Saturday, January 29, 2011

Travels with Trolls

or as brittani wants to call it "the awesomeness that is brittani".

but i prefer travels with trolls cause that's a harry potter reference. and also cause it really encompasses my time with brittani. JUST KIDDINGGGGGG. hahahah she's gonna kill me. i think i just signed my own death warrant.

anyway, i am aware of the fact that this is long overdue and that this adventure occurred more than two months ago and that i'm doing this out of order cause i've already done a more recent post but whatever. you know what, i figure, better late than never.

so anyway we started in canberra.

well she came to canberra at least. i was already here, waiting to do my finals.

so really in the beginning we didn't do a whole lot cause i was supposed to be studying, and i'm a bad host, but beck and hugh forced me to be a good host (i was tired after my finals and i was saving up my good-host-ness for sydney and melbourne) and go to the portrait gallery. which was actually pretty cool.

hugh, brittani and i went and we had some adventures. mostly including the fact that there were GALE FORCE winds and our umbrellas turned inside out. it was pretty crazy. haha

but also, and i'm totally taking credit for this because, lets face it, i'm awesome, but when we were in the portrait gallery i was just wandering around and saw the war hero portraits. so i was glancing at them and then what do i see?

Roden Cutler.


so i'm like DUDE IT TOTALLY IS. cause chrissy had mentioned he was governor of sydney (which is awesome. and she totally doesn't brag about it like i would have. i basically had to force the information out of her. i'd have been telling everyone if i were her. arguably, i'm not her and i'm still telling everyone who reads this. muh bad.)

anyway that was totally awesome so i called brittani and hugh over and we were all like DUDE AWESOME. and i wanted to take a picture but then i realized it's a gallery and they probably wouldn't let me. also, i was pulling brittani's camera out of the case and realizing i couldn't do it, was shoving it back in the case when the security guard came up to me and basically threatened death if i took a picture. i figured it wasn't worth it. but it was still awesome.

later, still in canberra, a few days later, chrissy came with us to the australian museum. it's a pretty cool museum and there was a lot of cool stuff.

ironically, what stands out most about that excursion was when our real live australian broke the rules of the national museum of australia. hahahaha it was genius. i'll explain it as a photo-diary thingy. i think the pictures really narrate themselves...

hahaha basically what happened was we walked into the courtyard, saw the islands and brittani and i were tempted. but both of us feared deportation so we weren't exactly keen on breaking any rules. so chrissy, who they cant deport, did what we wanted to do. the first island was all well and good, no problems.

unfortunately, then we got cocky and thought it'd be really funny if she posed with the sign infront of the second island.
big mistake.
getting onto that island was easier than getting off of it. which chrissy couldn't do.

and that's when, although wed been out there by ourselves for the last like HALF AN HOUR. a huge tour group of little kids walking out and were saying "HEY I THOUGHT YOU COULDN'T GO ON THE ISLANDS!! it says so right there!!"

and i'm ashamed to say, that after telling chrissy to jump, brittani started to wander away and i kept turning around and both of us pretended we didn't know her (well ok i kept turning around to see how she was doing and i vaguely recall trying to reach out to her before i started to try to look nonchalant [but then again that could be one of those guilt memories that are fake and you pretend are real cause it makes you look like less of a jerk. i guess chrissy would be the only one to actually remember]

cowardly? why yes, brittani and i are. we fear the wrath of the law. we fought the law and the law.... acutally chrissy fought the law and she won. not the law. YEAH CHRISSY!1

anyway so as i kept turning around to see how she was doing, i observed that she was taking off her shoes, and wading through the water. it was pretty hilarious. despite the little kids and the panic. hahahaha

so then the three of us walked very very quickly across the courtyard to safety (we saw a security guard coming out and thought for sure we were pinned) and we found an elevator and took it up. and then we got back into the museum and chrissy put back on her shoes and socks. it was pretty funny. her feet must have been freezing though. it was a pretty cold day.

so although brittani and i didn't come out of that story looking particularly fantastic, it was pretty hilarious and i'm pretty sure chrissy's the coolest rulebreaking rebel without a cause i've ever met.

and then we went home. but the bus we wanted decided it didn't want to come pick us up so we waited for about a half an hour and froze (seriously. it was REALLY REALLY REALLY cold. and then we (meaning chrissy cause shes way better at this cab stuff than brittani and me) called a cab.

this is us FREEZING. we were so cold we decided to run around and jump on these benches to try to keep warm. it didn't work. but at least we were mildly entertained..

so yeah chrissy's pretty much the coolest. not to mention, when we were leaving we went through the gift shop and she bought a giant pencil. and when we got home she decided it needed a sharpening. unfortunately, we don't have a giant pencil sharpener. but we do have knives.

here's chrissy in all of her rugged australian glory:

so that was a pretty fun day.

and i don't remember if this incident was the same day, i don't think it was, but it could have been but it's worth a mention.

so we had decided we were going to go out. both brittani and i were being pretty lazy and had been watching arrested development for the last couple hours but we figured alright, well get ready and go out since everyone else is.

here's me and brittani, enjoying our time in canberra...

here's a really attractive picture of brittani. it's very telltale of our time in canberra as shes sitting with a deck of cards (as we played some nerts) and watching arrested development which you can see in the background.

so basically that was all for canberra. now onto sydney!!

Day 1: Annaliese

annaliese was our best tour guide in sydney (good job annaliese! no offense to the others. we still enjoyed our time with you too!)

we met annaliese in circular quay (which is pronounced key. don't know why. my mom says it's old english. silly australia) and annaliese took us to get cinnamon toast in the quay. which was really quite good. and then we took the ferry across the harbor to annaliese's house. they didn't want me to take any pictures. and i'm sure they'll resent me for posting these. oh well. too bad. i like them. and it's too late now...

so then we went and saw annaliese's house which was really exciting. it was number two on the list of houses i've toured here (beck's being number 1) and that was pretty cool. here's the view from her back porch. pretty rad, huh...

so then we went to the taronga zoo. it was awesome. all the animals were out and MOVING!! it was really exciting and totally something you never see in zoos back home. seriously. no sarcasm. at all. you don't see jack in zoos back home. unless they're tigers who you've provoked because you're a jerk and they're coming to tear you into little pieces in the food court. seriously. that happened. YEAH SAN FRANCISCO!.....umm...


this was quite possibly the first time i've ever seen a komodo dragon move outside of animal planet. and not just move. it walked!! and let me tell you, you don't think something inside a paddock that you're looking in on could possibly be all that scary. but it was kinda scary. i was scared that thing was going to climb the tree, jump up and attack us. komodo dragons are legit.

and here's a wombat. he was cute. and walking around. and nomming on cardboard.

and here's a couple videos, for you, mom.



and then we went and walked through the kangaroo/emu/wallaby area. it was cool. except we weren't allowed to touch anything. but it was still cool.
here's a kangaroo and an emu. i thought it was cute cause they looked like they were friends. interspecies friends. why cant we all just get along? sorry i was having a rodney king relapse.

so then as we were walking through the kangaroo area, annaliese saw a kangaroo that she was absolutely sure had a baby. in fact, i'm pretty sure it had a baby too. but i wasn't about to pester it about it.

annaliese, on the other hand, wasn't about to pester it, but she certainly wasn't going to leave it alone. it went a little like this:

annaliese: you've got a baby. show me your baby.
kangaroo: stares blankly at annaliese
annaliese: i know you've got it. just show it to me and we'll leave.
kangaroo: still stares blankly with its hands over its pouch.
annaliese: i'm not leaving here till you show me your baby.
kangaroo: stares
annaliese: SHOW ME YOUR BABY.
brittani: it's never gonna show you that baby
wendy: maybe if you walk further away or something
annaliese: NO. it has to show us its baby. it'll show it. show us your baby!!

here's a graphic representation of the kangaroo.

actually, now that i think of it. neither of those were the kangaroo. it was like bent over to protect its offspring from annaliese. but oh well.

basically we waited for about 5 minutes and then annaliese got angry at it for not showing its baby and we left. it was pretty funny. annaliese wasn't pleased.

fortunately we did see the elephants and their baby so i figure that must have made her feel a little better...

then we saw the echidnas. and they were AWESOME. they basically have the cutest walk EVER.



and then there's cassowarys

they're pretty awesome. and if anything in this world still looks like dinosaurs, i'm pretty sure it's cassowarys. even the way they walk. it's just how you'd expect a t-rex to walk. minus the goofy little arms. (yes i did just make fun of a t-rex and yes i do realize that was pretty much blasphemy. whatever. hes still one of the coolest dinos. everyone's gotta have their achilles heel.)


and here's a picture of some pelicans. i don't think i'd ever seen them in real life before. and we got to see them pretty close up. it was kinda cool. i was reminded of finding nemo.

and here's a fishing cat with one arm. he looks kind of like a house cat. and was about the same size as one. he doesn't do a whole lot of fishing anymore, but fortunately he doesn't really have to. cause they feed him. so, fortunately, he doesn't need to...

and here's a picture of a blurry snow leopard. (notice how i don't take any credit for it being blurry. it was the leopard itself, duh). this picture is for MARISOL. so if you're only looking at the pictures, know that this one's for you.

and here's annaliese and me as monkeys with awesome hair.

so then we went on the skyway over the zoo which was pretty awesome but i didn't take any pictures but it was cool. and then after we left the zoo we went in the giftshop and while we were in it it started POURING. and we didn't have umbrellas or anything so we figured we'd stay in the zoo for a little while and wait for it to clear up before we walked up the block to annaliese's house (yes she lives down the street from the zoo and can hear the lions and stuff roar late at night. how awesome is that?)

but then we didn't end up going to annaliese's house and instead went and got fish and chips in balmorel? (i'm not 100% sure that's where we went) and it was really good. and we got caught in the rain again. haha but it was still fun

and then we took the ferry back to circular quay. it was really really cold and we froze so this is brittani and annaliese warming their hands in the bathroom in circular quay. haha

and then we took a lovely cruise around the harbor. we were planning on getting out at luna park, which is like a theme-parkey-thingy with rides and stuff. you can walk around in it for free, but the rides cost you. kind of like the santa cruz beach boardwalk. so brittani and annaliese were planning on getting cotton candy.

unfortunately it was closed so we ended up riding the ferry for a really long time and then having to ask if it would eventually go back to circular quay where we got on. it did so we were fine. here's some of the sights from our lovely harbor cruise.

the harbor bridge and a little bit of the city at night.

the city. despite being kinda blurry, it's quite pretty, right?

and here's some of the opera house

and here's some blurry luna park...

and on our ferry ride we got to stop at lots of docks around the harbor. brittani and i thought it was pretty funny cause you could jump off the top of the ferry and onto the roof, but really, why would you want to. so i took this picture to commemorate the conversation that we had about getting onto the roof at a random dock in the middle of nowhere and then being stuck there.

and then after they had this whole thing set up in darling harbor for the world cup.

and it was really cool. they had three huge screens set up floating in the harbor. and men at work were playing. so that was kinda cool. unfortunately we missed them playing i come from a land down under. but it was still cool.

so we went and walked around there and froze but it was still really fun. and got dinner and then we went home to our hostel.

Day 2: Hugh fails. part 1.

so hugh had been talking about taking us out for quite a while. he had a whole plan and it sounded pretty cool so we were pretty excited.

rewind: when we first got to sydney i couldn't remember where our hostel was and i assumed hugh would be home so i asked him to go on my email and look it up for me. his response was basically, i can't cause i'm at the airport going to tasmania. fortunately i just had my mom do it. but anyway i asked him when he was going to be home and he said the day he was going to take us out so i was like sweet.

unfortunately, when we called him that afternoon to see what he was doing, we were greeted with the response of "i'm still in tasmania" sooooo that was a bit of a problem. but he recommended that we go to the australian museum so we did.

there was a lot of cool stuff there but the skeleton part was kinda cool.

this thing was pretty cool. it was a bicycle thing that mirrored what you were doing on the bicycle. here's brittani on it.

kinda cool how it corresponds with exactly what she was doing, right. it was all moving at the same time when she'd move. pretty awesome.

and i thought this was kinda cool.

and this was the skeleton of a HUGE fish.

but neither was as cool as either of these. DINOSAURS. YEAAAAAAAAAH

ok so i'm a geek. don't act surprised. we all already knew it was true.

so then we got out of the museum and it was POURING. seriously. so we got a cab rather than walking back and got to see some of the local sights near our hostel.

did i mention our hostel was in what everyone described as the sleaziest part of town? well it was. it was in the area that everyone warned us not to go into--kings cross. the place where beck's sister got assaulted by a prostitute. and that, when i first arrived in sydney for the first time, my cabdriver told me that there were tons of prostitutes and to avoid it like the plague.

but actually the hostel wasn't bad at all. and i mean it didn't seem all that sleazy. i mean if it had been the sleaziest part of town back in america, it would have been wayyy worse. but it really wasn't that bad. really.

well except for the strippers.

while we were in our cab, we got to see some of the cross's best. and brittani and i pretty much just started laughing. they were standing in the doorway of what was presumably their strip club smoking. brittani and i, yeah were really mature. and we were definitely laughing. discretely though. so that we wouldn't appear indecent to our cab driver.

were really mature. would you believe its 8 days till i'm 21? cause with my maturity level i'm pretty sure i wouldn't.

then we went out that night and it was fun.

and hugh, who had been MIA all day, showed up. and made us feel like complete jerks for making fun of his missing-ness that day.

but not before we made fun of him incessantly for his new haircut. actually it wasn't that bad. especially in retrospect (because his last one was really atrocious) but we still had a laugh.

and then the conversation turned to

wendy: way to stand us up today by being in tasmania. jerk.
hugh: well it's not my fault my grandmother died
wendy: oh my god i'm so sorry
dharini: (full on laughs, nonstop)
brittani & wendy: (look of horror)
hugh: its ok she was 90. she wanted to die
wendy: oh my god hugh i'm so so sorry.
dharini: (still laughing)
hugh: really, its ok.

so i felt pretty horrible. but he was leaving for greece the next morning so, as far as grieving goes, i'd imagine it wasn't as horrible as it could have possibly been.

so it was your average club night. aaand then hugh, brittani and me went to the mcdonalds down the street. which was an interesting experience. as everyone in the mcdonalds EXCEPT ME was DRUNK.

so then we left mcdonalds and started to walk back to our hostel. and on the way hugh realized that he had no money to get home. so brittani gave him ten dollars and then he could take a cab back to his house. i gave him five dollars (which i realize now, he still owes me) and told him to get a cab

turns out he took "the night bus" which unfortunately is night without the k and is nothing like the knight bus of harry potter. major bummer. so he didn't even end up needing the money. hahaha whattt a dork.

meanwhile, before we sent him on his way, he told us he'd wake up early and take us out at 10 before his flight left at like 5 or something to greece. so we were like sweet! and he's like yeah i'll pick you guys up tomorrow at 10 so be ready.

so we got up at 930 and we were ready by 10. and when i talked to hugh when i woke up he said everything was a go and he'd be there to get us soon.

and then he called back at 1030 and said "hey so my sister won't let me have the car" ahahahah

so that was how hugh failed us, 2.0.

but it was fine cause we went out later that day with beck and dharini and they took us to the queen victoria building and we got lots of food and it was delicious. aaand then we went to the lindt cafe and it was also delicious.

and then since it was our last night in sydney, brittani and i had a romantic dinner together that night in darling harbor. it was cute. and then we went to...


where we took lots of pictures of fun signs and awesomely themed bars.

here are a couple of the fun signs

and then my and brittanis favorites signs were:

her, because shes an english major, and me because im a huge geek and have read both books.

so then we went shopping and made brittani try on ugly clothes. which some of which, she ended up buying. yeah, me and chrissy were laughing pretty hard. and here's the really choice outfits chrissy and i chose for her... we really tried hard to find the ugliest things there...

and funny enough, brittani bought the blue tight things. hideous, yes. possibly good for a superhero costume? fair enough.

and the next day chrissy and i went to the shrine. which is this really really nice war memorial in melbourne. it was really nice. they had an everlasting flame.. er well it was called something like that. but it never goes out. to remember the soldiers that fought in all the different wars australia's been involved in. it was really pretty cool. chrissy and i were wondering how they made it not go out in the rain, though. it was pretty cool. heres some pictures:

and here's the view from the top

and here's chrissy and me at the top. it was pretty windy. and i marilyn monroed it. literally. it was a pretty big problem. haha. but it was still a really nice view and everything.

so then we got chocolate at max brenner. it was crazy delicious. we got chocolate fondue. and then chrissy and brittani bought some more chocolate and then went a little chocolate crazy. it was pretty funny. and scary. at the same time. yeah they've definitely got the crazy eyes.

and here's some of the carnage.

and then chrissy took us to st kilda beach. and the st kilda beach markets. and luna park. st kilda beach was really nice. it was a lot like capitola. and the markets were really cool. i bought tons of stuff.

here's the view from the markets

and here's the extremely creepy entry to luna park...

and here's inside of luna park which was not really creepy and was sort of reminiscent of the santa cruz beach boardwalk. kinda cool.

here's chrissy with a gold man outside luna park. it was funny.

and here's us in the fun mirror at luna park

aand here's one of the original melbourne trams which they have at luna park. it was pretty cool.

and right here, is the sleaziest rollercoaster i've ever seen. it was a lawsuit waiting to happen. it was definitely hilarious. there was a guy LITERALLY working the brakes for this rollercoaster. and not just working the brakes, but STANDING UP in the middle of the roller coaster. how funny is that.

and here's the beach at st kilda beach. it was pretty nice. despite chrissy saying that they always make fun of it for being extremely dirty and unsanitary. apparently the st kilda beach area is used in a lot of australian writers' works. its like their inspirational place. which is pretty cool

and here's brittani. walking along the beach. with her umbrella. that she kept prodding me with. especially when chrissy and me would make fun of brittani for being a child of the corn. since she's pale and her family's from nebraska. haha. she'll probably prod me with it when i get home because i said that on here. but whatever. it was pretty funny.

and then we went to the eureka skydeck. it was pretty cool. before we went, we were in the hostel and we were talking about it went something like this:

chrissy: yeah it's supposed to be really cool. it's like 16 stories up or something
random girl at the hostel (not australian): i think it's actually like 88 floors.
chrissy: wow, the native melbournian didnt know that and a random non-australian (ok she actually said her nationality but i dont remember what it was) girl did. failure.

hahahahahaha it was pretty funny.

and eureka skydeck was awesome. here's some pictures.

this is kind of a cool picture. there were changing colored lights in the skydeck so brittani took pictures at the right time. and it came out pretty cool.

they made us wear these geeky booties onto THE LEDGE.

which was a glass elevator that moved laterally so that when it had finished moving, and making scary glass breaking noises as it did, we were 88 stories up with nothing underneath us and all of melbourne ahead of us. it was totally awesome.

so then we got out of the eureka skydeck and walked around trying to find a mcdonalds for brittani. which led to her molesting statues and chrissy falling off a parked bicycle.

and here's some of the statue molestation...

and heres chrissys bicycle. it was really funny. cause these bicycles are rentable and then you just return them somewhere. so chrissy jumps on one of the bicycles and starts pedaling backwards. which was funny. until the bicycle started to almost topple over and chrissy almost fell off. then it was really really funny cause she almost fell off a stationary bicycle that couldnt move without putting money in. hahahaha gg chrissy.

and then brittani got mcdonalds at a sketchy place and it was pretty funny. cause chrissy was describing it as having pidgeons kaka-ing on the tables and homeless people sleeping there. anyway brittani still got chicken nuggets from there.

and there were these markets. i can't remember what they were called. but they were definitely a local place to go . i got really cheap didgeridoos which were totally awesome and this aboriginal guy who sold them to me even played them and stuff. it was awesome. and then we got candy from this place where they were making it in front of us. it was so cool. and the candy was really good! so heres some pictures of that.

and yes i know the pictures are blurry. but whatever. they were moving the candy a lot and it was behind glass. but how cool is that, you can even see the little strawberry which eventually becomes tiny and tastes delicious.

and here's some of melbournes fine architecture. well actually melbourne had a lot of pretty cool architecture but these were the coolest bits.

chrissy was saying this is a building of RMIT which is like the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology or something which is like a really good school and chrissy was saying this building always reminded her of ghostbusters. and when i looked at it, i agreed. so here's a picture.

and then there were the awesome bars/clubs.

there was the carlton hotel which had stuffed ostriches and peacocks and etc on the walls. which would have been creepy but it was done with a sense of humor. like the ostriches and giraffes had pearl necklaces like layering their necks. it was pretty cool.

and there was this place that i dont know what the name was, but we went to the roof where the bar was and you could see most of the city. it was awesome

and then there was the croft institute which was down a crazy alley with tons of graffiti. as chrissy described it:

everything in melbourne thats awesome is down an alley. so if you go down an alley you have a 50/50 chance of finding something awesome or getting raped

not 100% sure i liked those odds, but croft's alley was pretty legit despite smelling like urine. we were gonna go in one night but they were charging admission and we were too cheap and the other night we were goin to go it closed early.

nonetheless chrissy was saying it was supposed to be pretty cool. the drinks are served in beakers and test tubes and stuff. it's supposed to be all sciencey which, of course, appealed to the geek in me. pretty cool, though, right.

so then when we couldnt get into croft's, chrissy took us to this place where they have like 50000 types of beer. it was awesome. their menu was called a "beer bible" and it had tons of fun facts about beers and stuff. it was awesome. and also made a pretty awesome prop. we got cider which isn't particularly alcoholic and thus tasted pretty good. here's some pictures:

here's brittani and me trying to look pious.

they had this really cool wall, too, that had tons of quotes about beer. it was pretty cool. it was a pretty cool place.

and then the last night we were there we went to this bar thingy called berlin. it was pretty awesome. basically it was set in cold war berlin and had two different rooms. one was like high end communist and the other was american military. it was pretty awesome. check it out.

here's the american side:

and the sign crossing over to the communist side...

and the sign crossing over to the american side...

and the communist side, which we got drinks in...

and here's us with our drinks. mine was called like the great dictator or something and it sounded really cool but it was way alcoholic so i traded it with chrissy, cause fortunately, she's way better with liquor than i am, and liked it.

and here's brittani being a communist.

so that pretty much encompasses my and brittanis time in australia. it was pretty frickin awesome. and if she has anything to add, she can ADD IT ON MY COMMENTS or not complain. so basically yep. thats it.