Monday, 9 April 2007

walking, walking, walking

and so to the walking tour of manhattan......courtesy of al from the big apple greeters. the instructions are to meet him at 10am under the large marquee promoting the 'mary poppins' show in times square.....easy enuff *gulp*

the first challenge of course was remembering that i had to travel uptown on the subway and get off at the right station.......check....

now, a big marquee in the square......ummmmmmmmmmm.......where's the square? what, you mean this maze of buildings, cars and roads is IT????? no park????????......ok so that means i've found the square......check.....

big marquee.....uuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.......where's the tent????? rising tent........there's a big sign 'mary poppins'......maybe that's it???????

well, i'll just hang about here - hoping not to attract too much attention of the authorities - don't they have some kinda law against 'loitering with intent' here in the US????

fortunately, al arrives, complete with his 'big apple greeters' badge.....we are both early so we head off. into this crazy world of times square. the buildings are absolutely ginormous.....we have absolutely nothing in brissie to compare this with. it seems that even the electronic billboards on the buildings are bigger than our buildings.....and the roads are everywhere - and i'm not sure that they even understand that the lines of the roads mark different lanes.........!!!!!!

anyway, with al as my guide i feel quite ok - he is careful to make sure i am following as we plunge into the streetscape - and cross roads with gay abandon as i reckon on true new yorkers can - but i am still very careful to remember to look the other way first! i don't think i'd ever get used to the traffic being on the other side of the road.

we meander around times square as al points out various landmark buildings, and explains the history behind many of them - there's the empire state building, and the chrysler building, and the studios for 'good morning america' and 'mtv', and the paramount theatre where many famous names performed......then the humanities library, bryant park with the coolest outdoor reading room and the cleanest public toilets, and grand central station - where up to 5 tons of newspaper is collected daily for recycling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and there's 42nd street, and 5th avenue.....famous designers, well recognisable shops, and trump tower, the rockefeller centre, a mounted police man (whose horse i absolutely MUST pat).....

then into the southern part of central park - another outdoor skating rink, and more real squirrels (still incredibly cute....!). and then for a subway ride downtown.....
  • to SOHO (soho = 'south of housten street') - more famous shops and expensive stuff....
  • and on to little italy - for a taste of canoli - excellent, but there were soooo many other gooey italian deserts i could have tasted too....
  • and then chinatown - for a wander through narrow streets and past plenty of streetside stalls and lunch in a chinese restaurent frequented mainly by the chinese not europeans....
then - cause my legs were still up to it, across the brooklyn bridge (well, part way....we were running out if time). and of course the obligatory photo of me on the steps made famous by the opening scenes of the tv show 'law and order'.......

and finally, down to the world trade centre.......where the tour was to end.......this part of town is still a major monument to those who died, with lots of people reading of 9/11 and viewing progress towards rebuilding.......a very fitting place to end the tour.

al then headed off and i wandered round a little bit longer the found my way successfully to the subway station and back to greenwich village and squad's place.......

i have to say that getting in touch with the big apple greeters to organise a way to fill in my very short time in new york was a great idea. al is incredibly knowledgeable about his city and to spend nearly six hours in the company of someone who clearly loves the place they live in is an honour. i saw many things i would not even have thought to visit. and i managed to experience the city in a way that i couldn't have by myself unless i'd had more time....and all for the price of subway ticket!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i would encourage anyone going to an unfamiliar city to see if there is a similar scheme. even if you are there for longer than one day, it certainly gives an great orientation......

nearly the end of my trip - but one more experience to report - in my next entry......

Saturday, 7 April 2007

now where was i?

hmmmmm, i think i left you all in new york when i'd just arrived.....after a very comfortable 4 hour ride on the chinatown bus. word of advice for anyone travelling between cities where this is an option - just go for it. the bus was clean, the driver seemed safe, they let me get on the bus that left an hour earlier than the one i'd booked (just cause i'd arrived 5 minutes before it left!), it was quicker than getting a plane, and it only cost $15 us....!

great value!

and, it meant that i had to learn how to catch a new york cab real quick once i got there cause that was the only way i was going to get to squad's house. as it turned out, it is fairly simple - just stand on the footpath and wave....eventually one'll stop - and in my case politely tell me i was standing on the wrong side of the road :)

but i got there after only a couple of minutes but with the overwhelming realisation that i was in this incredibly BIIIIIIIIIG city! with no real idea where i was going!!!!!

squad's apartment was on this street that just absolutely matched my image of a new york street - maybe cause it was just near the bakery and street that featured in 'sex in the city' - wow!!!!!

and that was just the first of many 'wow' moments.

once i'd met squad it was time to meet the dogs - and obviously, being australian cattle dogs, they recognised the accent. we got on immediately to the extent that they were more than happy to share the sofa with me at night :)

and of course, time to meet squad's bike, see her office and ring Al to find out where to meet him for the walking tour the next day. which was my next 'wow' moment - this time with some turned out that i was to meet al in times square, which meant a subway ride, all by myself.....eeeeeeeekkkkkkkk.........

and so to bed.....

the walking tour in my next post!

Friday, 6 April 2007

Home at last

whew...finally home again. i've just uploaded all the photos from new york and sometime over the next couple of days will catch up the new york blog entries.....

cya then....enjoy the photos

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Last leg.....

hey all, i'm now in new york - having just arrived this afternoon (it's now 5pm new york time on monday) york is completely enormous and CRAZY mad with the traffic etc.....

i'll be spending two nights with someone from here but not too sure whether i'll be able to get to the internet too often. so this is more in the way of a 'i'm letting you know where i am and i'm ok' post rather than too much about what i've been doing. a report on the bus trip will have to come later when i've got more access.......

well, catch you all later.......

Monday, 2 April 2007

Last day in Harvard......

well, this is it. my last day at harvard. i'm graduating to the big time - head off to new york tomorrow........

i spent most of today just walking around - it is amazing that many of the buildings in this whole city of cambridge are owned by just the one university......although there are apparently a number of different universities here.....

overall i have taken about 5 hours today just walking from one part of the campus to another - past the harvard law school, the harvard business school, the harvard school of government, the playing fields.......

and i have seen more squirrels too. hopefully the photos will have turned out!

it seems like harvard square is a big tourist spot - there are more people and cars around today than there were on thursday and friday! (and i don't think it has anything to do with it now being spring break........i would have thought in a university town that would have meant less people?)

tomorrow morning it will be time to find the fung wah bus company depot in boston (taking a taxi - less chance of getting lost i hope) and then four hours travelling to new york.....a great chance to see some of the countryside and maybe take some more photos from the bus.

and so to the last leg of this adventure.....two nights in new york.....possibly going on a bit of a ride, the tour of manhattan with al, and maybe a coffee night with new york bikers.......(although rain has been forecast - but as yet no sign of it materialising - fingers crossed).

(and right now it is 5:00pm on sunday.....)

(oh yeah, and you'd never guess - but i had to buy another bag to fit all my stuff in hehehe - will have to keep my spending to a minimum in new york :( )

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Last working day at Harvard....

today was the last day of the meetings in harvard. we started with breakfast and then went into a full day of meetings and working on what we will be doing for the next two years.

i am the only person there who is not working at a university and it is interesting listening to all these academics talking. they are very good but it is different because all the things i talk about is from the viewpoint of someone who has been working in the area. i am also the only one who is not getting any sort of financial support at all!

and also, the one who has travelled the furthest to be at the meetings. it kinda blows my mind away a bit.

i've added some more photos of the buildings at harvard where we have been meeting......

but it was exciting talking about the book that we are going to be writing, and seeing the journal that will be publishing our papers. this is a big step for me as a student and it will be good to have some experienced people helping me with it. and it will be exciting when the book actually gets published. but i did get lost in all the conversations.......

the meeting finished at about 3pm so then some of us went across the river to boston via the underground. apparently there was a shooting on the underground yesterday!!!!!!!!! but today it was fine - although i did feel a right idiot when trying to work out how on earth to get a ticket..........

we went for a walk around some of the sights of boston - saw where paul revere did his big ride and the building where the rally took place that started the whole boston tea party revolt.....there are photos that will be uploaded to my album next........and i also saw the 'cheers' pub......

one more day here - so if the weather stays fine i will walk around some more of the university buildings and stuff. then organise all my packing ready for the bus on monday to new the homeward journey is about to begin......

(for those who care - it is now 10:15pm on saturday......)

Saturday, 31 March 2007

And so to work.....

Ok, today was the first day of the REAL reason for my trip......this is the first of two days of meetings with the other members of the international research group that i am part of.....and if it wasn't for my involvement with this group then i probably wouldn't have made this trip at this stage.

today was the first time that the whole group had got together so much of the time was spent hearing from the two chairs of the group and getting the context of the project that we will be working on together for the next two years or so.

after gaining some context, we then heard from each of the members of the group. there are some extraordinarily amazing people in the group and i am lucky to be a part of this. we each have a slightly different interest in the research project so there are some very different perspectives. as well as that, this is a truly international collaboration (although i did have to ask which part of the trans-atlantic collaboration did australia fit into??????).....

there are representatives from various universities in the US, the UK, Israel, Slovenia, France and me from Australia. I was starting to feel a little bit 'lost' - everyone else in the group has done so much travel and are all working for academic institutions full-time, or studying full-time, or doing research full-time. but they've asked me to be a part of this so obviously i have something to offer. i did start to wonder how i could manage to put together a funding package that would mean i could do this full-time - and it was hard to have to say i doubted i could apply for the chance to attend a PhD student institute meeting in July even if tuition fees were waived as i couldn't afford the travel and time off work :(

ah well, if it is meant to be there will be a way......

as well as that whole buzz, the other highlight of the day was my chance to sit on yet another bike.......

i was leaving the hotel to go meet the group for dinner when i spied two very nice looking cruisers just across the road.

since it was the direction i had to go anyway, i decided to cross over and have a quick look.

a couple of minutes later, out of a shop comes obviously the, i just had to say hi.......introduced myself as a virago rider and said that i was missing my bike.......we got talking and then gus said would i like to sit on his bike.......WOULD I !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and the proof is in the album........lovely bikes.........and it was very kind of gus and his partner (sorry can't remember his name) to let me have photos too.......

and tonight i have found this wonderful chocolate shop all in all an excellent day.

oh, and i also saw two squirrels.....i tried to take photos but they didn't work out :( maybe tomorrow..........

which will be full-on with an all day meeting starting with working breakfast.......

(btw - here it is now 8:18pm on friday - not saturday)

Friday, 30 March 2007

Harvard is in Cambridge!!!!!

well, it took me a little while but now i realise that cambridge is NOT boston.......but it is just across the river.

so what has happened today? mostly i walked.........and took photos. this place is full of history. and famous names.

because the hotel that i am staying in doesn't have a restaurent, i had no option but to get out and find a place to eat. and have that first cup of coffee.....fortunately not such a big hassle as there are numerous places to have coffee. i tried a different place this morning, but naturally managed to make it just in time for rush hour - so i made it a 'take out'.......and i stuck to a latte cause i KNEW that would have milk in it :)

oh, and ray, i want the puffy jacket back please. it was COOOOOOOLD. -1 plus wind chill making it -4. thank goodness i bought my wombat 'sweater' (see i'm learning more american) - but it was still chilly. tomorrow morning is meant to be cooler so i might have to resort to layering everything i have bought with me.

but i did manage to find the building where i have to go for the meeting which is the real reason for this whole trip.

i also had a look through a couple of bookshops, bought the obligatory 'harvard' souvenirs - at the clearance table so less than half price and no-one at home is going to know it is all LAST season!, (and the lady who served me loved the 'gorgeous' sweater - great job mum)

and then to find a place for lunch.

i strolled along the footpath to this burger joint. it looked good. it sounded good. it smelt good. little did i know that it was in fact the famous Mr Bartley's......and i was greeted at the door by Mr Bartley himself asking for my order. then shown to my seat at the counter by Mrs Bartley. the place was completely packed so it was lucky that it was just me - a crowd would have had to wait. the burger was excellent - i have never been asked before how i wanted my burger done! and the fried onion rings were amazing too. for those who want to know more here's a link:

after that, i had to walk it off so wandered around some more and found much of the actual harvard uni buildings including the famous 'harvard yard' - nope, don't know why its famous but i'll endeavour to find out.....

a little bit more walking and i was ready for my 'nana nap' (your fault ray - it's part of my body clock now).......

i'm having dinner tonight with a number of people from the research group which will be good. but i'm guessing i'm in for a bit of a late night.

and i've managed to coordinate my timing so that i have had a chance to chat online with michael, and apart from the dog being a pain all is well at home too.

that's all for now. and ignore the date and time stamps on the posts - right now it is 5.42pm thursday cambridge time but my computer is still set for qld time......

and two questions:

  1. why is my hotel located on a 'square' which is actually 'round'??????????
  2. can u see the photo of the traffic cops doing what traffic cops do????????
ok, all for now. catch everyone later.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

helloooooo from boston....well, hahrvahrd actually.

yep, here i am in harvard.......getting a bit tired now - it was a long day. and a bit sad because i had to say goodbye to ray and lily and blade.....they were starting to feel like my second family. they gave me such a great time while i was in their little town and after being 'email buddies' for nearly six years it was wonderful to be able to talk without a little thing called a time difference getting in the way.

so ray and lily, big hugs and kisses from me. massive thanks (again), and let me know when you are closer to getting to my home. i look forward to the day when i'll be able to arrange your australian experience. take care.

and so to boston.

lucky me, yet again i got a window seat on a plane (wide-eyed excitement i know), and this time it was daylight so i was able to see what i was flying over. now i realise how much i should have paid attention during geography lessons.

and guess what? boston has had the same problems with bushfires as new york.

yep, that's right, from what i can see the trees are all brown and dead-looking. of course, it is night time now so i can't really tell. i'll let you know after tomorrow's exploring.

and naturally, harvard doesn't look anything like i'd imagined it. with the exception that the buildings that i've seen so far look very, very, very old. tomorrow i'll take a wander around and take photos for you all.

oh - and the travel adventure wouldn't be complete without another run-in with customs people would it????

this time it was leaving ottawa, going through the american customes section of the airport when they tactfully (?) pointed out to me that the tin of maple syrup i'd bought for myself was tooooooooooooo big to fit their 'liquid' regulations.


so ray, i'll need to see if it's possible for you to post me some.......... :(

ok, i'll leave it here for now - after all i think this makes three posts in one day - and catch you all up sometime tomorrow.

ice hockey!!!!

ok, brekky over, ray's delighted in getting me to help take blade for a walk round the block - he just wanted to see the aussie freeze - bright sunny morning but -9 degrees!!!!!

so, back to the ice hockey report. well, obviously there was the traffic - but with the stadium outside the main part of town the traffic jam wasn't as noticeable as in brisbane - but still sitting in traffic is not pleasant for anyone.

then we went inside to wait for ray's mate - alex - who was going to join us. the instructions for finding him? well, he's a harley rider with the ponytail and the you KNOW how many people fit that description????????

but we met up with alex, then dashed into the gear shop so i could do the touristy thing and buy the t-shirt - which of course has ended up being a replica jersey -even better. but it was the quickest in-buy-out i've ever done before!

then the race up the stairs to find our seats. great seats - up high but not so high as to get a nose-bleed and with a superb view of the rink itself. we missed the first goal (darn tourists needing to buy souvenirs!), but it was ottawa in the lead 1-0.

naturally, i couldn't understand a thing - which was a real laugh for ray and alex who typically both knew the sport well. and despite their attempts, i still don't know much more - except for the concept of a power play - where a player gets sent off for a penalty leaving one team at least one player more on the rink than the other team. a great chance for scoring apparently (but not last night). and that the game is played in three periods with a twenty minute break between periods - enough time to go get what i have realised is a staple food - timmy's coffee (and a double double with cream is i gather a white coffee with two sugars).

speaking of timmy's - they have this competition where you have to roll up the lip of the cup and see if you've won the car. well, i haven't won a car (ray and i had schemed how that would be sold and the money invested to pay for my next trip to canada) but i did win two coffees - so the next cup is on me......

unfortunately boston defeated ottawa 3 - 2 (ray managed to miss both ottawa goals - i'll let him tell the story if he wants to). and so back outside for the traffic jam.

and of course, a chance to meet alex's bike......and sit on it.........great feeling getting back on a bike after only what? a week and a bit?????

and so to bed. what a great day it was. it will be a shame to leave ottawa, ray and lily. but don't worry - in the words of some great american actor/governor - i'll be back.................

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

cultural day in canada

day three in canada was cultural day - museum, french restaurent, art gallery and ice hockey - all topped off by meeting a fellow biker who let me sit on his bike......uuuummmmm that felt good!!!!!!!!

there are pics coming of the remainder of the trip. ray was determined that none of you missed out on seeing what i was seeing, but they will probably not be posted for a couple more days.

ray took me first to the museum of civilization (i think that was the name) to see the first nations display - i can remember as a kid pretending to be the 'indian' and here was the real stuff - totem poles, art works, clothing, weapons (ray's favourite bit i think). so much to see. the artwork on the drums was marvellous and the museum building itself is awesome - i loved the curved architecture.

it was also amazing looking across the river to the parliament building - sitting there high on its rocky outcrop across the frozen expanse. and no, i didn't take ray's hint to 'move just a little bit more to the right kerrie - right about where that crack on the ice is' (nice try boyo!).

after that, we went for a quick stroll (given ray's height, you can read 'jog' in my case - and in high heels too!!!!) between buildings to the french quarter restaurent where i met up with elizabeth - another colleague who i have been in email contact with for a few years. i have to say that it has been a real buzz meeting these people who have become friends through the internet and being able to hear their voices not just read them. oh yeah and i ate boar - interesting gamey taste (sorry to those of you who are vegetarians but i had to give it a go).

following dinner, back to the car and across the river to the art gallery. a very modern glass-surrounded building with this enormous spider sculpture outside. again with the photos courtesy of ray. then inside to see the art work from a famous canadian indigenous artist. depictions of whales and ravens mostly - predominantely in black, white and red colourings. quite different to things i had seen before whereas the artifacts in the museum shared some similarities with those from new guinea and the aboriginal groups i have worked with in the past. unfortunately no photos from inside this time - neither ray nor i felt like being thrown out.

and then home for a rest before the real highlight - the ice hockey game......

oops brekky ready - back later for the game highlights

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

of bikes and shops....

well not really but i do have to respond to muttly's comment about the pic of the pocket bike:

at least now i know what a pocket bike is hehehehehe. i would have loved to have brought it home, but i don't know that it would have survived the kyogle run any better than the virago would have - i think it would have been more about the skills of the rider mutts.....!

i have managed to do the souvenir shopping that i planned. with the rain that we had here (apart from being a bit like melbourne...) we had to find something to replace the ski plans with so ray and i went shopping. i had never realised before that shopping for a shirt to go with a suit was quite such a big deal! there is more involved with that than buying the right dress for a formal! and this from a fellow who has some serious weaponry hanging around his house!

  • first there was the decision about which particular stripe in the suit should be matched.
  • then solid colour or stripes?
  • then which tie?
  • and not to mention the shoes!

whew, thank goodness i'd had that practice with tegan shopping. those who know me well know that clothes shopping is a quick 'in, glance, see what i want/don't want, out again as quick as possible' foray........but good on ray - it's great to know that there are guys out there who care as much as the girls do.

and i hope people back home like maple syrup. there's plenty coming home with me. provided it doesn't leak all over the bag on the way home.......

all for now. getting ready to go visit museums (maybe there will be a mountie there!)


Monday, 26 March 2007

Playing in the snow (day 2)

if you've checked the blog since my last post you'll already have seen the photos that ray and i took on day two.

the day was another amazing day in my adventure - the snow that fell on day two lasted long enough for me to enjoy a wagon ride put on by janet and her partner richard - in quebec.......where they only speak french (well, i'm sure they speak english too if they really want to). of course, i soon exhausted ALL my french - saying bonjour to richard whereupon he immediately started to talk more to me and i had to admit that 'bonjour' was about the only word i could remember.

i'm sure there were many jokes about the aussie girl behind my back, and in front of me, particularly since ray told them about my amazement with the big fires they had in new york (well, it only took me about 30 minutes to realise that in early spring the trees DON'T have leaves anyway and looking like they've been burnt is NORMAL and not the result of bushfires :) )

but i didn't mind since i was having so much fun.

then we went to the sugar bush. this is where i got to eat what i believe is staple french-canadian food - maple syrup freshly 'distilled' (not sure this is what they call it) and cooled off in the well as a lunch that consisted of ham, bacon, pancakes, eggs, beans (better than the tinned variety that's for sure), pea soup, bread, and of course MAPLE SYRUP poured liberally over the top of everything.....followed by this absolutely yummy sugar pie - bit like caramel pie but made with maple syrup. now where to get the recipe?????

then home again to the sad news that the thaw had set in and the ski trip was off. ah well, can't have it all i spose. and i'm sure most ottawans are just dying to have spring properly start.

and i do have the hockey game to look forward to...........:)

see you next time.

i am have an amazing, awesome, wonderful time.......

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Day one in Canada

well, i'm posting this early in the morning on day two - cause last night i was just toooooo tired to post.....

day one was amazing. woke up about 8 to wander down for breakfast with ray and lily. lovely sunny morning so we took blade (the dog - little cutie) for a walk around the neighbourhood. it was a bit cool but i had one of ray's jackets to keep me warm.

every here and there were old snow drifts that were melting. and on the footpaths that means that there is every chance of ice as well - i nearly slipped but fortunately for my pride (ray woulda loved a photo of THAT) i didn't. it was a nice nippy 6 degree forecast for the day so my face felt it a bit but unfortunately, ray was sure there was no chance of snow :(

then went with lily to do some shopping and have a girly afternoon. i am now sporting nicely manicured hands and some pretty pink toenails - and this image of what it would be like to turn up at such a place on a bike and complete with leathers......

while i was being 'done' lily went off for a bit and came back to say that it was snowing....but by the time we got back outside it had stopped. oh well.

then she offered to take me to a harley shop to look at some bike boots, and on the way there, there was a nice little flurry of soft little white things falling from the sky - yep, snow - very lite but i could say i'd seen it.

so i was feeling good, because not only had i been pampered, but i also found my new boots (YAY - thanks to the awesome guys at the harley shop. shame i couldn't take them up on their offer of a trade-in for a new harley - but i guess it would be a long ride back to canada on the virago hey?), and i had seen some snow....

but like the guy with the 'but wait there's more' steak knives - there's more!!!!!!

we got home to even more snow flurries.........and i took a little video (will post it when i can).....and then some more........enough snow now for it to be lying on the ground - so i made a little snow-man (6 centimetres tall with a body and a head DOES make a snowman ray......!)

we took blade for another walk and this time not only did i need the jacket but also some gloves and a scarf. my nose was dripping with the cold this time.......

and then it snowed some more.......ray and lily are absolutely sick of snow by this time of the year, but for me this is just like the photos ray had been sending me of his house for years........just like a christmas scene..........

so the day had a great mix of holiday experiences for me and it was only day 1........

bring on day 2 - going to meet another friend of ray's who has organised a sleigh ride and sugar bush......and with snow it looks like the sleigh will be a sleigh and not a wagon. WOO HOOO


Ottawa is COOOOOLD

finally, after:

6 airports
5 planes
5 countries
48 hours (or thereabouts - maths is not my strong point)

and hearing the plane safety message in aussie english, kiwi english, french english, french, tahitian, spanish, canadian french and american english.....(you want me to recite - which language you want?)......

i have hit ottawa........bbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

the holiday adventures commencing in auckland continued of course. i literally ran through papeete airport to get my next plane since the one from nz was running late. then had a seat all to myself so managed to have a nice sleep.

arrived in new york with plenty of time to catch the cross-city airport transfer bus. new york is enormous!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i breezed through customs in every place except canada - they mustn't be sure bout me - and it wasn't helped when i had to explain how it was i'd come to be there......

the story sounds suss even to my ears:

  • customs officer: why are you here in canada?
  • me: visiting for a holiday
  • co: do you know anyone in canada?
  • me: yeah, the mate i'm staying with
  • co: how long have you known this mate?
  • me: five years
  • co: how do you come to know him?
  • me: ummmmmm, we met on the internet...........................................................................
  • co: so you've met him before face to face
  • me: ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, no.......................................................

yeah - sounds realistic doesn't that's why i then had to visit the immigration officers at the airport too!

but anyway, i've made it, had a great night's sleep last night. introduced ray to bundy rum (nope - he doesn't really like it.......rotgut is probably the term that came to mind hehehehehehe).

and today - vegemite is on the menu - i'll try to get a photo................

catch you all later.

better late than never hey?

well, sorry, the update from new zealand didn't come the other night as promised to some :(

but i had trouble logging into the site from the hostel so ended up giving up. i had forgotten just how 'basic' a basic youth hostel can be.....but at least it was a bed for the night.

but as my family will tell you, there can't be a kerrie holiday without dramas.....the bus trip from the airport to the hostel was supposed to take 30 minutes - 2 hours later i got there. which actually worked out alright for me in the end because i didn't have to walk my bags up this enormous hill!!!!!!!!!!!

and then i found that the bistro that was promising me dinner and breakfast was CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

so i had to traipse round auckland looking for something to eat - ended up with noodles and a banana. nearly had to resort to the old baked beans - wardie - i want my tin back!

after a good night's sleep, i found a coffee shop that makes absolutely awesome coffee. worked a treat and then off to the airport.

from where the next part of the adventure began........................................

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

ready to go!

well, as the song goes, 'the bags are packed i'm ready to go'.....almost. just got the computer to pack and then i'm all ready.

the bike is in bed for the next couple of weeks - although i have told my mum that since she'll have the keys, she MUST replace any fuel that she uses while i'm away.

update of activities - i will be meeting up with squad in new york and sharing a sofa with her dogs (australian cattle dogs - a little bit of home) for the two nights that i've got there. thank you squad....

in canada, sugar bushing (?) and a sleigh ride have been added to the things i'm doing. ray assures me that it's quite safe - just will do wonders for my need for a sugar hit. and ski lessons have been booked. along with the manicure and pedicure pampering on my first day there (thanks lily). and boot shopping is definitely on the list too.

we just have to pray for no rain in ottawa now.

i've been in touch with some other nice biker types from new york as well so will try to find my way to the 'ear' to meet up with them. or maybe one of the other hang places - we'll see what happens.

thanks to my new york guide, Al, i've been able to work out how to get from jfk airport across to la guardia to catch my flight to ottawa.

and the real purpose of the trip - the research working group meeting in boston - is also all organised with dinner on the thursday night before. i'm looking forward to that as well - a chance to meet up with some of the big names in the area where i am doing my phd. all adds so much to the buzz of travel.

so, all up, i'm about ready to go. feeling a bit excited - but to be honest a bit scared too - this will be the furtherest from home i've ever been. and i'll miss teg and michael. i know they'll be right but i am a mum after all......

anyway, next update will be from somewhere over there......auckland tomorrow night........will work on doing an update there - although i have no idea what i'll do there.

cya for now.

to all my rider friends - ride safe but have fun.

Monday, 19 March 2007

packing, packing, packing

ok, i've made a start on packing. thanks to tegan i've got my bag packed - altho i'll probably unpack and repack again at least once before wednesday night. i still think i've got way too much gear. tegan, being younger still can't quite see how i can pack for two weeks into just ONE bag.

and of course, the laptop isn't packed yet - can't quite manage with just one computer in our household for a couple of

my money is almost all sorted out.

activity plans mostly all finalised - thanks ray and lily (although i have to say both teg and michael laughed at the thought of me having a manicure and pedicure - but i am looking forward to it.....their comment: "next you'll be turning into a lady" followed by shrieks of laughter....? dunno why? )

so now i'm mostly just waiting. roll on thursday morning......

Saturday, 17 March 2007

you asked for it.....

yes you did - you know who you are - you wanted a run down on the full itinerary so here it is:

  • thursday 22 march - fly from brisbane to auckland and overnight in auckland
  • friday 23 march - fly from auckland to new york via tahiti (one hour stop-over in tahiti to stretch my legs saved me about $1000 on the cost of the trip), arrive in new york 2 hours and 10 minutes after leaving auckland??????????????? *boy does that international date line have some explaining to do......*
  • friday 23 march - fly from new york to ottawa
  • next 4.5 days sleepless in ottawa while i try to keep up with ray and lily......
  • wednesday 28 march - fly ottawa to boston and then get to harvard
  • next 4 days in harvard - thursday free, friday and saturday meet with the research crowd who are the whole impetus for the trip, sunday free
  • monday 2 april - travel from boston to new york (not quite sure how yet....possibly bus)
  • tuesday 3 april - seeing new york with help from al (lookin forward to it al - its going to be a blast....)
  • wednesday 4 april - time to come home.......
and then - sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

just in time to start work again after easter. it will be good to be home just in time to spend easter with my kids. i'm going to find something really special to bring them. i wonder if frozen snowballs travel well?????????????????

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

new york here i come....

well, the planning for new york is now coming together nicely too.

hi to Al, a local new yorker who is going to show me round his town. he has grown up in manhattan and is going to show me what he loves about new york.....lots of walking i gather so i will be sure to pack the comfy shoes....(and i might just have to do some training for all this exercise i am going to be doing - any 'rapid fitness' tips anyone??????)

it also seems that i am going to be in new york on one of the regular biker 'hang' nights (i gather the equivalent of our coffee nights at milton - where ppl gather and drool over everyone else's bikes).

the news from the wima vice president is that there is a regular night on a tuesday night at a place called the Ear Inn. Or maybe the Sidewalk Cafe - she's sent me links to check out.....

i'm goin to have to get the manhattan maps out to work out where these places are in relation to where i'm staying.

and there's a chance that something might be arranged for boston / harvard too....

looks like i'll be carrying international good wishes from the qld bike community!

Monday, 12 March 2007

plans coming together...

well, ray has confirmed that i didn't misread the email. but it was warming up again. but as he pointed out - things can change.

what an exciting schedule he's organised for me:
-professional hockey game
-downhill skiing
-sleigh ride
-museum of civilization[native exhibit]
-national art gallery[native artist]
-lunch with Elizabeth Richard
-meal of Canadian wildlife [you won't have to kill anything]

and all in only 4.5 days.......i'm going to boston to SLEEP!!!!!

yes, my mind is now turning to the remaining 11 days of my trip. i will be in boston for about 5 days - 2 of them in a meeting - with 3 free days.

then off to new york for 2 nights.

plans in new york todate include a 3 hour (approx) tour of the city courtesy of the 'big apple greeters' scheme. they have matched me with a volunteer who will show me the local's city rather than the tourist's city.

i have also been in contact with the USA president of WIMA (women's international motorcycle association) and she is trying to organise for some of their members to meet up with me in boston and new york.

so it is all coming together. all i have to do is remember to be awake by 4am on thursday 22 march to get to the airport to catch my plane!!!!!

oh and get some more spending money........

btw ray - don't forget to add bike gear shopping time to the schedule.......

Wednesday, 7 March 2007


ok, now i know i said i wanted it to snow in ottawa while i'm there. and i can accept that for it to snow, it has to be cold.......

but really.....for an aussie girl, raised in the sunshine of queensland, cold is like anything below about 10 degree C....

i've been getting regular weather updates from ray via email. i suspect he is getting some sort of sadistic pleasure out of this exercise - given that one of the first things he wants to do when i arrive is see how i survive being thrown into a snowbank, and that he is a black belt karate instructor!!!!!

but really, i think it is cold enough now ray.....what was the temperature update today? -40 something? or did i misread the email? please say i misread the email......

my teeth are chattering to the max - they now accept that there is every chance that the snowbank is getting itself ready.

i am going to be sooooo cold i won't even be able to feel how cold i am......

Sunday, 4 March 2007

getting closer

just over two weeks to go and i still haven't sorted out my basic dilemma - what to pack?????

but, i have made one step closer to the answer to that question - bought a new bag yesterday which will hopefully fit the varying airlines' definitions of 'cabin baggage'. that's one of the hassles of not having a direct through flight - i will be travelling on three different airlines on the way across to ottawa - and even though they all buy their planes from the same supplier they each have different requirements for cabin luggage. oh'll work itself out.....

but at least now i have a space to fit my stuff into - which will help with working out what i can take. as long as i leave enough space for the duty free for ray and lily, then the rest of the space is mine to pack into. oh yeah - and remembering to leave enough space for bringing home the bike boots and bike jacket i plan to bring back.....better go do some research.

cya next time.....

Saturday, 24 February 2007

what no igloos?????

this time next month - ottawa i'll be there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

but ray, you've disappointed me, here i was with my fantasy of living in an igloo for a week......ah well. i spose, if it's not cold enough for snow it wouldn't be cold enough for house reno's either would it?

(if you aren't following the conversation, see ray's comment on my last post).....

and yes, i know there are the internet and computers in ottawa - but i'll still probly bring my laptop - then i won't need to borrow one for boston and new york.

but now to two serious questions.....

  1. what on earth will i pack?
  2. how is my bike going to live without me for two and a half weeks????
i guess i'll have to do the trial pack soon to see how i go. and decide once and for all which bag i am going to take. i spose i should even start a list....maybe next weekend....

anyway, more soon.

cya all

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

The Countdown Begins

well, this time in a month, i'll be in auckland - on the first leg of my big trip. which means of course that i'd better start getting myself a little bit organised.

fortunately i've got a few days before i fly out to do last minute packing and so forth. but i guess i should do a bit of a dry-run pack to be sure that i can actually manage to pack enough gear in a cabin-sized bag to make that plan worth while.

and i also want to take my la[top with me so that i can keep in touch with people without having to continually run around looking for an internet cafe.

i've also realised that thanks to ray the ottawa activities are all in hand. but i've got three full days in boston/harvard to myself - and as yet no plans whatsoever. so, i wonder what types of adventures i can get up to in that part of the world? looks like more research is in order........

til next time......

Monday, 12 February 2007

woohoo, thanks ray (see comment on last post), looks like i'm goin to have a really action packed time.

now i just have to continue to pray for snow hehehe.

i've been thinking about what i need to pack - it is very hard (when you are not a planner) to work out just what i need to take for so many different weather patterns. and i was also thinking of the hassles of all the airport security checks and luggage carousels. after all - on the way over i am going to be through four airports - in four different countries.


more and more i am thinking that the real strategy should be to take as little as possible, buy the essentials while i'm over there from cheap outlet stores and then either mail my purchases (new bike boots, new bike jacket, bike pants) to myself at home or sell the things that i won't need at home.

that way, i reckon i might just be able to manage with a cabin bag - one change of clothes on, two changes packed, carry my laptop, and basic toiletries. that way i can just walk off the plane and into customs - and not have to hang around quite so long waiting for luggage to be offloaded.

it bears some thinking long as i can fit something warm enough for the transit through new york and arrival into ottawa.

i'll have a think and look at the various pieces of luggage i've accumulated over the years.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

well another day another blog post.......

and in the lead up to the big adventure, i am so pleased i got my money last week. this week the aussie dollar has dropped again. now i just have to hope that the dollar strengthens again for the time that i am overseas and then drops just in time for me to change back any funny money i might bring home.

preparations are going nicely and still calmly - altho i haven't yet started to think about what clothes exactly i'll take. maybe i'll just take one change in a backpack with my laptop and buy clothes over there from a second-hand shop - then i can sell em or leave em behind.......

nah, can see that happening......but i will have to make sure i leave room for my boots and possibly jacket that i am thinking of bringing home with me......along with enuff room for the mountie that will be dying to accompany me home :)

not much more at this point so more next time.....

Saturday, 27 January 2007


aaah apparently i ticked the wrong box - meaning that ppl couldn't see how to leave a comment......

all fixed now......i hope.

u'll see that i've enabled comment moderating.....i know that seems really nasty - must be the bureaucrat in me coming out. i'll play around with that feature and see what i decide.

of course, i KNOW u'll all be really nice to me........... :)

more next time.

Friday, 26 January 2007

ok so in order to get myself into the habit i am going to try really, really, really hard to post here every couple of days in the lead up to my trip.

and to create for myself a lasting record of all the exciting and scary things leading up to my first big adventure.

so on monday this week, i got my 'funny' money. why is it that money from any other country than our own just looks like monopoly money? and why can't economists make it much easier for us non-financial types to work out the best time to buy money from another place and get the best value we can?

ah well, at least now i have some cash that should see me through airport lounges and transport to my various accommodations.

and my canadian mate, ray, is putting together a remarkable five days in ottawa. thanks ray i really appreciate it. i think he took me literally when i said i didn't need to sleep from the moment i touched down in ottawa to the time i left for boston........ :)

well, keep it short and sweet in the early stages was the advice i was given so i'll sign off til next time.......


(now if only i can work out how to permanently link my blog and my web album u'll all be able to see my travel snaps without sitting through the old-fashioned 'holiday slide night' - any tips anyone??????)

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

welcome to my blog!!!!!!

well gee doesn't everyone say that in their first post?

this is going to be the place where everyone will be able to read about and drool over my big overseas (and home-based) adventures.

i promise faithfully to post regularly (well - to at least try to post regularly) and to not make u all too jealous........i will also provide a link to my photoalbum - when i can work out how to do that.......

take care all.