Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: canadian

Darwin Bound (July 2012)

People can be very interesting, especially when traveling. My flight left Sydney a half hr late because it was a full flight and could not be loaded quickly due to all the people trying to stow their carry on luggage. I saw people with 3 or 4 bags each. Why Qantas lets these people have so much carry on, I will never know. But, who am I to question how Qantas runs their airline!
It just doesn’t matter, because boarding a flight means I am travelling. And, I am very happy when I am travelling especially to somewhere I haven’t been before.
This time, I am on my way to Darwin in the Northern Territory in Australia. I haven’t been to Darwin before, nor anywhere else in the Northern Territory. Exciting enough to be going somewhere new, but more exciting because Darwin is warm. Average temperature during dry season (which is now) is 20 degree lows and 30 -32 degree days. Lovely!
Darwin only actually has two seasons, the wet season from October to May and the dry season from May to November. Either way, the temperature doesn’t change much! The dry season means no rain for 5 months. Imagine!
I arrive in Darwin via a four hour stop over in Alice Springs. I have no plans to leave the airport because I have work to do, but want to come back another time to see Alice and Uluru. Will have to leave that for another adventure.
Flying into Alice gives one a sense of amazement of just how vast and ever changing Australia is. As we near Alice you can see the landscape change to desert like conditions although it is officially not a desert. The ribbons of sand dunes cover the land as far as the eye can see. There are specks of white, which I believe are salt marshes. Occasionally you will see specks of darkness where there are actual trees.
What a difference from the landscape I saw when leaving Sydney. Vast white sandy beaches, inviting blue ocean and breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains which really do have a blue hue.
Another element of traveling that I absolutely love is meeting people. I am probably considered a pain in the ass because I just about always get talking to whomever is sitting next to me on my flight.
The trip to Alice is no exception. I meet this lovely couple from Nepal. They have been five years in Sydney and are now moving to Tennent Creek via a sponsorship. He will work in Tennent Creek for two years and then they will be eligible to stay in Australia. To say they are excited is an understatement. They have no idea what Tennent Creek is like and they don’t care. She has learned that you can not swim in any water there due to crocodiles. She is not concerned because they are going to have their own house. Their excitement is contagious. By the time we reach Alice, I am excited for them and spend some minutes dreaming of their life to come!
My time passes quickly in Alice airport. There is free Internet and I have managed to get quite a bit of work done. I am more than ready to move on to Darwin. Warm weather here I come!
Al is at the airport waiting for me. What a Honey he is! He has already picked up the car rental, settled us in to Sky City Casino and Resort, and is now back at the airport to pick me up. My immediate thoughts on Darwin? Warm! Love it.
It’s dark and I don’t get to see much, but that’s okay. We have a lovely dinner and settle in for the night lulled to sleep with the sound of waves lapping on the beach.
Tuesday and Al has to work all day, so do I! I settle myself in for the day and work by the pool. I even had the pool boy (not Al) deliver my lunch. This is the way working life should be!

My Office

My Office

In the evening, we amble over to Mitchell St known for it’s bars and backpackers. Low and behold an ad for Canadian Club. They seem to be doing some heavy advertising in Australia lately. Go CC!
Canadian Club

Canadian Club

Wednesday is our day off. We take the opportunity to look around Darwin, walk the waterfront (don’t want to swim as there are crocs) and then Al decides we must drive some of the Stewart Highway looking for a road train. We didn’t have to go far. As we sat at the intersection waiting to turn onto the highway, two road trains went by. These pics are for Jason and Kallen. Not sure who will enjoy them more!Road Train



One would be remiss if they didn’t mention the sunsets in Darwin. They are spectacular, no wait, beyond spectacular. The sunsets alone are worth the trip to Darwin.






Here it is Thursday already and we are sitting in the Qantas Lounge waiting for our flight home. My thoughts on the Northern Territory, I want to see more. My thoughts on Darwin…I could live here!




Do I trust her or not?

Touched down at 9 p.m. in Perth. I was tired because of the 3 hour time difference. My internal clock was telling me it’s midnight. Al was waiting for me at the airport. He arrived about 45 minutes before me as he flew in from Melbourne.

We picked up the rental car and hit the road with the trusty little GPS. Immediately there was controversy. The GPS told us to go one way, when the signs clearly told us to go another. Who to believe? We went with the signs. Poor old GPS wasn’t happy and started complaining. In fact at one point she had us off the road, driving into an abyss! About half way to Perth city centre (10 minutes into our drive), crazy GPS lady picked up the scent and started telling us the proper way.  She took us right to the hotel front door! The problem with GPS in Australia is when do you trust her?

I feel for people coming from Europe and North America where GPS works so well. They would have such a false sense of security. There must be an awful lot of very lost tourists wandering around Oz!

Our hotel is nice, but not that nice for the price. At over $300. each night, I expect a kiss goodnight from front desk! Didn’t get one though, Al’s goodnight kiss would have to do!

I had a leisurely morning while Al went off early to set up his booth in the trade show. I finally ventured outside to see what Perth city centre has to offer. Shopping, copious amounts of outdoor mall shopping. I spent most of the day wandering around the shopping streets yet I barely touched the surface of shopping in Perth!

Our second night we went out for dinner. We chose a Korean Barbeque because I have never experienced one before. Each table has a little hibachi type barbeque built into the middle of it. When you order, they bring out hot coals and put it into your personal barbeque pit! I felt like I was camping! They then bring raw meat and an array of different sauces, as well as rice and miso soup. It was delicious. A slow meal, kind of like fonduing because you have to wait for each piece of meat to cook. Loved it though.  If you ever see a Korean barbeque restaurant, give it a try.

We went back to the hotel and went for a swim in their outdoor heated pool. It was my kind of pool because it hovers around 100 degrees fahrenheit (37C). Kind of like swimming in a cool hot tub. I could have spent all night in there, but we rotated between the pool and the sauna. And then, to our delight a fireworks show started somewhere on the waterfront which is quite close to the hotel. So, we floated in the pool and watched what felt like our own personal fireworks show above us.  How cool is that?

It is now 6 am and I am here writing this blog because I can’t sleep. I do struggle with time changes. My dam internal clock was telling me 9 a.m., time to get up!

Can’t wait to see what today brings. We are hoping to get a chance to go to the beach as they are shutting the trade show down for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. That is, assuming we can trust the GPS to find the Indian ocean. Then it is back to work for Al while Judy plays!

Di I trust her?… I had better shop for a map!

Never Assume When You’re Down Under!

Imagine my surprise when Sept 1st came around and people starting commenting that it was the first day of spring! I guess it never crossed my mind that spring would be on a different day here in Australia than fall is in the Northern Hemisphere. I always thought it had something to do with the day the sun passes over the equator, which should be around March 21st for the first day of spring and Sept 20/21st for the first day of fall. Summer begins June 21st  and winter begins Dec 21st. Logic dictates that Australia would be the opposite.

A fellow toastmaster mentioned it had something to do with  the penal colony changing their uniforms on that day. I couldn’t find any information to confirm that story.

But it turns out that Australia and New Zealand actually follow the meteorogical seasons rather than the vernal equinox. It’s as simple as that.  Meteorogical seasons are determined by weather rather than the length of day.

It turns out that it doesn’t matter because it is spring. The flowers are blooming, the trees are in bud, the wattle is in bloom. The Waratah is also in bloom. This flower is a spectacular sight and is the state flower for NSW. It is also a protected plant!

I “googled” the question, “Why is spring on Sept 1st in Australia? The only reply I found was “Because the last day of winter is on August 31st”. Silly me for asking!

“The Best Job In The World”… Judy goes for it!

I have seen some genius marketing in my time. The campaign to find a person to work for Queensland Tourism on a beautiful island with a pay cheque of $150,000 for six months is inspired!!!

This takes the reality factor to a whole new level. Anyone can be part of the game. A colossal number of hopefuls have thrown their figurative hats into the ring (well, onto the web). This is an exciting chance to live the dream, get a wad of cash and a splash of publicity. All web channels are open… The Official Web Site, Facebook, MySpace, You Tube… you name it… the buzz is deafening!!!

Everyone wants “The Best Job In The World“.

As I sit and smile at the guile of the people behind this I see another hopeful leap into the eye of the storm of enthusiasm… my very own love, Ms Judy! I am incredulous with admiration. With so many people chasing this seemingly Utopian opportunity, why would Judy put so much time and effort into chasing the dream?

Judy’s response is positive… she has as much chance as some and more than many. Yes, Judy has training and experience in managing and marketing resorts, including five years at a very high end fishing resort in a remote corner of British Columbia (Nimmo Bay that has appeared on a number of Boston Legal episodes). Judy has writing experience, she is an excellent story teller. She has training and experience in radio and TV interviews.

Judy at the Helm!

Judy at the Helm!

I looked at her “application” video for this position. Judy is vibrant, creative and beautiful! Why would you not want to have her promote Queensland’s astonishingly beautiful reef? Why not indeed! I think Judy is a wonderful person and I admire her for many things. I can now add her flair and enthusiasm for this opportunity which I can understand appeals to her adventurous and animated personality.

As her Aussie partner, what do I think? Simple! Bags packed, trusty MacBook tucked under the arm… I am off to finish the three novels I have started while adopting a semi-recumbent posture on the white sands of a coral island!

See Judy’s application for the job: Judy’s Best Job in the World Video

In the Shade

I love trees! I love the trees in Australia. Don’t get me wrong, I am from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada where we have some of the most majestic species of Sitka Spruce and Douglas Fir (to name a few) that make up our diverse and beautiful coastal rainforest. If you haven’t visited Vancouver Island, it is a must see.

Australia forests are different and distinct. One of my favourites is Australia’s Eucalyptus. In fact, Australia is home to more than 700 species of Eucalypt. What a majestic, beautiful tree. Not just because you can crush the leathery leaves and fill your nostrils with the aroma of eucalyptus, but because of how they grow. The branches remind me of giant tendrils reaching out every which way with it’s strong boughs.

Australian Eucalypts are amongst the tallest trees in the world. The bark is sometimes stringy and is often peeled revealing a naked beautiful smooth tree trunk. The trunk can be tinged with greens, oranges, reds or sometimes a silvery white. At night you see the white tree trunk shimmering in the moonlight. It is magic!

Another tree I love is the Palm. In Australia, they have huge Palms trees, small Palm trees, Palm bushes, so many Palms. At times, driving along the road or hiking you can look down upon these giant tree Palms and it feels like you could jump and the canopy would envelop you with their mammoth palm fronds.

Being in Ettalong Beach with all of it’s Eucalyptus and Palms, I feel like I am living in a lush, tropical seaside haven. Oh, I forgot, I am! All I need is a pina colada in each hand, the shade of a good tree and a pool boy to keep me cool and offer refills as required!

A Canadian Living in Australia

Here I am on the other side of the world!

I didn’t come here for work or because I have always wanted to experience living in another country.  No, I came here because I fell in love with an Australian.

He had worked in Canada for over 3 years when I met him.  We met in May and started seeing each other in September.  He already knew he was going home next March.  We went into the relationship with the idea that it was going to be short term.  That didn’t last for long.
We spent all of our spare time together and when we couldn’t be together we spent the rest of the time on the phone or internet talking.
We were trying to live in a long distance relationship, but it wasn’t working.  We lived about 3 hours apart.  We took the plunge and essentially moved in together.  Although neither of us gave up our apartments, we stayed at each other’s place on alternating weekends.  The weekdays were taken up with work, although I sometimes worked from his place.
The stress on each of us and on the relationship was incredible.  As the date of his departure grew near, I talked him into staying another 4 months.  Not sure why or what I thought I would accomplish with 4 more months, but it worked out.
In that 4 months we grew together as a couple and knew beyond a doubt that we would be staying together.  This meant I was moving!
It was exciting, stressful exhilarating and gutsy for both of us.  We haven’t looked back!
We both arrived in Sydney July 2008, he was, we were, coming home…