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A trip to heaven – Part 1

The trip to Whitsundays was by far the most reveling from this entire journey until now. There are really lot of things to say and I don’t know what to begin with.
To set a time and place reference, let me start by describing a bit these 3 days spent there. So, the Whitsundays is an archipelago of 74 islands at 1h flight north from Brisbane. They mark the beginning of the Great Barrier Reef on the south. What I did is tae the plane to Proserpine airport, spent the night in Airlie Beach and then next day at 3pm I took a boot for a 2 days and 2 night trip in this archipelago. We visited the Whitehaven Beach and did some snorkeling at some fancy coral areas. Whitehaven Beach facts: it was rated the 2nd coolest beach in the world (after some Caribbean beach, which didn’t really deserve its place because is artificial, so as far as Aussies are concerned – and also me – Whitehaven is the first beach in the world in a “coolness” hierarchy). What is particular about this beach is that its sand is 98% pure silica, which means that if you’d struggle a bit, you could really make glass bottles and stuff right there on the beach. 🙂 Basically the sand is very very fine glass. White, pure and almost blinding. Then..facts about snorkeling: we had to wear sting-proof suits, since now is the irukandji season. Even with those on, one didn’t really feel very safe, especially after finding out that these tiny jellyfishes (of the size of a nail) killed some people by stinging them in regions like feet or face, which you don’t cover with a suit. And just after I left, Shannon, my flat mate, told me she saw on TV a new such case which happened just around these islands. Pfiu! I guess that was close.
About the boat: it was a rather old fashioned wooden boat, capable of accommodating 32 people plus 5 crew members. We slept all-together, almost like sailors, in very tight spaces, but I have to admit I have never slept better since I came here. I don’t know why. Maybe I was tired, maybe it was the darkness..but it’s still weird if I come to thing about the tremendous noise of the generator. I will reserve the next post here to say things about the people I shared this trip with, because this chapter too is very interesting and intriguing and has made me come to some conclusions.

So, now getting to the philosophical part of the trip. I kept saying to myself when setting foot on that beach that God must’ve been a genius when creating that. I mean, even if you are not religious, is really impossible to treat such a miracle of nature with skepticism. You simply feel the need to relate to a bigger entity than yourself, because there is no way, no words in any language, no pictures of any cool photographers which would be able to capture the essence of being there and feeling that sand on your feet. So yes, when you are experiencing that, you feel that is bigger than you. Even having established this, I still had some futile attempts to immortalize the feeling. Pathetic, I know, but there was just so much I could do! The result..you will see in the pictures.

Then, the sailing between the islands is just for you. For you and the other mr. Hydes from your character. You have time to think, but curiously enough you don’t. And when you set foot on land again you are a bit annoyed, at least I was, when I realized that there had been so much things I could’ve settled in my head, but I simply didn’t find time to go through. And then..surprise! When you finally are home, in your bed, somehow things (those nasty things you wanted cleared) fall into their places. I haven’t figured out why or how this goes. A simple explanation would just be the relaxed mind you come back with…I guess.

Swimming with the funny colorful fishes is fascinating as one could imagine. If you float really still above a rich coral, they come quite close that you can stare in their fishy eyes. They are so calm! I kept thinking about Nemo. 🙂 Even though I haven’t seen any clown fishes (“Tell us something funny!” 🙂 ), I did spot some anemones dancing in the water. They are really cute! Again the feeling of snorkeling is very special. Even if you do it in a group, it’s still just you there, it’s still your own breath you hear..and if you do see some extravagant thing (even though if you ask me everything is like that) you are still the one to enjoy it most, because in most of the cases it’s hard to draw someone’s attention, unless they are really close.

Oh..and I was just about to forget. The sky. Beside the fact that is upside down…I mean, you can see Orion turned with 180° ..The sky is an impressive spectacle as well. There are no lights, which makes it 1000000000 times cooler to watch the stars than anywhere in the city or close to a city.

All in all..this is something someone should do at least once in their lives. It is a small glimpse from the immense world we are living in. I would say it is one of the best glimpses one can ever get. So, don’t spend money on other useless extravaganza, just go to the Great Barrier!

Nothing to say?

This week has been a bit busy. From work point of view and also..personal stuff. That’s why I haven’t really posted anything anymore. I do have some new pictures, but now I am on my way to the airport. What do you mean what airport?! I already mentioned I will be going to the Whitsunday Islands this weekend. And from the Airlie Beach off for a 2 day cruise around these islands.
So..camera – check, passport – check, swimwear – check, hat – check, maps – check, tooth paste and brush – check, shower gel – check, towel – check, sun lotion – check, books – check..
Did I leave anything out? Wallet and cellphone – check.
Ok, so I guess I am ready to go.

I’ll see you guys one paradise later!

So..how’s it going?

People say that here. Often. Instead of ..”Hey, what’s up?”
I don’t really remember what I wanted to write here. It’s late and I should probably sleep, because, as usual, in the morning I never get enough.
Well..yeah..today by the question “How’s it going?”, Michael Smart actually meant “How is the presentation going?” and the answer was “Yeah, fine, I just have to patch some pictures and that’s about it.” – I was asked to give a presentation here…

I am sure this is of absolutely no interest to you, but I thought I should just check in, because I haven’t done it for some time now. I have reached some sort of a plateau..things are happening, but they don’t excite me so much anymore. I cannot wait for this weekend. 2 days of sailing at the Great Barrier Reef..just me and my book and the sun. Hopefully things are gonna settle a bit. It’s just too much information coming from everywhere and it’s exhausting. Sometimes I wish I were…it would be nice if things would just be plain and simple from time to time.

Baby’s got temper

I got home. There’s news about Robbie WIliiams having had proposed to his..girlfriend. Who cares?! I like the bunny videoclip though.

Today was hot, I wasn’t in such a happy place, but not unable to make some notes on the things I saw in the city.
There are tones of optics stores (glasses) downtown. Therefore you think: „How difficult can it be to get a pair of contacts?“ The answer: „Very. You need a prescription!!!!“
Lots of ..different types of people:
–       I saw a self-harmer or how do you call those people who cut themselves?, a woman who had lot of scars all over her forarms and also several fresh wounds. She looked scared, always trying to catch the look of a guy that she was with (he was wearing dark sunglasses, that’s why the woman’s effort seemed hilarious)
–       Several obese people eating disgustingly fat foot. As usual as that might be here, it still surprises me all the time how careless some are about their health.
–       A woman with very high heal sandals, red, stripper like. She was also wearing socks – short white girlie look-a-like with some lace at the margins. In a weird way it looked chic. She also had very nice silver rings (3).
–       The entire trip home (by train) seemed a commercial for Apple: everyone had either an iPHONE or an iPOD. And as much as I like Apple I gotta say, these people here take to the extremes. Of course the iPHONEs are all nice and cool, but they are so pointless when you are a nothing more than..a student for example. It’s just ridiculous!
–       This morning, at the bus station, there was a guy, fat, stretched skin with countless tatoos with skeletons. You could even notice an evolution of the tatooing devices and style one used on his skin.
–       Huge boobs! In the train there was a woman sitting. Since there weren’t any seats left, I was standing beside her. Looking down was………..I simply cannot understand how God makes them so big! 🙂

I don’t know what else..there were more things earlier…Now I am watching John McLane who is going to save the world for the 4th time.

Homesick

After so much traveling, well not soooo much, but some, it just occurred to me that I can feel home pretty much anywhere I feel good. So this notion of “home” is..a bit abstract to me. Home is where your toothbrush is – I always say.

But now..now I am longing for something old. Something familiar, something I can do or know with my eyes closed, something…something. 🙂 What is it? I don’t know, how should I? My family, my friends, my German friends (hihi!), the warm floor from S.’s apartment, my S., my cat, the fallen leaves from Munich’s autumn, my old room in my parent’s home, the sea (ah, the sea!), the red walls of my current room…

So, I guess, I re-redefined the notion of “home”.

 

 

Excruciating pain

No, no, everything is ok.
There isn’t actually much to say. On Sunday I was lazy as hell. Even Wii fit couldn’t stir things up.
Monday and Tuesday..a bit of work, reading, preparing the presentation I am about to give here, etc. I also tried to book a nice boat trip around the Whitsunday Islands. I was very excited about it, because they take you from the harbor and for 2-3 days they are sailing around these islands..mostly nearby nice beaches and coral reef. There is a very nice beach I will hopefully see. It’s called..well…I shouldn’t say anything right now. Better later, after everything will be in the past, because this way you will be able to understand my enthusiasm.
I wanted to say that my excitement was a bit killed when I came across a website with information about all the dangerous species you can find in these tropical waters. And which words do you think were common in all descriptions of the symptoms one experiences when getting stung, touched, etc..by a poisonous animal?? I will tell you: EXCRUCIATING PAIN. No kidding! If you are in the mood, just take a look on wikipedia (I am too lazy to look for that link, maybe tomorrow) about box jellyfish, irukandji jellyfish, blue-ring octopus, lion fish, etc. Especially the jellyfish is tiny. The irukandji is at most 1 cm long, the body I mean, while the tentacles can reach 1 m. that is bloody not fair!
Luckily this on the boat there will be some sort of protection costumes, which, however, don’t cover the face area – and I saw a documentary on Discovery, where a guy died because he got stung by an irukandji on his cheek. 😀
So..just wish me luck!

Ocean drive

On Saturday, Shannon, my flat-mate who will eventually get an entire post here, was very nice and agreed to drive with me to the Pacific coast, Bribie Island. Even though driving there, especially on Saturday can be a bit exhausting because of all the traffic in Brisbane…it was totally worth it. And I got to admit, the Pacific rose up to my high expectations. The word to best describe it is…overwhelming I guess. Coming from the tiny Black Sea to see the ocean is like moving from H&M clothes to…Tommy Hilfiger. I cannot believe what comparison I made! Sure H&M is all comfy and funky, but Tommy Hilfiger takes it to another level. It was quite weird because you cannot swim so much in the open, because of..well..many reasons: very strong currents, the water is deepening very fast and last but not least..the old bull-sharks which might be waiting for a treat.. 🙂 So I stayed close to the shore, in the beautiful waves. It was…amazing!

Again..being used to my Black Sea..my eyes were not so happy to meet the very salty water from the ocean, but I didn’t really care.

Until now I’ve seen some beaches and I started to appreciate much more what my home-town sea has to offer: wide sandy beaches (not like in .. Croatia for example, where, as beautiful as the Adriatic is, being around it doesn’t make it by far as pleasant as being on the beaches around the Black Sea; lot of stones, lot of people, lot of everything), safety (see the sharks and all other mean, even poisonous jelly-fishes you can meet well..almost at all ocean beaches) and large swimming areas (again ocean beaches are a bit short on that).
I don’t want to be misunderstood. The ocean does not compare to our small lake. And I believe if I would’ve been raised down here on the coast, I would shrug my shoulders in disgust if someone would even dare to think of comparing the ocean with that tiny lake there in Europe. But since I haven’t been raised here and since I went to high-school just 2 min away from the Black Sea, shared lot of joys and sorrow with her (in the meantime “it” has become a “her”): beers, bathes at midnight or veeery early in the morning, like 4am or so, parties, sports, wave racing (something we did when it was very cold and very cloudy outside, sometime in late autumn; wave racing is about you against the wave… ruuuuuuun!), we even shared winter evenings when outside was freezing…so, because of all those reasons and some more which I can’t think of right now, I am a bit subjective when it comes to choosing my sea over the vast ocean! 🙂

Friday in a glass

Oooops, I did it again! Just when I was on the verge of going home, all pissed off at my day…someone whispered in my ear something about a trip to the Whitsunday Islands. Naturally, when it comes to going away (I would use here the Romanian “hai-hui”), all my antennas were re-directed, all my neuronal mechanism started to go all “tica-taca”. So I stayed and talked to some people trying to establish a plan for getting away two weekends from now. And then there was the French guy, whose name is Breece (have no idea how you spell it, it just rimes with Greece), telling me about what cool CFD simulations he did on the SCRAMJET inlet. So I got carried away. My desire of being grumpy and happy with my grumpiness disappeared like “Poofff!”. And when Thomas came and asked if I wanted to go for a pizza, I was all..yeeeey! By the way, it was the most delicious pizza I’ve ever tried. Maybe because I was hungry, but it was not too thick with all the goodies on it..MMMMmm!
And what do you think goes well with a pizza? A beer, of course! But this time I precisely remember how many tiny glasses I had. 🙂 I took some nice pictures that I thought I’d share with you.
What was cooler was that walking home from the bus station I got on Beatrice street which is, like most of the streets in Taringa suburb, veeeeery steep. The breeze coming from the city made trees shiver. It was so pleasant! I said to myself like Natalie Portman in Garden State “My hair is blowing in the wind!” and smiled. It was a very nice feeling to do some “Ueeeeeaaaaoooooo, neeeeeeaaaaoooooooooo!” with the hands spread like wings and fly downhill. 🙂

Uffa!

Yeah, I don’t have any cool pictures, my day was…&%$^&!!!
I guess not everything can always be all lollipops and candies. The entire week I’ve been trying to wrap my head around all sorts of equations and..well..it turned out that I couldn’t get some things figured out. Bleah! It’s one of those times when the curiousity which made me start this PhD feels a bit outdated, insufficient, stupid, childish, etc. But oh well! In the spirit of momentum conservation I will keep on trying.

The cool uncool thing about today was that after I woke up I tried to kill some time waiting for a certain phone call. After the phone call, which was for me not as cheery as other times…I got dressed and prepared for the office. On the way out of the house I discovered that my iPOD did some funny stuff messing up some of the songs I had copied on it. “Oh well..a small inconvenience!” – I naively thought to myself. Then, just ouside the house, in the street, getting the first bite of a grape … I choked. The kind of choke you need someone to pat you on the back. Guess what? In the suburb where I live there are no other people!!! Together with Shannon, we are the only ones! 🙂 Seriously, there was no one on the street so I caughed and caughed for a few minutes. Luckily I didn’t miss the bus!
I safely came to the uni and was happy to taste my latte for today (I cannot not think about Carry Brashaw when I am ordering latte). So I took out the money (2 coins of 50 cents and 1 coin of 2 dollars) and guess what now? I dropped the 2 dollar coin in a drain hole. Pointless to say it was impossible to get it out. “Oh well”…AGAIN!
Theeeen I finnally got to the office. But just on the corridor I saw the guy who sits on my right in the room heading towards me. He was also looking at me so I was just preparing to say “Hello” – because I am a well behaved person, or at least I like to believe that. But, what do you know? Exactly when he was like 1m away, his eyes preferred to shift to the floor. I was a bit annoyed by that and so..hadn’t it been for my weird morning I would’ve just let it go. Buuuuuuut..I didn’t. I came very close to him and shouted in his ear “Hiiii!” Not shouted that everyone could hear me, but just enough for him to think I am a psychopath. And exactly in this instant, he is quietly sitting 1m away from me, trying to learn Python. Everybody say “Hello Jasoooooooon!” and wave!

The thing is that we know eachother, I mean..I even helped him to print some stuff. Apparently it’s not such a strong bond these days anymore…:)

I think I will skip this Friday’s beers and just crawl in my bed and ask for my mommy who is 300000000000000km away. 🙂

Koala? Where?

At the Lone Pine Koala sanctuary, that’s where. I went there on Sunday with Arianna.
Useless tu say it was at least interesting.

Q:„So..where is this place?“
A:„Just 10 minutes drive from Taringa suburb, somewhere in the south-west of Brisbane.“
Q:„What is so spezial about this place?“
A:„Well..it’s more like a zoo, but with less animals and the biggest number of koalas in captivity.“
Q:„How many?“
A:„About 130…“
Q:„What kind of koalas?“
A:„All kinds you can meet in Australia, all ages. They have the young ones (up to 2 years old, while the longest lived koala reached 23 years in captivity; the ones living out there only make it up to 10-12) – very playful and active; the adults who look nothing more than a stoned bear..aaa..marsupial, I appologize; the mom&cub area where you can really see small koala on top of large koala; and the retiring home with grannys over 12 years old who are, remarcably, more active than the adults.“
Q:„What does a koala feed on?“
A:„Eucaliptus and nothing else.“
Q:„Don’t they drink any water?“
A:„No.“
Q:„Isn’t that weird?“
A:„Well it might be. Not sure. But that is definetely the answer to why are they so..still? It’s because eucaliptus is toxic…it kinda gets them high. And it also contains no sugar, so they don’t have so much energy.“ – That’s also why the sex is probably very boring! 🙂
Q:„You said this place is more like a zoo. What other animals are there?“
A:„Errmm..Kangaroos, wallabies (meaning smaller kangaroos and nicer I might add), dingos, Tasmanian devil, wombat, a bunch of handsome snakes, a crocodile, some sheep dogs, emu, lot of cuckatoos and other screaming birds, some huuuuge bats (they are called something like fox-bat or so…Geeee! I wonder why?! They were just hangin’) and..other stuff that I forgot.“
Q:„Something special about any of these God-given-creatures?“
A:„Mmm..no. Oh, wait. The Tasmanian devil can eat the equivalent of their body mass, around 12 kilos or so. And they are not big. Nor scarry. Just bigger rats. And..the wombat looks like a weasel, but is actually a disguised koala. It lives underground. The dingo didn’t look so dangerous. Was expecting more! And..the koalas make ugly noises when they mate. Some sort of snorrs.“
Q:„Would you recommend the place?“
A:„Definetely! Except fort he ridiculously expensive food, it’s awesome! You can sit somewhere in a field and read and the kangaroos and wallabies are coming to you out of curiousity or something. It’s more like a nature park, not like any zoo I’ve seen in Europe. The koalas are sitting in trees and there is just a 1.20m fence around them..nothing else. You are not allowed to touch them or jump the fence of course, but they feel very close. The other biting animals are, of course, kept somewhere behind a higher fence. Everything is relaxing, because the place is in an unaltered nature. So yeah, go there!“
Q:„All right so..thank you for your time!“
A:„:)“