I have an itinerary for adventurous folks thinking about some travel to Australia. Check it out for a few ideas of where to go.
So I’m a bit curious about you, the readers! What is your favorite travel souvenir, aside from photos? I go for jerseys/shirts from local sports teams. It started off as soccer, when I snagged a Deportivo Saprissa shirt down in Costa Rica. Then, I got skunked in Belize … couldn’t find any local soccer shirts there, though they have a league and a national team. Down in Australia, I switched to rugby since that was their thing. In Canada, I wanted to find a Vancouver Whitecaps shirt, but no luck there … and I will never, ever where a Vancouver Canucks jersey unless it is the only clothing and I’m shivering naked on a glacier. I’d say my uber-cool Wallabies shirts shown below is my all-time favorite. It says Qantas on it as a bonus, and it even looks cool when being worn while rockin’ out!
This isn’t going to be the most exciting post. To make up for it, I’m starting us off with a cute picture of raccoons in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. It looks like there might be a chink in Qantas’ armor – online questions about booking. I had the following question: Hello. My wife and I just booked a flight from Los Angeles to Auckland. I noticed when we booked there was a drop-down menu for selecting our frequent flyer program, but Continental OnePass wasn’t one of the selections. When we last flew Qantas about 16 months ago, our Qantas miles went into our Continental accounts. Can you advise me to make sure they get into the right place? Here’s the response: Thank you for your request for Qantas Frequent Flyer points. I’m unable to credit you with points on this occasion, as your transaction was not with one of our program partners. If you’d like to know more about our program partners, please visit qantas.com/frequentflyer where you’ll find details of your membership benefits, along with our latest news and offers. Yours sincerely Richard Switzky General Manager The Qantas Club Frequent Flyer Service Centre Um, Richard? Did you actually read my question? We both speak English, but clearly different forms of it. I sent nearly the same e-mail to Continental, and this was their response: Dear [Wandering Justin]: Thank you for contacting the OnePass Service Center and I apologize for any inconvenience not being able to enter your account number online. Please [...]
Friday, Aug. 31 Seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen an F-111 fly a few hundred feet over your head with its afterburners lit. This was part of a crazy celebration called Riverfire. If you ever visit Australia, do yourself a favor: Be in Brisbane for Riverfire. The video is lengthy, but it gives you a great idea of the fireworks display, and the jets that open and close it. Awesome! We woke up early and took a stroll around the downtown area. This is a very outdoorsy city, lots of people running and cycling. After some breakfast, we picked a direction and walked. We also noticed that everybody was getting all aflutter about Riverfire. People were already lining the riverbanks to grab primo spots for the evening’s festivities. Sarah and I aren’t much for parades and shindigs, so we largely ignored it. We were pretty happy to be proven wrong later, but more on that toward the end. Our first stop was the excellent Queensland Museum, which is really strong on science and nature. There was just too much cool stuff to see. We spent a few hours easily cruising around in there before heading out for general walking about. There’s a very neighborly feel to Brisbane, with a lot of non-chain store types of places. This particular section of Brizzy is like a big college town, even though Queensland University is down the river. Speaking of QU, we thought it would be fun to check out the campus. [...]
A note from Wandering Justin: I had a little lapse in posting this week … lots of freelance work to finish! Also, the next entry or two won’t have many photos. I tend to take fewer photos in the cities. Saturday, Aug. 25 The previous night, our foursome had decided to meet at the Parap Village Market. That’s about a mile-long walk from the center of Darwin. This market goes on every Saturday, and it’s a good way to dig into the Asian flavor of Darwin. There are booths with cooked food, pre-packaged stuff, fresh fruit, vegetables and ingredients you can make yourself. There’s a lot of the usual schlocky weekend market stuff, too…hemp clothing, jams, bad art and the like. But I ate a bunch of stuff I’d never seen before, and it was all tasty. Couldn’t tell you the names now, that’s for sure. Except I do remember pawpaw salad. It’s pretty much raw, unripe shredded bits of papaya covered in a chili sauce and peanuts. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s an explosion of flavor. We were pretty lazy, so we spent most of our time at the market, walking back to town and just hanging about. Orla left for Sydney, but that evening we met Karen again for dinner. She brought some Italian guy, Michael, with her. He was a bit different from us, being about a decade older. And he was clearly looking for some female attention (What? An Italian chasing tail? Never!)! But still, [...]
Monday, Aug. 20 NOTE: Not many photos in this entry. I chose not to lug the camera around during most of the day’s walking around Sydney. I honestly didn’t expect to freeze my goolies off in Australia. Now, keep in mind, August in Phoenix is like being 10 feet up a dragon’s poop chute, but brighter. And when I think of Australia, I think of the arid parts of it. But Katoomba is again rainy and socked in with fog. Unpleasant? Hardly. But this desert creature was unprepared. But no matter … we were soon on our way back to Sydney. A few hours later, we found a place to stash our packs at the train station and began searching for Redoak. This pretty much turned me into a psychotic Captain Ahab, and I began wondering if the place really existed. I hadn’t fired up my GPS receiver, preferring to conserve its power for the Top End adventures. So we got turned around. Misplaced. Hungry. Cranky. We made an emergency stop at some fast-food kebab place. And either it was really good, or we were starved silly. It went down pretty well, and gave us the energy to continue our quest for the one pub to rule them all. Finally, we discovered Redoak! Oh, my, this place is good. The oatmeal stout is unearthly, with a hint of butterscotch to it. The Belgian chocolate stout and the holiday ale are also contenders. Some of the best brews ever. If we [...]