7th Jul 2011 - 2nd Aug 2011 - Cairns to Brisbane Decided last night that we should leave Cairns and move on to Brisbane. The reason being we have looked in estate agents for a 3 month rental but they only do 6 months minimum and also when we signed on at the job agency they said there is little work at the moment, we were also told that the unemployment figures had just been released and Australia is 10% unemployed and Cairns is the worst area with 4.5% unemployed. So we thought of possible ways to leave Cairns- we went to a travel agents whose first flight left Tuesday and were very expensive, we also tried the trains which would cost $600 each and take 30 hours on a normal train not sleeper. We also looked at the greyhound busses but they cost a lot too so we decided on renting a camper van. There is a 'wicked' garage near us so we went to suss that out and as we would take the camper for 5 days we would pay $30 per day which is the cheapest option and also we fancy a road trip. Also I will talk in Australian dollars so if you can do the math GBP 0.66p is $1.00. 8th July- So this morning we done all our washing- in a washing machine it was great! And we got ready and had a wander round Cairns as the camper wasn't ready til 2pm which was unfortunate as we hoped to be on the road early. Anyway we walked to the esplanade and sat at the lagoon for a bit of sunbathing (the beach isn't too good here and the water is muddy so a lagoon was built complete with real sand). We went back for the van loving name 'yo mumma' it's covered in 'yo momma' jokes one being 'yo mumma so ugly she made an onion cry'. All wicked campers are covered in graffiti. We stopped off for pizza and went to 'crazy clarkes' which is a bargain shop full of everything (except dooners- duvets) we stocked up pillows, blankets, pot noodles and sweeties. And then we set off on our 1700km journey to Brisbane. We managed to drive 347km to Townsville. On the way we passed the coolest road sign for 'Grimshaw Road' ! (Shannon's surname). We seen lots of kangaroos but unfortunately they were all victims of road accidents. We decided to risk sleeping in a car park rather than find a campsite, we watched a film in 'bed' then had an unexpected cold sleep, the van got so cold at night.
9th July- Well the sun rose and we were roasting in the van, we got up, left Townsville which is very pretty, lovely harbour thing with old buildings, we plan to come back here sometime. We drove all day through Bowen and Mackay before stopping at Rockhampton for the night. We stopped off for the toilet and rest at a roadside petrol station, it looked eerie, like something from psycho, it was like an abandoned motel. When we arrived in Rocky we went to a pub for dinner then watched another movie before wrapping up in lots of layers of clothes for another cold sleep.
10th July- Left Rockhampton and our cozy little camping spot in a road side carpark. Honestly- we cant believe us, we are like gypsies, we haven't even had a wash other than using make up wipes! Today we carried on driving until we reached Brisbane. Throughout the journey we have taken turns on driving, some times felt longer than others and I did make Shan do a wee bit more than his fair share. (thanks) but driving has been a good idea as we have seen a lot on the way, passing by fields upon fields of sugar cane plantations, 2 mile long trains carrying freight or indeed the sugar canes, lots of dead kangaroos, the infamous yellow signs warning of the said kangaroos and koalas too, we kept inline with the rail tracks all the way passing by many crossings, and many rolling mountains. When we arrived in Brisbane we drove around getting some bearings before finding a nice street with bars and restaurants so we parked round the corner next to a hostel and had dinner in the Caxton hotel on Caxton street. We went for a drive after dinner, over bridges and looking out to the huge office buildings, Brisbane looks cool at night, we found a quiet street for tonights camping area. Obviously your not meant to just park anywhere but we were lucky last 2 nights so risked it again and luckily were fine.
11th July- Woke up and drove to McDonalds for breakfast but by time we had washed and brushed our teeth breakfast had finished so had a burger and used the free wifi. We then drove to the same hostel as we parked at last night and booked us in for the night. Its called Banana Benders Backpackers and its in Petrie Terrace. We got a double room, it's okay, bigger than the one in Cairns but hostels aren't really our thing. We walked to the main area in the CBD (central business district incase you didn't know) which is George street, and I ordered a bank card at NAB, then we went to a free Internet cafe (at tribal theatre) and we looked up jobs on a website called 'SEEK.com', we also went to an estate agents which was a little walk away and are viewing a flat on Thursday. We went to a pub for dinner and shan had a huge steak and I had pasta. When we got back to the hostel the owner said he also has flats and only need to book for 4 weeks and then stay as long as we like, which sounds great as everywhere else is 6 months minimum, we think we would like to stay in Brisbane for 6 months but it's nice not to be tied to one place.
12th July- We are giving the camper van back this 'arvo' so we got up early and drove an hour down the highway to the Gold Coast, we walked around Surfers Paradise, seen the Q1 tower- which is the worlds highest residential building, then we sat on the beach watching a group of learner surfers. We will come here again later in our travels. We drove back, cleaned out the camper and took it to the depot. We then walked back which took us over an hour which we didn't realise but was good to look around Brissie. We have spoke to the owner of the hostel and we have decided to take his flat, so we went a look and its fine, it's handy only 1 street away so very close to everything and it's clean, it's a unit with a living, dining room and kitchen all together then big bedroom and big bathroom. The rest of the night we chilled and got a Thai takeaway.
13th July- I skyped home this morning then we packed up and left the hostel and walked to our new house- our first place alone together! Our address is 81/3 Cricket Street, Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, 4000, QLD, Australia woo! We are paying $350 a week which sounds alot but will be relevant when we start to earn wages. And that $350 includes our electricity, gas and water bills. We lazed around, well Shan did and I unpacked and hung up the clothes and wow it felt good to have all our lovely clothes hanging up and folded away neatly after 5 weeks of living out of cases. We then walked up to Coles supermarket just 5 min walk away and spent $200 on food, ice lollies and bed linen. Struggled home, I made the bed up very pretty, the place is coming together and looks homely. Had a nap then cooked!! Made spaghetti bolognaise yum yum yum, chilled and watched tv rest of night.
14th-27th July- For the next week or so we have been lazy and chilled, we have watched a lot of tv, Australian- The Block (fantastic show about building houses in teams on every night), Top Design, News, random bad acting soaps and Australia's got Talent (love Dannii). Then American- Oprah, The View, Ellen. And good old British stuff like Top Gear and Bear Grylls. I came across a book that's been recommended so many times by cabin crew so I've been reading Air Babylon and it's really funny. I finished my last book To The Moon and Back and it was a lovely book too. Everyday we have been sleeping well into the afternoon mainly 1230 but one day we stayed in bed all day and moved the tv round and watched tv in bed. We are that lazy that even at the other side of the world we are asleep at same time as you guys in the UK. We have got no Internet connection at the flat so most days we take a stroll down to the free Internet cafe and email home and apply for jobs.
One day we went to Queen Street Mall and I bought my first Australian purchase a bright pink fluffy dressing gown which I haven't been out of since (I missed my Susan Boyle dotty dressing gown from Guernsey). We have been cooking most of the time having our normal dinners like chilli, curries, burritos, spag bol but we have also had meals out too treating ourselves and tasting all the Aussie beers. The local one XXXX has it's brewery just 20 minute walk from us, we also have the Brisbane Broncos Team Stadium in the next street, we want to go to a game.
We went on Saturday to the cinema which is next to Coles at 'The Barracks' and we watched Harry Potter part 2 in 3D. I haven't seen all of the films but Shan filled me in and we really enjoyed it. The cinema has a bar so we treated ourselves to beer, wine and popcorn. One day we were lazing in bed when the phone rang (we only have one number at the moment) so Shan told me to answer, it was classic holidays looking for Shannon so passed it over- he has an interview tomorrow at 5pm. He wrote down details and started telling me when the phone rang again so Shan answered, it was classic holidays looking for me, interview tomorrow at 5.30pm. Haha we didn't know that we had both applied for the same job! Next day we went to the interview by taxi and it was further away then we thought we spent $90 return! Anyway went to classic holidays and receptionist realised we were a couple and asked if we wanted joint interview we said we wanted separate but when the boss came to greet us he said it would be a joint interview aarh we didn't feel comfortable competing against each other and in turn the interview was shit the boss didn't seem too nice and the job was selling time share holidays and neither of us wanted the job. And he didn't seem keen on us palming us off to his marketing side saying he'll be in touch.
Next day we both have more interviews, Shannon went off to his and said it was a marketing company and didn't really fancy it and I went to mine and it sounded similar it involves standing in shopping centres offering packages to help save the children or WWF of UNICEF, it's commission based only no basic but we were told everyone makes at lease 2 sales a day some even make 10 sales a day. The company is called 'Infinity group' based in Fortitude Valley so I need to get a train there only 10 mins on train. I got a call later saying they wanted to see me again the next day to meet the managing director. Met up in the office with 16 other short listed hopefuls and met some really nice people, an Aussie who lived in London last year and a girl called Stacey from Newcastle who has just arrived here. The MD sounded a bit full of himself but sounds like he has made millions. As well as the marketing and promotion side they also manage events and have worked with formula 1. I got a call later saying I got the job and start Monday.
We have also went a stroll round the Botanical Gardens and seen lovely plants and birds and got a fright when we seen 3 lizards just sitting around. We also went to the farmers Market which is at Queen street and got a huge crepe with nutella. We have been catching up with the news of the world scandal even staying up til 3 am to watch it.
On the 21st July I celebrated my half birthday by having yet another long lie and we had a special treat for ourselves today we went to bananas hostel to wash our clothes (no machine in flat) and wowee we washed everything it was great 3 washings and $15 later we were clean. We also went on the Internet there and we bought clothes on ASOS yes ASOS from the UK posted to here in Oz but the prices here for clothes are silly, their fashions aren't very fashionable everything looks like bad version of primark but are really expensive. Well actually I did buy black work trousers for $30 but i couldnt buy the black pumps i need as i really dont want to spend $40 on them when new look in the UK has them for £10.
So still having long lies and watching tv during day and night as well as finishing all the films we bought in Thailand. We have applied for our Australian social security numbers that you need for tax at jobs that we didn't know anything about until the Newcastle girl told me the other day. We went to a very cool named pub for dinner one night called 'Irish Murphy's' which had a live band playing. On Saturday we went to the cinema (we are going to try go to cinema every weekend) and we went to a cinema across the water a 20 min walk away and we watched the new Cameron Diaz movie Bad Teacher it was really funny and we both enjoyed it. We have also found time to sunbathe in our garden and at night we went to a sexual lifestyle exhibition called 'sexpo' we watched a male strip show and the sexpo showgirls in action. There were stalls selling everything from sex toys to whips to rainbow willy lollipops. You know the ghost trains at fair grounds? Well we went on a sex train... Well it's similar except instead of ghosts there was well you can guess!
I started my new job at infinity, first day was paperwork and training how to sell to customers, it's not my kind of thing and everyone else agreed the same, no one ever stops when someone asks you for a minute of your time let alone had over hundreds of bucks to save kids- as much as I feel sorry for them- the kids not the hounding workers. 2nd day at work and we went a road trip to Warwick which was 2 hours drive from Brissie. Warwick is a smallish town in the country, pretty and buildings old, this week they have a festival called 'jumpers and jazz' they decided to have a festival because winter is often drab, they have decorated all the trees which decorations school kids have made and adults. The trees are covered in different themes such as Halloween theme, stars, star gazers, real irons making a design, trees wrapped in wooly jumpers. At the weekend they have jazz bands too, all looked cute. What wasn't cute was walking up and down up and down up and down the main street annoying passers-by calling them over 'hey how are you? My names Pamela, yours is? Having great day? Ever heard of UNICEF? Well you can help by giving just a $1 a day for next 12 months but why not join for the rest of your lives?' I hated it... I don't like the way it works, I felt sorry for the people who told me they genuinely didn't have that kind of money free, I hated being there, it's not my kind of job. Anyway 13 hours later and 1 sale later (felt so sorry for the poor later handing her credit card over to me) we drove back, the best thing about the day apart from finishing was as we were driving back a black bore sauntered across the road causing us to brake. It was huge. I wished it was a kangaroo. I came home and moaned and moaned to poor Shan, who had had a great day- he had an interview at TSA which is a mobile phone company. And he got offered the job and he accepted and starts Friday! Today- my 3rd day at work I slept in and was grateful, I decided not to bother going in late. I just stayed in bed. We've had a lazy just in McDonalds now applying for more jobs.
28th Jul 2011 - 2nd Aug 2011 As I had decided to abandon my job after only a few days due to the fact I hated everything about it- the way it was run, the concept, the hassling people, I had to look for another job, I didn't want to be a 'chugger' (which my family told me they call it in Scotland- chugger as in charity mugger- I like that name). I went to an interview for a catering company who will be working at the Ekka, which is a big event thats happening in August, I got offered the job of waitress but later decided to turn it down as I had an interview for a restaurant just in the next road, 2 minute walk away in Caxton Street.
The restaurant is called Gambaro and is very fancy. Look it up at www.gambaros.com.au . I had a trial that night and started on Monday, the same day as Shannon started his job. I will be waitressing and possibly working in the bar too which I'd prefer. On my first night I done ok and managed to get a $10 tip, and as it was quiet I got home early. Shannon's job involves calling ex Telstra customers and getting them to come back for a good deal. The money prospect looks promising and Shan said everyone's nice there, which is great.
On Friday night there was another rugby match on at the stadium next to us so on impulse we decided to go. We watched the Brisbane Broncos win 46-16 against the Sharks. I didn't know too much about rugby so Shan explained and I think I got it. The stadium fills about 50,000 people but was less than half full, also the crowd was quiet compared to football matches in the UK, they just sat quietly watching until a tri happened. We enjoyed ourselves! (Shan found out the stadium is built on top of a grave yard, and a little church still stands at the outside corner of the stadium). At the weekend we also went to the cinema (same one as last week) which is a 20 minute stroll across the river to the southbank, we watched Hanna, which is about a kid who is trained to kill by her father. It had Eric Bana and other Aussie actors so that made it cooler. Also been out sampling all the Aussie beers like Toohies extra dry, XXXX gold, Hahn and VB.
Now in July- August time, Brisbane is right in the middle of it's winter, but not like a UK winter by any means it is averaging 22 degrees, going up to 24 degrees. I'm writing this blog now lying in the garden sunbathing in my bikini. I would have died of frost bite in Scotland if i'd tried this in winter there!