Posts Tagged ‘journey’

Stradbroke Island

It’s been a long time since I posted here. Back to any of my homes, people have started preparing for Christmas, buying presents, setting up the tree, etc. I miss that. But I’m not doing too bad either. 🙂
In this spirit, we went yesterday to the Stradbroke Island. It’s maybe two hours trip from place to place. Not that is so far away from Brisbane, we had to change one bus, one train (to Cleveland), one ferry (to Dunwich) and another bus to Lookout Point on the island.
This island is quite big (see the Wikipedia link) and is full of..nothing. There are actually two areas where people are concentrated: Lookout Point and Amity Point.
Arrrrghh! I don’t feel like giving all these geographical details about the place. The idea is that there is so much wild life there, is so quiet, just a few surfers or fishermen or backpackers. And the beaches!!!! Mmmmm… People back home have asked me “How’s the beach, how’s the ocean?” Well.. they are just perfect! On the eastern part of the island it’s the Main Beach which is…HUGE. Wide and incredibly long. Out of curiosity I checked last night on Google Maps and it’s never ending! It goes on for miles and miles. And yesterday I was actually tempted to walk for as long as I can along this beach hoping I would reach its end. Glad I didn’t do it. 🙂
What else? You will see from the pictures, the landscape is simply breath-taking. Some regions with very steep and beautifully carved shores. We were able to spot dolphins playing in the water, just a few tenths of meters in the open. It’s just impossible to describe how it feels to see animals in their natural habitat. Given the fact that most of the tourists are hypnotized by the Great Barrier, not many of them stop on this island. And that is great because it gave me the opportunity to breathe and enjoy the wilderness in all its splendor.

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I am not in the mood for writing – in 28h S. will be here 🙂 , but I promised to myself I will keep track of things. And it’s more like a moral duty to put down the few notes I made immediately after the boat-trip. Notes on the people I shared this experience with, because for me was nothing like I expected.
So, beside me, there were another 31 people on board of the New Horizon. The ones I remember are:
– the Swedish couple: quiet and nice. They were looking like they had been there from the beginning of the Universe. People you can rely on, calm, tender and warm. Simon – red headed, short curly hair. She – simple, harmonious.

– German people:
– she 1: black hair, big nose, on a quest for something around the globe after finishing her studies; a bit “I’ve been there, done that” kind of person, with a brownish tan.
– she 2: was actually Swiss, blond, easy going, 18, speaks French, English fluently, wants to become a doctor and go to Canada next year to visit a friend.
– she 3: nice smile, body, chestnut hair, naive
– she 4, 5: nothing special
– he + she 6 = love; Franziska – horrible horrible person with an always grumpy face. There is no trouble in Paradise, sweetie!
– she 7 – maybe 18, with a bandage wrapped around her swallowed left foot, always wining, drinks Cola light because of an “I’m fat” complex

– British couple: hairdresser + always drunk looking like guy. She: very friendly, bleached long hair, huge ring and necklace with amber, tattoo of a fairy around her ankle and another flower above her butt. I didn’t really understand if they were now living here or were just on holidays. He looked like an alcoholic, rather quiet though, with a tattoo on his right shoulder in the back (something tribal). His feet were dirty all the freakin’ time! I would say they were both around 25 years.

– Irish couple: her name I don’t know but it surely was something like Annabelle or Anne Marie. She simply looked like that. I liked her in the beginning. Curly blondish – dyed – hair, friendly. Then..things changed. I don’t know why. Just not my kind of person. She was putting on make-up for crying out loud! On the ship..in the middle of the ocean..gloss..mascara and some fancy thing for the eyebrows! Wtf? And her boyfriend was as stupid as a rock! Worse than two donkeys – as we would say in Romanian. He would always go “Fucking fucking fuck!”. But their accent was irresistible. Listening to them jabbing was like listening to Merry and Pippin from Lord of the Rings. 🙂

– another Irish chick: unimportant. Just that she was small, long eye lashed, very sharp face, had a ring with a green stone, green round earrings made of some textile. Was reading a very thick book treating it horribly.

– 4 Spanish people – 2 couples: I think the “he”s were brothers. One of them very hairy, curly, with cool sunglasses – John Lennon like, tattoo on the back of his shoulders. Did I mention he was hairy? 🙂 His girlfriend – Beavis look-a-like, with long face, lot of hair (they had to match, right?), without an ass, quiet. The other guy a bit less hairy, kind of like e cartoon character. His “she” was short but good looking, black straight hair, ALWAYS talking. They somehow pissed me off because of their inaccessibility. Whatever.

– German guy: Jonas. Looked like the base player from Limp Bizkit without the make up..meaning..a bit ridiculous. With a beard, but without mustache, a small pony tail, smoking a lot of Marlboro red. He had the attitude on a cool uncool guy, if you know what I mean.

– 2 British HOs: she 1 had a tattoo on the back, above the butt and one .. actually I should say two..on her butt cheeks, rather low positioned. She 2 – I pictured her as a sweet girl, but unfortunately she is not to become a sweet adult at all. Somehow they were the only ones quite attached to the crew, which I don’t think had anything else in mind than “drink & get laid”. They were all going “fuck off” and “shut the fuck up” at each other.

-2 guys – rather quiet. One of them was an angelic blond. Listening to music at their iPODs all the time, even though we had music on the ship.
I forgot the rest…

The crew: Skipper – fat, short, red hair … freaking everywhere, nothing like my dad; Dave and the guy with black hair and the guy who laughed all the time like an idiot – these were the ones caring about us, making the announcements, working on the ship, taking us with a smaller boot to the beach and so on. They were tooooooo damn talkative, sometimes even abusive, rather bad mannered, but in a strange way…fun.
Laura – the cook – French, a tattoo with some hebrew letters on the back of her neck, 2 piercings – one in the nose, one in the lower lip, 2 ankle bracelets. She cooked the most delicious fish on the first night on the ship. Came from France to have fun and make a living.

All in all, despite the colorful landscape, sometimes too noisy..it was worth! I slept extremely good in that tiny almost claustrophobic bed, had good food, got the chance to see how kinds behave in their world trips. This brings me to a regret I have. I’Ve never been in such a journey. Maybe it’s time to do so!

Oh..and something that would make a good motive for a tattoo are the most-used words by the crew: “Alright? Sweet! Happy days!” 🙂

Maybe I will put some pictures some other time. now I am really tired of all this writing.

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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!

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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.

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Saturday’s flavor

Saturday was my first time of walking through the city. The only wise thing to say about it is WOW! I felt like a kid. Ok, maybe people who travelled more in their lives might find my onomatopeea quite stupid, but I stand by it! It’s just that everything is spectacular, I don’t even know what to begin with. First, is nothing like any European city I’ve seen. It should be mentioned that Brisbane is crossed by a river which is very undecided and has lot of turns, forming peninsulae. On one of these is the „city“, meaning the centre of Brisbane. There are tall sky-scrapers with surprisingly interesting architecture. I am not a fan of new-ish modern architecture, but they really managed to combine shapes and colors of these colossals in a very harmonious way.
The two sides of the river are connected through lots of bridges for pedestrians. Some of them look very funky. The highway is also suspended along one of the shores. Everything looks very new. Actually, the oldest building in Brisbane is the Government House, dating from 1862. And when I think about the gate at the entrance in Lübeck, which is 1000 something years old I am smiling.
The promenade is gorgeous especially on the other side of the „city“. They have an artificial beach and chocolate-filled bananas. Yummy! The artificial beach is more like a refresh-quicky, because the actual beach is kind of a longer drive away. Actually south and north of Brisbane are the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, famous resorts with nice beaches, which are waiting for me to discover.
Having an artificial beach close to a natural source of water seemed quite funny to me. So I asked: why make a pool here? Well, the answer is simple: because the river is navigated not only by boats, but also by bull-sharks, crocodiles and other pissed-off-at-humans kind of animals. Hihi 🙂 !
I also saw ibis birdies and lizards. Just like that! They are everywhere. And I understood that the birdies behave quite nasty when it comes to food. They kind of steal from your plate if you don’t pay attention. Not only that, but they are also flipping your entire plate over…
Ah..yes and today we went to some sort of an art gallery. It was a fashion exhibition which got me very interested. The clothes were my kind of thing: quite cheap materials, mostly cotton, but designed and sewed in a very original way.
Having seen and said all of these, I came to the conclusion that being alone somewhere makes you perceive things in many more colors and shapes than when you are together with someone. It’s my piece of advice for everyone: if you feel trapped, stuck or even lonely, go somewhere new by yourself for a few days. You can gain so much from this. And learn..learn about other people and their lives, learn about yourself and your needs, your whises. I am usually the type of person who wants or needs company, but now I came to discover the other side of things and is really not bad. It’s an incredible feeling to walk through the streets and feel… It’s like all the details – people, shops, trees..are hiding you, and then..you feel safe.
Well..enough with this nonsaince. Enjoy the pictures!

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So! I got to Dubai. If you are to ask me about the way here I can only praise Emirates Airways for their…small things they do to make you feel better. I suppose that in any long range aircraft you’d get warm towels for refreshing and food which includes appetizer, main course, dessert and the dessert of the dessert, plus a very comfy pillow. The seat is also adjustable in 2 different ways – which I haven’t seen before for economy class and so on.

My first impression – and probably the only one about Dubai, since I am not to leave the airport – is..mixed. It’s a complete chaos here. All the people take advantage of the duty free thing, but in the worst possible way. Waaaaay too many people in the duty free area. And very different, not as many arabs as I would expect, but I guess this airport is a big knot in air traffic.

(…)just made a brake from writing because a guy asked me to help him connect to the internet. And despite my nasty feelings for Windows Vista, I succeeded. Now I am looking at a happy Asian guy – they are actually always happy, if you judge by their faces.

One more thing: McDonald’s has reached till here.

Second thing: 10 packages of Kent cost just 15$!!!!

I took some pictures on my new supacool camera I got as a present from S., but the cable is in the big backpack, so I will just put this one.DSC00355

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Following the advice of many experimented and loving people, I WILL NOT FORGET MY SUN-LOTION. And yes, with very high protection factor, so I will not look like Donatella Versace when I will set foot again on European land.

So, beside this important detail, which goes without saying together with a swimming-suit in my backpack, some very light clothes and flip-flops and a hat and the computer..and the camera(s) and the passport and some geeky scientific papers and… and… I think I got carried away. My actual dilemma, which I’ve been trying to solve by endless hours spent in-front of Google Maps is..where to go from Brisbane? North or..maybe …maybe South?

In case you are wondering why not both, here a simple plan of my staying there: from the 1st of November I will be actually trying to work for 6 weeks. This will mean take part to the experiments, go around the Shock Tunnel ( here are some technical details about this toy) and see what buttons I can manipulate to produce chaos and also try to get some nice results in the turbulent boundary layer simulations, which are going to continue, hopefully undisturbed on the computers in Munich. After the 6 weeks and after Stefan will have probably safely arrived to Kangaroo Island, we will hit it..southwards or..northwards? – To explore … a small part of the smallest continent on Earth.
The thing is that towards north is more…wild life. At least this is my impression. Not to mention the Great Reef, you can do whale watching, the biggest sand-island in the world (Fraser Island). These are things which stuck in my head after the above-mentioned Google Mapping and Wikipeding. I am sure there are many more interesting things to see.
On the other hand going south can also be nice. I don’t know how nice because I was a bit unfair when Google Mapping and I almost completely ignored this side. Buuuuuut, the climax would be Sydney. Ever since I found out about me going to Australia, I had this dorky/cliche picture in my head of me in-front of the Opera house in Sydney.
So, in the end it all comes down to the city and the dorky picture oooor wild life and whales.
What I actually forgot to say is that between Brisbane and Sydney there are no less than 900km, even though on GMaps is no more than…this (and you have to imagine now how I would indicate a really small…thing between my index and my thumb)!

There it is – my dilemma! I hope I will get some inspiration soon. Otherwise..GO PLANET! (Ah, I remembered these cartoons I was watching as a kid: “Captain Planet, he’s a hero/ Gonna take pollution down to ZERO” – quoted from my memory!! )

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The story begins

One week before take off to Brisbane, Australia, the idea of starting this blog came to me. So here I am, during the Institute coffee break, putting together the first lines for my journey-blog.

I thought to start with a few details about my trip.

Between 01.11.2009 – 02.01.2010 I will be visiting the University of Queensland. The visa says I will be an “occupational trainee” – this means…well..some sort of a geek. The official purpose of my visit is to take part to some supersonic flow experiments conducted by 2 friends from RWTH Aachen, who were so lucky to get sponsored for such things; experiments, especially super- and hypersonic flow experiments can be a damn expensive thing! Provided that you have the facility and model (which are actually the most expensive, on the order of tenths of thousands of euros), one simple run can rise up to 500 euros.

You see, in my PhD (this comment is more addressed to all of you who are engineers and have a little idea about fluid dynamics) I am studying shock-waves – turbulence interaction by means of Computational Fluid Dynamics. My subject is actually part of a larger, more ambitious project which aims at launching a type of engine which goes under the name of SCRAMJET (Supersonic Combustion RAMJET). Given the CFD context, this means I am ought to spend 90% of my time in-front of a computer. The rest of 10% going to meetings. For all of you who know me…do you think I like it? Well..yeah, a bit, but it’s not enough to calm my spirit. This is the reason why I was so happy to apply for this time abroad: on one hand is to see how things look in reality, be a witness of such experiments. If you are into SCRAMJETS, which I don’t think you are, Australia is the place to be. They are investing loads of money and research in this subject. So..there is me taking advantage of this! 🙂

Ok..enough with the scientific bla bla. The actual reason why I wanted to get there is not science. And now you’re gonna say : “I knew it!”. Well..I would be lying if I’d say there is one or the other. I am getting there both for science and kangaroos. And all the other creepy crawlers and stingers…and birds and koalas…

It’s a childhood dream which is becoming reality. I always wanted to travel. Yeah, of course is a cliche, who cares?! I’m enjoying the ride.

So..next thing I’m gonna post is a checklist with…stuff I need to have with me. Feel free for any suggestions!

Welcome to my world!

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