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December 30, 2006

boo hoo... why me... :(

Okay everyone. Prepare yourself. I'm about to whine. And whine and whine some more. Things that are minorly annoying when you are at home, are excessively annoying when you are travelling. The last month has been throwing some real curve balls at me. One of the first things that happened to me is that my mobile phone froze. Stopped working. Of course just when people needed to reach me. Sony Ericsson were less than helpful. They would not lay one finger on my phone on the basis that it was bought in Hong Kong and I wanted it fixed in Australia. Nevermind the fact that it is a common bug with the phone and the fix isn't difficult. Their warranties are only good in the country the phone was purchased in. I questioned why they would bother calling something a "mobile" if they don't want it to leave the country you bought it in. They said they were sorry. A nice thing to say, but didn't fix the phone.

But I got it fixed by an independent shop. Who incidentally, simply downloaded the latest software from the Sony Ericsson shop in order to fix it. I lost all my photos and phone numbers and notes I had made, but it worked again.

Christmas Eve (or the evening before) my wallet went bye-bye. Not exactly sure how it happened, but I think it took a walk out of my room while I was in the shower. I think this because I heard giggling coming from my room when I was in the bathroom, which was next door to my room. There was no one staying in my room, nor was there anyone else sleeping in that corner of the hostel. ... but maybe I just lost it... I can't be sure. All I know is that I had it when I bought food the night before and in the morning it was gone. I was very sad and I've been going through a special sort of hell trying to replace all of those cards from overseas, over Christmas. Exactly when most companies don't want to replace cards because Christmas breaks records for fraud every year. Spending the day on hold and becoming aquainted with the Fremantle police station instead of going to Rottnest Island, also wasn't fun.

I'm getting through it all, but last night I was told by the Ontario Driver's Licence bureau that they won't re-issue my licence for four to six weeks. Why? How can it possibly take that long? I have a car lined up to use in New Zealand, but now I have no licence to drive it. I also had suddenly had no licence to drive the car I was already driving in Western Australia, but kept it for two more days anyway. AND my camera seems to be behaving a bit strangely. My battery charger is on the fritz. Some of my clothes are falling apart. Of course it could all be much much worse. I have a credit card and a bank card set aside, so I can still function. I kept my passport separate. I still have all of my stuff and computer and ipod and books. I haven't been physically harmed. Much much worse things have happened to travellers than these minor tragedies and a few other annoyances. BUT I'm feeling sorry for myself in this moment because the retainer on the back of my bottom teeth that has been there since I was a teenager, broke. Today. And I am not sure when I'll have time to get this fixed. Tomorrow is Saturday and my first day back in Sydney and I have heaps of running around to do. Then its New Year's and then I fly back to New Zealand. So I'll get it fixed there. Somewhere at some point.

Grrrrrr.....

For those of you who have noticed that my blog hasn't always been loading, its because its been slammed by spammers. Extremely annoying. I've taken some steps to fix this, like turning off a few features and not allowing comments on some of the older entries. (You can still leave comments on the most recent entries.) Do let me know if this fixes the situation or if you are still having trouble accessing the site.

I've been absolutely chomping at the bit to redesign this blog but I haven't had time (I mean I can't even keep on top of the entries!), but one of these days it will look pretty. I swear.

Okay. Its well past my bedtime. More soon and goodnight.

December 13, 2006

Updates and updates

Time is flying at a phenomenal rate now. I leave Melbourne on Friday morning, and I'm soooo behind behind with my blogging!!!! For so long I felt like I had all the time in the world and now I'm struggling to fit everything in that I want to do. **sigh** If only I was independently wealthy and didn't have to stop and work. Although the working is often fun and I meeting wonderful people and end up having so many adventures I wouldn't have had otherwise. If I could just stretch time to add a few more days to Dec. I'd feel much more relaxed.

So for those of you that are curious, here's my plans for the next while. Friday morning I fly to Perth and that night I'm going out to see one of my favourite DJs, Kid Koala!!! I wanted to see him when he played in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago, but couldn't get the night off. I was very excited to discover that he was playing the first night I arrived in Perth. Early the next morning I'm heading off an a 4 day tour to Exmouth (home of the beautiful Ningaloo Reef) where I will do one or two days diving. Back to Perth on the 22nd. I was meant to head out on a 2 day tour of the southwest the next day, but yesterday they cancelled it on me. So now I'm struggling to replace it. Harder than you would think as most companies have already cancelled due to Christmas. I've got Christmas Day and half of Boxing Day in Perth and then popping over to the East Coast to spend a couple of days with a friend. I'll also have one day in the much praised Byron Bay before heading off to Sydney for New Years'. Jan 3rd I fly back to NZ until the 27th (Maybe get to see David and Michelle if they will still be there???). On the 27th I fly to Hong Kong to meet my friend Kelly who is flying in the same day from Canada. I'm very very excited to have a travel partner again as she is going to stick with me for about a month as we explore Thailand and perhaps Vietnam. I have another month after she leaves me to discover Cambodia and Loas, and then HAPPILY back to CANADA!!!! At which point I might need one of those proper relaxing vacations. Too bad I'll be broke ;}

Enough of that, now back in time to October 20th (am I really this far behind with my narrative???) when I hopped on the train and travelled from Dunedin to Queenstown.

I really enjoyed getting back to Queenstown. It was nice to see it in the spring and have time to do more exploring. The one thing I had really regretted not being able to do when I went to skiing was the gondola ride. The weather wasn't the best, but I made my way up anyway and was lucky enough that the rains stopped long enough for me to do a couple of hours tramping at the top.

I pasted the above photo from two, which is why the middle looks a little funny. Worth it though to get a sense of the endless beauty.

view1.jpg

The next day I headed out on a bus tour and overnight sail in Milford Sound. M S is the most touristed spot in New Zealand and its easy to see why. If you find yourself here I highly recommend the overnight sail. I loved my time in the Sound and others who did the day tour seemed a bit more ho-hum about the experience. The ultimate is to do a 5 day tramp, but I didn't have the time nor did I know far enough in advance that I was coming in order to book the huts. I've heard you sometimes have to book a year in advance. Sailing is easy to book a day or two before.

The above first two photos were taken from the bus and the third from the shore, but the rest were taken from my ship.

I think what really made the sailing special for me was when we got to get out of the boat and expore the coastline and waters in our own time by kayak. There was an incredible feeling of stillness and quiet when most of the other passengers headed back to the boat and just a few of us stayed out to enjoy the evening.

The next morning was overcast, but beautiful. The clouds hung about the mountain sides like Christmas garlands. I was quite hoping the skies would open up so we could get display of the waterfalls with full force. Milford Sound can get about 10 meters of rain per year, so the fact that we had two days without rain is quite unusual.

Must run and get some stuff done today. The air in Melbourne is a bit disturbing. There are brush fires in Victoria and thay are so bad that all of Melbourne is very hazy and it smells like everyone is burning log fires. A very strange smell when its about 27 degrees.

More soon! (I hope)