As a rule, noting down those things people say that make you smile can prove completely brilliant, especially when you look back a little while later!
Here’s a list of quotes from Gran Canaria that make me cry with laughter. Have a smile, have a good read…
“We’ll be landing in…oh Las Palmas, nearly forgot where we were going then!”
- Pilot on Easy Jet 20 minutes before landing.
“I call it a Rob-Special with ham and a bit of cheese.”
“You mean a ham and cheese sandwich?”
“Don’t deny it; everyone’s had a bit of dirt”
“There’s a lot of agua de viva”
- Our first warning of jelly fish, the life of the sea.
“I feel really privileged”
- In response to the Internet Café at 2 euros for 100 minutes, just around the corner.
“But what if they’re really hungry?”
- In conversation to those fish eating your feet.
“You bring the saucepan, I’ll provide the heat”
- On making coffee, it turned out.
“You know they should really give instructions for warming up noowtella. 2 minutes in the microwave just isn’t good – trust me. “
- A very serious thought from Rob on heating up Nutella, which he pronounces noowtella. Is it the Irish roots?
“Will you sit down!”
- Many a tragic story from Justine for our entertainment, which will never be told on this blog…
“I have so much happiness in my cheeks”
- How to explain puffy cheeks.
“Sometimes I dream about sleeping, I love sleeping”
“You gotta die of something; it may as well be deep fried mushrooms”
- After a good meal out with tapas.
“Have you read the hungry cater-pillar backwards so it looks anorexic?”
It has come to be that the further I go from home the more I notice those nick-knacks I actually really adore; things I had no idea to appreciate. One of the best things about travel is to get out of your ordinary comfort zone and take a look from the outside, ’cause you might just find your missing what’s right in front of you.
Here are a few pieces I miss from the UK, things I never really cared about in fact! Do you miss any bizarre things from home?
I stayed with an Australian farmer who is now approaching his 70′s and he has never seen or been in a castle. This is on his wish list. How strange to hear, as my family holidays often evolved around old haggled history and what a luxury this experience is (surprised me I can tell you!).
2. Cobbled Streets
This is a strange one, but there is something about the uneven, rocky road that gives so much character to a place. Here in Sydney its all plain tarmac and easy walks. Oh to be stuck in the stones again!
Although I would wish for this treat just for one day, there have been endless photo’s of snowball fights and mayhem in the UK and I do secretly wish to be with my family making a snowman. But then I look at the warm, blue skies here and its a sort of flip-sided wish!
Recently Cricket’s Aunty posted “The most preferred airplane seat is…” showing just how picky we are when it comes to placing our bums on an airplane.
I hate to admit it, but for the last year my airplane seat strategy has been pretty specific:
Aisle seat - easy access to the loo. Never on the wing of a plane – too jumpy. Usually not near the front, but somewhere middle to back.
After a fluffy debate with a friend they convinced me to shake up my weird strategic seating. I opted for the window seat instead, notice how nobody chooses the middle seat? The added bonus to this seat, other than the view, is the lean. You know what I’m talking about. It makes sleeping on the plane a fraction more comfortable, you can just about scrump up into the fetal position, lean to your side of the plane and tuck into that thin blanket.
So fess up guys, whats your seating strategy? Would you break it on your next flight?
Also Read On
How to Find the Best Airplane Seat (valuewalk.com)
20 Signs You’re an Airplane Nerd (theflyingfugu.com)
OK so I’ve just moved to this BEAUTIFUL suburb called Summer Hill and in this little pocket of Sydney you can expect to count just one pub. This pub is called The Summer Hill Hotel.
I got rather giddy the evening I signed up to take a home in this lovely place and decided to explore every potential aspect of my new space and so I stumbled into the Hotel in full celebratory mode to down a glass of wine and say “yeah, well done Natty!” Naturally one of the first questions I asked the hotel was whether they had a swimming pool in the facilities.
DO NOT ASK THIS QUESTION!
Let it be known to all Europeans that beckon upon Sydney with suitcase in tow that when Australia says something is a Hotel, its not, it’s a “hotel”. Sorry, lets put it in plain English: It’s a pub.
Why they insist on titling almost every other pub in the city a hotel is beyond me and frankly way too confusing for the idle wanderer.
It turns out I was the TENTH person from Europe THAT WEEK to ask them whether they were actually a hotel – a question that would never have crossed my mind if a dear friend hadn’t bluntly pointed out “erm…you do know this isn’t actually a hotel. You know, like, you find an ‘Inn’ in the UK”
Also…hello? If something was called an “Inn” I would also anticipate the building to accommodate those sleepy travellers. Those poor Europeans running around Sydney, knocking on every Hotel door only to discover it’s a total lie.
Now all I can see are pubs, sorry, ‘hotels’. They are literally everywhere in the city.
Don’t be a knob – be prepared for this (stupid) Australian quirk and save yourself the journey of disappointment when there is no swimming pool in the pub.
- Infinity swimming pool of the week is at the Dinarobin Hotel Golf and Spa resort in Mauritius (poolconsultants.info)
- Swanky Radisson Blu Hotel Opens At MOA (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- A Guide to Luxury Hotels in Sydney (hotelssaustralia.wordpress.com)
UNO: The City Bugs
Cockroaches live here. Even in the most luxurious of apartments. At night they like to eat the residue of your toothbrush. Just be warned.
DOS: Meal Deal? Pfft!
It’s almost impossible to find a Meal Deal. $10 is a staple price to pay just for your grub. Wave goodbye to Tesco’s Mega Deal: packed sandwich, crisps, fruit and a drink all for less than a fiver.
You can find 2 large sushi rolls for $5 + $1 for Soup (optional extra) + $2 for a drink (optional extra). Yeah, make your own lunch.
TRES: Where you to?
Newtown is the up and coming place to go out and if your budget can push it, to live. Kings Street is lined with bars and restaurants with a bohemian, flip-flops and all welcome vibe.
CUATRO: Cock – a – Clock?
A drink in the city can be up to $7-10, if you find something for $5 then you’re winning. Happy Hour along Darling Harbour is a place to go around 4pm – 7pm. Cocktails $10, Beers and Wine $5/6. Be Happy. Be Drunk. Every Friday at 9pm fireworks are set off, too.
Aldi Supermarket is considered a big deal here. Weirdly in the UK it’s one of those supermarkets you don’t really opt for. I guess we have the big guns: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Co-Op, Lidle’s. In Australia they have Coles and Aldi.
SEIS: Black & Gold
Black & Gold Chocolate. It is neither “value that can be trusted”, as it promises, or is it “quality assured”, as its packaging seems to tick. Please, for your taste buds sanity, pay that extra dollar and go Cadbury’s – go for the real stuff.
- Discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl rated highly by customers in annual survey (dailyrecord.co.uk)
If you’re working in Sydney on the Working Holiday Visa over the next 6 months you’ll find yourself needing long term accommodation. In order to save you from the unspoken truths that lay ahead of your room search I’ll bring you up-to-speed with those things people know about but never seem to say.
It all depends on what you’re earning, what you can put out at the start and what you are willing to compromise on. Do note that you will have to pay a security bond; this is 4 weeks rent which you should get a receipt for as its often cash in hand. You get this back when you leave. There’s also a 2 week in advance rent payment, so you’ll pay fortnightly after this: starting price is around $1000.
The reality is you’re about to go on the real estate market to one of the most expensive cities in the world. It also moves very fast, so if you like something view it ASAP and let them know you like it.
What your dollar will get you in Sydney
$150 – $160 per week: Master Room
All bills included, fully furnished. These apartments/units will also have a swimming pool and gym complex. What’s the catch? This is a shared ‘master’ room. This means you will be living in the heart of the city (Darling, Pyrmont) but sharing with 3 other people in the same room and they will be of the same gender.
$175 – $190 per week: Share with one other person
All bills included, fully furnished. Sometimes these will also have a swimming pool and gym complex in the apartment/unit or this will be a house in a suburb off the heart of the city. The cost is a little more because you’re sharing with just one other person. Find a bunk-bed at the lower end of this budget or find your own single bed at the top end, although always still sharing with one other person of the same sex.
$195 – $250: The luxury of your own space
This is the price you will be paying for your own room. Bills are not usually included but look at $11 a week or $15 in winter, usually paid quarterly.
Sometimes the room does come fully furnished, if not the current owner may be selling off their furniture and you can negotiate a price. This all seemed very over priced considering you can get everything included and more for a $175 budget. The price of your own space I guess.
Location Location Location
This is also a major factor in pricing, as with anywhere. When you’re new to the city not knowing the geography of Sydney is another thing to wonder where to begin your search.
Here is a list of places to consider looking for your room in Sydney, I was looking with a price of around $195 – $250. Of course if I was on a budget of $150 – $180 I’d be sharing.
An Indie suburb that’s very much sought after, it’s considered the place to go out (on Kings Street) for a pub crawl or lounge by day in the café culture. It’s a land where people wear what they want and feel free to be themselves totally. You’re 45 minutes from Bondi Beach and 20 minutes to the city center. You will be paying good dollar for this postcode: $210-250 for your own room.
Avoiding this price tag people tend to look at the suburbs around Newtown:
Marrickville, Summer Hill, Petersham, Enmore or Glebe
So you’ve come all this way and feel this is the only time you’ll ever live by the ocean. Here you are, 10 minutes from Bondi Beach and 10 minutes to central. This great location comes at a cost, and you could find yourself sharing…but then you’re living by the sea.
Sites to help you search for that room:
If you come with a partner or rock up with a friend the cost of a double-bed-room is immediately
more exciting as its well on budget ($300 / 2 = bargain).
I didn’t look at North Sydney (Manly area). If you have any feedback on the room search in North Sydney please do share.
There is an abundance of seriously cool (and expensive) places to view, sample and indulge in Sydney. This week I turned 25 and being so far from home made the decision a little tricky. In the end I decided to evolve my big day around food, good people and wine. Naughty!
With varying budgets and interests here are a few categories to inspire your next celebrations in Sydney, Australia.
Big Budget: $100 + Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Big Budget: Have a meal and then see a show at the Opera Theatre
Normal Person Budget: $10 Comedy Show for 2 hours? See The Laugh Garage Comedy Club
Wine and Dine
Normal Person Budget: $20 a head, Wagaya Restaurant, see my recent review for full details!
Big Budget: $60 a head, Spinning Tower of Sydney. This is kind of a big deal with a gradual 360 degree view of the city while you gorge into the buffet.
Spinning Tower of Sydney, if you can’t afford the buffet just pop in for an expensive cocktail!
- Confirm your availability and keep in touch
Being witness to two people (morons) arriving not one but two days late of their said arrival date was a sure way of how not to begin your WWOOFING experience. The host was on overkill: a combination of fatigue and being messed about. This led the Russians (who turned out to be Canadian, weird!) to curl up like school kids as the voice of a very angry teacher reigned on them.
To avoid this tone of voice:
a) Email the host an agreed date and time of arrival
b) Call them to confirm this as well; it’s good to get a sense of each other before meeting in person.
c) Text/call on route. I messaged my host at the start and the last leg of the journey so they knew I was on my way and on time.
*Also, advertise to friends and family the address and numbers of where you are going. These places are very remote.
- You get what you put in
You soon figure out how you can apply yourself to the farm and whether there’s a routine, which in farm life really depends on the weather. On hot days (45 degree heat waves) you start early, siesta in the afternoon, then work again in the cool evening. On cooler days (20 odd degrees) you work long hours, just because you can.
On the first farm I was ready to work by 8am and often found my own work to do or asked whoever was around if they needed assistance. Be mindful of your enthusiasm, tasks that are given to you don’t need to be done in 5 minutes as this may be the only task you have for the whole day! Take your time, the hosts have been there years and don’t find everything new and exciting like you do.
At the same time if you lack a genuine interest in their lifestyle you won’t reap the benefits of being shown some high vista’s or other wonders they have up their sleeve. You can get a lot back if you accustom to their way of doing things, and that’s the whole point of being there, after all.
- Expect to live, work, socialise and eat with the family
It can be intense to say the least. Your room or a short walk should give you enough distance to clear your head and start again.
- Maintain your enthusiasm by counting down: day 88 of 88 complete. Don’t count up: 1 of 88 specified days complete – it isn’t until you get to the 50’s that counting in this method becomes beneficial. Trust me.
Also, continue to ask questions and spark conversation, just because you’ve been there a month doesn’t mean it’s all been discovered – you’ve probably just got a bit drained of the whole thing or possibly comfortable. Be conscious that there is still plenty to learn and the hosts are keen to tell you all there is to know about their world. If you show an interest you are often rewarded (see point. 2).
- Ice-breaker: Beer Beer Beer Beer! Wine Wine Wine Wine!
You wouldn’t turn up at a friend’s party without a bottle; likewise it’s a lovely gesture to arrive at the hosts place with a stack of beer or a bottle of plonk. They are feeding you, putting a roof over your head and inviting you into their humble abode. Oh, and signing your visa for a second year!
For my first farm I completely overlooked this and regretted it immediately. Maybe that’s just the British nonsense of not being able to receive anything without giving but this was forgiven as I said farewell with a few boxes of Cowboy – a milky alcohol people put in coffee, think Baileys gone Country.
For the second farm I gave them a bottle of red, it created a great atmosphere and a nice little Happy New Year gift!
Good luck and be safe
- The 25 Best American Canned Beers (coedmagazine.com)
- Host a Wine or Beer Tasting Party in Your Apartment (apartmentguide.com)
- Beer goggles: Seeing beer glasses in a whole new light (redenvelope.com)
4 days of solid rain has finally passed and instead we’re experiencing humid heat, I wouldn’t say it’s a pleasant change but immediately take back my earlier comment on how it was lovely to finally hear the pitter-patter of rain after 2 weeks of heat waves and bush fires. If only I knew then the onslaught to come, I would be reminded of my hatred for wet weather.
Now you see the bridge, 3 hours later you don’t and it won’t be coming back for another 3 days!
The experience of a natural disaster was exciting at first, but then lots of non-exciting things followed…the electricity went out on the second day, which instantly collapsed the water pump. We ended up having to fill pots and pans with rainwater to wash up, make cups of tea and brush our teeth. Thank shagging hell the toilet was working! It wasn’t until day 5 that the fridge had to be cleared with food on the brink of mould and flies promising to invade.
The main concern was the running river that sits just by us; this also holds the bridge connecting us to the rest of the world. At 10am on Sunday I was standing on it, just 3 hours later it was gone – the river at this point was 6 metres higher than it was meant to be. We were in a sense totally buggered; or rather we became the Frangipani Island – cut off from the world, but with plenty of wine and just enough cheese to keep the French man happy.
The river eventually rose by 10 metres nearing the gates of home. The real worry that set in on Monday afternoon was the possibility of the dam collapsing (located just up the road). If it did we would be its first point of call and the nursery would be swept under, possibly with the cottage and us in it: suddenly not so fun.
This little adventure was starting to get scary as we monitored the site: bom.com.au (Bureau of Meteorology) for checks on water levels, trying to figure out what our emergency plan would be – which was effectively to move higher to the hill top.
Alas, the river has now resumed its normal level (1 metre) and the bridge has presented itself again with very little damage, a wonder as we were half expecting to re-build it today. We drove over the bridge and finally entered civilisation…well, Uki village. The people at Uki Café House donated to us bread, cheese, butter, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, milk; never underestimate people’s generosity, we were completely blown away and will always remember it.
The experience in how to survive as though camping indoors, in extreme weather conditions, has certainly highlighted a few creature comforts: light bulbs, warm showers, running water, working fans, easy mechanics: kettle, toaster, fridge.
We have survived and are back in the game!