CJ - The last few weeks have been great being pampered by my parents and meeting up with some friends from the UK that are now based in Melbourne!
Whilst I was catching up with Rob, Chris, Ang and Patrick etc (all ex Bhs employees!! There are 8 of us out here now!!) who all now live in Melbourne, Mum and Peter headed over to the East coast for the final leg of their month's visit to Australia. They started off in Sydney where they met up with a long lost friend of Mum's from the UK whom she has been in contact with for quite a few years, and stayed with them for a couple of days - Margaret and John, and from what I hear, they had a great time and saw parts of the East coast that me and Becky wanted to but never had a chance to - the northern beaches!
Then they headed out to the Blue Mountains for a few nights, and had a great time once they had managed to escape the hords or tourists. We didn't have that problem when we were there but I guess we went at Xmas when it was a lot quieter. One part of their trip out to the Blue Mountains I don't think they will forget for a while was was getting lost one day whilst walking along a track through an area called the 'Grand Canyon'! They accidentally lost the trail they were following and proceeded to get lost in the dense undergrowth for a short time which was an experience I don't think either of them would like to repeat!!!
On the way back from the Blue Mountains, I recommended that they stop off at Featherdale Wildlife park for one last interaction with the Australian wildlife, where they had a great time, especially my poor Mum who was chased around part of the park by a couple of greedy emus who wanted the food that she had just bought to feed to the kangaroos!!
I then left Becky in Melbourne and flew out to Sydney for the weekend to have a few last days with my parents before they flew back to the UK, and some sun because the weather in Melbourne hadn't been too good up till then. We had a great weekend in Sydney, I just love the city and all it has to offer. We managed to pack a few things into the weekend, some of which I had already done before and therefore took over in a 'Guide/Leader' capacity organising the weekends activities, I was in my element!!! We walked across the harbour bridge, went and had dinner at the famous Doyles restaurant (which me and Becky couldn't afford to do on the backpacker budget!), took a cruise around the harbour, walked from Bondi Beach to Coogee along the coast, and then had a wonderful evening on an 'opera boat' - it was a sit down dinner on a boat that sailed around the harbour and throughout the cruise you were entertained by 4 opera singers who were brilliant and kept us thoroughly entertained as you can see from the photos. During our weekend in Sydney we also met up with Brian and Judy Doyle (Rowie's parents) who were the very kind people who looked after me and Becky over xmas, it was good to see them again, and we also met up with some very close friends of the family - Ian and Catherine who were out in Australia for a wedding/holiday!
All in all a very enjoyable 3 days spent in Sydney, but also very sad to say goodbye to my parents again, and Sydney! I am now back in Melbourne with Becky. We have both decided that now is the time for us to have a bit of a rest from travelling and to finally rest those heavy rucksacks!! But also, time to start working and earn some money to fund the rest of our trip before the banks stop giving us any more money! I decided to try the retail avenue first as I have the advantage of having some friends that work at Myer, a lovely department store, very similar to House of Fraser/John Lewis, and they were able to send my CV to the right people, and from that I managed to get an interview. One big problem we have both had though is that our Australian working visa is only for a year and it specifies that you can only work for one company for 3 months within that year, and then you have to change jobs, so it hasn't been easy for either of us to get work for only 3 months. I was very lucky though because of my background in retail etc that I have managed to get a job in the head office of Myer working in Product Development which is very similar to Buying, they just have a different structure over here. And I'm no longer buying Men's clothing though, I'm now working in Babywear, 0 months - 2 yrs, newborn and toddlers, and boys and girls, so I'm loving it from that point of view, and it's good to get the brain functioning again!! I have just finished my first week at Myer which is always a bit daunting but everyone has been so nice and I think I will enjoy it there!
I'm now searching frantically for somewhere to live though as we are still in a hostel, which is fine when you're a backpacker but not when you're trying to hold down a full time job!! Having just moved at the weekend from our really grotty hostel we are now in a much nicer one which will do for another week until we get ourselves sorted.
I've added a few photos of Melbourne and it's landmarks etc, along with a few photos on some of the things we have been getting up to over the past couple of weeks including going to the Melbourne Grand Prix which was great (but very loud!!), and joining in with the St Patrick's Day festivities in town.
I guess this will be the last update on our website for a while now that we are probably going to be based in Melbourne for 3 months or so. But keep those emails coming!!