December 30, 2007
December 21, 2007
We've had leaks in our lounge roof in the past. The first time it was repaired it didn't rain again for six months, so we didn't know that it wasn't fixed. The second time around, the roofing dude said he couldn't find any leaks on the roof, but bogged up the most likely areas, so every time it rains we expect to come home to a big puddle of water on the table.
And now you know the back story.
Deb was out on the booze tonight and I felt like having a laugh. I sent this picture message to her phone:
It was a 2 minute photoshop, so it doesn't look like much at this size, but I guess it looked convincing enough on her mobile screen, as her phonecall's first words were "what the fuck?!"
It made my night anyway :)
December 16, 2007
When you're copying a large number of files from one place to another (as I tend to do when backing up photos), you're presented with this option:
For simplicity, you can just overwrite all of the existing photos with an exact copy, which really is just a waste of time. What's even more of a waste of time though is sitting there for 20 minutes clicking "No" for every file so that you only copy over unique files.
Here's the tip: hold down Shift when you click no. It's essentially a virtual button that says "No to all" on it. Frikkin' sweet.
Thanks to Jigar Mehta who happened to be the first link I clicked on.
The problem now is finding out where the dodgy files are and replacing them either from the backup drive (that I haven't used as often as I should), Deb's laptop (that only has backups of more recent stuff), the portable hard drive that we used in Vietnam (that was going to be used as a proper backup drive from today) or my backup at work (which was current as of around this time last year).
This year, the plan is to build a proper RAID file server so I won't have to worry as much about failing hard drives. Of course, I also need to figure out what the hell RAID really is, but that's a small detail.
December 15, 2007
Here's a better photo now that we're home:
Ellissi was fantastic. He's really down to earth and having spent his entire working life in the trade, knows his stuff too.
December 14, 2007
December 09, 2007
On the outside, it looks like a normal, easy to eat fruit, but no. To prepare it, you have to cut the "cheeks" off and to avoid wastage spend a further 5 minutes hacking slivers off the great big seed in the middle. It still looks tasty, so you inevitably try and nibble the remaining flesh off the seed, but instead end up with masses of hairy fibres between your teeth.
Verdict: fuck it, stick to apples
December 07, 2007
December 01, 2007
November 29, 2007
November 28, 2007
I've uploaded a good chunk of them to a webalbum, so if you're interested, have a look!
We're still in the middle of captioning everything, and we really need to do that before we forget what everything was. I've also been tagging the locations on Google maps, so if your bandwidth is up to it (sorry Mum), you can view the satellite images of Vietnam with our photos pinned onto it.
November 18, 2007
November 17, 2007
We needed to get water and barely had enough cash left. This is because we were used to paying no more than 5000d for a bottle and they were charging 32000d for them after passing customs.
Cool, we're boarding now!
Next stop is Singapore for a bit of duty free then we're back in Melbourne in time for work on Monday.
November 15, 2007
November 12, 2007
We're doing a day trip with the Easy Riders tomorrow which should be a laugh. It's our first time on the back of a motorbike since we've been here and the traffic is ridiculous, but I'm sure we'll be fine.
November 09, 2007
The weather has turned a bit rainy in Hoi An, so the bad stuff is going to hit the coast soon. Hopefully it clears up or we'll have to skip Mui Ne and spend a few days in the Mekong Delta instead. At least the typhoon has been downgraded to a tropical storm, so we'll be a bit safer.
November 08, 2007
November 07, 2007
The next day was a bus tour of the DMZ which ended after visiting the Vinh Moc caves where civilians lived for 6 years during the war.
We're now in Hoi An, after an afternoon getting fitted for suits, shirts pants and jackets.
It was a little daunting walking past the dozens and dozens of shops, each one full of bolts of material and clothing samples. We settled on a place that looked good and was staffed by a couple of friendly young girls with good english. After poring over catalogues thicker than the yellow pages, we settled on some clothes that looked good. We go back tomorrow to see what they've achieved and if it's all good will order some more.
This post is a little lacking in detail, but I'll fill it out when we get some more time (and get to use a computer that isn't sharing a dialup connection with 2 other computers)
November 04, 2007
It means that instead of being able to update this on the fly, I need to sit in an internet cafe and try writing about a whole week all at once.
So following on from the last post:
We were walking back from the train station after missing our train when a minibus pulled over, a couple of vietnamese (mother and son I think) jumped out and started waving us onto the bus.
We eventually figured out they were going to Halong Bay and there were another couple of tourists (Chris and Jo) on the bus as well so we thought we'd give it a shot.
4 1/2 hours, half a dozen crammed on new passengers, a crying puking baby and an attempt to overcharge us later, we arrived in Halong Bay. The English couple who were on the bus with us were going to Cat Ba island as well, so we bought our boat tickets together and set off.
After visiting some natural caves (thoughtfully lit up for us with coloured lights) we arrived on Cat Ba island. To get to Cat Ba town, it was then just a 20 minute ride in a minivan (16 people in a 12 seater with all of their luggage) which wasn't nerve wracking at all..
Accomodation was easy to organise and we spent the evening dozing after a hell of a long and tiring day.
Before going to sleep though, we managed to take the obligatory millionaire photos:
Cat Co 2 is a beach that is accessible via a rickety boardwalk attached to the rocks around one of the bays. Apart from the parts held together with sticks and wire, it was actually pretty sturdy.
We were the only ones there at 8 in the morning, so after booking a couple of loungers, buying some beers and getting rid of the syringe that was spoiling the view, we sat back and enjoyed a bit of sun.
After a while, a dude came along offering a 40 minute massage for a couple of dollars. After turning him down for a few minutes I caved in and let him do his stuff.
I could get used to having those regularly I think.
Kein was born on Cat Ba and has been trained in Hanoi and China as well as doing a bit of time in Sa Pa as a porter and part time masseuse. Nice bloke and maybe the first genuine person we'd come across in Vietnam (don't worry, he wasn't the last).
That evening we had dinner at a seafood restaurant, so Deb thought she'd be adventurous and ordered the crab "with lemongrass".
Perhaps the lemongrass made it sound fancier than it was, because she ended up with a whole boiled crab sitting on a plate. It hadn't been prepared at all, so after hacking into the thing with nutcrackers, the owner arrived laughing with a pair of scissors and cut the thing in half for us.
I have a feeling that Deb won't be ordering crab next time and will just stick to the dog.
Day 3 in Cat Ba was our last day, so we rented a couple of scooters and took off around the coast of the island. Deb was a little nervous but got the hang of it eventually and we had fun nipping around the roads and tooting our horns like authentic Vietnamese.
We dropped the bikes off after a couple of hours, checked out of the hotel and hopped in a van to take us to the "fast ferry". The ferry was maybe 10-12 metres long, so it was nice and crammed once the dozen motorbikes were rolled on. I ended up sitting right at the front of the boat keeping an eye on our bags that were just sitting on top of the roof.
After the ferry, we were transferred onto the bus to Hanoi with a lot of other locals. Luckily we got on fairly early, so didn't need to sit on plastic stools in the aisle (as was the case for everyone who got on after us).
We made it back to Hanoi without any dramas, checked into our hotel and went out for a couple of cheap beers. By cheap I mean 2000D (which at last count was around $0.13AU).
Tune in next time for: "Name that Smell" and "No motorbike for me, please"
October 29, 2007
Here's a quick run down:
Arrived in Hanoi around lunchtime.
Caught a minibus from the airport to the city (only $2 or so).
After being dropped of at the hotel we asked for, decided to say no thanks to the scammer and walked round to the other side of the lake to the actual hotel.
Walked around that evening trying to find the train station to buy tickets for the morning train to Hai Phong. Couldn't find it (apparantly a lot of people have had trouble with the Lonely Planet map of Hanoi), so we went to a restaurant for dinner and asked one of the guys at the hotel to pick up tickets for us instead. I proposed to Debbie at the restaurant, which caught us both by surprise. This photo was taken a minute or so later :)
Getting up at up at 5am the next morning, we found that they hadn't managed to get tickets for the decent seats, so didn't buy them. We thought we'd just go to the station and get normal tickets ourselves. Shame the hotel dude sent us to the wrong station, which we discovered after taking a taxi there, but luckily a guy with a three wheeled motorbike heard us mention Hai Phong in amongst our jibberish and drove like a madman for a couple of km to get us to the right station.
Ok, this place is too hot, need to get a beer. Will finish the story later.
October 27, 2007
Damn, there was a photo for this, but we wandered out of the wireless coverage area and couldn't be arsed walking back again.
I'm also really in need of a shower so with at least three more hours of flying to do, I'm gonna be nice and ripe by lunchtime.
October 26, 2007
Started well: missed our train by about a minute, so had to get a cab. I'm pretty sure the first thing cabbies learn when they get of the plane is that the ONLY way to get anywhere is to take the CityLink. Seriously, if you ask them to take another route they revert to their childhood and forget their grasp of English.
Off to customs now.
I'm mainly looking forward to the food... but also the cheap beer.... and I guess the bargain tailor made clothes in Hoi An are pretty inviting... don't forget hanging out in Hanoi's old quarter, eating grilled pork from street vendors... and shooting AK47s in De Nang is going to be neat as well.
Man, that three weeks is going to go by in a heartbeat!
Ok, gotta dash, see you all on the flip side.*
* flip side? What the fuck does that really mean? My life isn't a bloody record, and why would you guys be on the b-side?
October 17, 2007
We usually pass only a handful of cyclists on the way to work in the morning and seeing hundreds more today showed that loads of people are capable of doing it, yet would rather sit on a train or drive to work.
It lead me to assume that most people only rode in today to be part of something instead of trying to stave off an early death due to FATNESS.
Sorry, I'm not a fan of people who do things like catch the lift to avoid a single flight of stairs or fat people who drink 2 litres of diet coke to make them feel better about the choloate they had for breakfast.
Hmm, that didn't end as planned. Here's a picture:
September 21, 2007
September 06, 2007
August 12, 2007
August 04, 2007
We let the washing build up cos it's a hassle to dry towels and sheets without a clothesline. That means that we take a trip to the laundromat now and then which totally beats having towels hanging over every chair, table and cupboard handle in the flat. Also, now that I finally have a new mobile, I can surf the net or update this thing. I guess I could always read a book, but this is a lot more fun :)
It kind of reminds me of MC Hammer's Blog, which he regularly updates from his mobile. The last time I checked in he was using a sidekick, but after queueing up with the rest of plebs, he's now using an iPhone. Good to see he can slum it like everyone else.
July 21, 2007
July 14, 2007
June 29, 2007
That changed a little when I rediscovered Facebook. It's really neat being able to easily catch up with people you haven't seen for years, especially with the amount of effort that I've put in recently. I think I've only send half a dozen emails in the last 3 years that have actually left Australia.
Without signing up, I wouldn't know that one mate is moving to Melbourne in a fortnight, another is contemplating a transfer to Melbourne, another is four months pregnant, yet another is making a movie. It really makes the globe shrink when you realise the range of people that are sitting at your fingertips.
Maybe it's the booze (actually, it's most likely the booze) but I haven't felt this nostalgic for ages. I think it's time to break out the old photos, play some Drum and Bass and spark up a fat hooter.
June 16, 2007
Well, mum's birthday was on the 20th, so happy birthday mum!
We got a new TV to replace the old 21" crt. The transformer in it was shot and you had to punch it to stop it from squealing.
Now I can play games on a nice big telly. We've also hooked up Deb's Mac Mini as a wireless media box, so we can stream video and music from computers in the other room (you can see it at the bottom right corner of the tv).
Dad is currently in the Solomons for a stint and last month he was on leave in Brisbane. After spending a few weeks there with mum, he came down and stayed with us for a week. It was really good having him here (and not just because we came home from work every night to a cooked meal). He now knows how to attach pictures to an email, so we should be getting some interesting pics soon.
We also caught up with my cousin Damian who lives in Clayton. We never seem to see each other unless another family member is over, but it's always a laugh.
My mate Travis finished up at work last month, which left a bit of a hole in the place. It was nice working with someone who was on the same wavelength as me. Now I spend a lot of my time explaining myself. So, my sense of humour takes a little getting used to. That's hardly my problem now is it?
We ended up at karaoke, which I really think is the scourge of the pub scene. What ever happened to self respect?
Of course, I say that, but Trav managed to get me up on stage for a rousing rendition of Tenacious D's "Tribute". Thankfully there's no evidence of that, so you'll just have to believe me.
Hmm, what else? Oh yeah, for our awards night at work we were encouraged to submit a team photo. There were prizes and stuff, so we decided we'd go with a superhero theme. I've never been any good at dressing up, so I volunteered to do a bit of Photoshop work instead.
It must have been ok, because we won the first prize of $500.
Looking at it on a different monitor now, there's a lot of stuff that could've been done a lot better, but it was good enough at the time.
So that's it for me. This weekend I'm going to try and send out a few emails to folks that I haven't managed to stay in touch with over the past 3-5 years. It not that I don't care, it's just that I'm exceptionally lazy.
Don't hold your breath though...
April 11, 2007
Here's the set-list if anyone's interested:
01. Intro Jam
02. Cant' Stop
03. Dani California
06. Fortune Faded
07. 21st Century
08. Throw away your Television
10. She's Only 18
11. John Solo
12. Snow (hey oh)
13. Me and my Friends
14. This Velvet Glove
15. Sunny (flea's little bass song)
16. Don't forget me
18. Stadium Arcadium
19. By the Way
20. Jam with Flea on trumpet
21. I could have lied
22. Give it Away
23. Final Jam
Also, Chad Smith (the drummer) was due to perform in Federation Square at 6.30 this evening. What I didn't know until they came on stage was that Flea and John were joining him! It was a 30 minute jam session which was bloody brilliant. Especially because we were much closer than the night before.
verdict: friggin sweet
I'm not feeling very wordy this evening, but I thought I'd throw a few pics up just to stop this thing from getting too stale.
Rocks on a Beach:
View from on top of the same rocks a bit later on:
From the top of Mount Oberon:
The Great Sout... ah, read it yourself:
Our first snake seen in the wild:
So, it was a great weekend, fantastic weather, plenty of booze and a car for four days! It's going to be hard getting back on the bike again after that.