Friday, September 21, 2007

from an Internet Cafe in Mildura, Victoria

so it's been a while, and we are in AUSTRALIA! we spent a week in Sydney and now we are in Mildura, Victoria. Pretty much we spent our time in Sydney sleeping, working, and looking for work. Matt found a handy man job helping this guy renovate his house that he worked for for a couple of days while I looked for something more full time. We finally found a place in Mildura that helps people to find jobs in the area. We figured we had nothing to lose and went for it. We arrived in Mildura last Thursday, at about midnight. The lady took us grocery shopping and then told me that I had to be ready for work at 6:10 the next morning. AHHH. It turned out alright though, and the job is pretty good. There is a tea lady that makes tea for everyone during our breaks and the hours are long and the pay is good - i even get overtime. So hopefully I'll rack up some money quick and we will be back to our vacation! I'm currently working in a fruit packing factory. We pack oranges, lemons and avocados. And I get a lot of free fruit which is really awesome. Matt is working on a vineyard that is planting like 2000 acres of new grapes this year. He's basically marking the grid for the new posts. I think its pretty boring, and the guy is talking about them working 12 hour days 7 days a week. Talk about trying to kill yourself! On the other hand, I guess we should be thankful - apparently work is very scarce in Mildura during Sept.

Australia is very beautiful, and SOOOO different than Canada. There is a drought right now and it hasn't rained really since we got here. The air is really dry and when it gets windy there are massive sand storms. Apparently they get so bad that it gets as black as night. Groceries are also really wierd. There is tons of "spreadable" butter, and they don't keep eggs in the fridge section. THey are just on the regular shelves. There is also a lot of milk (long life) that is on the shelf. It's like milk powder, but its liquid. They also don't have frozen concentrated juice. They have cordials - concentrated juice that you mix one part with 4 parts water. It's really awesome and is really cheap. I can't get over the cars driving on the other side of the road either! I'm not looking the wrong way most of the time anymore, but I really have to think hard about which way the cars will be coming from. And I always start to go to the wrong side for the passenger door. Its just weird!

Right now we are living in a "hostel" that is more of a house with about 12 people living in it. It's pretty crummy, but the people are nice and its pretty quick. There are a couple other houses that these people own, but apparently they are party houses and noisy all the time. I'd rather be where we are. We are about an hour walking distance from the centre of town which sucks for shopping and stuff but there is a bus that stops right in front of our house. The people we live with are cool too. There are four Germans (I work with two of them), a guy and girl from Ireland, a guy from France, a Belgian, Matt and I and our friend from Canada Pat (same guy that we planted with and went on the West Coast Trail with). All in all its a pretty good situation - a lot better than we thought it was going to be the first couple of nights there.

Anyways, I'm running out of internet time, tomorrow we are going to try and post some pictures from the WCT and from Australia.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

from the Ocean Inn Backpacker's Hostel in Victoria

so we are off the West Coast Trail... it was AMAZING!!! I was a little nervous starting the trail cuz I'd heard a lot of bad things about it, but it was better than my wildest dreams. We got to walk out on ocean shelves and see star fish and lots of other ocean life, and walk on beaches, and walk through rain forest and ever changing ecosystems. We also got some pretty good weather. The first two days were sunny and after that we got some rain, some fog, and some cloud. Not too bad for the trail that is supposed to pour all the time. It took us 6 days to finish, although we took it really lazy - gave us the opportunity to stop and look at things, measure large trees (the largest one was 10 feet in diameter!), and take lots of pictures that we will be posting here soon.

The bus ride home from the trail was a piece of work - we got back from the trail around noon and the bus home didn't leave 'til 4:30 so we got a shuttle into Port Renfrew to go for lunch (there was no way I was eating the rank cheese sandwiches we had planned for the day). We got an awesome meal at a country kitchen type restaurant. We then went up the hill and got amazing white hot chocolate - then it started to rain, and rain, and rain. Just what we wanted after the trail. So we head back down the hill to catch the bus, and wait, and wait, and wait. It was about 45 min late. Then it went back to the cafe we had been at, and sat for another 30 min waiting for someone who was late. And then the driver told us that the radiator was busted and he had limped down from Bamfield and wasn't sure it was going to make it home, and on top of that, we were all pretty sure he'd had a little to drink. And it was raining. And foggy. And the roads are horrible twisted logging roads. It was fun.

Finally, we made it home. We are in Victoria right now, waiting for our ferry to Vancouver to fly to Australia tomorrow!!! I can't believe that it's already time to leave for AUS. I got really nervous yesterday. We are arriving in a foreign country and have no idea what we are going to do. We'll figure it out. We seem to be getting pretty good at flying by the seat of our pants :)

Next post will be from Australia. See ya later!