Posted by: Mandy | October 25, 2009

11 Hour Layover

Yes, I have one in LA.  I’m really hoping I can get on an earlier flight once I get there.  I was so excited when I found a cheap flight home, I somehow overlooked this.

Claire and our friends, Michelle and Kelly, got into the newspaper here from the day they went to Bondi (I was at my one day of work :)).  You can look at the article here:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sunday-telegraph/backpackers-bag-over-rated-bond-dive/story-e6frewt0-1225790914469

Also, they don’t really hate Bondi, that was just the angle of the article.

I’m quite unhappy with the weather here at the moment, it’s rainy and cold.  I wanted to spend my last days in Sydney on the beach so I could go home with a nice tan and be the only one in Marquette who looks like they’ve seen the sun in the past two months.

Found this gem from when we were in Bundy...

Found this gem from when we were in Bundy...

Posted by: Mandy | October 24, 2009

Change of Plans

I’ve made a change in my plans. While this seems sudden, I can assure you I have been contemplating this decision for some time. I have booked a flight home on the 29th of October(I have a stopover in Fiji which is cool, except that I won’t be able to leave the airport).

I’ve had an amazing time in Australia and I’ve met people who have changed my life for the better. But Sydney has become like any other big city to me. I’m tired of job hunting day in and day out only to be rejected from jobs that I am more than capable of doing because I am a backpacker. I’m sure I could find work here eventually, I just don’t feel like this is really what I want to be doing now.

I also am sitting here while my hard earned money is being sucked up by rent and the expenses of living in a city. I worked hard for that money picking countless zucchinis 😛 and I want to do something I enjoy with it. Right now, I would like to go to England and I have the money to do it if I don’t stay here.

So that is my plan now. I will be going home, going to Marquette so I can see everyone there before graduation in December, and then I plan on going to England before or after Christmas sometime.

Sydney 012

This has been an amazing trip and I want to thank everyone who has made my time here so great (especially Claire!).  I’m going to miss it and it will be sad to leave, but ultimately this is what I want to do right now.

Good times in Sydney :)

Good times in Sydney 🙂

Posted by: Mandy | October 23, 2009

Temping

So I had one day of work today, which is better than nothing and I almost made a week’s rent. I got a call at 8:30 this morning from one of the temp agencies I applied to and they needed a receptionist to fill in for a sick employee.

So I got to work in reception at a designer sunglasses wholesaler. It was quite the experience, the phone pretty much did not stop ringing all day. It took a little while, but I got the hang of transferring calls pretty quickly.

The woman who I talked to from the temp agency was really great and is giving me a list of good agencies in the city. She said that would be the best way for me to find work.

Kelly and Michelle came down here from Bundaberg on Wednesday so Claire and I have been able to hang out with them which has been fun. The weather has been great, Claire, Kelly, and Michelle went to Bondi today. But there’s supposed to be thunderstorms tonight!

Posted by: Mandy | October 21, 2009

Things Are Looking Up

Claire and I finally are starting to get some interviews! Tomorrow, we both have an interview in the morning for a fundraising type job. Then in the afternoon I have an interview for a sales/marketing position at an automitive dealer(I don’t really know what that job entails I’ve applied to so many!). Friday I have an interview for a customer service/inbound call center position. And on Tuesday, an interview with a Wildlife fundraising organization. I also talked to a representative that said if they had positions open I could start working Monday as a general office assistant. So here’s hoping something works out!

Claire and I have managed to do a little sight seeing in between the job hunts. Monday night we walked to Darling Harbor. It was so pretty on the water with everything lit up, unfortunately my camera was not so great at capturing night shots.

Darling Harbor

Darling Harbor

Last night we finally met up with Andy, Marlow and some of their friends. Claire met Andy and Marlow when she was in Sydney last year and we hung out with them once when we first arrived in Sydney so it was good to see them again.

Today it was so hot out that Claire and I had to go to the beach. So we headed to Bondi Junction and spent the day at Bondi Beach. The water was still a little too cold for swimming (for me anyway), but we had fun attempting to get rid of our terrible fruitpicking tan lines and watching the surfers.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Posted by: Mandy | October 19, 2009

Makeovers

Claire and I got our hair done at the Hilton’s 5 star hair salon today.  It was amazing, especially after going 5 months without getting a haircut.  Mine was in pretty rough shape.  One of our friends was doing a PR campaign for them and got us in cheap and we figured we deserved a treat after all the job hunting.

Claire and I both got blond highlights, I have side bangs now, which look nice, but are going to take some getting used to.  We figure getting our hair done will be an investment in landing a job 🙂

It’s finally starting to warm up here.  It’s going to be 31 celsius on Wednesday so we’ll probably head over to Bondi or Manly and spend the day at the beach.  Keep wishing us luck in the job hunt, it’s hasn’t been going very well and it’s getting really frustrating!

Posted by: Mandy | October 14, 2009

The Job Hunt and Bundy Reunions

Since arriving in Sydney, pretty much all Claire and I have done has been looking for work. There seems to be plenty of it out there, now we’re just waiting to hear from companies. Which has been extremely frustrating.

It’s been a little intimidating being back in a big city. Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, and Byron don’t have much on Sydney. Claire and I went into a Woolworth’s the other day to do some grocery shopping and did not enjoy fighting through crowds of people to do our shopping. As soon as we find work, we’ll start looking for apartments away from the city center.

It seems like a lot of the people we met in Bundaberg have been slowly heading to Sydney. We met up with our friend, Luke, the other day and are going to hang out at his apartment this weekend. And yesterday we went out for a drink with Roberto, who also lived in Unit 8 in Bundy.

Claire and I haven’t really had much time to do a lot of sightseeing, but we did wander through the botanical gardens which was beautiful as always. We also went and saw Inglorious Basterds(Quentin Tarantino film). Which was amazing by the way, probably my new favorite Tarantino film. Love and miss everyone and wish us luck in our job search!

Posted by: Mandy | October 11, 2009

Back in Sydney

So we’re back in Sydney!  Finally, our 13 hour bus ride turned into an 18 hour bus ride because of a large accident on the highway.  We didn’t get checked into our hostel until 5:30 in the morning.

Today, we are starting the job hunt.  One of the girls we met on our Nimbin tour told us about some good recruitment agencies.  We’ve heard it is relatively easy to find work in Sydney right now so here’s hoping that we’ll have work soon!

Posted by: Mandy | October 10, 2009

Surfing and Nimbin

Claire and I had our surfing lesson Friday morning.  The bus came to pick us up and we headed to the beach.  The first beach we stopped at was too rough because the wind had changed so we went to the Ballina river mouth.

We did some warm ups and then instructor taught us the technique for getting up on the board.  At this point I found out I am goofy footed, I was one of two people in the group who put their right foot out front on the surf board.  After practicing on land for a bit, we paddled out to the middle of the river and started practicing.

It was so much fun!  Claire was able to stand up pretty much right away, it took me a couple of tries, but I also stood up a few times.  It was a little hard to catch waves because there were about 18 people at the lesson.  There was one girl there who always seemed to be struggling right in front of Claire and I right before a wave came.

We both had a great time and plan on surfing some more in Sydney once it gets warmer.

On Saturday, we went to Nimbin, which is an interesting little town…We took a bus out there with the Grasshopper tour.

Our Bus

Our Bus

Nimbin is pretty much stuck in the 60s.  It was a really small town so we walked around and looked for awhile before heading out for a barbeque.

Nimbin 002

Instead of Billabong, they have a…

Nimbin 001

Claire and I saw this book in one of the shops in Nimbin 🙂

It's always good to have a cocktail while you're working out...

It's always good to have a cocktail while you're working out...

Today Claire and I are catching the Greyhound to Sydney, we won’t get there until midnight which kind of sucks.  But we did check into a hostel, we’re staying at 790 on George, which is right across the street from the bus stop so we won’t have to go far once we’re there.  Love and miss everyone!

Posted by: Mandy | October 8, 2009

Byron Bay-The Lighthouse

Claire and I walked up to the Cape Byron lighthouse this morning.  It was quite the hike, but so worth it.  We had to walk 2.2 kilometers through the rainforest.  About 10 minutes into our walk, Claire and I saw a large hole in the ground underneath a tree root.  I said to Claire,”I wonder what lives in there…”, and she said she didn’t want to find out.  Shortly after that we  practically tripped over this thing and started screaming our heads off…

Byron 001

This happens to be a very large goanna.  He was just chilling on the path and Claire and I both walked right by him before we realized he was there.  He didn’t seem to disturbed by our yelling and even stayed for a picture.

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

We finally reached the lighthouse and the view was amazing.  We even saw some whales and a pod of dolphins in the ocean off the point.  It was so amazing and cool.

View of Byron from the Lighthouse

View of Byron from the Lighthouse

There were some amazing views of the ocean and coastline, we also saw all the surfers out on the waves.

Byron 010

Claire and I also walked out to the most easterly point off the lighthouse so we were the closest to home as we’ll ever be while standing on Australian land 🙂

View from the Eastern Point

View from the Eastern Point

We ran into more Australian wildlife on the walk back when this Australian Bush turkey decided to walk right up to us.

Australian Bush Turkey

Australian Bush Turkey

Tomorrow Claire and I will be having a 4 hour surf lesson with the Mojo Surf crew so wish us luck!

Posted by: Mandy | October 7, 2009

Fraser Island

Claire and I arrived in Hervey Bay around 4:30 and checked into the Palace hostel.  The hostel was really nice, we were excited to have mattresses that you couldn’t feel the bed slats through after sleeping on the crappy mattresses at Workers and Divers for over 3 months.

We had to get up at 6:30am the next morning to go to a briefing about ourcamping trip.  After the briefing we were split up into 3 groups.

The 4x4 (don't worry I didn't drive, it's a manual)

The 4x4 (don't worry I didn't drive, it's a manual)

Our group consisted of Nick and Joe (two English guys who had met in Australia and traveling in a camper van), Gemma and Kerrie (two English girls traveling together), Liz (also English), and Amy (French Canadian) and of course, Claire and I.  We went to the work shop after the briefing and loaded up our 4x4s and made our way to the ferry which then took us to Fraser Island.

Gemma, Kerrie, Nick, and I in the back of the van...

Gemma, Kerrie, Nick, and I in the back of the van...

Day One-We had a bit of a bad start when one of our coolers came loose and fell on Liz’s head after soaking her in ice water.  While we were taking care of Liz we were separated from the other two groups.  After this we got a bit lost and didn’t really get to see what was on our itinerary.  We did manage to make it to our campsite for the night.  I went walking along the beach with some of the group and saw a whale spouting off the coastline.  It was really far out from the beach, but it was still really cool to see.

View from our campsite the first night

View from our campsite the first night

This was also the only night I saw any dingoes,  we saw one running along the ocean when the sun started to go down, otherwise they left us alone for the most part.

The A-Team in front of our tents :)

The A-Team in front of our tents 🙂

Day Two-The next morning our group decided to leave early and go to Lake Wabby which we were supposed to have visited the day before.  Lake Wabby is the deepest lake on Fraser Island and is situated right next to a really large sand dune.  We swam in the lake for a little while and then headed off to our next destination.

Massive Sand Dune next to Lake Wabby

Massive Sand Dune next to Lake Wabby

Lake Wabby

Lake Wabby

After Lake Wabby, we drove up the eastern beach of Fraser and stopped at the Maheno shipwreck.  I believe the ship was from WWI.

Our Group in front of the Shipwreck

Our Group in front of the Shipwreck

After Maheno, we caught up with the other two groups at the Champagne pools.  We hung out there for a bit and saw lots of cool fish in the tide pools.  There was even an eel hidden in some rocks in one of the pools.

The Champagne Pools

The Champagne Pools

Our group left the Champagne pools early so we could climb up Indian Head.

At the top of Indian Head

At the top of Indian Head

View from Indian Head

View from Indian Head

Then we headed back to camp so we could set up before the tide came in.  That night, the other two groups didn’t make it back to camp in time so it was just us at camp.  This would have been fine except that we had been given a faulty cook stove so we had been relying on the other groups to cook our meals.  We ended up borrowing a burner and fuel from a family camping nearby who were amazing and had a very highly anticipated dinner of pasta at 9pm that night.

Day 3-On our last day we packed up camp for the last time (rather quickly since there was a large storm cloud over the ocean making its way inland).  We had a very long and very bumpy ride through the rainforest to get to Lake McKenzie for the day.  I believe Lake McKenzie was voted one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and I understand why.

Lake McKenzie

Lake McKenzie

The water is perfectly clear and there is absolutely nothing in the lake.  The sand is silica sand so the beach is perfect.  We spent most of the day there before we had to leave to go back to Kingfisher Bay to get on the ferry back to the mainland.

Our Group at Lake McKenzie

Our Group at Lake McKenzie

It was an awesome trip and I’m so glad Claire and I went.  We definitely had some rough spots in the trip, but I think that made it a better experience, haha.

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