Category Archives: Uncategorized

The end.

2346951374_b1aca33ff9.jpg

My first glimpse of New York City, from the plane.

The last time I wrote here, it was also the end. I was leaving Sydney in a matter of days, and I couldn’t bring myself to write it down. Soon enough, I was out in the bush, in the middle-of-nowhere Australia, and when I got back to Melbourne I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting down and documenting my last trip. Telling everyone about the last new people I met, about how I felt the furthest, despite being the closest, to New York I’d ever felt, about sleeping out under those billions of stars. And with only a few days to go in Melbourne, I refused to sit down at the computer while what little, precious hours I had left in Australia ticked away.

Even when I got back — it didn’t seem real, I wasn’t home home, was I? L.A. to Austin to New York — they all felt like more destinations in my journey. Coming online to blog about leaving? About it being over? No. I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t over…it wasn’t real.

It still isn’t, to me, but it’s time to finish this blog. I am not 25 anymore, I am no longer under.

And so it goes.

Reverse Culture Shock: L.A. Austin. New York. New York.

 la11.jpg

Stole this from KrisKros on Flickr. Go look him up – cool stuff. 

Top 10 initial observations about America, from an American:

10. So. Many. Houses. SO MANY PEOPLE.

9. That stereotype about Americans being loud? We are loud.

8. More cars = more psycho, angry, bad, bad, bad drivers = immediate stress level increase.

7. Blackberries. iPhones. Business: All. The. Time.

6. Ambition. A lot of it.

5. We have a diverse, diverse country. Everyone truly looks different.

4. Having the same color money is lame. (Yay $5 purple bills!) I miss $2 coins.

3. Celebrity obsession has gone way too far. And I’m an entertainment journalist! They like their celebs down there, but TMZ following ex-Real Worlder Eric Nies in a parking lot to make fun of him for looking like “Jesus”? Too far people, too far.

2. Grey. Smoggy. Hard. Dirty. Everything seems a shade darker. Perhaps that’s because it still feels like winter. Perhaps it’s because it is.

1. We stink at saving this planet. We should be striving to set the standard, and we are years behind everyone else. Complete and utter disdain for the environment by our government. I actually forgot people used Styrofoam. Forgot! Disgraceful.

Leaving Sydney.

2346880642_d9c81f20cc.jpg

My amazing housemates at 30 GB.

It felt like any other night at the house, except this was my last night. I pushed the thought out of my head, as it was the first (and last) party I’d ever thrown at the house, and for a night, I truly felt what it would be like if I lived here. I mean, I was throwing a party. And I had friends, real friends in this city 10,000 miles away from home, to invite.

The Oscars were on that night, so my little get together turned into a bonafide Oscar party. We made popcorn, I bought Tostitos and salsa and a few bottles of wine and we were good to go. All the roomies shuffled into “my” room except for Natalie (at her parents) and Linda (on business). Luke, Briyah, Magnus, Armond and newbie Anne joined my friends Karen, her brother Owen, Fabrice, Anne and the Italian whose name I always forget in the lounge room for the show.

We watched, we laughed, we (fine, I) “shushed” a lot and sure, I had a great time. But I was flying out to Alice Springs the next day and I wouldn’t see some of these people for months…years…or ever for all I knew. I refused to think about it. I laughed with Jon Stewart and pulled for Juno.

I am not good at goodbyes. When Karen got up to leave I begged her with my eyes not to go, but she had to. She and Owen were leaving on an East Coast tour that week and they needed to get some sleep. I knew it — the East Coast tour will sap you silly. Hugs, a few tears…then they were gone. Oscar, bless him, distracted me from the rest. Bidding my newest close friend Anne goodbye and vowing to visit her in Germany, saying au revoir to Fabrice, my Frenchie. They went too. Eventually the show ended and I curled into the comfort of my floral couch…my home in Australia for 5 and a half weeks, total. In the morning I bid farewell to Magnus — my party buddy — so hard, and to Briyah, my best friend and housemate in Sydney — not so hard — I’d see her in a month in NYC.

It’s funny. I remember sitting in the movie theatre on George Street, in the heart of Sydney, watching movies starring New York. Enchanted and Definitely, Maybe — watching those scenes of my city, my heart yearned to walk those streets again…to go home. I was ready. And now…here…those same streets feel comfortable and yet not. They don’t necessarily feel like home just yet. Instead, now I long for the normalcy of hopping on the 333 bus to Bondi. To feel the breeze in my hair and Australian sun on my face and the euphoria that comes from leaving a major city and ending up at the most amazing beach in a mere 15 minutes. Now I want that long walk down Crown Street home. One more look at Sydney Harbour.

I honestly believed I wouldn’t be back for a long time when I left Sydney that morning. Maybe I’d take my kids someday in the future.

Now I know better.

2346880598_0ce28e6bac.jpg

The view, my last view, of the harbour from North Bondi.

Quick update!

New pics and everything to come, but right now I don’t have my laptop and NO wireless internet in the hotel. Prob not in NZ either!

 So I’ll see you all on here when I get back!!

Fa la la la la la la la la la!

It’s Christmas in Sydney!

xmasinsyd.jpg
As much as I love big cities — and boy am I glad to be back — there’s something about them that just gets you stressed. Perhaps it’s being surrounded by the workforce, not vacationers, perhaps it’s the crowds, perhaps it’s seeing everyone around me in adorable, new, trendy outfits I can’t even begin to afford; but whatever it is, it’s not good.

I’ve got to make sure I find work for Christmas and New Year’s, and I’m not doing a very good job of going about it right now. I’ve sent out emails to a few people to set up meetings and I’ve got three more days to make some calls, but after my dad arrives Wednesday I’ll be in vacation-mode again until I get back from New Zealand. And I’ve got to save up money for the month with the van, otherwise I’ll be hightailing it back to the States come February. And I don’t want to do that!

Why? Because I’ve barely seen Sydney! And when I say seen, I mean seen. The people, the bars, the gigs, the clubs. All things that took ages to figure out in New York. And I’ll have 2 months. I’ve not been up to much since I’ve been back — though I’ve already met loads of nice people at Base. My old friend from Sydney-the-first-time, Karen , been around a ton, wahoo, and I showed around a sweet Dutch girl, also named Karen yesterday. Today I hit the Contemporary Art museum with a Scottish guy named Ewan. We all went to Purple Sneakers last night, the supposed indie rock night I’d been itching to go to for the past 6 weeks, and though we had a blast, playing one song from Maximo Park does not count. Still want to see a gig, but unfortunately can’t afford it.

And here’s when I start e-mailing every music publication in town to see if they need help.

Goon — A quick aside

300px-a_4_litre_cask_of_australian_red_wine.jpg

Goon is a box of crap wine. A two liter box usually goes for about $8-15, and it’s pretty much all I’ve been drinking in Australia. There are many fond admirers of the goon — there’s even a Facebook group dedicated to it. One of the most exciting goon activities is to “slap” the goon. The bag the wine comes in (inside the box) is eerily indestructible. You can slap it as hard and as many times as you’d like, and the thing will not break. Hence, many exciting nights of slapping the goon (which, I believe, also means “to drink”). One made it all the way through Fraser island, another lasted a good 5 days from Surf Camp to Byron Bay. Long live the goon!

BACKING UP!!! What we’ve missed: Kroombit

Please read down after this to get fully caught up with my Magnetic Island scuba travels. I’m backing up for a sec to tell you about Kroombit before I forget!

——————

kroombitwhip.jpg

It seems fitting that I ended up at a cattle station with a bunch of Virginians. There aren’t many Americans down here in Oz, but somehow I fell in with the calvary in the outback.

The Oz Experience of Kroombit sounds like something out of a country western flick: Muster goats on the range, then rope a goat, then shoot clay pigeons, then eat a big hearty meal of steak and potatoes! I was actually excited (though less so after finding out the horseback riding was $40), and by golly, it was everything it was actually cracked up to be!

We left Hervey Bay at 7 a.m. and made our way inland, over the Great Dividing Range and into the serious desert of Australia. Beaches and green pastures faded to orange-dust colored fields, tall bluish-green plateaus lingering ever closer. Already, it just felt different. The dividing town, if you will, between my “southern” and “northern” legs.

Bus days are always long, continuous stretches with a few breaks thrown in for the toilet and the supermarket, but we pulled into the cattle station at around 2:30 p.m. — reasonable, at least. Those doing the horseriding went off to herd goats while the rest of us crossed what was possibly the muddiest field I’ve ever been on in my life to throw some boomerangs. A month has made no difference -— still can’t throw the damn thing. Instead I tried to catch one for a free drink later, but failed at that task as well. Oh well.

Here’s where I say we all got cleaned up and refreshed…

Ah, no.

Muddy and disgusting, we trudged back over the field to a just-about-broken-down 4X4 to drive over to the shooting. Now, I’ve shot a pistol before at a shooting range in L.A. (thanks j!), but I’ve never even held a shotgun. It was, you know, “southern.” Ick. But seriously, it’s just something I’ve never done, nor thought I had any real desire to do. But at this cattle station, I could not wait to pick up that gun.

After a few demonstrations by Steve, the English guy who came to the cattle station two months ago and never left, I picked up the gun. “Pull!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. A bright orange clay disk flew out of the contraption beside me into the air, and I followed in my sights. “Bang!” aaaaand a miss. “Pull!” again. “Bang!” Then something unexpected: “Crack!” I looked up in disbelief at the shattered pigeon falling down to earth. Ridiculous. In the end I got 2 out of 5. And yes, I felt like Bruce Willis in Die Hard.

Post-artillery I successfully lassoed a goat from 3 ft. away, learned to crack a whip and rode a mechanical bull for 14 and 22 seconds respectively. And that video my friends, will have to be posted ASAP J

Other than that, dinner was tasty, beer was cold and the drinking games were top notch.

We left the next morning at 7 a.m. for Airlie Beach, back from the mountains to the beach and the Whitsundays…

It was 9 hours. We watched Team America and Joe Dirt. I wanted to kill myself.