A Travellerspoint blog

The last blog post!

Perth and the end to our one year two months across Asia and Australia

sunny 28 °C

What better way to start the final blog post with a bit of Bingay... What on earth is Bingay you may ask yourselves? Well it's just as crazy as it sounds, it's bingo hosted by drag queens. And we couldn't think of doing anything better on our Thursday night. Free entry, free to play and free pizza, I mean why wouldn't you go? Of course you don't want to win though, as winning includes taking home lots of odd and interesting naughty toys which we won't go into the details of. We had a great night and had a lot of laughs, sadly we didn't get any pictures but I am sure that the mental visual is enough!

Anna has been door to door fundraising, the job is quite challenging but does have it's perks. She got to go on a road trip to Yanchep but sadly wasn't able to visit the National Park however she had stunning views of the beach all day so couldn't complain. Oh wait yeah she could complain and she did... the size of the spiders up there!! PHEEEWWW...

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(Ps - this photo isn't ours its from google!)

It was time for date night in Leaderville. This consisted of eating in a cute little Asian place followed by a cinema viewing of Moonlight. We decided to go to a little retro boutique cinema which made the evening extra special. The film was really good and we could see why it won an award or two!

Before we knew it we were back at the Dooley's for another BBQ. Sian's parents were actually quite hungover which made the evening rather amusing. We were also treated to an amazing sunset..

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Theres a food theme going on with this blog post and so I will continue it, St Paddy's day had come around, and what better way to celebrate it with a good old Chinese! We headed to China town in Northbridge and feasted on a 3 or 4 course meal. We ate that much we have lost count of the courses! We were suppose to go to an Irish pub after and wash down the grub with a pint of Guinness or two but we literally couldn't move. We managed to roll our selves home on the train.

The following weekend was a bit different.. no it wasn't! There was lots more food! We went to Jaime Oliver's restaurant in the city and enjoyed some yummy pasta, followed by the nicest ever hot chocolate and cakes at San Churros. Perth was lacking in a few things but we still manage to find the best places to eat a lot of food!

That Saturday there was an open house where we were living as our landlord Jet, was wanting to rent out the apartment. We are telling you this info as there was a rather amusing ordeal with the keys. We simply left them in the letter box when we left, and expected them to be back in there once we arrived home. But no they were no where to be seen and we were dying to get inside from the heat. We did find a note though, the lady didn't want to leave the keys in the letterbox as it didn't feel safe. She left her number and so we tried to call her. We finally managed to get hold of her when at this point we were sat on the curb outside with our bags of food shopping. After what felt like an hour phone conversation about how she plans to drop off the keys, she suddenly remembered she had left them under the door mat, super safe I know! Once inside we proceeded to make lists of all the things we needed to do as our visas were up in a matter of weeks. Well when you leave a country you can make lists as long as your arm. Luckily half the list entails how we can become slightly richer, getting our tax and super back are the highlights!

On Sunday, Jet invited us on a boat ride with her parents. Her parents owned a little speed boat and loved water sports. The water was freezing and so only Ben and Jet's parents had a go at the activities! We don't think Ben has ever looked so happy..

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It was time for another week of work. We weren't terribly enjoying the jobs. Ben was getting sick of cold calling rude people asking them if they wanted to save money by getting solar panels, and Anna was getting tired of the energy and cost of her self employed fundraising job. Some days she felt like more money was going out than coming in. At the stage we couldn't wait to leave, we were scraping by on our sales as we had no motivation.. at least we didn't get fired! Anna was put on Canteen (a charity for teenagers with cancer) for the last week to mix it up a bit as she was losing interest in making sales. Ben being good at bloody everything was impressing everyone where he worked even though he hated it there. Management even wanted to consider him for a management role but unfortunately for them our visas run out. One night we applied for our visas for New Zealand, and just two days later they were approved! It was official, we were going to NZ! We were so excited which of course meant that the weeks were dragging by.

In a recent blog post, we wrote that we planned to travel some more of South East Asia before going back to the UK to work and save for a while. We have since found out how easy and affordable it is to get a 1 or 2 year visa in NZ. We have now decided to spend the next year or so living and saving in New Zealand. Travelling is amazing, and we love it, however living out of a backpack and being constantly low on money gets tiring. We are working in NZ for two months before returning to the UK for a big 2 month holiday. We then plan to fly back out to NZ to live/settle there until we are back on our feet and have lots of money in the bank. Then who knows where we will travel to next. Hopefully our original South East Asia plan followed by America. Although we have lots of saving to do now!

Perth was getting very rainy and quite cold. It is now approaching winter out here and so a big change in the weather. We decided to risk it all and book tickets to the outdoor movies. Although it was a little chilly, we had a lovely evening watching the sunset followed by the film Manchester By The Sea.

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The following morning we had brunch with Sian and Sam. This was the last time we were going to see them before we left Australia. They took us to an amazing place right down the road from our house. We couldn't believe we only just found this at the end of our stay, it was the nicest brunch ever! Just look at Anna's pancakes:

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The time had finally come, the last four days in work. They flew by and we were eager so say our goodbyes and put those jobs behind us. We took the Friday off so we could visit the stunning Rottnest Island. The ferry over was so expensive but luckily it was really worth the money. We rented bikes and spent the day cycling around the whole island. The weather was amazing and so were the sites. Not to mention the little quokkas!

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Once returning to land, we headed to a famous fish and chips restaurant in Fremantle. It was super yummy even though we were literally being attacked by seagulls left, right and centre. As some of the gulls got lucky with the occasional chip, we didn't feel very full. Well of course this was an excuse to head over to San Churros for some more chocolate. Oh we were going to miss Australia!

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After stuffing ourselves silly, it was time to make our way to our last tourist destination of Perth.. Fremantle prison. Here we attended a torchlight tour of the prison which also included a couple of scares from some pretty good actors. It was a very educational tour as we also learnt that the stunning island of Rottnest was the island where the Aboriginal prisoners were sent. It was a great end to a great day.

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On Saturday it was all go with packing, washing, cleaning and organising. At 5pm it was time to catch an Uber to the airport and say our goodbyes to Jet. We actually arrived on time for once and headed to the check in desk feeling thoroughly organised. We took out our printed flight conformation, passports and copy of our visa approvals. Then all hell broke lose. The check in lady called over a super visor and the super visor called someone else as there seemed to be some ordeal over our evidence that we were in fact allowed into the country. A very nervous Anna and Ben patiently waited but thankfully all was well and we were allowed entry into the airport! After we passed through security, we headed to the shops.. we kept searching and searching but couldn't seem to find them. Perth lacks in a bit of vibe, culture and things to do... so does it's airport! The airport topped off our trip in Perth I guess, just waiting around for the next best thing.

Before we knew it, it was time to board the plane, goodbye Australia. Hello New Zealand.

Ps. Anna has recently set up another just giving page for her latest charitable event, to see what crazy thing she is doing next, please visit the link below:
justgiving.com/annas-locks-get-the-chop

We would like to thank everyone who has kept up with our blog the past one year and two months! We know we can get quite carried away and end up boring you with details we think are amusing, I guess some situations are those had to be there moments! We have had the actual best time of our lives and have done some pretty insane stuff. What an amazing first experience of 'proper' travelling. We are so excited to be able to keep travelling, and I am sure we will have lots more stories to tell. In face we know we will, and so here is our new blog page http://benannatravelnz.travellerspoint.com/
Feel free to subscribe... Until next time :-)

Posted by Benannatravels 22:56 Archived in Australia Tagged travelling Comments (0)

Perth take two!

sunny 40 °C

It was time for Ben's first week at work. He was trying to stay positive throughout but it was a struggle. Ben had to travel to different places every day and watch people cross the road into moving traffic just to avoid him, and he didn't even smell! He got 3 people signed up which was good but he was struggling with the team as the office was under new management. Ben also got to play team leader for a couple of days as the current team leader was off doing something unknown!
Anna had another interview on valentines day and it went really well, she even got asked back for a second interview the following day. Ben had a stressful day that day as he was under a lot of pressure to make some sales. We were both relieved to get home and jump in the pool! That night we celebrated with a quiet night in. In the movie room with chocolate roses...

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Anna's 2nd interview turned out to be a trial/observation day. The job was for door to door sales but fundraising for charities, they call it direct marketing. It was essentially Ben's job but not in the streets. It went ok but it was really hot, there was lots of walking and Anna was being lead around by a rather interesting French guy! That night she received the phone call that she had got the job. She wasn't sure if she really wanted it but money was money! That day Anna also asked to attend 2 more interviews the following day. One where Ben works and one with another street fundraising company. She was a bit put off by Ben's experiences but thought best attend anyhow as a back up plan. Both interviews were group ones which are always an experience! They went ok but had no call backs, she was kind of glad! The same day, Anna and Ben decided to go and view some Airbnb's. Now we both had work lined up and had found some good looking places online, it was time to look at moving out with a less creepy host! They saw two properties but both decided on the one, a small apartment with a lady called Jet, 10 mins away from the city. We celebrated by eating out.. burgers for a change! ;-)

On the Friday Anna had her first day at work... well sort of. It was an unpaid training and an induction day - not idea for our bank account situation but hey ho! Ben had managed to catch a terrible cold from the very few people he came into contact with on the street and so he ended up having the day off work!

It was finally the weekend. We had a doctors appointment scheduled as we need to keep our travel vaccinations up to date. Ben was too sick to attend and so Anna went alone. She thought it would take around 30 min or so, just a quick injection perhaps. But no, an hour and a half later she was having blood tests to check her levels of Hep A and B! On the upside, when she got home she discovered that Ben had been offered an illustration job by Sian's dad as he needed something for work. Ben was also given a lifeline with the fundraising job. As he didn't hit targets and also phoned in sick, he should of been let go. However the managers saw the potential in him and asked him back the following week. It was another excuse to celebrate. With Ben on the mend, we decided to go to one of the Fringe Festival events, a comedy hypnosis show. We just managed to persuade our way in after leaving our ID's at home forgetting how young Anna looks! It was a really great night!

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On the Sunday we moved into our new place, we actually have nothing to write about the experience as it was completely normal.. unlike the last blog post!

It was time for Anna's first week at work! She works 11/12 until around 6/7pm. Her first day was a lot cooler and she felt like she walked a bit less. She had a good day with the French guy who she kept calling Anton even though his name is Anthony. Not a great first impression however she signed 3 people up on her first day and so unwanted nicknames were soon forgotten. Anna surprisingly was quite enjoying her job and was actually pretty good at it! On Tuesday she signed up 2, Wednesday 3, Thursday 1 and on Friday.... drum roll please.... She phoned in sick as Ben was so generous and passed on his lovely germs! Even though she was sick, Anna managed to break records and even got put up on the notice board. Anna has a great working atmosphere and is meeting lots of new people from all over the world. She is learning lots and earning lots too! Her team leader, AntHonY is also keeping her rather amused throughout the days. On one day he took a customers gate off its hinges, and on another day Anna noticed he had been pronouncing bombing with the b.. bomBing. Probably more had to be there moments but they kept her going through the illness of a cold.
Sadly Ben lost his job that week, he didn't mind as he hated it! He also had the Friday off due to being fired but had interviews lined up. He came home so a poorly girlfriend only to tell her that he had managed to get a job which started the following week! Ben would now be generating leads for solar panels over the phone, not a terribly exciting job but it paid the bills. Anna had the option to work the Saturday but politely declined as she didn't want to die!

Yet again we were left with no money. For some reason we are attracting poorly timed pay dates. Pay day wasn't until the following Thursday and so we headed off to do a very budgeted weekly food shop. We went to a shop called the Spud Shed. It is a very discounted farmer style shop which means it attracts the local bogan. Either way we were glad we could eat for the week! However we unfortunately didn't have enough credit to top up our phones which would later cause much inconvenience. Luckily we managed to pay the rent just fine.
On the Sunday we headed to the beach to meet Alex and Lizzi. This would be the 5th state we have seen them with. We had a nice chilled day catching up before they flew back to England that week!
After the weekend Anna was on the mend, Ben was ready to start his new job, and Anna was ready for payday so we could start enjoying our time in Perth!

To summarise the weeks work, Anna signed up 9 more people, she smashed her evaluation week and has since been promoted to a level 2. Next week she needs to hit 10 in one week and then she will be promoted again and she will also receive a pay rise! As an incentive, Anna's work does tasty Tuesday. If you get two or more on Tuesday you get free food! Anna yet again made it up to the notice board but this time... it wasn't as impressive. She made a right mess with her free burger!

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Anna has enjoyed working with other people throughout the week and more so working independently. Ben ended up having the Monday off after a mix up with start dates. He had a productive day retouching images and catching up on the latest tv shows! On Tuesday and Wednesday Ben generated 7 leads, and he only had to generate 4 in a week! So lets just say he was doing pretty well at his job. However he finds the job very intense and the training is on the go, there is a high staff turnover and a rather negative working environment. He has been getting great feedback from the managers but he isn't finding it the most enjoyable job. I guess it's Anna's turn to have the limelight whilst Ben plays house husband! Ben gets home a couple of hours earlier and so is now in charge of dinner and chores. It was finally payday! After struggling without phone credit all week long, it was time to top up not just our phones, but also our bellies!

On Friday night we went to the Twilight Hawkers Markets, oh boy the food was good!

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On Saturday we spent the day food shopping on less of a budget, and clothes shopping because we just can't stop! We also headed into the city to play mini golf and enjoy a drink watching some live music.

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Yesterday we went to Shoal Water Marine Park. It was amazing! It took a while to get there but it was so worth it. We took a boat ride around the islands and saw seals, dolphins, pelicans and little penguins. We then headed to penguin island to do some sunbathing and snorkelling. There were a few fish and a lot of ants so we didn't stick around for long. We headed over to the rescue centre to watch the little penguins being fed, they are just the cutest things! We then headed back to the mainland to have a snack and take in the beautiful surroundings!

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Today it's a public holiday and so we are having a chilled one ready for 4 days of work this week. It also gives us time to catch up on the blog posts! Over all, we are enjoying Perth as much as we can. We were thinking of leaving early but we have now decided to stay until the end of the visa. We are luckily to have gotten these well paid jobs with just weeks left on our visa. Perth is suburban and industrial and isn't very buzzy compared to the likes of Melbourne. It has amazing beaches and islands and has a few festivals on at the moment. We are excited to enjoy our last month of Australia, but then I think we will be ready to hit New Zealand! Stay tuned for more stories in April! Benanna :-)

Posted by Benannatravels 22:27 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Perth and new beginnings… sort of.

sunny 32 °C

We passed the time away on the four hour flight by watching a pretty terrible movie on the laptop. We soon drifted off into a deep sleep since it was going on 2am our time. We were pretty comfy as luckily for us it was a quiet flight and we could spread across some free seats. We were soon awoken by the sudden dramatic turbulence. Some of you may know, Perth is a pretty windy place. Well that fact does not help the pilot when trying to land the plane. We had a bunch of nervous passengers and a very rocky first attempt at landing, thats right guys… we ended up taking off again mid landing routine as it was too windy. This did not do much good for our stomachs. After circling around and having a guided tour of the city from the air, it was time to start attempt too. Yet again our hearts were in our mouths but thankfully we managed to land safe and in one piece.

After kissing the tarmac once exiting the plane, it was time to collect our bags and meet Sian and Sam. Sian is Anna’s friend from high school who moved to Australia 9 years ago and Sam is her boyfriend. They live with Sian’s family who very kindly offered us a place to stay until we get on our feet. We couldn’t wait to get to bed as we were so exhausted but first we had to do the whole dreaded airport routine of waiting for your bags, paying for the car, trying to find the car, trying to find the exit! You all know it! But because we were so tired, the universe just had to drag it all out that much more… as Sian was kindly paying for the airport parking, the machine decided to swallow her card. We soon pressed the help button and we were greeted by a lady who is clearly used to communicating with the common idiot. We were asked questions like, did you put your card in the right slot? and did you put your card in the correct way etc. After establishing Sian’s intelligence, the helpline soon sent someone out to save the day. Well, about ten minutes later, a man shows up who clearly has no passion for his job, especially when its 1 in the morning. He waddled to the machine, ignored us all and proceeded to start prodding the card slot with what can only be described as a cocktail stick. He then asked us whether it was our card that was suck in the machine! Well it wasn’t long before Sam had his car key and touch in the slot too! After what felt like a lifetime, no one had managed to rescue the card and so we decided to leave it in there! It was time to head home as Sam had work at 5am! He soon put his foot down… literally and **FLASH**. Yep thats right people, speed camera! We were not having the luckiest start to Perth. We finally got to Sian’s house and were greeted by two barking and very noisy doggies. After we had woken up the whole neighbourhood, it was time for sleep!

We had a much needed long, deep and comfy sleep. The bed was like one big cushion which was just what we needed after sleeping in a car in Tasmania for the previous three nights. As it was now daylight, we managed to see what the dogs actually looked like. A little Dachshund and a lovely German Shepard. We also got to have a look around the house. What an amazing house it is, they have a movie room, an outdoor bar and a swimming pool. After having a reunion with the family, Sally very kindly cooked us a much needed fry up. We then headed off to the local shopping centre to get some supplies. They have an Aldi here and so we were of course in our element. The sky didn’t have a cloud in sight and it was twice as warm as Tasmania, we had decided we were going to like Perth. We soon got back to the house and dived straight into the very exciting job and house hunting. That evening the Dooley family cooked us a lovely welcome BBQ… we didn’t want to move out! Sally and Paul then took us on a tour of their local beaches and we even stopped in a bar for a beer.

The following day was another job and house hunting day. We also had to chase up a few payments from some of our photoshoots in Melbourne. We actually at this point only had $70 left and so we were extremely thankful that the Dooley’s could take us in. After a nervous day, we finally received payment from our shoot and so headed our for celebratory pizza and film. For those of you who haven’t been to see Split at the cinema yet… you won’t be disappointed.. it was AMAZING.

As we had both managed to secure interviews for the Thursday, we were able to chill out a bit and enjoy seeing some of Perth. Sian and Sam took us to a place called Hillary's which was a cute little bunch of shops and restaurants right by the sea. We enjoyed burgers at Grill’d and a nice walk in the sunset with ice creams in hand.

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We then proceeded into the city on the highway. We were fascinated to see that they had train tracks running through the central reservation. This was something we hadn’t seen before but Sian and Sam didn’t really get what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t long before we were stuck in traffic as there had been a huge accident. We passed by amazed by the wreck of cars and headed onward to our next destination, Kings Park. We thought it was a bit weird visiting a park at night but we followed our hosts with great expectations. After getting lost and driving round in a lot of circles, we finally found an entrance and parked up. It was just a short walk until we were greeted with this stunning view of the city…

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The next day we decided to take full advantage of the Dooley’s swimming pool. It was really cold and so took us a while to get in. Once we had plucked up the courage to fully submerse ourselves in what felt like ice water, it was time for the dogs to start going mental. Whether they thought we were drowning or they just got too excited, we still don’t know. Either way we didn’t last long in the pool!

It wasn’t long until we discovered we had brought the cold rainy Tasmania weather with us. Clouds suddenly came over and it didn’t stop raining for 2 or three days. This is highly unusual for a Perth summer, as was the extreme humidity. Our streak of bad luck was continuing. It was interview time. After getting lifts to our desired locations, it was time to impress. Sadly Anna’s was a complete waste of time as it was for some dodgy ass solar panel company. We won’t take anytime explaining why. Ben had much more success as he had managed to secure a job at Public Outreach, the same company he worked for in Melbourne. He is now a street fundraiser for Seeing Eye Dogs Australia. He even has a cute little uniform but sadly we can’t put it online!

The following day Ben had his first day of training and he managed to sign someone up! The team were very impressed. Anna even went to the British shop to get him some congratulations Cherry Cokes and Peanut Butter Snicker Bars! That night it was time to move to our new Airbnb, and what a story it was…

Sian was kind enough to drive Anna with all our stuff to pick up Ben and drop us at our new home. When we arrived we pulled up on the drive and went to find the front door. Not as easy as it sounds! The house we were staying in was actually behind the house we had parked in front of and to get to the front door you had to go down a side alley. We went to meet our new host and as we did Ben stood in a fresh pile of dog poop. Was this a sign of things to come? We then met the perpetrator, or should i say poopatrator (sorry, hopefully the jokes get better, but I can’t promise anything) an incredibly excitable Groodle (explanation coming soon) and a somewhat frantic woman. It was all a bit hectic down the side alley and so we headed back to the drive to unload our stuff and leave proper introductions for once we were inside. As we started to unpack the car a very sweet old lady opened the front door (of the house belonging to the drive we were parked in) and asked quite naturally what we were doing on her driveway. Ben answered and she very nicely asked us to move as soon as we had finished unloading, at which point our host came around the corner shouting and swearing at this lady as we were her guests and not to be bothered. We stood there in shock as the two of them shouted at each other how horrible the other one was. We looked at each other and then back at Sians's now unloaded car wondering just what we had got ourselves into!?!? The old lady slammed her door on our host and as some kind of justification for the outburst we were told that the lady had dementia. So that made it ok.

We reluctantly carried the rest of our stuff down the little side alley whilst being jumped on by what is actually quite a big dog. So with poo on our shoes and paw prints on our shirts we left a very worried looking Sian and entered our new home for the next 7 weeks! We were shown the kitchen by Psycho Cherie (who hence forth shall be referred to as PC). We were shown where the pots are and were very quickly told that they were not to be stacked in case they scratched. Then we were shown the recycling and very quickly told that EVERYTHING had to be recycled and that PC would check the rubbish to make sure it had been done properly. “Im a bit of a recycling nut” she “joked” as her eyes widened and her smile broadened. Needless to say we were now terrified of using the kitchen. Time to see what lay in store for the rest of the house. We were shown to our room which resembled a Thai prison cell. As an attempt to brighten the place up a dead stick had been nailed to the wall. Thai chic I think they call that. On the plus side, and unlike a Thai prison cell, there was a large and very comfortable bed.

PC then informed us that “our” bathroom was next door but was sometimes shared by “the other person living in the house”. We looked at each other very puzzled as another guest had not been in the description. We were then told that Jesse lives in the room at the end of the hall during the day (Ah a shift worker, working nights we thought) and sleeps in her room at night!?!? (Perhaps a friend with benefits…?) PC could obviously sense we were a tad confused so thought she would introduce us… To a frickin 4 month old baby that she had somehow neglected to mention in the advertisement or in the numerous subsequent messages! Don’t worry though because “Her and Jesse were best friends that did EVERYTHING together!” said again with the wide eyes and psychotic smile (she actually reminded me of Jack Nicholson’s Joker).

It was time for a team talk. We didn’t like her. Team talk over. We tiptoed out of our room and into the kitchen where we very carefully made ourselves some dinner. While we were cooking a friend of PC’s arrived. We didn’t get her name and she seemed to care very little that we existed let alone occupied the same space as her. We will refer to her as SD.com (for reasons soon to be explained). Whilst we were cooking, PC set the only table up for 2 people to eat. We weren’t naive enough to think that she had laid the table for us so started to wonder where we could devour our sumptuous left over bacon pasta. I think I forgot to mention one of the many rules of the house was no food in our room, which left us very little alternatives. While we were preparing our food Ben asked very politely if he could remove the baby paraphernalia from the microwave so that we could use it. He was flat out ignored. To be fair, SD.com’s story about how she had come home to find her latest boyfriend in bed naked with another lady was so totally engrossing that its easy to see how even the most uninterested person could forget that there were other people in the room. We had finished cooking and then also washed everything, dried it and put it away (being extra careful not to stack any precious pots or pans) for fear of enduring PC’s wrath. We sat on the sofa in front of the TV to eat. The TV had been turned off so the two thirty something yummy mummies could listen to some Notorious B.I.G. You know, to bring a bit of culture to the proceedings. We then ate in silence as PC advised SD.com to indeed visit SD.com, or as some of you may know it: sugar daddy.com, where she could find a rich executive kind of man to (ehem) pay her for her “time”. We thought that that was a good time to call it a day and retire to our cell. I mean room! We told Sian our stories and she offered to come and get us immediately! We told her we would sleep on it and at least stay for the 2 nights we had already paid for. It was extremely comforting knowing that they really would have us back if we needed though.

The next morning we had a really long lie in. Not because we were tired, we just wanted to avoid PC for as long as possible. Once we had laid in bed for as long as we could we decided we had better go and see what Perth had to offer. We decided it would be best if we ate breakfast out. As we were leaving we met an incredibly friendly PC with another friend. And another BABY!!! That was the nail in the coffin. We were going to leave. The only issue now was breaking the news to a possibly bipolar PC. The best way we decided was to lie.

On our day out in Perth we visited the town centre which consisted of 3 parallel streets of shops and… no thats it. We were pretty disappointed. But not to be discouraged we set off to visit Fremantle, or Freo as the locals call it. Freo is a southern suburb of Perth and is known across the country for its artsy vibes. We arrived at about 4/4:30 on a Saturday afternoon and everything was closed. Not what we were expecting. We went to see if we could do a night time tour of the prison which is meant to be incredible. But that too was closed. We did however manage to score a few free tasters at The Little Creatures Brewery so that at least kept Ben quiet. It was time to head “home” and break the news to PC that “an old friend had offered us a place to stay for free”. Which to be fair wasn’t a total lie.

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When we got home there was no one in apart from the very excitable groodle. She was too excitable for us so we locked her outside. She then frightened the life out of us by banging on the window at one of those really quiet moments. So we let her back in. We made dinner and washed up careful still, to not scratch any cookware. There was still no sign of PC so we went into our room to watch a movie. Which reminds me of another house rule. We were only aloud to use the internet for checking emails nothing else. So no Skype or Netflix.

Mid way through the film she arrived home. She had been at a party, with the baby! We decided to bite the bullet. We went out and told her our news. She did the weird eyes smile thing and spoke through gritted teeth. She told us that she “just knew”. This creeped us out even more so we attempted to steer the conversation towards a less confrontational topic and somehow ended up getting a detailed description of Jesse’s birth and how PC’s milk had dried up. Ben left the conversation. He was soon followed by Anna and a joint sigh of relief. All we had to do now was survive the night without being murdered in our sleep!

Thankfully we did wake up in the morning. And as if luck was on our side PC was out. Paul and Sally were able to come and get us as soon as we had finished our breakfast! On the way back to theirs we stopped for a coffee and told them all about our event filled weekend. I don’t think they will be staying in an Air BnB anytime soon. The Dooley’s were incredibly good to us and said that this time we MUST stay with them until a decent looking place became available. They even made us a welcome back BBQ! We also decided we would ask to view places before making a commitment!

All in all Perth hadn’t been quite what we were expecting but we were determined to make it work. After an unlucky weekend we were ready to take on a fresh start.

Posted by Benannatravels 22:21 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Tasmania but no devils

sunny 17 °C

We were exhausted, we slept an hour on the plane, but we were ready for our 4 day holiday on the Tasmanian East Coast.

We arrived in the airport and went to collect our rental car. We had only gone and got upgraded to a luxury SUV. It was a swanky new Renault with an intimidating automatic hand break and keyless entry. This was the first time Ben was going to drive an automatic and so Anna put her life in Ben's hands. Luckily Anna had a new Renault at home so between the two of them they managed to get the thing out of the carpark!

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Our first stop was Russell Falls. We ended up going on a 2 hour walk around woodlands which lead to amazing waterfalls and creeks. Although it was freezing cold and threatening to rain, it was a great start to show what Tasmania had to offer...

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We then headed over to the East Coast. The drives were absolutely stunning and it is now official that Tasmania is our favourite place in Australia. It is such a shame we had such little time there. We are very motivated to go back.

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The crystal clear water and white sand made us feel so relaxed after a stressful and hectic 3 weeks in the bustling city of Melbourne. We were on actual paradise. After 3 hours, we made it to Freycinet National Park. We stopped on the way to eat ready roasted whole chicken on nine mile beach, apart from the flies it was bloody bliss! We found a free camping spot and set up camp for the night.

Did we mention we were sleeping in the car?
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Looks quite comfy right? Well it wasn't. It was freezing and who knew a car boot would be so hard on shoulders and hips!
The following morning we were up and out ready to climb to the lookout at Wineglass bay. It was hot, it was hard but we did it and boy it was worth is, just look at them views!!

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We then drove onwards to our third national park, Douglas Apsley. We enjoyed a short downhill walk to a natural creek where we enjoyed a nice refreshing dip after not showering that morning! We also stopped to pet some horses along the way.

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That evening we drove up to the chain of lagoons where we were going to meet Alex and Lizzie for our 4th state reunion. It was a lovely place but wow, it was like being back at the station with all the flies. We soon encouraged them to meet us at St Mary's instead, where we made sausage and beans on their little stove and camped beside a golf course! Can't beat a budget holiday can you.

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There was a stunning mountainous view and we had mastered our car sleeping routine by this time, so we had a better night!

The following morning it was shower time... and a cold shower it was! We scrubbed ourselves as fast as we could then headed back to the car to warm up! It was getting warmer as the hour ticked by, we ended up being really lucky with the weather as the rain managed to hold off the whole time we were there. The sun even came out so we managed to put our shorts on! We headed out on a 3 hour drive back down towards Hobart. We reached our 4th and final national park which was near Port Arthur. We had lots and lots of stunning stops on the way. The photos don't even do it justice.

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Sadly Tasmania lacked in wildlife for us, there are seals, penguins and Tasmanian devils on the island but none popped out to say hello. We unfortunately saw lots of road kill though :(

After 3 days of eating sandwiches and discounted meats from the IGA, it was time to pay a visit to good old Domino's pizza. You just can't go wrong with a $5 pizza can you, especially when its gluten free! I know we couldn't believe it either. We soon demolished that and headed to our final campsite, which was conveniently right next to the airport. We paid $20 to use this one and it was worth it as we had access to hot showers, a kitchen and wifi. It was another early start to catch the flight to Perth. I say Perth... we had a big lay over in Melbourne for the day as they decided to change all the flight prices whilst we were in Tasmania... sometimes booking last minute is just not a good idea. We spent the day in a park in Melbourne having naps, a cafe stocking up on real food, and then the airport rinsing their wifi! Lets just say, we were well ready to get to Perth, to real food, a real bed and a bit more of a routine... and a relax!!!

Posted by Benannatravels 21:18 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Melbourne Take Two!

sunny 25 °C

Our last post covered our introduction to our second time in Melbourne. We were settled in Essendon, Ben was back at work and Anna was a lady of leisure.
After Ben's first week back, which was only a 4 day week, he only reached 52% of his target. This had a negative effect on him as he thought he had lost the fundraising power! As some of you may remember from last time, if you don't make target... you don't keep your job!
Our Irish Airbnb hosts were very lovely and laid back. However they were bloody loud! Francis woke up at 4am every morning for work. Perhaps he felt we should all wake up with him as every morning it sounded like he was moving furniture around the apartment! We did hint that we could hear all through the walls, but this didn't get us very far. Perhaps Francis was giving us payback... one day Ben was sitting on the toilet and poor Francis was scarred for life after accidentally walking in on him. That taught Ben to check the door is locked!!
Ben's friend Alex and Lizzie paid a quick flying visit to our house on their way to the great ocean road. This is the 3rd state we have met them in. We worked out we would be in Tasmania at the same time too... so bring on the 4th!
That weekend we had made plans with our old Airbnb host, Katie. And what did we do? We went to Rice Paper Scissors of course! After having serious withdrawal symptoms, it was great to over indulge in the best Asian on earth! We also decided to gatecrash her movie plans that evening as we wanted to watch the same film. We went to a lovely little boutique cinema to watch Arrival. For those who haven't seen it, we would recommend a watch!

That weekend we also finished our entries for the ING Creatives competition. To read more about the competition, see the link below:
http://www.ingcreatives.com/ingcompetition2017
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It was back to work for a worried Ben. He wasn't very good at working on Doctors without borders but luckily for him, on Monday morning he went in to discover he had been moved to Bush Heritage. He absolutely smashed his target and even made a little bit of bonus!

Anna was at home being as productive as she could. Cleaning, doing the washing, food shopping and cooking wasn't very satisfying so Anna instead decided to get more creative! She managed to plan 4 photoshoots.
1. Event photography at the Australian Open
2. Corporate shots for Make Up By Nita
3. A portfolio fashion retro sports shoot
4. Beach shoot for her aspiring model friend Chris
She started applying for jobs in Perth and managed to get two photography job leads. Anna also spent a lot of time working on our social media sites for both Where We Went and AB Studio. She created 4 maps, free of charge for Instagram users who had a lot of fans.
You can see our work by visiting our Instagram pages:
https://www.instagram.com/wherewewentdesigns/
https://www.instagram.com/abstudiosocial/
We still need to edit images from two of the shoots and so stay tuned for those shots!

Anna eventually took time out from being a computer wiz to see her friend Suzi. Suzi worked in the Cafe where Anna worked last time we were in Melbourne. They shared a long leisurely lunch catching up on all the missed out gossip from the cafe - surprisingly there was a lot... it was like a TV Drama! Lying, cheating, stealing.. they had it all! There was that much exciting gossip that Anna felt the need for a lie down. On St Kilda beach to top up the old tan. That evening Anna met Ben in the city so get communal hair cuts, how cute!

Friday of that week, Anna was due to meet Ben in the city for lunch. She decided she couldn't be bothered going into the city but would meet him on his afternoon break instead as she had some shopping to do for upcoming photoshoots. That lunch time, Ben headed to the park, ate his sandwiches and headed back. This is normally a pretty uneventful weekday routine. Unfortunately this time, right outside Ben's work were a lot of injured and dead people. The Bourke street mall crash had happened minutes before he walked around the corner.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/wild-car-cbd-chase-sees-pedestrians-in-bourke-street-mall-injured-shots-fired-20170120-gtvgk9.html
It was a pretty traumatising day for everyone in Melbourne. 5 people have now died from this one mans actions. It was very upsetting for us both as we now know a lot of people in Melbourne and some of them were actually on Bourke street as it happened. Anna headed into the city to meet Ben on his break, it wasn't long before the city was evacuated and Ben wasn't allowed to leave his building until the end of the day. There were some not so pretty sites on the pavements outside. Anna decided to head to Chapel street to continue her shopping there, away from the very sad site :-(

That evening we both needed a big cheering up. Ben met Anna on Chapel Street and we both went for tacos and beers! We then met up with Ale who we shared our Airbnb with the last time we were in Melbourne. His Italian humour never gets old and it was just what we needed! We laughed away over a $40 bottle of red as we taught Alessandro some cockney rhyming slang!

The following weekend we had the corporate shoot with Nita. The shoot went really well and we met up with Alex and Lizzie for Grill'd burgers after. They had come back to the city to see it properly. We headed back to our place to edit the shots from the days work. We had a few issues with the image handover from Nita as she completely changed her mind last minute, but we managed to smooth out a deal and she has used the images on her new website. That weekend we also discovered we had to apply for Working With Children's checks for the event photography we were doing at the Australian Open. This was extremely stressful as it was so last minute but we managed to make it all happen as smoothly as we could.

We were now the lowest on money we had ever been the whole ten months we had been in Australia. We actually only had $20 left. This was due to poorly timed payments. It was a long and hard waiting game for pay days! Not having any money didn't time well for Australia day. Most people spend the day drinking, at parties or going to big events. We had a day watching Netflix and then headed to St Kilda to watch the little penguins. We were sat waiting for dusk for about two hours before we realised there was one under the bench we were sat on!

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We didn't actually stick around to watch the Penguins come back from the days fishing as it wasn't a very nice environment to be in. After visiting Phillip Island, we were saddened to see tourists standing on rocks trying to take photos of the baby penguins, drinking alcohol and being really loud and also walking along the beach where the penguins were expected to run out onto. At Phillip island everyone was strictly told not to take photos and to stay in the viewing area. At St Kilda, it is an area which is fully open to the public and so it is a bit of a free for all. It got pretty dark and we still couldn't see a single penguin. We weren't surprised... if we were penguins we wouldn't to run across a beach with a crowd of selfie stick holding tourists stampeding behind! We did however see some water rats which was a new one. It was back to the apartment for us. We managed to miss the last bus and so we needed to flag down a taxi. We ended up doing this a few times throughout our stay in Essendon and so I don't think we will be staying there without a car again. That night we shared our taxi with a fellow bus misser and ended up getting it for free! Well he paid for it as he was travelling much further than us. We ended up getting back quite late and so made an effort to stay super quiet as we knew Francis would be up early in the morning. We silently made dinner and washed up. Just as we were finishing drying the dishes, Francis and Amy come bounding in through the door full of alcohol and noise! It was time for bed for us.

The big shoot day had finally come around. We packed a case full of equipment and headed to catch the train. We then forgot to get off the train and so ended up riding a full loop around the city. Luckily we were super early and so still managed to show up on time! We collected our media passes, feeling very important may I add, and headed to the ball park. Ben got settled in his tent where he would spend the day editing sitting next to the sound crew. Anna paced around anxiously awaiting the arrival of LOADS OF KIDS. It was a pretty hectic day. We were photographing the first ever Shopkins Swapkins party. It was an event where kids could come from all over to swap their duplicate toys. There was entertainment throughout the day and also some youtube starts. We have shared a video on AB Studio's Facebook page and our images feature at the end of it. Click the link below to see how the event panned out:
https://www.facebook.com/abstudiosocial/
It was super hot and sunny all day but it went really well. We even saw Venus Williams warm up for her big game!
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We stayed up late that night editing all the shots, but it was really worth it as we had fun and it was a success!

It was our last week in Melbourne. Ben headed to work and Anna was ready to get stuff done! After eating some more tacos on Ben's lunch break, Anna went location scouting for her portfolio shoot. She then headed to St Kilda beach where she had a good shoot with Chris. Anna even managed to pick up some free art on a random street on the way!
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That night we wanted to go to Rice Paper Scissors to celebrate a successful 3 weeks in Melbourne. Unfortunately for us it was closed on that day only!! We ended up going for steak and ribs in a place called Squires Loft which had been recommended to us on several occasions. It did not disappoint. We topped off the evening by going to see La La Land in the boutique cinema. We just about made it on time but we soon tap danced all the way home!

Wednesday was our last day, and it was a stressful day too. We had to prep everything for the portfolio photoshoot, book Tasmania, find out where our payment was from another shoot, do the actual shoot and pack everything! After a lot of running around and last minute everything, we managed to pull off a really successful shoot and we are excited to share the images with you all. We headed to leaving drinks round two and got back at 12pm ready for our 4AM START FOR TASMANIA!

Lets just say, we had an exhausting round two in Melbourne but it was all worth it in the end.

Posted by Benannatravels 19:31 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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