Friday, November 11, 2005

What Else I Did On My Holidays - the brief version

So, there's still about 2 weeks of my time in South Africa to go, during which time I went through Durban, up through the Drakensberg (including a brief trip into Lesotho, the highest country in Africa) and on to Pretoria and Jo'burg.

That brings us up to late August, when I flew on to Perth in Western Australia (WA), where I mucked about sorting out getting my visa endorsed registering for the healthcare system here, setting up a bank account, registering with the tax office, etc. I also headed down to Margaret River, the wine and surfing capital of WA, where I met up with my distant cousin James (a.k.a. Jim) and went on somewhat of a bender, involving a Karaoke night amongst other things.

After a week in and around Perth, I then joined the EasyRider backpacker bus up the WA coast, which I was to spend about 5 weeks or so on. In this time I visited: Kalbarri, which is a quiet seaside town with a National Park featuring some nice gorges; Shark Bay (the town of Denham and resort of Monkey Mia), where I had a noisy time at an anarchic little hostel run by a Villa-mad Brummie, as well as going sailing, seeing Dugongs and Dolphins, and paying a visit to Useless Loop International Airport; Coral Bay, which for many backpackers is a highlight of their WA trip but left me a bit underwhelmed; Exmouth, the ex-US Navy town which is the gateway to the stunning Ningaloo Reef; the gorgeous Karijini National Park, nestled amongst the not-so-gorgeous WA mining towns; the nest of hedonism that is Broome, home to camels, Cable Beach and too many damned bars for the good of my liver (as well as the optical illusion called the Staircase To The Moon); Kununurra, at the edge of the Kimberley, from where I spent 3 days canoeing 53km in stinking heat down a river (yes, I know, it's not really my usual thing) and also visited and flew over the Bungle Bungle range; and Darwin.

Not much going on there then. I then flew down, in early October, to Melbourne, where I spent about a week and a half in a hostel before sorting out a flat-share. Unfortunately, finding work has been a bit more difficult, but I'm now settled into temping, and currently on a 3-week contract out in the inner eastern suburbs at Shell, where I was astonished to bump into two friends and former colleagues from Accenture. This evening I just got back from watching the Melbourne Victory (the brand-new local football team), who again didn't manage to live up to their ridiculous name, in this case drawing with the Newcastle Jets. I've also been playing footie on Saturday afternoons, on Albert Park (which is behind the flat) right by the chicane out of the pit straight on the Grand Prix track.

I'm going to be based here in Melbourne for about another 5 months, until April, though I'm popping over to NZ for my birthday and Xmas next month, to see my sister Zara, currently doing her own Working Holiday over there, and I'm planning 2-3 weeks in Tasmania at some point as well.

And that is where I'm at, in a nutshell, without all the little quirks, anecdotes and ramblings that I normally pepper my blogs with. Obviously, I'll be working to try and get the full detail version up to speed a bit more (I've pretty much given up hope that it'll ever be totally up to date), but this should satisfy some of those who've wondered what I'm up to right now.

So, next entry will be back to the African leg of the trip, but that'll have to wait for another time...