Monday, February 19, 2007

Cadbury, Convicts & Chinese New Year - Part Two

On Saturday morning Sara and I explored the famed Salamnca Markets where sellers come to tote their wares - crafts, organic foods, etc. It was enjoyable enough, but unless you have money and some way to transport things home, it's not really a necessity to visit.

WE picked up our rental car and headed towards the Tasman Peninsula - as far south as you can go in Australia. The peninsula is home to Port Arthur, where some of the worst convicts from England were sent in exile. It is also home to a horrible massacre that took place about 10 years ago when a local guy killed 35 people.

On our way to Port Arthur we stopped at a Strawberry U-Pick and, well, picked some strawberries of course ! The Tasman Peninsula was gorgeous reminded me a lot of the Isle of Arran in Scotland - mountains and valleys - v. picturesque and unspoiled.
I waited while Sara explored Port Arthur then we hopped in the car and went to a few lookout points and a beach. Back in Hobart we went out for Indian curry then called it a night.

Sunday we headed up to Launceston. Originally this was meant to only be a stopover on our way to a little village called Derby where we were going to do some Helpxing, but teh woman didn't want us to come until Monday and this really didn't make any sense financially, so we are now staying for the week with a family here in Launceston that need helpers. Yvonne, the single mom who runs the house, is v. much a fan of Asian culture and, in fact, lived there for four years. She has a lot of young asisn females that stay here.

When she picked us up on Sunday afternoon we headed to a Chinese New Year picnic where we were fed loads of yummy food including a massive quantity of asian dumplings. Apparently it's a tradition and I wasn't going to argue.

So we are now settled into a suburb of Launceston and helping out with a bit of household stuff. Yesterday we ventured down to the Cataract Gorge where there is a huge swimming pool and the river set against a breathtaking vista of cliffs.

Cadbury's, Convicts and Chinese New Year

Tasmania - home to the worst of Australia's convicts, a chocolate factory, an extinct tiger-striped marsupial and the Devil.

Yes, I did finally leave the horse farm (sniff sniff). It was with sadness that I said my goodbyes to the McInnes family after 4 weeks of wonderful rest & relaxation and only a little bit of horse poo shovelling. After a brief stopover in Melbourne I made my way to Tasmania and met up with Sara in Hobart.

Sidenote: It seems I've become quite senile as I left my precious makeup bag at the horse farm and my 'Essentials notebook' with all my flight details and, yep, addresses at the hostel in Melbourne. one will be getting postcards for awhile, except immediate family :)

Anyhoo, upon meeting up with Sara we were greeted by our Couchsurfing hostess, Gai. What is couchsurfing you might ask...and if I were able to work on this new freaking Blogger I'd just put the hyperlink here, but instead I will direct you to Gai and her husband live on Mt Nelson - between the two of them they have six children in their late teens and early twenties. The house they've built is amazing - wood and brick throughout. They've built a HOUSE for one of their sons and his Canadian girlfriend (good taste there!) and two of their other sons have a barn-type house to themselves with a loft and pool table and kitchen.My guess is they won't be in any hurry to leave the nest.

Friday we headed off for a tour of the Cadbury Chocolate factory. Yes...that's right - a chocolate factory and they were going to let ME loose in it :) So for one day and one day only I gave up my New Year's Resolution regarding 'No Sweets'. At the beginning and end there were free samples and there was also a bargain shop with big slabs of chocolate and 'seconds'. WEll, the funny thing...after eating only a few of the samples I felt quite queasy and, to be honest, I really wasn't loving the taste. Of course, Cadbury's here is nothing like it is in the UK so that might have been part of it, but in any case I left the bargain shop with a measly bag of mini-eggs and a small pack of jelly beans. And I didn't even finish those off!

Back in the city centre, Sara and I wandered around Hobart's waterfront,which is picturesque, with mountains in the distance and houses stacked on the hills surrounding. I had a wonderful meal of Tasmanian salmon and then we waited for a bus back to Mt Nelson. We waited in a stunning thunderstorm, which also brought rain down in bucketfuls. The bus didn't come and we eventually had to get a taxi with a few other stranded travellers. I and taxis while's like Austria all over again.

Hmmm...well I guess this will have to be Part ONE of a post because Sara is lying here beside me waiting to go to sleep with her sleeping mask on her forehead and her eyes closed. Hint hint.

I will write again asap. Oh - and I booked my ticket home :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Holy Cow!

Every day I go for a walk and every day I feel the eyes of dozens of black cows watching my every move. I can't imagine what kind of entertainment I am really providing, but I've never seen such attentiveness. If only I could have turn that field of cows into a field of hot, nice guys. Ah, now that would be a Field of Dreams.

My horse/house sitting stint comes to an end today. Mixed feelings about this - I have loved the peace & quiet, the relaxing routine and, above all, the endless opportunities for personal development that I've been afforded, thanks to Jo and her many DVDs & books. On the other hand, I am really looking forward to some 'backpacker' style travelling - you know, hostels, tours, trying new cuisines, meeting fab people, etc, as well as seeing some of my fav friends from Sydney - Sara, Craig & Amo! Also, as much as I like the country life during the day, I have to admit the nights here on the farm were sometimes a bit scary - between the animals and the howling wind my nerves were a bit frazzled.

Anyways, the past week has gone really well, here are the highlights/lowlights:

Tuesday the prime in the water line went down - basically air got into the pipe, therefore, the suction required to draw the water from the dam went. This meant that the horses' water troughs which are self-filled, were going to go dry..aka disaster. So I hauled myself out of bed super early (what the heck, I hadn't slept anyways, cause I'd discovered the problem just before going to bed the night before). I hiked to the back of the property, opened the valves and started the fire hose pump as Jason had instructed. I waited about 15 minutes, but it didn't seem to be working, so I figured I'd have to call the plumber, but when I got back to the house I discovered, lo & behold, that I had fixed it after all!! I swear that's the first time I've been successful at fixing something mechanical :)

Anyways, Tuesday night I had my neighbour over for dinner. He gave me some good tips on driving the Ocean Road and also ate 3 1/2 hamburgers and a lot of mashed potatos. Oh, and he asked me to check in on his cat while he was away Thursday night - apparently I am becoming known in the area as the animal-sitter. No probs, I would check in on the kitty cat who, poor thing, had one of those ridiculous plastic funnels around her head so she wouldn't lick a sore she had.

Hmmm...Wednesday I had another visitor, a friend of Jo's who'd asked me to review the draft version of an e-book she was writing. Again, no probs, I was happy to help. Jo also has me writing a little book of tips on 'How to Write', which I find quite amusing because I am almost finished and have used virtually none of the advice I've provided in actually preparing the piece. It turns out I'm great at giving advice, not so great at taking it - especially my own.

Thursday the freaking prime on the line went again, so I called in the plumber for some professional assistance. I ended up going into 'town' twice, the first time to do some grocery shopping, the second time to have dinner with Jason's parents. You just know you are in a small town when you go to the grocery store and see the plumber who just fixed your pipes AND a friend of the McInnes family whom you'd already met twice previously during a five minute period. And then, of course, during those walks where all the cows stare, there are also the friendly neighbours who are driving by in their pick-up trucks. Always get a wave from them too. yah. It's Sunday now, I've just done some cleaning and am debating on going for a walk - love to if it's not too hot, but that's a big IF as it's been hellishly hot most of the time I've been here.

So, Thursday I land in Tasmania. Between now and then I don't know where I'll be - hopefully here for a couple more days then in Melbourne for a quick stopover to pick up some necessities.

I'll try to upload some pics when I have high-speed wireless....whenever that might be!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Burning all Over

I have rope burn. DO you know how much rope burn hurts? A heck of a lot. And now my skin is blistering and peeling, a chunk has fallen off, leaving my raw flesh exposed to the elemens. Yuck. And how did I get rope burn? Yep, that's right, by being dense. It happened last week - Jo and I were taking one of her horses to a friend's place for looking after. When we arrived, we needed to get Sid off the float, so Jo gave me the rope lead and I stood in the float, facing Sid, while she opened the gate in the back. She had told me to hold onto him because he'd likely try to kick his way out. What she neglected to mention and I neglected to realise was that once the back door was open and she was out of the way, I could just let the lead go. So there I was holding on with all my strength as this half tonne horse backed up and pulled the rope out of my hands. Ow.

Well, aside from that injury I am also in a bit of self-inflicted pain, having done lots of exercise over the past couple of weeks. My legs ache most every day and this morning I woke up with sore ribs - still not sure why.

I'm half way through my horse/house sitting stint. So far, everything has gone well enough. I am enjoying the peace and quiet and taking this time to delve into some personal development and spiritual development with the aid of books and DVDs from Jo's collection. I'm also doing a lot of thinking (spurred on by the watching of DVDs) and trying to do some writing.

A couple of nights ago the lead story on the news was that scientists had finally concluded that humans are 90% responsible for the climate change that has taken place. Uh huh. Actually scientists have been concluding this for years now, it's just that the media, corporate world and governments have been ignoring it as long as know, until it is too late. I know I should be a bit happy that the world finally seems to be wakening up to the fact that this planet is dying, it's our doing and something needs to be done NOW, but I am not. I am not happy, because, in my opinion, the fact that the world is awakening to this crises and accepting it means it is too late to do anything to reverse it now. We are so shortsighted and reactive that it would seem, whenever we finally get around to acknowledging something, the flood gates have already been opened.

It is super hot here in the state of Victoria - in January they had a rainfall TOTAL of 25 mm. For the last five days the day time temperature has been in the 30s - it's been beautiful but too hellishly hot to spend any time outside. The horses, I am sure, must be suffering in the heat and of course, their food supply is more depleted than ever before.

On Friday night my neighbour invited me over for dinner, which was brilliant. Then I started thinking - in all the time I lived in Sydney only one of my friends invited me over for dinner. Oh sure, there were times we all went out for dinner, but that is different. Anyways, I like that about this place - Jo & Jason invite their neighbours over for dinner and vice versa.

Yesterday I drove into 'town' to do some grocery shopping. I was really hesitant about driving the massive Toyota Landcruiser, but somehow I managed to get to town and back without any hitches. Yay!!

Sometimes I worry about getting bitten by a snake. Sometimes I worry about being here all on my own. Mostly, though, I enjoy the moments for what they are.