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Archive for January, 2009

As we said before it was essential that we returned home quickly for family reasons.  After some quick planning and a bit of help from some friends we managed to book tickets on a Wednesday and arrived back in Plymouth on the Friday – not bad, eh?

Although the trip went smoothly, it was a bit too intense.  We left Yamba at 1am on Thursday having said our goodbyes to everyone and finished our last minute packing.  We caught the Greyhound coach to Brisbane and then got the shuttle bus to the airport where we had a few hours to kill after checking in.  We then got on our plane and we were off to Singapore!  The flight was OK but we hit some major turbulence in the last few hours which made us both feel sick.

Once we were at Singapore airport we had a three hour wait ’til the next flight.  By this time we were exhausted from lack of sleep and the stress of trying to get home in time.  We got some food and sat down for a bit.  Ruth was tired so I suggested she get a power nap in whilst I keep an eye on the time.  She woke up about an hour later to find me asleep too!  Luckily we still had loads of time to get to our gate and we boarded the flight to London.

Apart from the food, this flight was fine.  Ruth fell asleep before we had even taken off and was pretty much out of it for the whole flight and I switched between staring out the window and watching films.

We arrived back in the UK at about 5am.  It had been 24 hours since we took off in Brisbane.  The quickest way back to Plymouth was to get a coach to Reading and then the train to Plymouth.  I nearly passed out when we were told that two singles to Plymouth on the train were £200 but it was important we got home and so we paid up and got some brekky whilst we waited for the train.  The station was bloody freezing!  Good ol’ English winter, how nice to be back!

A few hours later we were back in Plymouth and Ruth’s Mum picked us up from the train station.  We were knackered, out of it, skint, cold and hungry but we had made it back in time and we went off to be with my family.

The journey is not something either of us wish to repeat but it was worth it.  We’ll be back in with family Plymouth for a while but we will be heading back to carry on with out trip soon(ish).

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Golf Course Kangaroos

Roos on the golf course

Roos on the golf course

Unfortunately we received some bad family news from home which meant we needed to get on a plane home fairly sharpish.  On our last day we took Charlie for a long walk on Pippi beach and on our way back to the hostel we passed the golf club which had loads of kangaroos on it!

The golfers were having to walk round them to play their shots but neither they or the ‘roos seemed bothered by this.  We stood and watched them grazing for a little while and then took some photo’s.

The plan was to leave Yamba that night so it was nice to see such iconic Aussie wildlife on our last day down under for a while.

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So another big night in Yamba rolled around as it was Justin’s birthday.  Justin is rather partial to his alcohol and so he started drinking early but we couldn’t join him as we were working.

I finished working at the bottle-o  at about 10pm and when I got back Ruth and Kellie (Justin’s wife) asked for my help with something.  The thing is Justin is the wind up merchant of the hostel and likes to take the mick out of everyone.  Just after New Year Justin managed to find an old pic of me and Ruth on Facebook which he printed and stuck behind the bar for all the staff to see!  Ruth & Kellie were printing out some posters of some funny pictures of Justin to get some revenge.  I helped by editing a few dodgy pics to have Justin’s face on them and in no time the hostel had posters up all over it.  Justin was ripping them down for days!

Justin had been saving a special bottle of rum and so he opened it on his birthday and saved me some.  As I was on catch up he thought it’d be funny to make me have it all in one drink though.  After recovering from that we all hit the Pacific Hotel for a great night and ended up staying up late chatting and eating pies.  All in all a good night!

Ruth and Justin in the Paciffic

Ruth and Justin in the Paciffic

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Although it wasn’t high on our list of films we wanted to watch, we decided to go and see the film Australia whilst we were there.  Yamba has two cinemas, one up the road and one slightly out of town, and it was it was the one out of town that was showing it.  Kellie (one of the hostel owners) decided to come with us and so we drove out there.  We were nearly too late for the film because some Aussies staying at the hostel were drinking a little too much and needed to be sorted out.  Luckily though we got there just in time to sit down before the film started.

The cinema was rather odd as it was a massive corrigated iron hut with cinema chairs in.  Plus the air conditioning set to ‘Artic’.  What was great about it though was after the sun went down you could hear the bats and other animals outside.  We certainly felt the atmosphere of Australia whilst we were watching it, even if we weren’t in the Northern Territories (yet).

The film was good, but the real star was the stunning Australian landscapes in it.  They really reminded both of us why we had come to this country and what made us want to go travelling.  We’re both absolutely loving Yamba but we’re both also keen to hit the road and start exploring Australia properly.

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Whilst kayaking along a river in Murwillumbah, Ruth’s right thong (flip flop to us Poms) broke when attempting a jump onto land. On the way back up the river a right footed thong floated past. We did a U-turn and fished it out the river. For the next few weeks in Murwillumbah, Lennox Head and Yamba Ruth walked around with odd thongs, whilst looking for some cheap replacements. (I think looking for the exact pair that you wanted and no others would do is slightly more accurate Stamp – Jo.) Eventually Jo found some in Yamba and we bought them. They were brown slim strap Havis and Ruth loved them, immediatly throwing her old odd ones away.

The State of the Old Thongs

The State of the Old Thongs

On New Year’s eve Ruth wore them as they completed her outfit however when drunk (Surely not – Jo) she took them off on the roof of the hostel. She had only had them for 1 month or so by this point. On New Year’s day remembering where she had drunkenly left them she went upstairs to claim them. They were not there . . . . . .

. . . thinking that Chook (the hostel Grandad) may have tidied them away she asked him had he seen them. He had and had spilt drink on them then cleaned them up and left them out to dry. After hours of searching Ruth gave up deciding they had grown legs and walked off. The hostel family and Jo were not very happy with this and decided to check the CCTV footage of the roof to see what had happened to the missing thongs . . .

The CCTV footage showed Ruth sitting at the table on new years eve with thongs attached. It showed Chook cleaning them in the morning and leaving them out to dry. A little while later three girls appeared and sat at the table with the drying thongs. They each proceeded to try them on, two of them were disappointed as they didn’t fit. The third one fit perfectly. We then saw her leave the roof with the thongs still on, carrying her old ones.

Using the CCTV Jo and Justin tracked the girls through the hostel and were able to establish they were paying guests as they had swipe cards, that they were in room 17 and that they had checked out that morning. We checked their booking and we found their names but no contact details.

Ruth checked the room to see if they had left them but they were not there. There was however a jumper that had been left behind. Ruth asked the other guests if they had the girls numbers on the pretense that we needed to return the jumper. A boy did have it and gave it too us. A very annoyed Ruth rang the girl and was quite rude to her only to establish that she was another girl who had checked out and knew nothing about the missing thongs!

Ruth gave up at this point. Jo however percivered. He decided to look them up on Facebook as all we had were thier names. He was then able to match their profile picture to the CCTV fotage and identify the culprit. She had no telephone number displayed. We then emailed her using the Yamba Backpakers login not expecting much but thought it was worth a try.

A week or so later she replied and was very vague about it all. We did not expect to see the thongs ever again at this point.

The hostel owners persisted and requested she sent them back or ordered new ones online to be delivered to the hostel.

Eventually a couple months after they were stolen a parcel arrived back at the hostel with Ruth’s original thongs in. They now eagerly await her return in Yamba to be collected!

And as elequanlty pointed out by Ruth’s Grandma Bea those thongs have now seen more of Australia than we have! All thanks to Detective Siewruk and the power of Facebook.

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New Year’s Eve was a right laugh!  Although I was working behind the hostel bar I was only on ’til 9 and the atmosphere was great.  Rachael (the bar manager) were really busy and seemed to be making non-stop cocktails at one point but it was really fun.  When I knocked off I joined all the backpackers on hostel roof and hit the booze – I had catching up to do.  At about 10:30pm all the hostel and cafe staff that hadn’t joined us already turned up and we had a party.

One of the chefs spent the day filling up water balloons and brought up a huge crate of them.  It didn’t take Justin long to find them and start throwing them at everyone and so a massive water fight followed.  I got absolutely drenched but got my revenge on a few people.  I also managed to get Ruth who was trying to protect the camera and the bottles – sorry honey 🙂

Drunken New Year's Eve 2008

Drunken New Year's Eve 2008

After everyone had dried off we all carried on drinking and chatting.  All sorts of pranks were being pulled and the guy who brought the water balloons got the esky tipped over him after the beer had been drunk.  Luckily it was a warm night.

At midnight the Pacific Hotel put on its annual firework display and they were really good!  Everyone enjoyed them, even Charlie once we had lifted him up so he could see what the noise was.

The drinking carried on until the small hours but eventually everyone peeled off to bed and for the inevitable New Year’s Day hangover.

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