Monday, March 18, 2013

Farewell Australia...


On September 8th, 2010 I landed at Coolangatta international airport on the Gold Coast in what was then rainy Queensland. Without any sense of direction or what to do next, I caught a bus to Surfers Paradise to a backpackers hotel and this was the start of my second Australia adventure.

Over the last 2 ½ years I’ve met countless new friends, gained new enemies, travelled to New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Japan and received a masters degree in criminology for a private university. The experiences were rich and fulfilling and even though there were great times, there were also horrible ones as well. Not to say that these experiences have not made me a stronger person, but over the last few years I’ve grown and adapted to call Australia my home far better than the previous time I came as a study abroad student in 2007.

While I did my best to try and stay for an extended period resulted in me switching to a working holiday visa after graduation and allowing me to stay for another year and sadly, at the this time there was no other options for me to stay other then spend more money on education or find a wife. Neither of which I wanted to pursue especially since finances were not viably there and some women just weren’t on the same page as me.

However, I leave for Sydney in New South Wales and then back to the US bringing with me the knowledge I’ve gained and the cultural awareness that this country has given to me as an outsider especially looking back at my home country, the US. While the memories will forever be there, the travel bug hast still definitely got its bite on me and I look forward to coming back here sometime in the next 5 years whether for work or holiday. There are still plenty of countries I would like to visit on this side of the hemisphere and plenty of opportunities to force me out of my comfort zone and into the abyss known as foreign territory.

Australia has been great and if any friends are looking to come down for whatever reason, all I can say is do it. You won’t regret it nor want to leave.

Until then,

Cheers and
-H

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Americans in Melbourne


 After being in Melbourne just two weeks, I ventured back to say my final farewells to Melbourne friends and welcome the arrival of my good friend Thea. Thea is down here on at working-holiday visa for the year with hopes of either staying longer or perhaps switching to a student visa to study .

Of all my friends to say they would come visit or want to travel and get out of the rut known as the ‘United States’, Thea has been the only one to do it so far. After a bit of procrastination I booked my Thursday flight the night before and was stuck with Tiger Airways yet again. While I don’t dislike them, because I feel domestic travel should be at it’s cheapest, the staff are typically rude, they issue receipts NOT actual boarding passes and the Tiger Airways terminal at Melbourne International is a good 10-minute walk from the main airport and another 5 minute walk just to get to the aircraft on the tarmac. Not to mention when booking, they make it seem like you HAVE to choose your seat, but if you do, you pay between $5-$20 for it. Instead, save yourself the money and ask for a window/exit row seat when you check-in. Boom $20 saved So far, my best would have to be Virgin Australia. Richard Branson knows what’s up!
I had Marc drop me off at Gold Coast airport and I arrived in beautiful cloudy and rainy Melbourne at noon. Thea had already landed and passed through customs and quarantine so we called the hostel and they came to pick us up. At first, I was sceptical of Thea’s hostel choice because it was located in St. Kilda but it proved to be an excellent location. Anyone traveling to Melbourne, I encourage you to either stay at the Space Hotel in the CBD area (where Craig and I stayed in January) or at the Habitat HQ (where I stayed with Thea). The trams were located right outside the hostel and was only a 20 minute ride to the city and was also a 5 minute ride to Chapel Street where all the nightlife can be found.

We briefly took a nap before heading out to get her a working phone number and show her the city. Overall, we were in bed about 10ish as she was jet-lagged and I barely got any sleep the night before (I never sleep well the day before a flight). Friday, we headed to China Town to meet up with Claire for some Chinese and bubble tea before saying goodbye to her and heading ANZ to get Thea a bank account. We ended up scratching that idea as the wait time was way too long, so ventured to Big W so she could get some flip flops, the river walk, Crown Casino (where I lost $20 on red, haha) and then finally Max Brenners.

We ended up back at the hostel before relaxing a bit once again (the sun takes it out of you). Ended up getting up around 10pm before heading to Electric Ladyland for a few drinks and to say goodbye to friends there. One of them, being Bridie, I will always love and cherish. There are not many women out there that I can tolerate let alone would not mind dating and Bridie is definitely one of them. Words cannot describe my love for this woman, but I’ll save my lovey-dovey Bridie blog for another day.

After quite a few gin and tonics, headed back to the hostel and up at 0930 for 1000 check-out. I said my goodbyes to Thea and headed back to Melbourne airport to fly to Brisbane in time for Future Music Festival. Overall, I love Melbourne but don’t know if I could ever live there. I think the hipster/’culture’ scene is a bit much for me. But definitely a far better place than Brisbane and of course, the Gold Coast. Next stop is Future Music Festival, final week of work and then wrapping up last minute affairs before my flight to Sydney on March 15th followed by flight back to Seattle March 17th.

Until then…


Cheers

-H

Monday, February 25, 2013

March 17th, 2013


In 2007, I flew to Australia…. Sadly it was only for 6 months. I came back, graduated and then decided it was time for me to return.

2 ½ years and we saw the creation of ‘Traveling Sucobe’, the expansion of my music hobby, the creation AND development of Sucobe Productions and last but not least the start of my acting, modelling and crazy antics. From goatees, to moustaches, to clean shave. From Japan to New Caledonia and New Zealand. It has been an amazing ride.

And sadly, this ends the final chapter of my life down here in Australia. 3 years of this amazing country and I’ve grown to love and appreciate it as my home away from home. The friends I have met, the girlfriends I’ve had, the goon I’ve consumed, and the vegemite I’ve spit out. It has been a great time down here and although Julia Gillard no longer wants me. I’ll be back. Whether it’s for business, pleasure or on a boat with a bunch Sri Lankans seeking asylum.

I love you all. I’ll miss you all. And if you’re ever in the Pacific Northwest or land of Starbucks, legal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t hesitate to call me. Well text me, because I won’t pick up.

Cheers.

-H

video

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Melbourne 2013




 G'day!

After just getting back to the Gold Coast, Craig and I decided to take off again but this time for Melbourne. Flights were still cheap domestically for southern and eastern Australia so it was either fly back to Sydney for $125 return or Melbourne for $200. Having only been to Melbourne once before with friends in July 2011 (when it was freezing cold), I opted to go back and to say hello to some other friends of mine whom lived there. We flew with Tiger Airways once again, not because I wanted too as it’s as discount airline as it gets, but because it was extremely cheap. And for such a short flight, I did not care for snacks, media entertainment devices, etc.
 
We were running a bit behind (that’s what I do best) and so jetted off to Brisbane airport in the monsoon rain we were having. The after effects of Cyclone Oswald were hitting the Gold Coast and the rain was coming in hard. We managed to get there and check-in after being scolded by the Tiger Airways staff for being over our weight limit on carry-on, but she politely let us through. And so started our trip to Melbourne and the video blog ‘Sucobe and Crumpet: Melbourne 2013’.
 
We arrived in Melbourne on Sunday early afternoon and spent the next three hours attempting to get to the hotel. It had been awhile since I had last been and it was a holiday weekend (Australia Day), so many services were not open/running. We managed to get to the hotel around 6ish and all checked in. Luckily for us, it was right in the CBD area and next to the gardens, Melbourne Central Shopping Centre and down the street from Federation Square. Unfortunately for us, it was pretty much a glorified hostel. We then went out for some Mexican food at Amigos on Chapel Street and then to say hello to our friend that works at Electric Ladyland and for a few drinks.
 
Not getting to bed until 4am and up at noon, we decided to head out and tour the city before we ended up spending all day in bed. Monday, although was a holiday (due to Australia day on Saturday), still had many shops open and it seemed to be business as usual for the city. We headed to the SBS building to check out the TV, cinema and film exhibition and then grabbed some dinner at Universal with a friend followed by bowling at Strike. A good clean sober activity I must say so. Oh wait, there was plenty of alcohol. Moving on…

The duration of Tuesday was spent at St. Kilda park  which took roughly 30 mins by tram to get to. We took some pictures, walked around Luna Park and then headed back to the hotel to relax a bit before meeting up with a friend at Crown Casino for buffet and gambling. I went in, threw $20 on red at the roulette table and double my money. That was the extent of my gambling. After gorging for 3 hours to get our $25 worth of food and getting kicked out of the buffet at 9, we headed back to the hotel to let the food (and winnings) digest.

Our full final day in Melbourne, we spent Wednesday visiting Carlton Gardens and the riverwalk followed by going BACK to the casino for Craig to attempt to double his winnings as well. In which not only did he, but he quadrupled. From $5 to $25, what a baller. We neded up eating at the hotel in the bar/restaurant which apparantely were doing jelly wrestling. So the music was extremely loud and the ratio EXTREMELY lacking at 6:1 males to females. So we ate, got out of there and went back to Eletric Ladyland to have farewell drinks and say goodbye to our dear friend.
 
Thursday was an early awakening since we had to check out at 10am and get straight to the airport for a 12:40pm flight. Once again, no actual plane ticket, just a shoddy receipt; typical discount airlines. Overall, the trip was good, expensive and a great 2nd break away from the Gold Coast. Sadly, this will probably be my last trip for quite some time as I work and save up. Who knows where I will go next, China? New Zealand? Back to the US? Or perhaps somewhere in Europe?...

Until next time.

-H


Monday, December 24, 2012

This Christmas.


About 1:30 in the morning. Just got home from an evening of Family Guy, the Newsroom (great show!) and filling out PhD applications and briefs. And the weird thing is, it felt like any other night. Except it’s Christmas Eve. But with the absence of two key factors because these last three Christmases haven’t really felt like ‘Christmas’: weather and family.


            I’ve spent all my life having a white Christmas. Even if it wasn’t snow, it was damn near close with slush or sleet. Some Decembers it being so worse that my car door was frozen shut or you had to start the car an hour before leaving just to make it bearable to drive in. And so with these last three seasons, celebrating the holidays in 90-degree weather, shorts and a BBQ just doesn’t feel the same. It’s just not Christmas. Christmas is about shovelling the snow out of the driveway to make room for the relatives to park, going out and having snowball fights and even showing off your new toys to your friends. That’s definitely one thing I look forward to upon returning home, a white Christmas.
            The other is family. To me, Christmas isn’t about religion but instead coming together of family and in some cases even friends to celebrate the love, camaraderie and affection of close ones. Some of my friends have the ease of this love as families live just down the street or interstate. And others even have the luxury to travel home to Canada, the US and Germany to be with family on Christmas. I don’t have that luxury.
            So with this, I say cherish every moment that you get to spend with your family, no matter how annoying they may be. Because at the end of the day, they will always be there for you. Because they will be waiting for you at the terminal with open arms. Because somewhere in the world are homeless citizens just trying to eat on a Tuesday, soldiers in war just trying to survive another day or myself typing this at two in the morning to take a break from PhD research and reflect off the good times this year has given me.
 
And with that, from myself down here in Australia, I say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.


Now I’m going to go watch Love Actually.

-H