A Travellerspoint blog

Kyoto - Japan

rain

We were staying in the classily titled “Kyoto Cheapest Inn”. Oh how we envied those staying at “Hotel Rich” down the road. ;)
I jest, the inn was great. Twas an 18 bed mixed dorm and all the little bunkbeds had their own little pully over curtain around them :) This was all after a monumental struggle down the road with our bags – we both swore to ditch everything once we hit Paul in Akita. . (Paul, how would you like a few sleeping bags, some peanut butter and a few Tupperware? He he)

Later we headed into town to an Italian restaurant (I had had my fill of noodles for a while) and we plodded aboot town taking some pics and geisha hunting. We headed to a narrow alley called Poncho-cho which has tons of cute Japanese restaurants and bars. Then we headed to an Irish bar for a pint. Lol.

The following morning we decided to go and check out the main man Tokogawa’s castle which was only around the corner from where we were staying. Togo built it as his gaff during the time of his ruling. He was in charge of all the provincial warlords (daimlyo) and the rest of the gang in Japan and himself and his chaps ruled for over 200 years. The castle was mighty impressive. It had a huge moat around the whole thing and some fantastic gardens inside, as well as the tatami matted floors inside the building which played host to all kinds of visiting samurai and feudal lords. It had what was called a ‘nightingale floor’ inside the building. Whenever anyone walked on the floor, it would creak and squeak which made the sound of a nightingale bird. It sounded hella cool.

Unfortunately it was absolutely pissing rain. We thought it rained in Ireland, well it doesn’t Everyone in Ireland thinks we have lots of rain. We have teardrops compared to everywhere in the southern hemisphere an that’s fo sho. So my trousers were absolutely soaked. My rain jacket protected my head somewhat but my arse and front half of my trousers were drenched. I was not really enjoying the walking around and I phoo phooed the idea of more temples in the rain. So instead we went to the Nishiki Market place, which is a long covered street selling every type of fish you can imagine, as well as sweets, herbs, vegetables, trinkets, sandals and tons more. We glowed blissfully in it’s dryness and decided to go for Nepalese for lunch. We went to the Yak & Yeti, which was yum. Lunch specials in the Yak & Yeti. Fanbloodytastic.

We continued looking around for some fancy umbrellas and sandals for me to alas, to no avail. So we decided to head home. But alas we spotted a “Happy Hour” sign in “The Hill of Tara” and so we had to stop by and test their Guinness out. So we popped back a couple then headed to look for some grub. We came across this cute little lane that seemed to lead to a restaurant, so off we went. It was a pork cooking place. There is a name for it. I think it’s Okinayarimari or it begins with O anyway. I ordered some non-pork stuff and we both chowed down on another small feast and some sake (sans orange crush). Japan is fantastic. It’s very full on though. You wouldn’t want to be old like – say if you were 27 you’d probably feel a bit old and tired, what with all the individual tv’s advertising everything. ;)

When we got back we started to this slightly crazy slighty racist Slovakian dude who was a lil funny and a lil scary. We joined the three girls from England (spotty spice, posh spice & blonde spice) and Joseph (the Slovak) started dishing out the vodka… straight… except for I went up and got the orange crush out… lol.
We had a right ould laugh with the Slovak discussing the merits of vodka and how he hates the Italian football team, whilst drinking nice vodka. :)

The following morning, we stayed in bed later than planned due to vodka overdose. Eventually on the advice of the Slovakian, we decided to visit Konkuja-ji (I think) or what’s known as the golden temple. We trained it to a stop that was 25 mins from it then tried to walk the rest of the way. The heat was crazy and we stopped off at a vending machine for a tasty beverage.
The temple itself was amazing. It was all covered in gold lacquer and gold leaf and it was shiney mcshine. Brillopads. Twas marvellous. :D
After a green tea icecream we headed to the Kyoto imperial park and wandered around admiring the beautiful stuff. Then our feet were on fire from all the walking and we were sweaty betties so we had to retreat home to have a cold beer on the roof of our building as the sun set (behind tons of clouds). He he.

The next day we were due to bag up our stuff and head to Hiroshima for two days, but after much reading of the lonely planet, coupled with the fact that we couldn’t get accommodation in Hiroshima for love nor money, it was decided that we were going to stay a couple of more nights in the Cheapest Inn in Kyoto and just go to Hiroshima on a daytrip. It was a good decision as the train is much more enjoyable when you’re not carrying 20 kilos, ten of which you have yet to use.

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Posted by squeakylee 00:41 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Jim's Birthday in Tokyo - Japan

sunny 28 °C

James' Birthday.

I was awoken by someone shaking our bunkbeds… or what I thought was someone shaking our bunk beds. But it was an earthquake!  cool!!! It was a small one and nice enough yet scary enough. (I always wondered why Paul had called his first earthquake ‘cool’.
After getting up out of bed an hour earlier than planned (due to us forgetting to put back our phones), we clocked out and dumped our luggage there for a while.

The bum thing about hostels in Japan, is that a lot of them have a curfew – usually midnight or one, while all of them insist on checking in ONLY between the hours of 3pm and perhaps 8 or 9pm. This is a pain in the jiggawhats to be fair and horrible if you’ve just arrived from ze airport. But not of course if you travel with me, because I am the organizing fairy and always have these things sorted. :)

Anywho, I had booked a genuine old style Japanese Ryokan for Jim & me for Jim’s birthday. But check-in wasn’t until 4pm, so we had plenty of time to kill.
I first of all had to find out where the bloody place was as I can’t read Japanese and the taxi-drivers can’t read English. Luckily the girl in reception called us a taxi and the taxi driver had GPS in his car! WOOHOO. Score.. :)

But before that anywho, we went off to take a look around Asakusa – an old Shitamachi area with lots of old style winding roads and cool temples. It used to be a halfway point between Tokyo and an infamous pleasure district called Yoshiwara . Eventually Asakusa developed into a pleasure area itself. Apparently, after the Meiji period, Asakusa was the first place that reopened cinemas, theatres and music halls. The first western Opera was performed in Asakusa and the striptease was introduced here too. ;)

Nowadays it’s a lot quieter and all the crazy shit happens in Shinjuku.

So we wandered into an information centre where this fantastic old gentleman gave us some top notch advice with a smile. We strolled through these ginormous templey gates and found ourselves in the Ameya-yokocho Arcade – a markety type area full of stalls filled with fans, chopsticks, hello kitty stuff, Japanese sweets, bags, fortune cookies, Japanese dolls, and lots of other trinkets that I wanted! I mind-marked lots of stuff and decided to pack my empty case (after dumping all the stuff at Paul’s – he he ) with lots of stuff to take with me. Tee hee hee. :)

We treated ourselves to a stick of smoked rice in leaves and wandered down the markets, eyeing up kimonos and geta sandals. (me not Jim)

We walked up to see the Senso Ji Temple. It’s the main attraction of Asakusa and it’s pretty impressive. We took some pics of the five storied Pagoda beside the temple and then followed the crowd like sheep. We followed them into the temple, threw money with them, drank (you’re not supposed to swallow apparently but just rinse with it whoops) the sacred water with them and tried to waft some of the smoke from the burning incense towards us ( I can’t remember why!).

On we went then down to the river where we jumped on a waterbus and went on a guided trip down the Sumidagawa river where we saw lots of buildings that were very nice. And some bridges.. and some more boats. One looked like a rocket, it was cool.
Then we chatted to a very nice crazy Japanese woman. I reckon she seeked us out to try out her English on us. She was gas and absolutely lovely. Her husband ran away from us and her to take some pictures the minute we started talking. Well I wouldn’t call it talking. She was fond of saying “What is your favourite Japanese…. Something? I tried to tell her that we only just arrived but she was on a mission. Then she proceeded to tell us where in Europe she’d been. “Have you been to French?” etc.. it was brilliant.  When she disembarked the boat at Hanodin Pier, she waved at us for about ten minutes as she ran off down the road after her husband.  We stayed on the boat (without paying – oooohhhhhh) having a rice beer as we headed back to the riverboat station.

After collecting our bags from the hostel, we were dropped off at the Japanese Ryokan by our taxi driver with GPS. Woohoo. The ryokan looked fantastic, very old stylee. I asked James did he recognise it as to my misfortune, it had featured on the Tokyo documentary that we had seen on the airplane!! I was like.. DOH! He said that it looked familiar and remembered it from the programme. He he

We trekked in with all our stuff and were greeted by some lovely ladies in Yukata’s. (A cotton Japanese robe that is worn in the summer). They also had some cool geta sandals on and I wanted a pair (surprise surprise). They led us up to our room which had a little porchy type area with black wood, then a small bathroom and a small toilet room with a flashy toilet that could probably sing the blues if you asked it to.

I slid back our paper screen door (thankfully I had seen that episode of the Simpsons where they all went to Japan, and had seen Homer make the faux pas of walking through the screen door so I knew it was a slidy door) There was Tatami mats as the flooring and this gorgeous little very short black table in the middle of the room. There was a little teapot on the table and our lady sat us down (Jimbob nearly fell backwards) and poured us some delicious green tea. She went through some of the fire escape guidelines and then she hit the road.

I was chuffed and James seemed quite impressed so all was well. Seeing as how I had spent my birthday in the jungle and it was so amazing, I wanted to make sure Jim’s birthday was different and special too. So I phoo phood the clubbing in Tokyo option for the genuine Japanese Ryokan experience. We read all about Ryokans and decided to pop on our robes and go for a dip in the public baths upstairs. Not before we took plenty of pics of us with our geta sandals and robes on. Then off we went to the nudey baths. They are segregated by sex though so there was no boys allowed in the girly bath and vice versa. The baths were fab. The ladies one was all slate stone and the water was spilling over the edge. You had to sit down on a small wooden stool and do a scrub a dub dub first before getting in. The water was roasting though and I only lasted about 20 mins before I could barely breathe and had to jump out.
So after much mooching about our fantastic new room, off we went for our kaisekei feast which we were to have upstairs. I thought we would be in a big dining area, but we were given another whole room just to eat our dinner in. Our hostess took the cover off the 12 little bowls of stuff on our table and motioned to us how to eat and prepare the things. It looked gorgeous. All the food is meant to represent mountains, the sea and other parts of nature. There was prawns with their heads on, lots of different pieces of sushi, a giant shell with some scallop in ginger inside, rice of course, noodles that we mixed all around with some other stuff, pickles, some weird egg shaped yoke that tasted sweet (that we both avoided) and I’m sure lots of other stuff, all washed down with a beer. Yumitee yum yum.

After the feast we checked some stuff on the net for a while, then retired to our room where our futons had been laid out for us. Woohoo. Then it was birthday present time for Jim and we had some sake and beer. I’m confess to mixing my sake with orange crush because it tasted way too strong. But I have since drank it on its’ own and liked it so I reckon all is forgiven. :)

The next morning we had requested breakfast for 8.30 and as my alarm went off, I did not want to get up – particularly not to eat rice, pickled fish and raw eggs (as is the customary ryokan breakkie).. However in for a penny in for a pound so we dragged ourselves up and headed to the big dining area where another feast lay waiting for us.
I was tres impressed, it was delicious. The rice was warm, the egg was nicely cooked and the fish tasted like smoked salmon. It was great. :))

So we bid them adieu (I wanted to rob the sandals in the gaff but no!) and mosied off on our merry way to get the SUPER DUPER FAST EXPRESS SHINKANSEN TRAIN TO KYOTO. Which was cool! The chairs were comfy, roomy and it smelt nice. woohoo...
They are nicknamed bullet trains. James was obsessed and took some photos below..

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Posted by squeakylee 07:21 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Japan - Tokyo - part 1

Japan - feckin roastin..

sunny 28 °C

Well we arrived in Tokyo Narita airport at about 8pm. We changed our watches again and trumped off to collect our bigger than ever sacks from the baggage hallway. I had to stop and take a picture of the ‘Welcome to Japan’ sign. Then just after we both got through immigration, the dude behind the desk popped back up and asked James would he mind answering a few questions he he I started to make the ‘rubber glove’ motion and noise whilst I tittered away, but then I decided to hang with him to make sure he didn’t enjoy it too much. ;)

Turns out the immigration dude wanted our opinion (guffaw) on the immigration policy in Ireland. Apparently the Irish Minister had been on the news spouting about immigrants, and immigration dude (no superpowers that we know of but does a great job of stapling stuff) wanted to know what we thought of it. Now as you can imagine, we were delighted to get into a chat about immigrants in Ireland and the Irish opinion of them with Immigration Dude as we try to get into his country… .lol. :)

We diplomatically explained in pigeon engrish, that the wave of immigrants into Ireland has happened quite fast and that it has taken Irish people, (most of whom had never seen a black person in real life in their lives) quite a while to get used to it. We also told him about our Polish population – we didn’t tell him that every second Irish bloke under thirty in Dublin now has a Polish girlfriend.
He seemed quite satisfied; we wiped the sweat from our brows and continued on down the hall, only to see some dude carting away our luggage. Arrrgh we half shouted and pointed, and he handed it over. (He worked there it wasn’t just some vagabond)

On we went. We wrestled with the Japanese ticket machine for tickets to our train from the airport. Immigration Dude appeared in his norm clothes and asked us where we wanted to go, but of course we pronounced it wrong and he was puzzled. Then we finally saw it on the map and we got some tickets. But alas, as soon as the first super-dee-duper train came along, we hopped on it. It was the wrong one. As the conductor came around, I wondered if we would get clapped up for this, but we just had to pay again and we all bowed at each other and everything was swell.

It took us about 3 and a half hours to get to our hostel in an oldish quietish part of Tokyo, called Asakusa. A very nice Iranian girl stumbled upon us on the road and took us all the way to our hostel (as we could not make head nor tail of where we were)! Only for her, we would have been hiking off in the opposite direction and I was not in the greatest of moods. My pack has become so heavy with unuseful stuff! I am looking forward to donating some stuff to Paul. ;)

So we dumped our stuff in the tinchiest of ‘twin rooms’ – just space for a set of bunk beds and that was it. The room also had gaps between all the rooms, so you could hear what everyone was saying in the rooms next to us. Tee hee hee

We wandered back out into the Tokyo night and wandered into this shokudo. – a small Japanese restaurant easily identified by the plastic menus with pictures outside. We pointed at some noodley looking dishes and within a couple of minutes, we were having some noodles & beer at about 2am. I said it was James’ birthday breakfast.

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Posted by squeakylee 07:15 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Cennnnnnnnnnnes

ah shuddup.. it's feckin CAIRNS. i live nearer to ENGALAND...

overcast

Well contrary to our beliefs and to the two new towels we had bought in Sydney, the weather in Cairns was not Scorchio! Ah butts galore. What is the story Rory with the rain everywhere.

Nonetheless we checked into our ‘cell’ in Nomads Serpent Hostel and decided to take it easy for the evening. The hostel was pretty cool actually apart from the rooms (bloody bunkbeds & no where to put stuff makes for an uncomfy week). There was a big bar area, a pool, a beachy area for playing volleyball and lots of places to sunbathe as well as a big tv area, laundry room and kitchen.
The most impressive (and most used by us) being the bar area with eh.. the cheapo bar and tvs to watch the world cup on.
As most of the days were pretty overcast, we decided we wouldn’t go to hell if we stayed up late to watch football and slept late in the day – which we did. We did the usual exploration of the town to isolate the nearest food court, and generally bummed around watching football, eating wedges & drinking beer late at night and taking time to bump up our bellies.

After we realised that the weather was not going to get much better, we decided to do some adventure activities. I had a cold the first part of the week and I wasn’t too pushed on doing the PADI 4 day diving course, so we decided to book an Intro dive instead. We booked the introdive and some whitewater rafting. Woohoo :)

The rafting was fun but pretty tame. We bunked into a busload of other backpackers and made our way to the river. Me and Jim had an alright group, we were led by a kiwi, and had about 4 other birds in the rafting tub with us. There was about 3 other tub loads of Japanese girls who started out with us. It was gas watching them ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ and squealing with delight and fear at every opportunity. There were two girls in our tub who were a laugh, and another two (irish) who didn’t say a word. We had a good laugh, but it was kinda like white water paddling instead of rafting. It was fun but I think next time we will have to do EXTREME RAFTING in order to up the ante. :))

The only one who fell out of the boat was the guide as we went over a pretty exciting bump in the river. All in all, fun was had and after getting pushed off the tub into the river, I paddled downstream – still with my oar in my hand. All in all – twas a nice day. :)

The next day however was INTRODIVE DAY. Now as some of you may or may not know (depends if you’ve read the Galapagos blog), I am (now was) terrified of the sea, of being in the sea without any beach nearby, and of stuff in the sea – i.e. sharks. So the thought of doing a four day diving course was filling me with dread. So thanks to the short amount of time we had in Cairns and the cold I had, we put it off and decided to do an Intro Dive instead. An intro dive basically consists of a nice day trip out on a boat to the coral reef, where we can all go snorkelling and see some of the coral. Then lunch is served and then those who have booked an intro dive can do their stuff. An intro dive is exactly what it says on the tin – an introductory dive. They dispense with all the knowledge that you learn about buoyancy and other nautical nonsense and the dive captain takes you down BELOW.
Not before you get a quick briefing of what to do if you’re air yokey pops out and what exactly to do after you go down.
Well it all sounds very nice now doesn’t it…

Yeah right. First of all, the minute the boat got out on open water – the auld Galapagos Fever hit me like a prat out of hell. (ps – side note – I think we are flying over the Mekong River in Vietnam as I type – we’re on the way to meet John & Karen in Thailand. :p )
as soon as the swaying began, I started to feel ill. Then I started to feel nervous about doing the diving. After a swift trip to the bogs (any longer down there and I wouldn’t have been able to get back out of there), I decided the only way to stop the ill feeling was to go snorkelling. I have never EVER been so delighted to get into the sea! I had a short wet suit (as we were going diving later) on and it actually made me a little braver. I launched myself in and awaited Jimbob, who had to return to put Vaseline on his moustache. Lol. (Jim adds – ‘they had no Vaseline left so I had to use Industrial Strength Lube). Lol almighty.
Anywho whilst waiting I snorkelled off on my own for a bit and I LOVED it. It was so cool. The reef (er) lol.(not) was amazing and very beautiful. There were so many colourful fish all a couple of feet below my belly. The current was very very strong and I couldn’t go too far. It kept pushing me to the edge of the reef, beyond which was a deep deep empty pool of dark blue. Upon seeing the vastness of nothing, I got a little scared and returned to the boat to wait for Jim. Then we tagteamed around the reef, making sure to keep one another in view. We saw sandsharks, GIANT wobbly looking fish with big lips, some nemos, plenty of angel fish, a gorgeous shiny white fish and I saw a small reef shark. And I wasn’t scared! Whooo.ooooo..ooo.. etc. etc. unfortunately for us, the current was so strong, that we kept going around in circles seeing the same bits of reef over and over again. But it was hella cool. I kept thinking how great I was at snorkelling now. Pffft – I know – lamo. But I was hella proud.

Not long did the pride last.. We suited up for our intro dive and some guy put some heavy things around our waists. There were four of us, dangling in the water, hanging on to the back of the boat, underwater. We were all aired up and sent below. Whereby I could not get the breathing right. (I was doing it wrong – but it wasn’t my fault, the guy earlier had told us to let all the bubbles out of our mouths.. or had he.. I dunno I was too seasick).. anyway, I kept doing it wrong, taking in a wad load of water and shooting back up, popping out of the water just in time to see some long haired dude have a right auld chuckle at me and send me back down again. It took me three goes to get it right. I was afraid the others would run out of air. In actual fact, I only got it right by a fluke, I was praying to god that my air yokey wouldn’t pop out underwater or else I’d be rightly fewked. :/
So eventually we all went down underwater, linking arms with each other and our dive master. Now our dive master was in a bad mood already. He said we were group 8 and he was pissed off with everyone disobeying his orders throughout the day.
Welllheelllehllll. Fandabbydozey.

So with strict instructions from grumpyhole to stay linked and stay together, we all go swimming off in a straight line.. Now I am freaked and don’t’ want to let go of yer man, plus my mask is all fogged up and I can’t see a fecking thing. So when the dive master guy makes the ‘walky’ motion with his fingers, I don’t see anything wrong with Jimbob going off for a stroll by himself. Only that the ‘walky’ motion actually means ‘kick yer flippers you lazy bastards’ and not ‘take some leisure time to explore the ocean for yourselves’. Lol. To cut a long story short – cos I’m on a plane and not arsed with putting everything in the right order with all the details, we made a balls of our dive and only got about 5 minutes underwater.

What a gip. Twas only on the walk home with Jim, that I found out what I had been doing wrong with the breathing..

Me: “OHHHHH I thought yer man said we had to blow out the bubbles, no wonder I had no breath left and kept taking in all the water… ooohh I see, well maybe if we do it again I’ll get it right. Yeah I’ll have to try that again.. that dive master was a grumpy bollix wasn’t he? I can’t believe I was doing it that wrong. They didn’t explain that properly. I think I’ll send them an email and tell them they should be more clear…
Jim: (to himself) De de de de de de dededede De de de de de dedededed

So after all that, I’d definitely like to go diving again, only next time I will definitely do the 4 day course yokey. In fact, I may do it here, in Thailand.

Cairns itself is a bit menemeneh, but the reef is cool and I would definitely like to go back some day and see it again. (Adds in Laugh after trying diving in Thailand – aHAHAHAHAHAHAHA shambolica)

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Posted by squeakylee 07:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Subway...

15 °C

is your friend.
As are food courts.

Posted by squeakylee 04:38 Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Sydney Week twoooooo!

Goodbye Beran hello Ritz!

rain

So it was back to the Ritz, for one week before we were to leave Sydney. After settling back into our lil crappy room as with all the little crappy rooms after a few hours and scattering our bits n bobs around the place, they become home. Living next door to a dominos pizza and about a 5 minute walk from Chinatown, we were sorted for cheap backpacker eats. This week was to be our touristy week, luckily we had the weather for it… MOONSOON weather! It pished down rain for nearly every fecking day that week bar one, the day we decided to go and see something outside of the city, the Blue Mountains tour. For that we had perfect sunny weather.
We set off in a little tour bus from our hostel at like 7amish. On the bus were a couple of fat English girls think “Tracey and Sharon” types. Who munched the day away in the seat infront of us. One English guy who was a bit of a talker and a young family who turned out to be den den deeen.. Oirish! From Kerry or Cork god love them, although the dad was originally from up norfh England and the mum was very chatty and good craic. Our tour guide was a jolly Aussie girl with south American blood in her somewhere along the family tree.

We set off for first stop Wildlife park, where we got to see lots of native animals like Wombats, Kangaroos, Koalas (which, translated from Abo means; “I don’t know.”) We also saw a giant croc, lots of birds and some cool snakes and spiders that kill. Australia contains the most dangerous animals in the world. After the zoo we made a brief stop at a pretty amazing view of all the mountains and bush sprawling out beneath us as far as the eye could see. Then it was onto some really amazing views of the blue mountains at a place I cant remember the name of lol. We went on a bush walk down into the dense bush where our guide showed us lots of cool things like waterfalls that looked like Witches Faces & Sydney funnel web spider holes (luckily they were in hibernation. They can kill with one bite). When we reached the ground level of the bush we had to get a cable car train thingy all the way back up. Now as stated many a time in this blog JAMES DOES NOT LIKE H E I G H T S! this thing was pretty scary. It was like a little roller coaster that came down to pick us up and then simply just gets pulled up the mountain side nearly fecking VERTICAL and at speed. I think it’s the longest vertical train ride in the world or some silly fact. So after a few heart booming minutes we reached the top without the cable breaking and us plummeting to our death as the movie in my head was replaying during the ride. At the top by the gift shop we got to hold and feed some friendly wild birds (see pics). Then it was onto a winery where we got a nice buzz from drinking as many wines as possible in the allocated time. Then it was a whiz through visit of the Olympic village and a boat ride back to Sydney harbour. That was nice as we got to ride directly under the harbour bridge and by the opera house. We ditched the English guy on the walk home when he started to mention he was travelling with his guitar!! Guitar + backpack = hippy. Go hug some trees somewhere else.

For the rest of the week we spent it checking out some nice restaurants in the evenings (“Spice I am” five minutes from us being the best Thai food we ate in Oz) and shopping during the day and checking out various sights in Sydney such as the old part near the bridge and watching silly amounts of family guy and American dad before bed.

Sydney was approaching world cup boiling point as it was their first time in the comp for 34 years. We went out to watch the Japan game, which they won and all went loolaa. The Saturday night Beran and his mate Juggy took me to watch a Sydney swans game which was great fun as we were sitting right behind the goal where Beran and Juggy shouted endless abuse at the mullet on the opposing teams’ (St Kilda) full forward. Also there were shouts of encouragement at a guy playing for Sydney that they went to school with. Then they noticed another guy from their class was an umpire… poor guy got so much abuse from them. After a kebab and more beers we watched the England game and eventually called it a night.

The Sunday was the Winter Sounds festival!! Woohoo we were really looking forward to it. Camp-scarf-wearing Beran and Juggy collected us from the Ritz and we made our way to a pub next to the complex. After a few drinks one of their mates a resident dj about Sydney joined us for the evening. We checked out the end of Luke Fair’s set, then the beginning of DJ Sneak’s set. (he started off with Alan Braxe – Running an old favorite from clubbing days gone by for Trigger and I :o) ) The highlight as expected were Tiefschwarz!!! They rocked it for about 2/3 hours where we bumped into an Irish girl from Clontarf who new Lisa lol.

Then we all ended back in the city for the afterparty, playing again were the Schwarz brothers followed by James Zabiela who was keeping things on a minimal tip..nice! After a few funny faces were being pulled due to excessive drink it was time to call it a night, and that was the last we seen of Beran and Juggy. With the usual onward travel hangover to contend with we battled on to our flight up north to CAAIIRRRNNNNSSSS!.

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Posted by James R 07:08 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney - part 1

wow - ze opera house..

sunny 18 °C

Well when we arrived in Sydney airport we forked out an extortionate 12 bucks for a 5 minute train journey into town. It’s like because it’s from the airport that naturally it should be a higher charge. Rrrippppp. Anywho we arrived at the cheapest place in town (50 oz dollars per twin room per night) and went to check in. at check in we realised that if we paid for a week we got a free night so we decided to pay for a week. “Do ye want to have a look at the room first?”, the English guy behind reception asked… “no it’s grand sure”, we says. Lol. The place was a dive. Perhaps we should have. Although to be fair, because it was so cheap, I doubt we would have moved even if we had seen the room. Tee hee hee. Crazy gypsies.

So we dumped our stuff and went off down to Sydney Harbour to see the Opera house
and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was a long walk, but it was a beautiful day.
I was in awe at the Opera house as I had always wanted to go there as a kid and I never thought I would get there. I reckon this is due to my best friend (when I was 8) moving to Oz, and I had promised I would go and have a look about for her. But I didn’t. he he.
Well really. I’m not five anymore ye know…:)
We took lots of pics and wandered around in the sunshine. Then I’m pretty sure we treated ourselves to a bit of grub at a nearby food court or delicious Asian food place.

The next day we met up with Beran – a dude we know from going clubbing in London all the time and from spending a week together in Ibiza last year. Beran picked us up outside our dive in his sporty car and his gei pink t-shirt. We were delighted to see an old friend and Beran brought us off for the day on the Beran tour of Sydney. He brought us to see Coogee Beach – where we went for a drink and had a yap about old times. Then he brought us to see Bondi beach which looked brill. Unfortunately it was about 14 degrees celcius and there was not a soul in sight. Usually though (apparently) it’s brill and we hear FULL of Irish. Then Beran kindly offered us a room in his gaff for a few days to keep him company. We were excited but we had already paid for the week in the krappy hostel. So Beran told us to make up some krap about a family emergency and tell the guy at reception in our hostel so that we could maybe reschedule our stay. We agreed, then got around the corner, looked at each other and decided we couldn’t say that knowing that it wasn’t true. So we decided to tell the hostel guy the truth and he was cool. He said we could rearrange our days for next week and we were chuffed. We spent 20 mins or prob more repacking our stuff that we had lovingly put on our krappy shelves for the week into our bags and off we went to the most beautiful, most fantastic hosue of all for a week with BJ. :)

We took it easy for the first day or two at BJs. Then Beran and his gorgeous girlfriend Claire brought us about town to markets, pubs, friends’ gaffs, restaurants, the movies and into town and god knows what else. We had a great time. Beran’s gaff is cool. He has a sauna and a pool, which despite the minus 5 degrees temperature, we made use of. The sun was shining after all!! We had a great time Noone could have done more for us than BJ. It was great. But before long it was time to stop imposing on poor Beran and hit our hostel again for our second week in Sydney.

But not before a boozy night out in Sydney with Beran and his mates. We went to some trendy bar in …… . We drank a shed load of beer and wine out on the balcony upstairs while talking to Berans mates Tom, Juggy et all…. Then we went to some dive in kings cross that was pretty crap and then onto a pool late serving beer bar where miraculously beran and I beat his mate tom and other friend phil in a game of pool lol. The night was traditionially rounded off with some Mc Donalds, where lisa couldn’t believe I was actually eating as I always go on about how crap it is etc. However, when you are twisted and there are very few food options left an have only has a lil to eat that day…. McDonalds sounds feckin greeeeet! So chips all over the cab ride home and some big mac iun bed ensuide. The next day we got to meet BJ’s mum sober and she made us some nice tea and dropped us into town to our mansion.

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Posted by squeakylee 07:59 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Melourne - Ozie Ozie Ozie -Oy oy etc yawn

Sorry it's a bit short (like meself) but Jimbob is in charge and he's a bit tired..

sunny 15 °C

The flight to Melbourne was quite good actually; we got lots of free vino and food. Although we did have to put up with this tattooed kiwi girl and Aussie guy (trying to get stuck into her) behind us waffling away about her life and her boobs, some bits were amusing.

Anywho, we had a week in Melb to fill with excitement and wonder. Fortunately for Lisa I had been there four years previous and new where all the best bits were (Lisa Laughs)
i.e. record shops and shopping streets hehe. A Swedish guy at the airport information desk convinced us to stay in his cheap hostel in St Kilda and included a lift to it from the airport for a very reasonable price. St Kilda is a lovely little seaside town just east of the city. Its got lots of nice restaurants, bars and views of the sunset (See pics below).

The hostel turned out to be lovely, like a holiday inn room or something (which is a palace compared to some of the DIVES we’ve battles through). It did have free wifi which was a plus for me :op Also it had a resident cat that would sneak in our window if we left it open far enough. One night it snuck in so silently, crept around the curtains and onto the bedside table I turned - seen him, and nearly soiled the bed lol.

We decided to stay the week there and commute to the city via tram most days. The first thing that really made us realize we were really in Australia now was the birds. Not only do they have normal birds flying about but Cockatoos and Parrots are everywhere, Lisa thought some had escaped from a zoo or pet shop or something.

Well I’m not going to bore you with all the details of what we got up to every day. But the highlights were, me cutting and dying Lisa’s hair heh heh toni and guy - watch out; Eating cakes on Ackland street, checking out crown casino (I had to drag Kenny away from her slots which she so fell in love with in Vegas), shopping on Chapel street, grabbing a bite to eat in Brunswick, the Socceroos (cheesy we know) beating Greece (btw Melb has the highest population of Greek living in a city after Athens) 1-0 in a world cup warm up game we watched from Federation Square on big screens with pints and finally, going to see Brett Johnson who was djing in a club on the Saturday night. I knocked over one of Lisa’s drinks doing the robot lol.

I really like Melbourne city, its got a great restaurant and bar scene plus its very funky / trendy with lots of areas like St Kilda, Prahan, Brunswick all having a unique feel to them plus they love their sport and have some massive stadiums.

After a week in Melbourne it was time to catch an airport bus once again and head to another international departures lounge, destination Sydney.

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Posted by squeakylee 03:44 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Whitianga

overcast

So we bussed it on to Thames, which has eh…a nice view of a mountain, where we waited around for a while chatting to a pie eating lass named Nicole. The bus we got to Whitianga was a ‘pretend bus’ according to the lady on the intercom and in we bundled with a few other crusty beardies where we preceeded to bore each other with tales of where we’ve been and what we’ve done and how we all still have our ten fingers left.
Our gaff in Whitianga was called the Cat’s Pajama’s. We splashed out on the ‘ensuite’ room. He he. It was a cool place with a big real fire and plenty of room in the kitchen for us Anthony Worrell Thompkinsons.

So we vegged in front of the tv, then walked about and bought ourselves a great big gourmet pizza!! Woohoo. Only when we got back to the hostel, there was no oven. He he
So we had to go back out again and buy other dinner ingredients. It’s a pain in the arse trying to eat healthily. Pasta, sauce, veggies and a bit of chicken or ham can set you back a good 15 – 20 bucks in the local ‘supermarket’ whereas you get 3 pieces of fish, 2 chips, 2 drinks and sauce for a fiver in the chippie!!
Ho hum. We ignored the calls of the chippie and bought some rice and broccoli.

We decided to store the pizza in the freezer and take it back to Auckland with us when we were heading back. Lol
The following day we had planned to go to the hot water beach and dig ourselves a hole in the beach an hour before low tide and sit there and wait for the fantastic hot water beneath the ground to mingle with the cool sea water. However when we got to the tourist center, low tide was at 6.30 pm and the ‘taxi/shuttle’ service was gonna charge us 40 bucks each. He said it was rough out there and it would be dark blah blah blah so we gave it a miss. Another little problem that having our own vehicle would have solved! Bah Humbug.

At this stage now we are pretty pooped out from constantly running around New Zealand so we’re quite happy to move on. We headed back to Auckland for the night, ate our pizza and roamed around (Again).

Our flight out to Melbourne was 4 hours or something and as we took off, we waved to everyone and it’s feckin James’ feckin turn to tell the feckin story of feckin Melbourne. So I'm out... he he

Posted by squeakylee 03:42 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Tauranga

sorry for the lonhg stretch between blogs there.. i know we've left our fans in the lurch.. he he

sunny 19 °C

Well with me on a high after the auld jump I don’t think I took in much of the rest of reality for the day. I had a glazed look in my eyes.
However we motored on up the east coast of the north island towards Mt Manganui and Tauranga. The scenery was lovely on the way and we saw a kiwi fruit yard. Our bus driver was also very informative. The informative ones are great, it’s like a mini tour each time.

So we stayed in what was kind of like a hotel that had been downgraded to a hostel. It had a really nice decking area with great views of the sea and port. We dumped our stuff and went out for a celebratory dinner and drinks.

The next day we hired (free) bikes from reception and decided to cycle the 6 or 7k to Mount Manganui. It was a really nice day but the cycle was pantsy mc pants.. it was along the main road to the port and so trucks & cars were constantly going by us. It was stinky and it really put me off my cycling stride..
:/
But when we got to Mt Manganui it was great. The weather was terrific. We locked up the PINK bikes (he he – no it’s grand James don’t worry.. ) and went for a scenic stroll around the town. It’s a very touristy place with lots of holiday homes etc
Then we spent another 45 mins walking up and down outside the café strip trying to decide what to eat. After much ado about nothing, we had some Turkish kebabs & falafel salad.

We soaked our weary (haha) bones in the Mt Manganui baths. At first we asked for a private pool as it was only a dollar extra, but when we saw them – indoors and pretty seedy looking – we went back out and asked for our dollar back and said we would stay outside. Lol.
After a few dips in and out of the hot cold hot cold hot hot cold pools, we were wrinkly prunes and decided we had better face the long pedal push back.

A beer was needed after such cycling and then we set about pushing each other and other people around the very crowded hostel kitchen as we tried to cook pasta and burn some garlic bread.

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Posted by squeakylee 03:38 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

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