my day and my remaining time here in Victoria.

Then David showed up at 3pm and we took off for the beaches of Port Melbourne. We stopped for ice cream and made a big mess as it melted too quickly in the wind and 27-degree weather and got it all over my hands, legs, face, hair.

We took off our shoes and started walking. And walking. And walking. And we walked all the way to St. Kilda (kind of like Toronto's Beaches area) in our bare feet. I even managed to give David my Christmas present: a little vignette that I'd written for him and a voucher for a signed copy of my first book.

We stopped at one of St. Kilda's famous cake shops and got stawberry tarts, a moroccan chocolate slice (dark rich ganache-like chocolate with hazelnuts) and coffee. Mmmmm.

Then we walked back, talking, talking, talking. Watching the kiteboarders fly through the waves and the air. Watched the sun set as the temperature dipped.

Topped off the night with a viewing of Love Actually, which was an excellent Christmas feel-good movie. Coughed through the whole thing, sadly, as I have some sort of virus.

But what a day! What a lovely Aussie Christmas!

And then I found out that everyone loved my Aussie presents at home. YAY! An Aussie outback hat for my dad, an opal necklace for my mom, a journal made from an Aussie licence plate, Australis South Bank lipgloss and Wallabies keychain for my sister, and for my brothers, all Wallabies paraphenalia including jacket, golf shirt and rugby ball.

Heard all about the antics around the Christmas tree this year... Matt told Will that he'd already bought the golf clubs that he KNEW Will had bought him (lying, of course). Mom forgot to give Jen the lipgloss until I called to tell her about it, Dad sort of seeing his snowblower out in the barn when he was out hiding Mom's present for the big treasure-hunt. Dad not recognizing last year's puzzle that Mom had re-wrapped up for him. Mom hiding money in a packet of Depends undergarments for Will.

Such a Bogaart Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas!

Just got a call from my family. They're just home from evening mass and about to decorate the tree and drinking eggnog.

You know, you just can't find a decent eggnog here!

Opened my presents at 4am when David came to pick up Karen to take her to the airport. I got 2 "Canadian Girls Kick Ass" shirts from my mom and my sister. Great minds think alike. And my sister made me a lovely necklace.

My brother sent me a lovely card with photos... spoke to him today and he told me of his attempt to get me the sweetest Christmas present ever. He was going to get me tickets to an outdoor production of the Nutcracker here but their website was down for days. So he emailed the people requesting tickets and even giving him credit card information. They responded rudely, telling him to use the site (which of course was still broken) and that I wouldn't be able to pick them up anyway without his credit card. So he abandoned the effort in disgust. Still, just the thought of it makes my heart swell.

My friend Raye sent me a beautiful necklace that she made and a copy of Le Petit Prince with a lovely inscription. She is so thoughtful!

David even showed up with the perfect gifts: a box of chocolates that actually taste like proper chocolates, a Star Trek calendar complete with nerdy ST trivia and the latest Sarah McLachlan CD, Afterglow. Listening to it now, over and over and loving it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Happy Christmas Eve!

Went to Karen's house last night. She was packing as she's leaving tomorrow morning for the Gold Coast.

She was throwing out all her unneeded accumulated clothes, so I picked up some "new" clothes!

Then we watched Pirates of the Caribbean which was a riot! Johnny Depp was fantastic and my boyfriend, Orlando, had bad hair, so was not his otherwise hot-self. I think I like him better as an elf. Elves are just so friggin cool...

Tonight I'm going to Carols by Candlelight. I hope it gets me in the Christmas mood!

Sadly, I'm getting sick. Coughing my head off and can't hear about of my left ear. Great. Why do I have to catch every single Australian virus that flies through the air??

Scott left for Brisbane this morning. David drove him to the airport at, like, 4am. I can't believe David is so nice. It's painful; he breaks my heart with it.

But now I have the place to myself for 10 days. I'm sure I'll find some good use for that! Tomorrow I get to open my presents! Yay!

Monday, December 22, 2003

You should read someone's point of view on me and life here in Melbourne. Check out David's site. Apparently, I'm an inspiration. Yay.

~sniffs away emotional tears~
Fighting the sad feeling.

I should be happy: I got a package from my mom and Jen and a lovely card with photos from Will. And there's another package on its way to me today!

So what's wrong?

It's the thought of Christmas around the corner and my family around the other side of the world.

I'm fighting it though. Must figure out a way not to care.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Words of wisdom:
Never argue with a stupid person.
First they'll bring you down to their level,
Then they'll beat you with experience.
I have a digital camera!!

A Kodak LS443.

Started taking photos with it yesterday. Have yet to see what they look like on anything but my camera display screen. Can't wait can't wait can't wait. Might need a decent computer first, though....

Think I should have taken a photo of the candy-making demonstration at Suga yesterday. Outstanding!

Friday, December 19, 2003

Just got back from a failed attempt to go to my beginner's yoga class. I haven't been in weeks, since I hurt my back. And I forgot that it starts at 10am, not 10:30am.

I suck.

So instead I went shopping at the Queen Victoria markets. Bought all the fixin's for a Cathy's Special Pizza. Can't wait!

Now I'm going to Chinatown and digital camera shopping. Um, AFTER I do my Pilates tape.... [ahem]. yes.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Went to the Queen Victoria Gaslight Markets again last night. It was so great. I wanted to buy everything, but only bought some caramel rooibus tea instead.

And ate the yummiest strawberry-and-cream-pancakes. YUM!

Then went for a lovely walk along the Yarra river. Where rat-like birds stalked me. EW.


Now it's raining and I'm off to cater at the Melbourne Museum. But I have a headache and am not interested in going. Sigh.

But I have cute pigtails today, so maybe that makes up for everything?

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

This morning, a couple on a moped handed me 2 chocolates and said "Merry Christmas".

Yummy Baci.

What a lovely morning surprise.

Then they sped away to spread joy throughout Melbourne...
Frustrated at the moment.

a) Scott's computer sucks ass.

b) I have to work in 45 minutes and it's a beautiful day: 40 degrees celcius. Lovely. But I have to cater at the National Gallery instead. Boo!

c) Stupid-ass GoWebServer's messing with my email access.

d) Hotmail sucks ass MORE than GoWebServer and deactivated my account. No kidding I didn't check it in 30 days. Maybe if they didn't send so much junk mail I might actually open it once in a while... Now I've lost all the contact info and keepsake emails I stored there... I hate them.

Going to hit someone. Perhaps the computer. It's too stupid to exist.

Monday, December 15, 2003

My friend Jaap is on his way to Sydney now. Sad.

But the highlight of my evening last night was singing the theme for Golden Girls with Alex over the phone.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Where to start?

After work, went to cater in Toorak, a rich suburb of Melbourne. Catered an affair for the Liberal Party. Got an offer to go horse-back riding with one of the 40-year-old big wigs. And then he got a little drunk and was hitting on me. Creepy. So I guess I won't go horse-back riding...

Took the train 2 hours to Frankston for. Lovely little town on the water. Met a guy from Toronto at the bus stop. Curious coincidence. Had a lovely chat with the cab driver, since I'd just missed the last bus to Mount Eliza.

I catered the end-of-training-camp BBQ for the Hawthorne Hawks at the holiday home of the Hawthorne club President. Gorgeous home.

Then out dancing for the night at some crappy club.

David, Jaap and I went on a trip to the Yarra Valley, Victoria's premiere wine-producing region. Went tasting at some small and large wineries. Bought a lovely bottle of Punt Road Shiraz. Had a bit of a nap at Yering Farm. Checked out the art gallery and wines at Yering Station, Victoria's first winery.

Finally, Jaap and I went to the Rod Laver Arena for the Train/LIVE concert. Fantastic. Just outstanding. Although I think that I liked Train better than LIVE. However, it IS the second time that I've seen LIVE in concert....

What a great weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Last night I went with Scott and Karen and Anne and her friend Jonathan to the Gaslight Night Market which was very cool.

We were supposed to go out to a jazz club afterwards, but Anne and Jonathan backed out. I was happy enough to be in bed by midnight anyway.

Let me tell you, working at 7:45am is not my idea of fun.

I'm tired tired tired. So I'm NOT going to swing dancing class tonight. But I AM going to pig out at Pizza Hut and then flake out on the couch for the evening. I'm so exciting I can't STAND it!

However, I am planning a big night out this Saturday, after working my butt off all day, catering. My big chance to get my groove-on...


  • It is about 25-30 degrees in Melbourne pretty much every day now.

  • There are decorations everywhere: christmas trees, tinsel, Myers has their Grinch Christmas window up and people are lined up out front to watch the magic. My team at work has decorated with particular gusto, which makes me a little nostalgic for the cheap, tacky decorations at home during the holidays.

  • The cutest Christmas site was sent to me by Sarah: Happy Tree Friends

  • Finally sent off my first Christmas package... as IF it's going to get there on time. I suck.
  • Wednesday, December 10, 2003

    So I'm back to being a superstar today. Feeling all smart about the job; remember what it's like to actually use my brain and problem-solve. Karen is not so happy, though. I feel bad and wish there was something I could do...

    And then I realized that I had missed out on 2 whole rolls of film when I took it all in for developing. So, tomorrow I'll take in my film from the east coast, including my scuba diving, sailing and trip to the Atherton Tablelands. Oh what fun!

    Until then, enjoy the ones from Cape Trib/Port Douglas and the Northern Territory (Darwin and Uluru, etc) as they're only up for a month!

    Now, off to yoga!

    Tuesday, December 09, 2003

    Better day today!

    Doing a new job at work is a little bit more interesting... processing emailed mastercard requests. I actually got to suggest some improvements to the process, which made me feel like a smarty pants.

    And, you know me, I'm always happy to be a smarty pants.

    But I'm still putting out my resume since I'm not too certain about my job at the moment.

    And then Theresa and Alex tell me that the Uptown Theatre in Toronto collapsed! Shocking! I used to go see movies there with Dave all the time. I could have been one of the students trapped in there, if not for the fact that I'm all the way over here in Australia and Dave's in Japan...

    OK, so maybe not such a close brush with destruction...


    Now I haven't had a real chance to sort these all out with captions and making an "album" and all that. REmember, I'm not allowed to use the Internet at work anymore! So I'm off to a play-reading with my friend Anne now and I'll try to fix it up later...


    Monday, December 08, 2003

    Today was a crap day.

    First of all, it was Monday morning after a lovely weekend.
    Strike One.

    Then, I found out my friend Karen is leaving before Christmas.
    Strike Two.

    Finally, my job became hell on earth.
    Strike Three.

    Karen and I had been asked to move our desks Monday morning because they were going to be moving around some teams and some other people were supposed to sit in our spots. CRAP.

    What that really meant was that they wanted us to move to a spot where someone could watch our every move, our very cursor dart across the page!

    When our friend Seph came down to say good morning, some woman we've never been introduced to swoops down on us.

    "Since you obviously don't have enough to do..." WHOMPH! Drops a stack of papers on our desks.

    Right. And I was on my BREAK.
    Blood pressure check: elevated.

    Then Karen is instant-messaging David, asking him to get her some food from the cafeteria so she doesn't get in trouble for leaving her desk.

    Some guy we've never been introduced to suddenly appears over her shoulder, informing her that she is in breach of company policy by using the messenger for non-work-related purposes!

    Blood pressure check: I'm giving my self a headache I'm so mad.

    So we've clearly been told : no talking to anyone, no instant messaging (or non-work-related emails or blogging of course) and on Friday we were also flogged for our slackness in logging into our telephones. I was asked pointedly if I really got in at 8am, as my phone login was at 8:17am. My God. I forgot to login. Kill me.

    No, seriously, kill me now. I cannot stand being treated like a child. I am diligent and good at what I'm doing. If there is a problem with my work, then TELL me. But otherwise, don't make me feel guilty if I decide I'd like to write an email on my lunch half-hour. I feel insulted by this. Haven't they ever read the Cluetrain Manifesto?

    I need to find a new job.

    Sunday, December 07, 2003

    Just back from yabbying in Shepparton with Stuart (whom I met at the Melbourne Cup). I finally made it out to the country (about two hours outside Melbourne) to take Stuart up on his offer to take me out yabbying. And it was so worth it!

    Stuart picked me up from the station and I dropped off my stuff at his beautiful place before we went out to do some wine tasting in the Goulbourn Valley. We went to Mitchelton and Tahbilk where I tasted close to every wine possible, including some new variaties that I'd never tried before: Roussanne and Marsanne. Not a big fan; but did like the Tahbilk '98 Chardonnay. Stuart bought a Mitchelton red and we went back to his place to get our bathers and head out to his coworker's pool party.

    I met a couple other people that I'd met at the Melbourne Cup in the WestPac marquee and a bunch of new people as well.

    We ate and drank and talked and got into the spa later that night and had an interesting run-in with a vodka-marinated watermellon IN the spa... then they started trying to throw people in the pool, had some food fights, drinking games (ever heard of the "ibble dibble" drinking game?) and then it was time to go home. I was disappointingly tired.

    This morning, Stuart made me a champion's breakfast of superbly poached eggs and bacon. And then we went yabbying. I learned much about catching them and have proud photos to put up later. I also learned a surprising lot about agriculture in general. And then Stuart cooked up the little crustaceans and taught me how to peel and eat them and I am forever in his debt for introducing me to them, as they are the tastiest treat I've had in a LONG time!

    Great, just what I needed: a new food to love.
    Big cheers to Stuart for his amazing hospitality!

    Thursday, December 04, 2003

    I am a drunkass.

    Hung over again.

    Went to the Geoffrey Nathan Christmas party last night, complete with free drink card and way too little food.

    Was drunk before I got to the comedy club. Apologized to everyone for being drunk. Had a fantastic time at the club, when I could understand the fast-talking Aussie accent.

    Then Scott invited Jaap back to the apartment for more drinks and then David came to pick up his playstation and DVD (~sobs~).

    It was a late (drunken) night and an early (still drunken, I think) morning.

    I suck.

    Wednesday, December 03, 2003

    Bless David:

    You are amazing, really, just the way your mind spills onto the screen… I dislike envy but it’s hard to ignore, you are a strong and focused soul, I wish I could see the World as you do because I’d be a better person for it. I’ve laughed, I’ve felt so strongly moved and even dropped to the hollows of longing, but above all I’ve felt compelled to continue reading. You indeed have a powerful gift; I only wish I had a fraction of it to better convey how I feel.

    All this despite a stupid coding error in my journal...
    Feeling really proud and a little embarassed right now.

    Tuesday, December 02, 2003

    New fave band: The Doves.

    There Goes the Fear
    Caught By The River

    Yay for Capitol Records. Let's also thank them for bringing me the Dandy Warhols, shall we?

    Monday, December 01, 2003

    My mom has been asked to answer this question by a Life Coach:

    "What do you want over the next six months to one year that you think will bring you more joy and fulfillment in your life?"

    Tough question. It's something that I'm trying to answer as well.

    Anyone out there have answers? Share them with me.
    Finished John Steinbeck's Cannery Row on the tram this morning.

    Even now
    I know that I have savoured the hot taste of life
    Lifting green cups and gold at the great feast.
    Just for a small and a forgotten time
    I have had full in my eyes from off my girl
    The whitest pouring of eternal light...

    Black Marigolds, translated from the Sanskrit by E. Powys Mathers.
    Well, Scott's voice is finally back to normal. Unfortunately, because it was an endless source of hilarity for me. However, I'm sure he's happy not to sound like a duck anymore.

    He made dinner last night out of all of the scallops that we shucked. It was very nice of him to make dinner.

    Then we watched LoTR: TTT with all the new scenes, which was very exciting. Although I wish I could see it on a bigger screen. Beggers cannot be choosers, I suppose. Tonight I'm watching the appendices with david who suggested that I should have more flashy bits on my site.

    Saturday, November 29, 2003

    Went scallop diving yesterday around Sorrento/Portsea on the Mornington Penninsula.

    Scott and I brought home two shopping bags full of scallops. We thought this was great until we realized that now we have to shuck them all.

    We shucked one bag full last night. Messy, fish-smelly work.
    The rest were left in the sink with a bag of ice.

    Now Scott's gone to the hospital and left me with the second bag. I think he messed up his throat on purpose!

    Yesterday on the dive, something went wrong with Scott's throat. Although it was funny 'cause he sounded like he was on helium, it got progressively more painful. This morning, I looked it up on the Internet and found that it's very possible he has subcutaneous emphysema.

    On the bright side, we're supposed to have a scallop dinner party tonight followed by a viewing of David's LoTR: TTT extended version DVD. Sooooo excited!

    Can't believe I have to wait almost a whole other MONTH to see RoTK!

    Also, got a postcard from my awesome brother, I.W. and my first Christmas card/gift from my mom!

    Thursday, November 27, 2003

    Went to the ScienceWorks Museum today with a bunch of underprivileged kids. It was awesome!

    Totally loved the wall climbing bit and the reaction time game.

    Now I'm off to do catering at Rippon Lea. Last night I catered a Nissan event at the Melbourne Museum. Had a wonderful time! Talked to many of the guests and had many offers for me to visit people in various parts of the country. It was GREAT!

    Two men actually kissed my hand and thanked me for a lovely evening! I'm a star!

    Tuesday, November 25, 2003

    Today is the last day for 13 of my coworkers.

    They're plotting how to stuff up the system. Several interesting plans in the works...

    shredding faxes, putting smileys in all the system notes just to piss everyone off, phoning the talking clock in Hong Kong and leaving it there all day, inviting everyone to a company-wide Sametime slag-off, filling the yellow wagon with computers, three-hour lunches, telling the customer service monkeys who call with stupid questions cos they didnt read the notes what we really think...


    *Ring Ring*

    "Hi, this is Bob from Customer Care"
    "F!@K YOU"



    I'm really going to miss 'em.
    And David is sulking.

    ~pouts in his general direction~
    It appears that I still have a job. WHEW!

    I was one of two working holidayers to keep my job.

    Although I'm changing departments (Account Support instead of Verify), I probably won't be able to sit next to my new best friend David.


    And mostly everyone else on the team is gone.

    ~more pouting~

    Monday, November 24, 2003

    I think I'm going to be fired at 4:30pm this afternoon.

    Have just been called into a mandatory meeting and the word is that I'll be fired as of Friday, along with all the other travellers on my team.

    I'm really, really sad and feeling very sick about this.

    So I'm spending the afternoon applying for jobs on

    Sunday, November 23, 2003

    So Sarah has a new album and I didn't even know until today!

    Go figure that they're not playing it here yet.

    Having my first listen of "Fallen" right now. Liking it. Of course.

    Can't wait to get home and buy it.
    Christmas is definately on the way!

    Last night, after work, I wandered over to Southbank, to walk around the casino and shops and in the hotel lobby, there was a giant choir singing Christmas carols on the steps.

    Then there was this big sound/light show with all these massive moving decorations.

    First the big New Years clock jingled its bells and the mini Santa drove his sleigh around the clock face. Then the fairy dropped from the ceiling and waved her wand to start the carousel. Then the giant snowmen started moving and an elaborate golden egg popped open to show a tiny rotating city snow scene and another to show a workshop. Then a big monkey pulled the power cord and all his mates dropped from the ceiling, playing their drums and cymbals, making a racket and rolling their eyes (quite scary really).

    Finally, Santa popped out of the top of the carousel and HoHoHo'd and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

    Crazy. Then more choir singing.

    And I went home to watch The Grinch on TV. Sigh. I love Christmas!
    My friend Evelyn just had a baby!

    He was born Friday night at 11:30 PM, at home after a rather long labour, but quick delivery. He weighed 8lb, 14oz, was 54 cm tall.

    His name is Jude Sybrand te Nyenhuis Buckridan, named after his great-Opa. That's quite an impressive name for such a small human being.

    Saturday, November 22, 2003

    Well, as you may know, England won the Rugby World Cup.

    I was at a party full of very happy POMs. Very happy, very drunk POMs.

    Who wanted me to be very drunk.

    So, I'm weak, what can I say?

    And now I'm here at work on a Sunday morning, a wee bit hung over. But the up-side is that we got MacDonald's for breakfast. Mmm yummy greasy Mackers. And I get to listen to Radiohead and the Dandy Warhols at Capitol Records.

    You can check out photos of me at the game here and here... and oh ya, here too.

    Thursday, November 20, 2003

    I have discovered the right amount of alcohol I can drink without being too hung over the next day to function.

    Went out to FrostBites last night for a colleague's going away party. Bought an expensive pizza for dinner, but got free drinks all night.

    Had the presence of mind to get David to drive me home just after 11pm so I got to bed at a decent time. (David is far too nice to me.)

    Scott, on the other hand, rocked in at 4:30am and was surprised that I was there at all ("aren't you supposed to be out drinking all night?") and then ate my pizza that I was going to eat for lunch today. Grr.

    He has a new "rental" condition: I have to ensure he gets to work on time after a big night out.

    Wednesday, November 19, 2003

    I bought SHOES!!!

    I'm in love with them. Waited for a big Myer sale and dove into the meleé with the hordes of shoe-crazed harpies.

    Came out alive with a cute pair of strappy-yet-comfy black leather sale shoes! My toes are wiggling in excitement!


    It was a magic night at Federation Square last night, with the airing of the final Australian Idol.

    I sat down on the ground with Anne and the rest of the cheering Guy Sebastian fans. Of course, Guy won.

    It was a great moment when we all jumped up and cheered en masse with the announcement of the winner.

    Sadly, I'll admit that I already know his song "Angels Brought Me Here". Well, there are worse things that I could do...

    Tuesday, November 18, 2003

    Well, had another look into my web logs.

    Checked my referrers.

    Someone ACTUALLY searched for "friendship is like pissing your pants" and found my site.

    Of course, someone also searched for "hot naked women" and found my site.

    I suppose if I didn't want that to happen, I would stop writing "hot naked women" on my site, now, wouldn't I?

    Monday, November 17, 2003

    Another day, another yoga class.

    I am definately making progress now. It's about time! I think part of it has to do with my new ability to accept that I can only go as far as I can go and I'm not out to hurt myself anymore.

    I'm one step closer to the splits and the headstand. Crazy.

    Also managed to make it to Pilates last night where I re-learned how to breathe. Who knew it was so much work?

    Sunday, November 16, 2003

    Finally got to update my site a little. Put up some new photos of my trip up the east coast. Now I just need to get some more film put on CD so that I can update some more.

    I've also put up some of my journals from way back in September.

    It was a tough decision between going to the art gallery and updating my site, but I got a message from Andy who was in withdrawal and needed some new photos. So there, it's all Andy's fault. He is also very cutely worried about me. It's nice to have people care that much to worry.

    Also, in rugby news, the All Blacks lost last night to the Wallabys. Aussies were very happy. My Kiwi friends were... well, I might hear from them again when they've finished crying.

    Saturday, November 15, 2003

    Went to karaoke last night. Sang "Can't Hurry Love". Wow, am I a fantastic singer (that is a lie).

    This morning, I had a lovely conversation with my parents at home. Talked for a good hour and, wow, did I ever need it.

    Then I went for yum cha with Louise and Mike (friends of Theresa). It was so nice; they're great people and the food was soooo good!

    Went shopping on Bridge Road, at all the factory outlet shops. Was looking for shoes, but didn't find any that fit (style, size and financially). Did manage to buy some new things at the Witchery outlet. I love Witchery. Don't think we have it at home.

    Tonight I'm off to a friend's place for a small get together. Then tomorrow is another yoga morning. Yay Yoga!

    Wednesday, November 12, 2003

    Went out to Dandenong Myer yesterday. Was supposed to be working but it was boring so I shoe-shopped. Didn't buy anything though, since I am poor.

    Went to yoga and think that I finally might be making progress.

    I think I need a bed to sleep in so that my back stops hurting...

    Tuesday, November 11, 2003

    Saw The Matrix Revolutions last night.


    I think someone got mixed up and played Star Wars instead.

    Here's a hint: more story, less testosterone-charged screaming from your APV as you shoot sentinels.

    Infinitely less slick and cool than the first and second movie.

    Now I just have to wait for LoTR: RoTK. I'd better not be disappointed. I might pee my pants in anticipation.

    Monday, November 10, 2003

    So I can't figure out why I'm not any better at yoga yet.

    I've been going 2-3 times a week (OK, well, when I was sick I only went once). And I still find it difficult.

    It takes a lot of motivation to go because I know it's going to hard, sweaty work. But at least I'm not so sore afterwards. That's a step in the right direction.

    Of course, I could practice more on my own. But I know I'm a pansy and won't push myself.

    Still, I need to practice more often so that I can become the serene, balanced, tightly muscled woman that I'm striving to be.

    Sunday, November 09, 2003

    Worked a lovely wedding on Friday night. But was very, very tired by 12:30 when I finally got to go home.

    Was very, very happy to get home and relax with my Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix before bed.

    Saturday I went to yoga and grocery shopping with Scott. We attempted to steal the cart to get our grocerieis home, but the wheels locked up so we were spared becoming criminals and took a taxi home instead.

    I made a lovely salmon and rice pilaf dinner before we went out to the Fiddlers pub meet my Irish friends who were in town for the rugby.

    Scott and I danced like idiots... mostly scott, though. He again invited everyone home with us... why does he always do that? It makes people all suspicious of our intentions.

    But it was very tame as I served some munchies and then promptly fell asleep on the couch (AKA: my bed).

    Sunday we went to the Victoria Markets to buy all our veggies for the week. I also FINALLY got around to buying a purse! My purse has been broken since I was staying in Nerang on the Gold Coast.

    I'm sure I paid too much for the purse, considering that I'm a traveller, but I did get a bargain. Sadly, it's turned out to be a little small, but maybe it'll force me to carry around less crap.

    There. I'm sure everyone wanted to know about my new purse.

    Then we watched lots of TV and I made scallops and pasta in a peppercorn cream sauce that was interesting. Not my best work.

    Restful weekend. Just what I needed.

    Thursday, November 06, 2003

    OK. I'm better now.

    I am about to cry.
    Australians have been very mean/rude to me today.

    I'm sure it was because it's over the phone and they can't see my friendly smile.

    And the tearing-up might have something to do with lack of sleep, a headache and the thought of having to work until midnight tonight carrying heavy platters again.

    Can you hear that?
    It's the smallest violin in the world and it's playing a sympathy march just for me.
    David (work neighbour) says that there are those who would literally worship me because:
    a) I'm a girl
    b) I like Star Trek and LoTR
    c) I'm a Web-nerd and
    d) I'm excited about watching Matrix Revolutions

    (Incidentally, his verdict: they diverted too much from the sci-fi aspect - which made it unique - and focussed too much on the action. Plus, he SMS'd me that wants me to hurry up and watch it so I can explain parts of it to him.)

    Have spent the morning reading ridiculously nerdy emails from my sister and brothers and laughing out loud, missing them madly. Thank god for email.

    I am thoroughly jealous that they are all going to meet my sister in Calgary to go snowboarding, hiking and x-country skiing in February, when I will still be here.

    I console myself that at least I will be sunning myself possibly in Perth while they are inevitably causing much injury and possibly dying from exposure.

    Tuesday, November 04, 2003

    Melbourne Cup.

    Well, what can I say? It was very interesting. A big drunk fest, really. But the weather was beautiful. And I got a $20-tip.

    I cannot believe how many drunken men wanted me to go out drinking with them! I ended up not going out with any of them, and ended up at Scott's neighbour's post-Cup party drinking wine.

    Of course, it only takes 2-3 glasses to get me drunk, so that was accomplished quite quickly.

    Got a call from my German friend, Andrea, who's leaving Australia today. It's sad that I won't see her again in Australia, but I'm sure we will see each other again either in Canada or Germany.

    Scott and I decided that it would be a good idea to go out to Brunswick West to pick up my things and move me "home". Turns out it wasn't as much fun as that sounds (ahem - yes, I know it doesn't sound fun).

    But we did have an interesting conversation discussing how I care too much about what others think of me. I wish I didn't. And we discussed my being too fat for him and his being too skinny for my taste. Well, at least we've established how unattracted we are to each other.;)
    I'm back in the city after a short try at life in the suburbs of Brunswick West.

    Conclusion: living conditions are better, but it sucks when you're trying to get home after midnight.

    Sunday, November 02, 2003

    My sister just took possession of her house in Calgary. The first of us "kids" to actually OWN a house.

    And soon she's on her way to Brazil to play soccer.

    I'm so jealous.
    Sunday I had a lovely time with Wynsomme, Juris and Nik.

    Went on a steamboat cruise of the Yarra River. Then to St. Kilda to have a peek at the markets there. Had a cuppa in a cafe nearby. Back to the city to look at photos and then go for dinner. Really lovely day (aside from the weather).

    Thanks to Nik for today's quote:

    "Friendship is like pissing your pants: everyone can see it, but only you know its true warmth.

    He added: "Thanks for being the piss in my pants."

    Saturday, November 01, 2003

    It seems that every time I post, I have the equivalent of a novel to write about. Believe me, I really AM trying to keep it short...

    Friday night was interesting.

    Went out after work with workmates to our local pub, as usual. Even managed to get my neighbour, David, to come too (who also chivalrously lent me his umbrella for the weekend).

    One by one, they all dwindled away until it was just the die-hards: me, Seph and Tom (all having an all-too-interesting chat about cookies, I might add).

    Since it was Seph's birthday, we moved on to his venue of choice: some pub in St. Kilda. It was packed in there, but we met some of his friends and I drank MORE red wine (which I have discovered I CAN drink, afterall) and of course spilled much of it down the front of my white shirt.

    More allusions to cookies.

    I finally realized it was time to go home at midnight but all the trams would have stopped before I could get all the way home to Brunswick West. Seph gallantly paid for a cab ride home for me and decided that he needed to escort me to safety... I don't think he realized just how far it was in the suburbs. Poor dear. I explained it to him several times. He just kept asking me : "Where are we?"

    Unfortunately, I woke up Saturday morning with a bit of a hangover and dissatisfied with my quantity of sleep.

    But I was off to work at Flemington, where all the horse racing for the Melbourne Cup Carnival is happening.

    I spent 45 minutes just looking for my work venue. What a huge place! And Peter Rowland caters so many areas of it: from Tooheys beer tents for the masses to champagne-and-strawberries for the well-heeled. I happened to be in the "Bird Cage" with all the corporate functions and beautiful people.

    I'm pretty sure I saw many famous people, only I had no idea who they were.

    I served much alcohol and even more yummy food to ladies in pretty dresses and ridiculous hats and men in suits from 9:30-6:30pm when the heavens finally opened up on us and they decided I could leave... It just means that I was thankful for the aforementioned umbrella.

    On the way home, Scott rang my mobile and got me to turn around and come back into the city so we could go out for dinner in St. Kilda with his guests Kai and Nicole.

    We ended up at a fantastic nouveau-Mexican restaurant, Bluecorn, and I had a lovely prawn/roasted corn fajita with mango chutney. Ohmygosh, so good!

    But by this time, it was midnight and again all trams had stopped running to Brunswick West, so I stayed at Scott's place.

    But not before stopping off at the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex. What a cool place! Now I know where I can go shopping almost 24-hours a day, not to mention play video games, eat, watch movies, dance and gamble.

    Today I'm meeting up with Wynsomme and Juris (whom I stayed with for a week on the Gold Coast in August) and their son Nik. They're in town for the Melbourne Cup and I'm so excited to see them again!

    Even though it is raining yet again today... but one never knows in Melbourne. Four seasons in a day. If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes... oh look! Here comes the sun...

    Thursday, October 30, 2003

    Had my day off yesterday.

    It was good, in that I got to sleep in, finally, but a little disappointing. I didn't get enough accomplished as I'd wanted to.

    My haircut and pedicure took a little long so I only got an hour to shop on Bridge Road.

    I did make it to my swing class and learned more of the Charleston. I am a total expert now! Went back to Scott's place afterwards just to teach him the new step (he'd gotten held up at work). His guests were impressed with our dancing abilities.

    I'm impressed too.
    Next step: dance teacher!

    Tuesday, October 28, 2003

    Have discovered that I will need about $4000 in order to complete my travels. That means that I will almost definately be in Melbourne for Christmas and New Years.

    This is OK, since I like Melbourne a lot anyway.

    I'm moving house tonight. Going to live in Brunswick West with Jill, a friend from Toronto who's now doing her MBA here. Scott has guests for the next little while, so Jill said it would be OK for me to stay with her.

    Also, I found out where the free Pilates/Yoga classes are this week. However, I might be a little too sick to take advantage of them.

    Excited about my day off tomorrow.
  • haircut
  • manicure/pedicure
  • outlet shopping
  • shoe shopping
  • yoga


    Also, I found out that my friend Scott, who writes RaptorBlog, has just gotten engaged! Congrats to them!
  • Monday, October 27, 2003

    Due to DayLight Savings, the time difference between me and home has changed. I'm now 16 hours ahead of everyone.

    If you're ever in doubt, just click here to work it out.

    PS: I'm in the state of Victoria now.
    Have discovered PhotoPic. Thinking of using it for my photos so that I'll stop using up all my server space.

    I've had better days.

    Still have the flu. Still at work.

    Yesterday, though, I did get a ride from my neighbour David to the Royal Botanical Gardens where I had to pick up my shifts for the Melbourne Cup week.

    Found out that I have conflicting shifts for Peter Rowland and GE, so I have to sort that out.

    I did manage to get a little lost, though, and ended up taking a nice walk, though I was a little too feverish to really enjoy it.

    Managed to get back in time just as the store I wanted to shop at was closed. Fantastic.

    Then I though, well, why don't I get money, since I owe Scott for the Great Ocean Road trip that I bought at the travel auction last week?

    Good idea, except that I forgot my passcode and entered it wrong 3 times! Now I'm locked out of my account for 24 hours. Sigh.

    And on top of it all, I can't find the Pilates/Yoga Studio that's supposed to be having an open week of classes this week. Double sigh.

    Finally I went home to eat the lamb stew that I'd made the day before and finally appreciated how crunchy brown rice can be, even after cooking it for over an hour.

    But at least I found out that my friend Lee sings opera and says she will teach me how to sing. And David gave me chocolate.

    Unfortunately, the weather forecast is 15-17 degrees and cloudy for the whole week. Damn Melbourne's spring weather.

    Sunday, October 26, 2003

    Well, I'd like to say I feel better, but I'd be kind of lying.

    I mean, I'm not hung over, but I think I have the flu.

    Left work early on Saturday. Had fallen asleep at my desk and my stomach was threatening to rebel.

    By the time I got home at noon, everyone else was still asleep. (Forgot to mention that Scott had again invited my friends over after the bar on Friday.)

    Tried to go back to sleep, but Seph (workmate) convinced me to get up so he could take me out for breakfast. Which was probably a good idea. Except for the part where I started to get a migraine.

    Went home for a nap, only to get up for my catering shift at the Port Melbourne Yacht Club at 6pm. Worked all night there. Clearly, hangovers are attractive, as I believe every single man there was hitting on me.

    Met a couple on the tram home who couldn't figure out the ticketing machine, so I helped them out and gave them a dollar to pay for their ride. It made me feel like a good samaritan.

    Sunday, I went to the Lygon Street Festival (an Italian street festival). Scott and I bought some comedy show tickets for us and our closest 10 friends - well, my 10 closest friends, as Scott doesn't really have any. ;)

    Then we stopped for a lovely strong coffee and bruschetta in a sidewalk cafe. It was difficult to keep myself out of all the lovely clothing shops, but I managed.

    On my day off (Thursday) I'm going to get my long-awaited haircut and go shopping on Bridge Road (where everyone tells me all the factory outlets are).

    Can't wait to buy a new white shirt and shoes!

    Friday, October 24, 2003

    Elvish Name: Larien Calaelen

    Hobbit name: Azaelia Deepdelver
    oh my gosh, what was I thinking?

    Ballet was good.

    BYO, so we brought cheap boxed shiraz. Then went out.

    Woke up 1 hour ago in a panic, having forgotten to set my alarm to get up for work.

    Now at work. Think I'm still drunk. Need sleep.

    Why didn't I call in sick? Didn't even know who to call.

    Might have to sleep at my desk.
    Going to the ballet tonight.

    Thursday, October 23, 2003

    Went to Swing class last night. Learned the Charleston... well, at least a few steps of it, anyway.

    Wandered over to Federation Square for the big Swing night in the Dance Hall. The SwingPatrol was in full, well, swing.

    Saw some fantastic dancers, and even managed to get Scott to try out our new Charleston steps.

    Fun, but I've never been more aware that I really need to practice more.
    My cat, Mao, has Urolithiasis.

    How is it possible that one cat can have so many problems?? I know he's just doing it to worry his mother and get back at me for leaving the country.

    I just wish he'd choose a cheaper way to do it.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2003

    GE might have blocked my site/email. Discovered after I was unable to access them, but still able to post via Blogger.

    Figures this would happen just when I really NEED it. GE blocks hotmail too and I'm not supposed to call anyone not work-related on my phone.

    So what to do when I have nothing to do?
    At least they fed us treats in honour of the big card launch today.

    Well, I'm off to take advantage of my much-beloved MS Outlook calendaring.
    My cubicle neighbour, David, just bought me chocolate. Biting into a Caramello Koala at the moment.

    I'm a happy girl.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2003

    Learned how to dance flamenco last night at Federation Square.

    All part of the International Arts Festival Dancing in the Streets events.

    Some people (especially Andy, who is always fondly reminiscing about this) might remember that I won the prize for flamenco dancing at the Infinet 2001 Christmas party. The prize, of course, being the chance to dance infront of everyone to the tunes of my new CD. I think I heated the room with my face. But at least it was memorable...

    Anyway, NEW CAREER PATH: I think I want to be a flamenco dancer.
    Decorating the office at the moment. Blue Gold White. The colours of the new cards.

    How exciting and productive.

    Aloyz and I are a majik team. He's a virgo and I'm a leo. We're clearly meant for each other. Um, except that he's gay.
    I am an outstanding cook. Check out some of my most recent creations as Scott's personal chef:

    - chicken korma
    - hot veggie curry
    - marinated steak, potatoes with garlic butter and asparagus with cheese sauce
    - spaghetti bolognese
    - potato salad
    - homemade tomato soup
    - roast beef with carrots and roast potatoes
    - homemade pizza (bacon, onion, roasted red peppers/shitake mushrooms and goat cheese)

    Next up:
    Thai Red Curry
    So, not only do the Aussies rename things like "garbage" to "rubbish" and "cell phone" to "mobile", but they've gotta take over the pharmaceutical world too.

    I finally found out what Paracetemol is. It's just acetaminophen. They've taken Tylenol and named it "Panadol".

    Friggen Aussies.
    Starting to improve in yoga. Have been going quite regularly to the Yoga Arts Academy classes.

    It's a new style for me. KSHIN GATASTHA (don't ask me to say that). It's quite physically challenging, as opposed to the "Yoga in Daily Life" style that I was doing in Sydney.

    So I've been sore for the past couple of weeks. But I'm starting to get used to it. Well, sort of. STARTING to get used to the postures. My muscles are STARTING to let go and relax. Although I complain every time I get home, I feel so much better!
    Having so much fun at work.

    The launch of the card I'm verifying has been delayed, so we're still in "training".

    That means, we're all trying to stretch out whatever work we DO have.

    And getting to know each other really well on the pretext of "working together".

    And, of course, doing our own personal business, quietly.

    Saturday, October 18, 2003

    So I don't know where I've been for the past couple of months (I mean, aside from, like, everywhere) but I just read this excerpt from Sarah's blog now and am all teary-eyed:

    "i miss shawn syms and cathy bogaart intensely. we are all at different points in our lives and yet more than ever i want to seek them out and throw my arms around them. i suppose this is not surprising considering their roles in my life in the past 2 plus years. one part confident. one part confessor. one part cheering squad...
    cathy would be the rational supportive yet tough love friend in all those instances where i needed it. there are very few people out there who possess the honesty and caring that she has. i am lucky to be a friend of theirs. i count myself blessed."

    I am so lucky to have friends like this. Is that the sweetest thing you've ever heard?

    I'm so happy that she's happy again. It's just a small part of the "so much more" that she deserves.
    So at least Canada didn't lose horribly.

    I mean, sure they lost 68-6 to the All Blacks. But, according to my new Kiwi friends that I met at the game, Canada played with pride and held off New Zealand quite well.

    However, Melbourne is on fire with World Cup Fever. It's everywhere. So I'm really glad that I went to a game. It was a great feeling to make some friends there, too.

    After we all ended up at the Telstra Dome bar together, chatting, arguing, drinking, Barber invited our new Kiwi friends back to his place for more. So we all staggered back to the apartment and had some lovely Shiraz and crisp bread with butter, cheese and/or Vegemite. We actually made Scott try the Vegemite.

    He said pretty much the same as I did: It's not bad but it's not good. Why would you choose to eat that?

    I had a lovely conversation with Alvin, one of my Kiwi friends, about yoga. I promised to call him at 9am to get him to come to yoga with us the next morning.

    The best part of the night was when Barber tried to "help" me brush my teeth before bed. I nearly peed my pants, I was laughing so hard. I think some toothpaste actually stayed in my mouth. The rest dribbled down my chin and I managed to get some on my nose. Hot.

    Drunken nights are the greatest.

    This morning I wimped out of yoga class, since we'd gone to bed after 3am and I think I was still drunk. I figured it might not be too good for my balancing postures.

    Instead, I slept until 11am, made breakfast (Aussie bacon is so much meatier than American bacon) and went for a walk around the city, up to the Parliament buildings.

    And I discovered that Melbourne really is a fashion capital of the world. So many beautiful shops with all different clothes and so many beautiful people wearing so many cool styles.

    I just window-shopped since I can't afford anything. Although I need shoes, the shoes that I want are $195. So I decided I'd wait until I shop on Bridge Rd, where all the factory outlets are.

    But it was a goreous day for window-shopping. Sunny and 28 degrees. Although the wind was whipping some sort of pollen into my eyes and nose.

    Then Barber and I went to the Queen Victoria Markets again for ingredients for my famous pizza.

    I had told eveyone last night about this pizza and we'd invited the Kiwis over to sample. So I cooked and we ate and then Barber and I went to a show.

    Acrobat is a very cool, edgy circus act. Kind of reminded me a bit of the feel of Moulin Rouge. Dark sets, deadly serious mixed with subtle humour, scratchy old music, sounds of the needle going on and off a record, or of a tape player's "play/stop" buttons being pushed. Then speed metal or some other rough loud crazy music played by the DJ.

    The acrobats wore very little, were extremely well muscled and, oh ya, they were also pretty talented. One guy pulled a red kerchief out of his butt. It was a great show.

    Thursday, October 16, 2003

    Forced myself to go to yoga class last night, even though I was not at all motivated.

    "Scott?" I whined, "Can you make me go to yoga?"
    He did.
    So I did.

    And, wow, did I sweat. I was horrible, but it was good for me. I'm sure I'll get better.

    Same with swing dancing. Went to another class tonight. I've made some small progress. Still not a strong dancer, but getting a better feel for it.

    It's frustrating. I just wanna be GOOD at it right away. It looks so cool when you're good at it. At least it's fun in the mean time - except when you're dancing with a guy who can't lead.

    Also went out for drinks with the people from my training group after work today. Lots of fun. I'm really loving the people I work with. They're fun, have lovely accents and some are very attractive.

    This could get interesting.

    Tomorrow night I go to the Canada vs. New Zealand rugby world cup match. Canada should lose, sadly, but I'll wear my I-Love-Toronto t-shirt and cheer a lot and maybe I'll get on TV. Watch for me!

    Tuesday, October 14, 2003

    I am tired.

    A little bit delirious, actually.

    Last night, after work at GE training, I got my new friend Alojz to guide me to the South Yarra train station (he was going there anyway) and I got to Peter Rowland's head office there, no problem.

    Then Alojz had directed me on how to get to my catering job at the Melbourne Museum. Although it all sounded easy, I still managed to get a little mixed up. But I asked lots of questions and managed to go the right way and get there JUST on time.

    It was a Matrix-themed event put on by Citibank and it was likely the coolest event I've ever been to. We had to wear sunnies (shades) the whole time. Everyone wore black, even the guests. The event coordinators wore the long black leather coats.

    I served drinks, topped up wine and champagne, cleared glasses.

    Then a phone started ringing.
    Trinity and Neo (or their look-alikes, at least) bounded down the escalator, across the foyer and into the telephone booth set up there.

    Soon after, the twins decended the escalator ominously. All four bounded into the dining room, followed by the rest of the guests.

    We served dinner to the Asian Credit Card Sales Team, although my job was just to ensure that everyone's glasses were full.

    There was entertainment... Mr. Smith appeared on stage - all 10 of him. They performed a tap dance. Then there was a choreographed dance/fight scene with Neo, Trinity and the Twins, complete with acrobatics. Very cool.

    Yummy food, lots of drink, good music.
    It was hot hard work. My arms are dead weight at my sides. But it was fun and I met some great people.

    I got home just after midnight and was in bed by 1am.
    Today, I'm making flowcharts on how to verify a credit card application from someone who lives in Canberra. Oh the endless excitement of my life...

    Monday, October 13, 2003

    Had my first day of training for the GE Call Centre.

    I had no idea that GE was involved in so many things. At home, they're just known for appliances and other consumer products like stoves, refrigerators, shavers and telephones.

    But no. That's only a very small component of their business. I'm working in their Consumer Finance section, dealing with credit cards.

    Met some great people today. The trainers seem nice AND the training centre is a 8-minute walk from Scott's place. On Friday, however, I start working in the big GE building that's a 25-minute tram ride from Scott's place.

    Also got a shift tomorrow night from my catering job. After my call centre training, I have to scoot over to the Peter Rowland's office, drop off all my employment paperwork and then rush over to the Melbourne Museum for the event there at 6pm. Apparently, I'll be working there until midnight. Only to wake up nice and early for my call centre training again on Wednesday morning.

    But at least I get to go to yoga tonight. That should calm me down a bit.
    And at least I won't have much time to get nervous about my first catering gig.

    Sunday, October 12, 2003

    Barber and I again ventured to the Queen Victoria Market today to do some real shopping. Right now, the first roast beef I've ever made is in the oven. Smelling a bit odd, I might add...

    Barber says I'm in charge of food. So it's a challenge to actually think of what to make and buy everything that I need to make it. It's different than cooking for myself, since I cook one thing a week and otherwise eat toast or cereal or whatever takes my fancy. Now I have to think about someone else's eating needs too. It's a bit more expensive that way. I haven't eaten so much meat since... well, since I was on tour with Adventure Tours, actually. So not that long, really.

    Yesterday Scott and I spent the day going from gallery to gallery, checking out the various types of art. One of the most interesting exhibits was called "Orifice" at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art which featured a strange blow-up-toilet-seat-with-velcro-straps contraption which drew attention to your navel. Of course, I put it on and Barber took a photo. I am art.

    Then we went for dinner at his co-worker's house. Kelly and Doug are really nice and Doug is an excellent cook. He made us yellow curry with fish and vegetables and then ice cream with cantelope and passionfruit sauce. Outstanding food. Of course, Barber drank too much , we stayed late (3:30am) and we had some fantastic conversation. Fun!

    Friday, October 10, 2003

    I had so much fun at the Queen Victoria Markets!

    I love food. I love looking at it, smelling it, buying it, cooking it, eating it. So, I did all of those things yesterday.

    I bought just enough to make a really nice dinner for Scott and I last night (steak and garlic mushrooms, little potatoes with sour cream, asparagus and cheese sauce) and for a breakfast this weekend (eggs from the farmer and bacon from the butcher). All quite cheaply.

    I can't wait to go back to buy ingredients for my next meal. They have a lovely couple of cheese stands where I'd like to get some nice chevre... and unlike home, they have lots of lamb here at the many butcher kiosks, and it's cheaper than bacon. So I'm going to make my favourite lamb stew next, I think. Or maybe some Indian chicken korma...

    Anyway, the Queen Vic Mkt is huge! Over 7 hectares in size, it's the largest open air Market in the southern hemisphere

    After my nice dinner, we went to see Memorandum, a performance piece that's part of the International Arts Festival going on now. It was interesting - a Japanese piece that involved a bit of dance, some multimedia, performance art... it was kind of like a live music video.

    Then we walked around Federation Square, where there were other events taking place: a free dance hall with band playing Latin music and the Argentina vs. Australia Wallabies on the big screen.

    All in all, a good day, other than the hangover.

    Thursday, October 09, 2003

    Swing class was fun... I suck, but it was fun. I think I'll go again next week.

    After dinner, Scott and I met some people at a pub in Carlton (a nearby suburb by the University of Melbourne). I met all the MBA students that Scott had met through Jill. Lovely people.

    After that, we went to Little Collins St. (downtown and near Scott's place) and met up with some other MBA's. Drank and danced and chatted.

    I got hit on, but I think it was mostly because I was the only new face. That, and I'm clearly irresistable. Got told I have a lovely smile though. I think my face hurts from smiling so much. I guess the price I paid for my teeth is worth it.

    Now I'm hung over but am trying to get my act together to brave the high winds outside and go to the Queen Victoria Markets to shop for some food. Unfortunately, the blistering winds and nausea are getting the better of me so far...

    Wednesday, October 08, 2003

    Today I have an interview at GE. Scott works there and got me the interview. It's for a call centre customer service rep, although they don't call it that.

    I realize I'm overqualified for the job, but I'm a traveller and that's what this trip is all about: doing different things. I've done all sorts of jobs that I wouldn't otherwise do. I really wanted to see what I like and don't like about various positions, industries and companies.

    I've never worked for such a big company before. But I'm getting ahead of myself; I don't have the job yet.

    Yesterday I did yoga. It was a new style, so I did the beginner class. I'm glad I did, as I feel that I've gone back to the beginning in terms of flexibility. I need to do yoga more often. I think I'll go back today.

    Tonight I'm going to swing class with Scott. Should be interesting, considering how uncoordinated I am...

    I'm also looking into the cost of a flight to New Zealand. The biggest decision is whether I go before or after Christmas/New Years. On the one hand, it would be nice to be with people that I know for Christmas and be earning money so I can travel in style.

    On the other hand, staying that long makes me a bit of an annoyance AND gives me less time to travel to New Zealand and Western Australia.

    Tuesday, October 07, 2003

    My induction went well!

    Actually, we had a test and I think I did rather poorly for my standards, but I did pass. Then they taught things like how to hold 3 plates and I already know that from my waitressing in Sydney, so I felt rather cool.

    I hope to be working next week!
    I don't actually know when or how much I'll work. I send in my availability each week and they give me whatever assignments they want to give me. We'll see how much work that is.

    They say that I will absolutely be working on Melbourne Cup weekend (which is like the biggest day in Australia, or at least Victoria).

    And, if I weren't going to be at the Canada vs. New Zealand world cup rugby match on the 17th, I could be working at the Motorcycle Grand Prix on Phillip Island, where they would get me accommodation and everything. Sigh.

    The people seem really nice, although most of the other inductees were really quite young. I think I was the oldest person there. The Yacht Club and Port Melbourne were really beautiful places to see, though.

    Now it's time to figure out yoga classes, the Melbourne International Arts Festival and see some of the sites while I can.

    Who's kidding who? I'm going to stay inside and watch and play on the internet. I can't believe I've been deprived for so long...

    Monday, October 06, 2003

    Site Traffic Report

    As you may or may not know, I'm using re_invigorate to track my site hits.

    I just checked it today for the first time in months. And there are a few things to note:

    * Sarah and Sharon are my number 1 referrers (that means that people come to my site via a link from their sites), although I did get referred by someone looking for Kakadu travel horror stories and by someone looking for "cathy". Let's not kid ourselves, folks: that person was looking for porn.

    * September was a low traffic month. Only about 80 hits a week. That's due to the fact that GoDaddy software was screwing me with my domain name and my site was down for a while. Then I sent them hate mail and they called my mom to sort it out... AFTER asking me to send my credit card information via email.

    * Aside from aberrations, the site has upwards of 100 unique hits per week. Today I've already had 13 unique hits. Thanks for visiting!

    * In general, site traffic peaked in May. Either people were REALLY missing me in May, or I was just updating more then

    * Not surprisingly, most of my visitors are using IE 5 and 6 to access my site. But Netscape 5 made a showing at 5%. I've also had 19 hits from people using Safari.
    Day 2: Melbourne
    Weather: 20 degrees and fine

    Today is my "induction" into Peter Rowland catering down at the Melbourne Yacht Club.

    I found out yesterday that I had to pick up an "induction package" at their South Yarra offices, so after an unsuccessful attempt to figure out how to get there on the internet, I ventured outside to ask a large number of stupid questions of a large number of innocent bystanders.

    I did get a lot of help. The Melbourne Visitor's Centre is not far from Scott's place and they were so good. Too bad I'm an idiot and had to actually ask someone how one catches the tram.

    At least there was a girl on the tram who knew my stop and could instruct me when to get off. Too bad I'm an idiot and started walking the wrong way... 4 times.

    Yes, 4 times I walked the wrong way before I figured out why I wasn't getting where I wanted to go. A maximum 30-min trip took me well over 2 hours. Sigh.

    Oh, the wonders of a new city!

    However, South Yarra is a beautiful suburb, full of lovely clothing shops, boutiques and heaps of cafes. So it wasn't a total waste.

    Then Scott and Jill and I went out for Italian on Lygon Street, which kind of reminded me of College St/Little Italy in Toronto. Then Scott and I drank a bottle of wine and talked until 2am.

    Today, I have to get more accomplished. Seriously.

    Sunday, October 05, 2003

    I'm typing on Scott's computer in his lovely penthouse apartment in downtown Melbourne.

    It's pretty cloudy today, but they say tomorrow the sun's supposed to come out. It's colder here than Adelaide (15 degrees), which is a little sad.

    The bus ride was OK. Slept most of the time. And watched "The Banger Sisters" which was not a good film. Although I hope I look as good as Goldie when I'm that age. Without all the enhancements, of course.

    Have an interview tomorrow. Still looking for other work, though, so that I can earn as much as possible while I'm here. I want to be able to spend as much time as possible in New Zealand and Western Australia, so I'd better hurry up and earn enough to move on!

    It figures that the Flight Centre is having a sale on NZ flights NOW instead of in a month from now. Sigh. That's how it goes, I guess.

    Time to sleep.

    Thursday, October 02, 2003

    Went to the JAM Factory yesterday, a gallery and studio for contemporary Australian craft art and design.

    Watched a glass-blowing demonstration, which was very cool (actually, hot).

    Went for a walk to North Adelaide after dark when I thought I'd go to the Aquatic Centre for a BackFit class. It was MUCH further away than it looked on the map. However, it was a lovely walk.

    What a beautiful city!
    Happy Birthday Mom!

    Tuesday, September 30, 2003

    Went to Haigh's Chocolate factory and Visitor's Centre yesterday. They don't export outside of Australia, so I figured I HAD to pay them a visit! Besides, it is the oldest family owned chocolate manufacturer in Australia.

    Had a tour, got free chocolate and bought just a little extra chocolate to keep me going ;)

    Visited the Balfour Bakery outlet just around the corner from my hostel to buy "just breakfast". Ha.

    Dropped by the Adelaide Central Market for some bananas and had to almost physically hold myself back from buying everything.

    And, to finish off my day of food, I got together with the Kates and Jacinta for dinner last night. Very nice dinner, though I forget how expensive it is to go OUT for dinner. Travelling makes you into such a cheapskate!

    I tell you, though, Adelaide is serious about their food and wine! Totally my kind of town!

    Monday, September 29, 2003

    Goodness, I can't believe I forgot to tell you that I went on a camel ride in the Outback!

    It was a place just outside Alice Springs (a hyped up middle-of-nowhere town, quite literally).

    Very cool. Very bumpy.

    Did you know that camels were at least partially responsible for Australian explorers being able to cross their impossibly dry centre and set up a telegraph line all the way from Adelaide to Darwin?

    It's true.

    Unfortunately, someone let the camels go and now there are heaps of wild camels roaming the outback and destroying natural vegetation and, thus, indigenous wildlife habitats.

    Sad story.
    See how much I'm learning?
    Just found out that I will be in Melbourne for the International Arts Festival.

    World Cup Rugby AND an Arts Festival.

    Could I have picked a better time?
    OK, well I could have chosen a WARMER time to go there...
    Just got back from a night of theatre. I saw "Drowning in my ocean of You" at The Queen's Theatre. The theatre is just around the corner from the YHA I'm staying at.

    It's a brilliant piece. Outstanding acting. Read about it if you're interested.

    The theatre itself is quite cold. Almost as if we, the audience, were outside with the characters on the jetty, watching it all unfold.

    A very simple set. White-washed exposed brick. A piano in the corner. A bed. A wooden stage. Pinpricks of light - of stars - showing through the old, broken window.

    It made me sad. It made me marvel at how amazing it is to be able to act; how amazing it is that someone can make you FEEL so much, almost as if you are going through whatever they're going through.

    It made me happy that I am loved.

    Sunday, September 28, 2003


    Here I am in Adelaide now, the capital of South Australia. The YHA here is quite nice. I'm SO happy that I'm staying here! So clean and well run.

    I've already met heaps of people that I've met on my travels previously. One is a girl who was in my room in the YHA Darwin and one is a girl who was on my Fraser Island trip.

    So far, I like Adelaide, though I've only been here for about 5 hours. I've had a bit of a drive around in the tour bus when we came into town, a nice shower, a nice free dinner with free apple pie and cream (that's whipped cream to all us westerners).

    Sadly, I'm back to the cool weather. It's currently 11 degrees. The high for the rest of the week is only 17 degrees. Low of 8 degrees. Brr.

    I think I'm spoiled. I guess I'll just have to pull my jeans out of the bottom of my pack again.

    Tomorrow is laundry and research day.
    I really need clean clothes and I really need to decide what I'm going to do and when during the next week.

    I want to go to Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges, both of which come highly recommended to me.

    I'm meeting friends of Tony for a picnic in the hills on Saturday. Should be nice!

    The 2-day tour to Adelaide was, well, QUICK. But the tour guide was really nice and our group had a really good dynamic. I had a lot of fun.

    The best part was when we had a balloon-animal competition. Team Canada's submission was a multi-coloured moose. I thought it was quite good. Team Japan had several entries, including a really nice poodle. But, alas, Team Korea stole the prize with a rather dirty old man. So they won the packet of TimTams.

    We stayed overnight last night in Coober Pedy, the opal mining capital of the world, apparently. It's also quite hot in the desert there, so many people live in houses dug out of the rock (called "dug outs").

    We stayed in underground accommodation there, and had a drink at the underground bar, as well.

    Looking forward to catching up on my emails and getting organized and eating a leisurely breakfast tomorrow.

    I love cities.

    Friday, September 26, 2003

    Just back in Alice Springs after my 3-day red centre trip with Adventure Tours.

    I have just seen all of the big Australian icons:

    King's Canyon - huge canyon with red cliffs and a lovely swimming hole
    Uluru/Ayers Rock - did the base walk, as they discourage climbing, saw sunset/rise
    Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) - kind of like Uluru/Ayers Rock but many of them (just smaller)

    Drove over 1500km. Walked about 20km.

    Tonight, eating free pizza over at Melanka's Backpackers hostel again. Then off for my 2-day trip to Adelaide to meet Meredith and the Kates (friends of Tony). I'll be there about a week; totally looking forward to being in one place for more than a night.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2003

    I'm in Alice Springs after a whirlwind 3-day trip aboard an airconditioned coach. Luxury.

    Day One : Darwin to Katherine
    Stop in Adelaide River at the WWII cemetary. Very sad. And hot.
    Canoed in Katherine Gorge. Breathtaking. My wrist hurts for days afterwards.
    Permanent camp site just outside Katherine.

    Day Two: Katherine to Tennant Creek
    Lots of ground to cover.
    Swimming in hot springs; was just like a morning bath.
    Lunch at the Daly Waters (pop: 7) pub; a VERY old pub in the middle of nowhere
    Swimming in Tennant Creek Dam water hole.
    Overnight in former horseback riding farm. Permanent camp, but I slept outside in a real Aussie swag (like a sleeping bag with a mattress), just like all the hardened outback station hands.

    Day Three: Tennant Creek to Alice Springs
    Heat starts to lift a little. Cloudy.
    Battery Hill Gold Mine Tour
    Devil's Marbles
    Ti Tree (small town with lovely art gallery where we had lunch)
    Tropic of Capricorn
    Staying at Melanka Hostel.

    Tomorrow, I'm off to see Uluru/Ayers Rock. Up at 5:30am.
    Who says this is a VACATION?!

    Saturday, September 20, 2003

    Back from Kakadu.

    Lovely tour!

    Fantastic food. Luxury camping accomodations. Lots of information, lovely people.

    Went swimming in the most amazing spots! And the swimming got us out of the blistering sun/humidity, so the heat was not a problem. Haven't been swimming that much since I was a kid.

    Tonight I have free accomodation at Melaleuca's again, 10 mins free Internet and a meal at the Victoria Hotel.

    Yay for free things.

    And I only got about 5 mossie bites. Not bad!

    Being picked up tomorrow morning at 5:30am on the first leg of my 3-day journey to Alice Springs.

    I hate mornings.

    This next bit of my journey will be through the outback. That means LOTS of driving through very boring terrain.

    At least I'm reading an amazing book: Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Picked it up in Cairns when I exchanged my other two recently read books:Toujours Provence by Peter Mayer (read it because Rita from Tales of a Female Nomad read it) and Coasting, about a woman from Sydney who ditches it all to live a simple life in the north coast (Hardy's Bay).

    I love reading!

    Wednesday, September 17, 2003

    I'm still in Darwin.

    Today I went on a fantastic day trip to Litchfield National Park. Went swimming in Florence and Tolmer falls which could not be cool enough, given the heat of the day.

    With a really cool tourguide, two good meals and a private viewing of the life and death of a frill-necked lizard, it was totally worth the $30 I paid!!

    Now I'm staying overnight in Melaleuca Lodge (yes, the place I left when I first got here as I deemed it too grotty). But it's a free night included in my three-day tour of Kakadu.

    Sept 18-20 Kakadu.
    Sept 20 Overnight Darwin
    Sept 21-23 Darwin - Alice Springs
    Sept 23 overnight Alice Springs
    Sept 24-26 Uluru, King's Canyone, Olgas
    Sept 26 overnight Alice Springs
    Sept 27-28 Alice Springs to Adelaide

    Can't be sure when I'll be able to post or when I'll have mobile access. Likely only when I come in for an overnight stay in a real town/city.

    Tomorrow, I get picked up at 6:30am for my heat-stroke tour. Yay.

    Monday, September 15, 2003

    I'm in Darwin now.

    Wow. Just stand outside and the sweat pours off me. It's a literal sauna outside. Apparently, I'm here in one of the hottest times of the year. Lucky me.

    Was booked in at Melaleuca Hostel, but I took a look and HAD to get my money back. I went to the YHA across the street. Not MUCH better, but somewhat better at least. It's the first time I've ever asked for my money back. I felt bad. But I couldn't stay there. Yuk.

    But I have to stay there for one night when I'm back from my 3-day Kakadu tour. The tour company stays there overnight before taking off for Alice Springs. Sigh. I'm sure it'll be better than camping, anyway.

    Met a girl named Esther in my YHA room who has a car. We're going to Litchfield National Park tomorrow. Yay!

    Today I'm going to the supposedly excellent Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory. And doing laundry tonight.

    Wow it's hot.

    And I'm worried about my tour to Kakadu and Alice and the hostel I'm booked at in Alice. I've heard horror stories about all of them. Really starting to get scared.

    Well, I'm sure as long as there are nice people on the tour I'll be relatively happy.

    I'll probably NOT have mobile access when I leave for my tour of Kakadu on Thursday morning. Not sure when I'll have it again, or when I'll be able to do email/post here.

    Worried. Wish me luck.
    Today at the Cairns lagoon, I met Jerome.

    Jerome is 6 years old and in grade one. He lives with his cousin, Taylor, and her mom and his mom in Churchill, Victoria. He said it took "Twenty thirty hours to get here."

    He could spell his name, and took some creative liberties with Taylor's name ("T - A - L - I - S - G - I - T - H").

    I think Jerome is the first friend that I've made here in Cairns.

    I would like to report that Global Backpackers, the hostel in the heart of the city, is a really good hostel and I learned that my roommate had sex with some guy in the hostel bathroom last night because there just wasn't anywhere else to GO.

    I checked out after a leisurely morning tea, left my bags in their luggage storage and booked my airport shuttle with the efficient staff at Global.

    I spent most of my morning at an Aboriginal Educational Gallery. It was really good (although I don't think many people go there at all) but made me really sad.

    I'm sad that I'm affected by all of the white Australians who've cautioned me to stay away from the Aboriginals, as they're generally drunk and up to no good. I get all nervous when they pass me when I'm walking by myself. That makes me feel like a bad person.

    But I think that Jerome was at least half Aboriginal. And I'm really glad that I met him.

    Kids are the greatest.

    Sunday, September 14, 2003

    I'm back in Cairns today after a trip to Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation (2 nights) and one night in Port Douglas (all of which is north of Cairns).

    Cape Trib is where the Daintree rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef. Literally, the water at high tide reaches right up to the jungle.

    And I stayed in a cabin IN the jungle. And did yoga on the beach every morning.

    It was all very lovely... except for the 700 bites that I have everywhere (including my face!) that itch like crazy.

    Thankfully, I think that my dark tan kind of hides the swollen red blotches.

    Port Douglas is the place where all the rich people from NSW go to vacation. What a town! I worked it so that I'd be there for their Sunday markets.

    I met some lovely people while hiding from the blazing sun under the artist's tents and exotic fruit stands. Also bought several good used books, so I'm all set...

    All set to go to Darwin tomorrow. Got one last day here and then I fly off to a place that, by all reports, is even hotter and more mosquito-ridden than Tropical North Queensland!

    And the pharmacist who sold me the antihistamines for my incredibly uncomfortable bites told me that the medication doesn't work against Croc bites.

    Well thanks.
    Apparently, the Northern Territory is FILLED with crocs.

    I've already seen a couple on the Daintree river cruise that I went on yesterday.

    Very cool. But they weren't as angry as the ones at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. Maybe the Crocodile Hunter should come 'round to stir up THESE crocs?

    Wednesday, September 10, 2003

    Went to Kuranda today on the scenic railway. Met a really great couple in the train and chatted to them about their son who teaches ESL in all sorts of interesting countries.

    Carla and I walked around the touristy town full of markets. Saw some fantastic souvenirs and wished that it was the end of my trip so that I didn't have to worry about carrying all of it around with me. Also, don't have the money to buy everything that I'd LIKE to buy.

    All of the local artists there really inspired me. Such lovely creative stuff.
    I really need to do something more creative. Maybe I just need to write more.

    Tomorrow morning I'm off to Cape Tribulation (which is north of Cairns, if you follow the link). I'll be there for two nights and then, on my way back to Cairns, I'll stay one night in Port Douglas.

    September 15th I fly out of Cairns, leaving behind Queensland and entering the Northern Territory's capital, Darwin. I think it's also the crocodile and mosquito capital of Australia. Heh.

    Monday, September 08, 2003

    Favourite email of the day:

    6 bucks an hour for internet access is obscene. We're talking about
    ranking it up there with dirty sex acts, Marilyn Manson concerts, and the
    explotation of small children in sweatshops. That's how obscene it is.

    Thank god that internet access is cheaper in Cairns. I don't wanna KNOW how much more obscene it can get!
    Here I am in Cairns. Very sunny and warm and it's still winter. People walking around in bathing suits at the lagoon. I might do as well soon...

    My tour with Uncle Brian yesterday was outstanding!

    We went to various waterfalls, swimming and recreating Timotea ads, some rainforest walks, a volcanic crater lake and finally platypus spotting. We saw two platypus MATING! It was absolute magic!

    Actually, the best part of the trip was just the SPIRIT. As Uncle Brian calls it, "the spirit of Gus the Bus". We sang songs, played games, talked and laughed and waved at the locals. The spirit is so hard to convey. It's really something that you have to experience.

    I was inspired by Uncle Brian's desire to bring joy to people's lives through random acts of kindness. And by how he obviously enjoys himself. I talked to him about my desire to operate a tour in Canada. It's something I really want to look into. I'm going to start writing ideas down in my ever-open journal and see if I can put it into action when I get home.

    Tonight, I'm going to Reef Teach to learn about all those amazing things I saw in the water when I was diving. It was recommended by Uncle Brian and some other travellers I've met along the way, so I'm looking forward to it.

    Until then, I'm hanging out with my friend Jaap from the Netherlands. We hung out on Magnetic Island and did a crazy billion-hour walk across the island to all the bays and then also had a nice beach day together when we talked about Dutch food for about two hours.

    Tomorrow, I'm off to Kuranda for the day.

    Thursday, I take off for Cape Tribulation for a couple of days.

    Sunday, September 07, 2003

    My mom has gracefully called GoDaddy to sort out the website thing. Funny that they couldn't do that via email. They tried to get me to send them credit card info via email. Can you imagine?

    Anyway, I'm finally back from Magnetic Island. I'm now a certified Advanced diver!!
    The Yongala wreck I dove was the best dive I've ever done! Sea snakes, turtles, giant fish everywhere!

    I'm just about to board the 7:15pm bus to Cairns.

    Tomorrow, I'm going on Uncle Brian's tour of the Atherton Tablelands.

    Sunday, August 31, 2003

    very upset with GoDaddy. They are really horrible with their support.

    I'm off to Magnetic Island for my Advanced Scuba License for 5 days!
    Arrived in Townsville yesterday afternoon.

    Staying at Civic Backpackers. I think $20/night at this place is expensive for what you get. It's very cramped. However, it's clean and well run.

    I went for a lovely walk along "The Strand" last night with my roommate. That's the beachfront path. It was nice.

    She told me I should read "The Tao of Pooh". Sounds like my kind of book.

    Unfortunately, almost everything in the city is closed today.

    Went to the markets this morning. Very nice. Bought yummy local fruit.

    Visited the local art gallery, which had an interesting exhibit of flower arrangements accompanied by haiku's.

    I think I need to be more creative in my life.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2003

    Don't be fooled by the hype. I learned that with the Arts Factory in Byron.

    I should have realized that the $16 for 2 nights deal that the Wicked Travel Agent gave me for buying so much stuff from her was not exactly a gift from the bottom of her bleeding heart.

    Reefo's sucks. Dirty. Expensive Internet. Shitty kitchen (worse than Waterfront). Noisy.

    Reception guy last night was NOT friendly even though I tried so hard to be nice and friendly. I've run into that a lot here.

    It's like they're trying to bring me down.

    Anyway, in case you were wondering, don't stay there.
    OK, I didn't die.

    I'm back from my Reef Dive and I'm a certified open water diver!!

    It was a magnificent trip. Fantastic group of people, perfect weather, amazing coral and fish, good food, pretty good sleeping, and a real challenge. I'm SO proud of myself.

    I even led a yoga class on the bow of the boat at sunset last night. Magic!

    But I was the only one doing the 4-day dive course; everyone else did 5 or 6 days. So they're still all out there and I had to be transferred back in order to catch my next tour.

    Tonight, I stay in a hostel (Reefos, just outside Airlie Beach) only to be picked up at 7am or so for my 3 day/2night sail around the Whitsundays.

    I was really sad to leave the group. I met some fantastic, interesting people.

    And I can't tell yet if I have a burn or if it's just a really good tan. Probably a bit of both.