04 June 2009

Riding water and earth on Stradbroke Island

Hailey, the Australian candidate invited Magali (candidate from the Netherlands), George (candidate from Ireland) and me along with some of her friends to her parents caravan on Stradbroke Island. It is just a 30 minute ride with the ferry from Brisbane. Straddie, as the Aussies call it, has beautiful beaches, a great surf and a beautiful creek walk. A vast array of different bird species call it their home, you can see dolphins at sunset and whales passing the island on their journey. The native name for Straddie is Minjerribah, even though Captain Henry John Rous was officially the first European to have set foot on the island in 1827, there is a legend that a couple of survivors of a Spanish or Portuguese shipwreck have been the first ones. There were records about a contact in the Aboriginal oral tradition and the shipwreck, known as the Stradbroke Island Galleon, is supposed to be hidden in the 18 Mile Swamp. What a great story! I guess, I should come with some of my historian collegues and do some digging!

After a day of chilling at the beach and watching other people enjoying the surf Magali and me were up for some action as well. We rented ourselves some boards at Straddie Adventures and signed up for the sand boarding later that afternoon. When I had my surfing lesson in Noosa I got pretty spoiled with catching every wave and being able to stand up on the board from the start. This time it turned out to be much more difficult with a shorter board and no teacher to tell you when to start paddling. I still had a great time though!

In the afternoon we went to the sand dunes with Mark from Straddie Adventures. We had a lot of fun! Of course you end up covered with sand like a schnitzel after speeding down the dunes, but what an experience! The weirdest thing though is to just let go and let the board take you down, because as soon as you move you land in the sand, but no worries, it is a soft landing.

03 June 2009

Reunion and Goodbyes in Sydney

As one of the secret capitals ;-) of Australia Sydney is definitely worth a visit, especially if some great friends are waiting there for you! I met with James, my Outback-mate, Magali, Anjaan and his wife Amu in Sydney. We had some great times there, going out for some drinks, partying at a Backpacker place, as I was not wearing proper shoes for a fancy place (having been a tourist all day walking in sneakers), and watching fireworks at Darling Habour. Of course, after we experienced so much together, like seeing right into Spock's humongous eye at the IMAX Sydney, the world's largest screening system (scary!!!), it was even harder to part. But hopefully we will all meet again! At Ben's house warming party?

But one thing is for sure: in Sydney I really noticed that it is winter in Australia at the moment, I totally forgot about that in the Sunshine State of Queensland!

Some Impressions of Sydney:

Beautiful at Night: The Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Another Cool Bloke

Take the ferry to Manly to:

...get the best view of Sydney

...meet Bill and get a language lesson for free by the beach

...get The Heads shown to you by a local

...hear some Arameic when you are lucky enough to meet Paul