Little cover of a girls version of Uta no Prince-sama with our special guest Momo from the Amaitsuki dance team. We promised to do this for our Japanese friend Emiri, who introduced us to the anime and who’s such a HUGE fan of Utapri!
Thanks to spicedSn0w for the audio track, modified to fit the female version.
I’ve just realized I never took the time to make an article about this emblematic distric…Shame on me…
I saved the visit of Akihabara, also called Akiba, for the last week of my stay in Japan as I knew VERY well that I would just spend an insane amount of time and money there. It is famous for its Electric Town, and every shop you want concerning goodies, anime, cosplay,etc. And you can also see the idols of AKB48 everywhere, but that’s only logical.
I fell in love with the Donki, 7 levels tall building, each one filled with clothes, beauty products, things you don’t need but that you will want to buy anyway, it was like discovering the Tiger Cave in Aladdin. I found a funny sponge jumpsuit, there were many different ones with Hello kitty, Stitch, Chip & Dale, etc but the one I chose has a priceless face (I suppose it’s a character from a japanese cartoon):
Some buildings of the district are entirely dedicated to costumes (school girls mostly, he). As I was alone, I was not brave enough to enter…but you can find anything in Donki anyway…Except that they didn’t have my size…like I care…..*roll on the floor crying*
I found Kotobukiya though. A well-known shop with awesome goodies and I bought the most eccentric cranky japanese thing I saw : the dream cushion of Ren, from the anime Uta no Prince-sama! It made me laugh so hard, I mean where else could you find something like that? It’s a bit expensive but damn iit I have no regret. Buying the matching bedsheet would have been a bit too much though…But please, let’s take a moment to fully appreciate this baby :
Oh yes I did! Note that they sell only the cushion cover, you have to either buy a L-shape cushion or sew one yourself. Or I suppose you can just keep it folded in the box….or hang it on the wall…. Anyway, I sew a cushion myself and it’s a damn confortable one. I don’t sleep holding Ren in my arms, don’t freak out….but my cat does. Sometimes she even sleeps on his face. Fair enough.
I know, I’m pretty late on the blog, I’m so sorry about that guys, so here’s a list of funny things I found in Japan:
- Masks: It’s not a myth, I saw people wearing them everyday riding the metro. Friends told me it’s either because they’re sick, they don’t want to get near other people’s germs or they sometimes just wanna hide themselves in order not to be disturbed. You can even find vending machines in the toilets to buy some!
- Toilets: those high-tech toilets with included remotes are wonderful, you can get warm water to clean you, you heat the seat, you can put a fake flushing sound if you don’t want people to hear you doing your business, etc. We should get some of these babies!
- Vending machines: They are everywhere, either it’s drink or tobacco. usually people don’t drink while walking, they buy the drink, have it next to the machine and toss it before leaving. You can have either cold or hot drinks for about 150JPY. Plus I found some DBZ cans, I have to get one or two….
- Metro: It’s a nightmare in Tokyo, the system is quite complicated because you ahve different companies owning different lines, then you pay a different price depending on which line you’re taking, don’t forget to charge your pass by the way (it’s quite expensive), and sometimes to get to one line to the other you have to walk outside to find the next entrance….Pretty confusing, but luckily every sign is written in English, that helps a lot!
- Size: The good surprise was that Japanese clothes and shoes can fit the big European that I am! I’m not talking about pants (obviously my thighs are too big) of even underwear (obviously I have boobs…Alright, even in Europe I have big boobs). But!! I could find clothes in free size, L size, and concerning the shoes I’m a 39 (I’m tall but with small feet) and this is the bigest size they have in Japan but they call it “LL”.
- Schoolgirls hobby: One of the biggest trend was taking the “Kamehameha pictures” where one person is standing still and the others jump as if they were hit, we did our own during a BBQ on Kids’ Day. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that last week was Golden week by the way!
- Idols: I’m not talking about Jpop idols that I love, because obviously they are way less popular than few years ago. No. Oh no. I’m talking about the new kind of idols that are booming in Japan: the Anime idols. Or “how not-really-good-looking voice actors who can really sing become popular among girls”. I started to watch Uta no Prince-Sama because one of my friend was SO into it, out of curiosity. Now i’m doomed. It’s so cheesy and cliché that i found it awesomely funny, and the music and dancing are indeed catchy! But it also makes me sad for the real idols… the anime CD is twice more expensive than the KAT-TUN CD that I bought!!! T__T I mean come on, they’re even doing live concerts!!!!!
Tokyo Daigaku, aka Todai, is the most famous japanese university as it is considered the most prestigious one. The manga that made it popular for us otakus was Love Hina.
Todai is really huge, with a lot of different buildings everywhere. You’d think that you have the main building right beside the gate but actually you ahve to walk through an alley. It looked a lot like the british architecture.
The main building was more like a square where everyone can come and have lunch, some highschool students were taking pictures, a couple of old ladies were sitting under the tree chatting, it was peaceful and cheerful but it had nothing to do with the uni vibes I had in France. Actually it didn’t really feel like being on a campus…
On my way to the uni I managed to get lost in the district behind it, I walked in a bunch of streets, pretending to know exactly where I was going when the postman looked at me suspiciously, and finally ended in a temple where a tiny festival was held! Maybe it was the shrine where Naru and Keitaro went to pray….maybe it has nothing to do with it, who knows?
For those who are not familiar with Sailor Moon (and may I just add: Shame on you people!), it’s one of the most popular Magical girl manga of all time. It was created around 1992 by Naoko Takeuchi, was adapted into a 200 episodes anime and made the Magical girl stories popular again, inspiring many other stories and of course countless parodies and sometimes…disturbing cosplays….
I know: blonde with blue eyes, how Japanese she looks….But is that really important compared to the talking cat that comes from the Moon??
In reality, the manga is widely inspired from Azabu Juban but it’s not an exact replica of it. I found a pretty acurate website where the author makes the comparison between the anime/cartoon and the real hometown of Sailor Moon right here.
It’s already pretty well done so I don’t need to re-do it but well all in all I spent the day walking around the district, up and down the hills and visiting the shrine with a lot of emotion.
Sadly, as the story was created over 20 years ago, a lot of places have been destroyed or have changed but I still got the chance to have a glimpse and that’s what matters in the end.
After that, I went to the Tokyo Tower, the japanese equivalent of our Eiffel Tower…. Actually when we were younger my brother and I first thought it was indeed the Eiffel Tower…Hem. Well, anyway, the weather was quite rainy and windy that day but I still managed to get some good shots!
As I cut my hair few months ago I wanted to buy cute hairpins and headbands. And i remembered seeing some cheap ones in Harajuku! Takeshita Street is full of cute shops at afordable prices so that was the main attraction for me today.
Then I saw that the Meiji Shrine was open so I first stopped to visit there. Meiji Shrine is the most popular temple whereas Sensoji (the one I visited in Asakusa) is one of the oldest.
As it was Monday, it was not really crowded and I enjoyed the Azaleas garden, went to the shrine, walked through the surrounding forest, and did the prayer as indicated:
First, rince your hands and mouth before entering, at the place called Temizusha
Clap hands twice
and when you’re done, bow twice again.
Then I went to Harajuku, found what I was looking for, and a bit more, found several Idols shops and stopped by to get some Johnny’s’ photos for me and my friends before heading back home to watch Game of Thrones while having dinner from the conbini :D
The first thought I had when going to Shinjuku was for City Hunter, one of the numerous animes we were watching when we were kids and in which you have several scenes of Tokyo. I found a good article in french that shows the real places along with Tsukasa Hojo’s drawn versions right here. Those were the places I was aiming for!
Anyway, I spent the whole afternoon in Shinjuku and started with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the twin towers are quite recognizable, where you can take the elevator to floor 45 and enjoy the panoramic view of the city for free. You can even get a handy tour guide as well, quite useful with a map of each district of Tokyo with the main things to see in it!
On very clear days they say you can see Mt Fuji but I was not lucky enough. The funny part was when I took the elevator with a group of korean old people making jokes, laughing loudly and the poor elevator lady was just whispering in japanese whereas I, the only non asian person, was stuck in the back trying not to laugh. They looked exactly like a bunch of teenagers going out for the first time!
Shinjuku is very dense in my opinion, there are lots of a tiny streets filled with bars, restaurant, shops, pachinko and game centers. I even got lost in the station, it’s crowded, huge and a bit confusing. I headed to the other part called Kabukicho, quite famous for its ‘entertainement’ at night. I went through a street to spot a funny building then realized I was surrounded by pictures of women wearing hardly any clothes, with men standing in front of each stores whispering “DVD? DVD?” to the men walking by. One of them hesitated to offer me the DVD, stared at me until me and my mini skirt went back to the main street in an awkward silence. I didn’t even take a photo of the so-called building. I guess I would probably not go there at night!
I stopped for a snack before heading to Koreatown with one of the awesome crepes. I went for the Banana Chocolate Cheesecake Special!(yes, they put a slice of cheesecake in it.)
Koreatown is up north of Kabukicho, and it’s basically one main street where Idols Stores aligned with comestic stores. On each side you can find tiny streets with restaurants and cafes but I was really chocked by the huge amount of Kpop Stars gifts shops E-very-where. I went into one and it’s very different from the ones in Korea: several screens all along the walls displaying different music programs and movie videos, creating a wonderful hubbub that would give you a headache in 5 minutes!
This and the shining white spotlights that blind you whenever you walk into one those shops.
And just in case you have any doubt in being in Koreatown, pictures of G-Dragon are plastered freaking everywhere. I have to admit, as much I love Kpop….I got really scared…
The afternoon went by really quickly so I didn’t have time to eat anything else (even though I would have love some tteokbokki), I just bought a foundation powder, made jokes in Korean with the store’s assistants (aaah I miss Korea) then headed to Shibuya to meet a friend for a girls night at her place!
All in all, another wonderful day spent in the Holy Land :p
Today I wanted to visit the Ueno Zoo but realized it was closed on Mondays. So instead I went to Takebashi to visit the East Garden of the Emperial Palace….and found out it was also closed on Mondays and Tuesdays….Turned out almost everything is closed on Mondays…But well I had a nice walk through the Kitonamaru Park, where you can find the Nippon Budokan, the Craft Museum, the Science Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art and even the National Archives! I will go back later this week to make sure to visit, especially because the gardens have free entrance!
Then I headed to Kagurazaka through Shirogane, the so-called “French district”, which is mainly a street with a lot of european restaurants and bakeries, along with the traditional japanese pastries, cafes and restaurants. I once again bought a Taiyaki (my new favourite), then ate a Ramen as the cake wasn’t enough. I was a bit nervous to order by myself but I applied the legendary foreigner technique: randomly point something on the menu with a large smile saying “one please!”. It works, that’s all I need.
At the end of the day I went to the nearby station called Kurokoen where the Tokyo Dome is. As I watched several Jpop concerts DVDs, it was something I really wanted to see, but the To-Do is mainly known because of the Giants…I’m not really into Baseball actually but well there are shops for the fans around the Dome but also a baseball museum. In front of the Dome is located an Amusement park called Tokyo Dome City. I have to come back there as well… BUT, I found a shop I didn’t even expected well hidden down the stairs: The Jump Store!!!
For those of you who don’t know, Jump is one of the most famous manga magazine in Japan as it usually discovers the series that will soon become the most popular ones. The shop was quite small but you had several goodies of Dragon Ball, One Piece, Slam Dunk, Kenshin, Naruto, etc. I bought some, but not much….I have to admit I’m quite proud of the Trunks towel I just purchased though <3
Last Saturday, after spending the previous night partying with friends eating homemade yakisoba, we went to Nihombashi, fancy district with a commercial center with luxury shops. On the top level was the Dragon Ball exhibition, with original boards from Akira Toriyama, some of the original covers, and what I found funny was a corner with a video of the same scene in every different languages!
Photos were not allowed except at the end of the exhibition where you could have your picture in a Kamehameha stage set! Of course there was a shopping part that I had difficulties to avoid but managed not to buy anything….yet. Seeing Dragon Ball in Japan was quite emotional for me, I mean I saw the 30 years old ink! xD
After that we went to the cinema to see the new movie, I discover a banana flavoured popcorn served in a huge bucket for 600 Yens! You can buy a token for 200 Yens to have your seat vibrating during the movie as well, and as we went to see it in IMAX, let me tell you it was just excellent conditions!
Of course I didn’t get anything they said (or almost anything) but still managed to understand the plot (yeah, it’s not quite hard really…but it doesn’t matter it’s Dragon Ball ><).
For dinner our good friend Devil took us to The Lockup in Ikebukuro! It was an awesome theme restaurant, everything is made to look like a space prison, you enter the restaurant after walking through a dark mirrored tunnel, you’re greeted by sexy policegirls, the tables are in cell and at 9PM you have a special event: lights are down, monsters have escaped and attack you,
Everything on the menu is presented in chemists’ vials, food looks like experiment and you sometimes have some food to share with a little surprise in it. For example, you can order some potatoe cakes with one of them with hot chili topping, but you have to taste it to discover it. Same goes for some of the cocktails!
We really loved the design and the vibes of the place, the food was delicious, I have to get the pictures of the dishes but it was always funky and original (I personaly found it cute but that’s my opinion). If you get the chance I highly recommand the place as it was not really expensive as well. I wish we can go back there soon!
On my first day in Tokyo, I went to Shibuya to do some shopping. We got off at Omote-sando, and walked through the district up to Harajuku. I bought quite a bunch of stuff, specially in 109’s Garula and d.i.a, but as we have some Para Para nights out coming every wednesday, I needed shoes (instead of my walking boots) and something nice to wear in the civilization!
It wasn’t really crowded luckily but I know I will come back here often…Hem. The next day, I met one of my friend for lunch and ‘help’ him with his own shopping. No need to say that I was as helpful as the shop assistant! After that I joined my paralist friend in Roppongi for my first parapara night. I made a membership card as well, it was quite a moment for me! I had fun even though I didn’t know most of the songs but the mood was really nice, I met new people and I had free drinks all night :p
Tokyo Tower at night
The next day I caught up on sleeping as the weather wasn’t nice it was a good thing to do and yesterday I spent the day walking around Asakusa and Ueno Park. I went to the Senso-ji temple, visited the garden where they give you a cup of green tea that you can have watching the garden, had a good omen, had a bunch of sweets in the street then went to Ueno.
In Ueno, I went through the huge park where you can find a lot of museums and visited the Tokyo National Museum. The architecture is impressive and some of the museum have european mixed with their traditional japanese style. In the TNM, they organized a “Sakura rally” that is to say you go aroung the museum, collecting stamps and when you have them all you get a sakura pin. Yeaaaah \o/ Well it’s a nice idea nevertheless. After walking for more than four hours I went back home before going out with friends to a home party.
And today my friends is Dragon Ball Day so see you later!! :D
I’ve been dreaming to go to Japan for more or less 20 years, since the moment I understood that the cartoons I was watching with my big brother were called “anime” and were adapted from comic books called “mangas”. When people asked “why do you like mangas?” it’s like asking “why do you like Super Heroes?” Everybody loves Super Heroes, and let’s face it: what kind of heroes do we have in France? Bécassine?
Awesome drawing by Tico. Please visit the gallery of this artist on Deviantart!
With my big brother, we’ve been playing videos games and discovered heroes like Mario, Sonic, Link, Ryu, Chunli, Mai, Kyo and Iori. We’ve been worshipping Sangoku, Sailor Moon, Ken (Hokuto no Ken, not Barbie’s boyfriend….Well technically I had them too but that’s not the point!), Ranma when our parents were talking about Conan and American Comics. We were fascinated by this far away country and started to fancy Japan like our parents were dreaming of America when they were younger. Japan created a wonderland where we felt confortable, a fantastic world where we could be safe, far away from our daily life problems and/or bullies.
When growing up, internet helping, I fell in love with Japanese music, started to learn more about the culture, read books (real ones, without pictures, so hardcore!) about the pop culture in Japan, but also about geishas in ancient times (far from the polished image I had), about the troubles of a society that developed too much too fast, about work pressure, racism, teen prostitution. But I was also reading magazines about Japanese idols (you know, these guys that look like girls?), secretly dreamed of dressing up like a kogaru. I also read stories about students trying to enter Todai, stories about samurais wandering during Meiji Era, about angels being reincarnated, goddesses living on Earth, video girls coming out of the TV, and yes sometimes in all those stories you could find sex and/or violence but it was not the only thing there was, contrary to what the majority of people said.
Like every otaku, I started to draw and wanted to be a mangaka. I used half of my weekly lunch money to buy a manga every single week and slowly built my precious collection. I self-learned Japanese and then stopped when it got too complicated and taking classes was too expensive. I was called a weirdo in High School because I was still playing fighting video games instead of fixing my make-up like other girls. I bought Japanese cooking books that I seldom used. I wanted to eat watermelon on a wooden deck with paper doors behind me, watching the sakura trees blossom with a pig-shaped ceramic mosquito coil server by my side. I couldn’t sleep at night for years because I was scared that a girl in a white dress with long black hair covering her face would kill me and panicked whenever the phone rang in the middle of the night.
When I finally got to Paris after getting my Bachelor, I remember my brother took me to my first Japanimation convention. We were not weirdoes here, we found people like us, and for God’s sake they had goodies with a white kitten wearing a bow, how cute is that!? I had posters of Hyde next to Eminem (no need to say that I cried like a baby when he came to Paris with his group L’Arc-en-Ciel), watched Japanese dramas along with American TV shows, did musical video games competitions, learned strange dances in which you only move your arms, fiercely said to ignorant people “it’s not Chinese it’s JAPANESE!!!” and occasionally did cosplay as well.
I spent a good part of my childhood with two fingers firmly pressed on my forehead trying to teleport, walking around with a glittering pen that was supposed to transform me when I pointed it to the sky and shouting “Venus Power, Make-up!”, writing stories about how cold water would change me into an animal, throwing phone cards that never stuck in the wall with “Cat’s Eye” written on them or even holding a palm tree leaf while wearing a white dress, and when my desperate mother would ask “what the hell are you doing on the roof dressed like that holding this bloody leaf?” I would always give the same proud answer while the wind was blowing my hair in my face “I’m burning my cosmos!”
We just had different games….
After 20 years of saying “One day, I’ll go to Japan. You’ll see. One day.” I’m now looking at the blemished Kakashi phone chain my brother gave me 10 years ago when I moved from Reunion Island to Paris with a smile, thinking about our childhood. I even made a list of what I wanted to do, which places I wanted to visit. (Oh, when I say “a list” I mean the freaky one on Excel table with colors and sh*t…..What?)
So there it is. It’s Monday and I’m heading from Melbourne to Cairns and then catch a flight from Cairns to Narita, Japan. I told you I’ll be going there one day. And that day is today.
I left Melbourne to get to Belgrave for my new (and maybe last) Helpex where I’ll be staying for almost 10 days. I met my new host at the Belgrave train station, Miss Kooka, and we drove about 10 minutes to get to her house, located in Menzies Creek, in the Dandenong region. The house is surrounded by the rainforest’s gum trees; it almost looks like a modern version of Hobbiton: houses hidden in the forest!
On my first night here, Miss Kooka introduced me to her friends: a whole family of Kookaburras standing on the deck, waiting for food, a border Terrier and a guinea pig! We gave some Kangaroo minced to the seven Kookaburras and I got my fingers bitten several times.
My work here is mainly in the garden, and after the storm there’s quite a lot to do: cleaning the fallen barks, weeding, but also washing the car, cleaning the house and helping for the market during the first weekend of April. I work during four hours every day but it can get quite tiring for my back. Anyway, that’s always good to be busy especially because I was starting to be a little bored in Melbourne.
Miss Kooka usually cooks for both of us and I got to have some traditional Aussie meals: roasted lamb and Shepherd’s pie! The Sherpherd’s pie looks a bit like the French Hachis Parmentier except the meat used is lamb and the sauce used is gravy. That tasted awesomely good, as you reckon Miss Kooka can sure cook! I returned the favor by making my Reunion Island traditional Sweet Potatoes cake and Chiken Cari.
We went to see the Puffing Billy, located next door,a ” century-old steam train still runnning on its original mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook, in the scenic Dandenong Ranges and is a genuine relic of more leisure days”. The train still runs thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteers and I had the strong feeling it would finally get me to Hogwarts…or maybe back to the Future?
We also visit some amazing veggie patches in Monbulk where we got no less than 5 different kinds of tomatoes, and on my day off we went to the Sherbrook forest in order to see the emblem of the region: Lyrebirds!
We woke up at 5.30AM (well 4AM for me actually), went to Sherbrook Forest (which is part of the Dandenong Ranges National Park) walked for a while, waited for dawn and finally got to see four of them, 3 females including one singing, and a male scratching the floor. Lyrebirds are quite famous for their perfect imitations of birds, chainsaw, camera shutters, alarms, but this usually happens during breeding season (June to September), when the male is trying to seduce the female by singing and dancing on the mount he prepared and flipping its tail over its head.
The female looks like a pheasant with a larger tail while the male looks like a peacock but when they are running, the first image I had was of Road Runner! We then had breakkie with Egyptian-eye toast made in the BBQ area nearby, surrounded by Cockatoes, Crimson Rosella and Galahs (Yes, they were “freed from desire”…*pom pom tchiii*) parrots. It was fdefinately worth it to wake up early!
On Sunday, I decided to stick to with my tiny list of free stuffs to do. I started by waiting next to Melbourne Central for the free city shuttle, that goes around Melbourne CBD and stops in front of every main building in town. They say you can also hear some historical facts in the train. Yeah, “they say”…..I waited 30 minutes before realizing that the city was not running today, as it was Children’s day and some roads were blocked. Dammit.
That didn’t stop me; I made a little detour when I spotted the Children’s Book Festival in front of my dear State Library and then headed to the National Gallery of Victoria, south of the CBD. On the way, I spotted a lot of people in orange shirt, sweaty, with hot pink cheeks from the run they just had. They just came back from the “Run for the Kids”, were having a break at the Sunday Market at the Arts Center or at Federal Square. In the streets, artists were painting, dancing, singing for money, giving to Melbourne its well-known artistic vibe. It felt like a modern version of our French Montmartre.
I arrived at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) around noon, sat at the entrance where paper and pen were provided under a sign saying “remove you shoes, have a sit and draw your comics, I’ll make a big comics with what everyone has done”. I sketched two drawings, had a first look around the dark grey stones of the building, the glass windows on the ceiling, and the metallic letters on the floor then waited for the 12.30PM free voluntary tour: Portraiture.
We went to see sculptures outside, upstairs on level 2 where some of the most valuable acquisitions of the Museum are exposed and finished with the Asian Arts exhibition. I met some old friends from my High School History of Arts days on the way: Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Rodin and met some new ones like the Australian artist Bea Maddock.
At 1PM we stopped to watch the dance event from the balcony of the Grand Hall. Every dancer was in a square, doing random choreography, each in a different style of dancing, some shouting, some using music, others doing a more elaborate mirrored routine. Then they all stopped at the same time, standing still, tall and straight, eyes shut. Like time was frozen, capturing the attention of the visitors who were suddenly waiting for something big or unexpected to happen. They tried to disturb the dancers, make them laugh like every visitor does when spotting the Royal Guard in front of Buckingham. We waited 2 minutes, 5 minutes, before they all began to dance again like before: ballet, modern jazz, hip hop, flamenco…
After the tour, I went to see two fashion collections: Ballet & Fashion on one hand and Dior & Yamamoto-The New Look, ended by the European gallery which consisted mainly in religious artifacts, sculptures and paintings from France, Italy, Germany, Spain…
If you like the smell of wood, the surrounding dim lights, the whispering of tour guides telling you secrets about a piece of history, the space and calm you can feel when sitting on one of the big black couch in every gallery, and finally if you come to enjoy what they call art throughout ages (out of passion, curiosity or even boredom), then NGV is definitely a must-stop.
For the past few days, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the State Library. I fell in love with this building. The architecture from the outside is almost as impressive as the one you can find inside. It’s very modern with the polished glossy stairs, the glass doors, the cold metallic elevators, the art gallery and the equipment you can borrow in the Art department, the videos on the big screen on the way to the reading room with a hint of old from the used cover of the books you find everywhere.
But the reason why I fell in love was when I first entered the Latrobe Reading Room. It looked like the library you see in Beauty and the Beast (okay, not quite as big) but it gave me the same feeling. A huge dome covering shelves of books on the balconies, long wooden tables with little green lamps, like the one you see in American teenage movies. I felt like wearing a “University of Melbourne” jumper to walk in the corridors (or my Harry Potter Hufflepuff cloak maybe)! Plus they have free Wifi…Praise the Lord!
I made new projects for later this year, spend time updating the blog, made some research, writing some articles about a bunch of things I had in mind, and of course like every single student in the room: I chatted on Facebook with my friends. Yes, just give it a look and you’ll spot a tiny blue banner on the screen of every single laptop around you.
Well, I didn’t spend all my time there. Almost not. I also had a long walk in the North of the city on Saturday when I wanted to visit the Rose Street Market on Saturday. Never found it (apparently it was close, I saw a lot of people looking for it and following me at the tram station…That’s a failed). Instead, I had a look at the Flower and Garden Show next to Melbourne Museum, deciding I was not passionate enough to spend money on it and just enjoy walking in the streets for 3 hours.
In case you had a doubt: yeah, this is a freaking big city.
On the list of the free things to do in Melbourne, I decided to start with the “I’m Free” tour. It’s a 3 hours walk around town guided by a local volunteer. So the tour is free and you can reward them with a tip (you choose the amount, of course). The concept already exists in Sydney and is quite new to Melbourne.
The meeting place is at 10.30AM in front of the statue of Sir Edmond Bary, at the State Library.
We walked to the State Library, the Old Jail, the Parliament, some arcades in the city, tiny streets to spot the famous street arts, China Town, Carlton Gardens (well, it was closed but still…), St Paul’s Cathedral, Theatres (Princess, her Majesty’s, Hamer Hall), Federation Square… Every stop was explained by our guide with some anecdotes, history facts, and personal impression about the town, the constructions, etc.
I just love the architecture of the city; you can find lots of different styles like old types and very new and modern ones, all mixed up on the same picture. I went to 2 churches as well: one close to the hostel called St Mary of the Sea, and St Paul’s Cathedral, in the city. I like going to churches, I think it’s very relaxing and intimate, plus it gives you a good idea of the type of art you can find in a city. But that’s only my opinion.
Melbourne had a gold rush period in the 1850s and it reflects on some of the buildings. It also seems that Melbourne and Sydney are always competing to get the title of “most popular city of Australia”. Melbourne is very art and culture oriented, it’s quite know for the street arts (you have to get in the tiny streets to spot some of them, it changes every time as the artists keep on painting over one another), and I found the whole thing quite….cosy.
I was not particularly interested in visiting big cities like Melbourne and Sydney (how boring is that…?) but I have to admit the city is indeed charming. You can find different precincts, and every culture is mixed and has its own. They also try to get inspired by all those immigrants’ culture to get a new cuisine. Something maybe more interesting, that could define Australia a bit more precisely, get a more unique taste (and God knows they need it, I mean seriously: sausage rolls??). Funny how it reminds me of Reunion Island sometimes (except that we don’t have precincts, everything is all mixed xD)
I found it very interesting; especially when you just arrived in town it also gives you a good orientation of the city. I would recommend this, especially because we all need a low budget activity sometimes, and there’s no nedd to book it, you can just show up and tours run every day!
As I told you in the previous article, when arrived in The Grampians, I decided to part with my friend. I won’t go into details as some of you expect (you can still send me a PM for that), but at this point I had: no transportation and no place to sleep. I checked the next bus and decided to go back to Melbourne. Why Melbourne? Well, because it was closer than Adelaide and my next Helpex in 10 days will be in the area.
I cancelled the accommodations I had in Adelaide and tried to find something for the next day in Melbourne. That was before I realized the next was Sunday. St Patrick’s Day. And this was the weekend of Melbourne’s Grand Prix. Great….So obviously every single room in Melbourne was booked. But, I managed to find a room, except that I had to pay 150$ for it. I didn’t really have a choice anyway and I really wanted to get out of here asap. I took my bus ticket and was pretty confident about my next move.
Except that on the departure morning I got a called from the hostel saying they made a mistake and that I couldn’t have the room. Oh great, so now I have nowhere to sleep. It just keeps getting better…
Luckily when I called back the manager told me they made a booking for me in another hostel nearby, the room is a bit more expensive but they will had the difference along with the deposit I made when refunding me. I got to Melbourne after 4 hours of travelling (bus and train), found the hostel after 1hour of walking, waiting for the tram, finding the good tram in the first place, thanking the tram driver for helping me found the street I was looking for and not making me pay, and checking-in. The room was on the ground level, next to everybody’s drinking and shouting because of St Patrick’s Day. I had a headache, I was exhausted and nervous but I had a double bed with an ensuite bathroom all for myself so I did what you’re not supposed to do in a backpacker’s hotel: I took a long shower. REBEL TIME!! I just squeezed my backpack for a little while and cried. I hate when things don’t go as they supposed to, this was supposed to be a vacation and turned out a disaster, I was missing Tasmania and if I knew I could have stayed there a bit longer.
Next day, I had a little walk around St Kilda before heading to the next hostel where I’ll be staying until March 27th. The place is a little bit out of the center, but next to the tram station and cleaner than expected. I was really happy, it was even better than the first hotel I went to last week! I took my laptop, and as I have to save money for Japan (yeah, I’m running out), I googled something useful even if it sounds stupid “free thing to do in Melbourne” and I found THIS.
I decided that nothing will spoil my year in Australia. No-thing. Even if I come back broke, I won’t go back to France until I get kicked out of the country. So I cheered up, made plans to fully enjoy Melbourne instead, put on some crappy K-pop music in my Ipod (my favourite, SHINee FTW <3) and after 1 day and a half of not eating because of stress I had a big plate of meat pasta and watched Once Upon a Time!
Afterall, my motto is “What does not kill you, makes you stronger” (or “stranger” depending on the version :p)
I left Tasmania after almost three months and joined a friend in Melbourne. He came on vacation especially from France and we decided to do the Great Ocean Road for the next 2 weeks and the first start was Melbourne. The afternoon I arrived, we just had a good walk around the town, had diner outside, catch up and went to bed early after planning the next day.
We started with a shop called Minautor that we saw on the way the day before. It’s a shop dedicated to pop culture. And we spent around a hour and half in it. It’s actually quite big and very well organized by theme: Star Wars, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, American TV shows (The Simpsons, American dad, Big Bang Theory…), anime (Bleach, Naruto, Sailor Moon, yes Sailor Moon I cried and bought nothing but god knows it was hard not to…..), comics, Batman, Marvel, Justice League, mangas….Let’s just say this was a little piece of heaven.
After that we went to the Victoria Market, one of the biggest and most famous around here. There were like 600 little shops, it’s huge and covered.
We then decided to go to Melbourne Museum, one of the most impressive one I’ve done so far, quite different and divided in theme sections. We did the Evolution one and Body & Mind sections, and went to the IMAX Theater afterwards to see Oz, the Great & Powerful. Pretty nice, not fantastic but that was a nice movie.
When buying the movie ticket we got a 50% discount on the museum entry (which was only 10$ anyway), and you can re-enter the museum if you have time after the movie. Which we didn’t…But, instead we went to The Sherlock Holmes, a restaurant found completely by chance on the day before, you have stairs leading to the basement, decoration is rustic and perfectly fits the image you can have of Sherlock. I had one of the best meals (a bit rich though…): chicken filled with a bit of camembert and sun-dried tomatoes, wrapped in bacon, with a butter garlic cream on mashed potatoes. My stomach made me pay for this later on but it was worth it xD
The next day we drove to Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road. We stopped by Cape Otway to visit the most significant lighthouse of Victoria, as it is the first one to establish a connection to Tasmania. (My dear Tassie <3) We saw a lot of koalas on the way, mainly sleeping in trees but one of them was eating, making it a bit more interesting, otherwise it’s just big balls of fur not moving…
The third day we went to the Twelve Apostles. The landscape was wonderful but we had bad weather and I was feeling a bit sick s sadly I didn’t really enjoy it like I wish I had. I saw bay of islands too, it does look as stunning as the pictures I saw before, even under the rain.
We arrived at the end of the afternoon in The Grampians, which is a great national park, very peaceful, with awesome mountains and forest surrounding the YHA with a lot of wallabies in the backyard.
This is when a bit of drama happened, and I decided to stop the journey with my friend starting this day. Things were not going as planned, to be honest it’s was a catastrophy but I guess it’s part of the game when you’re travelling. Plus, I’ve been very lucky so far so at some point, I must have a sh*tty period to go through. It’s now.
Four months ago I decided that I wanted a new tattoo.(I have one on my left ankle which is almost 10 years old). The first idea came with a couple of friends, but as I don’t really like having the same design as someone else, no matter who they are, I decided to draw the design myself.
Then, after a month, one tattoo became two. Three months later, after sketching and finally getting what I wanted (and of course making up my mind on th question: "now, I know what, but where??"), I decided that I wanted to get tattooed in Tasmania.
That’s when I found Tassie Ink Tattoo & Percing. I took time to carefully look at the online portfolio, the comments, then went to the studio to have a look, show my designs and get a quote. Everything looked perfect to me, I learned that my tattooist was a girl named Candice, even better that would be a change for once, and took an appointment for the next month.
Waiting for the D-Day was really long and when finally I got to Hobart I was very VERY excited. Two of my friends came with me, the studio where Candice is decorated with things I love: Beetlejuice, The Crow, Elvis. She’s a big Elvis fan, just like my mom so you can guess taht I grew up listening to the King and seeing the statues were to me a sign that I did choose the perfect studio! Plus, I liked the boots she was wearing.
The job was done carefully, we took time to discuss the design, if I wanted shading, where exactly do I want to have it, Candice gave me advice about the wrist design to get something clean and pretty but also about where exactly to put it.
It took 2 hours more or less of work to get everything done, I was so thrilled I almost cry. I kept telling my friend to give me the camera back so I can have one more look to the design on my neck. And one more. Perfect!
Okay, just once more. Gosh, it’s pretty, I’m so happy! Wait, let me look at it a bit longer!
To those who asked me “so did it hurt?” The answer is: yes, of course it did. I mean it always do hurt at some point! The most difficult part was the middle circle on my wrist. But I kept my mouth shut, I didn’t want to make the artist unconfortable but crying or whining, it’s a choice you make, you know it’s going to hurt and there’s nothing the tattooist can do about it.
Anyway, I do recommend the place, have a look on their Facebook page and if you want to get tattooed, take your time, ask questions, go to the studio, and then: Enjoy :)
Burnie is known for being a Paper Town. Not that it is made of paper but there’s a huge mill where they used to produce paper and sell it all around the world. The factory got closed in 2010 but you can still see it even though most of it has been destroyed. All around the city you can see the words “Paper” with a little history, the information center is decorated with statues made of paper, and the funny thing you can find and buy there is paper made out of poo!
Don’t freak out, it’s animal poo and no, it does not smell anything. You can find kangaroo poo paper, wombat poo paper, apple paper, denim paper…all sorts of things, and same goes for the envelopes! I bought some to write to my family and friend, along with those typical tourist magnets.
On the day we went to Cradle Mountain we also stopped by Sheffield, small town known for its murals all over. I didn’t get any picture sadly because I was sleepy in the car on the way back but Google it to have a look.
Today, we went to the Penguin Market. No, it’s not a zoo where you can see penguins. The town itself is called Penguin. The market is covered and quite big. You can find all sorts of things, from second hand, antiques to handmade soaps, jewelry, stones, food and live band playing. I found a wonderful Sherlock Holmes book /Detective game from 1982 for less than 10$, bought some speckles, and found some Doctor Who books that I didn’t buy. Only because I have to save money for Japan and can’t transport it in my backpack…Hem.
After Penguin, we went to Latrobe, capital of platypus, to a shop called Reliquaire. This shop is amazing, a real attraction in itself! The staff is dressed with fairy or nutcracker costumes, they give you a map of the shop when you enter and you have props, objects, expensive collection dolls, statues, jewelry, stuffs and stuffs e-very-where. It’s like being in the Tiger cave in Aladdin! They separated each room by theme; I loved the costumes section but went crazy in the Doctor Who section. Yes, they had a room dedicated to Doctor Who’s goodies, with a TARDIS as big as me, the music from the old seasons playing, a TARDIS bin that made sound when you open it, the action figures, the Lego figurines, the screwdrivers, the key rings, magnets,…*sigh*
The sad thing is you can’t take pictures in the shop, it’s forbidden so you just have to go and remember it but I never ever saw a shop like this, so if you get the chance, stop by Reliquaire!
When you look for pictures of Tasmania in tourist magazines, on Google, or Lonely planet books the picture you get every time is this: the boatshed in Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain is THE must see in Tasmania. I was lucky enough to be with generous hosts who offered to get Nami (who’s doing Helpx at the neighbors’), drove us there for the day and even prepared sandwiches and fruits for us! We were so excited we had trouble sleeping the day before, and almost screamed when we arrived on the carpark. There are several walks you can do there, but as you know I hate climbing, I don’t really fancy hiking and Nami was feeling like me. Walking on flat? Yes, for hours if you want. Climbing? No.Way.
We followed the good advice and chose to do the Dove Lake walk. It takes about 2 hours and it’s a circuit around the main lake in Cradle. Perfect for us! The walk was amazing, we took all of our time (4 hours…hem), stopping often to have a look, admire the scenery, take a break.
We even took a little detour and went on the Lake Wilks road, which is going up, is very bushy but not too difficult for lazy girls like us. We really enjoyed it a lot: you have to climb the road with your hands and feet, holding to tree roots, parts of rocks, being careful sometimes because it’s slippery (either wet or full of moss).
Finally we stopped on a wooden bridge next to a waterfall. It was magical: the sound of birds singing, the waterfall running, the smell of pine trees mixed with lemon-scented tea trees, the feel of the breeze under the burning sun, the clear blue sky with not a single cloud, the view of the tracks all the way down next to the Dove Lake.
We didn’t go further up to Lake Wilks because the path was getting too narrow, so we went back down, went through the Ballroom Forest and walked all the way to the boatshed where we had a final break, hesitating a lot about having a swim in our undies as we didn’t get any swimsuit. The water was warm compared to the cold ones we tried in Freycinet or Spring Beach.
I took a hundred pictures, it was stunning, the different perspectives you get when going around the lake, nature, fresh air, the crystal clear water and the track is very well made so it’s easy to walk.
I felt really grateful for being able to spend the day there. Cradle Mountain had an influence on me all day long. I felt full of love and compassion; I felt energetic and couldn’t sleep until 2AM because I was still too excited and happy!
So in a word, even if I really want people to know that there’s much more in Tasmania to discover and I really enjoyed everywhere I’ve been so far, I have to admit: Yes, Cradle Mountain is as special as they say and as spectacular as you imagine.
On our first night, my hosts offered to get Nami and took us to Burnie. The city is a 10min-ish drive from Stowport, with red cellophane on our flashlights…to see the locals Blue Penguins! We had a little presentation first, made by volunteers then could see the penguins coming back to their burrow like 1m away from us.
We can only use red light to see them, otherwise it hurts their eyes. They’re really small and the “fur” is very soft (we took a photo with a stuffed one).
The next day, after cleaning the house, I went to the Emu Valley Rhododendron garden: a 22 acres garden hold and taken care by volunteers. You have a lot of different sections, representing a part of the world with its typical flora. That’s why they call the walk around the garden “Around the world in 80 minutes”. My favourite part was the Japanese garden of course, it gave me a teaser of what I’ll be able to see soon (ohohoh yes I’m going to Japan in April, how f**king awesome is that? xD). Sadly it would have been better to come during Spring time when all the flowers are blossoming.
After the walk i had a Devonshire tea, that’s to say: soft scones with jam and cream with tea. Homemade scones and rasperry jam, it was awesome, i love discovering new food *o*
I’ve updated the photo album, and tomorrow I’ll talk to you about Burnie and how I bought paper made of kangaroo Poo! (True Story)
Two days ago, after having diner at the roadhouse while wearing wigs to match our naruto mood and taking a lot of funny pictures, we headed to Burnie in North West Tasmania with Dani and Nami. It took us 4 hours to get there, we stopped by the Gunns Plains Caves for a visit…which never happened because I got too scared of being stucked underground in the dark. Yeah, I don’t really like narrow dark places…
On the way, Dani bought us some L&P, it tastes a bit like ginger beer (and i fr*king love ginger beer) and the brand is very popular in New Zealand and I bought myself a Lammington. My new favourite Aussie pastry xD
We finally arrived in Stowport. Nami’s hosts are very good friends with mine, and they’re only 3.5Km apart! I met my new hosts, a very gentle couple with a huuuuge garden, they even have a forest in the back yard…pretty impressive….and a promising amount of work!
Some pictures coming soon but the landscape in the North is much greener, even though they say it’s still dry for the season. A different feeling but as beautiful as the South to me!
Today, after days of hard work (yesterday in particular) I decided to do something about the blog. I’ve been thinking for a while that I wanted to develop it a bit more, make more categories, and extend it to other things, not only my journey.
So you can see the layout changed a bit as well (the French touch on the top was not exactly intended but it’s funny after all), I added some links on the right as well :
What’s Sunild’Oz : For those who always wondered what “SUNILD’OZ” means
Spinelie’s Corner : Every links about my dance cover team, my personal youtube channel, and I’ve updated my old Deviant Art account as well. it’s still a work in progress but I added a Costumes album and some Miku-Collection photos.
Friends : Some blogs to follow, and some websites that deserve a look, even more because it’s all made by friends! Please make sure to pay a visit :)
Well, I’m pretty late on the update so here what happened lately:
Nami left Brockley for Hobart to do another Helpx and a new guy came instead. Things didn’t go well as he was pretty arrogant and rude, I didn’t like him at all but thanks God he was doing at least a good job when asked.
I’ve been doing a lot of painting in the cottage, gardening, still helping with guests (but bushfires affected the business badly…), I became a professional at the whippersnipper, and I also learned to shear a sheep! Yes. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen : Me, the city girl in fancy red slim pants and 15cm heels who like to drink rosé wine in Paris on Saturday night, I freakin’ sheared a sheep! Don’t get the wrong idea, I asked to do it and guess what? Even if I was a bit scared to try, I did better than expected!
In fact the razor thing is heavy and it’s kind of hard to hold it still because it’s vibrating so much (oow, come on you dirty mind I’m doing the farmer talk here!!). I had no fear of the sheep in itself, when it was kicking and moving around I just listened to the shearer and placed my knees and legs accordingly so that it wouldn’t move anymore. It’s a bit tricky to go close to the skin to cut the wool off and not harm the sheep. The poor thing got a cut on the leg…nothing serious but I was a bit upset “I cut the sheeeeeep, oh my Gooood I cut the SHEEEEEP!!!” which gave a good laugh to the shearers. Then the sheep pooped on my shoe and I didn’t feel that sorry for it… The shearers were extremely friendly and patient, they love talking and sharing about their job and they told me I could come and help if I want to change job! Always good to know :p
On the same week, I spent the day off with a dear friend, Dani, who spoiled me as I was sleeping over at her place. We had a great time at the beach with her dogs, had a drink and then watch a movie before going to bed. It was as relaxing as spending the weekend at Grandma’s. Except that I’ve never done it before as my Grandma was living with us xD
I still love Tasmania and Brockley, the weather is nice but luckily not too hot, I now have the Helpers’ cottage for myself and some exciting projects for the next few months that i have yet to finish preparing!
Yes, all the crap you can see here is mine only…Shh!
Last Tuesday Nami and I planned our day off with two friends and decided to spend the day on the East Coast. Four girls, one car, and the best of the nineties on CD!
We first headed to the Blowhole first, found a pingouin under the rock (yes, a pingouin), spotted some big black crabs on the red-colored rocks and found lots of dry sea salt!
Then we drove to Natureworld, stopped the car to dance the Macarena (of course we would!) and finally arrived! The aim was to see some Tasmanian devils (my precious) in the park but we were quite amazed by the white peacocks walking around proudly, discovered as well the Cape Garen Goose (which sound like a grunting pig..), the Wedge Tailed Eagle, parrots, royal pheasants, cockatoos, and the nocturnal marsupials like the spotted-tailed Quoll.
I went a bit crazy when we saw the devils, as I took millions of pictures, but I have to highlight the Devils’ house they made, very interested with lots of information about the animal, the saying including the word ‘devil”, some quizz about the animals and the sound they make,etc. It was really a good idea, interesting and funny, we were like kids pressing all the buttons like crazy!
We saw the devils and spotted-tailed wuoll’s feeding, found some peacock’s feathers (normal and white ones), fed some wallabies/pademelons which were holding our hands while eating, then ate our own picnic (Nami and I actually prepared everything the day before).
We ended the day by laying a bit on the Boltons beach before going back home to watch some videos, have some tea and finished the day in Orford around a great Fishermen’s platter! Lots of fun, we really enjoyed the girls’ day trip even if it rained a bit!
Sunday and Monday we had two days off so our generous hosts offered to give us a lift to Hobart as they would spend the weekend with their family. They helped us book a night at the Prickled Frog backpackers hostel and thanks to a generous american couple who tipped us 50$ we were able to enjoy a full day of shopping in the city!
On the way to Hobart, we stopped in Richmond, lovely little city where we had lunch, it looked really british and we were able to enjoy a market and a lollies shop!
We first went to a movie on Sunday (Les Miserables….I found it so boring I felt asleep…) and found a little DDR arcade so obviously I had to give it a try! The backpackers was really funky : each door had different decoration and room 21 was painted as Doctor Who’s TARDIS! I was really disappointed not to be in this one…Sigh…
Anyway, we went shopping, I bought a pair of Uggs boots, had a new haircut, bought couple of shirts to work as I only have tank tops, a new handbag (women always need a new bag!) enjoyed a chinese/thai food and fresh smoothies, walked to the Marina where we saw huge cruise boats, stopped by the Museum (which was closed for renovation…Hem) and then meet with our hosts again to do some shopping for the house before going back to Brockley.
On the way back home where we met the two previous helpers and guess what: the guy was from Reunion Island! I was really happy to meet him, we listened to music from our island and talked in creole, they spent the night at Mr and Mrs Robb’s cottage so we spent the night eating, watching videos, talking etc. A really nice weekend indeed :)
Last Friday we spent the day in Freycinet for Ted’s last day at the farm. We drove for a while, stopped to take pictures on the way next to Oyster Bay and were greated by the impressive Hazard Moutains. The scenery was so astonishing it almost looked fake!
I was almost expecting a green screen to scroll up leaving the view empty! We took a bunch of pictures on the marina then went to have breakkie in a little café near by….Ok well it as more a breakfast burger and a beer but it was needed!
We then went to the information center to get the map of the park, pay the fee of 24$ and decided the itinerary: Sleepy Bay, Honeymoon Bay and the famous Wineglass Bay!We even filmed a little dance there but that’s another story.
I have to admit something: I hate walking. Well, not walking exactly but climbing stairs. I hate stairs. And of course, i’m not used to walk, at all. Quite shameful when you know that my brother and father love to do this and wake up at 5AM to walk all day…..xD
Anyway, when we had to climb up to Wineglass Bay lookout it was really difficult for me. Let alone when we went all the way down to the beach and had then to climb the mountain again with a freaking lot of stairs that almost killed me…. But, it was worth it. The view is amazing, the beach is as beautiful as Wihtsundays’ Whitehaven. We saw some wallabies on the beach and on the parking lot we were able to pet them as well. The walk was about 3 hours return, and i’m really proud as I managed to did it to the end, thanks to Ted mainly because he was really encouraging us on the way. I hate you by the way Ted ;) It was a real challenge for me and I’m happy I accomplished it….whinning, and panting, and suffering, and exhausted I wanted to stop at the lookout and go back but I still did it.
And yes, the water was freazing cold. As usual in Tassie xD Mr Robb told me that the name come from the time they used to kill wales on the beach, the water would turn as red as a glass of wine. Han. I’ve imagined something more glamourous…Hem.
We went home and had a nice diner all together as Ted was leaving on the next morning: dancing, drinking, eating home made lasagna and chocolate cake and got to bed really exhausted, but happy! Another day in paradise, minus a very good friend, Nami and I were really sad to see him go but well, that’s part of the game!
After 4 days, the fire seems to get under control as we can barely see smoke from the farm right now. We got just a little rain yesterday, we’ve been hoping for a big storm with heavy rain but only got heavy wind instead….Not helping Mother Nature, clearly NOT helping!
I told you about the hills getting red at night in my previous post so here’s a pic of what we could see from our bedroom to give you an idea.
Things are slowly getting better, the temperatures have dropped to 20°C but in other places it’s still not over. We learned yesterday that people from Bream Creek had to evacuate to Marion Bay. It got really far and we felt a bit upset because we just went around this place last week when we spent time on the beach at Marion Bay Beach!
Anyway, we had an afternoon off this week and with Ted we went to see his friends around. We drove a lot from Buckland: Hobart, Ross, Cygnet.
We found the sign funny because it sounded like a factory manufacturing women, but then learnt it’s actually a jail…Hem…
A long way to go but I could enjoy some shopping in Hobart, finally find some Sailor Moon goodies (yes, i’m an otaku and also a geeky gamer), we had a swim in Ross, next to the bridge but the drive back home at night was a bit tiring. We even spotted a small own named Bagdad! It was pretty funny for us “I didn’t think Bagdad was in Tasmania!!” Finally, we got to see a glowing vermilion sunset, after spotting a golden moon two days ago! (pretty impressive, this is the first time I’ve seen the moon like that, it looked like a movie!)
You have to drive carefully because wallabies, possum and other animals go on the roads and f you’re not careful you can drive them over…. We spotted a couple of wallabies and this huge Brushtail possum who almost got killed on the road by the car in front of us! Wow, scary…(I don’t have pictures sadly, they ran out too quickly, at night the focus wasn’t good on the camera)
The news finally hit the world: bushfires are burning all over Australia and Tasmania (yes, Tassie is part of Aussie but oh well, never hurts to mention!).
The view we had from our bedroom when it started.
Truth is it started two days ago, the heatwave hit Australia, and the night before we had one of the warmest night in Tasmania. Temperature rose to 45°C in Adelaide, 40°C here in Buckland.
One fire started 200m from our farm in Brockley, Buckland, Tasmania. Basically, you had: flames, river, us. Ha, that’s new. At first we thought that it could be handled pretty easily and we had to go to Orford, the next city to get some mussels and oysters because Mrs Robb had 11 guests to feed including one gastronomic critic journalist. Bad day to get into trouble… When we got a call from her saying the situation got really bad, we started to worry.
No, these are not clouds or fog, just smoke.
We went back home and got stuck on the road because the fire had crossed it. I have to mention than Mr Robb is in the Fire Brigade so he went to help everyone with the fires. Heavy smoke was everywhere; you could smell it with the windows closed. We managed to get back home, dinner was running late and almost all the landscape surrounding the farm was on fire.
Ted and I were supposed to be off this afternoon but obviously, dinner was running late, the situation was getting quite bad so we accepted to help as much as we could. It got even more challenging when the electricity went off in the middle of the dinner, and the water stopped running. Ha. We ended the work pretty late and as the fire was quite close, Mr Robb told us that we had to watch it in case the wind is changing. For the time being it should be okay as the wind was pushing the flames in the opposite side but if it was to change during the night….We would have to evacuate.
You can’t really see it but that was the helicopter carrying water above the road. See how clear the sky is when there’s no smoke.
We felt really sad about it because for us helpers, woofers, backpackers, it’s okay we’re travelers here so we can just pack a bag with passport, money, important papers and that’s it. We have the most important stuff and in the worst case we just go back home. But for them…it’s all their life: the land, the cattle, the house. Some people died those past days, fire is spreading quickly sometimes you don’t have time to react and that’s it. Game over. During the night we saw a wallaby next to our cottage, which is pretty surprising as wallabies never come on this side.
I sent a message to my brother explaining that we might have to go because of the huge bushfire and posting the news on FB about it because it was both impressive and worrying. People didn’t really react. They didn’t get how bad it was, until they got the news on TV. This is a bit sad as well: you don’t get worried until you see it on TV. Even when getting information from the people that are living here. And then you freak out because medias always make everything worse than they are. If it’s already terrible they will talk about it like it’s the end of the world….
We can’t blame people for that, I know it wouldn’t be fair but I still find it sad. We could see the hills burning all night, hearing the trees collapsing, smelling the smoke, and watching the fire from afar all night hoping the wind didn’t change. We had a very bad night as you can reckon but we were lucky enough not to get into real trouble. The helicopter flight for hours, dropping water and the firemen worked long, very long hours.
The fire is still going on. We can see the hills getting red at nightfall, during daytime you can only see the smoke. The landscape is changed but hopefully Mother Nature will do her job when this is all over. So, our situation today is: we’re safe but the neighbors’ land is not, and Mr Robb is still helping the firemen every day.
Time really flies, man I’ve been in Tasmania for a week already!
So how are things in Brockley? Quite busy: doing breakfast for guests, cleaning the house, helping with painting the new cottage and scratching paint from the windows (my recently discovered specialty! Kekeke), helping for dinner and we even had a wedding on New Year’s Eve!
I love this place, it’s good to be busy, have some healthy fresh products, I’m learning to do a lot of new things and everybody is so nice, the hosts are very generous and they take really good care of us! The place is really peaceful and the scenery is amazing. People usually say that Tasmania is just green and cold. This is wrong. Completely wrong. Well, of course it gets cold at night and mainly because of the wind, it’s really windy and the weather is quite dry. But the landscape is incredible, it’s different everywhere, and you’d be surprised to know that the beaches are stunning here!
Yesterday we worked for New Year’s Eve, as we had the wedding (my first time doing the waitress :D) but it ended earlier than expected so after cleaning everything we went to the bosses’ house (let’s call them The Robbs) for a drink. Or maybe it was 4 bottles of champagne, 2 of red wine and 1 of white wine. We had a good time, eating 12 grapes at midnight, like they do in Spain (as Mrs Robb is Spanish, and she’s also the Chef, so imagine the amazing dishes we’re having!).
We got drunk as expected for NYE, and went to bed around 4AM. We wanted to wake up early to go to Freycinet, but obviously we were hangovered and forgot to put the alarm clock the night before so… we woke up around 12PM. Hem hem…
We had a quick breakfast and then Ted drove to Marion Bay. The road to get there is amazing, especially in the Wielangta Forest, surrounded by Blue Gum Trees, we saw 3 echidnas, and finally stopped to the beach. We took some funny pictures but the wind was very strong so we got sand everywhere. You can’t even drink water without getting sand in your mouth! The view is as pretty as Fraser Island and there was nobody else on the beach so we had a good time there, taking some model-like pictures for example.
After Marion Bay we went to Rheban Beach, Shelly Beach and finished by having Fish&Chips in Orford. I had battered scallops with chips and it was delicious!
All in all, another day in Paradise, I think I’m falling in love with Tasmania. (as expected) <3
So after spending few days in Brisbane with Norpan, and having stuffed my stomach with good food (japanese restaurant, Max Brener chocolates and more japanese food in the market) I travelled to Hobart, via Melbourne on December 22nd. I arrived at the YHA pretty late, around 10PM and hardly slept because of two heavy snorers in my room.
On the next morning, I caught the Redline bus to Sorell where I met with one of the helpers of the farm I’ll be working in: Frenchie! Hey, that’s nice :) I’m currently in Brockley Estate, in Buckland, an hourd rive from Hobart and it’s really beautiful around here. Yes, Tasmania is a bit chilly and I reckon itt’s really in winter but so far I can’t complain, I like it here. And no, no devil yet.
We are 3 helpers here: Ted, Nami and me. French, japanese, french. So for Christmas, the couple we’re working for shot a turkey and gave it to us as they would be in Hobart celebrating with the family. Today was the big day: I prepared the turkey and I have to say I was pretty nervous as it was the first time in my life doing this, and we don’t have much ingredients. Because we should have done a list of what we need and buy it but we didn’t. yeah, backpackers style!
I found recipes on the internet, tried to adapt it and made a stuffing with apples, onions, rice, beef and garlic. It took more than 2 hours to cook it, checking and putting more butter on the skin, quite a challenge!
All in all, the turkey was pretty good, and we had a large lunch after 4 hours of cooking! Turkey, garlic bread, veggies, artichokes, apple and choco cake, cheese and crackers, wine, aussie cakes… After eating, we watched my favourite Christmas movie: The Muppets Christmas Carroll while having tea and cakes.
Maaan it’s been a while since I updated my blog…Couple of things to tell:
- Work is going pretty well, I’m in charge of Junior Rangers with Kittycat and since last week we have 2 sessions everyday with a split shift. You can imagine that I’m pretty tired. Specially because I was really sick last week. I kinda caught a cold, my throat hurt, I had a fever and difficulties to breathe at night…this is when it gets difficult to be far away from home. Far away from your friends, family, your habits. I would have been able to get better right away with my usual homemade habits but obviously when you’re in a different country all by yourself, it gets depressing… Anyway, I’m much better! Solidarity cured me: some of the staff friends gave me some medicine, and I didn’t even miss a day of work :)
- the communication service of the resort is doing an article about my winning prize, I’ll let you know when it’s out but for the moment, here: enjoy the ranger stricking the pose xD
- Yesterday we had the staff Christmas Party! I had fun specially with my fellow french mate. Gosh it feels good to make some jokes in french, to share the same culture for just a talk. No matter how much i love Aussie, no matter how I love being here and won’t go back home, still….it feels good to know you’re not alone. Plus, I told you I found lots a similar flora here that you can find in Reunion Island, it feels christmassie to me since I found the Flamboyant tree <3
- Norpan went back home last night too; As we arrived on the same day, everybody thought I was leaving too but i still have 3 days left before going to Tasmania! i’m pretty excited about it, but I was sad seeing her leave. I’m happy I was lucky enough to find good friends, that’s what makes life interesting, so thanks Norpan! Well, i’m not exactly left alone, I still have other good friends here!
- We found a baby bird and a baby sugar glider yesterday and had to take care of them before returning them to wildlife. The baby bird found its family today and Kittycat still has to care for the glider. It’s amazing, I could do that all day: caring for animals. Oh wait, that’s an idea!
- Senior ranger trusted me to hold another Dingo talk all by myself and guess what : I nailed it! Oh yes I did! I feel more like a real ranger now that I finally managed to get some knowledge :)
Last Monday, with a couple of staff friends (Norpan, Waldo, Burger, and Dongsaeng) we had the opportunity to borrow a 4W car so we went to the Champagne pools!
They are located up North so we had to go on the other side of the island, to the Eastern Beach,
then drive all the way up to Indians Head,
then climb up a cliff and finally got there, after 3 hours.
We had so much fun in the car because the road was really bumpy, we got stuck twice in the soft sand, and we decided to name the car Olga and cheered for her during the whole thing! The sand was burning hot, the weather was really nice and on our long way we stopped for a swim at Eli Creek where the water is really cold and refreshing.
We found tons of dead jellyfish on the ground, and we felt the adventure went digging the sand and pushing the car when we got stuck, cross the river where it was less deep at Eli Creek because it was high tide and hit our bum because the car was bouncing on the road.
We stayed at the Champagne pools for half an hour only because the rain started to fall but could enjoy the salty water and the waves in the natural pool, had a beer on the beach, took a bunch of photos and videos listening to Waldo’s Ipod, just enjoying the scenery, the sun and the heat. Man, that’s life!
On the way back we wanted to go to Lake Wabby or Lake Mckenzie but the fuel was going down so we played safe and went back to the resort, a bit frustrated but still we had a great day! We were starving when we arrived but after eating the excitation went down and we felt really tired. It’s amazing how you can feel exhausted even when having fun!
The next day, as i had another day off, we went to the mainland with Norpan, finally heading back to civilization for a day xD This is where I finally got my mobile wifi from Telstra, we watched the new james bond movie (way cheaper than in Brisbane!) which sucked, and did a little shopping before heading back to the resort.
It was really nice to be back on the mainland, I kinda miss Brisbane right now…sigh…
It’s been a while but here I can’t really get a good connexion to update the Wi-Fi, so basically I just write the article first so I won’t spend too much time on other people’s computer. So, how have I been for the past week?
Pretty good, I really think that I have the coolest job here, especially when I see Norpan wake up at 5:30am because she works at the breakfast buffet. Anyway, what’s a ranger in Fraser Island? I’m more a less a tour guide, a kid animator, I also help at the front desk and welcome customers. Also, when you find a snake on your deck, you call the rangers to come and get it.
Truth is I have a degree in Communication and Marketing, and I also used to work with kids. But concerning flora, fauna, marine life….I don’t know anything. I’ve been studying by myself since I arrived in Australia and shared a bit of what I’ve learned on my blog with you. But other than that…
So you can imagine that when I realized the rangers do the Dingo talk presentation and a Night walk around the resort every night, and talk about the wild life you can find here….I panicked. So I’ve started to study. I told the senior ranger I could try to do the dingo talk in a week after I arrived. Always challenge yourself! I’ve been studying the leaflet, assist to 3 presentations of the other rangers, did some research on the internet and now can talk about it.
I also assisted to the Bush tucker talk & taste, which is a presentation of all the bush tucker you can find either on the island or in Australia. There’s also a chef here explaining how they use those bush tucker ingredients in their daily menu, in the resort’s restaurant? Plus, you get to taste them, it’s just plain awesome! I’m not ready to this yet but this is really cool stuff.
I also have been assigned the Junior Eco rangers on the weekend. As you can guess it’s the kids program; I have 2 days off before doing it, so I brought all the books I could find about how they do it here and gonna study it. I’ll be with another volunteer who just started this week. This is promising. I don’t even know how to light a fire and we’re supposed to do a campfire night. Yiha!
I think I’ll focus on what I do best: storytelling and games. I’m a showgirl, so I’m a good storyteller, but don’t ask me about crabs and frogs I won’t be able to answer. Well, not totally true I’ve been studying about frog and about the Cane Toad. But this is another story.
On days off, we can participate in the resort tours such as Champagne pool, Beauty Spots, lay on the beach, do the activities for free. We also get discount on food, beverage and merchandising. Concerning my shifts, I had two days off because I had no booking for my junior Rangers. No booking, no work. I know you’re jealous, you should be :p So far, I went on the Beauty Spots Tour and got into the little plane to do some air sight around Maheno, happy Valley, Lake Mckenzie…
So anyway, today is November 28th, and I had my Dingo talk yesterday night. I was a bit nervous and truthfully I was not proud of myself because I forgot to tell a lot of the things I’ve been learning. Sigh… I had 5 people on that night, they seemed pretty happy, and the Senior Ranger told me it was fine. I only have to speak slower (trust me I tried!), and next time I can add the things I forgot to complete and get my presentation better but she noticed I’ve been studying. So all in all, everybody was happy and they appreciate my bubbly personality and my enthusiasm. Still, I can and will do better. I know a lot about dingoes now; I would probably do a private presentation when I get back home in Paris xD
Things have been quite wild here. A lot of people leaving, doing stupid things, and of course everybody complains under cover. Not like they gonna say it to your face or anything. I think people are just too young to work far away from home. Or maybe I’m just getting old. Naaah, it can’t be me xD
Anyway, one of my regular jobs is taking care of the Junior Rangers activities. It’s all depends on the booking as usual. No booking = no work= other staffs get jealous. Yeah, I know I’m one lucky bast**d. You must have noticed it by now. But trust me, I deserve it. It was not always like that.
So Junior Rangers are usually kids from 5 to 14 years old; we do campfires, nightwalks, games, educational activities about Fraser, animals, eco behavior, etc. I had my first one this week. We talked about the different species of snake you can find around Fraser Island, went to have dinner at the Sand Bar, and then walk on the Jetty to spot marine life, told a story while the sun was going down, and finally did a Wallum nightwalk.
Aah, what’s a wallum you ask? Very good question and it’s nice of you to ask as we have a dedicated activity called Wallum Walk. So basically, I’ll tell you later on about this.
The kids had fun, they even wrote us a note saying thank you and all signed it. I found this really cute, you never know how it will turn out with kids. There was this little guy who looked so bored at the beginning, he clearly didn’t want to be here. He was watching on his little sister, who was hiding behind him, not willing to talk to anybody, not even saying her name and was just grabbing her big brother’s shirt. How touching! But wait….it reminds me of something…. Humm, what can it be? Anyway, I don’t how I managed to get the girl to talk to me, she told me about her school and friends when we were having dinner. Later on I started a dorky dance on the jetty and the little guy danced along and played with the others while his sister was talking to the other girls. Finally they got to have fun each one on their own and the little girl told me “I wanna do this again!”
Last weekend I spent in Brisbane was under a pretty stormy weather. I spent the last days doing the laundry, hanging out with Nipponie and on Saturday night we went for a drink in town, to the Irish Club, after eating Korean and meeting with the Busan boyz, and finished by playing pool. Oh and i met Almost-Jon-Snow too!
yeah, it looks so professional with the flip flops…
It was pretty nice, especially because I didn’t feel like updating my blog due to family matters. I felt pretty down and going out earlier last week to the bars and nightclubs did good. Music though is too loud in Australia, it really hurts your ears and the buzzing effect can last to the next afternoon. But still, going out to the Victory with the 3$ drinks on Thursday was a good idea!
So on Sunday morning, I took the Queensland Rail train to Maryborough and a bus to Hervey bay, back to the YHA colonial village for the night. The journey for longer than expected, the train took longer than the coach, how about that?… Anyway 5H30 later, I finally arrived, had a fish and chips followed by a mango cheesecake (but no beer) and went to sleep. Monday morning, the shuttle bus from Kingfisher Bay was to pick me up at 11.15am in front of the YHA, so I slept well but quite excited as I woke up at 6am.
And the shuttle bus arrived at 11.40am….Ha, I almost had a heart attack “did they forgot about me? How do I get there??” But all in all, I took the “Staff Village” tag and put it on my luggage, took the ferry, made a new friend half Japanese-half Norwegian (let’s call her Norpan) and finally arrived in Fraser Island. Weather was nice, a bit windy though because the storm had followed me up there….Damn you.
Anyway, we had a lot of paperwork to complete, some reading about the life as a village staff,etc. Then got a confusing map of the so called village and if it was not for the lift we got to our room we would have got lost. Probably…. Na, who am I kidding: of course we would have got lost! Anyway, funny fact is I’m in Room 7. And as my nickname is Nana, I believe this is a good sign!
For those of you who don’t know: in Japanese, “nana” means “seven”.
Anyway, I met with my roomie and find the room quite…dirty. Lots of dust, sand, spider webs and oh look at that: ants! Obviously, the people before me never care to clean their own room. Han, look at me, I’m getting old there…But well, I think that if it bothers me I’ll just clean it and not really have to complain about it. Plus, my roomie is 20 years old. When I was 20, I thought that as long as I can see the floor and it’s not sticky under my feet, it’s clean! So who am I to judge, he?
If you miss the shuttle bus, you have climb this huge hill….Trust me, it’s a hard job, specially under the sun!
On Tuesday, we took the 10H10 bus in Adelaide Street to Lone Pine. It’s a 35 minutes ride and it costs 6.50$ to get there. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the world’s first and largest sanctuary and there are so many species to see it’s better to spend more than a couple of hours to enjoy it. Plus, they do several presentations and a bird prey show so if you’re in a rush you might not see everything.
The visit starts with birds, different kinds of cockatoos and unlike Magnetic Island’s sanctuary they are in a separate cage. Then, the famous platypus! It was really dark in its aquarium, and the tiny platypus kept on moving so it was impossible to take a photo!
We also saw in the afternoon when they fed him and it’s quite funny to watch it (yes, there was only one platypus) as it closes its eyes, ears and nostril under the water. So it’s all blind and searching for the worms under the water. FYI, platypus is the only mammal that lay eggs!
The koalas are everywhere in the park, but they get to be in different area concerning age or sex: you have the retirement one for the oldest koalas, the boys area, the mom&baby area, the teen koalas, etc.
Plus, you get a presentation and get to know that they can leave up to 14 years old in captivity. There’s what we call Northern koalas with the white bottom, and Southern koalas (all grey) but they both belong to the same and only one specie.
Baby koalas get independent after 12 months with the mother and they also can hide in a pouch like kangaroos! They only eat eucalyptus and don’t need to drink as they find the water they need in the leaves. This is why the major problem now is how to preserve the trees in order to save the koalas.
About dingoes, the major differences with domestic dogs are the structure of their skeleton, eardrums and dingoes don’t bark like dogs but sound more like wolves. We got to pat one of the dingoes during the presentation and it’s really soft. Softer than a koala in fact!
After visiting the vivarium where we saw the feedings of different kinds of lizards, we went to have lunch and saw all the pictures of stars posing with koalas, from Jean Paul II to Koda Kumi, Charisma Carpenter, Cher, Janet Jackson, Claire Danes, etc.
We spent a lot of time in the feeding kangaroo’s area, they were baby kangaroos in and out of their pouch and they are so used to be fed and to have people around them that it’s easy to grab a picture, cuddle and pat them.
And finally, my favorite part: the feeding of the Tasmanian devil. I got really excited and touched by just seeing those cute marsupials.There was a male (all sleepy) and a female (running all around), we didn’t get to hear them scream, only saw their teeth because they yawned but it looks like a giant black mouse with white strip on its collar and on its lower back.
When they eat, they leave nothing as they also eat bones, and usually feed on carcasses of dead wallabies for example. Tasmanian devil were living in Australia too but nowadays they can only be found in Tasmania, and even there it’s not going well for them. Something has change in the weather, they don’t know what but they can’t adapt to survive. Plus they are threaten with facial tumor because of which they can’t open their mouth to eat and are nearly extinguished.
I really wanted to see Tasmanian devil when I decided to come to Australia, and it’s mainly the reason why I want to go to Tasmania so I immediately fell in love with them. It’s even cuter than a wombat and the fur is all shiny, plus you can even see two teeth pointing out when they close their mouth, gosh it’s so adorable *o*
I know you’re all waiting for the report of the day we spent to the koala sanctuary but this article is not about it, so if you really can’t wait just skip it.
On Monday afternoon, as we were at the library checking emails updating photos and blogs on the morning with the free wifi, we decided to go to the Story Bridge in order to try the climbing of the bridge, the most popular attraction in Brisbane if I trust the Lonely Planet. We walk in Southbank, had lunch and a slushie next to the cute little lagoon and decided to just continue walking to the bridge…..
Good idea, it was a nearly two hours walk. BUT, not knowing about the distance we walk down the river to Kangaroo Point, where we could see people climbing on the cliffs,
kayaks and paddle boards to rent (aaah, souvenir!),the maritime museum (which we didn’t visit but still took picture in front of it),
the Memorial Park (big word for a tiny square with a huge stair entrance…),
a playfield, beautiful apartments and hotels to finally find the Story Bridge.
And of course, guess what: no attraction this day….Hem…But we saw some notice all along the 3.8Km of the bridge for a “life line” so I guess a lot of people jump from the bridge to commit suicide. Not funny I know but at least they try to do something, I never saw anything like that on any other bridge.
Anyway, we walk through the bridge, quite windy but pretty view, a bit disappointed but at least we did something of our day. We went down to Adelaide street, stop for a coffee (banana milkshake and banana bread for me, yummy!) and went back to the hostel.
At night, we treated ourselves for a good meal at the Hog’s breath café nearby and tasted their steack. Really good and they also had a cute waiter. Maybe he will call back before I leave Brisbane. If you know what I mean.
Hem, yeah so good day! A bit sad for missing the climbing but well at least we found the bridge and didn’t walk all the way for nothing. Plus, the weather was pretty hot and nice so it felt good after those rainy days J
Yesterday was a pretty happy day for me as I met a lot of people. I first went to join the frenchies (met the day before) and spent a part of the day shopping. But something was bothering me: as nice as they were, they were still french. I didn’t came to Australia, at the end of the world to spend my time with only french people. Or else I would have stayed in Paris.
Plus, no offense intended but we were clearly not from the same “world”. I was not at ease at all, I didn’t come here to spend all nights out drinking my money. Money I saved for a year. I worked really hard for that and rather spend it on tour and fun stuff to do in the city rather than drinking only. I love to party but frankly I think I’m just too old now for that crap. I’m a good girl, damnit!
So at the end of the afternoon, my new best gay friend (let’s call him Chouchou) join me to the YHA for his chek-in, and we went to the supermarket to have some goon. Ah, yeah I have to tell you about goo. I discover this beverage in Evans Head, and it’s a cheap white or red wine. It tastes bad but the fruity one can be nice if you wanna have a drink and not spend a fortune. Plus, it’s tricky as you don’t really realize when you get drunk because of this crap.
Nipponie came back to the hostel with two friends she met when she was working back in Bundaberg, and guess what: they were koeran! I was so happy to have the occasion to practice and they were really nice and funny. We taught each other how to curse in korean and in french, and had a great time while having a beer (I swear, after yesterday I won’t drink goon again…but wait for it). We also met an italian guy, staying alone and as he was a cutie we just offer him to join us…..What? It’s a common criteria to choose your friends isn’t it? xD
Anyway, we all had a great time and this is exactly what I was looking for: meeting people from different countries. The korean had to leave and Nipponie went to bed and the rest of us spent few hours in the kitchen, drinking goon. We had fun of course but this morning was really difficult for everyone. Gosh, you should have seen those deadly faces we had…
This goon in particular was really, really bad…pouah…
Today Nipponie left the hostel to move to a shared appartment in Spring Hill (can’t help but think of the Simpsons everytime I hear this name). It was a bit sad but we all agreed to meet tomorrow morning in order to go and visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It’s 35 min away from Brisbane by bus and it sounds really fun so fingers cross!
Yesterday, I finally grabbed my courage by the nuts and had a good talk with my roommate, let’s call her Nipponie. Turned out she’s travelling alone and spend most of her days at the library on the internet. And then it hit me: what the hell am I doing in my bed, not talking to anyone? This is just not me!
That’s why I decided to have a walk, discovered the cultural center and took the river city cruise. Then, on Facebook I got a message from someone I almost met in Paris before leaving for Australia. We’ve only met on Facebook actually and planned on travelling together but when we were supposed to have a drink to meet for real I couldn’t make it at the time. She’s still in Brisbane and I offer to have a drink at last in Brissie this weekend.
Today was a really rainy day so I spent the day at the YHA, doing the laundry and watching some Big Bang Theory episodes. I even found a little towel for my face and that’s a goodie because I forgot to bring one and thought about buying one! Truth is, in YHAs you have cupboards at every level where you can toss what you don’t want anymore and those might be needed by others. Same goes in the kitchen, where you have a free food shelf. At first I hesitated because I felt like a beggar. Then I thought it was stupid. People toss it because they don’t want to be bothered with lots of things when travelling. Plus, I myself tossed some books and things that turned out taking too much space in my backpack and were all in all useless. And now I always have a look at the shelf. I don’t need to buy bread, butter, oil, or even crackers. People leave them on the shelf, no one dares touch it, I do. I get free food, and I’ve never been sick. I even saw a guy leaving a bag of apples on the shelf, half heartbroken because he wanted to take them but obviously they would get spoiled during the journey. The shelves are cleaned every day or every two days at the latest, I checked just to make sure it was really safe to help myself with the free stuffs.
So anyway, good advice: check the shelves and the cupboards, it might turn out useful!
But that’s not the point of the article. At the end of the day, I was to meet with the frenchie from Paris and offer to Nipponie to come with me. The day before, she bought me beers so I returned the favor. We then met with other frenchies. They’re all staying in another backpacker’s hostel. Turns out it’s not that clean. We had a couple of XXXX Gold, and I especially had fun with one of them whose name felt so familiar: he has the name of our favorite beverage girls…or almost. You know what I mean. If not, too bad for you. He wanted to change hostel and they walk us home so they could check on the YHA and book some nights for next week.
It was quite fun, yesterday I even bragged a little by showing some of our Japanese covers and Para Para dances to Nipponie. She really likes dancing so she enjoyed the videos; plus, she didn’t know that some French people knew about J-pop idols so it was quite funny for her when I started talking about KAT-TUN. I even spoke a few words in Japanese. I’m happy because she told me my accent is really good. I won’t say that’s because I watch so many dramas and animes…What an otaku I am…
Tonight we also met a Spanish guy, so I took the occasion to speak Spanish. I don’t know why but back in France I was ashamed of speaking Spanish with my Mexican colleagues, but here I just have to give it a try. When will I be able to practice again? So all in all, I had a good time and finally made some new friends. That sounds more like me, right?