Sunday, June 16, 2019

What does Brisbane rhyme with?

I set up a few days in the city to do a little sight-seeing before my Workaway started. As with the previous few posts, I don't know what to tell you.
City Hall was great - beautiful building, cool information, nifty museum inside. The museum tour kind-of sucked (Here's this painting, look at it later. Here's this exhibit, you can read the wall plaque at the end.) but it was free. The area around City Hall was pedestrian friendly and it was easy to get over to the city library, which was also beautiful.

Unrelated - I'm not sure why Brisbane has a "City" Hall but other cities have "Town" Halls.
I crossed the bridge(s) and checked out the museum area (including a cool ANZAC exhibit) and the State Library. The State Library had a very cool "maker space" / creative space area that seemed very pro-citizen. I saw more exhibits and all that good stuff.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Stylish Sydney

Will this be a long entry? Probably not. Sydney was great, though I spent a LOT of time in the State Library.

As mentioned, I made the right choice for once and took a daytime bus to Sydney. I finished a book (which book - Heart of Darkness, maybe?) and arrived in the evening. For the first time in the trip I had someone I'd previously met come through and offer to host - in this case it was Rebecca, who I'd met in Vancouver after the train trip across Canada.

There was a fair bit of relaxing, as I was feeling worn out.

Generally speaking, there was some ferry riding, some tour taking, and some pub visiting while staying with my friend. We won a pub quiz quite handily, then lost a different one quite badly. I'm not sure what all to write - I suppose I'll say the free walking tour in Sydney (and the one in Melbourne) were well worth going on.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Adoring Adelaide

Chances are, if you run in the same nerd circles as I do, the only reason you know about Adelaide is because one Brady Haran, of Hello Internet (HI) podcast and several YouTube channels (Numberphile, Objectivity, &c.), is from there. On HI there are several running jokes, two of which overlap for this story: there exist branded "hotstoppers" (small plastic plugs one can put in to-go coffee containers to prevent hot coffee from escaping) that the HI hosts give out and that one of the places you can always get a hotstopper is in the cafe at the base of an Adelaide skyscraper nicknamed the "Black Stump" (the future home to the HI museum!) despite both hosts now living in England. I've done more for less of a reason (see: "hey, it'd be cool to go around the world, I suppose"), so I got off the tour bus (Great Ocean Road & Grampians) and found myself in Adelaide.

As you may remember, I had some difficulty making friends and meeting people in Melbourne. I was, as I texted a friend, the angriest I have ever been for several days in a row. The tour was a delightful break from that - but was it a fluke? Was I just making friends with other tourists? A very slow check-in at my hostel had me fearing the worst.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Delays, Delays

alt: Hurry up and Wait

[I shouldn't have written all this here - this is a rambling journal entry I thought was going to be about waiting in airports. Sorry if that's not what you're into.]

I'm not a patient person by nature. If I'm not vigilent, I get very grumpy very quickly about things not moving fast enough (and, of course, complain about not getting anything done in the times that I could have completed some task or other). While I try to slow things down, there is some addiction to new information that I possess and must constantly struggle against.

When traveling, delays happen. Things take time. Whether it's a train being hours late to pull into a station while only a mere mile or two away or sitting in a Thai bus station without a ticket, nervously sipping coffee hoping that the connecting bus, whenever it shows up, will let you on despite the driver of the first bus having the ticket, there are times one has to take deep breaths, relax, and maybe open a book.

Bigger delays happen too. Waiting for friends to start their own travels. Waiting for the weather to get warmer before changing countries. Waiting for Bitcoin to climb back up to a price where you don't mind selling a little. Waiting for one of your strategically bought CDs to mature so you have a bit more liquidity. Waiting to physically and mentally recover from spending so little time in so many cities.

I'm constantly fighting (and often failing) to be more patient. In small things, it's picking up the phone and texting friends or listening to podcasts. In big things it's feeling like nothing's ever going to come together in my favor and I must go, do, and GET OUT NOW. In the latter case, thankfully, I generally look out for my future self and trust my past self, so if it's a day, week, month, or five years (my past plan to buy a house), I just need to remember to trust myself. In small things, however, I'm less successful.

To focus on the small: well, my phone's a problem. Podcasts are probably my biggest problem at the moment as they tie my brain up in distraction. If my goal is to publish some fiction, well, I need to write some fiction. To that end, I should institute some new rule. Perhaps no podcast if there's a possibility of me writing in the next two hours? More? No podcasts before I've written my page for the day? What about texts? What about the infinite scrolling of social media? What about any of the stupid things I do to distract myself from being patient?

What is a reasonable strategy to be more patient? To suck in more of the world (and, indeed, spit some of it back out on paper)? If I'm to look out for my future self, what rule should I follow?

How about this: music when my hands aren't free, writing when they are. After I've finished a page - even if it takes all day - I can have my treat and listen to a podcast or check reddit or answer a text. I think that's fair. I'll give it a go tomorrow (May 30, 2019) and see if it helps.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Great Ocean Road and Grampians

Over a period of an hour and a half, we loaded a small bus full of passengers from around the world. I use "we" liberally - I was the first pick-up and, as such, I sat near the front and conversed with the driver / guide. After everyone was aboard, we set out on an absolutely delightful drive from Melbourne to Adelaide.

I'll be honest: I'm not sure what to include in this entry. The trip deserves its own entry for the sights we saw, the friends I made, and the general whole of the trip, but I'm struggling to write more than "we went to a sight, we were amazed, then we went to another sight and were amazed again" for a dozen or so stops.

Friday, May 24, 2019

More on Melbourne

Complaints about the people aside, I suspect I should give a proper account of my stay in Melbourne.

I arrived early-for-me in the morning after an overnight flight from Tokyo. I will never learn my lesson and avoid overnight travel - I was thoroughly lucky that my hostel let me in early so I could waste a day taking a long nap (then tossing and turning all night).

Monday, May 20, 2019

Moron Mansion, Melbourne

I love Melbourne. I hate the people.

Every moment of every interaction with every person here is an argument for the extinction of the human race.

Seagulls biding their time

In no particular order:

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Tokyo is an anagram of Kyoto

The bullet train was fast and uneventful (though I finished reading The Color Purple). I arrived in the afternoon and checked into a hostel that had the most hoops I’ve ever had to jump through - talk to the front desk person to get the WiFi password to download an app to take a photo of my passport to get a QR code to scan at a kiosk to get a printout ticket for my room number and keycard which then the front desk person checked and directed me to my room. Also, this hostel was so afraid of shoe goblins that one was not allowed to leave the front mat until shoes were off and ill-fitting slippers were on. On that last point, once I realized the workers popped out of their hole infrequently, I just started going barefoot.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

More Osaka! Solo this time.

After a whirlwind of a time traveling with Mikey (and given some running around with my host in Kobe before that) it was time to chill out for a bit. I didn’t do a whole ton of stuff over the next few days in Osaka other than hunting down tasty, cheap, or otherwise interesting restaurants. I went to a Couchsurfing meetup one night that turned out to be an English language learning class in disguise, though I made a few friends. I did some writing and some reading (oh, I need to update my BOOK LIST at some point) and a whole lot of snoozing. It didn’t help that the weather was a little less nice than I’d hoped, which meant a lot of time lounging in the hostel kitchen.

One of my friends from the Couchsurfing meetup helped me buy a ticket for the bullet train to Tokyo though, had I to plan this all over again, I probably would have made arrangements in a few cities along the way (Nagoya, somewhere around Mt. Fuji, Yokohama, etc.) and taken local trains. It wouldn’t have been about the money, but rather the adventure and getting outside of the big cities.

Overall I had an absolute blast in Osaka and would go back in an instant. I really felt cozy and it was easy to make friends and do interesting things - and there was just enough chaos to make it fun.

Pics for Japan can be found via this link.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Osaka & Kyoto: the Mikey Chronicles

If I did this the way I hope, Mikey’s account has already been posted on this blog. I should probably reread that before I type this up… (I won’t)

Months earlier, I passed some of my travel planning fatigue off on Mikey and asked him to do what booking and planning was necessary - I trusted his judgement (and I needed a break from trying to research places on my phone). We met up in a bookstore (how appropriate for two introverts) on the first of April and I almost didn’t recognize him, as his hair was the longest I’d seen it. It was a nice reunion and we started exploring the area shortly thereafter.