22 September 2007

let's get naked!

other potential titles for this blog:

"we put the ho in hobart"
"they're disconnected from the mainland for a reason"
"i'll port your arthur"
"who put the devil in you?"

at the end of the day, though, nakedness always wins out. we were born naked. thus, this blog's title.

so i reckon i never even informed most of the blog readers (the masses of you!) that i was going to tasmania. but currently it's spring break (mid-semester break for the aussies) which means 2 weeks of pure fun & sun & puns. except for me, who conviniently has a 2500 word essay due in 2 days, which for all of you keeping track, is the monday right smack in the middle of the break. but i digress. and plan to procrastinate some more.

so IES organized a trip to tasmania for the first week of break. i had never even thought of visiting tasmania while I was here so i am really glad they did this for us. it's one of those places that you go to and it's beautiful and nice and pretty and then on the plane ride out you realize that no, you'll never be back. but i'm clearly jumping way ahead of myself here and lucky for me I have the trip itinerary in front of me, because otherwise I would have no idea what we did when. ready? let's get started!

so saturday started very early - 645 am early - which was a fantastic way to begin the night after our PFA. backtracking, let's go back, pfa = "pleasant friday afternoon" at college which also translates to "drink early, drink lots, and dress like a pirate!" arrr, matey, it was shipwreck. i ended up getting only an hour of sleep which seemed to be the theme for the rest of the crew - louis showed up on the airport bus still drunk (and smelling fabulous!) the flight was only an hour, which was good, because they also have a ferry that takes you from the mainland to hobart, and that's a painful 12 hours. we got to hobart in time to experience the salamanca ("salmonella") market, where we stalked a potential australian celebrity (apparently some guy on the soap show 'home and away'). the market was nice and all but compared to the queen vic it was not as impressive; hobart however is only a population of 250k as opposed to melbourne's 4 mil. then we hit cole's bay, about 2:30 north of hobart along the coast.. coastal highways in aussie (and tassie) are NOTHING like highways back home. if you're thinking of 4 lane, median seperated, exits and overpasses and highway patrol highways, you have it all wrong. highways here are 2 lane, right along the cliffs, drive through towns and villages and speed limits are about 100km/hr and slow down once you drive through towns. highway police are few if any at all, so i guess that makes the speed limit optional.

dinner at cole's bay was a drawn out process, but tasty none the less, and then afterwards we watched a bit of the footy at the bar attached. this restuaurant/bar duo happened to be the town's only resutrautant/bar, so it was packed with the locals, who all seemed like intelligent, tactful human beings. lucky for us we met some sydneysiders who thought we were from perth - apparently all the people at the bar saw the group of us come in and were wondering where we were from. perth? really?

so after talking to the sydney kids we walked down to the beach for a look at the stars and BAM! there was a bonfire lit on the beach..and no one around? it seemed like something out of a horror flick - met some randoms at a strange bogan town in nowhereville, tasmania, let's go down to the beach, oh how convenient, a bon fire with no one around, SLASH STAB KILL BLOOD! common sense would say turn around, but remember those intelligent locals i mentioned earlier? they must've rubbed off on us and for good reason, too, we ended up having a good time - and free beer!

we spent the night in a caravan = trailer park = mobile home type thingy. it was fine, bunk bed accomodations, but there was a fridge and a coffee maker so i was alright. time out! i'm going to make some tea right now. annnd i'm back. not that you even noticed i was gone. thanks.

oh, funny story: monica lit her dunna (comforter) on fire. she was sleeping a bit close to the space heater and BAM! legit flames. i didn't see it for myself but i could only imagine the hilarity that ensued. good ole monica. good thing i'm going to brisbane with her in a few days, she'll be the spark the trip needs. oh, me.

the next day we checked right out of that caravan place and headed to wineglass bay. now wineglass bay is completely unaccessible by car. the only way to get there is via a 4 hour boatride or a bushwalk! the adventure seekers that ies is put us on the bushwalk, which was actually quite hard.. no more timtams for me. it took about an hour to get to the actual beach but it was well worth it.. a pristine piece of land that was virtually free of people.. if you see a picture of it you'd assume it'd got its name from the wineglass shape of the beach but no! the story is much more interesting - apparently whales used to come up to this area and whalers named it "wineglass bay" because of the colour of the water (red) when they were killed for whatever whales are killed for.

after our hike we rode back 2 hours to port arthur but along the way our driver decided to take a "shortcut" through a gravel road forest path.. no cell reception, no road signs, no other cars on the road in either direction..sharp turns, hills, if we had gotten stuck or lost or KILLED by the bus driver who could've been a mass murderer for all we knew.. but, we didn't, and he ended up taking us to this nice place for oysters! mmmm oysters. tassie is apparently known for them and for good reason, they were delicious. in other news they are also known for 3 foot long lobsters. sadly i did not get to experience that.

so port arthur used to be a prison settlement in the 1800s, and has now been regarded as a tourist destination. it's also haunted. so after a surprisingly good dinner at the hotel restaurant (i got pavlova..mmmmm!) we went on a ghost tour around the prison grounds. it was scary, really. i took lots and lots and lots of pictures for george to anaylze, and a video as well. i didn't see any ghosts but siobhan farted while we were in a claustrophobic cellar, that was pretty brutal and made things a bit hazy. otherwise it was really interesting. our guide was apparently a screenwriter which meant he was pretty good at story telling, and it was raining..made for a freakydeaky night!

oh! so afterwards we went back to our HOTEL (yes, that says HOTEL - not HOSTEL) and enjoyed our fancy accomodation by playing taboo. me and roomz shared a room and we got lucky and it had a joining door with the other part of the 4. very nice. also, who would've ever thought that i'd be saying how fancyschmancy a comfort inn would be. george, it was no kalahari presidential suite, i could tell you that much. but on this trip it might as well been!

so by now it's monday and we were all legitimately exhausted. or at least i was. we started the day with an "isle of the dead" tour of port arthur, which made us realize that it was not as scary by day. good thing we had not seen port arthur at all during the day prior to our ghost tour, because i reckon it would've taken away from the scarey factor. after the tour we stopped at a tasmanian devil conservation park and it was pretty wild - they are NOTHING like taz at all, so put away your predispositions.. they are short and black and kind of look like sinatra. they are also midly retarded (like deano!) so if you combined all of amanda's dogs they'd make a tassie devil. after this we headed back to hobart and checked into our accomodations for the next couple of nights.. unfortunately this was no longer comfort inn standards. this was no heater, ghetto tv, singing hanging lightbulb with 2 bunk beds standards. lucky us!

tuesday morning we got up for white water rafting and let me tell you.. it was early, i was cold, and after a night in less than pristine accomodations, the last thing i wanted to do was white water raft down a freezing cold river.


we split up into 3 different groups and my group was DA BOMBZ, and our leader "woody" was pretty b.a. himself. we ended up stealing lots of the other groups oars as well as throwing some people in.. all in all everyone ended up in the 50 degree water (warm for this time of year!) and in a race we beat the other two rafts. it was so much fun, hard to describe, but one of the highlights of the trip. i think the best part was that i expected so little and it returned with so much. we were on the water a good 2 1/2 hours though, so that last 1/2 hour was pretty painful.. by then everyone was freezing and hungry and just wanted to get off.

after our river expedition we went to the tahune airwalk, where a delicious and filling barbeque lunch was waiting for us.. oh my gosh it was so good. we had some crazy sausages and this meatloaf hamburger patty and salad and fruit and cheese and wine and beer and coffee and mmmmmm. i ate so much that the actual airwalk afterwards was a must-do for my belly. the airwalk was pretty cool, although not what i thought it'd be. i was thinking like rope climbing and ziplines and creaky wood plank bridges in the sky, but it was a metal setup and very stable. anyone with a fear of heights would've been distinctly freaked out but otherwise it was pretty tame.

wednesday was our free day and the girls decided to hit up a local spa we had seen the night before.. they had this sweet deal for using all their spas and pools and saunas and everything so we decided to do it, and walked over there around noonish. now i guess no one really thought it through but we all kind of figured we'd just go at it naked... thinking of spas back home where it's no big deal. we got into our robes with just our birthday suits underneath and were about to head out into the spa when we read a sign saying "appropriate bathers required!" um, oops.. so kristen lovingly ran back to the hostel and picked up everyone's bathers. luckily it was not too far and we got changed pretty quick and went on to enjoy our spa day. crisis averted, but it made for a pretty good story, no? maybe not blog title worthy now that i look back, but good nonetheless.

so after moseying around the rest of the day we went out at night to this place called the telegraph, which apparently all of hobart's going out population was at. oh, another thing, hobart shuts down at night. like, 6pm hits, bam. doors locked. lights off. EVERYWHERE. near the salmonella market there are some restuarnts and stuff that stay open but otherwise you are hardpressed to find a happening place. the boys found out about the tele which had 5$ jugs at 5pm, 6$jugs at 6pm, etc, and they had really good beer on tap, so we stayed there for the night, and realized that buying jugs early to save a dollar does not mean you have to finish it within ten minutes. we ended up at a 24 hour bakehouse eating ridiculous amounts of bread. probably for the best.

the next day everyone woke up bright and chipper and not hung over at all for our descent down mt. wellington, tasmania's tallest mountain. again i had no expectations ( not in a bad way, but just having no idea what to expect) and it was SO. COOL. basically you did not need to pedal at all and you're racing down along the same roads that cars are driving up, going to fast that the wind is wooooshing past your helment and you're trying hard not to stare out at the amazing views because if you do you could accidently move your tires in that direction and BAM! you're falling down the side of mt. wellington. so what i learned to do was start at the back of the group, zoooom down so i got to the front, then sloo-ooo-oow the pace so that i got to enjoy the view and ended up at the back again, only to zooooom back down to the front. it worked out quite well until we got to the little 'off-roading' section that was freaky and scary and hard. i managed to get down with only a slight skirmish where i hit my hoo-haa against the bike pole, luckily for me i am a girl. it started raining halfway down the descent but other than the occasional rain pellet hitting you it was totally fine. we biked down the mountain and through hobart's suburbia before making it all the way down and realizing that whoa! we just biked down that mountain. really cool.

finally, that afternoon, the activity i had been holding my breath figuratively for: the cadbury chocolate tour. we got there and were immediately given all the carmello koalas, freddo frogs, and dairy milk we could stuff down our throats (or in our bags). then we had to take off all our jewelery and stuff away any form of phone or camera and were sent off on our tour. our tour guide was less than impressive and i thought we'd see a lot cooler parts of the factory, but we stuck to packaging areas and it was okay. it smelled like chocolate to the whole time though, mmmm. it was much better than hershey's tour because this was actually REAL, not some automatronic ride crap. after the tour we of course went to the factory store where i spent the rest of my meal allowance on chocolate, probably too much. ahh, well, like i said, i probably'll never be back to tassie so i might as well buy up what i can.

that night was our last night in tassie so we went all out at an indian restrurant. i had never had indian food before and it was good, spicy buy otherwise i'd go again. afterwards we went for our last final walk around hobart, had some good conversation, and slept the night away. our flight was in the morning and we said bye bye tasmania, see you...sometime. maybe on the travel channel.

it was a really, really, really, really, really awesome trip. it met every expectation and so much more, and i'm so glad we did it. now i am even more excited for brisbane because it will be WARM! the only thing standing in my way is a little 2500 word essay for south africa. oh, by the way, this entry took me waaaay too long to write. why can't i write about south africa this easily? gosh, that makes me SO ANGRY. <3


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