A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: doubledrtw

Who picks the movies on the Bus?

We've been travelling now for some 7 months and we've definately had our fair share of bus trips - from the horrendous to the surprisingly pleasant.

We've been on 20 hr bus journeys and 5 hr bus journeys that have ended up 20 hr bus journeys. We've sat with our luggage on our laps, stuffed it under the bus and thrown it on top of the bus. We've had to put up with dirty old men scratching, sniffing, farting, smoking and snoring. We've had loud music, soft music. We've been frozen to death by gusts of freezing cold air-con that cannot be turned off or down or away from you and we've been locked in a smelly pit of a bus in the mid summers day heat with no ventilation whatsoever. We've been lost more than a few times, gotten off at the wrong stops or jumped on the complete wrong bus...

But the most disturbing fact is that whether or not you are shoved into a cramped up shoe box of a space or reclining in somewhat luxury you are without doubt assured of 1 thing on a bus... The movies are KAK!

If you are "lucky" enough to have a functioning tv on board - there will be without doubt the most disturbing, gruesome movie blasted out in some uncomprehensible language so loudly that you will not be able to escape the shrills and shrieks of the poor unsuspecting actors on screen who are being chased by some grotesque, bloodthirsty vampires or the like creatures who will by the end of the movie have raped, pillaged and killed most of the normal people but eventually will die in a bloody pool gargling their own lungs with a spear sticking out their throat... and this is supposed to be our happy ending!

I tell you - not that I am against a good thriller or something, but I just wonder how the selection process works when most of the places we travel to or from have access to all the latest ripped dvd's etc. - the choices are endless. Whats wrong with a nice little lighthearted movie where everyone laughs and the school nerd ends up with the prom queen? No, instead we get a bunch of poor unsuspecting travellers getting chased around a dessert full of deformed cannibals intent on making them dinner.

Its not as if most of the time the bus journey itself isn't terrifying enough, they have to throw in something that will most definately keep you wide awake and flinching every time a light flashes past you.

Please some romantic comedies - just once in a while...pleeez???

Posted by doubledrtw 17:56 Tagged bus Comments (0)

This ones going straight to the pewl room

And other stories from downunder

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We can go on and on about the things we loved about Auz, so without boring you to tears, here is our TOP 10 highlights package.

So let the countdown begin....

10. The love affair with Tim Tams
Oh start the diet tomorrow... At tenth place it has to be said that one of the finer things to come from Australia is the Tim Tams. Beautiful choco coated biscuits with different fillings. And now for all those who love a bit of choc indulgence, the breast cancer association has teamed up with the chocolate guys and there are pink tim tams, pink kit kats, pink everything.. and it definately satisfies that "time of the month" chocolate craving.

9. Playground Etiquette .. Aunties dont have to play by the rules.
While taking my 2 year old nephew on an outing to one of Sydneys millions of playparks, we were educated on playground etiquette and how mums should and shouldnt negotiate "toy scuffles". It appears that the mums have to be very pc about letting the toys be shared around equally in the playpark. So if little Johnny with his toothless scowl, wants what your kid is playing with, you have to tell him he can have it in a moment, then let your kid have a go for another 30 seconds before handing it over. Oh no not I.. when little Johnny wanted to take the wheelie truck away from my nephew, I got down to his level, looked him in the eye, and told him to swiftly press on and find something else to play with.

8. The Castle
Anyone who hasnt seen The Castle really ought to. Its an absolute Auzzie classic that will have you in stitches with some of the chirps that get thrown out. Its about this family that live near an airport, the house they live in is really nothing special, but when the authorities try to take it away from them they kick up a stink showing up all their typically Auzzie character traits which makes for seriously humerous viewing.

7. The Irish Club
None of us quite remember how our folks used to party as by the time the party kicked off, we were all in sleeping bags in the spare room or in the back seat of the car. Going to the Irish Club with my Aunt & Uncle in Brisbane was a real window into how our folks must have partied "in their day". Drew and I were the only ones under the age of 50. Everyone was sitting around the parque tiled dance floor eating guiness pie n' chups. When the band struck up, the ballies got their groove on. Beer bellies were shaken around, party frocks where shimmied in time to the beat, sweet nothings were whispered, and serious dance moves were going down. "Blame it on the Bassenova/Bassenoba" was a huge party anthem.. and there we were thinking it was a lullaby

6. The Hawkesbury Classic
Surely deserves a mention. Its a 100km canoe race that starts at 5pm in the afternoon and goes throughout the night along the Hawkesbury River. All seconders along with the kit for the paddlers, pack red bull and coffee to keep their eyes open the whole night. Some of the stops eg. "Wisemans" are named after ex cons which were early settlers in Auz. It makes the race a little more quirky. My brother and his partner finished in style, although looked remarkably corpse like at the end of the race.

5. Whale watching in Jervis Bay from a Kayak.
Usually you have to pay a mint for these types of 'close to nature' experiences. Luckily for us, while going for a quick early morning kayak in Jervis Bay, we spotted a hump back whale mum and her calf. It was really peaceful following them around - at a safe distance - while they graced the water. Truly special.

4. Rollerblading / Rock climbing along the river in Brisbane
The one thing that my husband lets me be better at.. is roller blading. He saw his backside about 4 times before he reached the door, then traded his blades in for a scooter (a scooter with a basket in front, but dont tell him I told you)
But he did manage to pull a bit of rank and scaled some of the cliffs that line Brisbanes river. Rock climbing is not something that I see us doing "as a couple"

3. Learning to Surf in Byron Bay
Without much success, I tried my luck with surfing. The only thing that seemed to pop to the surface was the board and without a whole lot of grace I was pounded by the waves until I raised the flag and called it a day. Respect to those who can do it. Its hard!

2. Winning the World Cup
The reason that this features as #2 and not #1 is that you dont get the hype that comes with featuring in a final, and all the pomp and ceremony that comes with winning. At 4am all we got to see was the game and a quick commentary afterwards. When that was all over, the next programme was on as the bitter Auzzies didnt really want to dwell too much on it. But I must say we wore smug looks and springbok jerseys all day. Hopefully the hype hasnt died down by the time we get back.. we can savour the tail end of it!!

1. The Great Barrier Reef
This was absolutely an unforgettable experience. We went out to the reef from Airley Beach. Passing the Whitsundays on either side of us we arrived at our home for the night, a pontoon in the middle of the ocean and turquoise heaven it was. We snorkelled and dived to our hearts content taking in sights of manta rays, turtles, reef sharks, groupers and loads of travelli. We went in a submarine and checked out he reef close up, and at night we watched the bigger fish feeding from an underwater viewing chamber.. and when that was all over we watched the sun go down as the calm waters lapped against edges of the pontoon. A little piece of heaven.

From there my husband left for SA for 4 days on his own and the trouper came back with a job.. So tired, but happy, we boarded our flight for Singapore.

Posted by doubledrtw 03:11 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

The Singapore Snort...

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Well the guide books do warn you about it, but you never can be fully prepared for the sheer guttral uprising that is the Singapore snort...

After a collective 20+ hrs of travelling (excluding waiting time in airport lounges) from Durban to JHB to Sydney to Singapore(dont ask) we arrived in Singapore at our prebooked hostel around midnight and were shown to our 30 bed dorm room for the night, confirming all fears that it was not a typo on the emailed confirmation booking slip. The good news was the dorm wasn't fulled to capacity. Unfortunately though you just could not avoid the sea of red steel bunk beds crowded into the small room.

To say that I was in a bad mood was an understatement! We weaved our way inbetween the beds, the streetlight outside lighting up our pathway to what we had picked out as our spot for the night ... 2 bunk beds tucked away in the far corner. They seemed to be the most inconspicuous choices furthest away from the action.

What we hadn't banked on was "Ol Rusty Toenails" - a local Singaporean who was in the bed next to me and who on closer inspection possessed the foulest, longest toenails known to mankind. These were sticking up out of the end of his sheets, about 1 m from my head. The other plus was the outside street light that was beaming like a spotlight aimed directly at my head. I would've closed the curtains but that would've meant straddling "Ol Rusty" so that was a no- go zone!

Just when we thought nothing else could go wrong Good Ol Rusty let out an almighty guttural snort that came from the depths of his bowels and sounded like someone had set off a chainsaw next to me. It left us with all kind of images as to what was actually brought up... and then swallowed again to repeat throughout the night.

What we didn't know then was this was the infamous "Singapore Snort" we were privelaged to be experiencing first hand with our 28 other roomies! Apparently this is perfectly acceptable, spitting on the other hand is totally off sides, so they just sluk it back down and wait till it wants to come back up again!

Alright - enough about that now... Once we got over the rage and lack of sleep, grumpiness etc. and moved out of our lovely 30 bed dorm we actually ended up enjoying Singapore. We ambled through chinatown and little india, strolled along the flash bars and restaurants lining the riverside waterfront (a tourist and expat haven), ate all kinds of interesting things like frog legs porridge, black pepper crab, breyani, dimsum, the chinese equivalent of biltong, chinese tea and of course all washed down with plenty of Tiger beer.

We also managed to find a classic pro gay karaoke bar in the midst of Chinatown called "The Cow and Coolie" which just had to be frequented. As we opened the door we were hit with the screams of some local Singaporean he/she wailing out a classic 80's love song - we duely settled down and ordered a jug of beer and just watched in amazement all the while struggling not to fall into fits of laughter.

It ended up being quite a trip, experiencing new and weird cultures - everything you want from your travels really, but at the same time we were keen to hit some serious beaches and without further ado caught a ferry to the nearest island in Indonesia - Bintan...

Posted by doubledrtw 15:20 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Good one Mate

Some photos from Aus

sunny 30 °C

We've had an amazing few weeks on the East coast of Aus so far - have done all kinds of things, seen all kinds of things, tasted all kinds of things and most importantly just won the rugby world cup! Its been another great adventure and here are a few photos to prove it... more to follow later...

IMG_0820.jpgThe sunscorched Bondi beach

IMG_0782.jpgView from Sydney harbour national park

IMG_0719.jpgThe famous Sydney opera house

AND THATS JUST SYDNEY.... much more to come... I would never deprive you all of Dee's rollerblading pics in Brisbane!!!

Posted by doubledrtw 19:12 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

New Zealand

... by photos

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Some call New Zealand "the land of the long grey cloud" and my personal favourite adaption of that, from a South African point of view anyway, "The land of the wrong white crowd!"- It's the birthplace of Dan Carter and a country full of moarning rugby fanatics wondering how the hell they managed to cock up another world cup.

You see, rugby is not just a sport in New Zealand its a religion and passionate does not even begin to describe the kiwis feelings towards the great game of rugby. We were lucky enough to be in Auckland in the lead up to the big occasion - the rugby world cup 2007 and be a part of the excitement and expectation. Auckland's main street had massive clocks counting down the seconds to the start of the tournament - the people all so friendly and chatty and excited for what was surely theirs for the taking - I hope that didn't change too drastically after the quarter final playoffs -we were outta there by then!

Anyway, back onto the weather... In any other country our excitement would've been well and truly drowned. Even when it seemed destined to be a great sunny day, the clouds were looming and would without forewarning suddenly engulf us and and we would find ourselves fighting the on-off drizzle again - we could've just been in a bad 3 week spell possibly???

Nevertheless you have to hand it to the kiwis for their outdoor positive friendly attitudes. People are out and about making the most of it all, running, cycling, tramping, paddling, rafting, jumping out of planes - you name it they will be doing it - forget about complaining about the weather - there's no time. It seems the kiwis motto is "There's no such thing as wrong weather - just wrong clothes".

I guess some of their "crazy" zest for life attitude rubbed off on Dee and I and we felt almost compelled to get involved and be part of the infectuous vibe - Without knowing it we were swimming with dolphins, jumping out of aeroplanes, rafting down waterfalls, hiking, tramping, dune boarding and just exploring some of the most beautiful countryside on offer.

They say a Picture tells a story of a thousand words - and with views like this who can blame the kiwis for not paying much attention to the clouds above them...

IMG_0651.jpgA beautiful sunset near lake Wanaka with NZ's most popular inhabitants.
(apparently sheep outnumber humans 10 to 1 in NZ)

IMG_0645.jpgSunset over Lake Wanaka, just be-a-utiful

IMG_0583.jpgDee getting up close and personal with the iced walls of Frans Josepph Glacier

IMG_0587.jpgThe view up along one of the glacial walls at Franz Joseph - something out of this world!

IMG_0547.jpgThe serene beauty of Abel Tasman National Park

IMG_0505.jpgA murky green sulphur pool in Rotorua - looks like my old digs pool!

IMG_0501.jpgHot Sulphur pools - Rotorua

IMG_0461.jpgShew!! 1 times successful jump out of aeroplane at 12000ft! Tick!

IMG_0436.jpgThe beauty of Ha Hei beach on the picturesque corromandel peninsula

IMG_0418.jpgCathedral cove - Corromandel peninsula

IMG_0407.jpgThe beauty of Cathedrals cove - corromandel peninsula

IMG_0373.jpgThe endless 90 mile beach

IMG_0332.jpgDune riding on the dunes of the 90 mile beach

IMG_0309.jpgTasman sea meets Pacific ocean

IMG_0326.jpgCape Reinga

IMG_0299.jpgMucking around on another beautiful beach up in the northland

IMG_02751.jpgHole in the rock - Bay of islands

IMG_0250.jpgOur dolphin friends - bay of islands

IMG_0161.jpgWhangarei Heads coastline

IMG_0072.jpgAuckland skyline

DSC_0029.jpgRafting down waterfalls!

P9082680.jpgCaving in Waipu caves

Posted by doubledrtw 02:08 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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