Jamie and Sophie's Adventure

Jamie Longmore and Sophie Jones travel the world

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Settled at last


We are now fully settled into our new home at Acland Apartments. This means we have a fixed address until probably around 15-20th May, my birthday is May 1st and Sophie's is May 22nd so feel free to send us a card or something but send it early! Our address is:

Unit 4, 52 Acland Street, St Kilda, Melbourne, VIC 3182, Australia

It's not massive but it's big enough and the bathroom is a reasonable size aswell, we have a TV, microwave, kettle and sink in our room and there are full kitchen facilities down the corridoor.

We've been working very hard and waking up at 7am has been killing me. It's nice to see the money in the bank though.

Hopefully I'll be able to get photos on here in the next week during lunch at work, couldn't do it this week as the PC doesn't read DVDs.

Last night we went out with Claire, Sophie's brother's friend. We went looking for a restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet but it was almost impossible to find as it has a sign the size of a postage stamp and a very well hidden entrance. They told us it was a minimum of $30 per head so we went elsewhere to a Thai restaurant and had a good feed then went for a few drinks.

Last Sunday we went to Sophie's Mum's best friend's house and she cooked us a delicious meal and home made cake for pudding. Apart from that we haven't been up to too much this week as we've been so tired after work!

I hear that I won the Bowler of the Year awards for the Saturday 4ths and Sunday 2nds. I will have to do something pretty special in the 2 weeks left of the season when I return if I want to retain them next year.
Please enjoy the hilarious photo of me and Gareth Bakewell. Look out for more photos this week.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Home sweet home (hopefully)

At last we have a flat! At least we should have, in theory. We've agreed to move into a studio apartment in St Kilda for $310 a week on Sunday. We haven't actually seen the room but have seen one similar to it and it was very very nice with a big bathroom and kitchen facilities in the room. Sophie called the guy up and agreed to take it immediately as otherwise it would goto someone else in a flash. It's more than we planned to spend on a place but it really is nice and we were starting to get desperate.
We've looked at a fair few places now and had many disappointments with landlords not turning up as they gave it away earlier in the day, people seeing us but having already agreed to give it to someone else but they want a backup plan, awful places and places where they see 20 people about the room and choose who they like the best.
It's in a good location with loads of bars and cafes nearby aswell as the beach. There's a McDonalds opposite (not that either of us eat the food but the milkshakes are good). Though last week when I came out of the McDonalds a rat ran over my flip-flopped foot which was disgusting.
We've finished our first full week of work now and I am absolutely shattered, 8:30 - 5 every day is hard work when you haven't done it for 6 months. The money will be much appreciated, though they take about 30% of it for tax.
Sophie has been going to a thing called Bikram's Yoga, which is yoga but in a room heated to 40 degrees. She's been enjoying it a lot and coming home very sweaty indeed!
We went out for a few drinks with Bakewell who, for the first time ever, had to call it an early night as he was too tired after not sleeping for 2 days. Our other friends that came out, an American and an Aussie, couldn't understand his accent which was quite funny and possibly for the best.
The Grand Prix last weekend was great, thanks Dan for convincing us to go. It was incredibly loud, even with earplugs. It was won by Kimi Räikkönen. An Englishman called Lewis Hamilton came 3rd on his debut Grand Prix which got a lot of applause, while David Coulthard drove over the top of another car for a spectacular crash.
There were all sorts of other things going on, most notably the air displays which were good entertainment before the race began.
Must go as it's coming up to Midnight soon and I'm all tuckered out after my week of work.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The fat man is in town

Just a quick one as I'm in my lunch break at work, I'll try and put a big update on Saturday with all the things that I've missed.
I'm working for Intermec and it's quite good, the people are nice and the job, whilst very repetitive, isn't too bad, though it is very busy and it's hard getting up at 7am every day.
Tonight I'm meeting up with Bakewell who is in Melbourne for one night only. I saw him for 5 minutes before work this morning, he's staying in the same hostel as we are. Apparantly tonight we're going out for some beers with "Jimmy Saville", leader of the famous Barmy Army (that's the England cricket fans for Will). Whether this is just one of Bakewell's many outrageous claims or not remains to be seen but I'm sure we'll have a good night out whatever happens, just have to make sure I don't drink any concoctions he gives me or I won't be at work tomorrow.
Haven't found a place to live yet, we've been looking at places and they've either not been good enough or been given to someone else!
Send me a text you cheapskates, it only costs 25p or something, I'll send you one back: +61410982712
Got to get back to work now, bye bye everyone, bye bye.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Good news

So today I got mugged in the street... No I'm just kidding, my passport has been found. The cleaners or someone put my bag of goodies and some other things in another bag for some reason and it turned up this afternoon.
Unfortunately it has cost me $145 (minus tax) which is a days pay, I was meant to start my new job today but had to wait around for the police to turn up, which they didn't, the policewoman wasn't even at work today I eventually found out.
I start next Monday for at least 2 weeks doing admin and various other things for a company called Intermec who make barcode readers and PDA's I think.
Sophie had her first day today working for Nestle, she's on her way home now and said it was OK but very boring, it does seem she got to surf the net all day though.
In fact she has just arrived and bought me a free Smarties ice cream and a giant Kitkat. Good job I bought her a surprise pack of nougat and a pearl milk tea!
There are people selling earplugs on the street for the Grand Prix which is funny.
We're going to look at a room tonight, tomorrow and Monday so let's hope one of them is suitable.
Thanks for everyone who commented/emailed me their support.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Unbelievable

After everything that happened yesterday, we thought things were getting better when we had a call early this morning to say we had a days work (it turned out to only be 2.5 hours but better than nothing!). We then had another call to say we had some jobs for next week aswell. HOWEVER...
When we checked into our new hostel we were in a major rush as we had to get to work ASAP so we left our things on the bed and off we went. When we came back there was a big Dutch guy on my bed and all my stuff had been put on the floor or on the bed above. He said the bed was like that when he came in so the cleaners must of moved it.
I then realised my passport has been taken. It was inside a folder that was in a plastic bag with some other folders on my bed. The cleaners may have thrown it away or something for some reason but we have hunted through the bins and found nothing.
I am so sad at the moment I just want to cry and come home but I can't because someone else has my passport. Burgled twice in 2 days at 2 different hostels, I can't believe it and just don't know what to do.
I am not going to work tomorrow when I was meant to start my new job as I will wait to talk to the police and the cleaners.
We were having a good time in Australia but now I hate it. My whole trip is being ruined. Let's see what happens next, I guess my wallet or tickets are the only things left to be stolen, or maybe I'll be run over by a tram.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Worst... Day... Ever.

Today has been a nightmare day, I'll tell you the major incident first. Some low-life broke into our room and stole both our cameras (mine had 2GB of photos, I was going to put them on DVD tonight.. typical) and $40 of Sophie's money. They did something to the door and managed to force the lock, we're staying in a dorm which is opened by swipe card. They also did it to about 10 other rooms in our corridoor. I was the first to notice and when I mentioned it to someone they realised it had happened to them too and soon everyone was saying they'd been broken into.
The police came and have given us a crime number so we can get some money back off the insurance but that's not going to get my photos back, I am completely gutted. The policeman said it happens regularly at Hotel Bakpak and they have never once managed to get a single item back. They have no CCTV or anything.
Other things that went wrong today include the cleaners throwing Sophie's shorts and t-shirt in the bin for some reason, also Sophie's flip flop broke in the middle of town so she had to walk all the way back barefoot. Then there was our Japanese room mates who woke us up at 1am when they came in and spent about half an hour taking off their plastic rain coats (it doesn't rain here, there is a severe water shortage), they then woke us up at 6am putting on their plastic rain coats and packing their bags. The morning before they got up at 6am, turned the lights on so they could take a picture of them in the room and went out!
We haven't found a place to live yet, we looked at a really great place yesterday but they don't know when the room will be free as the other guy hasn't found a place to move into yet so that's useless for us. We registered with 2 job agencies today and did some tests to find out how good we are on the computer, obviously I came out as excellent and Sophie got very good scores too so hopefully they'll find us something. They said there may be a data entry job for 3 days next week for me which would be a start I guess but we'll see.
There's probably other stuff I should mention but I'm too upset to think properly. We went to a really amazing firework show (I had a great video on my camera), met up with our friend Mel from our Uluru trip, I've heard from Sunter and Bakewell so may meet up with them at some point. We saw a birdman contest which was funny, though sadly the videos are now in possession of some criminal mastermind.
I'm going to have to get another camera before the Grand Prix on Sunday, also it's St Patrick's day on Saturday so I'm sure there would have been some great photo opportunities there. My credit card bill this month is going to be big.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Everybody needs good Neighbours


Last night was brilliant, we went to The Elephant and Wheelbarrow, a British pub where every monday they have a "Meet the Neighbours" night. We got there about 6:50 and had some food and a couple of drinks.
When we'd finished we went next door to where the event was being held, unfortunately there were no seats left for us, there were about 300 people (all British/Irish) and only about 100 seats so lots of us were left standing.
We waited patiently, having our drinks and chatting to a Welsh guy with an amusing nervous twitch for what seemed like hours, well, I guess it was hours. Around 9pm the host introduced Toadie who came on, answered a few questions and was very funny. Next was a new character called Rosetta, it was her first "Meet the Neighbours" night and she seemed a bit nervous. Finally the main man, jelly belly himself, Harold Bishop came onto stage and proved to be nothing at all like the character he plays. He was very funny and quite rude. All this was going on whilst we were singing football style chants "only one Harold Bishop" "Toadie Toadie Toadie", there was a very good atmosphere.
There was then a trivia quiz, though it was only for the people that managed to get tables really so we found a spot at the end of the bar and waited for the stars to come and see us, they worked their way around the whole crowd having their photos taken and briefly chatting with everyone.
Toadie was the first to come to us, had a quick chat and posed for some photos with us, next was Rosetta and finally we had to wait to be called to go and see Harold who suffers from arthritis so people go to see him rather than the other way round. He told Sophie she could do much better and have someone like himself instead of me! I explained that we were looking for a place to stay and seeing as he practically adopts every homeless person I asked if we could stay with him on Ramsey Street which made him chuckle and his multiple chins wobble.
It was getting quite late by this time but there was still a lot more entertainment to go, we watched Dr Karl's band, "Waiting Room" who were really good, I somehow got right to the front and joined my Welsh friend from earlier in proclaiming our love for the good doctor. Afterwards I got to meet and chat with him and his band, having a couple more photos taken. He said he did panto in Malvern and liked the place.
We are looking at an apartment tonight and another tomorrow so fingers crossed that they are good because living in a dorm is not nice. When we got home at 2am, there was a man asleep in my bed and another guy snoring his head off in the other bunk! They checked out at 5am and 6am, also there were some Irish guys next door seemingly having a party at 5 in the morning. After a lot of banging on the wall and shouting for Paddy and Murphy to be quiet they finally stopped and we managed half an hour of sleep.
Just wanted to wish my Grandma and Auntie Marie all the best, I know Grandma is waiting some results on recent tests she had and Auntie Marie has just had an Operation. Love to you both and we hope all goes well.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Melbourne

We're in Melbourne and staying at Hotel BakPak, though I think it's changing it's name to Hotel Discovery, anyway, it's a massive hostel with very basic rooms. Our flight over here was fine, though we were meant to watch Rocky Balboa but the tape was faulty so we ended up watching Dreamgirls :-/
When we arrived we discovered that they had somehow forgotten to put one of my bags on the plane, the one with all my clean clothes in amongst other things. As you can imagine I was a little annoyed. Luckily it turned up this morning so I don't have to keep wearing the same smelly t-shirt.
We walked around Melbourne yesterday getting a feel for the place, it seems pretty nice, lots of shops, bars and things to do. There also seems to be a high population of Chinese so hopefully that means there's going to be some good Chinese restaurants.
We are trying to find a room in a shared house at the moment, there wasn't really much in the paper today so we're going to try going to an agency later.
There is a part of Melbourne called Malvern so it would be funny if we ended up living there!
We will also be looking for jobs from Monday :-(
Happier news is that we are going to a "Meet the Neighbours" night on Monday where we can have some beers with Toadie, Sky and Harold Bishop whilst watching Karl Kennedy's band! We're going to do the Ramsey Street tour soon aswell.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Flies flies and more damn flies

Last time I forgot to mention that we went to a place that has literally about 200000 bats. It was incredible to see so many flying around and sleeping on the trees. There was a hot spring in the middle of the forest to go and look at and I got covered in bat poo which was lovely.
When we went out for a meal after the first 3 days, I noticed everyone looking at me all confused. Most of the group genuinely didn't recognise me and thought I was a stranger because I looked so different after a shave, shower, doing my hair and wearing some clean clothes!
We're back in Alice Springs again for a few more hours before our flight to Melbourne. We stayed last night at "Annie's Place" and had an excellent meal for a couple of pounds, though they did get Sophie's order wrong 4 times! We didn't get the best nights sleep because one of our roommates (there were 8 of us in the dorm) was snoring so badly he was almost on a par with my Dad. I got out of bed and started hitting him but he wouldn't wake up. Eventually his friend managed to roll him onto his side which stopped it for a while.
Our last 3 days on the trip were great, we had a new guide called Dermie who was a top bloke and had a bigger group this time of 22.
First of all we went to a camel farm where Sophie and I rode the camels which was great fun. We also saw some wallabies there (I still haven't seen a live kangaroo). We then went to Kata Tjuta and walked around there.
For the whole of the trip we were constantly surrounded by flies. I can't explain just how many there were and how annoying it was. We bought fly nets that go over your head but even still it was very irritating, I have photos of us with at least 100 flies on our backs and heads (outside the highly fashionable fly net).
We then went back to camp and slept outside, under the stars, though it was quite cloudly so we only saw about 3!
The next day it was up at 5am to go and see the sunrise at Uluru, the sky turned pink and turns Uluru different colours, it was very beautiful and words can't really do it justice. We then walked all the way around the rock which took about 3 hours.
We then went for a swim and headed back to camp where Dermie cooked us up a feast on the fire. It was one of the girls birthdays and he made her a chocolate cake and Sophie had bought candles and a card for everyone to sign, it was a good surprise for her as she didn't realise we all knew it was her birthday.
That night we slept outside in our swags again and this time the sky was clear so we had an amazing view of the stars when we woke up at 5:30am. There were dingos (like wild dogs) wandering around us when we were asleep, looking for things to steal but thankfully they leave humans alone.
In the morning we went to King's Canyon which was one of the best bits of the trip. It was about a 3.5 hour walk and the first bit is known as "Heart Attack Hill" as it is quite hard work. There were some incredible views and we went swimming in a pool in the canyon which was just what we needed to cool us down. Some of the photos we took are brilliant, there's one of Sophie sitting over the edge of a cliff with a 100m drop.
We then went for lunch and then set off on the long journey home. In the last 6 days we have travelled over 2600km in the back of a minibus with poor air conditioning. It was well worth it though. Hopefully we're going to meet up with some of the friends we made on this trip in Melbourne.
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