Wednesday, May 13, 2009


So a month ago or so on the way to Sydney with my parents, I saw a sign for a pumpkin festival. I thought "woo hoo! Pumpkins in May? That sounds novel!". I had visions of corn mazes, hay rides, and human sized pumpkins floating around in my head. I got even more excited when I read on the website that there was going to be pumpkin pie! How great would that be? You don't normally get pumpkin pie in the US until October or November.

So, I talk HA and Max into going with me on Sunday - it was about a 45 minute drive (kind of a big deal when your typical universe is only where you can walk). The day comes and it's absolutely beautiful outside. 19 degrees and sunny. Who could ask for a better day for a pumpkin festival. The festival was in Collector, a tiny little town of 150. We get there and there are hundreds of cars - the town has probably tripled in size. It's $5 per car - pretty cheap..and with all these people, it must be good.

Immediately, there are boxes that say "Pumpkins $5" - sounds great! I'd love to carve pumpkins in may. Except...wait..these pumpkins...what? They're green. Green? And the other pumpkins...they're funny peanuts. What is going on here?? I look around and sure enough there are cut outs of orange halloween pumpkins...but where are they? So I look at HA all confused.."where are the orange pumpkins?" and he looks at me like I'm crazy. Apparently, they don't have orange pumpkins. Deep breath...ok, well, there's still the pumpkin pie.

The three of head off to find coffee and pumpkin pie. I look through all the food stalls but I don't see it. We ask the coffee lady but she's not from around here so she doesn't know. Finally, I ask a little old lady and she doesn't know either. We see a stall with pumpkin sconces and whoa! they have the pumpkin pies! But wait..they look lke meat pie. So I ask the man "Are they sweet or savory pies?" And again, I get a look like I'm crazy. Apparently, they're savory pies. Great. Well, alright, we'll try one. So Max and I buy one and we look at it skeptically. I take a bite and...I get pumpkin and celery. Celery? Yes, you read that right. Needless to say, Max and I had HA finish it. Again, disappointed.

But we made up for it by getting a post-mix at the Macca's in Goulburn. Gotta love the McDonald's fountain sodas. A lesson for my American friends..fountain sodas are called post-mix...and Macca's is McDonalds. Getting post-mix is a bit of a treat since most restaurants serve soda out of a bottle.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tasmanian Devils are nothing like the cartoon...

So I talked about Tasmania in my last blog and I thought I would share my weekend with you. It was probably one of the funnest weekends I've had in Australia yet.

So my friend Max was in the Antartic for a month on a boat. Myself and two friends decided to go down and meet her when she arrived back in civiliation. The weekend started with a 6:30 AM flight from Canberra to Hobart on a Saturday. For those of you that know me, you know that I'm not much of a morning person. Being at the airport at 5AM hurt. We flew Qantas which is probably my favorite airline ever. The staff is nice and they serve full meals that you don't have to pay for. The US airlines could learn a few things from those guys.

The car we rented ended up being "upgraded" to a small tank. This car was massive - think Land Rover but bigger. Good thing the boys were driving. So we get to the dock area and meet Max. She's surrounded by half the boat (which doesn't surprise me) and so excited to be home. We catch a quick lunch with her and some of her boat friends and then cruise through the markets real quick. Turns out our hotel room was just across the street from her boat so it was so easy to get her luggage and checked into the room. We spent the rest of Saturday afternoon hanging out and catching up. Then we hit a Thai restuarant with some of the crew from the boat (mostly the helicopter pilots and their friends). I found one of my favorite white wines ever at this restaurant and am now hooked. I hope I can find somewhere in the states that sells it.

Here's a picture of Salamanca Square in Hobart.

Oh! Also on Saturday, we toured The Sea Shephard. Thats the boat used to try and stop the Japanese whalers each year. They were giving tours of the boat for donations and hyping their show that's on Discovery. It was pretty interesting to hear about some of their tactics and how the Japanese respond.

Sunday was a beautiful day - sunny but just a touch chilly - kinda like a nice autumn day. The four of us decided to go wine tasting so we headed up to Richmond from Hobart in our tank. I'm not sure how many wineries we hit but between the four of us, we bought 26 bottles of wine. Thankfully, they'll ship the wine to you so you don't have to figure out how to get it home. And it turns out that we were there on a great weekend. They were having some sort of event where wineries that aren't normally open to the public were having tastings. We then headed up to Richmond to have lunch. It's a cute little town with the oldest working bridge in Australia. We ended up going to an oyster farm for dinner as the boys are oyster fans. I however an not so I had a steak. One thing to know though - Tasmania isn't BYO. That was frustrating after buying 26 bottles of wine. Here's a picture of three of us at one of the vineyards. JC is missing as he's taking the pic.

Oh! I forgot the other great part of Sunday. Max became pretty good friends with one of the helicopter pilots on the boat and he offered to give us a quick tour of the area. It was very cool to get to see the coast of Tasmania and a the skyline of Hobart. Here's a picture of Max's boat from the air.

We lost HA on Monday since he had to go to work that afternoon. So the three of us decided to get outta Hobart and do some hiking. We drove up to the the Hartz Mtns and did a quick hike up to a lake. Here are some of the pictures. One of the prettiest areas I've visited in Oz yet.

We lost JC that night so Max and I had to rent our own car. This is where things got really interesting for me. Me, in my wisdom, offers to go rent the car. I get the counter and the lady proceeds to ask me for my license. This is when it dawns on me that I'M GOING TO HAVE TO DRIVE THE CAR TO MAX. In my head, I'm starting to panic but I'm trying to stay cool b/c I'm afraid they won't rent me the car if I act like a fruit loop. She hands me the keys and I cooly get into the car on the right hand far so good. Then I reach over my left shoulder for the seat belt...and i reach...and I reach. Then i realize, Opps..wrong side. I laugh out loud and wave to the lady, who is watchin me and proceed to buckle up. I throw the car into drive and pull out of the parking spot. I go to turn left and suddenly the windshield wipers are on! Oh crap, wrong side. I pull out into traffic, repeating to myself "left side, left side, left side" became my mantra. by the time I get to Max, I believe that my hair is falling out from the stress, but at the same time, it was really fun. I felt like I was conquering a fear so I ask Max if she minds if i drive to the hotel. Thankfully, Hobart traffic on a Monday night is pretty light so there were no incidents. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of me driving so just use your imagination.

The next day, Max and I got massages at the hotel and then decided to drive to Port Arthur which is about two and a half hours away. I drove the whole way! Fun! On the way we stopped at a Tasmanian devil farm. They look like dogs - nothing like the cartoon. And they definitely don't spin in circles. I was a bit disappointed. Once we made it to Port Arthur, we toured the old prison grounds and then decided to take the ghost tour that night. It was pretty fun with the exception of the A-holes that used their flash cameras after being specifically asked not to. A couple of pictures for you. You should look up the history of the prison - it's pretty interesting.

Max drove back since it was dark and I was scared of hitting an animal. On that drive we saw signs for every possible type of Australian animal. Max has pictures - I'll upload for you later.

We got back to the hotel in Hobart around 1am and then left a little after 4am to catch our flight and then off to work.

One of the best weekends yet. If you want to see all the pictures, let me know and I'll send you the link.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


So it's been awhile since I's a quick update on things going on since the last blog:

* I spent New Year's Eve in Sydney and it was one of my favorite memories ever...really EVER. I was with great friends, in a great location, watching a great show. A group of seven of us bought tickets to a party on top of the Park Hyatt, which has a great view of both the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. From the roof, we had a phenomenal view of both fireworks shows. I would highly suggest Sydney to anyone that wants to experience New Years in Australia. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

* My friend Max spent the month of February in the Antartic. I got to experience life in Canberra without a girlfriend. It's not so much fun. They say there's a man shortage in Australia, but not if you're in Canberra - there are men everywhere.

* I flew back to the US to attend training in Chicago. Chicago in February is VERY VERY cold. I got to hang out with Mert though so that totally made up for it.

* The week after getting back from Chicago, HA, JC, and I went down to Hobart to pick up Max from her Antartic adventure. That was probably one of my favorite weekends in Australia yet. I should write a whole blog on just that weekend alone.

* HA and I went to Sydney for Sound Relief. Sound Relief was two concerts put on to raise money for the Bush fires and the flooding. The concert in Sydney didn't have a great line up but it was fun to go and spend the weekend in Sydney. The weather was still nice enough to hit the beach.

And now I'm in LA about to board the MayerCraft Carrier for the next five days. From there, I'll head to Phoenix for a few days. It'll be nice to be in my house for awhile - although weird at the same time.

I currently have a lady siting next to me that insists on talking to no one. I'm not sure if you all know, but I absolutely HATE LAX. I mean, I hate it, hate it, hate it.

Look forward to a blog on Hobart and my shenanigans on the MayerCraft!