A Travellerspoint blog

Incey Wincey Spider

Yikkkkkkkkkkkkkkes!

24 °C
View Round t' World on pollyali's travel map.

Today has been one of the most exciting days we have had in Oz so far. Not only have we both had an interview for a job today, (fingers crossed we will be working on Monday), but also we woke up to our first ferocious spider! It sitting there quite happily with it’s razor sharp fangs and long spindly legs in the kitchen sink waiting for it‘s next kill!
Now we have been preparing ourselves for this day since I can remember! Ali even started familiarising himself with the eight legged critters before we had even left the U.K by paying regular visits to a website listing some of Australia’s deadly spiders. Armed with Ali’s knowledge and a refresher course in the ‘Bugs Alive’ section at the Melbourne Museum we knew we were qualified to identify the critter as a White Tailed Spider! Now this spider wouldn’t actually kill you but a list of symptoms after a run in with one would be such delights as; vomiting, muscle twitches, headache and ulceration around the bite,Ewgh!!! doesn’t sound nice does it? We calmly managed to snap the arachnid and then wash it down the sink with the aid of a kettle full of water. Later that day we learned that the white tailed spider (or spid as we now call them) is a pest and our Landlord Shaun went white with fear when we told him!
We even took a picture for you,look.

Spid.JPG

And check out our house, nice! We have chandeliers and an unofficial pet mousey called Shane.

Home sweet home.JPG

Inside.JPG

Last Saturday was the hottest day so far, it was around 39 degrees, I know a lot of you will have experienced hotter conditions, but when the city is surrounded by bush fires and the wind changes the conditions are unbearable! We woke up to a smell of burning wood, I had just presumed the neighbour was ignoring the total fire ban and was having a bonfire, that was until I went outside for my morning run (one of my many promises to myself to keep up for the foreseeable future) and I couldn’t see to the end of the road! The wind had changed direction and was blowing all the smoke our way! We paid a visit to the trusty BBC website and viewed a satellite photo of the area, oh my god, much of Victoria, a state the size of Britain was covered in smoke! Needless to say it was very hot and sweaty! The best remedy for this was a trip to the seaside. Our local beach is just down the road from us, but after paddling in there one drunken night we had come to conclusion that St Kilda beach was possibly not one of the nicest around and so headed off on the train to Brighton Beach, which is just 20 minutes down the track.
Whilst we were basking in the sun we witnessed a fire break out right in front of us and the resulting smoke managed to waft across the bay in our general direction.. It didn’t however, cool us down. This was done by frequent bathing in the Sea.. Another dangerous activity to cross off our list of things to do as the seas around this country are home to some of the most dangerous creatures and squelch things ever. We must have made quite a sight for some of the locals as Stokey Will enjoyed spinning around with Pol and Andrea making numerous comments about sharks and cone fish!

Melbourne at Night.JPG

In the evening we headed out into the city to check out the Christmas lights and a local free open air screening of the classic film ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’, oh how we chuckled! Melbourne was however very picturesque in the twinkling moonlight, but did lack the Christmas cheer we are so used to at home, I think it’s probably down to the weather rather than the people. If truth be told it really doesn’t feel much like xmas at all! Somehow walking around listening to “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” and “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” wearing only shorts and a t-shirt whist basking in the sun doesn’t seem quite right. I’m so confused to what time of year it actually is I keep asking Ali when Wimbledon is due to start!
All across Melbourne there are crazy sculptures we took the opportunity to pose next to some of them.

Oh while I was walking around the streets of Melbourne I came across a familiar face, those of you who live in Manchester may recognise this little character, I can’t remember where about’s I’ve seen him before but I know that there maybe one or two in the Northern quarter and I think one somewhere on Oxford Rd!

Monster.JPG

Here are our friends Andrea and Will, ain’t they sweet!

Stokies.JPG

As we mentioned early, we took ourselves to the Melbourne Museum this week to check out in full colour, some of the beasties that we will probably see on our journeys. Eurckkk some of the insects are wrong! Check dis out!

Huntsman.JPG

and here's one of me for Mum and Dad.

Pol outside Museum.JPG

We had to make a sharp exit from the museum as the kangaroos woke up and started chasing Ali!

Roos.JPG

Rest of the week has been spent looking for jobs, being turned away for not being Australian and generally getting annoyed at the lack of work in this place. Things are looking up though and fingers crossed, we will both be working next week… oh and great first day in the cricket.. Shame Cook and Bell couldn’t stay in for a tad longer!

Posted by pollyali 18:28 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (3)

We're off to see the Wizard.

G'day Mate!

sunny 30 °C
View Round t' World on pollyali's travel map.

So here we are in the land of kangaroo's, croc's, sharks and all the other deadly creatures (Kangaroos cause many car crashes a year, so they are deadly). We arrived into Melbourne, pronounced 'bun'on Friday evening expecting to have spiders jumping out at us from every nook and cranny and headed to our brand spanking new hostel in St Kilda, which is an '2 kewl 4 skool' suburb to the south-east of the city. We quickly made bezzy mates with another couple from the crap town of Stoke, who were also travellling around the world. They appear to be so in denial about their roots, that one of them sounds like a Brummy, and they tell everyone they are from near Manchester! That was until they met us who scuppered their lies!
The hostel it'self was indeed brand spanking new, so brand spanking new that it wasn't even finished! We were woken up to the delightful sound of workmen banging and sawing on the top floor, which reverbarated down the lift shaft and spread it'self throughout along the steel celings and into our room. I understand they have to get the place finished but do they really have to start at 6.30am!!!!! I have become accustomed to the art of complaining since I've been away so headed down to reception to ask them to refrain from such practises, to which the response was "sorry mate, the manager's not here until 9am, but I'll take your name and get her to speak to you when she arrives", 'great' I thought but that doesn't help me now!!! When she did arrive, she was useless! The term sincere was obviously lost on her as she made excuse after excuse and offered us a mini pizza and less than half a pint of lager as compensation. Well, this wasnt good enough and after more complaining, Pol managed to secure $5 as well, Kerching!
We have also managed to secure ourselves more longer term accommodation.. well, we have a bed in a rather large room in an old victorian house! Its very nice inside, we pay just over 50 pounds a week for it and have no bills and free t'interweb! shame we have no furniture in our room though! Went souring the city for work yesterday, managed to sign up with an agency so its looking good! Our housemates are all really nice, well the foreign ones are anyway.. two German girls from the black forest, a Frenchy from Toulon (also a crap town in the mold of Stoke!) and an English couple from Dannn Sarfff who never leave their room. Ohh and the two Stokies!
So its 10.40am on a dull Wednesday morning and we still havent called our parents to tell them we are ok! (promise we will tonight!)This is due to Polly not waking me up on time and therefore us both sleeping in!
Hope this placates your hunger for news from our world.. we could tell you about the cricket but you all know now so it aint worth it.
take it easy all and well speak soon

Pollyali

xx

Posted by pollyali 15:14 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Auckland mark 2

rain 17 °C

Time for our final blog entry of New Zealand. Not too much has happened since our last mammoth entry so i guess the purpose of this is to update and add some more photos to our burgeoning collection.
When we left you on Sunday, England were being whooped in the First Test, the sun still hadn't shone continually for more than thirty minutes and i still couldn’t understand why people play Soduko. So not a lot has changed.. England managed to save some face by reaching over 300 in their final innings but the elusive golden orb that we have travelled so far to worship still shuns us. Oh, and Soduko is still weird.

Aye Aye Capt'n.JPG

We arrived at Pols relative Caroline's house on Sunday evening after a day spent wandering round shops and biting our nails as England valiantly attempted to bat for longer than 3 hours against the two juniors of the Australian team (Glenn Mcgrath 36 and Shane Warne 37.) Dinner was, wait for it, Roast Lamb! Having been in New Zealand for 2 months and not even getting near to lamb, i'd managed to eat it twice in two days. Heaven! We retired to bed that evening, full and content as we no longer had to sleep in that damn van!
Monday morning arrived and we were faced with the alien concept of not having to get up! Our room was dark (good Curtains) and we didn’t have to check out at 10am! So we sauntered down stairs and had a leisurely breakfast and made plans for the day ahead. The main aim was to see the remainder of the first test so as we had a couple of hours to spare, we headed over to the City to check out the Museum. Situated in a pleasant grassy reserve aptly named "Auckland Domain" the museum housed the War Memorial and several interesting exhibits that both Pol and I were keen to see. After 40 mins of wrong turns and missed streets, we parked EZY and tramped over the grass to the imposing entrance to the museum while discussing that it looked nothing like it did in the guide book (probably because the sky was clear blue!) After the obligatory circular door, we found ourselves in the reception/Cafe area of the building where we were greeted by a sign discussing the charges for entrance. Now, we had been told that there was a donation bin and essentially the museum was free.. how wrong was that! the three entrances were staffed by uniformed teenagers who greeted us with a welcome to Auckland Museum, can we ask for a donation of $5 please? Well Pol, being Pol, decided that she didnt like this and quipped "Its not really a donation then" to which the reply was "Well it is for Auckland rate payers". Great we both thought, they have even installed a EFTPOS machine on the gate so they could take credit card " Donations." what a crock!

very sophi.. Falls).JPG

The Museum itself was decidedly average. There was the usual smattering of exhibits, the most interesting being one that described the Thermal plates and volcanoes that are so abundant in New Zealand. There was also a house which was supposed to simulate the effects of a volcano errupting in the harbour of Auckland. We sat there watching the fake news report about the impending doom when the window (which was really a big tv) started to move and wow, the erruption happened before our eyes! All this smoke and ash billowed towards our “house” it shock briefly and everything went black. Then the lights came on and the show was over! We both felt slightly cheated!

Ali and Big Bird.JPG

After a couple more rooms full of insects and assorted flora and fauna, we emerged from the musuem and decided to head over to one of the “burbs” to watch the final few hours of the Test. However, neither of us thought we would get to see any of it as England lost two wickets in the short 20 min drive and knowing the tendency of the team to collapse, things were not looking good. The cricket Gods were obviously listening to us as they gifted Ashley Giles the ability to bat for longer than 10 mins and we arrived at the pub with 4 wickets remaining. We ordered a beer and a burger and settled down to watch the last minutes of the innings. It didn’t last long as England managed 25 mins and having barely eaten our burgers, we ambled out into the late afternoon sunshine and headed back to the house.
Tuesday was spent strolling around Auckland and we went to see Children of Men at the Cinema. The film was ok, Julianne Moore made more of a cameo appearance and Clive Owen did his best not to appear too wooden! Oh, Michael Caine was well funny as a stoned hippy!
Wednesday: Dropped off EZY in the city centre and managed to blag the agent who did the check in with us. We had driven off without the bucket and lost the tea towel in the course of the fortnight but bluntly told him that the woman at the airport had not included either item in the van when we picked it up! After complaining about the state of the first van, we went for some lunch at got the ferry back over to Bayswater.
Thursday (Today) The weather took a turn for the worse today so we have been pretty much house bound. A quick walk over lunch time was abandoned and we came back to attempt a 1000 piece jigsaw… we failed! Went to see a play at the theatre.
Oh.. one more thing.. tomorrow, you will have some pics on this entry.. the wifi connection we have (next doors) is rubbish and it takes too long for us to upload the snaps..

good night all

Pollyali

x

Posted by pollyali 03:07 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

The Final Countdown

semi-overcast 23 °C

Hi all, several reasons for todays update. Firstly, we are coming to the end of our Kiwi adventure, also to fill in the gaps (or more importantly, the bits that Polly missed out!) We also feel the need to celebrate that last night was our final sleep in EZY camper! (see below!)

Our humble home.JPG

Today we are going to stay with Polly’s aunt here in the fine city of Auckland and we are looking forward to some proper food, a proper bed and more importantly, some other company. Now that doesn’t mean that we have argued, but its been a tad lonely at times with not many opportunities to meet other like minder adventurers. As this has been the case, we feel that for anyone else thinking of the doing the same, seriously consider what you want from the country. If you want to have a laugh or meet people, use the traveller bus networks. Stray and Kiwi Experience seem to be the transport of choice for most of the people we have met and we havent heard many negatives about it. Travelling in a group of friends for instance would be the only exception to this no campervan rule. The big vans that sleep eight would be cost effective and a helluva laugh!
Now that’s out the way, we want to highlight the fun that we have had on our journey round this fair land.
Drive over to Milford Sound.. This without a doubt was THE highlight of our trip in the South Island. All the guide books and programs we see in the UK recommend that this trip be taken, and it’s a must.
The South Island was amazing, the West Coast in particular was like something from a film… Our journey over Arthurs Pass to Queenstown was shrouded in mist and rain but it made it even more exciting. The waterfalls that cascaded down the rock face literally feet from the road and the endless stops to investigate what lie beyond the green DOC (Department of Conservation) signs which usually meant some beautiful scenery or a waterfall. Yes, it does rain quite a lot in the Southern Parts of New Zealand, its kind of to be expected and it didn’t disappoint us, although days of being constantly damp can irritate! Milford Sound was made all the better by the rain and this meant we could view some of the more spectacular waterfalls that are not visible when dry.
Activities we have done in Auckland:

Auckland has been fun… we were slightly reluctant to head over this way last weekend as we felt that nearly two weeks would be incredibly difficult to pass. How wrong were we. The first day we went to Kelly Tarltons Underwater and Antartic adventure. We had a bit of a chuckle when I announced to Pol that Kelly was in fact a World Famous female Scuba Diver. We we got there, either Kelly had been the patient in an amazing sex change operation, or I was wrong. I think the former is the most likely… with all that hair! Anway, the place, other than costing $28 each (roughly ten pounds - not a lot really) was pretty good. The Antartic part of the centre consisted of a bob cat ride around a medium sized Penguin enclosure while we were treated to a cheese on toast commentary telling us how successful and humane the breeding program was. We both couldn’t seem to forget that penguins are supposed to be wild and no matter how much snow or food they get fed… they still didn’t look too happy, they were cute though!
The Suburbs around Auckland are pretty impressive and have taken a major role in keeping us occupied. We have been residing in a small beachside town called Takapuna for the last week, it consists of a main street with shops and restaurants and a nice sheltered beach where it seems that the whole population of Auckland run. We have spent our time drinking cups of coffee and writing our diaries… well we haven’t managed the latter since Thursday as the Cricket has started and we’ve been too busy watching the Pommies get an Oz styled whooping.. Seriously though, we are a tad nervous about going to Melbourne now, especially as it looks like the first test will be a white wash!
The campsites we have stayed in have been ok in general. There have been A few however that deserve a mention.
Opononi Holiday Park: Comes in at number one in the RIP OFF charts. $32 dollars a night! The park consisted of three tiers of grass, a kitchen block and a shower room. The kitchen was ok, but the shower room was the most disgusting place I have ever been in. It reminded us of the toilet from Trainspotting! The ceiling was down and leaking and FULL of spiders!
Twizel Park was the BEST! - $22 a night for a secluded camping spot with spotless toilets and a lovely manager who would have done anything for her guests.. Shame Twizel was like the village from Silent Hill.
In between we have had picturesque DOC campsites in the middle of nowhere with no facilities other than a stream for water and a hole in the ground for poo pooing! We stopped using these when news of a Dutch couple being kidnapped reached us and although NZ is a relatively safe place, we both felt more at ease in the populated camping grounds! The Dutch couple were ok and were inundated with offers from the local population. One company even offered them a free campervan and a holiday to Queenstown staying in Luxury accommodation.
The driving in the South Island was notoriously poor. Although the roads are dead at the best of times.. Often a car will appear in your rear mirror and will attempt to pass at 150kmph with scant regard for anyone else in the vicinity.
To Sum up this rather lengthy entry, we both feel that the south island deserves far more time than the north. With the only places of interest in the North being Rotorua, Tongariro National Park (Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings) Mt Doom.JPG
and Auckland itself. The list for the South is endless: the beautiful scenery of Queenstown, the Glaciers, the Wine of the Marlborough region, the endless National Parks.
Next time we catch up, we will be in Melbourne, Ali will be sunburnt and we may indeed have joined the mass working population.. (gulp!) so until then.. Ttfn.

Posted by pollyali 18:29 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

346 for 3

It's just not cricket!!!!

sunny 23 °C

Hi All the Polly half here! I'm going to write the first bit and then when my figers start to tire Alii will jump in and finish it off.
So not much to report, we are still trying to waste away (without spending too much money) our last week in NZ. We are still in Auckland and have managed to venture a total of 10km south of Auckland only to decide we much prefered nazi style camping and so came back! I did encounter a lovely friendly cat whilst pissing on my neighbours turf one night and managed to coax it into the van until Ali came back and told me to get the flea ridden thing out, he's not much of a cat person I'm sorry to say.
The weather I am pleased to report is glorious and has meant that we no longer have to shut ourselves in our van come 6pm, (it's 9pm and we're still wide awake!)Yesterday we treated ourselves to the fun and frollicks of the fair at Rainbows End, NZ one and only theme park, not a patch on Alton Towers but was still great fun. I managed to convince Ali to come on the Roller Coster and he liked it so much he begged me to go on it again! I couldn't however persuade him to go on the Pirate Ship, what a girl!!! I'm being usered off now, Mumma P I promise we will download some more photo's as soon as we can.
Hello Everybody, it ali's turn.. but ive nothing more to add.. well, urmmm maybe.. watched some of the cricket today, hate to say its not looking good for our game in Melbourne apres Xmas.. I wont go into too much detail as i know some of my friends feel a tad aggrieved when i talk about a Sport that only they know anything about! Still, i cheered them on like no-one else today and am hoping for a miracle tomorrow.
The Theme park was indeed a load of fun in the Sun.. i even managed (She forgot to mention this..) go on the Fear Fall ride. The Caption reads "18 Stories and 82kph" need i say more? Well, i popped myself into the seat and buckled up thinking "This should be ok!" Well, it wasn't. After a twenty second (more like minute) climb to the top of the contraption, there we sat, me with my eyes closed and pol with an insane grin and giggle to match. Then we fell. My love spuds decided to hit the back of my throat as i was subjected to 1 g of force. I tried to scream but could only managed a gurgle/groan. I felt like a newly lobotomised man.. it was horrible. Then, as soon as it started, we were at the bottom, i quickly jumped out of the seat and picked up my belongings.. and what made it worse was the rather large Maori woman next to Pol said "Lets Go again!" Not a chance, i made a polite excuse and scarpered whilst calls of "What a Girl" followed me!
Well, thats my tuppence to tonights exciting episode of Pollyali in New Zealand.

Take Care everyone

Pollyali

xx

Posted by pollyali 23:40 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

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