29 December 2007

The Heat is on!

Made it to Melbourne to see my old flat mate Lambros.

We took in the sites and sounds and bottled water shops of the city centre and surrounding subdivisions and areas, which they call suburbs here.

The nasty thing about the day was the weather. It got up to around 35C during the day with no real wind or anything. Even in the evening, coming out of shops and restaurants, it was so warm it felt like someone slapping you in the face with a warm towel. I'm used to the UK summers where it cools down enough in the evening it gets nice. Here it goes from 35C to 28C in the evening. Not good.

I think I can personally put my hand up and claim responsibility for the drought, what with all the water I drank yesterday. It's a dodgy situation, this heat, a drought and humans needing to stay lubricated.

Today apparently isn't going to be much better, as it's scheduled to get up to 36C. I guess I've got another day of squinting and headaches ahead of me. Who, in their right mind, ever claimed this was the favourable type of weather? They must be mad!!

28 December 2007

Mobile worries

When Sue and I signed up for new phone contracts, we both opted for 3 as you can use your monthly minutes abroad, as long as your on a sister 3 network. As Australia has a sister 3 network, we thought it would be quite handy for x-mas.

I've been using my 3 mobile to call the UK and Canada via a UK number and unfortunately my alloted minutes hadn't been going down as I was checking them. This, obviously, was leading my imagination to believe I would arrive back in the Uk to a bill rivalling the price of a flight to Australia.

Behold, when I woke up this morning, my alloted minutes had dropped by about 55 minutes and all seems well. A number of emails to the 3 customer help people seems to confirm this, so I am free to call the UK without incurring any international charges.


27 December 2007

Flight East

Arrived this evening in Melbourne, after a 59 minute Virgin Blue flight from Adelaide.

Having done the recent epic flights, 59 minutes was nothing! Didn't even take my shoes off or need the night nurse.

Virgin Blue now has satelite TV on their flights. Oddly, you can watch it free for about 15 minutes then you have to pay $5 for the rest of the flight. Good if you're flying more than 59 minutes!

During the free preview, I managed to catch a classic Arsenal match between the Gunners and Southampton. Of course, true to form, Soton lost 4-1 with LeTissier pulling out the solo Saints goal. Tickled me that I could be so far away and still feel so close to home.

Lambros met me at the airport in his much talked about over the years white Mazda 323.

There were loads of people mingling at the gate waiting for loved ones (a real oddity for me as I usually ... well always travel international and that would be a no-no!) and I was a bit concerned that I might have sailed past the guy. Not to fear, he was waiting for me near the front door.

We've got plenty of fun in store for the next few days, having consumed a couple of beers (Coopers, naturally) and a souvlaki already tonight!

Hoping to catch a Melbourne Victory football match but I have my suspicions this trip doesn't coincide with a home game.

22 December 2007

In Oz (incorporating my frying adventure)

We made it to Oz last Wednesday and have a nice relaxing time since we've arrived.

We went down and stayed at this little fishing town called Kingston which is making it self over as a tourist attraction. It's a stone's throw from another town called Robe.

We went for lunch in Robe at this "Seafood restaurant" which got the old taste buds tingling before we even got out of the car. I love fish and seafood and all that. To my dismay, the Aussie use of the word seafood restaurant apparently means chippie to us Brits. You could have seafood cooked one way - deep fried.

Choking back the tears, I ordered a spicy chicken wrap, expecting succulent bits of nice chicken. I got deep fried KFC style chunks of chicken. Not my day.

Later we went out for a pub meal. About the only non-fried thing on the menu was a Caesar salad which I duly ordered, only to be told it was a lunch only thing (apparently no one wants a non-fried meal for dinner). I then ordered the salt and pepper prawns, and in my ignorance was delivered a plate of breaded deep fried crustaceans.

Is it so hard to grill or BBQ a nice piece of fish? What is the fascination with the deep fryer?

The other meal we had was steak. Fair enough. It came on a bed of chips with a baked potato. The veggie table then had a 3rd type of potato if you weren't carbed up enough already.

I don't actually ever remember anyone waxing poetically about Aussie cuisine, and the only remembrance is the old "shrimp on the barbie". Maybe I can amend that to "shrimp in the fryer".

20 December 2007

Coffee in Oz

We're currently in Oz, visiting Sue's friends and family for Chrimbo.

It's an oddly warm time of the year, and every now and then a carol or a Christmas light will remind you what time of the year it is.

We just got back today from visiting friends down south in the fishing towns of Kingston and Robe.

Whilst there, I stumbled across this place called Mahalia Coffee. It's like Monmouth in London, in that they do their own roasting. According to their pamphlet, they send the roasted product across most of the country, either for retail sale or by the cup. I bought a bag of Australian Bundja Double Pass at around $18 for 250g (spot the guy on holiday!!!) Figured if you've come this way, why buy what you can get anywhere else.

In an ice cream shop in Robe, they were selling Robe Rock as confection. That just tickled me pink as I imagined oriental people describing it to a police officer.