Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cyril & Friends

Disclaimer: To All Those Who Might Be Offended by Alcohol, and other Funny Happenings, skip this post... but really, it was all in the Strict Interests of Science, and nobody was hurt during the Research.


Having been told, by my father, that I haven't posted enough pictures, I would like to introduce you to Cyril.  And to Cyril's friends.

So last night, we decided that we didn't want to pay the hotel $10 (plus GST) for a beer, so to buy a few cans from a convenience store, to relax in the heat after a long day on the course.  We got a little side tracked.

Beside the hotel, there's a little area that I am loathe to call a shopping centre, because really, it's just the Asian version of an air conditioned Tallaght full of Asian bogans... and if that's not the best mix of International slang you ever heard, well, you're not my friends any more.  And if you don't know Tallaght, or bogans, Google is your friend.

This is where we found Cyril.

Or rather, beside the somewhat overflowing convenience store full of weird and wonderful Asian foods, and behind the knick-knack (sp?) shop of little Buddha figurines, was this:

I'm not sure what it was about Cyril and his friends that intrigued us so much.  Gerry said 'let's see what it looks like', so I'm blaming him.

One word to describe the inside of this place... okay I give up, there is no one word.  Description?  Think plastic flowers, Buddha, ribbons, dragons, random cheesy pub signs from around the world, and two taps... one of Kilkenny and one of Heineken.  And many many many Asian women (Gerry remains unconvinced) all of whom kept asking us did we want another beer... in fact, it would be safe to say that 80% of the clientele actually worked there...

And the music.  What can I possibly say about the music?  Air Supply, The Bee Gees, Ronan Keating, all being hopelessly mangled by the Asian kareoke...

Here, I even took a picture of one of the kareoke 'artists'

Oh and the guy in the orange shirt?  There was one of those at every exit.  And when I left to use the bathroom?  When getting slightly lost on the return leg, one of these guys helpfully ushered me back to Cyril & friends.  Not spooky at all, right?

Anyway, after the second beer (to be polite) we excused ourselves, but obviously we had to come back tonight dragging an Australian with us to prove how amazing Cyril was.  (only lasted 1 beer this time, the kareoke almost tortured us to death)

Maybe tomorrow we'll stick to the $10 beer plus GST...

Or perhaps we will find another unsuspecting Australian to drag into the melee *cue evil laugh*

Monday, July 22, 2013

Death by power point... 

We arrived an hour late for the course as the company didn't bother itself to give us a training schedule, so we had to go with our rostered start time of 0900 - it actually started at 0800.  Four crews are on the course - Indian, Colombian and Malaysian, and us 'Australians' as they call us... hahahaha...

The course went slower than it could have, due to a large number of Stupid Questions, which caused me to scribble angry notes to Gerry such as 'IF THEY ASK ANOTHER QUESTION LIKE THAT, I WILL COMMIT A CRIME.'

We were hauled out of the classroom at 1130 to do our first session on the procedural trainer, which they call "VHP" whatever that is.  

 A picture, just so you know what I'm talking about.

The main problem with it was that whenever you tried to press a button, it didn't work, and it was extremely easy to accidentally shut down engines etc. (I know because we did)

The afternoon was CRM (crew resource management) and how it applies to glass cockpits... more death by powerpoint... and then for some lovely ACOS (computer based training).

We decided to leave an hour early because of Great Thirst, and now we have this:

Which is indeed very nice.

The End

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Singapore Day 1

I think I'm going to melt.  Got up this morning at 0700 with it already 27 degrees and about 98% humidity.  We went for an American breakfast, and oh so good to get a good dose of crispy American bacon inside me... lunch is going to be proper Singaporean fare, ie noodles of some kind.

the view from the breakfast bar

After breakfast, half of our number chickened out back to the hotel, and Gerry and I went for a long walk, slowly dissolving along the way.

A necessary photo of Gerry taking a photo

The sea was completely full of ships.  I'd say you could walk the entire width of the harbour without getting wet!

The sea front was littered with coconut palms.  It's not coconut season yet so they're still yellow.

Apparently you can camp in the park and on the seafront if you have a permit.  A far sight from Australia where parks are simply to look at and not to use for anything in particular.

The trails were well sign posted with dire threats of punishment for any transgression, for instance $1000 fine for riding your bike through an underpass.  Of course, the Asians were all doing it anyway - the government could make a mint if it were actually enforced!

My favourite sign though was the stereotypical drug-buster one which I had to pose with.

Go Singapore!

Now, I am cooling down in my hotel room, and rueing the fact that I didn't bring enough changes of clothes for sticky heat.  I guess I will be forced to use the hotel's laundry facilities at some stage!

Next step... POOL!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

This week

It’s been a busy week.  Where to start?  Monday morning, I guess, was when I arrived back in Brisbane, unbelievably glad to be home, yet not really feeling like I got home, due to being in a new house, and all that.  Living out of a suitcase is not my favourite occupation, and nor is unpacking, but priorities first, so laundry etc was done, and uniform prepped for next use.  Then it was rent-a-ute time, to go pick up Gumtree furniture.

I am now the very proud owner of a table and chairs, solid teak desk and pale brown suede couch.  The couch was a lot less brown than in the advertised picture, which was a relief, as initially I was thinking I would have to cover it with a throw to de-brown-ify it !

Mum:  I have to say that I am not a big Ikea Cushion Fan.  I bought the ones for the cushion covers, and they just seem limp and un-cushiony.  Here is a picture of the completed effort... they just seem to be missing an awful lot of ‘oomph’.

Back and forth and back and forth with furniture took up the remainder of Monday, which brings me to Tuesday.  (Funny that)

Tuesday was build a table and chairs day, return the ute, and sign the lease for the house.  I am now the proud sharer of a lease, an official member of the household, and the owner of a table that is missing a bolt.  We had a couple of people around for dinner, and so I considerately warned them that one table leg was not securely bolted in, just in case they lost their salmon and roast potatoes... of course, I kept the location of the missing bolt a secret.  I’m fairly sure that it’s a redundant bolt but still, good to keep people on their toes (and hopefully the table off their toes...).

Wednesday we went to Noosa, the waves were beautiful, and the weather was not.  Oh yes, back to Tuesday, I went to cross-fit in the evening and almost killed myself by climbing up ropes and doing push-ups and pull-ups and running etc. and am still suffering three days later, so surfing on Wednesday was a somewhat painful experience from the get-go.  It was still fun, and I managed to catch one green wave, although I didn’t stand up, and a few whitewater waves and stood up once.  Of course, Steve outshone everyone on the beach and did all sorts of weird twisty things and stuff.

This is the only picture taken of me at the beach - while I was taking photos of C & M surfing, standing in the shallows, getting decidedly damp whenever the waves attacked.  As you can see, I am wearing a coat, because it was Cold.

C left and M right, synchronised surfing :P

C all finished, with DK's longboard, having entirely worn herself out !

Thursday, which was yesterday, started at about 0330 when I woke up entirely stiffened up and aware of a large number of muscles that I never knew I had.  For instance, who’d ‘a’ thunk that I had muscles on my ribs, of all places?! 

Thursday evening the Irish contingent descended on GH’s house, south of the Brisbane river, for a very nice home-cooked meal of lasagne - I think my first lasagne of Australia, believe it or not !  We kept G&L awake until well after midnight, after which time I ferried everyone back to their respective houses, and made my way back north to Banyo, being stopped on the way for a random breath test at which the officer asked whether I had drunk 32 bottles of wine, which was a little bit weird.  No?  Good, on you go then.

Today is Friday, and I’m packing to go to Singapore for nine days.  I’m already homesick and I haven’t even left yet, I just want a few more days... aghhh!  I want to wake up in my own bed (and go to sleep in it too) and cook my own meals and not live out of a suitcase and and and... I could moan forever, believe me.  I’m well-practiced and good at it.  

What fun.  Aaaanyway...  I may or may not blog while I’m in Singapore, obviously I’m there for work, but there is free wifi at the hotel so We Shall See.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Day two in Canberra.  This morning it was foggy, as in 100m visibility foggy, but by the time we left it was back up to legal minimum - 550m, FYI.

Interesting to see the hills poking up out of the fog, which are why we have a special departure procedure to stop us hitting them if an engine fails.

Now I'm finished work for the day and about to head into town, as when packing for this five day trip, I forgot to add any casual tops.  Uniform shirts might not work with skinny jeans.  Enforced clothes shopping, yay !

And here is a pretty Cathay airplane, Airbus 330 or 340 don't ask me which, Pretty much the only airplane I recognise is the ATR.  And yes, I wrote airplane.  So sue me.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Feeling better today, feeling good.  The stress of last week seems to have dispersed, leaving me much more relaxed than I was.  On Thursday I went to Canberra, still pretty wound up and uptight about the Goings On That Had Been, but even though it was nights and nights and nights of hotels, and many early mornings, it was a good trip.  In fact, I haven't laughed so hard in a long while, both at work and socially in the evenings.  

Now, I'm home, and last night I slept so well in my bed, I'm really going to miss it this weekend.  Didn't I mention it?  I'm off to Canberra again tomorrow, for another five days.  Today has been a whirlwind of doing stuff that I wanted to do on my days day off.  

I've now officially submitted the paperwork which should add me to the lease here, and it's a comforting feeling to know that I'll actually belong officially.  It didn't mean so much to me before, in fact, I couldn't care less whether I was on a lease or not, but after last time, yeah, it's nice.

Gumtree is my new most-used website, trying to find some furniture to add to the house.  C's old housemate took his furniture with him when he left, and although C has most things, there are a few spaces.  Right now I'm looking at buying a dining suite, three-seat sofa, and an office desk.  I'm very picky though, I want proper wood for the table and desk, good quality and not a nasty pine colour, and I would like a brownish suede for the sofa.  Obviously, as Gumtree is where I'm looking, choice is limited!  

On Sunday, a friend is coming over from Ireland for a week, and luckily I will be back from Canberra on Monday and able to spend time with her.  I have Tuesday and Wednesday off, followed by Thursday and Friday on reserve, although due to further roster changes, I have been offered those off too - and then on Saturday (so Saturday week) I am heading to Singapore for nine days!  I finally get to do the course I have been waiting to do for over a year - it is just unfortunate that it's not held in France any more !

It is going to be a busy time in between now and then, and hopefully some of the furniture I've been looking at will still be available when I get home, and I will be able to be a Good Haggler - just like my mother :)

Now, it is pouring with rain, having drizzled all day, the temperature is at a measly 15C according to Google, and I'm all snuggled up warm in my own bed (a rarity, nowadays) waiting for it to be dinner time.  


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

House photos

my bedroom
main bathroom
living room & kitchen
 outside my bedroom window - knacker lots it seems, then acres of palm trees
the back yard in bad lighting

no pics of the upstairs living area as it is in disarray, no pics of spare rooms, C's room or the 3 toilets - is that OK? ha!


Moving House

So last night, I almost made it into an episode of Cops.  Cops Australian Edition, I guess, if that exists.

Last night ended the psycho housemate saga of 2013.  I think I'm pretty safe in saying 2013, as I'm fairly certain that my new housemate is saner than the last !  

I always get the impression that people think I am extra-dramatising the whole experience, even after viewing the emails and texts, but believe me, even special effects couldn't make it more crazy.  And last night really proved that you can't reason with crazy.  Luckily, 2013 housemate #4 (from hereout referred to as C) was there to witness it all and now does not think I was exaggerating in any way ! 

Disclaimer: this is only the third residence of 2013, it just happens that housemate #1 and #2 were at the same place, and I was there for 9 months thankyouverymuch and would have stayed if it wasn't a temporary arrangement due moving to Australia !

Having arrived home from Alaska just last week, and been verbally attacked by Crazy pretty much as soon as my feet hit the ground, I only waited 24 hours to give my notice.  She requested 2 weeks' notice which worked for me, as I had planned to give her 4.  (Cue changing plans with new housemate to move in 2 weeks' time instead of 4.)

1 day later, things snowballed into chaos, and due to verbal bashings that were heard not only in the apartment above but also in the one across the hall, I decided to move this last weekend (1.5 weeks before end of notice).  In the interim, J (housemate #1 or #2, dependent on classification) let me stay at his place, with advice from many to not be in the apartment alone with Crazy at any time.

Having moved everything out by yesterday afternoon, after a crazy weekend of rushing around like a headless chicken, and having spoken to various authorities about the right way to proceed, I drove out to meet her to finalise the paperwork, taking C to witness the exchange and hopefully prevent that abuse.

I should have recorded it.  I chose to meet her in neutral territory, not only outside the unit but outside the complex, so that she did not feel threatened or that 'her' space was invaded (despite my renting the place for another 1.5 weeks).  On seeing myself with C, she flipped out, yelling that I hadn't told her I was bringing someone with me (I had, in writing, at least twice) and turned on C, telling him that he had no right to be there (at the side of a public road) and to get back into the car.

Then, when I said I was not okay with meeting her without C there, she refused to settle things, demanding the keys to be returned - which I refused.  At that, she decided to call the police (???), so we stood beside the car in the rain, while she (standing at a 'safe' distance, behind the complex' gates) tried to persuade them that I was doing something sufficiently terrible that they would want to attend (they didn't).  

Finally, we had to wait for her to get her own Back-up Person (did she feel left out?) and she so angrily and viciously signed the return of bond form that I am now unable to use it to get my money back as it looks nothing like her other signatures.  So now, I must wait for the RTA to contact her to make sure she actually did sign the form... which will take about 3 weeks... *sigh*

I really wish I had've filmed it.  C was completely goggle-eyed, wondering whether it really was happening... oh and did I mention that she then vindictively added on the form that I hadn't given her the correct notice, as I had done so verbally?  K has been quite the peacemaker for me the last few days, encouraging me to be the bigger person... so I'm cramming as many calories in as I possibly can...

Now, I am lying on my bed in my new room, entirely unpacked, everything in its correct (and somewhat new) home, and I even had time to polish my brass spitfire.  I'm worn out from not stopping for days, it seems, but at least now having finished I have all of tomorrow off to relax before my 6 day trip on Thursday! Aaaack! 

I promise I will take photos tomorrow and post, but right now it is dark so they wouldn't come out well, so I will leave you with a picture of the brass spitfire...