These two videos were taken in Sydney:
While Jesus searched for jobs and was successful, the girls and I took a farewell trip to the Whitsundays and outer Great Barrier Reef. It was something that I wanted to do before I left Australia and who better company than my girls. We took a 3 day night cruise out to the outer reef and I was able to dive for the first time. It was surreal.
Hello from Laos! But first…
Bangkok! It began with Khao San Rd, a.k.a backpacker central. Here, you are one of many white folk, a.k.a westerners as we all start to call ourselves. Khao San is vibrant, like an Asian Vegas, with neon lights and loud music blaring all night long. Not much in the way of dancing clubs but there are a lot of bars and little shops selling anything and everything. The second you wander away from the Khao San walking along the street, the westerner count drops drastically. Suddenly it is you and the hundreds of locals shopping amongst the open air establishments selling mystery ingredients and yummy freshly cooked delights. The Thai people are lovely and look at me with curiosity. They wonder where I am from and once they know I am American, proceed to tell me about their niece/uncle/brother living in California in broken English.
My first day, I checked out Wat Po, home to the leaning Buddha. It is massive! It has a building all its own. The architecture at all the Wats, a.k.a temples, is so beautiful, like someone took their sweet time with every detail. I wandered through a huge market in the area with some friendly westerners I met on the plane.
We all gorged ourselves on all the offerings, including the best mango I’ve ever tasted, stinky Durian fruit with sticky rice and coconut milk, and of course, Pad Thai. Thai being my favorite food in the whole entire earth, I am basically in heaven. The Pad Thai cooked up on a little cart from ingredients sitting out in the sun is better than any Pad Thai that ever had the misfortune of meeting my frying pan.
The next day, I headed to MBK, the queen of all shopping malls. After four months, one needs a change in wardrobe is what I always say. And new nice apple headphones for $5! And a belt!… and…. OK, you see where this is going. This mall will make you dizzy. It will make your head spin with the amount of merchandise that can be stuffed into one stall. Some floors are regular mall-style, and others resemble an air conditioned, clean, street market. I think there are 6 floors to this monster.
How’s the weather you may ask? Its Puerto Rico hot basically. You sweat from the moment you get out of the shower. It rains about every day for a little while, then a little relief, then back to hot.
I took an overnight train From Bangkok to Nong Khai en route to Laos. It was fun to sleep in a little fold down bed and see the rice paddies passing me by. Nong Khai was paradise. The town itself is right along the Mekong River on the Laos border and has some amazing restaurants and a little market. It is a poor town with many shabby looking houses on the outskirts. There is a lot of rice farming done in this part of the country and you can see big water buffalo lazing around in the fields.I went to a Vietnamese restaurant here. You know its got to be amazing when the whole town is at one restaurant. I point to what everyone else is having. These little innocent looking sausages.
That is all I will say.
Paradise was having a nice room to myself at the comfiest homiest hostel I’ve been to so far. Each person gets their own ‘book’ where you write down what you drink, order from the (amazing…) kitchen, or rent a bike. At the end, you pay up! Lounging around the lush and pretty guesthouse was the best. I also went to the Sala Kaew Ku Sculpture park, a collection of giant Hindu and Buddhist deities. The man who created them had himself mummified and he rests inside a building in the garden for all to see. (This gave me the willies but interesting none the less).
I crossed the border to Laos, over The Friendship Bridge, as they call it. Boy, was it friendly! Crossing was a piece of cake, contrary to stories I’ve heard from people going into Cambodia from Thailand. Vientiane, the capital, shows its French history through the many bakeries around serving up yummy croissant sandwiches. Tomorrow I’ll be headed to Vang Vieng to float the river, Lao style.
To my worried parents: As the Australians say, No worries Mate!! I am safe and sound 🙂
** check out my facebook album! The internet is too slow here to post more pictures =O/
Like Morrissey once said, “I was looking for a job and then I found a job and heaven knows I’m miserable now…”
I know, this sounds like a sad post but its actually a pretty good one! This is the one post that I have been waiting to make ever since we arrived to Brisbane and here it goes… I FOUND A JOB!!! I am very happy that I will finally start making money! Its been a total of seventeen days in which I have been in Brisbane searching for a job and it just feels so good to finally find one.
It will be a pretty tough job, one where I will get rejected about a hundred times a day. One where frustration and rejection may drive me to failure but only repetition and determination will help me triumph. On the other hand, I will be helping dozens of children around the world to get an education, I will help them have a home and they might not die of starvation because of some of my work. Yes!!! I will be working for the UNICEF. I will stand on the sidewalk of very crowded streets asking for people to make donations for the children. Not only it is a job, but I know that I will be doing something for someone every day that I go to work and I can get some satisfaction out of it. And well… it will also look good for my resume. I am happy, I am happy 🙂
In other news:
The girls left me once again, at least Brittany and Kevin will keep me company in Brisbane. Or should I say, I will keep them company? After one of the days where I left to search for a job I came back from the streets to find out that Julianna, Steph, and Angelica had booked a flight to the Whitsundays. They basically made all the plans without me so I didn’t go. Well, I probably would’ve not been able to go anyways. And well, it paid off that I stayed because today I found a job and if I had gone I would still be jobless right now. So I guess, something good happened out of me staying. For those who don’t know what the Whitsundays is, its basically the front yard to the Great Barrier Reef. The Whitsundays is a beautiful set of islands with some of the most wonderful beaches in the world. I am going to die of jealousy when the girls come back to Brisbane on Saturday with all the stories and pictures. But I will make some memories when I go on my own after I get done working, my time will come.
Last Sunday Kevin and Brittany threw a party! It was such a fun time with Kevin’s colleagues. It was a Tex Mex party of course… Kevin sticks with what he knows best! He cooked some fajitas and grilled chicken, it was delicious! And of course, the Schumacker’s aced the dinner when they prepared the queso, which by the way nobody knows of here in Australia. Brittany even prepared sangria (although not a Tex Mex drink, very appropriate for the party)! And if you think that I didn’t do anything well… you are WRONG!! I warmed the tortillas. Not a single tortilla eaten that night was cold… I can guarantee you that.
During the party though, I found out something that made me quite sad. Stephanie told me that she had changed her plans and she won’t be staying for much longer in Brisbane working like she had originally planned. Steph will actually be going to Asia in mid May and will continue with her travels alone. Then she will meet her sister sometime in mid June. That’s all I know of her plans right now but she already bought her flight so that’s two out of four leaving. Sad, very sad.
-Don’t know how long I will be working but I know that I want to find a second job. I am a bit greedy, so I want to have money to buy a car when I get back. The money for my first job is enough to supply the rest of my travels but I want to buy a car when I get home since I gave mine to my dad.
-May 12th will be the last day that I see Jules and Steph 😦 …until Austin of course
-Where once it was a very crowded Schumacker home, now Angelica and I will have our own room each :)!!!
-Real Madrid better not get cheated tomorrow!!! Barcelona are a bunch of cry babies who whine whine whine and then fake injuries.
-Did anyone heard that Osama died? I mean, Obama. Wait… it was Osama right?? I don’t know Fox News is really confusing me!!
-Two albums that I have constantly been listening during the past week: Cat’s Eyes and The Sand Band.
Its been a while since I wrote last. I kind of miss it but at the same time I have been pretty lazy. There is a lot to say and a lot of adventures to tell about our stay in New Zealand, Surfer’s Paradise, Fraser Island, and Byron Bay. But I won’t bother to tell you, Angelica has them covered.
Did we mention the wonderful thing that happened to us after meeting Brittany and Kevin? After spending a week with them in Brisbane and Surfers Paradise, they offered us to stay at their place during our time in Brisbane. We had mentioned to them that Angelica, Steph and I were planning on searching for a job in Brisbane so that we can reload our energy and budget. Our original plan was to live at a cheap hostel and work in the city for a few months. The morning that they left Surfers, they sent us a message on facebook offering us to stay with them throughout our stay in Brisbane. I am not going to lie but there was a tear that ran down my cheek when I saw the message. It is one of the most generous things that anyone has ever done for me. We have been blessed to find a couple of friends who care so much for us. So much that they offered us their home and their space. I really do not know how I will ever pay them back. But the greatest thing about them is that they do not ask for anything in return except for the company of good friends. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU BRITTANY AND K FED!!!! (for the millionth time)
So that is the story about where we will be living and how we ended up living at such a magnificent place. Did I mention that they have unlimited internet? I guess I do not have to mention it, you probably notice it every night when I clug your news feed on facebook.
As I mentioned before, Steph “La Güerita” Targac found a job! First place that she went to ask for a job and she found one! Angelica and I haven’t been as lucky as Steph but we like to blame our bad luck on the fact that it is Easter weekend and most of the places we have applied to have been on vacation mode. Even worst, people don’t go back to work until Wednesday. I knoooooow! Long holidays! I love you but right now I hate you!
During our stay here in Brisbane we have done absolutely NOTHING and it has been WONDERFUL! One thing did happen and that was Angelica’s birthday. We ended up playing Wii to end the night, it was fun! It was kind of weird because her birthday lasted about 39 hrs. She kept getting calls during the 20th (on her bday) and also during the 21st because it was still the 20th back at home. Confusing? Yuh.
Also, our friends Bene and Chris from Germany met up with us in Brisbane! We have been hanging out a lot but everything is closed all the time (Easter’s weekend) so we just end up watching tv.
What about Jules? As many of you know, Leigh caught up with us the last morning at Surfers Paradise and hung out with us in Fraser Island. Once the five of us arrived to Byron Bay, Jules and Leigh disappeared. Well, we would sometimes randomly see them trolling down the street like this one time when they were honey mooning… I mean biking around. Steph, Angelica, and I went back to Brisbane after three nights in Byron Bay and Jules stayed honey mooning… I mean hanging out (darn!!! I keep doing that!!) in Byron Bay. Then, she and Leigh flew to Sydney where they spent more time together. Leigh flew back to Austin on the 23rd and Jules caught up with us today in Brisbane! So the four of us are back together after splitting up for a week. I do not know what her exact plans are but I know that she will leave us again in the next few days while she continues with her travels and we stay in Brisbane working. She will probably hit Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.
Angelica, Steph, and I are trying to plan our travels after work. We really can’t come up with an ideal plan. It is hard since none of us has started working and we have no idea what our budget will be like so we can’t really plan dates or routes. The only concrete plan is that Steph will meet up with her sister in Thailand in mid June. I keep dreaming of South East Asia but I can’t really set it in stone since I have no money to make it there right now. Angelica, well I really have no idea what Angelica is thinking. She doesn’t speak much of future plans.
Well, that’s it for now. I hope everyone is doing very well at home and I really miss you guys, I really do. I smile every time one of you write me. Keep doing it!!!
p.s. did anyone see that the top RB recruit committed to Texas!!?! Sick!! Texas will be able to run the ball once again. Well… we still have to see if we can recruit good offensive linemen.
Hello Hello again.
The last week has been a travel detox for Jesus, Steph, and I as we settle in to our new temporary home. It feels so great to have somewhere to come back to and relax relax relax. Brittany, my friend from Austin, and her husband Kevin have let us stay for a temporary period while we find ourselves a job to make some much needed dinero!
This is were we live! Yey James Street! 🙂 hug monster.
Today we went to mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church to wash away our sins and treated ourselves to some asian food for lunch. Nice little Easter sunday, although the colored egg hunt is very much missed. Australians take this holiday serious and most places are closed until tuesday or wednesday. Monday is also the Australian holiday Anzac day… So lots of movie watching for us!
My double bday was amazing and I’m glad I got to spend it with good friends. I can’t believe i’m 26. ek! Our wonderful pastry chef, Stephanie Targac, made an amazing apricot/white chocolate layered cake. le yums.
Recap of the past couple of weeks:
Extreme fun. Clint spoiled us up with a pleasantly sized condo with three balconies and a view of the city beach. Three nights of fond memories and our first sample of roo meat. Thanks to our wonderful chef, Stephanie Targac! Not something I will most likely eat again, but I have to admit it was surprisingly tasty. Fun late nights with steph leaving roo scraps all around the condo.
Sand adventure! It is the worlds largest sand island in the world! There are no paved roads, all sand, therefore we had to rent a 4 wheel drive. One of the best parts, there are dingos all over the island! I was so excited to finally meet those little devils. They don’t look dangerous at all but apparently they’ve eaten a baby or something so there are signs all over the island that say “be dingo safe.” Amazing beach cruising and champagne pool dipping. We tumbled upon a ship wreck and ginormous flies. Leigh joined the party right before this so we had a nice group going for beach times and giant sand dune exploring.
Super hippie town = card readings, dreadlocks, and laid back beach life. It was a very awesome town. Our hostel had crystal meditation classes, yoga, didgeridoo making lessons, etc. By that point Steph, Jesus, and I were ready to relax. So we didn’t do many touristy things. We did discover a great movie theater a la alamo drafthouse style, except even better b.c. you could lie down…In recliner type cow print chairs! We watched an Australian film called Wasted on the Young
Twas a good one.