Sunday, September 30, 2012

O Rockhampton, why art thou so dull today? Ugly buildings, ugly sky, and it's not even warm - how boring is that?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My lovely parents

This is a fairly old picture (3 years, perhaps?) but, it's my parents, and they look very happy, and very sweet, and I miss them.  If Carlsberg did parents like these, they'd probably be the best parents in the world :-P  Or something like that!!!  

Love you guys


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Best Overnight

Okay, hands down, yesterday was the best overnight ever, even if it was in Rockhampton.  Just to clarify, I hate Rockhampton.  Now that I got that out, I feel a lot better.  However, yesterday was the best overnight ever, and the fact that it was in Rockhampton didn't spoil it one bit.  It involved a pool, beer, a cheap bikini, and a big yellow inflatable plastic ring.

Ang had the bad idea.  Her idea involved a very long hike and a mountain, about 10km from the hotel, which may or may not have involved a taxi, or two.  Allan then decided to make a command decision:

"Right.  We're all four going to climb this mountain, whatever the temperature is going to be.  Captain's decision, and nobody is going to back out."

Right.  Like that's going to happen.

We sat in the taxi to go to the hotel, in the gorgeous 30 degree weather, waiting for Allan to sort out a missing baggage issue, and had a little discussion between ourselves.  He returned, and we broke it to him gently:

"Right.  We've made an executive decision, and we're going to go to Target, buy bikinis and inflatable pool toys, and spend the afternoon in the pool.  You're going to buy the beer."

Much better idea.

So we did.

The End.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tonight we had a BBQ at Kangaroo Point with like 30 people, and it was amazing. Loads and loads of meat, good company, and some random (xxl) woman who rocked up and stuck around. J stupidly gave her a beer and that was that. She dug in to our food, even to the extent of helping herself to other people's plates - and the final straw that broke the camel's back was when she started feeding my pork ribs to her dog. J snapped and off she went. Haahhaaa - but it was his fault in the first place...

Oh, and I got this: AWESOMENESS

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Last 2 Days Part 2

This picture was taken this morning on departure out of Canberra, and is of the mist in the valleys.

Here is a picture taken going out of Sydney, and is of the famous Bondi beach and its smaller satellite beaches.

Sydney City from the North, the runways you can see in the second bay, near the horizon, two little 'feet' sticking into the bay - those are the runways.

Awesome waypoints going in to Brisbane...

Agricultural areas are few and far between in this area of Oz, so I decided to take a picture of this one heading in to Brisbane as it is the only one I have seen so far.  On the horizon I think is Stradbrook Island, or something like that.

The Last 2 Days

Yesterday was my birthday, and unfortunately I had to work.  There were a few good things about this, however.  Firstly, there was an Air New Guinea aircraft on the radio.  Then, we saw the aircraft taking off in front of us, and I was delighted to observe that written along the side of the aircraft in bold black letters were the words “AIR NIUGINI” which hugely made my day.  I am easily amused.  Then, we flew down to Sydney (via Port Macquarie) and I was almost as delighted to note that one of the waypoints was named Sosij.  (Coming back in to Brisbane today, I found an arrival with 3 waypoints over the bay named LEAKY, BOATS and SINNK, respectively, of which I took a photo, and proves to me that TAAMH.  Or rather “These Australians Are My Heroes”)

From Sydney, we flew on to Canberra, where we overnighted.  It was actually a massive 18 degrees on landing in Canberra, which was great.  It was quite an interesting flight, given the large number of thunderstorm along the mountain ranges, and there was lots of red and magenta on the weather radar, along with a considerable amount of lightning.  When we arrived into Canberra, the amazing taxi driver agreed to take us to the hotel the back way so that I could see some kangaroos.  I’m not sure that my crew members shared my enthusiasm, but mine certainly made up for their lack of it.  Kangaroos there were, and kangaroos in very large numbers indeed, there must have been at least twenty!  At this point I declared my purpose in life fulfilled, and Maddie remarked that I hadn’t yet seen a large bunch of kangaroos all hopping around with joeys poking out of their pouches, and my bubble went POP.  

I’m afraid it was hailing particularly heavily at the time, and so I didn’t even attempt to take any pictures of the hoards of kangaroos, but simply the fact that my First Kangaroo Sightings were on my birthday was good enough for me.  

In the evening, I met up with GR and JGdelaCG (who has a quite ridiculously long surname, in true Spanish style) and we went for dinner and they bought me a little birthday dessert which was ...interesting?  A very nice thought though :)

This is the only picture I have of the weather radar.  It's not a very good one, and it's not of the real weather, but by the time we were involved with the really nasty stuff, I wasn't really in picture taking mode...  it was more like "request 10 miles left of track due weather... request descent FL160 due weather...can we take 5 miles right of track now due weather... unable route direct HIPPO, request maintain this heading for the next 40 miles..."

These pictures are a little out of order but that's the way my iphone wanted to upload them, so sorry!  This is actually a picture just on the approach into Canberra, some of the hail coming out of the storm clouds to the north.

Once landed on the ground in Canberra, I do have a photo but I am fighting with iPhoto to make the company logo unreadable, and it doesn't want to play ball.

part 2 with more pics coming shortly...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


today was my birthday. JGdelaCG and GR bought me a birthday dessert. Tomorrow, I'll write a proper blog, but i figured I should probably write something on the 18th!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is it the 18th yet?????

Thoughts from today

Canberra. 5 degrees. Probably not the best place to wear flip-flops.

Forecast of -2 for the morning. Probably my first de-icing in Australia, and likely that they will make a simple procedure incredibly complicated.

8 dollars. That is what this 1 litre bottle of water will cost me if I decide to drink it. Way to go, Crowne Plaza, way to go.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Hello World! I have missed you, just a little. I think it's about a week since we last talked, but in all reality, I haven't actually done anything between then and now. The last 6 days have been spent on standby, and standby, and yet more standby.

One day I went to the city beach and chillaxed a little there, and also visited the Max Brenner chocolate café there. The thing that really got me hyped up at Max Brenners was the big vat of liquid chocolate churning away in the middle of the café. It was about 1.2 and maybe .75 of a metre diameter. Dependent on whether this entire space was full of gloriously gooey brownness or whether it was just a veneer, that is (or at least could be) an awfully massive amount of chocolate.

I'm not quite sure whether that sentence works, ya know.

I also bought a piece of chocolate while I was there, to determine whether all Australian chocolate was as bad as it comes across. It was okay really, no bad aftertaste, but neither did it have any depth to the taste. Anyway, enough on the subject of chocolate!

Today was spent down in Byron. I got up at a very unsociable hour (0620 in case you wondered), and drove to Morningside (South Brisbane) to join forces with DK, Steve and a couple of Steve's friends. Not much point taking more than one car for such a long drive.

It is incredible to me how long it takes to get 5 people going in the same direction - or even to get all sitting in the same car with the doors closed. In Byron we met up with a friend of Steve's (yes, another one) called Dominic, and that made it even worse. 5 unruly and unorganised people plus myself. I do not classify myself in that category as I really hate having to wait around for people and so in return don't like making other people wait around for me.

It took quite awhile to get everyone a surfboard and wetsuit, considering that one or two couldn't decide what they wanted, and indeed whether they wanted anything at all. Finally DK began to share a little of my frustration and we walked on ahead together. I don't know how far it was from the car to the beach but it probably only took 5-10 minutes, which felt like far longer carrying a beach bag and a bulky surfboard which although not particularly heavy was fairly unwieldy.

Then of course we arrived at the beach to find there wasn't any surf and so we had to walk all the way back to the car to try a different bay... At which point DK helpfully remarked that he had previously thought we should drive past the beach to make sure it was suitable before getting unpacked. Of course, he hadn't actually verbalised his thought at any stage before this point, so it wasn't a particularly useful comment.

And THEN, of course, we had to reload up the cars (Dominic had one too) and herd up the unruly people and put them back in their seats (a bit like trying to get wild sheep into a field) and then we drove across the point to the Other Beach. Tullow Beach, I think? At which point Steve and I ran down to the beach to make sure there was a surf. There was. In fact, it was like a different day there, fairly windy, pretty big waves (maybe 4ft?). Aaaand of course, it took a fair while to get the car unloaded agaaaain, and everyone organised agaaaain and blah blah blah.

Am I boring you yet? Yes? Good. You deserve to be bored, because I am bored, because I am in the car on the way back to Brisbane, and there is nothing to do, as Nicholas and Reggis (sp?) are asleep and DK and Steve are having a little aviation themed (who would'a' guessed?) conversation in the front.

We surfed. Just so you don't think I'm going to talk about getting out of the car forever. Even though it felt like forever, and still feels like forever. Yes, it also took a painfully long time to get back in the car and on the road to Brisbane.

So we surfed. Well. Steve surfed. Dominic surfed. DK caught a few waves. Nicholas and Reggis spluttered and choked and were swept in with the waves. And I rolled like tumbleweed up and down the coast line, often being dragged by my tow line, at other times hugging the surf board upside down, and at other times managinf to stay right way up until a wave got tired of me and vomited me up onto the beach. Not exactly surfing, but it was incredibly fun. The amount of adrenalin when you feel a wave pick you up as you paddle furiously, you desperately to stand - to kneel - to simply grip the sides of the board and hang on for dear life. Then as your fingers are pried relentlessly from their grip and you are thrown into the water, holding your arms over your head as there's no telling where your surfboard is - and then the welcome tug on your ankle which tells you your surfboard is ahead in the surf and isn't going to decapitate you. Welcome, that is, when it is not threatening to dislocate your ankle, or drown you, or both.

It was incredibly incredibly fun, and then we all ran out of energy and collapsed on the beach in a little pool of deadnessness, and slowly coralled ourselves into the car to Subway ourselves. Yes, that is a verb. Because I say so, that's why.

The afternoon wasn't fun at all because the boys decided we should go back to the little surf. FAIL.



I am in a car on the way back to Brisbane and I am very tired, sandpapered by waves, bruised, salt-encrusted and overall, extremely happy.

And tomorrow?

Safety pilot.

Who'd'a known?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

the Cake

A million years later, a million ingredients later, a million cake disasters later...

Okay, so not to exaggerate, the first cake was an absolute disaster. A disgrace to my family name, but I blame it on the recipe and the oven. I definitely followed the recipe yet the cake ended up oozing with oil, quite disgustingly, so I had to start over.

The second attempt was a different recipe, and still took 1h30 to cook a 35-45 min cake, thanks to our amazing gas oven. That said, I did add pineapple which probably didn't help.

This morning I iced it and presented it to S, who was thrilled (yay!) and promptly decide to eat it for breakdast. Actually this was a very good idea but now I am dying of a cake overdose...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Another day, another dollar

I've nothing to say, really.  The week has gone well, I've been on two Rocky overnights and an unused reserve, which was nice, and last night went out into town with a few of the internationals.  Now I am lying on the couch thinking about making a birthday cake for S, but can't actually motivate myself to get up.  One problem is that I forgot to buy baking paper, and the thought of having to go to buy it isn't particularly appealing.  I suppose I could use greaseproof paper... but would that work?

Perhaps I will take a photo of the cake, if I get around to baking it - but it all depends on the performance of our very old and very leaky gas oven...