Archive for the 'Oz' Category

10
Sep
10

Oz: Dinner at The Old Fitzroy Hotel

Today I’d like to write about The Old Fitzroy Hotel. My sister and I are currently staying at the Asylum Hostel in Kings Cross (I’m resisting the urge to add an apostrophe), which is very convenient because not only do you get free breakfast (toast or cereal), but you also get a food voucher that’s valid at the Old Fitzroy Hotel just down the road. As we’ve been here for a few weeks now, we’ve eaten there almost every evening during that time. Their food is yummy!

First of all, you can get a free meal for the voucher, but then it’s a very small meal: sausage and chips, satay rice or a small laksa, which is basically a spicy noodle soup. Like I said, it’s small – but it’s free.

The other option is to upgrade your meal for $6 to anything on the menu, which is pretty cheap, as dinners go. Their cheeseburger is lovely – in fact, I’m having one tonight! Just once in all the time I’ve eaten there the bun was slightly burnt, as they apparently toast it. They also have the Fitzroy Burger, which is with bacon, cheese and egg. I suppose that’s what other places would call a burger “with the lot”? Of course, it’s beyond me why anyone would want an egg on their burger, but to each their own.

The other highlight on their menu (apart from the cheeseburger) is the Gado Gado or the Bean Curd Curry. They are two different dishes, as one is with peanut sauce and the other has a curry sauce. But otherwise it’s the same – rice and lots of vegetables (beans, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tofu, etc. Wait, is tofu a vegetable? Who knows..).

Apparently, the Old Fitzroy is famous for its laksas, and while they are indeed pretty yummy, I’m not that impressed with the thin noodles they put in it. Also, it’s hard to eat and all the spiciness (spicy-ness?) happens at the bottom of the soup. So I hardly ever take that.

They also have rump steak which my sister likes, they have pretty yummy fish&chips, decent calamari rings, their prawn fried rice is also very good and, if you like chicken, there’s chicken schnitzel, chicken sweet&sour and satay chicken, all of which has been approved by my sister.

The only thing the Old Fitzroy could improve is their salad – many dishes come with a small side of salad, you see, but it doesn’t come with dressing. Apart from that, no complaints, just praise!

17
Jun
10

Oz: Rain in Melbourne

It’s raining in Melbourne today. For some reason it seems to me like nobody here really expects rain, at least not the city administration. It rains for 10 minutes and all the streets are flooded. As it turns out, my shoes are not water-resistant. It’s cold, too, and windy, and while most people are wrapped tightly in big coats and scarves and Ugg boots, some still walk around in shorts and T-shirts, or short skirts, hoping that summer will come back. Well, good luck with that. We will probably move on to Perth soon, and I hope it’ll be at least slightly warmer there. And drier. We’ll see.

11
Jun
10

Oz: Still in Melbourne

It has been forever since I’ve last written into my English blog, as you no doubt noticed, but what can I say? I used to get paid for translating stuff, so I’m not too keen on doing it in my spare time! Well, I’m just too lazy and most of the people following my exciting adventures in Australia do speak German. So you’re out of luck. However, there’s always Babelfish. :D

There isn’t too much to report. I had work for two weeks, earning some money as a milkman (or milklady). It was a cool experience, even though I really wasn’t crazy about the job itself. Instead of delivering milk, I had to go from door to door to try to convince people to get their milk, bread, eggs and other fresh produce delivered. It is a great concept, actually, and it does help Australian farmers and all, but door to door sales aren’t fun when people are mean. Now of course, if everyone were lovely and friendly, it would be a cool job. But some people were mean, like that one woman who just said, “No, no!” before slamming the door shut and who then, AFTERWARDS, put a handwritten note on her fence saying, “No hawking or canvassing.” Like I’d knock on her door twice that same evening. Because my first encounter with her had been so enjoyable. Some people…

However, there were others that were nicer, like the lovely family that made me a hot chocolate while I took their order. The old lady who let me in for tea and biscuits because, according to her, I was “such a nice Irish girl”. The Canadian-born woman who didn’t order anything, but who thought I was Canadian, too. Or the guy with all the Ned Kelly paraphernalia, who ordered something because he pitied me, and who offered me a beer or a cognac, neither of which I accepted. But those people were the nice ones, the ones that made the job fun.

At any rate, I quit when my base wage ran out, as I wasn’t particularly good at selling stuff, so it wasn’t exactly profitable. And now I’m back to square one, looking for another job. Maybe we’ll leave Melbourne by the end of June and have a look at the west coast, see if there are any jobs there, or just travel. Life is good. The world is my oyster, the road is my home.

26
Feb
10

Oz: Still in Melbourne

We’re still in Melbourne. We haven’t done much since I last wrote, but we have been on the Eureka Skydeck for about $15. It’s a big skyscraper, the tallest in Melbourne, and on the 88th floor is a 360 degree view of Melbourne from above. It’s pretty nice actually, and I do like the city a lot from above. There’s also a part where you can actually go outside (most of the view is behind windows that go from the floor to the ceiling). You could also pay $15 extra to go out on The Edge, which is basically a glass cube attached to the building that also has a glass floor. But I don’t know why you would spend that much money for a glass floor.

Yesterday, we went on a boat ride along the Yarra River, which was quite nice, and we went to the Queen Victoria Market again to look at all the stuff they sell there. Fruits, vegetables, T-Shirts, belt buckles, kangaroo leather… you name it. They did sell some T-Shirts for $5, some were even nice, but since I have to carry everything I buy, I refrained from buying any more clothes. (I should be more like George Clooney’s character in “Up In The Air”, but I don’t like doing laundry and the places I stay at don’t do your laundry for your..)

We spent the evening at the travel agency, trying to get a trip to Tasmania organzied. We were there for probably an hour and a half because they don’t book flights for people, but they let us use their laptop to book a flight. So they looked for a flight for us with Tiger Airways, if that’s what they’re called, and my sister entered all the info and then her credit card was rejected. Which is already what happened with my credit cards when we wanted to book a Tiger flight in Sydney. So the really nice girl there, Ashley, who was very patient and cheerful, even called the Tiger Airways people to see if the credit card gets accepted that way, and after a long and frustrating talk with some Indian guy who hardly understood us and who was hard to understand, her credit cards were rejected again. So we had to book through Jetstar or whatever their name is. And when that was finally done, we booked a tour in Tasmania. It’s a cheap one, but it’s still kind of expensive if you think about it. It’s $520 for 5 days, I think, but that includes accomodation. There goes my money. They say it’s hard to travel through Tasmania by bus because they are expensive, too, so I hope a tour is the right option. Ashley also booked us a hostel (shortly after closing time) and we also want to book a tour for Sunday to see some cool stuff around Melbourne. I forgot all the details but I will let you know where we went when I’m back. ;)

So yeah, after all of this I believe it’s about time we found work. We are thinking about renting a car to see the Great Ocean Road after our return from Tasmania, and after that we will concentrate on earning money for a bit, rather than spending it. :)

24
Feb
10

Oz: Garbage Truck

This happened outside out window tonight:
Garbage Truck Rollover video

24
Feb
10

Oz: Blue Mountains, Melbourne

It’s been a while since I’ve written and we’ve been busy exploring quite a few things. For one thing, we took a trip to Bondi Beach, which is basically this sandy beach that many surfers and swimmers like to go to. We went on a slightly rainy day, though, so it wasn’t particularly impressive. Also, I’m not a surfer or a swimmer. I was hungry for pizza, but since a regularl pizza Margherita started at maybe 18$, we just had an Oreo McFlurry and had a bigger dinner later. We explored everything, walked around, watched the surfers for a while and then took the bus back.

One day we also went to Featherdale Wildlife Park. For that, you have to take a train from Sydney to Blacktown, which takes maybe an hour but it’s fairly cheap, and then you take a bus directly to Featherdale Park. The park seems a bit more provincial than the Sydney Wildlife World equivalent, but the big advantage is that wallbys hop around free and you can go pet them, and there’s also a koala sitting on a separate tree for visitors to pet him and take photos with him at no extra charge. From what I’ve heard, that’s a big advantage. The koalas are mighty cute, I have to admit. But I also really liked the wombats. Sadly, it appears they bite and so they don’t walk around freely and you can’t just pet them. Other animals they had there were emus, penguins, echidnae, flying foxes, dingoes, cassowary and a lot of birs that were sometimes hard to see through their cages. All in all, I think Featherdale is well worth a visit, if only for getting to cuddle a wallaby.

Also this week we got on a train to Katoomba to see the Blue Mountains, which was nice and gave me a lot of sore muscles. The trainride there takes 2 hours and then you can walk to Echo Point, from where you have a great view over the Blue Mountains (they did seem rather green though) and the Three Sisters, a famous rock formation. There’s also a Giant Stairway with about 900 steps that leads from the very top, past the Three Sisters, down to the bottom of the forest. It’s amazing how tiring it is, even to just go down. Many people go down, look around (there’s not much to see) and turn around and go back up. But we didn’t. We walked along the ground for quite a while and then took a little railway car back up, that goes at a very steep angle. It’s pretty neat and worth the 10$ (well, I certainly preferred it over going all the way back to the Giant Staircase and climbing those 900 steps again). We went past the Katoomba Falls on our way back and then went back to the train station in Katoomba, and I was pretty exhausted when we got there. Two hours back, and then we barely managed to make it to dinner at 8pm. An exhausting but nice trip indeed.

So that’s what we’ve been up to.

Meanwhile we have moved to Melbourne into a hostel that is so loud that we didn’t even hear a truck fall over directly outside of our window. We only woke up wondering about the construction site noise only to find the turned over truck trailer outside. It fell directly on the tram tracks.

Melbourne is not as exciting as Sydney, not as pretty. But we did go to the police museum, which was not only free, but also really cool. Now I know more about Ned Kelly who some think of as a hero when really he was just a rather cruel criminal. And in Melbourne, there is free wifi on Federation Square, that makes me like it more, too. :)

09
Feb
10

Oz: Aquarium, Wildlife Park and it’s super hot

I just published a post in my German blog about today with a number of images. So head on over there and look at them.

Yesterday, we went on a boat ride around the harbour, which was really nice, and the commentary that was played during the boat ride basically kept mentioning how expensive all the houses and apartments are that are near the water. I do get that – it is quite a lovely location.

Anyway, today we decided to go to the Sydney Aquarium and we decided to go pay 49.95 AUD for the Double Deal that also lets you see the Wildlife World park.

The aquarium has a platypus, which is pretty awesome. What a funny little animal. They also had all sorts of other animals and underwater tubes to see the fish from. Again, go to my German blog for images. Maybe at some point I will make an album or create a flickr account for all the images, but right now I can’t be bothered…

Wildlife World had a lot of fascinating animals as well, but the koalas and kangaroos were extremely lazy. Here’s a picture of the kangaroos, it looks like a massacre has taken place there. Minus the blood of course.

Kangaroo massacre

Kangaroo massacre

They also had adorable little wombats and wallabies.

After all of that, we went to open a bank account at Westpac, then had an Oreo McFlurry at McDonald’s near King Street. Yum. We sat around in Hyde Park for a bit and returned to the hostel room, in which it was a toasty 34 Celsius. It’s cooled off to 29 now. Time for a shower!

PS: See all images here!