A Travellerspoint blog

Broome

Beer, beaches and big plans.

So a weekend with the girls was in motion when i last blogged. I wrote the last entry in the back of the car of a long long 6 hour drive. On the way looking out the window it was pretty spectacular sights in some senses, although not much action to be seen the unbelievably long roads through the flat burnt orange dirt landscapes lined with hundreds of huge termite mounds were mesmerising in themsleves. We had pretty much driven straight there except for a fuel and a sausage roll stop and arrived at our villa early afternoon just in time to get to the shops stock up on drinks and food ready for the weekend. Our villa was amazing. Its been ages since i stayed in a really nice place. We had a three bed villa mine was ensuite as i was the oldest...some benefits of being older i guess. Huge lounge, tv, patio and kitchen with island and all mod cons. I was delighted that there was a bath, i cant remember the last time i had a proper bath!! It was amazing. I had a little creatures pale ale to accompany me, with a magazine and some music just pricelses when you havent done that in so long! 748E99492219AC68175FB4BDFA58EFFB.jpg749480C82219AC6817001194327507DB.jpg749989972219AC681719131C064F442F.jpg

The little things in life!! So after my dip we went out to Matso's brewery for dinner and drinks. The local brewery where you can eat drink and be merry. I started off with a paddle of taster beers, six including chilli beer, mango beer, smokey dark lager and pale ale and if anyone has seen that episode of absolutely fabulous where eddie and patsy go wine tasting then that was me......"oh no this is the one, oh no this one."..chopping and changing my mind like my life depended on it.
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So after our starter of beers we sat for dinner and i had a brilliant meal, pork belly with polenta mash all washed down with a couple of glasses of tempranillio! Perfect start! Then like an OAP bus tour we went to bed......at 10.30pm!!! I blame the long drive! I loved this place, i would go back again and again. Great food and outstanding beers...brewed right there on the premises which most importantly means ...they can never run out!!!

Fresh up the next day we cramed in a lot to the morning, breakfast al fresco at the villa, a walk round the local markets which as well as anything tie die and made of hemp had a great display of art and some incredible streetfood. Broome is famous for pearls so a great part of the markets were taken up with pearl style jewellery and the like. Then a trip to the famous Cable Beach which was just amazing, the pictures say it all. White sand, clear blue water, no sharks!
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We had planned to go to the bar to watch the AFL but as previously mentioned i wasnt too worried so we ended up by the pool and then having drinks at ours talking with half an eye of the footy, enough to see the end Hawks celebration. The rest of the day was spend out, making up for lost time the night before. $10 cocktails in one place followed drinks in a more rustic tavern where we paid $35 to see a band which were a 4/10! The night was great though lots of laughing and meeting people. We got invited to a party in the bush.....yes that sounds bad doesnt it, we didnt make it my sensible head got the better of me and invisaged being stranded somewhere in the dark! In rural WA the liqour licences make places close really early so most bars have to shut at midnight, good in some senses but not in others when all the lights come up and thats it party over. So from what ive heard people tend to throw partys just in the bush somewhere away from the town. Its ok in terms of partys i think ive prob got enough under my belt to warrant missing out on one however im still intregued!
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The next day the only thing that was going to cure our blurry head was a dive in the sea. So shoeless we jumped in the car and drove round the corner to the beach. It was right up there with one of the best swims of my life and the sun was delicious! We had a nice breakfast at home, and with a lie by the pool, a wander round town and several jugs of water by 2pm we were back in the game. In the afternnon we went to Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park. Im told Malcolm was the original Steve Erwin and devoted his time to crocodile protection and documentary making but unfortunately also died in a freak accident way too young.
I LOVED this park, i cant tell you how brilliant this was. Crocodiles, loads of them, in a park being fed chickens......brilliant!!
This made up for all the times i've thought about crocodiles and hoping to not unexpectedly see one in Port Hedland. They are huge and crafty! They lurk around under the water and stalk the prey. Not fussy about what they eat they are the Jaws of the reptile world. I was so impressed and the photos tell you all, big powerful bites and so quick to snap you. I even got to hold a 1 yr old one from the crocodile dundee looking tour guide after patiently waiting for a 'considerate' loud American lady to barge in front of me with all her bags....they dont do themselves any favour when abroad do they!
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That park made my day! I've also been inaugurated into Australia now as I own my very own stubby holder! This is a really big deal! That night we watched the sunset on Cable Beach and then went for a steak dinner and red wine drinking and much laughter to round off the day.
The next day it was Monday and that was it Broome had come to an end, gutted i could have done with another day at the pool. So we packed up and headed out for a last minute brunch before the long drive and next time i want to go for a week. However if you do go, take plently of money its not cheap! We shared the drive home and made it back by 6pm just in time for me to have a 2hr lie down before i had to work a night shift...error!
I loved my weekend in Broome so much, a beautiful place in this rugged landscape, brilliant fun and its always nice to get out somewhere new. Definately recomend it

So back to reality and in need of a healthy week life goes on. I did however manage to squeeze in a charity fundraising quiz night followed by Sunday attempting to be taught how to fish! Really into this only if I can eat what I catch, I'm a hunter gatherer when it comes to things like this, putting it back is not an option! Well I lasted all of around an hour because it was 38 degrees, there was no wind and it was noon.....error from David my fishing 'teacher' who knows full well I'm a pasty ginger. I did manage to catch two rocks though! We will be going fishing again but this time morning or evening please! Fishing abandoned we went to the pool all day, then popped home and bought Glastonbury tickets for next year as you do followed by the NRL final at the pub, a pizza and a movie. What a boys day out!

This week I also had another lovely birth at work....that's 5 Aussie babies now in the last few months. Plus I've also been trying to teach myself more things while its quiet at work. I can't believe it's been a year this weekend that I left England! How life has changed and for the better. Less stressed, happier, healthier and braver! Time really does fly. So with that in mind my visa was coming to an end in December so I needed to make a decision about what to do next. Having been thinking about it all for a while the thought of going back to cold winter England just doesn't appeal to me yet, as much as my patriotic heart will always be in England's green and pleasant lands and my friends and family are there, I'm just not ready to stop exploring yet. There's more babies to be birthed and more fun to be had in this amazing corner of the world. So here it is:

Im finishing up in Port Hedland mid November and hoping to drive down to Perth stopping at coral bay for a bit of diving with the Manta Rays. This will be a really really long drive, something like 20 hours in total!! After that ill fly back to Melbourne for the remaining two weeks to see people and Alex and I are going to see Fleetwood Mac! Then at the start of December ill leave for Auckland NZ to join my good pals Chris and Michelle. I'm planning on staying in NZ for the time being and am currently organising work over there which thankfully now I'm in neighbouring Australia is actually a bit easier. Michelle, Chris and I have arranged a Christmas extravaganza with hopefully some other people who we've invited along the way which I really really can't wait for. Christmas we'll be in Coromandel at a beach house we've booked for around 5 nights then New Years 9 nights in Lake Taupo where there is an array of activities to do, everything from prawn fishing (i will be eating these) to natural hot springs! We're outdoors kind of people I like to think so as long as we don't drink too much wine this is going to be a serious adventure!! After that Chris unfortunately for him has to go back to work so Michelle and I will be embarking on an 'ON TOUR' style journey around parts of the north island. I like to think this will involve exploration and relaxed civilised luncheons in wineries but those of you who know The Michelle and I.....well we'll see ...watch this space! Hopefully some of our Brit friends are coming to NZ in January too but nothing set in stone yet. After the NZ extravaganza I'm aiming to meet 3 pals from home in Vietnam for two weeks of travelling before coming back to NZ to start work in Feb, so that's the plan so far! I love Australia and I'm not looking forward to leaving in many ways but I'm leaving the door open to come back depending on what happens. No plan is sometimes a good plan. I'm planning on coming home next year for the whole of May when ill be 30 (yuk) and maybe now Glasto too.....the logistics of this will have to be worked out at a later date! I've decided after telling all my other friends to stop worrying its just a number I'm actually not keen to be 30 so I might just stay 29.....really who's going to know! People say 'oh your 30's are so much better you don't feel so fretful like your 20's) I'm suspicious, to me this just seems like a sweetener! Anyway so with denial of ageing in my mind ill carry on my adventures!

It's going to be Halloween here soon which will be odd....spooky fancy dress in 36 degrees!! Ill love you and leave you I'm off for a run before it gets too hot and to enjoy my day off today at the beach!

Big Love as always

Laura xx

Posted by Halgerty12 03:12 Comments (0)

The latest goings on straight from the Pilbara

Festivals, spectacular moons and snakes

Now I really like a lot about this country but there are two things that really get to me.....flies and sausages!! Australians...your sausages are appalling!! I cant find decent sausages here. What is it that makes the skin thick and rubbery and the meat just not sausagey.....have a word! There are lots of things that you do better here as we all know with your sunny weather, great bodies and get up and go optimistic attitudes but sausage making is not one of them. Take yourselves to England and have a lesson and your snags will be a much better treat to grace the BBQ!

And flies! The flies here are a different breed....in England you 'shew' a fly and they take the hint and get lost.......here not a chance. They would happily land in your eyeball or your mouth without so much of second thought and there are loads. My friend thinks its ridiculous that I'm so bothered by this, she also now things British flies are lovely and polite....bit like the rest of us yeah?!
Two other things I've realised. Aussie girls think very highly of British men.....they think they're really well dressed, well mannered and thoughtful! This makes me feel proud but I best advise them to give Watford a miss if they come for a visit! So british men reading this planning a trip to Australia you'll be well sought after just wear nice shoes and say thank you! Secondly there are a lot of Aussie guys who wear massive wide brim baseball caps, barely there wifebeater vests, shorts and thongs (flip flops). They have tattoos and are really muscley. These boys are apparently known as 'Turbos'.....I absolutely love this collective name for them and I'm going to use it as much as possible! Quite the contrast from our well dressed British boys then!
I hate to tell you this but I've also found myself dropping some Aussie sayings in ....instead of "oh really" to express surprise at something I keep saying 'far out' and 'aye' at the end of sentences!! To help correct this Ive downloaded a box set of only fools and horses me old chinas....lovely jubbly! It's working, my kiwi friend keeps telling me off for not pronouncing my t's......."pass me the butta Del Boy"
A fly has just flown IN my coffee cup.....get out!!!

I went to the music festival which was really good. Missed two of the bands I wanted to see unfortunately, when they said it starts at 2pm they really meant it STARTS at 2pm!! Was good to get out and get meeting more people and not just other midwives!! Made quite the little set up for myself. Made a dent in some ciders, had a good dance and realised bundeburg rum is Yuk!

Had some beautiful beach days near pretty pool too and even had a swim. Still haven't seen any crocs, sharks or snakes though. It's funny how you adapt though you never think you would have to contemplate a meeting with a snake when out. I read an article in the local echo which was saying its snake time as its getting hot and 10 things you should do to help you avoid snakes. I think I knew 4 out of 10 ! Bloody Pom!
Things I haven't done....don't run through the light undergrowth, check your laundry basket i have however looked in front of my feet when running....handy that! I have however followed a tip and checked my shoes for spiders if i've left them outside (thanks Alex F)!

Last week Friday night armed with a nice bottle of Sav Blanc my friend and I went down to the beach to watch the 'Stairway to the Moon'......this was so amazing I was blown away. I wasn't particularly enthusiastic that day about going but I'm so glad I did. It's basically an optical illusion where a super moon happens once a month and where the tides go out so far it leaves the mud flats rippled. When this moon rises its huge, bright red then as it gets higher it reflects in the mud ripples to make it look like stairs that you could walk up to the moon. We sat at the beach with our wine in hand with not too many other people around and everyone was deadly quiet when it happened. I've guess I've never seen the moon come up...it always just is up there in the sky which sounds a bit silly but in the city it's just there! The stars up here are amazing too, unspoilt clear sky! I couldn't get any good pictures because my little digi camera wasn't up to it. But just beautiful!!
So this is the google link:

This weekend I'm on my way to Broome which is apparently where the desert meets the sea, a beautiful town where pearls come from, with an amazing beach and a bit more civilisation. Its a 6 hour drive away East through the bush! Its also grand final AFL weekend which has the whole of the country in a fluster. Hopefully there won't be too many hooligans around ....including us! I'm not bothered by AFL and its sooooo long 2hrs! The best thing about it is the players big arms....give me a rugby game any day!

So ill write again next week after Broome. Just stopped in a service area 100k up the road and bumped into a new mum I've looked after for the past few nights. 5 day old baby and she's off to Broome for the weekend too. These good WA women are made of steel!!

I can still safely say I still really love it here!! Happy as Larry. Next time ill have details about what comes next just putting all my ideas into action before I make my press release. I'm also going to blog a specific Midwifery blog I think as well because when I was coming up here I couldn't find much from people about working here.

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Laura xx

Ps. Sausage rolls on the other hand are a huge step up from home!

==

Posted by Halgerty12 22:47 Comments (2)

Life in the Pilbara: Port Hedland

red dirt, miners, beautiful sunsets and babies galore

sunny 30 °C

[s]

Now i last left you while i sat on a plane wondering how i was going to feel when i got there. Ive come to the conclusion that the least you know about a situation the better, this leaves less time to work it up in your head and worry if its right or not so when you do get there you have no expectations.
And i have to tell you i LOVE it here. I feel really chilled, not rushed or pressured and generally at peace. Some of the Aussie laid back bush spirit has been rubbed off already, life is flowing along and im just enjoying country life. It almost seems too good to be true.

I got here and turned up to the hospital unit on the Friday where all the midwives were really welcoming, however they apparently werent expecting me until the Monday and had nowhere for me to live!!......"oh ok". So we had a chat waited for a few phone calls and with a flick of a wand cinders will have a home to go to! There are two parts of Hedland, South (where the hospital is) and North (where the beach and my house is) and its a 20 minute drive between them passing the salt mines and the iron ore trains, more of that later! So off i went on the hospital minibus with my bag of which i have had many an argument with myself of what i needed to put in it.
I really hate carrying stuff, in an ideal world i would like to be a man who can live out of a small ruksack, im mostly pretty good at this but this time when you dont really have a fixed address anymore or know where you are going next....prob best to just bring most of it. And if i managed to go to bestival with my jansport backpack and fit everything in that....i can do anything. On second thoughts it did embaressingly explode open over the field on the walk to the tent revealing my undergarments much to Michelles laughing delights!.. Note: Always put the zips down to the bottom not at the top of the backpack!

On the bus i met a girl who it turns out i would be living with, during our chat we asked the obligitory questions, so where are you from, where did you train blah blah. Turns out she did nursing at Hertfordshire Uni as well and started the year after me....we must have walked past each other in the corridors, she also lived in Harrow which as some of you know if just down the road from where we are from! As they say...small world! So our house is a 6 bed nice modern house, there are a group of 6 houses which are purpous built for nurses doctors and some miners. They are pretty empty at this stage with our house having just three of us in which is perfect. We all get on brilliantly and laugh a lot, one is a nurse and one is another midwife. A short walk away in one direction is the beach, and not just any beach i really wont do this justice to explain it but a 20km winding flat stretch of unspoilt beach, surrounded by sandunes and big flat rocks to run on. In beach terms Australians probably wouldnt bat an eyelid at this vast sandy view but as a Brit abroad this still fills me with happiness. This is where i have been walking and running and pinching myself that i cant believe i live here. In Australia you are much more likely to get up put on your trainers and do something, since ive been here ive had walks and beach runs after work and even after doing night shift early in the morning, in England this just wouldnt happen you would be too busy moaning about how tired you were to go for a walk after a 11 hour night shift!

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About the Pilbara: A little bit of setting the scene: So as i say Hedland is split between 'Port Hedland' (my bit) and South Hedland and the area they sit in is called the Pilbara made up of many little outback mining/bush towns which is in the North West of Australia in the Western Australia state. In Hedland 80% of the population wears fluros (florecent builder clothes) and are mostly men except for the occasional girl traddie (builder) or wife of which i have named MWAGS....'Miner Wives and Girlfriends'. Similar to the traditional WAG just less sparkley!

This town is a mining town concentrating on Iron Ore and Salt. Interesting facts of which i have learned from the local mullet haired bus driver. The trains which move the Iron Ore from the mine to the port where it is shipped to China and the like can be up to 6kms long!! Each wagon on the train can carry a mound of red dirt (Iron Ore) which is transported to the port and each ship load can carry 10,000 tons of iron ore. They load 10 ships in a 24hr period which is A LOT of red dirt! Iron Ore is used in blast furnaces to make pig iron which in turn is used to make steel! And that as we know is used in all kind of products from cars to knives and forks! So pretty vital stuff no wonder they make billions out of it and everyone who lives here gets paid astronomical money working for the mines. They also mine Salt here from salt lakes which looks like mountains of snow on the red dirt...odd. This is used mostly for chemical purposes like swimming pools, chemicals and industrial salt needs! So 4 weeks in, i have learnt something! The town is growing fast as more people choose to settle here and build homes etc.
There is also a whole lot of nothing up here inbetween towns. The nearest big towns are Karratha 2 hours West and Broome 6 hours East! Most people internet shop but there are supermarkets etc. I know of three bars i keep hearing talked about a couple of cafes and maybe 2 places to eat. There is a big aquatic centre, gym, outdoor pool by the beach, sports grounds, gallery. In general there always seems to be something going on, people get involved in the community and its pretty well set up for peoples needs. No there isnt a bustling high street with a costa coffee and a westfield shopping centre but there is something about this little place that has a passion behind it. People say its very quiet and they are just here for work but i feel like there is something else keeping them here too. In Port Hedland all the men are great big sturdy men with big beards and tattoos everyone drives a truck and has a boat and likes game fishing. SInce living here i kind of want a truck and i want to learn how to fish......luckily i dont want a beard or a tattoo though.

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If i had known that maybe not a great deal of young people move around doing these contracts because of what you need to know and how you practice i might have worried a bit before. It also re-afirmed what i really do know about midwifery and that i can apply this anywhere. In this unit which is exactly the kind of unit i want to work in they have approximately 400 births and babies come out just the way they are supposed to, women breastfeed just how mother nature intended them to and midwives are midwives......real midwives of all ages and abilities who make educated decisions, work together and know what they are doing!!
They know a lot of their women throughout the pregnancy as they see them all the way through so build up a rapor, they dont complain and they provide midwife centred care and everyone feels fortunate to be able to practice the way they intended to. This makes me feel more and more sad about the state of midwifery in England, midwives want to be experts in their profession and help women and babies with the passion that encouraged them into the role in the first place but with stretched staffing, a huge leap in birth rates, limited resourses and funds people are burning out and cant give the high standard of care that women deserve.

Also in this neck of the woods there are a lot of Aboriginal people, around 35% of our birth rate is to the aboriginal woman. Birth and pregnancy in their culture is classed as womens buisness and men are not a part of this hush hush process at all, also the woman having a baby is always accompanied by her 'nanna' which is some kind of elder if not her actual granny. The family set up is a bit confusing with a lot of people called Auntie! These women birth well and just get on with it with minimal fuss (from what ive seen so far except for a few big swear words at the end!) the sad part of the story is there is a lot of drugs and alcohol abuse in pregnancy and they dont really seek midwifery care until the end of pregnancy which doesnt enable us to test for medical conditions and diseases as much as we normally would. On the up side their babies are real fighters, often born prematurely or with low birthweights they feed like little troopers maintain their temperatures and are eager little things. This has got to be some sort of survival instinct. Im pleased to tell you i've delivered three Aussie babies all born in fantastic natural births...one of which was 2.3kgs....thats just over two bags of flour! They also call nappies 'kimbies' !

So most of my time so far has been taken up with work and settling in here, exploring, meeting people, swimming, running and walking. One of my neighbours gave me a bike they werent using which has been handy although i cant get the seat up high enough so i need to find a trusty bearded traddie to fix it for me so its a bit more comfy. I havent seen any crocodiles or snakes yet which is handy although supposodly they do lurk around. Now im quite proud of myself for this next bear grylls intuition that i possess......a friend told me that people swim in the pretty pools which is essentially an eastry with swampy looking trees (hint hint) just off one end of the beach my first comment was, im not swimming in there thats prime croc grounds! 2 weeks later i see this sign: Thank you very much!!

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Now i have figured out where most things are i am making friends and doing more. I graced the local horse racing event of the year with my presence won $50 and got invited into one of the sponsorship tents for a free drink....standard! I knew there was a reason i packed my wedges! This weekend is a big music festival not quite glastonbury but after 4 weeks of not really drinking it may as well be!! Plus one of my work mates wants me to look after her house and her dog while shes away for two weeks and she has a pool so that will help my tan along nicely!

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In the nearish future my plans for being here are to try to drive to Broome for a few days away at some stage which is apparently beautiful and also get Ningaloo reef near the end of the contract which is on the way back to Perth and hopefully i can fill out my ambitions to dive/snorkel with whale sharks and manta rays.

So everyday here is hot and sunny, not once have i thought hmmm i might need a cardigan! 28-30 degrees and no clouds...bliss. The sunsets are just out of this world as you'll see with the sky lighting up in all shades or orange pinks and purples as it sets. Im so relaxed and happy i cant believe i get paid to be here and do this.
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So until next time with maybe a bit more of a plan of what should i do next.

Laura xxx

Ps. Michelle
Ive spotted a Kangaroo and worn a flanny! Next stop miner serenading!
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Posted by Halgerty12 20:15 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Australia Part Two

The next chapter

sunny 19 °C

A lot happened since I last wrote the blog and initially I wasn't sure if when I carried it on I should sugar coat it or tell the truth, I've gone with the later.
Patrick and I unexpectedly broke up which was devastating especially being far from home. Whether it was because we weren't right for each other, it was too much pressure moving, we weren't ready or 'other' who knows ! I think this happens to a lot of couples, i just really didn't expect it to happen to us. This was supposed to be our blog about our travels and about our journey in Australia but now it's taken a turn in the road so its about me and my journey! I put too much time and effort into recording these experiences so I wasn't about to give up writing it now.

I guess you have to go through these experiences to help you carve out what you really want . Even after the upset, horrible hurt, worry and anxiety one thing i had to make sure I did is pull my socks up and get on with it. I came here to see Australia and if there's one thing I know for sure........Halpins aren't quitters!!

So that's what I've done......

Ill recap the first 6 months of what I did.
Work
Eventually found work as a midwife for an agency working irregular shifts at several public hospitals, used this to explore different hospitals and help me figure out the system pretty quickly. Got fed up of having unreliable work and wanted something more stable. Applied for 3 jobs, got them all (in delayed aussie response time) but picked Epworth a private hospital in the city and started a 3 month rotation on postnatal ward. Once the ball was rolling with work it was great but initially it was very difficult to get everything started with the Aussie laid back approach at getting back to you etc. Also December/January Australia is pretty much closed for Christmas so it's very hard to find work......particularly tricky when you've spent all your pesos on running around travelling!
Living:
Two flats over 6 months, one as hot as a sauna in 40 degree Melbourne, the other cold as snow as spring kicked in. Goldilocks has nothing on me!
Fun:
Melbourne is FULL of fun stuff. Loads of amazing cool little bars and brilliant food. Free festivals and events galore. Hot as the sun in their summer. I was pretty broke in the first few months so the fun stuff was a slow build up.
Friends:
Made lots and its easy to make friends as everyone is really nice and is happy to invite you places. Met some brilliant people who genuinely want to have a great time and have that great time with you! Also people from work were great, midwives have a certain kind of unity no matter where you go you'll always find people to get on with and who have a passion to talk a lot and for a glass of wine! A good few friends for life !
Visitors:
March was jam packed with visitors with the right honourable Mr and Mrs H paying an Australian visit, which we shared in Melbourne and a trip to the great ocean road before they went off on their own 'glampacking' tour of the East coast. Great to see your parents but I would love to do their visit again now I feel I know Melbourne soooo much better. Also a visit from my Besty Kate where we lived it up, wine toured, explored and put our big shiny green and gold stamp on paddys day....including an Irish dance off with some Australians. A visit from the incredible Chris and Michelle .....which all I can describe as drunken and feral! Although we did manage to see some AFL, Rugby, have a lovely eastern european dinner and get in a rooftop bar in winter! Chris also discovered the 'Keith Richards' cocktail.....you're only allowed three for obvious face wilting drug addiction reasons. It's my turn to grace NZ next!!

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So I had been in Melbourne and had been living there for 6 months, although I was living a good life and had been to some other cities like Adelaide and Perth i was getting itchy feet. I didn't really come to Australia just to live in one place. I came to be a midwife, put on my explorer boots and see the place. So I resigned from my job disappointingly for them, after only being there for just three months when I was offered a job in Port Hedland on a three month contract to join the maternity team. This is in rural Western Australia which is a mining town essentially, and with limited internet information about the hospital and the surrounding area I've had a great time imagining what it will be like. What I do know is that accommodation is provided, they fly me there, the money is good and its more midwifery lead. I'm desperate for this as I feel like I'm de-skilling working in Melbourne. The town is small in relation to cities I'm used to but apparently has a gym, coffee bar, pool, food shops and more than one bar.....sold! What more do i need .....oh and it's sunny and hot. So I'm sat on the plane now....with a lot of miner traddies, regretting wearing jeans, trying not to feel too apprehensive and hoping there is internet!! I'm 90% excited. 10% nervous! Good odds I feel!

I left Melbourne a week ago as I wanted a little trip before I left so I decided to hire a car and drive the coastal road to Sydney. After I dropped the bombshell on everyone I was leaving in two weeks three of my girl mates said they were keen to come along for the trip too which was excellent!! So we drove from Melbourne to Eden where we had a lovely three bed house booked with a view to cook a nice dinner and relax with wine chatting over dinner. This isn't obviously how it played out. We arrived, stocked up on food and drink for the house for that night and went for a cheeky beer in the local pub. One of two, one for old people and one for country bums...we went for county bums. So thirsty from the long drive we accidentally drank three schooners in a hour on an empty stomach, feeling already tipsy we had a thrown together dinner and one bottle of wine between four before crashing out at 10.30pm......rock and roll!
Feeling obviously fresh the next day Kate and I watched the sun come up over the beach....beautiful. I instantly feel revived when there is sun and a beach.

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So we pushed on for Sydney arriving there at 6pm with lots of laughs along the way. Sydney then consisted of a big night out, a nauseous trip to take back the car, lunch at a great pub The London, the famous bridge and opera house and then an amazing dinner at Ms G', highly recommend this!
The girls left early on Monday to go back to Melbs and i changed hotels to one nearer my friends Claire and Falloni who I couldn't wait to spend the next three days with. We took in Taronga zoo which was brilliant with great views from the ferry. Then on for a 'couple' of drinks in our party of four which obviously with the excitement of being reunited turned into sampling a lot of local pale ales and pub hopping around The Rocks! You can see how this trip is panning out! Well I am moving to the wilderness!!

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The next day I met a friend in Surrey Hills and explored around there, quite like Angel I think. Had cheese and wine and then went out for dinner and drinks for Claire's birthday that night. In need of liver rest I was leaving the next day and we did a great big long walk from Coogee beach to Bondi beach on the coast 6km which cleared the air so we rewarded ourselves with an Orchard Crush! Oops. Along the way taking in the local feature of 'The Holy Rail'.....legand has it that this local oddity is due to a man having an apparition of the Virgin Mary on the cliff edge during a particularly stormy night and since then it has become a shrine for visiting Catholics....even the flashy ones!!

http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/No-rest-in-the-quest-for-Coogees-holy-rail/2005/02/04/1107476802796.html

I left Sydney for Perth on a five hour flight and chatted for most of the way, this was also not up to my previous Virgin Australia flight experiences! Not a touch screen movie or an internet songbook in sight.
Perth was 24 hours of sorting last minute stuff, chilling out, meeting up with my recruiter.....time well spent. Perth town centre reminds me of Leeds or Watford!

So I'm about to land now where everything will be very very different .........so until the next instalment. Wish me luck!

Ill leave you with a quote which I love and a link to a good blog article about moving abroad which summed up how I felt in some of the early months and might be good for others.

“If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.”
― W.C. Fields

http://melimei.travellerspoint.com/75/

Love

Laura xxx

Posted by Halgerty12 21:07 Archived in Australia Comments (4)

The Final Leg

Fiji Mainland - Melbourne

sunny 30 °C

At Pacific Harbour we jumped back on the bus the next day in sheet hot rain and headed towards Suva. We had booked into a hotel which was a bit of a upgrade compared to what we were staying in as a semi treat....nothing too jazzy lets not get carried away but I needed a hair dryer and proper shower with towels. A dream in my head slowly faded when we got to the hotel which wasn't an upgrade at all and didn't even have a booking in our name! Suva was spent mostly in the rain although we went shopping, there isn't much to be said for Suva for shopping! By the end of that day we had decided that we were going to change our flights to get to Melbourne 2 days earlier as we just felt we had done all we wanted to in fiji and we were twiddling our thumbs a bit just waiting to get to Australia and get going. Executive decision made an an email to STA travel we were off two days early.
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Just enough time to visit some waterfalls the next morning where we hired a taxi who ended up driving us all morning for hardly any money. The waterfalls were beautiful and pretty deserted except for some Samoans and Fijian men throwing themselves in from a rope swing over the waterfall. A group of Samoan guys celebrating their graduation invited us over for a beer and coaxed Patrick to fire himself off the rope swing as well which was followed by a great Samoan cheer to boost his ego. Satisfied with our waterfall jumping the taxi driver continued our journey. The ever chatty taxi driver ended up telling us he also owned a building company which Patrick's ears pricked up to and after much man talk we ended up taking a detour for him to show Patrick his latest site. Even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean he can't keep out of a building site!

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One night back in Nadi accompanied by Colin the cockroach (not impressed) we were off to the airport to leave for Melbourne!! Full of beans and ready for civilisation we arrived at the airport to be told that our plane was still in Melbourne and wouldn't be departing until 12 hours later.....brilliant. Off to the complementary hotel with the complementary fish and chips for another night! To cut a long story short 18 hours later than we were due to arrive and 2 hours grouchy sleep.... we arrived!!

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Melbourne WE ARE HERE!

We jumped in a cab to our hotel, although we were sleep deprived we still managed to get into town and activate our bank accounts, get our phones activated, sort medical care and explore the town which we patted each other on the back for. Met up with Patricks friend for dinner that night and then crashed out. Over the next few days we realised that we could rule the world and that we're make a pretty good team when there is stuff to get done. By Sunday we had found an apartment even if we did have to look around a lot to get what we want and were ready to start living. Just in need of a regular job now and we'll be set. We've seen our friends who are here in Melbourne, let off some steam and are trying to think about what comes next.

After our first cup of tea in our Melbourne house (which im naming Halgerty Heights) we managed to flood the bathroom. The washing machine is in the bathroom and for some reason wasnt plugged into the outflow pipe......result one very wet bathroom and hallway floor and a lot of mopping!
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I think we might do an Aussie Blog every now and again to keep it up but for now the moving around bit of the trip is over. Back to work and life and this time in the sun!!

Lots of Love

L & P
x x

Some general reflections after 8 weeks of travelling:

Women and men are very different!
Patrick is not a big fan of sitting on a beach
I'm not sure if I could be a hobo...long term travelling is not for me I think I like having a regular place to live and I like having my things around me no matter how much I try to deny it.
After much tutting and criticism we conclude that we are both good drivers!
Vegus is not for us
We don't really like most food in America.
Patrick wins most when we play games!
Hawaii is expensive.
Driving through America and its desolate endless roads, mountains and coastlines was incredible and breathtaking.

Posted by Halgerty12 22:25 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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