Monday, 30 July 2007

Aussie life... so far

It's two weeks since we arrived in Melbourne. Not much has changed. The weather is still bloody freezing, I'm still job hunting and still living with the in-laws. At least our stuff arrived from the UK today. All 27 boxes undamaged!!

The hardest thing for me so far has been the language. Not so much the slang (there are enough Aussies in London for me to have picked that up!) as the pronunciation of place names. Try some of these on for size: Corhanwarrabul, Wonthaggi, Mooroopna, Warrnambool, Rupanyup or Buninyong. Easy? I guarantee that however you said it, the Aussies would say it differently!

And then there's the price thing. Don't get me wrong, it's relatively cheap over here, but after spending pounds, prices just 'look' expensive. An example: A shirt that used to cost, say, GBP15 now costs A$35. Same price, but sounds like a lot more!

Anyway, for those of you visiting or moving to Australia in the near future (yes cuz), these are some of the words that you will have to learn (or learn to pronounce):
Queen's English = Aussie English
hello = g'day
good-bye = hooroo (pronounced ooroo)
afternoon = arvo
swimming costume = bathers (only in Vic and S. Australia
duvet = dooner
chicken = chook
crisps = chips
trousers = pants or daks
beer = amber liquid
short bottle of beer = stubby (375ml)
cool box (insulated thing for your beer) = esky
turtle neck shirt = skivvy
sausage = snag

There's more, but I'm not listing them here. Try this link for the Aussie Slang Dictionary.

Chat soon,

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Foto Friday (on Sunday)

OK, so it's a little late, but these things take time to do.

This week's pic was taken, you guessed it, at Niagara Falls. I have stitched together 6 photos to get the final product. As you can see, it was sunset - around 8.30pm I think.

Chat soon,

Sunday, 22 July 2007

A new beginning

It's been almost a week since we arrived in Melbourne now. Most of our time has been taken up with red-tape stuff that everyone does when they first arrive in a new country: tax file number (so I can pay taxes and also get a job), MediCare (government healthcare), bank account, local driver's licence, etc. I've also done a little job hunting, but nothing too intense yet. That will start in earnest this week.

For those of you who don't yet know, Deb & I have another baby on the way, so we also made a couple of visits to the doctors this week. This visit included a scan to make sure that there was only one little person in there (which there is!). Below is a picture of this scan.

I also took a trip to my first ever AFL game at the MCG yesterday. Almost 66000 people joined me. For those of you who don't know what Australian Football is, well, it's like a cross between American Football, Gaelic Football and rugby, but with no rules! To familiarise yourself with the game, check out some YouTube footage. BTW Sim, I didn't find any gristle but I'd still rather have a hot dog any day!!

That's about it for now. Life's not too exciting yet, but I will keep you all updated on Australian life's little mysteries.

Chat soon,

PS: Did I mention too that Deb & I got engaged while we were at the Niagara Falls?

Friday, 20 July 2007

Foto Friday

This week's pic was taken in Fairfield, Connecticut from my friend's back yard. We'd just finished having a braai and were about to go inside when I noticed the colourful sunset.

Chat soon,

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Foto Friday

Another Niagara Falls shot. This one was taken from the 'Maid of the Mist' boat which takes you right into the spray of the falls. The photo is of the American Falls.

Chat soon,

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Too... many... totems. Must... post... pics!

I've fallen in love with them! Totems are art forms produced by peoples indigenous to the North West Pacific coast. The generally tell a story: myths, important events or ancestral lineages. Read more on Wikipedia or on SFU's website.

Chat soon,

Vancouver - City of Totems

Four days into our visit to Vancouver and I'm loving it! The people are friendly, the weather has been great (28C today!) and the scenery is magnificent!

Today we went across to North Vancouver (North Van as it is known locally) to visit the Capilano Gorge. We walked across the Capilano Suspension Bridge and visited the local park. Also was lucky enough to see maybe half a dozen totem poles.

We arrived on Sunday but were too tired to do much after our long stint flying and sitting around in airports. Plus the fact that United managed to send Josh's pram to Dallas, Texas (!!??) instead of Vancouver. (They delivered it to us tonight at 10pm!) We did some food shopping and went for lunch at "Frenchie's Diner", a 50s-style American diner. Food was good, service sucked!

The place we are staying, Penny's Place, is really nice. It is a small apartment with kitchen, large bedroom and bathroom and 100 times nicer than Loftstel! The area is really nice too; quite arty with loads of restaurants, take-aways and organic food shops. Think Portobello Road in London or Brunswick Street in Melbourne.

Monday was spent visiting Stanley Park, one of the biggest urban parks in the world. We walked for about 5 hours, stopping for lunch and ice-cream. We also did some geocaching. There are some magnificent totems on display in the park! (See photos)

Tuesday was spent on Granville Island. Shopping, eating, chilling and drinking beer from the local brewery were the order of the day. Nice and relaxing! Oh, and the beer was good too!

I'd recommend Vancouver to anyone. It has something for everybody.

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Niagara Photos

Some of our Niagara photos. Enjoy! We certainly did!

Chat soon,

Sunday, 8 July 2007


It's just after midnight and we're sitting in JFK Airport in New York. We arrived here an hour ago from Buffalo. Our next flight is in 5 hours, so we're spending the night in the airport. Luckily the wireless is free. Unfortunately, I have 20 minutes of battery left on my laptop with not a power point in sight!

Toronto was nice. Niagara Falls were amazing!!! We visited the Canadian side on Friday and the American side yesterday (Saturday). The view from Canada is much better as you can clearly see both the American and Horseshoe Falls from here. We took some awesome photos (coming soon) and to top it all, we took the 'Maid of the Mist' ride from the American side to within spitting distance of the cascading water!

Photos will be up soon.

Chat soon,

Friday, 6 July 2007

Foto Friday

One of my favourites so far from New York. The Manhattan Skyline, taken on Monday.

Chat soon,

New York pics

Some photos to whet your appetite.

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

New York - Day 3

Day 3 of the big trip "home". Be aware, this is a loooooooooong post!

After a 10 hour flight and a 1 hour bus trip (next time it will be a taxi!), we finally checked into our 'loftstel'. It may have looked good on the net, but it's a hole! It's disgustingly dirty! The bath still had hair and a dirty ring in it from the previous guests! Anyway, we're cutting our stay short and checking out tomorrow!

After checking in at 4pm on Saturday, we went out to buy some food, came home, cooked some dinner and then went straight to bed at around 8.30pm.

Next morning we were up at 5.30am! We had some breakfast and then made the journey to Grand Central Station. (New Yorkers will tell you that it's a terminal, not a station 'cos all trains terminate here!) We caught a train out to Fairfield in Connecticut to visit an old friend of mine. We spent a fantastic day with them, braai-ing some juicy lamb chops and eating ice-cream on the beach. Unfortunately, reality came rushing back when we had to come home to our (still) dirty apartment.

Today was a sightseeing day in the Big Apple. Our first stop was Chinatown. Smelly fish markets and crowded veg stalls abound. We dodged our way down Mott Street and took a left into Godfatherland; Little Italy. Our $11.00 breakfast of coffee and... well, just coffee, was going to have to last until lunch time.

Next we caught the subway to the ferry terminal at South Ferry, hoping to sail out to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. But neither Deb nor I was willing to brave the 3 hour queue that had already formed! We took some photos, then walked the five blocks to Ground Zero.

This was quite a sight. Not only was the place crawling with workmen rebuilding the area, but the number of policemen, memorials and tourists (did I forget to mention that it is school break over here) was amazing.

Our next stop was Central Park for lunch, but we couldn't find anything to eat. After a short rest in the park, we caught the bus and the subway back down to Times Square for a bite of McDonald's (it had to be done!). We did some shopping on 5th Avenue before walking south to the Empire State Building.

The 3 of us headed straight to the top - 102 floors up! What an awesome view from the glass observatory. We caught the elevator down to the 86th floor to view the city from the outdoor area. Again, eye-popping.

After dinner at a local brewery and a quick stop at Madison Square Gardens, we caught the subway home for a 10pm finish.

More adventure tomorrow.

Chat soon,