February 17, 2005
Jody writes:

February 14. Valentines Day! And what did we do? Amy dragged me to a bloody Neighbours night in an English theme pub in Melbourne. It sounded like a laugh - for A$35 each we'd get to meet the guy who plays Harold Bishop plus another two lesser stars, Dr Karl Kennedy's band would play some live music and everyone would take part in a big pub quiz. We thought it would be cheesy and funny and we'd meet lots of like-minded people who weren't really into Neighbours but went for a giggle - after all, Danielle and Emily went to the same night when they were in Oz and they enjoyed it. Well, we weren't betting on the sad fan-base that turned up.

When the three stars arrived, the crowd erupted like Elvis had risen from the grave. The two girls we'd met in the queue, ate dinner with and played the pub quiz with seemed fine until 'Stuart' appeared (I don't know their real names), reducing them and the rest of the girls in the crowd to screaming banshees.

One girl pleaded: "Do you think I can win him away from his girlfriend?" Of course you can't you stupid bint. She later got jealous whenever he posed for a photo with another punter. Psycho.

I also had an argument with a bloaty bouncer when he told me off for sitting on a ledge in the pub. "Find me a chair then fatty, or tell me why the pub's sold twice as many tickets than it has chairs" (only people seated were allowed to take part in the quiz - I later stole a chair from another group while they were busy mobbing Harold). In truth I was just trying hard to get chucked out as an excuse to leave early, but it didn't work. The bouncer (who was incidentally the spitting image of Toadie) could hardly throw his own weight through the doors, let alone another person's.

At least the three present cast members were friendly. 'Harold' was a dirty old letch who couldn't keep his eyes off all the young ladies, 'Stuart' was doing a fine job at enduring kisses from the 200 booze-breath girls that mobbed him all night and 'Steph Scully,' well, Steph Scully was pissed and seemed to really be enjoying herself.

"Do you like doing these public appearances?" Amy asked Steph.
"The alcohol helps," she replied, before doing that drunk thing where you're standing perfectly still but somehow lose your balance for no reason whatsoever and have to grab a table for support.

In the end it was fun, though I think we'll skip the Ramsey Street tour.

Where are we? We've spent the past week in Melbourne, seeing the sights and shopping. We went to the massive, free annual St Kilda music festival on Sunday - a day where several thousand people walk round and round the city trying to find a music stage. When we found one, it was great fun (shockingly, some Aussie bands are good and play more than just 'Land Down Under').

We've just invested in a flashy new digital camera, which is very stupid considering that we're going to South America in just over a month and will get it nicked before we've even stepped off the plane.

February 08, 2005
Jody writes:

We were surprised to see that Amy and I made up two thirds of the passengers on our trip from Alice Springs to Adelaide. At least we had plenty of room to stretch out during the 20 hours of driving, packed into two days.

And so we watched out of the window as the red earth of the Northern Territory gradually turned to white as we headed to the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, where I spent my birthday. There wasn't much there - a few restaurants, a couple of pubs, a discarded model spaceship from a failed Val Kilmer film called Red Planet, or something. My birthday present from the girlfriend was a sky-gazing tour - a barmy local man drove us out to the desert and pointed out constellations for a couple of hours, which I'll endeavour to remember so I can bore people with their names for years to come. We slept in a large, underground dorm which was basically a cave with beds in. A bomb could have gone off outside and we wouldn't have heard it.

See some of our Coober Pedy pictures.

We're currently in Adelaide and took a Groovy Grape wine tour yesterday, which was a lot of fun. Our group were a really great bunch and we each got through about 30 varieties of white, red, desert wine and port by the end of the day. We still made it to the pub afterwards, though. What did I learn about wine? That it makes you feel sick if you drink a lot of it.

On the way back, our tour bus broke down on a busy roundabout and we had to climb out and push start it (see photo), which helped work off some of the booze.

Amy writes:

(Strange that hundreds of miles of countryside can be so inspiring...)

Miles of red dirt
barren bush-covered scrubland
few trees
under this vivid blue-white sky.

The odd over-priced Roadhouse
To some, an oasis in the desert.

In the distance,
magnificent hills break up
the overwhelming flat-ness of the surround.
Suddenly, we turn a corner.
A surprise to all.
You encounter so few on the famously long, straight outback roads.

A road sign
informs us that our destination,
Tom Price, the iron-ore mining town is 287 kms away.
We drive on.

To me, it all seems like a barren wasteland.
Beautiful in all it's red dusty glory
but all the same, empty and dry.
Trees stand hunched and cracked
like withered old men trying to stand.
I wonder how aboriginal people
could survive this harsh, hot terrain.
This expanse is their homeland
They lived on what we see as nothingness.
Hot, dry and burnt red earth.

Over the Ashburton river before lunch,
apart from the sign you wouldn't have known.
Sun blaring down
this river's as dry as a bone
nothing around except dry rock and stone.

Onward, inland.
Sky darker, clouds heavy
the bare trees seem to reach upward here
beging for a drink.
Land is richer, greener at their toes.
A light shower could save them.

Red earth asks for nothing
and wants nothing in return.

February 04, 2005
Jody writes:

I've uploaded some more Australia photos.

We're currently in Alice Springs, having just returned from a three-day tour of the sights around Uluru (Ayers Rock). Uluru itself was ok - it's just a big rock, innit? We walked around it at warp speed because it was so bloody cold that morning compared to what we've grown used to (it was probably about 32C, rather than 46C). The base walk is said to take two or three hours, but we jogged round in an hour-and-a-half. We didn't climb the rock out of respect / laziness.

Kings Canyon was stunning, however.

Tomorrow we take the Groovy Grape bus to Adelaide, with an overnight stopover at the backward hick town of Coober Pedy, where everyone lives in caves underground. It was also where Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome was filmed, so it must be good.

For older entries, see the archives at the top right-hand side of this page.
Jody and Amy have finished their 10 month adventure around the world, that began Nov 2, 2004, and ended Sep 2, 2005. They're back home in London now, doing normal things, like going to work and drinking tap water. You can see a map of what was their planned route, but we didn't quite follow it.
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