A Travellerspoint blog

Australia Day. (stra-ya day)

Was so much fun. Muddy but fun.

rain 28 °C

So Aus day was supposed to be all planned out because it's probably the only time I'll celebrate while in the country. And my last day of work was the day before. And we were leaving the next week. Butttt instead the weather was awful and it rained for the three days preceding and the morning of. So the decision was made to have it out at Uncle Denny and Dolph's.

Started the day with a drive out to the Kidd Bridge, one of two across the Mary River, the lower one, and very close to going under. The water was just reaching the bottom of the bridge. When we first arrived in Gymps and even a few weeks before the water was a few meters below the bridge.

The preparations for AU Day actually began the night before when we went out and with a torch, a bucket, and a tub to collect cane toads for cane toad races. For the festivities we each had to bring an Australian Dish and a game to play. Jeff's was the races. I brought out some Cricket gear but with the weather... yeah didn't happen. For the dishes Jeff made potato salad (with real AU potatoes!) and started to do some Lamingtons, but didn't get a chance to finish them (had them the next day, it worked out they weren't done, we didn't want to share them). I made some easy fruit mince tarts with apple pieces, not exactly Australian, but they were good. Other dishes the family brought were mini pavlovas, Lamingtons, a noodle salad, scones, a dip platter, all around a main of a sausage sizzle. The food was delicious.

We started the activities with a giant slip-n-slide made from rolling a large sheet of slick black plastic down a hill, that with the rain and a helpful amount of dish soap, we were soon sailing down the hill and tumbling into the road. For a rinse we rode out to the dam and had a swim. While there we kicked off activity two, giant inflatable thong races. For AU Day many places on them on sale and we had two in the water. The object was in teams of two, an adult and a kid, race to a floating eskee and retrieve a water ballon. When you reached shore the next pair would hop on and race for another. I forget who won, so we'll say my team did. History is written by the victors, right?

Back at the house and after a quick shower the next game started, the Traditional AU Gambling game of Two -Up. Illegal everywhere except on ANZAC Day, so we gambled with Monopoly Money. Its played with two coins that are throw into the air by the "Spinner" and you bet on whether the coins will land both heads, both tails, or one of each. The Spinner wins if they land both heads up, hence "Two-Up."

Next up was Jeff's Cane Toad races. We took the toads from the night before, painted them team colours and placed them in an upside down bucket in the center of a circle. Once the bucket was removed, first toad to exit the circle won. There was two heats, my toad never did well.

Last game I was involved in was was the thong toss. We took our thongs off our feet and saw who could hurl them the farthest down the road. It did have some finesse to it as you had to remain on the road when you land and the thongs liked to slice to the sides. Kyla was the undisputed champion here.

It was a great day, good food, fun games, and time spent with the family. Independence Day has a lot to live up to next year.

Posted by owensj11 00:32 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Kids, things are going get real.

So it's almost time to take to the open road again, should probably fill in the captivated blog readers with what is up.

rain 24 °C

So here is the lowdown. Margaret is back from WA so I have moved out to Uncle Denny's and Dolphne's and Nance is staying with Kate and Paul. It's been wonderful staying out of town. Didn't realize I was a little homesick until I got out here and it's got that farm living sort of feel. The only thing that is missing is Granny across the road. I decided to quit my job earlier than planned. It's not that slicing up dead cows has lost its appeal it's that I have a limited time in Australia and I haven't even been out of Queensland yet! So come next week I will be heading South. Am looking at jobs but am going with or without one lined up. Sydney is the first destination. There is no time limit to get there so will be putting on my Man of Leisure hat and heading where ever the wind takes me.

It could easily become more interesting because the other day my friend Sam and I were heading down to Noosa to see a mate and Cory the Corolla died on me. I have never had a car die while I was driving and I haven't ever had any serious car problems before either. So yeah went to accelerate up a hill and Cory went putt-putt-stall, thankfully I did have the sense to pull off the road because that could have been bad. Cory would almost turn over but not quite. Now if you recall I'm sure I've mentioned Cory's incontinence problem so I checked the oil first and there was still some on the dipstick. Called the Nance first to see if he had any ideas. Nope. Called Adrian and Keilley and nothing concrete could be determined over the phone. That's when I called RACQ. RACQ is the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, yeah I get the perks. So old mate gets out there and does a few tests and tells me that the ignition coil is rooted and that I need to tow it. I've never had to have a car towed and wasn't sure how to proceed but low and behold my royal membership provides free towing up to 50kms, thing is Noosa is 60 kms away. So if it's over 50 they can charge you $55 but still it'd be worth it to get the car back to where we know people. Then I call people to tell them what's up and when I talk to Keilley she puts the doubt in my head that the tow truck only picks up the car and we had to arrange our own way back. I just assumed that since I wanted to go where the car was going we could bum a ride too. So I have 15 mins to wonder before the tow guy turns up and another ute stops and the first thing tow guy asks is whether the ute is our ride and I say no was hoping we could ride along. Totally fine, Keilley had me worrying for naught. Anyways long story, long. Got the tow fo free and Cory got a tuneup from Adrian and a new distributor cap and is back on the road. Hopefully going to travel the next 7 months drama-free.

Australia day is Thursday so will be celebrating my last paid public holiday and even though it's predicted to rain it still should be fun. Will blog about it hopefully soon.

Posted by owensj11 02:15 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Its been awhile, hasn't it?

sunny 34 °C

Whoa, its 2012 already?

The holiday season has come and gone, it was different spending the usually winter holidays outdoors in the heat of summer.

We helped decorate many trees this year, and saw many houses lit up as well as decorations hung in the shopping centers. It isn't as big as back home and there was a few write ups in the local paper about how most movies and such are geared towards us in the Northern Hemisphere where Christmas is cold and white. Where would Santa park a sleigh down here? And how does he not die of heat exhaustion in the heavy red suit? Instead he wears boardies and Hawaiian shirt, and rides in an rusty Holden UTE pulled by Kangaroos. Or so the song and book "An Aussie Night Before Christmas" tells me.

We went to a Twenty20 Cricket Game down at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, The Gabba, to watch the Brisbane Heat lose to the Melbourne Stars. It was a close game, in a Twenty20 Game each team gets up to 20 overs out to score as many runs as they can. Cricket was a fun game, but slow moving.

Went swimming on Christmas, even if it wasn't that warm, it was still warmer than home and swimming in an outdoor pool on Christmas and not being a member of a Polar Swim Club could not be passed up. Santa did find us and filled our new stockings from Margaret. Jeff woke the kids up at 5:30, he always has been the first one up.

Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. Its big down here, its also when all the shops have their big sales, its like Black Friday in the hype, but its all the after Christmas Sales. It also is a Public Holiday. Had the big family Christmas on that day, the food choices puts up a fair fight with Thanksgiving as who has more. The kids put on a Christmas show with many different acts, it was great.

Moved out of the caravan we had been staying in at the Taylor's into Margaret's apt while she's away on holiday to W.A. She offered it to us as it would be sitting empty for the time that she was gone and it has given us a nice space to spread out in and take stock and get ready for the next trip as long as we watered the plants and don't burn the place down.

New Years Eve, Jeff and I went out separately but since there isn't many places to go in Gympie and even then they were pretty dead for NYE we ended up spotting each other around. Somewhere there was a costume party going on, saw Gumby and the Duffman, the Duff Beer Guy from the Simpsons, there was a photo of him in the paper directing traffic.

So its 2012 now, when is John Cusack going save us from the end of the world?

Posted by owensj11 19:57 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Has it been...two months already? My bad. We are not dead.

Just in case you thought we were.

Where to begin? So much has happened since I lost posted that I'm going to list it out in bullets and try to bust through them all for you. It might not be in chronological order so bear with me.

Uncle Denny and Daphne's wedding - Was a beautiful ceremony held at Gunabul (George and Kirstyn's place) and had a great time. Everyone looked dapper and was nice to just chill with all the fam together.

G-$ and entourage arriving - Aww man was it wonderful to see Biggy G. It's been a few years since I've really had some time to just chill with Granny and play cards and doing a little cooking, hadn't realized how much I missed it. I think everyone in her entourage had a nice time. Aunt Bean and Uncle Michael we big hits with the kids, especially little Olive, though she took to Granny pretty well too. It almost felt like the times with the Aussie's would come visit Granny's in the summer except in the reverse. Bummer that Julie and I never made it up to the reef like we'd hoped. Having a full time job kind of sucks. But I think she'll be back in a few years with a bit more time to spend.

Abattoir - My job is basically just a doing a small part in the assembly line that is Gympie's largest employer, Nolan's Meats Pty Ltd. Nolan's is an abattoir, which is a slaughterhouse. The place goes through about 200-250 heads of cattle a day and I work in the boning room. This means that all I ever see is half a side of beef and it gets sliced into the various cuts that then goes out to the butchers for finishing. If you've ever seen footage of a large scale operation of an abattoir then you know where I work. I've went once up to see the slaughter floor and it was enough for me. Although I obviously condone the practice of it, I still don't want to be watching it everyday. It's not a job for everyone because it is very hard work. I didn't realize just how out of shape being a man of leisure had made me until I worked my first full week and was buggered all weekend. It doesn't help that we have rotating rosters meaning that one week I work 12p to 9p and then the next is 4a to 1p. A two day weekend isn't quite long enough to bounce back. Even though it is only temporary and I highly doubt I will be using the skills I'm acquiring ever again, I am working towards mastering all the different cuts so that I will be able to look at a cow and know how to slice each cut. It feels good to go from looking at a hunk meat and having no clue if it is a good cut or not to being able to tell from a glance what part of the cow it came from and whether it is premium or not. It's a work in progress but give me another month and I'll have it down. Also there are some pretty cool people there, not many but a few.

Brisbane 2High festival and motorbike incident - So there was a cool little hipster music festival in Brisbane and Julie and I went to it. Saw an Amy Winehouse impersonator, literally everywhere. At the festival, at dinner, at the drug deal. She just kept popping up. The festival was at the Powerhouse which was the actual old Power station converted into a concert venue. It's in a huge park right on the river it was a great day. Saw no less then 10 different weddings going on at the park. Then as we were leaving to head back to Gymps I came around a corner that I thought led onto the highway but in fact was only a road that led to the actual on-ramp and since I was speeding up to highway speeds by the time I realized that it ended at a T and I had to cut left else I would have slammed into the median and in doing so I pulled out in front of a motorbike that hit us on the driver's side. He fell off his bike and left a dent in the poor Corolla. It's been a few weeks and still not sure what's going to happen with insurance and all that.

Oz-giving - We had a faux thanksgiving when G-$ was here. Food was good company was good though the timing on the turkey was a bit off.

Alex's ordeal - So my poor macbook's hard drive died. The only Apple store within driving distance is in a shopping mall in one of Brisbane's burbs. I work all weekdays so I went down on the first Saturday I could. Get there and they ask if I have an appointment. I'm all like "What?" and they're all like, "due to our high number of customers we have set up appointments to speak with our genius staff." so I make an appointment...for Tuesday at 4:30p. It was a mornings week so on Tuesday I wake at 2:45a, work my 9 hours then hop in the car and drive 2 hours for my 'appointment' am there for 15 minutes they tell me the hard drive is rooted as well as the battery. I leave Alex with them and then get a call later that night telling me that for some reason there is corrosion on the interior of the machine and asking me if I still want them to repair it. I decide that even if it only gives me a few extra months of life spending $300 is still better than buying a new machine. Then Friday I do the same thing to go and collect it. Only there is some issue with the receipt and they want to change me the full $450 even though when I dropped it off I was told that they wouldn't charge me for the labor or the fixing of the chipped plastic because "it shouldn't do that." Well it took them a good 30 mins before I was asked to come up to the register and I was all set to tell them I would not pay full price because I had decided before I ever took it in that if I had to spend more than $300 than I wasn't going to fix it. Instead she gives me a smile and says, "Merry Christmas! It's all free today!" Me, "Excuse me?" Her, "Yep I want to apologize for the inconvenience and hope to see you in the store again soon." Me, "Thanks! Best Christmas present yet!" So even though I lost everything on my hard drive at least I got a new hard drive a new battery and all new housing on the computer fo free!

Well it's Christmas Eve here. Sorry this isn't more in depth but it just takes so much time to type out everything that goes on. It's not quite as hot as I would like but even if it is raining and 16 degrees I will be getting in the pool tomorrow just to say I've went swimming on Christmas!

Posted by owensj11 22:39 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Has it been a week already?

Jeff Owens - Man of Leisure.

sunny 25 °C

Upon coming back to Gymps we've had the opportunity to see a bunch of the country surrounding it. One of the local spots on the coast that is frequented is Tin Can Bay. It's not a beach location but is great for launching boats and fishing and has a good beach town vibe. Had lunch at the yacht club practically with the yacht club members themselves. By that I mean our table was close enough for me to hear them discuss their business. From there we drove around the bay to Rainbow Beach which is a pretty great beach. Were able to lounge, kick the footy around, and swim in the surf for a few hours. Will certainly be coming back.

On Sunday got a call that Kirstyn and her girls were going to Mothar Mountain Rock Pools. Kyla had heaps of stuff to do so the Nance and I loaded the kids into the Commodore and met up with them and Keilley and Bianca. Was a beautiful day and the rock pools were cool and refreshing. Had a picnic lunch and almost got attacked by a lace monitor. Also got to see a kookaburra up close. All in all a good day. Mothar Mountain also has a STEEP CLIMB walking trail didn't do it that day but will have to give it a go.

Since we are unemployed Adan took us out one day to see where they were working and give us the tour of some of Imbil, where he grew up. It's pretty awesome seeing where they log on mountainsides. And they machines they use are massive. There is one called the skyline that is used on the steepest slopes where they have to cut the trees down with chainsaws. The skyline is used to haul two or three whole trees up from the hillside to where ever they can get to them with the other machines and trucks. It's a really cool and complex operation.

Jack turned 5 and so of course we partied. Had all of the traditional kids party foods. Cheerios served with tomato sauce, little meat pies, all washed down with cordial. Now cheerios are not only a cereal over here. They are also a little sausage-like thing that if you eat too many you die or something. They taste alright but they are not the cream of the butcher's crop to put it one way so you can't eat too many. The cordial here is what some try to tell you is the kool-aid equivalent, but IT IS NOT. I've been trying a few different flavours and some aren't bad while others it's a struggle to force it down. I got Jacko a set of mini nerf guns which went over pretty well with all the kids, young and old.

Got a call one evening from Kate asking if we wanted to go surfing with her and Paul the following morning. Trying to contain my excitement I said yeah sure that'd be cool, while on the inside I was stoked! Having never tried surfing before I wasn't sure how badly I was going to faceplant it in the water, but it wasn't too shabby. I even managed to stand up a few times. I'm scouting out a secondhand board so I can go more often. It was seriously one of the most fun things I've done.

We've been back in Gympie about two weeks or so and I've become so accustomed to lounging at the beach or never setting an alarm clock or ever having a set schedule that when George said that I was a man of leisure it sort of struck a chord and I think it will be the subtitle for this entire trip or possibly my life. Jeff Owens - Man of Leisure. Has a good ring to it.

Posted by owensj11 21:35 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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