Results tagged “Travel” from Kazza the Blank One
We've been to Queensland since my last blog entry. I'll get some posts up soon. I was going to do it tonight, but spent the *entire* evening sorting out photos (from the trip and beforehand). I couldn't geotag stuff though because Geosetter just freezes up whenever I try to do anything with it. Super frustrating.
You'd think that direct flights from Canberra to Brisbane and back would more or less be along the same line. You'd be wrong.
And I don't think I ever blogged this .. this was a holding pattern we got put in on our trip in 2012.
Airgaps in the flights are because A380s walls are so thick it's hard for the GPS to pick up the signal.
So Wednesday night was the trivia night.
The problems started during the afternoon when we went to test the AV equipment. The data projector and/or the long vga cable was faulty and the display was all horrible (missing grey). Two different hdmi-vga dongles, and two different laptops including one with native vga and it made no difference, it was just stuffed. Not to mention we had all sorts of dramas getting the amp/audio to work as well. Then Doc accidently walked off with my phone and I started freaking out that someone had stolen it.
So we plugged the laptop into the tv instead with just hdmi, and Tony brought down a big speaker to use (audio through the tv wasn't working properly - it kept cutting off the beginning of the audio clips I had - more stress and drama). But in the end got the whole lot working.
So yeah after that the night went well. Other than the questions being generally too hard. But thirteen tables plus the bar - the place was packed!
Last night was a bit of p0ker with Ben and Serena. With some very very weird rules - like no blinds and two packs of cards. I think I was winning, but then Kit came up and we stopped playing.
Today I did house cleaning type stuff, as well as blogged some of my USA 2000 trip - which I realised recently I'd never actually blogged digitally. The photos are online on conspiracy, but the journal was in a notebook. So I'm digitising that and will put the photos with it.
Also went for a two hour long walk with Chris this afternoon (somewhat longer than I was intending, but over 14000 steps on the pedometer today to show for it).
Tonight we watched the very last episode of House, followed by the Bourne Supremacy.
A couple of weeks ago I posted this photo mum and dad took of Marina Bay, Singapore in 2009.
Here's the exact same view, January 2016
On Friday night I left work a bit early and drove up to Sydney. I drove past a fire at the airfield at Marulan, which turned out to be not from natural causes, but because of a plane crash! (the dude walked away - must have been a good landing!). We went and fed the Macaulay's cat, visited Aunty Di and Graham, then had an early night.
On Saturday we spent the morning looking at photos (we played Dad's funeral slide show which was a bit emotional) and food preparation. We did a big roast pork and my epic potato bake as well as some other veggies and lots of nibblies. We also whipped some cream and decorated a pavlova. Graham and Pam and Ken and Jeanine came over and we had a lovely afternoon.
In the evening we went and fed Macaulay's cat again, and watched The Princess Diaries (which Chris and I had been talking about only just the other day).
On Sunday I caught a train into the city to go see a couple of Lego exhibitions (which I'll save for separate posts).
At Central I was all set to walk around to Harris Street when I noticed the end of the Devonshire Street tunnel didn't *end* anymore - it kept on going - with a sign to the Powerhouse Museum. So I walked down through it. They've converted that whole little area between Central and the museum from the old goods lines into a park called The Goods Line. Totally spun me out because that area of the city has always been a dead zone and it was a real pain trying to get around because you couldn't just walk across town because of all the railway lines in the way.
The Powerhouse Museum (bottom entrance).
After seeing Art of the Brick, I headed back to Central to catch the train to Circular Quay (it was super hot and I didn't want to get hot and sweaty walking all the way, and as it turned out, Sunday is currently $2.50 all day on the trains so it didn't cost anything).
Then there was the second Lego exhibition of the day - the Sydney Harbour Icons at the Museum of Sydney.
Then up to Martin Place to train it back to mum's. I walked straight onto a train which was pretty cool.
Picked up all my stuff, then a flying visit to Luc and Lizzi's to do a donut photo of Ryan, then drove home.
I was expecting when I got home to have a quiet night of getting myself organised, but instead I came home to a pool full of people, in varying states of intoxication. Which was rather unexpected (and made me feel somewhat left out! heh). So didn't get anything done at home that night. Oh well.
I was looking at my parents' photos of Singapore tonight, and this photo spun me out... because the whole thing is finished now.. but back in 2009 it was just a construction site..
Got home late last night (went out for dinner after drinks), so didn't blog that three years ago yesterday we walked along the beach in Tel Aviv, then went to see a likely location where David fought Goliath, then had lunch and a bit of a walk around Old Jaffa.
This morning I finished scanning all my analogue photos at 600dpi. At least I think I have. I'd have to double check everything, but pretty sure I'm done.
But I don't think I'll ever fully label my holiday photos from the digital age. At least with them geotagged all I need to do is load them into GeoSetter or some such and it instantly shows me where a photo was taken. Then it's easy enough to research on the internet what it was.
Also today I realised it was three years ago today that I took off for my "Eurasia 2012" holiday. So I've been frantically labelling photos for the blog entries. I doubt I'll get much past Israel/Jordan in this round, as it simply takes too long to choose photos to display, and I've only culled down the first two weeks of that two month holiday. It's hard work I tells ya!
So anyway, three years ago today I spent two days getting to the other side of the planet all by myself.
So we were about to get in the car to head off to work today when I noticed the pool level was a lot lower than it should be. It looked to be at about the bottom of the skimmer box, so my first thought was that piping had broken to the filter/pump, and the pool had drained off. As it turns out, it was siphoning itself off via the hose.
One end of the hose had been in the pool since the last top up a while ago. The other end I'd draped over the edge, having disconnected it from the tap a couple of days ago to fill up a watering can. Then the wind last night blew the end onto the ground, and the pool started draining. Was super annoyed at the waste of water and a little worried about the flood (which, fortunately, seems to have drained fairly well). But I was glad that it wasn't broken piping, and that I discovered it before a day of water had the chance to drain out.
In other news, all the documentaries I'm watching on America and its national parks is making me want to go back there!! Just don't know that I could convince the sweetie..
Arrival at Chay and David's. Thanks David for picking me up! Did pretty much nothing all day.
The sweetie arrived late in the afternoon yayyyy! Was good to see him.
Chay cooked a nice moussaka for dinner.
I can't actually remember if we did any Singstar that night, but I know we all had a very early night.
Was working on some photo stuff in the morning, when Chay remembered she had a jigsaw for me to do, so that kept me happily occupied whenever I had any down time.
We all went out to have sushi for lunch, then we went and saw The Equalizer. I liked it, except that it was overly violent for my tastes.
Did a bit of shopping afterwards, and had bbq chicken and salad for dinner.
After dinner Storm and Jamie and Sam came over. We played Cards Against Humanity which was fun, although I didn't manage to win a single round, which was somewhat demoralising. Played a bit of Singstar as well.
Had a quite morning mostly doing the jigsaw.
Then we packed a picnic lunch and headed out to White Rock for a decent walk. It was good, but I found the heat getting to me quite a bit. Had lunch on top of the rock.
Had pizza for dinner.
Sam came over again, and we played some Buzz and Singstar.
Another quiet morning doing jigsaw.
Went out to sushi again for lunch. Also went and got a coffee from Kailyn.
David cooked roast pork for dinner yumm.
Played some Trivial Pursuit, then Buzz and Singstar.
Sadly said goodbye to Chay and David (thanks guys, it was a lovely few days, as always).
Then hit the road and drove and drove.
Stopped to get coffee near the Gold Coast, then had some lunch at the Scottish Restaurant in Ballina.
Ducked into Grafton to see if the jacarandas were out yet (they weren't - too early for them).
There was quite a bit of road works going on to duplicate the Pacific Highway (*finally* - at least thirty years overdue), so we were a little late getting to South West Rocks.
Ruth cooked a very nice roast chicken for dinner.
Then we collapsed into bed.
Another long day of driving.
Got some petrol and some coffee outside of Port Macquarie.
Lunch was KFC at Heatherbrae.
Slow slow slow along Pennant Hills Road (are they *ever* going to join the M1 to the M2??).
The straight through to Canberra.
Between petrol stops at the Gold Coast, Port Macquarie and Canberra was 1158 kilometres. We put 75.06 litres of petrol in. So 6.48 litres per 100 kilometres.
Slept really well last night. Well at least until 5am when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. Woke up in a somewhat better mood.
Breakfast was pretty simple.
Then I got Optus ever so briefly at the entrance to the motel. But not really enough to do anything with.
Piled into the coach then headed into Karumba for a quick drive through the town.
And then into the countryside. Well, stopping at Normanton for an early morning tea, and a chance for me to recharge all my portals. Found out I finally got my gold guardian too, so all I need to get to level 10 is a bit of AP now. Super tempted to ditch Optus when my contract is up - their coverage is *crap*.
Then drove and drove. Got somewhat annoyed that we didn't stop at Burke and Wills camp 119 which was *right there* off the road. And then super annoyed that we didn't stop at Leichardt Falls. Ok so the falls weren't really falling but it was a super pretty spot and would have been nice to take some photos there. Which put me in a grumpy mood about the whole trip again.
Stopped in Burketown for a lunch of sandwiches made by the local bakery. They were quite nice but at 37C and a strong breeze we had to eat them quickly before they dried out.
Kept on driving, arriving in Adels Grove late in the afternoon.
We have demountable cabins, which are nice enough, except for the minor detail that they have a useless back door which doesn't actually lock. ?!? Seriously, what the?? It also doesn't have any sort of table or chair inside for typing on, or much in the way of hooky things for hanging stuff. But it does have aircon. Win!
So we went for a little wander around the place. It's certainly very pretty here, with a lot of exotic plants and a nice little creek.
Back to the bar for a beer and then dinner of some very yummy pork chops. I might have gone back for seconds :)
Also caught a cane toad to show around to people (although didn't actually get a photo - oh well - tomorrow night!)
Then back to the room to do photos and stuff.
So my grumpiness started last night. I was feeling quite stressed about not getting enough down time. We didn't get back to our room after dinner til nearly 9pm, and by the time I have to blog and download photos and download and backup the GPS track and get to bed in time to give me enough hours sleep before I wake up at 6am .. well.. yeah .. the lack of evening time is getting to me.
Then this morning I was stressing about the cost of this trip. This trip is more expensive per day than any other holiday I've ever done. And if you start comparing it with something like our Turkey trip which was a similar time period but less expensive, but on that trip we were staying in nice hotels every night, and having restaurant quality meals for every meal, and going into a lot of paid attractions as well as having the driver, guide, coach and international air fares.. well it does make this trip *seem* overpriced. And I found out that I paid $65 dollars for the box of crap they sent me... hrmm!!
The other thing that's been stressing me is the lack of Optus. I had Optus coverage at Ravenshoe. Then we went inland. We got to Undara which was in the middle of nowhere so that was ok (the resort wanted $15/day for wifi so I thought I could wait). But then there was no coverage at Georgetown. And no coverage at Cobbold Gorge (again in the middle of nowhere). Internet there was about $3/day which was reasonable but I thought I'd get internet again the next day so I didn't worry.
So today we left Cobbold Gorge, headed back north and then west.
Stopped at a lake outside Georgetown for morning tea which was very pretty.
Then onto Croydon. Again, no Optus.
Our driver suggested where we could go for a little walk before we met the rest of the group for lunch. Which was actually quite nice. They've turned a bunch of the old buildings into little museums which were quite interesting. We could have easily spent a couple of hours wandering through them all. But alas. No time.
So powered out to Ellavale to wait for the Gulflander train. Well, rail motor. As the driver said, a bus on rails, which it really was. The track was mostly all straight so after about five minutes the novelty was somewhat over ;) But really, it was fun. And we didn't hit any kangaroos, even though lots of them jumped in front of us!
Then we had a couple of hour trip west. I tried to listen to podcasts, but succommbed to sleepiness and dozed for about half an hour or so. Maybe closer to an hour.
Just before Normanton my phone suddenly bleeped. And I was so excited! Internet! So messaged the sweetie and downloaded internet and it was all good. Ever so briefly. Outside of town it went away, but it never came back at Karumba :(:( I was *soooo* pissed off by the time we arrived at our motel room. You don't understand. I was *counting* on internet at Karumba. So that made me super grumpy.
Anyway, I washed my pants and got changed and redid my hair but I was still grumpy.
So we piled onto the coach for a 200m drive to the water. !? ok whatevs. The boat ride out into the Gulf was quite pleasant. Slow but pleasant. Eventually we ended up at a sandbar in the gulf where we disembarked.
Ok so the last time I had to shell my own crab meat was in Japan in 2009. In a completely controlled environment I found it an awful lot of work. But tonight we were perched on itty bitty seats, with camera bags hanging off the shoulders, and the wind blowing, and our drinks in the sand, and trying to shell crabs and prawns without the whole lot falling off into the sand... well it was all super stressful. In fact I had to take a couple of breaks to compose myself. And even then it didn't really work. After I struggled my way through half a crab and three prawns I took my glass of bubbly and headed off into the sunset to have a moment. Yeap. The most stressful experience of the trip so far. Even though it was really pretty. But. *so stressful*.
So I think I'm going to be hungry later, because all I managed to eat tonight was three prawns and half a crab. Not even any fruit for dessert. By the time I was ready to eat something, they were taking everything away. Oh well.
So had another few moments on the boat on the way back. But there were stars. And being on the water was nice.
So was still quite grumpy, but we started talking stars, and the tour leader lent me her phone so I could call the sweetie, then a whole bunch of people headed to the motel pub so I brought the laptop to type up today, and now I'm feeling a whole lot better.
Didn't sleep all that well. While the pillows at the Shangri-La were very soft and squishy and turned into nothing, the pillows at Undara were super thick and quite uncomfortable on my neck.
Breakfast was cool though - the "bush breakfast" out in the bush. Quite lovely.
Then we piled on a small coach which took us out to a couple of caves in the lava tubes. Those things are really quite spectacular. Thoroughly enjoyed those.
Then hopped back into our main coach and drove for a couple of hours, stopping in Georgetown for lunch. Sadly Georgetown doesn't have an Optus repeater, so I messaged the sweetie from someone else's phone to let him know.
After lunch we headed for Cobbold Gorge. Our room is nice enough, however they turned the only useable table into a luggage rack. Fail. So I'm typing this standing up on the bed head. Hrmm.
Anyway, after dumping our stuff we piled into another coach to go out to the Cobbold Gorge to go on a little boat cruise. They use really quiet little electric boats and the gorge is spectacular. Such a peaceful trip up and back. And we got to see some freshies :)
Got back and had a bit of a swim in the inifity pool which was lovely.
Then some bubbly and cheese before dinner.
Dinner was much like a home-cooked affair. But again, after three courses plus cheese I am completely stuffed. I think I've put on like five kilos in two days :/
After dinner they put on a video of the family from Big Country filmed in the late seventies or early eighties. It was ok but it was nearly 8:30 and I was uncomfortable from dinner and have I ever mentioned I hate how little down time you get from trips like this? I'm always exhausted by the time I get a chance to write up the day's events and download my photos, that often these writeups skip things I've thought of because it's just too hard and I want to get it over and done with .. hrmm...
At least there's aircon...
So woke up at 5am. The mother type person wanted to get up but I said too early and went back to sleep for nearly an hour.
Went for a bit of a walk before breakfast, then had another big breakfast at the hotel. Then I realised I'd lost my name tag (it was hanging off my camera bag) and so went to go find it. Fortunately I lost it at the very beginning of the walk so found it very quickly.
All on the bus by 8am, but then we sat in the car park for half an hour while they went through housekeeping.
Headed off to the south-west and up onto the Atherton tablelands through some very pretty scenery.
We stopped for morning tea at Lake Eacham, where there were super cute tortoises in a pretty crater lake.
Then we backtracked a little to see the Cathedral Fig Tree - a spectacular Green Fig tree that is *huge*! Quite a spectacular tree.
Our next stop was Millaa Millaa falls which were also very pretty.
Had a brief stop at McHugh lookout near Millaa Millaa.
And then another brief stop at the Windy Hill (very appropriately named) wind farm.
The we finally made it into Ravenshoe for lunch. For a picnic lunch it was quite impressive, with lots of salads and meats etc.
After lunch was quite a long(ish) drive out to Undara. Arrived there about 4:30, then went for a walk up to the lookout and around the campsite. Unfortunately no mobile reception here (although I think Telstra might work), and they want $15/day for internet. So no contact with the sweetie tonight.. sorry sweetie!
Our room is in an old train carriage! It's super cool. Such a lovely place. Went up for a drink before dinner. Which. Was. Huge!!! I had steak, potato and salad, but couldn't finish it all. I am still *very* full. Then back to the carriage to blog and download photos and try and charge all my devices (I *really* need another micro usb cable!)
So the day started just before six when mum noticed me stirring and asked if I was awake. Hrmm. So got up and organised photos and posted my blog and crap.
Went down to breakfast and ate lots of naughty things and a few bits of fruit to make it look like I was at least pretending to be healthy.
Went for a little walk around the marina while waiting for our bus pickup.
At 8:30 lots of people were waiting for pickups by lots of different tour companies. Several came and went before the correct one did.
So we go driven up to the Kuranda Skyway station where we took the Skyway (Sky Train?) up the Barren Gorge. It was quite spectacular! Got out at the appointed places to have a walk around the rainforest and look out at the lookouts. I'd love to see the falls during the rainy season - that would be amazing!
Arrived at Kuranda at around 11am. Walked along the waterfront up to the big road bridge, then up into the very hippy-ish markets. Found the Cassowary Cafe and had potato twisties and sat for a while and that took us up til about midday. Hrmm. Still three and a half hours to wait for our train back.
So walked through the tourist trap of stores and was a bit jaded by the whole thing. The Birdland would have been cool to go into, but they wanted $17 each which I thought was a bit steep.
So we just kept walking through the jungle. To be honest I was pretty tired from being hot and sweaty (have I ever mentioned how much I hate humidity?). So mum took me on a couple of jungle walks which were pleasant enough temperature-wise (if not humidity-wise) but ultimately a little boring.
Then we realised we'd be able to see the 2pm train going over a bridge, so went to go document that which was good.
Then back into town to look at the "main street" of tourist trap shops before *finally* getting onto the train at ~3:15pm.
The train ride was pretty cool. Some nice views of the spectacular gorge and a fairly leisurely trip down the hill.
Finally got picked up by the bus transfers a bit after 5pm, to take us back to our hotels.
Yeap. A super long, tiring day. I could easily have spent a couple of hours less in Kuranda and come back early (the 2pm train would have been ideal). Oh well.
Had a shower when I got back to the hotel (stoopid humidity) then we went down for dinner.
Met up with the rest of the people on the tour and had a lovely three course meal in the hotel restaurant. I had garlic prawns, pork belly and lemon meringue. It was all delicious. My only complaint was that the pork crackling wasn't crackling all over, only at the edges.
Then back up here to download photos, blog and wash my hair....
So I always forget *something*. This time I forgot all the paperwork for the trip. Not super critical, but annoying. And the map. But mum brought hers. I also wish I'd brought a bottle opener. How is one meant to kick back with a beer at the end of the day, sitting overlooking the marina and typing up the day's blog entry? Unless one makes sure to get twist tops or cans. But I digress.
So I was up at 5am. The sweetie kindly took me to the airport.
The first flight was in a 717 (really a rebadged MD-95). I'd only ever been in a 717 at the Canberra Airport Open Day, and never flown in one before (I think I've been in other MD planes though). I had seat 22F, which is up near the back of the plane, as I prefer. However the wings on a 717 are *way* back. And the engines are *just there*. In fact if I'd been any further back all would have been able to see would have been the engines. Note to self: next time flying on a 717, get seats up the front, further forward than rows 13/14 which are the exit rows.
We didn't get much in the way of breakfast, just a slice of banana bread. Qantas have also relaxed the PED (Personal Electronic Device) rules. If they're switched to flight mode you can leave them on the entire trip (except laptops, they still want you turn those off for takeoff/landing). And they had these little iPad minis that you could play movies, music and tv on. Sadly no games, which was a bit of a downer. Also the home button was disabled so didn't take you home which was a bit of a poo. Anyway I watched a doco - the Twitter Revolution, which I didn't quite finish because we landed.
Also there were clouds most of the way, so the view was pretty boring for most of it.
Anyway. Arrived in Sydney then went in search of a bit more substantial breakfast. They don't have a Maccas inside T3 so I had to have Hungry Jacks hash browns :(
Then went and met up with mum. We also saw a couple that had Outback Spirit bags as well, so chatted to them a bit too. They were doing a Cape York tour.
Our next flight was on a 767. Up the back again, as per my preference. Mum was happy that she didn't have to sit in the middle seat next to a random because of the 767's 2-3-2 seat configuration.
We took off to the south, but again the clouds made the take off pretty boring.
They gave us a more substantial breakfast this time, but being at the back of the plane it was quite late arriving, so I was glad I'd had something else to eat earlier.
Watched The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (on full iPads this time) which I quite enjoyed. Mum watched The Other Woman, which looked like it might have been fun. Sadly they didn't have Frozen. They didn't even have the Lego Movie on the iPads, although they had it on the minis on the short flight. Go figure.
After our movies finished we began our descent. Came in from the north but clouds prevented us seeing Cairns before we arrived.
So picked up our bags, checked the price of the shuttle ($28 for two people), then went and took a cab ($26).
Our hotel is lovely. We have a nice view of the marina and the mountains to the south.
Now if the sweetie had been here he would have flopped onto the bed and declared it a day. But it was only about midday, so mum and I decided to go for a wander. We got changed out of our winter clothes and into something more appropriate for the tropics and off we went.
After checking out the pool we meandered past the jetty, lagoon, war memorial etc, then headed through town up to the station. Stopped in Cairns Central for a *very* late lunch at Surf and Thai. Which was more like surf and western Chinese, but whatevs.
Then meandered back to the hotel to get changed to go for a swim in the lagoon! Mum has been to Cairns a couple of times but for one reason or another has never managed a swim in the lagoon. It turned out to be quite pleasant. So stayed in there for a little while, then came back to the hotel again.
So this is where I went on a little expedition to get beer, and sat down outside to type up what we've done so far today :)
It's been quite windy today actually. Which in the tropics is quite a blessing. I'd have been dying otherwise!
Moving on. So after typing up what we'd done so far we went out for another wander. Took some photos of the trees and the lagoon by night - very pretty.
Then battled the crowds in town. It had been the Amateurs day at the races, so there were a *lot* of short skirts, crazy high heels and fascinators. We had a quick wander through the Night Markets, Cairns attempt at an Asian-style market to keep the tourists happy. Then we ended up at Coffee Club for some calamari and chocolate cake.
The back to the hotel to crash.
Sunday I headed up to Sydney in time for a reunion of the people we went to Turkey with. Chatted with some peoples and got to see Heather's photo books of our Israel/Jordan and Egypt trips. They were spectacular, would love to get around to making some photos books ... one day ...
Then for dinner Aunty Di and Graham and Chrissie and Zac and Dave and Yvonne and Ben all came over to Mum's for a birthday dinner of takeaway chinese.
We showed Zac Bubble Butt, he kinda freaked out hehe
There's photos of me and a cake around somewhere, I really should find those :)
Monday was Peking Duck day with @StuartCRyan
Monday and Tuesday we continued the cleanup downstairs (and upstairs).
Anyone want any back issues of Silicon Chip or Electronics Australia?
Wednesday night I came home.
The craziness at work continues. By 3pm I was asking if it was beer o'clock yet.
Didn't have any beer, but did have some lemon tea in these cute little cups, both of which I got in Turkey.
Not that there's actually any tea in the powedered drinks I got in Turkey. It's just sugar and flavours (I got lemon, apple and pomegranite). And the silly thing is, they serve it with sugar cubes - but the drink is already super sweet as it is!
After unpacking and organising everything from the trip, I put together my purchases and souvenirs for a photo ..
Yesterday we went out to the club for the afternoon/evening for the club's birthday party.
The mushrooms are getting bigger ..
There's also a super cute ringtail possum that hangs out around the sauna
Woke up in the middle of the night and took forever to get back to sleep, so we came home mid-late morning and I crashed for an hour or so.
Really didn't get anything much useful done today, although I have geotagged three days of photos from our trip.
And I went and played with Kit's new chickies
So you probably wouldn't have noticed the past week's silence, on account of I'm often silent for a week (although I usually try and catch up on the weekends), but we've just come home from a week in Hong Kong!
Here's the blog, without pictures. I'm going to get the pictures up pretty soon, as I want to show them to Dad in the next couple of weeks.