Early Starts & Upgrades

Tuesday 24Apr
Early morning start again today. 4am. Its been so long since I have seen what 4am looks like. I hope that after the next two days I don’t have to see it again for a while. At the airport by 530am and I was the only person checking in. Quick as anything check in, asked for an upgrade to business class, was asked if I wanted to pay anything, I said no, she said “Fat Chance.” So after clearing immigration and then security which was painful considering I was carrying war medals and an umbrella (apparently umbrellas are now dangerous), I had a walk through the International Terminal for my first time ever. Its quite boring actually. Nothing like what I imagine Singapore’s airport to be. A lot of shops, a lot of waiting areas and a few cafes. Sat down reading an Australian Aviation (still don’t know why I only seem to buy the mag whenever I fly) and sat back to wait for my flight. By the time boarding came around there was not that many people waiting for the flight. I overheard some staff saying 62 people. 62 people onboard a 747-400 which can hold around 400ish. So I take my exit row seat and wait for the close up and everything and one of the staff members came up and asked me if I would like to sit in business. I mean HELLO! dumb question. So I move up to the 2nd business cabin on the aircraft. 14 seats and I’m the only one in it. Now I have flown business with Qantas before and the thing is that would not be such a huge thing. However I was flying an International Spec aircraft. That meant Qantas Skybeds. Now if you have seen the ads for these seats you would know just how awesome they look (link) They are awesomely comfortable and so much fun to sit in and use the AVOD and also the massage function *drool.*

Once arrived in Sydney it was raining, so scrapped the plans to stay and take photos at the Airport. Saw a United new colours and Thai 744 in new colours as well so was muchly dissapointed. Spent the morning bumming around the city and then spent the afternoon the Talleh (one of my friends from OCAU). Tuesday night was spent with Talleh, Mibba and Nav (all from OCAU) at the Chasers War on Everything Taping. I was very impressed by the taping. It was good, the guys were very funny. Sadly didn’t get to hug Andrew Hansen as I was ordered to by Nat (sorry) but maybe next time.

Wednesday 25Apr
Hello 4am again. My new arch enemy. Up at 4am, quick change and walk around the corner from the Menzies Hotel to Martin Place for the Dawn service. I get there and feel a few sprinkles on my head so I hide in a doorway of some building on the corner out of the rain while the sky opens and the heavens pour down. After the service I scurry back to the hotel and decide its back to bed for me and the March will be watched from the comfort of my hotel room. (Little did I know that my cousin Lindy was going to be marching for my Grandads Brother). I met up with Lindy and Sophie and Andrew at the 2nd/2nd MG Btln Association lunch. This was the first time I have ever gone and it was definately something different. Lots of toasts to the Queen and the battalion and fallen comrades and the like. A lot of people to meet and see the sort of people that my Grandad fought with in the war. It was an eye opening experience. I am definately returning next year (and hell I may even march).

After leaving the Menzies it was back to the airport and this time rather than push my luck I just asked for an exit row seat, and I got it. Spent the time at the Airport drinking coffee, reading my mag and perving on the gorgeous girls in the Airport and hoping that one of them would be next to me on the flight. There was some Qantas crew looking like they were returning home to Brisbane and one of the girls was drop dead gorgeous, I could not keep my eyes off her. When boarding began I sat down in my seat, asked for the usual extension belt and was told by the Flight Attendant that CASA does not allow fat people in the exit row (well he didn’t use those words but thats what he really meant) and that he would have to move me to a new seat. I was not really caring considering there was a row of 3 just next to me with the same amount of leg room and plenty or space to stretch out. Was hoping to just have a nice pleasant trip home when the Flight Attendant comes back and says “would you like to come up and sit in business.” I mean WTF! twice in two days. So up to business I move. What a trip home. Although not as good as the Skybeds but hell, I wont complain. Got home last night, read through my emails and uploaded photos off the cards and went to bed. A tiring 2 days.

Buggies, Barrels & Boats

Friday – 20Apr
Ok so after I left you all hanging at the Net Cafe in Airlie Beach i ended up just spending some time walking around Airlie Beach and just seeing where everything was. I caught the bus back to Shute Harbour and decided to walk over to WRAY. BAD IDEA! After climbing 97 steps, walking up a further hill, then down a hill, then down their driveway I was buggered and not in a state to be showing up to their office, although I assume a lot of people show up that way. I was there maybe 10-15 mins and they ran through a few things with me. Luckily they showed me the short cut back to the Fantasea Ferry Terminal. I spent some time at Shute Harbour chatting with Jade (since i missed my ferry). Went over to Long Island and enjoyed my time there and had a bit of a relax. Reading under the Umbrella in the main resort area. I saw that Contiki were on the island and funnily enough so was Youngy the drive I had last year, but he was no where to be seen the entire time I was on the island. Met up with the rest of the group that afternoon and it was pretty subdued evening.

Saturday – 21Apr
Early wake up and Breakfast with the girls and then on the launch over to Hamilton Island. No real problems this morning with panic, quick vomit before breakfast and all is ok. Boat ride over to Hamilton was pretty good only one or two freak moments. Hopped off at the Airport Dock and checked our bags into Hayman island (our bags went over several hours before us). Picked up our Golf Buggies from the Marina and went around the Island. The Golf Buggies were fun to drive although slow. Going up to the top of One Tree Hill was like torture. It was so slow. Used up the activities voucher I was given and went for the long drive in the buggy out to the Target Sports range. I was allowed 30 rounds of .22 Calibre. Used them mainly in the Semi Automatic Pistol but also used 3 rounds with the Bolt Action Rifle. Twas very good :D I got 2 bullseyes (one with each gun). Headed over to Hayman on their Luxury Launch Sun Paradise. It seemed like an older boat (probably their first one of the current line) and with Beer in hand headed over to the island. Big night plenty of drinks consumed on Hayman.

Sunday – 22Apr
Bit of a sleep in compared to other mornings with an At Leisure breakfast as we prepared for our departure to Hamilton Island. Took some photos around the Island in the morning and then caught Sun Goddess this time back to Hamilton. Hamilton Island’s airport is much nicer than Proserpine but then again neither of them are fantastic. With the boats going to Hayman this time it was a lot of movement at times but I tried to show I was calm. Doubt that it worked though. Quick flight home with VH-VQN again (same aircraft as Thursday). All in all not to bad a famil.

Photos to follow.

Day of Firsts – Panic Attack

Day 1 – Thursday 19Apr
So i’m resting up at the moment after a long day, couple of firsts today.
* First Flight on Jetstar
* First time to Proserpine Airport
* First time in a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB)
* First Barnacle Cut

Pretty non eventful day really. Going on the Ocean Rafting was pretty good, only a quick spring around the bay with Beer in hand. Nothing bad on the fear front only a couple of freak out points, getting into the RIB had to climb across to others and they seperated for a second and had a bit of a freak out thinking i was gonna fall in. Was a bit panicy about the reef trip on Friday, I don’t think so much anymore it is a fear of boats, but more a fear of being out in open ocean, I don’t know. Pretty tired early start on Friday. Jetstar was not to bad to fly with. Pretty hands off service, but not to bad. Proserpine Airport was pretty dodgy. Got off the ground only a few minutes late but arrived 10 minutes early but then had to wait 15 mins to get bags. Aircraft was VH-VQN which was pretty nice inside.

Official Itin
0800 – Start Work
1100 – Finsih Work
1130 – Airtrain to Airport
1255 – JQ830 to Proserpine
1435 – Arrive Proserpine – Transfer to Coral Sea Resort
1530 – Arrive Coral Sea Resort – Site Inspection
1630 – Ocean Rafting – Nibblies, Drinks, Quick tour of the bay (pretty fun doing donuts in the boats)
1830 – Transfer to Pinnacles resort for a Site Inspection and Nibbles and drinks on the Balcony of one of the rooms
2030 – Desert at the Airlie Beach Hotel
2130 – Return to Coral Sea Resort

Day 2 – Friday 20Apr

Ok well this is a live update for today not a pre written one like yesterday’s. I am pretty ashamed of myself today. I let this fear get to me and overtake me this morning. I had a panic attack before sleep last night and then this morning had a huge one. I didn’t sleep much at all last night and had not eaten properly since Wednesday. The rest of the group has gone off to the Reef and I am here in Airlie Beach. Going to go for a walk towards the water front and take some photos. See if I can find some inspiration. Otherwise I will wait till i get to Long Island tonight and take some fantastic shots of the sunset. Going to head back to Shute Harbour maybe soon and go to Whitsunday Rent a Yacht as I’m in the Cruise and Sail side and see if they can show me around a couple of boats maybe to help with my knowledge, which is pretty limited due to the fear. Anyway not much left of this internet. Gotta go.

6 Days on the Road

Tommorrow begins Day 1 of 6 On the Road for the next week.  I will be home one full day in the next week (monday).  Tommorrow after spending a whole 3 hours at work (o0o0o0o0o0o0o scary) I am flying off to the Whitsundays for work.  Part of me is thinking that I should not take the big camera, however after looking over my old Hayman photos and realising how good some of them were (not the best but damn good, example).  With this I think I can justify getting up a touch early on Sunday morning on Hayman island, going for a stroll around the Island and taking a few photos.  The only thing is camera gear is big and hefty which means my big Crumpler back pack (picture).  I love the backpack its just large and sometimes a bit of a hassle.  But I deal with it, the sacrifices you have to make for your hobbies.

Anyway here are some basic outline plans over the next few days.  I will be keeping the blog going although will probably be writing it down as I go so that I can also keep track of the hotel rooms as I go (easier than taking a brochure around… sorry work people).

Day 1: Thursday – 11am finish work > Fly to Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) with Jetstar(*sigh*) and then a couple of activities and site inspections and Overnight Coral Sea Resort.
Day 2: Friday – Easy Day – Reef with Fantasea and Overnight Long Island.
Day 3: Saturday – Long Island to Hamilton Island > Half a Day on Hamilton > Hamilton to Hayman > Overnight Hayman
Day 4: Sunday – Hayman to Hamilton Island > Hamilton Island to Brisbane with Jetstar (*sigh*)
Day 5: Tuesday – Early morning Flight to Sydney on Qantas International Sector (YAY!) > Spotting > Chaser Taping > Overnight Menzies Hotel Sydney
Day 6: Wednesday (Anzac Day) – Dawn Service > Wreath Laying > Anzac Day March (photos probably) > Lunch with 2nd/2nd MG Bttln > Fly Home with Qantas.

Busy times coming up.  A lot of flying but I love flying anyway.  Hopefully trip to reef goes ok.  Don’t really wanna have to start panicing on the way out to the reef so I guess this will be a time to try and help with the fear, dunno if I’m going snorkelling yet either.  Shall see.

Anyway on an early shift tommorrow so should go to sleep.  If I can somehow get access to Internet somewhere I will update, otherwise I will update Sunday night when i get back.

The Countdown Begins

I know that i haven’t posted as of late (I have been slack) and I thought it a fitting time to finally release the full plans for my trip to the USA. I will not post a day to day itinerary as yet but I will reveal the overall plan.  On the 30th of August 2007 I will be leaving this country on my own (for the first time) and heading over to that wonderful place East of here (or is it West… stupid International Date line), the United States of America.

I will be heading over for my 2nd ever trip to the Country but this time I won’t be 13 and I won’t have my mum or grandmother telling me what I can do or see (not that I didn’t enjoy my last trip).  The trip is planned around 2 Contiki Tours, Grand Southern and Big Apple Explorer.  Grand Southern starts in Los Angeles (really Anaheim) and finishes 24 Days later in New York.  Big Apple Explorer is a 4 day Tour of New York City (the Big Apple).  I will be spending a couple of days pre tour in Anaheim visiting Michelle, Elm and Kenna as I have not seen them since July. It will be good to catch up.

Along the way I get to visit some places like Dallas, Las Vegas (oooooo yeah :D), Memphis and Washington DC.  A couple of things I am hoping I will get a chance to see on this trip will be:

  • American Football (whether it be College or NFL I don’t care.  Would love to go to a real game).
  • Shuttle Launch (there is one scheduled for “Some time in Fall” which means they don’t have a date
  • Meeting plenty of new people
  • Getting Drunk in Vegas
  • Eating a Hot Dog in the street in New York
  • Visiting the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

This is a trip that I think I have put off for so long, probably since I was 18.  I have made the decision to do it and I am going.  Work has approved my leave, flights are paid for in full (way back in November when i booked), Deposits have been paid.  Now the countdown begins.  This will probably be a trip of a life time for me (and possibly my last Contiki for a while).

At the top of my site from now on a Countdown will show with how long till I leave (30th August).  I will update as time goes on (though for the moment it could be quite boring as not much of the trip is happening although closer to the date it will begin to pick up as more preparations begin.  At present full blown saving is in effect (cept not this week it seems, as I’m going to Gold Coast tommorrow, Whitsundays on Thursday and then Sydney on 24 April (like 10 days away).

Let me know if you think of anything specific I should do in the USA while I am there!

*moans* brainsssss

What an afternoon. How else could you spend a lazy sunday afternoon than rushing through Brisbane city following a group of Zombies trying to get photos. What the hell am I talking about I can hear you thinking. Well today was the Annual Brisbane Zombie walk (no this is not an April fools joke). There was quite a lot of people congregated at the Roma St Parklands Ampitheatre, patiently getting themselves ready, covered in fake blood, ready and waiting for a trumpet call. When the trumpet call came so did a giant groan from all those around. It was a sight to behold. Several hundred zombies massing to the stage ready to be lead off to their end destination.

Once the zombies were assembled it was as though it was also time for the photographers to assemble. It was a sight to see. Several hundred zombies and a lot of cameras. There was only one TV station there (Channel 10) but there was a few cops to help along the walk. I was really their to support my friend Blair and Ben (also known as scythe and Franger respectively). Myself along with Nat, Andie and Jono followed this line of zombies all the way to the end and it was just a site to behold. At one stage the line of zombies stretched along Edward st from the Corner of Elizabeth St all the way up to the Corner of Adelaide St. Thats two city blocks. All the way plenty of moans and groans and wierd looks from onlookers.

After the walk was over a group of us went to go for a drink. Sadly the bouncers at the Victory were absolute dicks. They wouldn’t let my friends in because they didn’t fit the dress standards (they had closed in shoes, long pants). All because of a little fake blood. So we went to the Exchange and had a drink their instead (which is funny because the Victory usually lets everyone in and i mean everyone).

In the end almost 500 photos later and a lot of walking done I am stuffed. I feel like a good sleep but Band of Brothers is on tonight so much watch.

In other news went out to dinner last night with Ross, Suzanne, Brendan and Amanda (an old friend from tafe) and it was good to get out and socialize and not be a shut in for a night even though being a shut in is what I should be doing at the moment. Going to probably book my flights to Sydney tommorrow so that should be fine. Hopefully I can pull it off to get the Tuesday off work (day before Anzac Day) so that I can fly down to Sydney on QF176 which is an International Flight. Would mean that I can do some spotting in Sydney in the morning and see how things go, but it will depend. If it turns out I’m scheduled to have that weekend off i might just keep it. I dunno yet. We shall see.

A copy of the Video aired on Channel 10 tonight located here

2007 Zombie Walk