Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Weekend of the Sister

Fran came over for a fun, goof ball weekend in May (?) and we had such a good time. This is months ago now - actually I was still living out at Ashburton when she came... now I live in St Kilda. This year is FLYING. A lot has changed and I've been very neglectful of my bloggie. I shall finish my Euro Trip series and be back into it again.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Things I Like About The Netherlands Include:

1. Everybody is happy.

2. All the time.

3. You need to go somewhere: you ride your bike. Built like a truck, your Dutch bike will most likely outlive you and your dutch children. Also in Holland there are no hills, requiring minimum effort.

4. Weed. So obvious, it's number 4.

5. Supermarkets/Aldi - all food is ready to go. Typically you go to a supermarket to buy ingredients; here everything is already done. Over 50% of the supermarket is dedicated to pre-made salads, sandwiches and snac- did someone say munchies?

6. Hot Snack Vending Machine Shops. For all the same reasons. You don't know what you're eating - all you know is that it tastes queer and fabulous at the same time, and you want more.

17 Jan, 2012
In addition to severe and delayed jetlag, the fact that I was baked almost the whole time I was visiting Maastricht meant, by the time the clock struck 8:30pm, there was not a thing in this world that could keep me out of bed until approximately the same time the next morning. I am both proud and ashamed to say that, of the three nights I spent in the Netherlands, every one consisted of a solid, unbroken 12-14 hour sleep. Needless to say, like many others before me, I never stumbled upon the elusive and infamous Alah (mostly due to the fact that I didn't try, at all). 

On the rare occasion that I wasn't sleeping, I made trips to Aldi in my pyjamas with Shaggy to buy instant coffee (I basically lived off bread, Nutella and Chocomel this entire time), struggled to make said coffee whilst mistaking the sugar carton for milk and vice versa, felt like an utter bimbo, and went on a free (predominately fictional) walking tour of the city - hosted by Brent.

By the end of the third day, I was like a gypsy with too much coin - I had to be on the move again, doing and seeing as much as my three short weeks would allow. As the boys were content to wait in Maastricht where accommodations were free, and a miscellany of drugs and amusements were at their very beck and call, I decided to embark on my own adventures whilst they lay in wait for Lyndon to catch up to us. So I booked my hostel in Berlin, acquired the help of my cousin in reading my train schedule all in Dutch, and got a swift, jolty ride to the station on the back of a bicycle in a shower of rain. This would be my first true travel across Europe on my own, and it wasn't without a glimmer of apprehension and uneasy that I hugged Brent goodbye and climbed onto my train to Germany.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

London Calling, Off to Church Like Good Kids.

Church is not something you should take lightly. I, personally, had no idea what all the fuss was about - but having listened to the boys fret and worry about not being able to source these particular 'animal onsies' from Primark for nearly three days, I was starting to feel apprehensive about what lay ahead. I knew it was inevitable, and I knew it would be a good time, but unfortunately I just wasn't feeling it, and I really had to force down the vodka and apple juice concoction Shaggy insisted that I partake of moments after we arrived back at the hostel with our loot.

I digress - halfway through that Pump bottle, I forgot to care. It was a good mix. And we rolled up to Clapham Junction on public transport none of us really knew how to utilise (me in my faithful jeans and leopard print sweater outfit, good for fun, and the boys dressed as priests - original). Then we lined up to The Grand with all the others, entering in an orderly fashion. We were informed that the cloakroom was upstairs, and were each solemnly handed a post card with a little boy sitting in a graveyard on the front, and the words 'We're in trouble...' written clearly across the top. On the reverse side of said postcard we were informed that, due to the presumed unruly behaviour of past patrons, Church was 'in danger of losing it's license', and could we please remember that it was 1) Sunday afternoon and mothers with babies must be able to use High Street without being disrupted, 2) the local bars (Slug and Lettuce, Windsor Castle and The Falcon) did not want Church customers on their premises and could we please respect their wishes, and 3) Clapham Junction Station is very busy so to please be considerate whilst on the platform and try not to fall in front of trains and the like.


It was then that I knew we were really going to have a good time. Or wait - was it the moment we handed over one 10 pound note each, to receive 3 gigantic cans of apple cider in a plastic bag (which can be viewed in the photo below)...? I don't know. All I know is:

 It's awfully easy to get wasted at this place.

There I am wasted.

I was wearing that Lion's head at one stage.

I allegedly macked that girl in the bikini. It was her birthday.

I got lost in a department store with the Yellow M n M, looking for a bathroom while the boys were at McDonalds. She was cool.

Aaand there we are wasted again. That boy's name was Pierre and I may have macked him also.
I don't know what's going on with his pants.

I also know that Lyndon and I ended up at an empty neon-lit pizza place later that night, hungry as anything and trying not to watch the weirdness of the band playing on the huge TV in the corner. It was led by a girl, and seriously, it was weird. I also remember the pepper shaker being a metre long and wooden, and the waitress struggling to lift it up onto our table. We didn't want pepper really, but we definitely wanted to see her have a go at operating that thing. Lyndon remembers, so I have back-up on this. I also sort of remember running around the bar of the hostel when we got back shouting 'Cracked pepper?! Cracked pepper?!' to every person on premise before taking myself upstairs and falling soundly asleep in my pyjamas until morning...

...wheeen I spewed 8 times before anyone woke up, paid 1 pound for breakfast and we got the train to Maastricht. 

Ahh London. See you again in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


All of a sudden, I'm kneeling on the floor of the airport with all my bags strewn around me, desperately rummaging to find something cooler to wear than my great big leopard sweater and polar fleece tights. Settling on my now worn-in flanny and jeans, I venture tentatively out, into the boisterous arrivals hall and into the joyful arms of big brother Jase. Jayne's doing laps of the pickup area to avoid paying parking. I'm home in Australia, just as quick as that.

The drive into the city and through to Toorak is still one of my favourites... up over the bridge and down through the city with skyscrapers towering around, listening to the others chattering about all that happened whilst I was gone, and just embracing being home. I'm back in my city and it's a classic 36 degree summer's day - thanks Melbs, none of this 'easing back into it' business. I'm hot and happy.

11 Jan 12
Bristol, on the other hand, was chilly. Mike leapt into the back seat of the taxi as we pulled up - he'd been sitting out the front of the hostel, smoking cigarettes and speaking Spanish to his comrades, I imagine, as he waited for us to arrive. He was very happy to see us, and we likewise. The following days were sunny, friendly and fun.

My favourite memory of Bristol is difficult to differentiate, close competitions. I remember standing on the street in front of the hostel (which is one of the cosiest you've felt), and soaking in the sound of piano accordions carried down to me on crisp, dusky night air. Walking around Bristol during daylight hours, visiting original Banksies and staring at College Green in wonder. Family breakfast with Bernie and Luke, witnessing a late night street brawl with our noses pressed against the upper windows of the hostel, hot chips with cheese and gravy after deep nightly galavants, the Bear Pit, Katies and plane gazing. Pubs with names like The Bay Horse and White Hart. Drinking free Vodka Cranberries at Hush Hush, learning later that you should never watch The Nightmare Before Christmas whilst under the influence of Marijuana. And holding hands. And Seinfield in the cave and sleeping all day.

All good memories (except for that Tim Burton movie - that was a bit hectic). 

We left Bristol for London on the 5 o'clock bus after three heady days of fun and recklessness. I slept some of the way, but I was very tired, very cranky and very hungry when we arrived at Victoria Street bus depot later that night. We spent our money on greasy McDonalds and a cab to our hostel/pub, which was nowhere near as cosy or pleasant as the Bristol, and I fell asleep with my head less than 2 feet from the roof - having copped the topmost of three bunk levels. I love my eye mask... over the next few weeks it helped me through much less desirable situations, so I could sleep cosily and in peace. 

Lucky I got sleep. The next day, Sunday, Shaggy and I were up and about - first job on the cards being to try and find somewhere that sold cigarettes and booze at 9 am. Getting ready for Church...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lost In The World

I'd been out of the country a mere 7 hrs and 20 minutes before my iPhone abandoned my person, due to a not-so-rare act of carelessness on my behalf. Whats worse is the first seven of those hours I was sleeping like a little angel in the clouds, flying an unexpected Business Class Emirates upgrade across the Java Sea. My day started out great, but I wound up sobbing on a bench in the airport at Kuala Lumpur. Losing your shit half an hour in does not tend to make a 12 hour stopover in Malaysia as tolerable or pleasant as it might have been, and I fell asleep with a tear stained face, my bag tucked under my chin and my knees wrapped to make a little protective body bubble.

[So I just realized that I was lying when I bet Shaggy this morning that I was the only one who hadn't cried since they left Home. Bollocks.]

40 minutes later I woke in a much better mood, heightened by the fact that I now had much less to lose. I rang my mum from a payphone and told her I was all good, and to please find me the number to call to suspend my phone plan, and to lock my handset so the silly biddy who took my life handset couldn't access my Facebook account and write embarrassing things in Malaysian. Activities for the rest of the day included much walking of the quiet hallways, attempting to convert money (something I am absolutely awful at - no matter the currency), bumming cigarettes off the little man guarding the smokers lounge, making a friend, and drinking the coke from giant cups at Burger King. There was also huge glass cone containing a real bit of rainforest right in the centre of the terminal building, and you could walk through and breathe the hot, sticky outside air. When I flew out, it was in the midst of a big, booming tropical storm, and I felt lucky to have seen that in my time there.

Abu Dhabi was mentionable for it's Ferrari's and the fact that I bought a brill camera there. It's a Nikon and I love it. I'm too distracted in Europe to use it to the extent of it's capability probably, but I don't care. It takes video too, which is fun.

I landed in London after a full 30 hours of international commute, whereupon I still had to make my way through UK customs (notoriously jerk-like), and on into the city via the Heathrow Express. I got grilled by the meathead at customs because I told him I didn't have a contact address in the UK, and that I was meeting the boys at Piccadilly Square. Upon hearing this he told me I was a bad travel agent and I cursed my inability to say something rude back. Then he told me that he hoped he wouldn't see me next time he was doing the rounds. He was the meanest of customs men I've met.

I made my way to Piccadilly Circus by underground, whereupon I marched into the first Tesco I saw and purchased water, apples and cigarettes. All high priorities apparently, and I imagine minor jet lag, a clinging hangover from customary last drinks at La La Land prior to my departure from Australia and a surge of happy travelling adrenaline all had an impact on the decision making process there. I then proceeded to pick my way through little side streets to a darling coffee shop, to Skype my Muvver. She's pretty good, but we're in the non negligible position that, as the eldest, I am always the first to do grown up (not to mention idiotic) things: this worries her. No doubt she wishes it was Fran paving the way. Sorry Mum. I'll get your name tattooed in a big red heart on my arm as penance.

At 10 am I left the coffee shop and went to meet Shaggy. Shaggy was standing in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, eyes glazed and his mouth hanging open like a stunned clown toy. I thought his expression would change when he saw me, but it didn't, and he remained stoic in this uncomfortable leer until I all but lept into his arms shouting his name. He wasn't hungover - simply still inebriated from the night before, and I was unable to comprehend how he had even made the 15 minute tube journey to get me. It had taken him one hour. He was very happy to see me.

And so it was in this fashion that I entered England, and in an eager one we left London for Bristol later that afternoon, to meet up with Mike and spend some time where the wild kids from Skins go.