Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eek! FIRE!!

Okay, pretty sure I mentioned my bizarre dream that our hostel was on fire and we had to be evacuated.. and then the next morning the fire alarms actually really went off and we really were evacuated....

This morning... I headed downstairs to get some breakfast and on the T.V I hear 'breaking news, there is a fire at a hostel in Shepherd's Bush. No casualties noted at the moment..' - what the? How random is that? I used to live in Shepherd's Bush too and know exactly where that hostel is!

Kind of freaked me out a little.. Lucky I didn't stay there hey!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


As I write this I am sitting in my London hostel clutching my stomach, nursing a massive hangover. I wasn't planning on drinking quite so much but seemed to have a continuous supply of alcohol being delivered to me, courtesy of the South African guy in my dorm room. Nice. He was traveling with three other Aussie guys and they were nuts! Within five minutes of me being in the room they were trying to get me to have a 3-some with them... 'Hi, my name is X, want to have a 3-some?'... my reply 'yeah, sure, let's go!' They were so crude... asking all these sexual questions and sharing their stories - which were quite entertaining, if not a little disturbing that guys can be such. arseholes. One of the guys was walking around naked and came up to me and was like 'so, you gonna suck it?' - oh yeah baby yeah...

Turned out to be a fun night once they realised I wasn't going to be up for their games and we went down to the bar for a few drinks at which point things become a little blurry. I remember trying to arm wrestle a guy who was 3 times bigger then me and then I met a random guy who decided it'd be fun to go to the casino where we got pens from the casino and used them as swizzle sticks in our drinks... After deciding the casino was not cool (casino - think dodgy RSL with a few blackjack/poker tables scattered around) we decided to go swimming in the beach at 2am! The beach is really pebbly and walking on the pebbles barefoot was painful! I was expecting the water to be freezing but it was surprisingly nice and refreshing. I walked into the hostel absolutely drenched and was so tired and drunk that I jumped straight into bed with my wet clothes on. The manager of the hostel told me the next morning that someone had drowned in the beach by doing the same thing I did a few weeks ago.. oops.

As for Brighton itself, I was surprised with how big the town is! I was expecting a really small beach town but it is huge. There are so many shops and it has a really chilled out feel. The pier was okay, very pretty at night. There is an indoor arcade and rides at the end of the pier. They serve fish and chips everywhere in Brighton and doughnuts on the pier. I couldn't resist hot doughnuts so got some -and they were the worst doughnuts of my life. So, I sat on the pier and wrote my postcards (which I did not post because I lost them) and some random guy came up to me, looked at my doughnut bag and asked if he could have a bite of my doughnut... I told him he could have them all cos they were disgusting.

I was a little bit sad at the start of the weekend just because I'd been feeling a bit lonely but I ended up having a blast just cos of the people I met and during the day I just sat on the pebbly beach and chilled! It was great. I went down to the shops, looked around, had a peek at the Royal Pavilion which looked cool, took a photo and went back to the beach. Surprisingly I did not swim during the day..

Four more whole days in London and then I am off to Morocco. I am kind of scared because it is going to be SO hot in Morocco. It's 27 degrees in London today and I am struggling. Morocco will be ten times worse... ugh...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bored & Broke = Blog entry!

For lack of anything better to do I figure I'd blog. I've run out of money already due to me thinking it probably would be a good idea to pay off my UK credit card... which I originally wasn't going to do but I guess my conscience got the better of me. So today I went to HSBC and had a really frustrating experience with this gay Italian guy who was born in Australia yet is now living in the UK. Yeah, we went through his whole life story and he tried to 'bond' with me because he originated from Melbourne. Did not work and I saw through his whole facade of trying to make me feel at ease. Stupid banks. You would not imagine how hard it was to close my account. Okay, so maybe not entirely all his fault because if I had played by the HSBC rules then it would not have been as frustrating... Since I chose not to play by their rules, it ended up being very complex and trying and we went round in circles due to the stupidity of some of the so called rules. In the end, my credit card is now paid off but I have very little Aussie dollars which will make the next few months extremely difficult but hey... I really do love a challenge... Give me a dare and I will most certainly take it.

So, back to London... as a result of having NO cash I have not been doing very much. I had some theatre tickets booked and have a show I'm going to see tonight - Avenue Q - should be good. I've been bumming around the hostel, going for a walks down to Harrods and the museums since they are 10 min walk away. Hyde Park is close too so I've been there a few times. I have 10 more days here and am hoping to spend as little as possible... can totally do that if I keep stealing fruit from the hostel breakfast! Good thing I love apples.

I was told that the British summer is pretty much over. They reckon it'll be an Indian summer which means that there will be a few hot days scattered around in September. Brilliant for me, I won't be here. By then I should have an amazing Mediterranean tan so I can't complain.

Missing you guys but thanks for the emails to keep me updated on life in Melbourne. There have been no pangs of homesickness as such but there have definitely been pangs of wanting to have a good chat with friends from back home. I can't wait to meet up with Kirsty in Canada and hit the snow! I'm well excited about that. Am also very excited to be going on my tours.

Will keep you guys posted on anything interesting... or, will just write again for the sake of it due to boredom!

p.s just thought of something interesting to tell! At the hostel there was a STABBING! Yes, you read right. We were having a few drinks at the hostel on Friday night and I ended up going out with a few people to a bar down the road. Anyways, come back the next day and this guy I was talking to the night before shows me his stab wound! Apparently there was a disagreement of some kind between him and this French guy. The Frenchie went nuts (apparently high on cocaine) and grabbed a pair of scissors and stabbed the poor Aussie guy in the arm. The Aussie was so proud of his wound though. The police came, arrested the French guy and yeah there was blood everywhere. I was so disappointed that I didn't get to witness this for myself but nevertheless still makes for an interesting conversation piece.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I am laying in my hostel bed at 3pm not able to move because I feel so terrible. My back is killing me and it hurts to walk and I can't even cough because it hurts so much. My body feels like it has been covered in cement and I am finding it so hard to move. Lucky I am still considered a resident of the UK because I've booked a doctors appointment for Friday because this is ridiculous. More so my back but if he can figure out why I am so fatigued then that's great. I'm really grateful right now that there is only me in the room because I do not have the energy to have any kind of conversation right now and I feel like I am close to tears so don't really want to have a witness to that.

A few nights ago I had the strangest dream that our hostel was on fire and the only way to escape was by jumping out the window - and I am on the 4th floor! I shared this dream with a few of my roomies and they all laughed and said I was crazy, that'd never happen. Well, this morning we all woke up to the sounds of the hostel fire alarm going beserk and we had no idea what was going on but decided we should probably go downstairs to check out what's happening just in case. Everyone was heading downstairs and we finally made it out the front, only to see Ricky, the manager, laughing at us saying that it was only burnt coffee that had set the alarm off. I was not impressed considering the dream I had only a few nights ago!

Monday, July 14, 2008


After getting lost on my way to the hostel, I was very thankful that I had my laptop and that there was an unsecured wireless connection I could hook up to while I logged onto streetmap.co.uk! Stupid me on my behalf for not writing down directions (because I thought I would remember them - pfft) but anyway, I got there in the end after a half hour detour.

Cambridge itself is a gorgeous place and it is actually bigger than I was expecting. Much nicer than Oxford. There is no 'Cambridge University' as such, rather there are 32 colleges which converge together to create 'Cambridge University'. So, no matter what college you attend, you will end up with a degree from Cambridge. There are the more famous colleges, such as Kings, Trinity and St Johns which are much harder to get into due to the large demands of people trying to get into them but the education throughout all the colleges is the same.

Trinity College is the largest college in Cambridge and was founded by King Henry VIII in 1546. I am pretty sure that I was told that there have been 71 Nobel Prize winners from Trinity College alone and many more from Cambridge University as a whole.

Kings College is the postcard picture of Cambridge which is why their entrance fee is a ridiculous £5 to view the grounds and you don't even get to go inside any of the buildings except the chapel which has a fantastic fan-vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows. Kings was founded by King Henry VI and is one of the most expensive and exclusive universities in the University. Although, not so much in this day and age but it used to be very exclusive. I can't remember the exact details but King Henry VI had a huge interest in this college and he somehow acquired a lot of money - in the millions - and he gave HALF of his millions of pounds to Kings College. I wish I could remember the full details because I did find it interesting.

St Johns College is just absolutely beautiful. I loved this college because the gardens were just so beautiful and the buildings were pretty. I was lucky enough to hear the choir sing and they are amazing. They are a highly acclaimed choir and regularly broadcast on BBC Radio. After hearing them, I can understand why. I sat and listened to them for a while. St Johns is also home to the Bridge of Sighs which, like Venice, refers to freedom on one side and terror on the other... although in Venice - the terror side means death whereas in Cambridge, this refers to exams!

Another interesting fact I learnt about the colleges is when the plague hit London and wiped out thousands of lives, there was a huge shortage of doctors and lawyers. Therefore, one of the colleges was turned into a college of law and medicine to quickly educate people in these areas to make up for the lack of people in these professions. I'm not too sure how much I would have liked to have been treated by somebody who had barely been trained in this field but I guess it would have to be better than nothing!

I went on a punt down the River Cam and it was so relaxing - despite the rain! Our punter, Tim, was very entertaining and was quite informative about the different colleges that are along the river. He managed to lose our punting stick which would have been awful had there not been lots of boats also floating along the river, so some nice person in another boat picked up our stick and handed it back over to us. Tim told us that the River Cam has varying depths from 20cm to 3.5m. Quite a big difference. He said that many people fall in the river because they are like gondoliers in Venice and stand at the end of the punt to row and sometimes lose their balance.

I'm really glad that I made the effort to come to Cambridge because it has been fun and really nice to get out of London!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Take 2 - London

There is this really annoying American girl in my hostel room at the moment. She is painful. There was a mix up with the beds and they thought they'd overbooked.. and she was running around like crazy, talking a million miles a minute to see what how she was going to be affected by this dilemma (as she was the one without a bed). She is acting like she is on speed and I don't have patience for people like her.. Ricky (the manager) and I shared a eye rolled gaze because she is a fruit loop.

So many thoughts are running through my head and I am feeling a little bit homesick because I hate having to think about things all by myself with no one to run ideas by.

Yesterday was a frustrating day because I had so much stuff I needed to do and it was pouring with rain. I was sitting on the tube looking completely miserable and was soaking wet thanks to a bus hitting the curb a little too close and resulted in me getting splashed with dirty London water. I happened to glance around and caught eyes with some random sitting on the tube who gave me the most cheekiest, genuine grin which completely lifted my mood. It's amazing how such a simple thing can do so much and made me appreciate the small things. Sounds completely corny and I know it is but smiles are great so I am deciding that I am going to randomly smile at people each day... Although, knowing me, my smiles will come out more like a grimace so maybe I need to practice genuine smiles in front of the mirror otherwise people may think I'm snarling at them : )

I've been bumming around the hostel all day because I had stuff to do in the morning and then one of the girls in my dorm and I cooked up a storm for lunch before I decided that I needed to do washing and by that stage it was 3pm so ended up just lazing around here. Speaking of people in my dorm, I was talking to one of the girls who is from Melbourne last night and mentioned where I used to teach.. and she asked if I knew Becky - which I did because we both taught Prep in 2006. Turns out they are cousins. What a small world. Makes me wonder if I can ever escape.

To finish off with - I feel the onset of a sore throat which may have to do with the fact that I walked around London yesterday in thongs and a dress while it was pouring down with rain. Probably not my smartest moment ever but I didn't pack any jumpers because
1. it is meant to be summer and
2. Trudy had my luggage with some jumpers in there so I didn't see why I should pack more.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Back in London

I am in London and made it safe and sound. It was so familiar catching the tube to the hostel and making my way around. I didn't feel like a tourist. I love that.

Although I have to admit - I have been in London for 4 hours and realise there are many reasons why I really dislike London...

1. People are exceptionally RUDE and obnoxious in ALL situations. Very few exceptions.
2. It is cloudy and it's meant to be summer, although, I am wearing a dress and am not shivering!
3. British accents

I have a mind blank at the moment which I am putting down to jet lag and lack of sleep so I will add more as I think of them.

On the bright side, so far, being back in London has been great. I forgot how much fun hostels can be and I'm looking forward to spending three weeks in London as a semi-tourist (on a massive budget - totally doable if you have lived here and know how to be conscious about where your money goes!)

I am also residing in Gloucester Road while I am here which is great because I am seeing so many rich hotties and their sexy cars... eye candy deluxe.

I'm a little bit grumpy at the moment thanks to tiredness so maybe I shall add more at a later stage.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Melbourne - Hong Kong

Last time I waved goodbye at the departure gates at Tullamarine I ended up getting kicked back out thanks to my carry on luggage being too heavy. This time, my carry on luggage was fine, however, my ticket was not.

Apparently when the travel agent changed the ticket she didn't abide by the ticket conditions - and my ticket only allows me to depart from Melbourne at night... my flight was in the morning... they discussed the situation and after many smiles and 'oh your so helpfuls' from me they decided that it would be okay if I boarded the flight... *phew*. I'm pretty sure this was because I'd booked my flight with a UK travel agent and the Aussie travel agent had no idea what was going on and assumed she could do whatever...

So, I ended up on this half empty flight to Hong Kong and had four seats to myself... Bonus! Well, that is until some Hong Kong dude decided that he wanted to sit in the seat next to me so his wife could sleep on their stingy two seats that they had. He was so rude about it though, he picked up my stuff that I'd littered all over the four seats specifically so that this wouldn't happen and literally dumped it on the floor - while I was sitting in my seat... so of course, I gave him a very dirty look (which continued for the rest of the flight since his wife would not stop staring at me and I played the staring game - who would look away first - and I always won!)

Then, when I went to the bathroom, I came back to find the husband had a friend who he was trying to shuffle into MY seat. Not the seat next to mine, or any of the other seats (which technically were mine because I had claimed earlier) but MY seat... So I put a stop to that just as he was trying to get in and made up some crap about the footrest on the other seat being broken so I had to sit in that seat. It worked. Imagine - my four seats got reduced to three and he tried to make it two.. I do not think so! He soon worked out that this was not going to work and stopped trying although he did try the fight over the armrest which was fun.

Food was pretty shit on todays flight. I stopped being nervous pretty quickly and am feeling so happy... until those phone calls come again Belinda... No cute guys on the flight, disappointing... well, there were a few but they were taken... always the way!

Now it's just a matter of sitting around Hong Kong airport which is humid even though the aircon is on and waiting for my flight to the UK which is tomorrow morning - Cathay Pacific were stars and managed to get me on an earlier flight so I only have a 19 hour wait instead of a 25 hour wait... hahaha

Next update - London... unless something interesting happens in Hong Kong airport like... well, who knows.

Til London...!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

11 Hours

Feeling nervous and sad all over again. Things have changed so much in the past 3 months and I am not the same person I was when I arrived back in Melbourne but I'm not the same person I was when I left London.. so I'm not exactly sure who I am at the moment which kind of scares me a little.

I've said my goodbyes with no tears although at times I have had to bite my lip to ensure that remained true. Saying goodbye to Belinda, Zara and Mel was the hardest. Belinda has been there for me 100% of the way when I was in London answering my somewhat drunken and hysterical phone calls at ridiculous hours in the morning for reasons I can never remember. Just knowing that I have such amazing friends here makes me feel all warm inside. It is also the reason that I know that I can cope on my own overseas, because if I didn't have such an amazing network of friends then I think I would feel pretty lonely and wouldn't have ventured out of my comfort zone in the first place. They've all told me that if I hate Canada then I can always come home - made me see things in such a simple way which is why my nerves aren't as full on as the normally would be.

I'm going to miss everyone.. see you when I see you... and don't bother asking when that will be because I don't have any idea (unless you decide to come and visit me... ... *ahem* ... Zara... lol)