A Travellerspoint blog

A visit to Queensland

The Gold Coast, warm and sunny

semi-overcast 23 °C
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I know I just posted another blog entry but it wasn't very entertaining so I hope to succeed better with this one.

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We have just come home to cold Melbourne from a week up in Queensland. We stayed just south of Brisbane, at the Gold Coast. On the other side of Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast but it could just as well have been the name of where we were; the weather was sunny and beautiful but not too humid to be by the rainforest. I loved it! We were staying with Dana's grandmother and aunt and uncle who were all really sweet but confusingly called dinner "tea". Tea, on the other hand, was simply called "a hot drink".

Up there we mostly went hiking and saw animals when we didn't eat and sleep. We went to Brunswick Heads, where Dana's grandmother used to live, and to Byron Bay, a tourist trap and surfer's paradise. We hiked up Mount Warning, a rather steep mountain and the last bit you scuffle over stones holding on to a metal chain. It's almost more of a climb than a hike but the view was gorgeous. We had a picnic at the top and made a scrubturkey very happy as it dove at the pieces of bread and hummos that fell from our sandwiches. Carrots or candy on the other hand was after empirical experiments found not be a part of its diet.

During the hike we saw loads of birds, a small wonder considering that we didn't try to be quiet at all most of the time. Dana's hiking boots must have been heard eons away, and I wasn't very quiet either. Still, we saw all kinds of birds, and most noteably lyrebirds! Lyrebirds are those strange and shy creatures who generally live far in the forests and who mimic everything else. Therefore they are really hard to identify unless you get a good look. They have been known to sound like other birds, like chainsaws, and flutes, all depending on their earlier encounters. The first one we saw was a male; he lookeds a lot like a pheasant, but with two long, white, and dotted feathers at the back. We apparently disturbed him by going suddenly quiet so he hid behind a bush. From the bush came all kinds of bird songs the one after the others, juxtaposed, and among them the sound of a dog! We looked at each other in amazement as dogs are forbidden in the area and anyhow, there was definitely no dog in that bush. Oh, I wish that I was an ornithologist!

Another day, during a short hike we saw a brown snake: the most dangerous snake in Australia. Dana and his uncle got rather jumpy, and justly so, while I was the foreigner and just thought it was really cool to see a snake in the wild. I would not want to meet one again in the wild though, they are really aggressive and hard to see against leaves. Jungle1.jpg
Since I have such a passion for big crocodiles we went to Curumbin Sanctuary, like a zoo. The day started and ended with us feeding birds again. We had them all over ourselves. They say on our shoulders, our arms, and our heads. Dana even had to break two of them apart when they started bickering at each other while sitting on his arm. As they got irritated they did like humans and tensed up their muscles, wich included them diging their claws further into Dana's arm. Dana asked me to add that it hurts!
We got kangaroos to eat out of our hands, had fun watching the echidnas (porcupines), held snakes, and learned loads about all kinds of animals. In one talk they had gigantic eagles flying so low over our heads that one brushed against Dana's shoulder. The keepers also urged all parrents to hold all kids under 3 years since the eagles have been known to fly of with little kids. We also saw a big saltwater crocodile, about five meters long. He was monstrous. We were all excited at the prospect of seing him getting fed, but it turned out that they don't eat when their body temperature is lower than 25 degrees and so Holy (the croc) had not eaten since April!!!

The beginning of the day however was the most intimidating, at least for me. The sanctuary has forest obstacle courses in the trees and we started by doing them. We went first for the easy one, and got to balance rope bridges, wires, and climb rope ladders. Not too exciting but still fun. At the middle level it got a little mor exciting, we were higher up in the trees and we saw a peacock lying on a roof as we balanded on another wire. It was fun until we came to a Tarzan rope (att svinga sig i lian). Dana went on but I was stuck. In spite of wearing a harness and all kinds of safety equipment I didn't dare to jump (but I dare to climb walls much higher up...). Not untill I figured out that there was no other way down did it give it a go. It was a revoltingly poor try. Do I have to tell you that the last cource scared me so that I was all shaky after doing it? I still can't understand why I went up, knowing that it would probably be worse that the one before, but I'm glad I did. There are enough wimpish girls in the world without me adding to the numbers. It was not an elegant show however. Dana on the other hand looked like Tarzan. I guess I'd be a perfect Jane, seing how he always takes her in his arms on the vines.
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Coming back to Melbourne we learned that the weather here had been completely awful. It had been raining all week and been so wet that there had been floodings in the surrounding areas. Or rather, there are floodings in the surrounding areas. I felt sorry for the displaced people and being from a wet and cold country I know how it is to get wet and cold. Here however, they seem to worry more about getting it too hot, even at the face of a flooding, and I was rather amused at the news report laconicly concluding that "at least the fire season this year will be shorter" as Victoria needs to dry up before there can be any risk of fires.

This past Saturday I went to the Swedish church to help teaching Swedish and get a cinnamon bun. The kids in the class that I assisted are all 6-8 years old and not very good at Swedish so we were practicing animals with them. The teacher is Finish-Swedish and maybe that's why, but she actually taught them wrong a few times (det heter igelkott, inte igelkotte; gryt, inte gryte). Anyhow, it was fun to walk around helping the kids to understand their assignments and making them figuring out the answers of questions like "I am grey, I live in a barn, I am not a horse, Who am I?" When bending over the girls table (a lot of pink!) and trying to make them sit down and work quietly one asked me: "Are you... are you rich or something?" I was of course amazed and wondered what had made her think that I would be rich, especially since I was wearing nothing but bright plastic jewlery (and clothes of course). It turned out that it was simply the colorfullness of my appearance that had made her think that there must be something different, and so I must be rich... I don't see the logic but I found it very funny.

Observation of the week: Being back in Melbourne during the first days of spring feels great! it's still cold but some days are getting milder and nicer and yesterday I was out in the middle of the day for a long while without a coat. At the same time it's a little tragic. Not that it's getting warmer but that when I check the temperatures in Sweden and Cph I get almost the same temperatures. It's but the very first days of spring here (think 7th of march) and our temperatures are almost the same as those during the first day of autumn at home. So I ask myself: Why would anyone (I) ever want to move back there? (but don't worry, I do)

PS: There is a photo of a kangaroo with a baby in its pouch in the gallery. Just filter for Gold Coast. DS
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Posted by Sockerbit 17:56 Archived in Australia Comments (4)

En lille blog om lejligheter

a small blog about apartments

overcast 15 °C
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I have promised a lot of people to send photos of our new place so here are the photos. The old place you could hardly take photos of since it was so dark. When we were looking for apartments in Melbourne we noticed a few interesting features:

- the rent is listed per week. Often you still pay the rent every month and since there are more than 4 weeks (28 days) in an average month it gives some strange implications. The rent might be 4 weeks, or it might be 4,08 weeks. Very odd and unnessecarily complicated.

- We enjoy living close to the city center and were looking for a few places in the CBD (Central Business District, or as I'd say: the City Center). I have always wondered how you design apartments in high rises so that everyone gets windows. I can understand how you do with offices - open area offices with or without cubicles are commonplace in Hollywood movies, but how do you plan an apartment building? Now I have the answer: you don't. The apartments we saw in the CBD were all really strangely planned; a big living room area with a full wall window and a tiny balcony and either one bedroom with a window out and the other without window. Or two bedrooms with windows out to the corridors. What would you use a window to a corridor for? Corridors are dark and you have to deliberately look the other way not to see your flat mate changing underwear. Even worse however, were the apartments with one bedroom with a gigantic, fantastic window, and one adjacent bedroom with a window to the first bedroom. No comments needed for the idiocy of that design. Not once did we see an apartment where all rooms had some type of window so we stopped looking in the CBD (though I bet that if we had had another price range we would have found places matching all our demands).

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We are still living very close to the center, about a 25 min walk to the absolute main points of the center but not only do we have windows (with a really lovely morning light actually and no insight at all) but the rooms are all usable. Another thing that we found when we were looking was that the living room area was generally very big, but not always possible to furnish. For example, one apartment had a long living-room area mounting out in a wide hall45045450way. Due to the placement of the doors however you could only use a part of the area for anything other than standing on. I asked about the apparent waste of space everywhere and was told that Australians like to have a lot of space, unregarded of if it can be used. Considering that rent here is in the same range of prices as central Copenhagen it's a very expensive fancy.

All the places that we saw had open space kitchens but I'm not sure if it's because of the type of places that we saw, or if it just haven't occurred to people here that everything will smell like food, especially as the windows are generally located on the other side of the room (on the far side of the living room area - cause windows are of course not required in the kitchen). Anyhow we like our new place in despite of its flaws. It's got loads of light and an electric radiator in each room (but since we have one-glass windows there's no point in heating the room if you leave it for a few minutes since all heat disappears out to the trees). But best of all with our new place is that it's ours! We set the rules -none but to keep it reasonably clean- and we chose our flat mate and he's lovely.

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Posted by Sockerbit 22:24 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (3)

Bird feeding in Walhalla

overcast 11 °C
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Last weekend we spent in Walhalla. David, our good friend, mentioned one day that he and a french girl, Morgane, wanted to go to the Great Ocean Road and asked if we wanted to come. I was not thrilled. It's cold at the moment and the Great Ocean Road follows the south coast of Australia as you might remember so it would be even colder there. But David is not someone who gives up. The next day he suggested that we'd all go to Walhalla instead. Anyone from a Nordic Country must understand why I thought that it sounded great*. "Sure", I said without thinking, "I'd love to go to Valhalla any day!" The following weekend we went.

Walhalla turned out to be a little gold rush town in a valley, much like Rjukan (for Johanna's information) but smaller. Once upon a time 2500 people lived there but today there were only 7 permanent residents. It's a huge tourist spot though I can't make out why, and a really pretty little place, one street wide and crammed in a valley and with the odd house climbing up the hills. The valley is so small that the local cricket pitch had to be placed on the top of a hill that was shaved flat. Even the cemetary is on a hillside, arranged in terraces up the hill. When we went there the sun was shining with the long shaddows and warming rays of a winter afternoon and we all lay down on the stumps and trunks of some gigantic trees that had been taken down recently. We almost fell asleep in the sunshine.

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Finally the sun ceased warming us and we walked back uphill to our (by our standards) opulent B&B to have tea (read chocolate and fruits). We had brought a crumble pie for Morganes birthday and decorated it with tea candles (varmeljus) but before we had even tried the cake we noticed something that made all of uss run out to the drive way. The owner of our B&B was standing there feeding the most gorgeous birds. I have seen them at a distance in the parks in the city, and just that same day we saw them close by in a tree in "downtown" Walhalla. We had stopped for ages, admiring them and how close they were, and here the man stood feeding them from his hand! We were invited to join him and soon stood five people in a row trying to look the most tempting to the birds. There were two kinds of birds: the Rosellas and the King Parrots. The first is mainly bordeaux colored and the other lime green. David and Morgane were apparently more tempting than Dana and I since birds landed on them to eat from their hands. But when we bent down to the ground even Dana and I had birds eating from our hands.

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After while we couldn't but notice the kookaburas further away in the trees. They made a funny laughing sound that made us look for them and when I said that I'd never seen one close up, the B&B owner brought out some meat and let us feed them. The Kookaburas generally eat snakes, mice and other small animals and hence they came quickly when we offered meat in a teaspoon. After a while we even fed them from our hands. We put a bit of sticky meat in our palms and streched them so that the birds would not take a finger by mistake. The birds didn't even touch us! They grabbed the meat and chucked it into their throats. They were pretty messy and a good bit of it got stuck on their beaks or even on their heads. I tried to tidy one up but it didn't like it and backed off. The birds were so thame (or hungry) that we could even pat them as long as we were feeding them with the other hand. Finally we were out of meat and went back into the cabin to celebrate Morgane, make hamburgers in the sandwich grill and sing to David's guitar. Do I have to say that we had a fantastic evening.

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The observation of the week:
1. We have moved and if I have forgotten to send of my address to anyone, this is it:
L102/550 Lygon st
Carlton
VIC 3053

2. There are more photos from the trip in the gallery. Just filter the pictures so that you only get pics from Australia August, or only from Walhalla.

  • Valhalla is the name of the Viking paradise. Anyone who dies in battle ended up in Valhalla where they got to fight every day and to site side by side with the gods and eat the boor Saerimer in the evenings - the boor was ressurected every morning and slaughtered again at night.

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Posted by Sockerbit 23:28 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (5)

A very short blog entry

sunny 14 °C
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The last two weeks have been very busy. Dana is back in school and has a frantic semester in front of him. Luckily enough the semester only lasts for two months. I am working again as a receptionist in a slow reception, but we are pulling all the threads we can to find me something a little more challenging to do.

A week or two ago, I went down with some friends to see the pinguins parading out of the water at dusk. It was a cold night but gorgeous. Both David, a friend, and I were exhausted after a challenging accrobatics class. The view over the city was fabulous. Morganne (a french girl), and I were clipping away with our cameras! We were a little late and merely saw, and heard - they were loud, them in their little holes. We did see water rats swimming towwards the beach and dissappearing into other holes. When we were done with looking at the rats and listening to the pinguins we sat down on a pier and ate Tim-tams while admiring the view. A very nice night. Unfortunately my pinguin/photos were no good so you'll have to wait untill I get Morgannes to see any.

The big news of the week however, is of course that we have moved. The new place has got windows! And we decide when to pull the blinds (never) and to open them (when it gets warm). We have just moved down the street and now we live in an appartment complex with sauna, swimming-pool, movie theatre, and gym. Having a gym in the house makes wonders to your motivation to train a cold and windy winters night. For anyone wishing to go to Oz it might also be of interest that we have a boubble bed folding couch as well as a (according to Dana) cute French guy, wo's moving in to the second room today. I haven't med him yet. Dana keeps on forgetting his name and to call him Hugo or "the Frenchie" but as far as I have understood his real name is Hughes [Ygg].

I promise to write again sooner!

Observation of the week:
I still think the Aussies are crazy. They have upcomming elections and what they seem to care tha most about is that their Premiere Minister cant' be too practical and boring - they could get certain Danish politicians (we can send them over as convicts) and about boat refugies - the Danish politicians would feel at home.
In fact the Aussies probably care more about who's winning the AFL (Australian Football League)

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Posted by Sockerbit 20:56 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (5)

Winter in Australia

Phillip Island and football

sunny 13 °C
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När ni nu sitter där i sommarvärme och äter bär, har vi vinter. Jag är inte nöjd alls. Jag sitter i tredubbla tröjor och håller i min tekopp bara för att färma upp mina stela fingrar. Det är inte så kallt ute, kanske 14 grader och sol om dagarna, men inomhus är det kallt! Det finns ingen isolering och trösklar her de inte hört talas om! Vår sambo (heter det så? "flat mate"/coloquateur) gillar att vädra och går omkring och öppnar fönstren. Vi tre övriga försöker förklara för honom att då öppnar man ordentligt i några minuter istället för att fa det lite öppet dygnet runt, men det går inte in.
Det finns i alla fall en fördel med vintern: det är passionsfruktssäsong! Vi äter passionsfrukt i yoghurten praktiskt taget varje dag.

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My first weekend back Dana and I went with his dad's family to Phillip Island, an island in the bay outside of Melbourne. It was cold but fun. We went looking for seals and though we didn't see any, the landscape was gorgeous! Dana and I agreed that it looked very much like Ireland. Dana acted like a responsible older brother teased his siblings, and carried his little sister around on his shoulders. Before going home, the kids had been promised to go to a chocolate factory where you got to play with the chocolate before eating it. They showed how chocolate is made and we also saw a fully sized reproduction of Michelangelo's David, completely made out of chocolate! The only changes from the real statue was the color (of course) and the strategically added leaf - it's after all an English speaking country and I suspect many parents would not bring their children if there was a completely naked man there, even if he was made out of chocolate. The issue could of course also have been solved by letting someone take a bite of the statue. Anyhow, we got to write in melted chocolate, then eat the cooled result. We played with a catapult loaded with chocolate, and made a little robot pick the chocolate of our choice from a feeder, and give it to us. There was also a train model with a village made out of chocolate. I think however, that the best part was the gigantic picture of Dame Edna, made out of pralines. When we came out of there we were very full, and rather sweet. In the car Dana's sister was first hyper active for a few minutes, then in the middle of a story she became quiet. I turned around to see what had happened and she was asleep. A day of excitement had required its prize.

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Just after I came back to Australia Dana had his birthday. We celebrated by going out to eat Ethiopian food with a few friends. I tried to get the live band to play happy birthday in Ethiopian but they forgot about it, or we just didn't realize that's what they were doing... The beer was great in any case. After the more than sufficient food Dana and a few of the guests wanted to go for desserts, so we took of for a fantastic café just next to our place. I had no space left in me for desserts but the others claimed they had. Only one of them however, managed to finish his cake without considerable help.

Last weekend we went to see a game of Australian rules football. As Dana's brother's favorite team "the Magpies" (skatorna) played we went together with him and Dana's dad. I cant compare Aussie football to soccer (vanlig fotboll) as Ive never seen a real game, but I didn't understand too much. Dana, as well as his brother tried to explain, but I was too unconcentrated. I did however understand that the magpies were playing really well and that the other team missed six (!) easy goal chances. Dana even patted his neighbor, one of their fans, on the back when they missed the last one.
Behind us we had a little kid (see the photo) who was more fun than the whole game. He yelled when there were goals, when certain players held the ball, when the umpire (domaren) made a decision that displeased him, and most of the time actually. He yelled, ate candy and through around his gigantic inflatable glove. He made such a noise that Dana and i just had to take a photo of him when he didn't see.
I had brought my binoculars and found that Aussie rules football have way better looking players than American football. In American football they rarely run, mostly they are just diving into piles, and therefore many of their players are rather unfit. The Australian players however are more or less dressed like European players, they are just showing a bit more of their arms. In spite of their good looks I still think I prefer American football. It's quick, loaded of action, and hilarious. After this thorough analysis of different types of football I think it's clear why I'm not a football commentator.
Oh, and by the way, the mag pies won and are now top ranked in the AFL, guess if Dana's brother was happy!

The observation of the week:
1. At the football game there was a whole heap of other people on the field all the time: five umpires, as well as messenger boys and water boys. Is that normal? What if they'd get in the way of the ball or the players?
2. Their football field is round. That's odd.
3. Fredrik, om du läser min blog: Jag försökte skicka ett grattis-mail till din födelsedag men det kom tillbaka till mig. Grattis i alla fall!

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Posted by Sockerbit 21:01 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

Marko's Opulent Pancakes

Summer at last...

sunny 31 °C
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This second week here it has actually been really good. The days has been warm and nice, The last few days were really warm. We went to swim, had some watermelon, and went to Tito's mausoleum. You can't actually see Tito, he's under a block of marble but you can see his great collection of relay batons.

One night Marko decided to give us a treat and made his famous pancakes. Earlier years he has made some excellent pancakes and then we added sugar and walnuts ourselves. I love those pancakes. This time he made gigantic pancakes on an electric pan, like the ones they have in pancake stalls, and then we all got to say what we wanted on them. Mum went first and said to him to make one after his own taste. She got a chock at the size of her dessert and had to lie down at the couch half ways through it to take a break. I'm not sure if she finished it. After that everyone else was a bit more careful, with the exception of my brother, who did not manage to finish his. On mums pancake was a thick layer of Eurocreme (the two colored Nutella), grained crackers, walnuts, slag (sweetened fake-cream), red currant jam, and strawberry topping. The only topping I don't think that she got was bananas! Once again were we in a food coma.

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After two great weeks in Serbia we were off to Germany and I flew back to Australia. I advise you all not ever to try to travel for three days, It's not very pleasant! We took it easy to Germany since we were very lucky ad the borders and weren't stopped but it's still hard to first travel by car for a day and a half and then by plane. The first plane (13h) was ok, but the second (6h) felt very long as I had already done everything I could think of, including eaten all the airplane food and snacks I could stand. I had watched a heap of movies, solved suduku, and slept. Now what? I ended up watching another movie, contemplating a stomach ache, and trying to sleep, before helping half the plane with their immigration papers. Yes, I forgot to say: the plane was full of young Scandinaves, right out of high school, going to Australia for Exchange. The semester here starts in another week and they were all on their way to orientation. All I heard was Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian though we flew out of Germany. I wonder why the Germans didn't send any students to Oz, or if they were just taking another plane. As I met a German guy in the same business at the Sydney airport, that might have been the case.

The observation of the week:
A Serbian BBQ is equal to a whole heap of meat. The salads are fantastic and are definitely best but for some reason you are supposed to eat heaps of meat, meat and meat of all forms and kinds. on the picture you can see my brother eating from one of the three equal sized containers of meat!

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Posted by Sockerbit 04:54 Archived in Serbia Tagged family_travel Comments (5)

Rain in Serbia

rain 17 °C
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Have you ever experienced bureaucracy? In France I had to bring a paid electricity bill every time I needed to show that I was who I claimed to be (to get a bus card for example) and I thought that was complicated. To get a Russian visa you need an invitation and you have to complete a whole heap of complicated forms. To get an Australian partner visa I need to list entry and exit date of every country I have visited for the last 10 years; I have added 4 entries only by going by car to Serbia. Still that's nothing compared to the stories i have heard of Serbian bureaucracy (well, i assume that the Russian is as bad). Now I have a first hand experience.

Dad and I went to register me at the house here in Belgrade so that i can vote and get a ID-card. I have a passport and hence a citizenship so though we knew that we'd be sent here we were optimistic. A day should be enough, we thought. We couldn't have been more wrong! After five ques and different angry ladies telling us to co to another irritated lady, we found out that I was not at all registered in the systems. I needed a proof therefore that I am a citizen. The proof was of course to be found in another building, at another desk. We were told to go to room 37a, where we were brutally thrown out and told to go downstairs and stand in another 30minutes line. When finally we arrived at the desk the rather nice lady explained that she couldn't help us, since I lacked the paper I was there to get. She sent us to room 37. A very nice lady there explained that I might not be a citizen at all (nevermind the passport), and that dad's citizenship too was uncertain (though he is born in the country and have both passport and ID, issued by that same desk just a few years ago). She sent us of to another desk but there we gave up when I was told that I first have to prove that I'm not registered, to be registered. And that I might have to go to the other side of the country to do that. It was 15.30, we were tiered and at home my aunt was waiting. Dad had another errand and as my head was full of thought I took the wrong buss home and ended up at a place with funny houses. No worries, some whipping of eyelashes made the young buss driver put some effort into figuring out where I needed to go and the best way there.

We came to Serbia, thinking that we could experience a bit of summer after the pitiful excuse of a summer in Sweden but no! A few days before we came here it was 36-37 degrees daily - a bit to hot, but at least we'd get to see the sun, but when we came here it was cold and rainy, and this whole week it has stayed so. Still it's been a very pleasant week. It's been lovely to see the family again after two years, and it's always nice to walk around in a city you know but don't see every day. We've eaten loads of local fast food, gone to a few museums - the money museum is strongly advised - and looked through every store in town for the perfect pair of glasses.

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Today we have been visiting my aunt and uncle at their country house. The place is very simple but lovely, and the view over the Danube is outstanding. We admired the vines, the flowers, and the veggies growing in the garden and ate the berries before starting with the barbecue. At the moment the whole family is in a food coma after a traditional Serbian barbecue which means: meat, meat, meat and some salad and bread. We had about two times the amount of meat 13 people could eat in a few hours. That's a bit. Cevapcici, paddies, chicken, pork, beef, chicken rolled in bacon, and sausages. I might have forgotten something as I'm not a big meat eater. After this orgy, we were offered cake -all cakes here are very sweet and contain loads of sweetened cream- half of us looked scared at the thought: "no space" we said. After an hour some had a piece, but I couldn't even try.

This entry might make the trip here seem dull and irritating but it's not at all how it is (unless you actually live here). The people is so warm and welcoming, and the fruits are fantastic. But how fun would it be if I wrote the whole blog about that? No, bureaucracy is hilarious if you just see it from the right point of view.

The observation of the week:
1. Those of you who are subscribing to the blog might be automatically unsubscribed, It seems to be so that people are unsubscribed in the same order as they subscribed. I think that the system is resetting somehow. If you cant find the page to subscribe again yourselves, just send me an email and I'll do it for you.
2. Johanna, thereäs a photo for you in the photo gallery. Just search on Serbia.

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Posted by Sockerbit 00:38 Archived in Serbia Tagged family_travel Comments (3)

The absent summer

Sweden and Denmark

sunny 16 °C
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It's a sure summer sign when you see practically naked middle-aged and super tanned people trying to tan in the sun while everyone else is walking around in sweaters and scarfs, trying to keep their clothes on despite the fierce wind.

During my stay in Scandinavia we have had: at least a full week of pouring rain; two weeks of cold and partle clowdy
weather. And abot three days when you could go without a long sleeved sweater. The daytime temperature has mainly been around 14 degrees. This is NOT a Swedish Summer, (even though they are famous for being cold and rainy) it's a *** Swedish Winter!

Despite this pathetic performance of the Weather Gods the frozen people of the north knows how to enjoy themselves. I have not once gone swimming, but instead I've had loads of tea and rhubarb pie with my family and friends.

Two days after my arrival , still severely jet-lagged Johanna and I went to the Carneval in Lund. This amazingly fun arrangement only occurs once every fourth year so being in Austalia is not a valid excuse for not showing up. We went around watching short plays, a movie, and people. We also tested our navigation skills (poor), our pathriotism (non-existant) and our cooperation skills (as allways excellent). We wondered around and stood in ques (a prominent occurance in Lund), watched the lego-car rally, and ran into some friends. Best however, was probably the carneval procession where we could see Barak Obama, The Crown Princess and her fiancée, as well as walking apples from the Garden of Eden. It felt so lovely to be back in Lund, where students dressed out to be police oficers got the real police to hug them and to sit down in the portable sofas with them while political mesages on legs walked by.

Family photo

Family photo

A few days later I went to Denmark to see friends and see if I still knew how to speak Danish. I did, but I felt more sing-songy than ever. To make my Danish teacher happy I can say that I do use the uniquely Danish sound that brittons in the early viking age described as "sounding as though the speaker is trying to punch the words out and is half choking" - the earliest preserved accord of the Danish language. It's hard to be in Copenhagen for a week without enjoying oneself, and though the rain was pouring down most of the time, and my host was recovering from food poisoning, I had a great time. It felt strange to walk the streets that were formerly 'mine', but I wasn't too sad about it; Im going to reconqure them one day! - prefferably some time when the weather's better.

As i left Cph and headed of to Jutland the temperature rised from 12 to 25 or so, and the sun started shining. My two days in Århus were therefore the best during my whole time in Scandinavia and I even dipped my feet into the water in Vejle Fjord. It was freezing! Freezing but georgeous, that's maybe the way to summarize this stay. The lilacs have been smellig and blooming and we are eating our own mangold and rhubarbs while the currants and strawberrys are ripening in time for us to leave. Still, the days are long and the flowers bloomin; I really should not complain.

One rainy and cold friday, all the high school students graduated. It's a big deal and basically everyone not working in a flower shop is there, standing at the sides of the street as they parade through town, singing drunkily and carrying heaps of flowwers around their necks. The parade ends in a park, and if you don't know exactly where yoyr friends are standing there's no way you can find them.

The Observation of the week:
Kids are like weeds! My younger nephiews had grown about half a meter when I came back. Of course i could not supress a "Wow, you have grown!... If you are that big, how tall is then your brother?" Asking this of someone younger than 4 years however, does not ensure a reliable answer.

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Posted by Sockerbit 16:05 Archived in Denmark Comments (4)

Going home

Smells of home and unintantional exercise

semi-overcast 14 °C

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I only had to hit land at Heathrow to feel that something was diferent. As we stood waiting for our bags, a bit of outdoors air came in through one of the roof windows above. I breathed hungrily for that hint of refreshing air with a hint of salt - the same air as at home. I could feel it in London too, but as the morning grew older and the cars became more numerous it dissapeared and was replaced with the distinctive smells of big cities: car exhaust and stone. As opposed to southern Europe or Singapore however, the smell of warm asphalt was absent. It was a glorious day and when I finally (after the run through London) sat on the coach to Stansted I was struck by how green it was. As always after a long trip, a return to northern Europe at spring always makes me amazed at the thousand nuances of green and the lush trees with an opulence of leafs. I got a feeling that a giant dropped a big bucket of green paint over the landscape and that all trees and plants absorbed it. To me it seems that it must have been their diferent abilities to absorb the paint that created the different greens. We passed trees covered in white flowers and rape fields, intensely yellow and only disrupted by the occasional tree. That is what coming home is to me, and in the bus to Stansted all I missed was the sound of sea gulls and tht hint of sea air again to make my image of home complete.

I had a very nice walk around in London starting at Buckingham Palace. As I am the least discrete person I know according to my friends, I decided to change clothes in front of the queens residence. I sat down by the statue and pulled a bra over my head and poked it in under my clothes. See! It's not impossible to add some padding to one's clothing even facing the Queen, at least not before 8 am.

I sat a while at Piccadilly Circus (that is a very uninteresting place), went to Camden market and to a church by Trafalgar square. When I passed by Downing Street I realized that i was short on time and by the time I had reached Westminster I had to run (after taking a few photos of the fantastic exterior of the parliament) all the way back to the Victoria station. I leaped past tourist groups following guides with purple, black, or striped umbrellas, overtook business people and jumped up and down whenever I had to stop at a red light and let big taxis and double decker's pass me. I was carrying my day pack that was wobbling on my back and once or twice I had to re close it as the zippers seemed to want to open themselves as I alternated between running and walking. When I finally reached Victoria station I was exhausted and late and got caught up in the flow of people that almost made me go to the wrong place. I had to exit the building anew and run on very weak legs to the coach station. Even when i got there my troubles were not over. Nowhere could i find an overview of where to catch my bus and the man giving me back my bag from the deposit really wanted to chat and he took his time giving me the bag while I was jumping up and down to get it. When I finally got to my gate I was happy to have a little towel in my day-pack and and extra top...

You could have thought that after that I would have made sure to be on time at the gate for the plane but the sun was so gorgeous and I was so tiered that, after making sure where my gate was, and after checking in my luggage, I went out in to the sun to enjoy it before I got to cloudy Sweden. I think that the long and uncomfortable flight from Singapore must have meddled with my brains for I am usually always early for my flights and this time I had already been on the verge of missing a connection. But anyhow i fell asleep in the sun. I woke up in perfect timing to go to the gate but guess what! When i got in they had changed the gate (or to be honest the woman in the check in had written something else on my ticket, the number 34 was not my gate after all. Turns out that my plane is on "last call" and that my gate is only accessible by train. Its' needless to say that I was very exhausted and grateful when I sat down in my plane seat a few minutes later. I had not had the energy to run a meter further!

Back in Scandinavia I had to change trains in Lund and was struck by the amount of people hanging around the train station. The Lund station is always busy on a friday night but this time it was exceptional... until I realised the reason: the Lund carneval. Every 4th year Lund is host to a student carneval of great size and importance. "Shit!" I thought, and I who was so exhausted! "Well!, I thought, "maybe I've got energy enough to visit the carneval on Sunday." "I'll ask Johanna if she might want to come", i thought. But when I came home and logged on to my email I had already received an email from Johanna, asking If I wanted to go to the carneval on Sunday...

The observation of the week:
Carnevals are fun - especially doing cooperative tasks with someone you have been a close friend of for more than a decade! Once again Johanna and I got on to the 10-top list on our first attempt!

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Posted by Sockerbit 02:17 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

A day in the sauna

five days in a humid Singapore

semi-overcast 32 °C

Singapore

Singapore

I finally got my ticket home and reluctantly left Dana in Melbourne and boarded the flight to Singapore. “Only eight hours” I thought – isn't it funny how ones perspectives change. That day anything without multiple check-ins was considered easy. My plane was almost an hour delayed when I landed but Jeffery's friends Ash and Nikki picked me up, and first brought me to eat and then to a party (where we were also required to eat). If I had had any jet lag coming – that evening totally crushed it! We stayed up til late eating and talking and then got up at eight in the morning to go climbing a mountain (after a delicious breakfast of course) – or as Ash corrected herself “it's probably more: hiking a bump!” Either way I found it rather exhausting considering that it was 30+ degrees and jungle, so the humidity was probably close to 100%.

We did so much that day that I can't possibly write about it all so just a few Key words for Johanna: Yanni, swing, Penelope and Janice + dumplings. We also had soup dumplings! That is dumplings (little dough buns with filling, almost like gigantic tortellinis made by rice) filled with soup! Hilarious! Very hard to dip in vinegar so I had to pour the vinegar over the dumpling instead. Mmmmm...

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I stayed the night at Yanni's place and got to have breakfast with her mum and sister and see Ikea from the balcony. I wish I had thought of taking a photo of their fantastic view. They live right next to a tree nursery which means that at the 8th floor you get a really nice view almost all the way to the end of the country... :-)

I spent that day wandering around in Little India and in the famous shopping Centre Mustaffa's. A place where you can find almost anything. It's almost as versatile as Bovljak in Serbia or G-kås, but sells a lot of Indian and Chinese things. A whole floor was consecrated to toothpaste and other hygiene and beauty things, another floor only for gold!

"Everywhere in Singapore looks like it could have been a space ship!", said one of Jeffrey's friends when i asked about the new casino, and its so true. Most buildings here have an awesome design that makes them look like space ships.

A true spaceship building

A true spaceship building

I have given up any attempts to behave like a normal person and have eaten cake for breakfast and am currently sitting at a cafe drinking tea in the air condition while it's steaming outside. The humidity is simply phenomenal. Yesterday we had 98% humidity in the evening, today it's only about 78% and I was thinking earlier: "great, not so humid today!" the minute I got out of the airport in Singapore my hair started curling and became super curly - a true sign of very humid weather.

I have started to revise my view of air conditioning. It's actually really nice when it's not on to cold and it's even quite necessary if you are planning on doing any sports what so ever in this climate. Sometimes though it's air-conditioned to a point of ridiculousness. The buses for example are so cold that the windows are completely wet from condensation. I think they have it on 15C or lower and it's 31-33C outdoors! As Janice, a friend of Johanna's that has showed me around, said: "I'm not a polar bear!" I agree: neither am I!

All of my days here, except the first, I have spent walking; about eight to ten hours of pure walking every day and I am therefore not reluctant to get on to that flight and sit down for a few hours. The evenings though, I have been showed around by either Johanna's or Jeffrey's friends who have taken me out to eat different kinds of great foods and see some cool stuff. Last night we went to see one of the temples in China town. The temple was decorated with lanterns, hanging in lines under the overhanging roof, and tables with food for offering as its Buddha's day of enlightenment next Friday. It looked really amazing and we lingered to admire it for quite some time, untill our tummies started rumbling.

The observation of the week:
1.It's much harder to do things when you don't know whether you want to or not. It gives simple actions an undesired complexity. But don't worry, once you have started it gets easier because then “it's just to honk and drive” to speak Swenglish (I don't speak Singlish... yet).
2.When in Singapore do like the Singaporeans! That's why I'm taking loads of food photos.
3. At the Asian Civilizations Museum I saw a rather interesting Chinese quote on the wall. "While parents are alive one must not travel afar. If one must, ones whereabouts should be made known." I thought: "oops!" Who of us follows that rule? Johanna, Dana, Andrew...? Even my parents didn't!

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PS. My dear skirt ended it's days in Singapore, it's home country, after a long and devoted life in my service. DS

Posted by Sockerbit 21:34 Archived in Singapore Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Ticket Catastrophy

A week with random Melbourne photos

sunny 15 °C

Dana and Sara pillowfighting

Dana and Sara pillowfighting

It's three days til I'm supposed to start my trip home and I still don't know if I can go. We booked a ticket with Eastern China Air weeks ago. It all went through and I was happy: I had a ticket back to Australia from Europe and I could go home without worrying of not being able to come back here! The next morning however, I received and email saying that "unfortunately the ticket could not be issued for you". It was something with the ticket being sold already. Now I have heard that maybe I was lucky not to be able to travel with Eastern China Air - though the price is about half that of any other company, so is the service...

We started looking for another ticket and after a few days we found another one. Then the next problem arose: it seemed to be impossible to book a ticket online. Every time we tried to confirm a booking we were asked to put in new or more information , or the page said that the card was not valid, or we were just redirected to the beginning of the page. After having tried both Orbiz and Qantas home pages with several cards but no success. Dana and I were amazed at our difficulties - generally companies are very keen on taking your money, but we had no luck. Finally Dana called in a booking and we thought that all our problems were over. Not so! The next morning I received two emails confirming my purchase of ticket - with two different confirmation numbers! I took a deep breath and called Qantas. After being on hold for a while the customer service confirmed that I had two tickets for the same flight on my name and were very understanding to my desire only to have one ticket. It was easily arranged. That afternoon when I came home from work late and tiered, but happy to have the whole ticket mess sorted out I encountered an email in my in-box "the purchased has not been authorized by your bank" the email read: "Please contact your bank or the booking will be canceled". I was not happy at all! But I took a deep breath and called my danish bank and in my very rustiest Danish i asked why they had blocked my purchase. "Well" they explained "there is a booking on your account from another air company of two tickets. The three tickets together amount to more than you can use in a month." Three tickets! Now I had three tickets! It seemed as some of the attempts to buy a ticket online had gone through anyhow so now I had to call Chicago and try to explain to them that the tickets had never gone through. After a very long time on hold the woman I spoke to was very understanding and helped me to cancel the two flights. Now I called back to Qantas and arranged for them to put the payment through.
At the moment it seems as though everything is alright but until the payment from Qantas goes through and I see my funds decrease I do not believe that the trouble is over! Hopefully it's all good when I get home tonight!

A pillowfighter in drag

A pillowfighter in drag

Besides the obviously frustrating ticket problems the week has been good. Dana is studying for his exams and I have been out dancing quite a bit and I have even gone to church! No, that's a bit of an exaggeration; I went to the youth group of the Swedish Church. I thought it would be a little as the youth groups on Friday evenings in the Swedish Church back home, where slightly to well bred kids of 14-19 years are drinking tea and playing games. I'm not complaining, I went a few times when I was around 15 and I enjoyed it, but I always felt that I had to try to be 'nice'. Anyhow, this was not. It was just a place to speak Swedish and eat cinnamon buns. The division of a "youth group" was just so that we young people would not have to talk to any people older than us. They also have a men's group and a women's group. All so that we should not have to integrate and behave like non Swedes. The night i was there was trivia night and the questions were really good. The last question was more of a joke than a question: "Den islandska vulkanen har spridit kaos över Europa. Ända är det möjligt att det är USA som får ta de värsta konsekvenserna. Varför?" While you are thinking I can tell you that My team partner and I won the quiz by correctly answering questions like: Where do the Swedish meatballs actually come from? And Why do we celebrate our national day at the 6th of June? To be fare I have to say thet my team mate was the only person knowing which football team that is called "the kangaroos".

Have you finished thinking? Well the answer was: "I USA ligger All-aska".

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The observation of the week:
I just took part in an interview for a PhD thesis about travelers and was asked why I travel. Why? I don't know, I never thought of it like that. I ended up saying that if you are from our part of the world it's like if you want to drink some milk; you just go buy a liter of milk. The same with traveling; if I feel like going to Berlin, I just go to Berlin. There's not to much to it. I don't know if that was a good answer or if it was a terrible one but it does make me feel very privileged indeed.

The recipe of the week:
Dana's Rocky Road
300 g dark cooking chocolate
two handfuls of small marshmallows (or cut them in smaller pieces)
100 g of unsalted peanuts, slightly chopped
100g of Turkish delight (Dana's version)/caramel (Sara's version)
some cocoa powder and/or chili flakes if you want a darker taste

Melt the chocolate and pour in the other ingredients and spread out on a baking paper. Let cool down in the fridge. Very tasty!

Posted by Sockerbit 05:09 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (4)

Welcome to the end of the world

OR: JUST AN ORDINARY WEEK

overcast 15 °C

View of the Princess Theatre

View of the Princess Theatre

This has probably been my most normal couple of weeks since I left Denmark, and I like it. I'm still working as receptionist but am looking around for other possibilities, and both Dana and I have other commitments at night so at least one of us is off to something every weeknight. That's not what makes it so nice to have a normal week though I like feeling that I'm being of use, but answering stupid calls is not my vocation (mitt kall) in life. I like sending and receiving parcels though, it feels like Christmas every day. No, the thing that makes a normal week so good is that I finally had a busy weekend where I met a lot of people, danced, and played board games. It almost felt like being at home.

One evening we had a group of people over for a board game night though initially it seemed more like a snack night as everyone brought something to snack on. We had a veritable cheese plate with crackers and baguette, as well as pop corns, chips, and some sweet stuff. After a while we started playing scategories and laughed a lot while deciding to accept "Japanese people" as "something that grows", on the letter "J". Funnily enough, only one person out of ten could think about "Jesus" as a biblical figure on the same letter but we had two Joshuas. I don't know if that says anything about our religiosity or not, but we were surprised.

This coming weekend we are having a dark chocolate tea party. Basically a group of people all bring something made out of dark chocolate and then we taste it all, or rather indulge ourselves in it. I have long been looking forward to it! Dana is making a Mississippi mud cake and though I don't know what it is, but it sounds deliciously unhealthy. I think I'm making a mint mud cake but any tasty ideas are welcome. Anyhow, It's promising to be a good evening.
mud cake= kladdkaka, vad heter det på danska? - kladde kage?

After a few weeks of biking here I am slowly getting a bit more used to the left hand traffic, but still I sometimes get a blank out if there are no cars to follow as i do a right hand turn. Biking in Melbourne seems to be a lot nicer than what I heard about biking outside the city where the drivers are said to be complete lunatics. In the city drivers are relatively used to bikers and are generally nice and rather safe when they overtake me. The parked cars on the other side are a danger, as people have a tendency to open their doors without taking bikes into account or even look through the rear mirror. It's simply not at all like biking in Cph!

At the moment it's getting really cold here in Melbourne but one cool thing is the lemon tree at our back yard. It has started losing its fruits and as I hate to waste food, I have now a bowl of lemons in the house. Any recipes of lemon stuff are welcome, especially if its not sweets or if it uses up several lemons. Is lemon marmalade tasty?

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One day I went with a friend to the Science Works, a museum where you can try and see how science actually works. Unfortunately It was slightly too much for children, but at least I learnt one useful thing:

The Recipe of the week: Slime
Mix corn flour and cold water at a ratio of 3 to 2.
Add some food color and mix well.
The very slimy slime will be hard if you try to touch it by using a lot of force but soft if you touch it slowly. Be wary, it's a mess!

The Observation of the week:
I have just realized how extremely far it is to you all! Or, as Dana said: "Welcome to the end of the world". For me to get back here it will take 27 hours from London to Melbourne, but then I would need to get home too... Anyhow, I have still not decided on when to go home, but you will see me within the coming 6 months, probably sooner.

PS. this week i have a request, it's really cool to hear from mum that all these people are reading my blog when I thought I was only my parrents and aunt that followed my everyday life in Australia. You are all very welcome to say hi in the comment section, just because it's really fun for me to know who is reading. DS.

Sara outside the Victorian Parlaiment Building

Sara outside the Victorian Parlaiment Building

Posted by Sockerbit 05:38 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (7)

The Great Ocean Road

Easter and Easter eggs

overcast 23 °C

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Easter is not only an occasion to eat too much chocolate, it's also a few guaranteed days off. We used these precious days to go to one of Australia's great tourist attractions: The Great Ocean Road along the south coast of Australia, east of Melbourne and half the way to Adelaide. I thought that it would be slightly of the tourist season as autumn is on it's way and the wind can be rather cold; after all, next stop south is the South Pole. But alas, it was the height of the tourist season and! It wasn't really any problem as you mostly noticed in the small towns on the way. We were driving along in no rush, admiring the landscape and singing along to strange music or listening to the latest edition of The Economist. This audio was constantly turned on and of since we had to discuss the sometimes radically right wing statements. We saw beautiful views and cute small towns and at the end of the day we drove up to a national park and saw glow-worms. Due to all the tourists all camp sites were full so we parked by a tree close to the glow-worms and decided to sleep in the car. As we took a last evening walk we saw a koala in the tree we were parked under. In the flash light it looked like a monster with a nice white collar. Very funny but rather disturbing. We finished the walk and got back to the car.

Koala

Koala

The next morning we woke up to a beautiful view through the car window. We had breakfast using the car as a wind shield and seeing the clouds dissolving over the ocean. We continued driving down the coast but the whole morning we stopped every other minute as I saw koalas in the trees above us and had to get out of the car. They are nocturnal animals so as opposed to the previous night, the koalas weren't looking at us now but were sleeping, curled up like grey fluffy things in the trees. One or two seemed awake as I could make out their ears against the sky. Finally Dana politely refused to stop any more and we got on to the highlight of the Great Ocean road. The Twelve Apostles are gigantic pillars of stone in the oceans that through erosion have been separated from the shoreline. We saw some rather amazing waves hitting the shore and entering narrow gaps in the shoreline and read about all the ships that got ship wrecked here in the 1880s. This was the first piece of lend that European ships saw after rounding the Cape of Good Hope and sailing for months and due to strong currents did many of them also end their journey here, though in the depths of the water.

We spent this night at a camping and were happy to be able to stretch out but we continued early in the morning as it was very cold and humid in the tent, and the magpies (birds) were having a concert. They have a really funny sound so it wasn't too irritating. It wasn't until mid afternoon however, that we realized how early we had awoken,: it turned out to have been the end of daylight savings that night (vi fick vintertid). This day we left the coast to drive through some mountains on the way home and to get some change of scenery. It was warm in the car and beautiful with the gum trees and we even say emu's on a grassy field. They were walking around and irritated a group of about 35 kangaroos that got up and moved when the emu's came too close.

It was a beautiful day and a very pleasant tour. Around dinner time we were about an hours drive from Melbourne and we ducked in to Dana's dad's place and had a very nice dinner and a discussion or two. That night I slept like a log!

The twelve apostles

The twelve apostles

Yesterday we attended a gigantic pillow fight in a park. It was so much fun! I would guess that we were around a hundred people running around and hitting each other with pillows. Of course it was extra fun to find and hit Dana but I had to try to sneak up on him from behind so that he wouldn't be able to hit me first! We were totally exhausted, as well as, covered in feathers when we gave up and wondered home. Next time you are all invited to come with us!

The observation of the week:
So far autumn here has been great! It can get cold and windy but its rare to have a day without sun! I am told though that it will get worse so from now, you might have the better weather!

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Posted by Sockerbit 21:06 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (3)

Animals in life and chocolate

Down under part 6

semi-overcast 26 °C

More kangaroos

More kangaroos

Today I have biked in Melbourne for the first time it was fun but terrifying. As I left the house I was thinking "left, left, left! Keep to the left!" It all went well until I came to a really big intersection. There I decided to cross by foot, and guess what: I met someone I knew! I have only met him once before, yesterday at swing dancing, and i had one dance with him. There he was, in the middle of this surging intersection in the outskirts of Melbourne. We had a nice chat before I continued to work.

This week and next I am working at a big telecom company as receptionists. You get all kinds of funny requests when you work in a reception. My favorite was someone calling and saying: "hi, I was just on the line with a lady from your company, can you transfer me to her please." When asked if she could tell me the name of the person she was talking to , she couldn't (not even a first name). "I'm sorry, but I can't really help you in that case, but since the call was disconnected I am sure that she will call you back in a minute", I said. "But what if she doesn't call me back?" wondered my caller. What am i supposed to answer to that? "I still cant connect you if you don't know who you want to talk to...?" I didn't say that. Today too I had someone who was so pleased with the fact that i actually listened to him (I was bored and he was really nice) that he said that I should get promoted to the communications team. Again, i didn't say what I was thinking: "I'm not even really working for this company."

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If you'd go to the park just by where we live after dark, you are basically guarantied to see possums. They are climbing the trees with their kids on their backs or looking in the bins for food. It looks really funny when the only thin sticking out of the bin is the fluffy tail! The other night we went there and one of them even came up to me and sniffed me! I can't have smelled too good, cause it didn't stay long, instead it turned and ran away. They are super cute.

Easter here means egg hunts for the children and as I had more than enough time to kill at work in between the the strange calls, and I am working close to a chocolate factory, I constructed an egg hunt for Dana. Tonight after dinner I hid all the clues (in the washing machine, under the bike saddle, in the freezer etc.) and gave him the first clue. Fun! At least for me.

As you can see on at the photo below there are more here than Easter bunnies, there are also Easter bilbies and vombats. It was a group of environmentalists that wanted to rise awareness of the endangered bilby, a native animal of Australia. So a few years ago they started producing these chocolate bilbies as an alternative to Easter bunnies, rabbits are not very appreciated here (they are not native and have spread like...rabbits and destroy things). Today the Easter Bilby is famous, and though there are more bunnies than bilbies around, they are still made by several companies.

Dana and the chocolate bun... I mean: bilby and vombat

Dana and the chocolate bun... I mean: bilby and vombat

The Observation of the week:
Australians have some really strange words. For example they call all candy "lollies" which makes me really confused, lollies to me is lollipops! Also they call peppers (paprika) capsicum, that does on the other hand make sense, since "peppers" in the States is really confusing.

Posted by Sockerbit 06:10 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (7)

Strictly Australian

Down under, part 5

sunny 27 °C

Upside Down Map

Upside Down Map

Hi everyone! This week it will all be in English. I Prefer to write in Swedish, I just feel more amusing in my first language, but never mind. I seem to have a few non Swedish speaking people reading so it'd be easier not to have to re-write the whole thing in English again (don't feel guilty Andrew, I had so much fun writing that) - not to mention to translate it for to Dana.

I think I forgot to write last week, I'm sorry, but it was just not a very interesting week. It wasn't boring or anything, but are you really interested in hearing about me getting a haircut, getting a light sunstroke from sitting in the shade, talking, and going to a birthday dinner? It was all really nice, but not really interesting to write about.

It was one of Dana's friends from Canada who celebrated her birthday. She lives with her Australian boyfriend southeast of Melbourne (mum, you can check google maps for Geelong) and as the last train back to town left at 22.30 or something we stayed over night. We woke up early and I talked Dana in to going down to the beach, 5 minutes walk from the house. It was gorgeous. At 8 am a Monday morning we were practically alone at the beach. The weather was perfect, a slight cool breeze and a warm sun, just like the morning of a warm summers day at home. I was only sad that we didn't have much time before we had to catch the train but we did manage to get a short dip.

During the dinner, Trent, Dana's friend and the boyfriend of Canadian Nicole, had told me about Tim-tams. I had seen them everywhere and as my favorite youth book (tomorrow when the war began) mentions them more than once, I was really curious of them. Tim-tams are biscuits (in British English) and to quote Trent "We are trying to get the world to understand that that's how biscuits should be". After hearing that, and getting a vivid description of how to eat them I just had to try. "But", Dana warned me, "if you want any you shouldn't tell me when you have got them". The next day i bought a package of Tim-tams. They are almost soft, chocolate covered, biscuits. In fact there are two layers of not to hard cracker, and in between, there is a layer of creme, all with chocolate taste. The way you eat them is that you bite of two diagonal corners and then dip one of the ends in to a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and you try to suck the liquid through the biscuit. When it gets too soft you quickly eat the rest before it falls into your cup - just like with ginger breads. It is not healthy (not even too tasty - very, very sweet) but it was a lot of fun! I love eating soggy chocolate of my fingers! I managed two of them, and had one more cold. Dana blissfully finished the rest.

timtampack

timtampack

We have a park, not far from where we live where you are almost guarantied to see possums at night. Every single time we have crossed the park after dark, we have seen several of these quite rodents in the grass, crossing the path, or climbing the trees. The other day we saw one with a baby at its back. It was so close to us and i just wished i had had my camera with me, they are really cute! In fact they are really disliked i New Zealand where they do not naturally belong, and cause a lot of damage, while here in Australia they are appreciated.

Saturday night we went to a "Sound of Music sing-a-long" night at a friends place. Dana and i had dressed up as well as we could. Dana looked like a real Austrian in my over knee socks and suspenders he had made from straps for a sleeping mat, and rope. So there see all sat and sang so that the walls shook: "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...", Dana continued singing "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" until midday the next day when we were climbing the 1000 steps to the top of a mountain and I think that he ran out of breath.

The observation of the week:
Dana does not at all speak with an Australian accent. Several people have found it hard to believe him when he says he is Australian. Most believe him when he assures that he is, but the other day the best friend of out flat mate asked him: "so are you here on a working holiday visa?" "No!" said Dana in obvious disbelief. "Oh, yes, that's right", she said, knowing that he studies. "You are here on a student visa." "No!" exclaimed Dana incredulously, "I'm Australian!" Liz looked disbelievingly at him. "Yes!" said Dana "I was born just a few kilometers away!"
It took a while convincing Liz that Dana was Australian.

Cool grafitti in a lane

Cool grafitti in a lane

Posted by Sockerbit 02:18 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (6)

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