A Travellerspoint blog

Video Footage - The Big Jump

Sorry about the angle.. but here is the evidence of my 10 M rock jump

overcast 30 °C
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Posted by AndyGem 22:18 Archived in Laos Tagged boating Comments (0)

Video Footage - Whoo Hoooo!

Splashing around in the lagoon

sunny 30 °C
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Posted by AndyGem 22:16 Archived in Laos Tagged bicycle Comments (0)

Video Footage - Water Puppets

Famous Theatre in Hanoi

overcast 29 °C
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Posted by AndyGem 22:14 Archived in Vietnam Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Video Footage - Bumper Cars

Having fun in the Cat Ba Island Caves

sunny 25 °C
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Posted by AndyGem 22:10 Archived in Vietnam Tagged boating Comments (0)

Smellbourne...Gateway to the Gold!

The first few weeks in our new home town

all seasons in one day 13 °C
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We've made it to Melbourne in one piece! Hurrah! What a relief to be settling in one place for a while and thankfully after our arduous journey we had a fantastic flat waiting for us... right by the sea, complete with pool table, jacuzzi, lounge bar, and most importantly, a lovely soft mattress and clean sheets to jump into and catch up on much needed snooze time. When we awoke it did feel a bit strange that the landlords were living above us, almost like we were guests because they were just so welcoming and friendly. It actually felt unnatural to trust someone's kindness after all the hardened travelling of being 'on guard' for untrustworthy strangers trying to sell us ancient carpets or trips on the golden triangle. Our new friendly hosts must have thought we such typical prude pommes, but we soon softend up and relished in our good fortune, utilising their local knowledge of where to buy cheap booze. There is this fantastic shop in the village nearby called, simply the... 'Grog Shop' - which just epitomises the wonderful, colloquial, laid back Aussie attitude. Practically everything and anything is shortend or abridged to bring out a whole new meaning. "What a beaut!".

I have categorised this blog entry under 'armchair travel', mainly because since we got here the only thing we have been able to afford to do is sit on the couch and watch the television, well not entirely, but almost. The flat is based out by the coast in a place called 'Seaford' and when booking we didn't realise it was an hour commute outside Melbourne centre... which is 24 train stops away..and $10 fare. So, we have been slightly restricted with location and lack of funds which we are working on at this very moment. Andy has secured himself a great position working for a big engineering company, and his first assignment is on the Melbourne waterworks...down in the sewers...what a stonker eh?! I am not having as much luck, and currently harrassing every recruitment agency I can lay my hands on. It seems the global recession has not hit Oz as hard as the UK...but companies are still tightening their belts and not readily hiring. Alas, I will keep plugging away and in the meantime I will savour my time of unemployment by being a good housewife, cleaning, washing, cooking, eating biscuits, watching daytime tv, having my nails done.. er...!

Despite the challenges of relocation we have been enjoying our first few weeks in our new home- we took a nice, leisurely 4-hour bike ride round the Mornington Peninsular last weekend, passing wineries, golden beaches, quaint villages, dog parlours..yes, lots of places for pets, especially centres for unruly mutts. I scheduled Andre in for a session next week to work on his behaviour :) There is so much to do around this area, activities like diving, wine tasting, golfing and surfing. Needless to say we have a whole list of hobbies we want to get into in, and we have already started our own wine tasting at home! The city centre is also a hive of action with plenty of bars, restaurants, theatres and sports to keep us busy. It is a very clean, green, easy to navigate place, with a FREE tourist bus and inner city tram to take us round the sights! Great for us budget busters. On our first exploration we went to the City Museum and discovered that Melbourne was originally full of lots of men named John, and most of them came from Liverpool. I loved the story about all the deserted ships in Melbourne's harbour, one Captain couldn't find enough people to crew his ship back to Liverpool, so he had to ask the 500 inmates in prison if they wished to help and in return be freed... but only 7 agreed! The rest preferred to stay in a cell and wait til they were let loose on the glorious outback! The main reason being that Melbourne was known as the 'gateway to the gold', and people were flocking from England to dig up their own precious nugget. It was recorded that one of the first pieces of sparkling bullion, known as the 'welcome nugget' weighed in at 68kg! Thats more than I weigh! It is also well known that more of that prized treasure could still be lurking somewhere... yay! I just need to buy a pick axe.

Before the main infrastructure was built Melbourne was like any undeveloped town in the 1800's with potted roads and raw sewage running down the pavements....which ultimately lead to a rather stinky aroma and encouraged the town's new nickname of 'Smell-bourne'. Now, I am glad to report that a sturdy sewage system was put in place to rectify the problem and it is still going strong today. However, I am quite concerned that we may once again return to this smelly era with Andy in charge of the pipes, so if you are planning a trip over then do remember to bring a nose peg. Ha! Not really, I am pretty sure there will be parts of Smellbourne named after McGuinness sooner or later, he is not a John but he is from Liverpool (kind of) so thats in his favour!

So, after three weeks we are settling in nicely. We are moving into a gorgeous riverside apartment this week, which is very central, so that will give me a chance to be close to the agencies.. and the shops. Our first guests are arriving in five weeks (Margaret and Ricky I hope you are getting excited) and as we have a nice big spare bedroom so we do encourage any other visitors. Some of you may be saddened to hear that I will not be updating the blog on a weekly basis, and I think Andy is well and truly fed up of writing it, so I will keep you posted on a need-to-know basis - when anything juicy happens basically.

Until next time...

Posted by AndyGem 22:50 Archived in Australia Tagged armchair_travel Comments (0)

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