Saturday, July 30, 2005

Coffee & Trains

My dear friend TB kills me. Today we were on the same train. I was going to Stratford to visit my 'rents for a bit. She was on her way to London to visit our old mutual roommate. Anyway, I'd convinced her to take the train with me because a) the Saturday morning train is really cheap for some reason; and b) they give you free refills on coffee. Honestly, I love sitting on the train in the morning while drinking coffee and watching the Southwestern Ontario scenery go by.

As soon as the train started moving, TB started saying "When do we get the coffee? I'm so excited for the coffee! How do they serve it? Do they have a cart like on planes or do you order it and they bring it to your seat? Is it here yet?" I explained to her that they serve it on a cart and that it would be coming shortly but we were on the last car so it might take awhile to get to us. I was sitting in the aisle seat and could see where the cart was so I assured her that I would let her know as soon as it got to our vicinity.

Well, dear ol' BT got out her change purse and waited. Finally, the cart came and the girl got her beloved coffee. No sooner than two seconds after we were served, I looked over at her cup and it was completly empty. "I wanted to make sure I was ready with my empty cup when the refills come around," she explained. "I wouldn't want to just get half a cup."

Awhile later the cart was passing by us and stopped. TB reaches over me and stops it with her cup. The attendant was quite startled to have a cup stuck out at her abruptly and said "would you like a refill?" Anyway, I laughed so hard at the girl. She was so excited about her coffee. I'd never seen someone railroad a serving cart in such a manner.

Tomorrow I'm going to meet up with TB and old roommate in London. It'll be weird hanging out with my Toronto friends on my sort-of-home turf.

So far I've had an okay time back in Stratford. I just went for a drive to Shoppers and Zellers. I find driving always such a fun novelty when I'm visiting. I've noticed that as I've gotten older, I don't even run into people I know anymore here. Which is a mixed blessing I suppose. I no longer run into people I'd sooner forget, but I also don't run into enjoyable people either.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Which 90s subculture do you belong to?

Thanks to Aphelia for leading me to this quiz. And, I was very happy to find out that I'm indie! Woo! All of my hours rolling my eyes at my friends who love Nickelback have paid off.

I'll take this oppurtunity to recommend the new Cuff the Duke CD to all. I'm loving it right now. And, it looks like the CD is $10 pretty much everywhere, so everyone should buy it. I guess Cuff the Duke is totally the buzz band of the moment; they've been in all the newspapers and even on that stupid CTV entertainment show that has Ben Mulroney on it. Oh no! Are they going too mainstream? What shall I ever do? I wouldn't want to lose my Indie designation...

In that instant it started to pour.

Today I watch the movie "The Corporation". Good stuff. I especially like what Michael Moore says at the very end of the movie. Kudos that it's a Canadian film too. I also felt a sense of shame while I was watching the movie and thinking about how attached I am to certain material goods in my life - like my iPod.

Tomorrow I'm taking the Saturday morning train to Stratford to stay with the 'rents for a bit. It'll be good to catch up with my pals from home.

I think that right now I'm in a bit of a downswing coming off of my Australian holiday. I just don't know what to do with my time. There's a lot I could be doing - cleaning, organizing, planning for next year, reading, exploring the city - but I'm not. Well, maybe some time in Stratford will be good for me. I'll walk around the river. That's always good.

Oh here's my favourite Koala picture from my trip. I think I took it at the Rainforestation in Kuranda. I caught the little guy having a snack!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

"I love you for the Destiny's Child!"

Yet another relaxing day in the world of my summer vacation.

Anyway, I told my roommate that she should come see Rufus & Ben with TB and me on August 9th. One of today's tasks was to go pick up her ticket for her. I figured that was only fair since the girl works insane hours and I'm on summer vacation...

Anyhow, while I was waiting in line to get her ticket there were these two young guys (maybe 19) behind me. They were very excited and talking in Spanish. One of them comes up beside me and says "I love you for the Destiny's Child!" Now, the funniest thing was that I heard the "I love you" part way ahead of the "Destiny's Child" part and I was quite taken aback, since strangers don't confess their love for me on a daily basis. But once the Destiny's Child part registered in my brain, the shock turned into me trying not to laugh really hard. They ended up telling me how they came up from Mexico especially for the Destiny's Child concert and were, quite obviously, very excited. I had to enjoy them for their enthusiasm, even if it was for Destiny's Child.

Oh, and after all that, the Rufus & Ben concert is sold out, so poor roomie can't go. I'm relieved I have my tickets.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

If only I were taller I'd see past the clutter and plan my escape...

So I really did a whole lot of nothing today. I walked down to Yonge & Eg and wandered around some shops for a bit but that's about it. Oh, I got at Tiamo at the Second Cup because they're only $2 on Wednesdays.

I wasted some time using this fun thing. I sent TB a painting and she asked might she acquire a print for her cubicle at work. Here's one of my masterpieces.

The Life of a Penguin is NOT the Life for Me.

I had a busy night tonight. First I met up with TB to go to the Cuff the Duke CD release party at Soundscapes at 6:30 pm. Man, it was sooooooooooo hot, but their performance was really good and I picked up their new disc for $9.99! Woo!

Then I met up with an old neighbour from my days in residence to see the flick March of the Penguins. It was very well done. It's a documentary about a year in the life cycle of Antarctic emperor penguins. They certainly didn't evolve to have an easy life. At the beginning of winter, they walk 70 miles from the sea to their breeding ground where they pair up. (They're monogamous for one year). The female lays an egg, then passes it over to the male to take care of it while she walks 70 miles back to the sea to eat. Then, she wanders back to the breeding ground, feeds the chick (who has hatched while she was away) and takes over for the male who walks the 70 miles back to the sea (he's starving by this point). Anyway, the male and female take turns feeding the chick, who is super cute by the way. Finally, after 9 months, the parents leave the chick who goes on its own way to the ocean.

The film-making was amazing. I can't believe that the makers of the film spent so much time in Antarctica. Added bonus: narration by Morgan Freeman.

Here's a picture of Australian little penguins and a Fjordland penguin that I took at the Taronga zoo in Sydney. I loved that zoo. It was definitely my favourite of the many we visited in Australia. The best thing about it is that it's pretty compact so you don't spend half your time trekking around the zoo. Not that I can really complain. At least I'm not an Emperor Penguin.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Weirdness with Blogger Images

Okay, so I just discovered Blogger's new Images feature which makes uploading pictures sooooo much easier. But with my last post, I find that the text in between the pictures is sometime disappearing... Weird. When I scrolled my browser up and down, or highlighted the text, it would reappear.


So yeah, there is text in between the pics in the last post.

Funny Australian Signs

One thing that my travelling buddies and I noticed in Australia was that many of their signs were very illustrative. Here are some of my favourites.

Below is a sign on one of the crocodile enclosures at the Australia Zoo which is home of the infamous Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. It instructs the proper position for viewing the crocodile. As noted, other positions will result in death.

Here's a picture of the foam Steve Irwin that made an appearance at the Australia Zoo. Guess the real one was busy that day. Anyway, the quality is rather poor since I was pretty far away. I will admit that he's also not a sign but still funny.

Our good buddy Mr. Foam Steve Irwin made an appearnce at the zoo's "Crocoseum". Gee, did they make that word up?

An interesting sandwich board that we passed by at the Brisbane bus terminal.

Another wonderfully illustrative sign at Mossman Gorge.

A helpful sign warning you of stingers at the beach at Cape Tribulation. If you look closely, you'll see that there is a bottle of vinegar in between the yellow sign and the white sign. Luckily, we weren't there when stingers are in season. They're pretty bad in the summer months and are apparently very very painful.

And one more helpful sign to show you what not do when by crocdile infested waters.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

It's good to be home...

I think one of the nicest things about taking a holiday is actually looking forward to coming home. After a very long flight from Sydney to LA, a quick connection, and a significantly shorter flight from LA to Toronto, I made it back to Canada in one piece. Even better, I survived the traffic from the airport to my place.

So I think I have the weirdest case of jet lag ever. I was pretty tired when I got back, but I spent time chatting with my roommate and then TB came over to collect her souvenir and see my pictures. We drank a bottle of Wolf Blass Rose to commemorate my visit to their winery in the Barossa Valley outside of Adelaide. Even after that, it took we awhile to fall asleep. Anyhow, the thing that makes my jet lag strange is that I woke up at 7 am this morning, after only about 6 hours of sleep and couldn't get back to sleep. All this after not sleeping for over 24 hours... Odd.

Anyway, I killed time in the morning playing around on the Interent and then I went to the overpriced crappy grocery store that is a short walking distance from my apt to get some basics. I had lunch followed by an afternoon nap. Then it was off to see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on the Imax screen at Paramount. I enjoyed it a lot. Even better, I got to see the preview for the next Harry Potter movie on such a big screen. I had also seen that trailer in Australia when we did the Gold Class Seating thing. I'm so excited for that movie.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I of course of course of course picked up the new book the day it came out when I was in Australia. I'm glad that the Australian version, like the Canadian version but unlike the American version, was printed on rainforest-friendly paper. Anyway, I loved it and finished it long before the plane ride home. My initial plan was to save it for the flight. But once I started it, I couldn't stop. I can't wait for the next (and last) book!

Anyway, after the movie, TB and I wandered around Queen St. and did some shopping. I fell in love with a limited edition purse designed by Paul Frank for John Deere that has old fashioned tractors on it. It's really neat. It was on sale (but still expensive) but I bought it. So that's my impulse buy for the summer. After that, we had sushi for dinner then we wandered to her apartment so I could see her Thailand pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I definitely will try to upload some fun pics from Oz on here tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Only two more days and one really really long flight to go...

Well, now I'm in Sydney! I've been here, for about 36 hours and I like the city so far, despite the fact that it is "the dead of winter". You should see how some of the people here bundle up for their 18 degree weather.

In Adelaide, many of the locals were crying about the "cold spell" they were enduring. It got as low as 12 degrees during the day. Oh, the humanity!!!

I really liked Adelaide, it was a very British-y city with a really easy-to-navigate layout. I think if I were to live in one of the Australian cities that we've visited, Adelaide would be it. I'd live there despite their cruel winters. Sydney's good though; I was happy to get back to the hustle and bustle of a big city. Adelaide felt kind of like Toronto if it had been injected with a large dose of a heavy sedative.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Destination #2 - Cairns

Wow! Cairns has been absolutely amazing. I love this place. We got here on Saturday. Beautiful weather greeted us. It has been 25-27 degrees each day with sunshine and 0 humidity. I've heard about the heat wave in Toronto and can't say that I'm sad to be missing it.

Cairns is right on the Pacific and is surrounded by rainforest-covered mountains. Our hotel is 3 blocks from the ocean. Since it's the dead of winter here, Cairns isn't too busy. It's got Night Markets and lots of neat restuarants and things for travellers. Right now we're on a down day so we hit an internet cafe to get caught up.

On our first day here we went on a Great Barrier Reef Cruise. It was amazing! FF got seasick. Snorkelling there was amazing!

The second day we went on a tour of the rainforest. We took a train to Kuranda, which is a village in the rainforest. We took the Sky Rail back, which was so cool.

Looks like it's time to leave the cafe and head down to the ocean! I love this place!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Week 1 in Oz

The good news - I've survived the 13 + hour flight from LA to Brisbane. The better news - my week in Brisbane, which is nearing its end, has been amazing! First off, the weather has been absolutely beautiful. It's been sunny every day and about 22 degrees. Wonderful. And don't forget, this is the dead of winter for them. Lucky ducks.

Here is a quick summary of my activities thus far:

July 1st - Flew from Toronto to LA. Had a 3 hour layover in LA where we had dinner. MC confused the American waiter with use of the word cutlery. Boarded flight to Brisbane at 11 pm.

July 2nd - We lost this day.

July 3rd - Arrived in Brisbane at 6:05 am after being in the air for over 13 hours. My feet were swollen. Miraculously met up with W's roommates visitors and shared a "Maxi Taxi" to W's place. Caught up with W, had a wonderful shower and watched my feet return to their normal size. In the afternoon we visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where FF met the goal of her trip - holding a koala bear.

July 4th - MC, FF and I took the bus to the Queen St. Mall. Arrived back at W's for a BBQ with roommates, other visitors and other residents of Brisbane's Canadian ghetto.

July 5th - Took long train ride out of city to the Crocodile Hunter Zoo. Crikey!

July 6th - Saw "Batman Begins" in Gold Class Seating. Paid $17 but got to sit in a super comfy lazy-boy recliner and was waited on hand and foot. Learned the invaluable lesson that eating a chocolate sundae in the dark usually means I'll end up with ice cream on my shirt.

July 7th (today) - Wend on bus tour of Sunshine Coast. Visited a ginger factory (surprisingly fun), learned about the legends associated with the Glasshouse Mountains and visited Noosa, a posh beach town. Would have enjoyed Noosa more if we didn't spend the majority of the time there in a restaurant, waiting for our lunch. If you ever find yourself in Noosa, do not eat at La Vida on Hastings Street. Afterwards, we continued to Under Water World. Met up with W's roommate's visitors who had gone swimming in the shark tank there. Yes, you read right, swimming in the shark tank. They said it was amazing.

That brings me up to date. Tomorrow we don't have much planned except doing some laundry and going to a pub. Then on Saturday, we're on the plane to Cairns. I think Cairns will be great.

I've taken loads of pictures and I'll upload a bunch when I'm home. I'm going to devote an entire post to "Australian Signs that Make Me Laugh".


Friday, July 01, 2005

Bon voyage a moi!

Well, today is departure day!

What that means is that I survived the last day of work (no problem). I got my courses for next year and they're not too shabby. I have some grade 10s mixed in with my grade 9s. The day I get a senior course, I'll probably keel over from shock. But, on the bright side, it looks like I have my own room!

But blah blah blah about that.

So I'm off today! T-about 6 hours until my flight. I'm mostly packed, I just gotta throw a couple more things together and finishing tidying the national disaster zone that is my apartment. Blech. I hate cleaning.

Anyway, I may blog a bit while I'm in Brisbane. After that, it might be awhile.

Au revoir!