Khaos

Archive for the 'Australia' Category

Still Travelling

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up but I always knew that I wanted to travel.  Seeing new parts of the world is still as enjoyable as I imagined but I didn’t realise that travel would also be tiring.  I’m impatient to get home.

As I have just spent a month in Australia and New Zealand I keep getting asked what they are like but I haven’t been able to find a quick way to describe them.  They are beautiful though and I would certainly go back to both.

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road

London Bridge, Great Ocean Road

London Bridge, Great Ocean Road

Tauranga, New Zealand

Tauranga, New Zealand

 

 

 

Carnivorous Birds

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Like many people growing up in Northern Ireland my concept of Australia comes from watching bad Australian soaps and animal programs starring Rolf Harris.  To me Australia is all about beaches, barbecues, and strange animals.

During my trip to Perth I went on my first ever Australian BBQ.  There really are outdoor barbecues at picnic spots that are free to use.  It was a bit different than I was expecting.  I’m used to barbecues being a wire grill with charcoal but this ran on gas and had a hot plate.  It was spotlessly clean and worked perfectly.  I can’t imagine having these in Northern Ireland, if the vandals didn’t destroy them the rain certainly would.

Australian BBQ

Australian BBQ

I also got to see kookaburras.  This is something else that I associate with Australia because of the song I was taught as a child, “Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree…”.  That’s as far as my knowledge of the birds went.  It turns out that they are a type of kingfisher. They were tame and rather cute with little short legs.  There was a whole group of them on the trees and ground around the barbecues.  (I’ve been trying to find a collective noun for them and they may be called “a riot of kookaburras” which is fairly appropriate.) They also like meat, maybe more than I do.  I was warned that they might try to steal my food but I was wasn’t expecting an aerial assault.  I mean seriously, one bird swooped down and stole the chicken kebab I was eating, grabbing the wooden stick right out of my hand.

Once I got over that shock I had to try to eat while defending my food.  I didn’t see the nasty little bird that stole my last piece of sausage until it landed on me and scratched my hand.  I’m not sure that I still think these birds are cute but they are certainly photogenic.

Kookaburra, sitting by the BBQ

Kookaburra, sitting by the BBQ

Sausage Sizzle

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

I went to my first ever sausage sizzle last night. I have been told that Australians like to barbecue but it never occurred to me that they thought that everyone else in the world cooked the same way.  When I told them it was my first time someone yelled, “bullshit!”.

I have certainly been to a barbecue in Northern Ireland but they have always involved burgers.  There will probably be sausages but they will be one type, and they’ll probably be little processed pork sausages.  In Holland the barbecues I’ve attended involved chicken and vegetable skewers as well as burgers.  But it would never occur to me to have a barbecue and cook only one type of meat.  I’m not a fan of sausages but the sausages last night were really good.  (Well, I only ate one and it was really good.)

The other factor is the weather.  I’m in Perth and it’s dry and hot.  It’s perfect weather for eating outside in the evening.  In Northern Ireland it will probably rain during a barbecue.  My memories of barbecues involve Marty standing by himself in the garden trying to protect our tiny disposable barbecue from the rain so that we can eat hamburgers.  A fairly silly thing to be doing when it was easy to cook hamburgers on the stove and it doesn’t rain inside.

 

In Australia

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

It’s going to take me a while to adjust.  I no longer feel as if I am constantly swaying but I did have a lot of difficulty getting to sleep on the plane on the way here.  I kept waking up thinking that the turbulence was an earthquake.

I’ve read many criticisms about foreigners leaving Japan.  Odd that I hear almost nothing about the Japanese that have also left.   I was the only non-Japanese person in my cabin on the way to Australia.  The queues in the airport were also mainly made up of Japanese.

Australia is noisier than I remember.  Japan also has insects that scream at night but I wasn’t expecting the birds.  They start to make an almighty racket when the sun comes up and also when it starts to go down.  It can be hard to hear another person speak in the apartment.  Mind you, I’m on my own for a few days so for now it’s just me and the birds.

Evening at Watsons Bay

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

I spent yesterday evening and afternoon at Watsons Bay.  It was absolutely beautiful.

View of North Head, Sydney

View of North Head, Sydney

We sat at the beach until the sun went down and then had dinner at Doyle’s.

City View from Watsons Bay

City View from Watsons Bay

At 8.30pm the restaurant dimmed its lights and we watched the lights go off in Sydney for Earth Hour 2009.

Australian Wildlife

Friday, March 27th, 2009

I would really like to see some of the animals that are found only in Australia.  When I was little I was fascinated by koalas and kangaroos.  Not quite sure that this was what I had in mind…

Christine Hugging a Koala

Christine Hugging a Koala

The Blue Mountains

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Yesterday, armed with maps and Google directions, Christine and I set off to see the Blue Mountains.  I was impressed that we didn’t get lost as I didn’t have a lot of faith in directions like, “drive for about 53 minutes and then turn left at Yeaman Brce”.  I didn’t think that we would ever find the turn-off and I have no idea what “Brce” is an abbreviation of.  We actually made the correct left turn but not because of the directions.  Christine had been to Katoomba before and thought that it would be a good idea to go that way.

We checked into our hotel and spent most of the afternoon being pampered in the spa.  Thankfully, once we have finished, we decided to go for a drive before dinner as otherwise I would not have seen the Three Sisters as today the whole area is blanketed in fog.

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains

I Am Not An Australian

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

I went out this morning to take some pictures of the beach and sea.  I also bought some groceries to make myself a light lunch at the apartment.  On my way back I was stopped by a couple of British men who wanted directions to somewhere.  One of them had pointed at me and said, “There’s a native we can ask”.    I smiled and told them I’d only been here one day and that I couldn’t help.

I assume that they thought I was native because I wasn’t wearing beach wear and I was carrying groceries.  But really I don’t look like the Australians in Manly.  The thing that sets me apart is my white skin.  I am so pale.  This is a beach resort where the streets are full of people dressed for water sports or a day in the sun.  Their skin is either red from sunburn or a golden brown colour.  I look as if I have never been out in the sun.  This is a look I will continue to have as I wear sunblock when I go outside.

That last time this happened I was in Tallinn, Estonia.  Maybe all the travelling I have done has taught me how to look as if I belong somewhere.  If only I could find a way to look more Japanese…

Manly Beach, Sydney

Manly Beach, Sydney

Scary Bugs

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

When people come to visit me in Tokyo we get to have conversations about earthquakes and tsunami.  Now that I am in Australia I get to hear about natural disasters and the threat from wildlife.

The sea looks so beautiful but I don’t know how I feel about sharks and jellyfish.  I do know that the thought of killer spiders made it hard for me to sleep last night.  Christine has told me stories of these deadly bugs being found near beds and in shoes.  This did wonders for my imagination as I could imagine them crawling about my bed in the dark.  Every time my skin tingled I feared that some creature was sharing my bed with me.

She has a chart – just in case I forget that tiny arachnids with white tails can cause horrific ulcerations to the skin or that the ones with red backs can kill.

Deadly and Dangerous Spiders

Deadly and Dangerous Spiders