Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My new digs

Here are a few pictures of my apartment I'm living in now. It's in Randwick which is the next town over from Tim, about half an hour to the city and 45 mins-an hour to school. I'm right near the beach, about a ten minute walk and there's a bus stop right outside my door. I'm living with a guy named Matt and a girl named Rachel, both students as well and both Australian. They're really nice and we all get along well, so far so good!

My shelves, complete with advent calendar - thanks mom!

I got an app on my phone to take panoramic pics so heres my whole room! (you can click on the picture so see it bigger)

The living room

The rest of the living room and kitchen

The view from my balcony! (that little bit of blue to the left is my ocean view ;-) )

Camping at Little Beach

This past weekend I went camping with Tim and a group of his friends from work. There were 16 of us altogether and the campsite was really small so we pretty much had it all to ourselves. It's called Little Beach (fitting name!) and its about an hour and a half north of Sydney. Tim, me and his friend Vicky went up on the Friday night after they finished work and then the rest joined Saturday morning/afternoon. The weather forecast said it would be cloudy and rainy all weekend but we had awesome weather, sunny all day and only cloudy at night or in the morning. We all had pretty bad burns after Saturday (I know, boo frickin hoo right?) but luckily I brought aloe vera cream.I finally went swimming in the ocean for the first time since I've been back. It's still pretty cold but felt good after being in the sun all day. We saw a lot of wildlife while we were there too. There were tons of birds, including kookaburras, a porcupine (the Australian version, pretty much looks the same though), snakes and bugs (ew!) and a whale on the last day! For those who didn't know I am deathly afraid of whales so I wasn't too pumped to see it but I can appreciate that everyone else was. The kookaburras were so aggressive! They swooped down and took a piece of steak right off someones plate!! And while we were packing up I noticed a massive spider on Vicky's bag and as we screamed, obviously, a kookaburra swooped down again and ate the spider!! So crazy. It was nice to get out of the city for a bit and we all had a really good time and met some new people! Here are some shots from the trip.

Vicky bbqing Friday night

Little Beach
In case you don't know what a kookaburra is, scary things!

A few of our tents and basically the whole campsite

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Melbourne Cup

On the first Tuesday every November Australia has the Melbourne Cup which is a big horse race down in Melbourne but there's races all around the country that day. It's basically a public holiday or a half day but luckily I didn't have classes anyway! Everyone gets really dressed up - high heels, fancy dresses and fascinators, and head down to the races or a pub to watch. Me and Tim and his friend Mick from work went down to the race track near us in Randwick to watch races there and place bets on the Melbourne cup. It is crazy how much gambling there is in Australia, every pub has a back room to place bets on anything and everything so as you can imagine it was a huge day for betting on Tuesday! There was a French horse, Americain, who was the favourite to win so I put $20 on him and of course... he lost! I never have much luck with these things. I wanted to get a fascinator (after the royal wedding I've been dying for an excuse to wear one) but they were sold out everywhere! Unless you wanted to pay $100+ which I did not, so I got a little flower headband and tried to fit in with the socialites. It was a lot of fun and a beautiful day, then afterwards we crashed a media party with free drinks and dancing! Oh! And, I have officially moved into my new apartment! Will post pics once I'm all set up :-)

Randwick Race Course

A lovely lady (?) at the after party

Nicola and I, her boyfriend works with Tim

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jazz in the Vines

This past weekend Tim and I went up to Hunter Valley to go to a jazz music festival called Jazz in the Vines. I'm not that into jazz but it ended up being a lot of fun and the music was really good! It was supposed to be cloudy and rainy all weekend but Saturday, the day of the festival, was really warm and the sun ended up coming out at the end of the day. We met up with a bunch of people from Tim's work who I'd known when I was here last time and all set up blankets and chairs and drank wine and listened to music! Afterwards we went to an Irish pub down the road then headed back to our hotel.

On Sunday, Tim and I and another couple, Dean and Katie, rented some bikes and rode around to the different wineries in the region. Hunter Valley is a big wine area (specializing in Semillions and Shiraz, yup I paid attention!) so there were tons of places to go and you didn't have to go very far which was good because it started to rain halfway through the day! We went to about six wineries, and got stuck in one during a big storm. I can think of worse places to be holed up in! Afterwards we grabbed some dinner at the first winery we went to then rode home a little bit unsteadily (Yes mom and dad, of course I fell off!).  The area was gorgeous though and I definitely want to go back for more time!

Out our back door at the hotel