2008-Feb 28Thursday

Tour completed

2008年2月28日23:58  English island, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.


When there is a start, there will be an end, so does my tour in Australia.

It’s certainly an enjoyable journey, or should say, a out-of-expectation journey. I traveled for more than 5,000 kilometers in just two weeks, visit great places, meet great people, take great photos, all of all are so pleasant. But exciting and remarkable experience needs both good starting and good ending. When I arrive the “truely” home at around midnight on Feburary 29, I can annouce “tour completed!”

Firstly my most grateful thankness goes to my relatives in Australia, my grandpa, uncle John and Bob, my aunties and cousins. I stay in their house and they drove me out to see place of interests. If their helps were not present, a pleasant journey would be impossible for me. The same thankness goes to cousin Sean’s cat Claw, she stay with me when I was alone in uncle John’s house and we became rather good friends.

Then I would like to thank my dear friend Ashley Chan, and her family — uncle, auntie, her cousin Karmen and Angela, and their dog, Prince. Thanks them for accommoating and driving me around at Wagga Wagga. For Ashley, I would greatly admire her courage and determination, I would like to pass my best wishes for her in this post as well.

I would like to thank Michael and Angela for the helps they gave during my trip on Melbourne, especially for the b.b.q. kangaroos. Wish them to have a pleasant honeymoon in China.

I would like to thank Simon for showing me around the famours Mt. Stromlo Observatory and the campus of RSAA/ANU.

I would like to thank Robert and Donna, who were so kind to drive for two hours to pick me up from Gunnedah and show me around at Siding Spring. I had also learn a lot from Robert, and extra thanks to him for the poster of Great Comet McNaught, the comet which is his most famous discovery.

I would like to thank Miss. Sue for her great meal.

And thankness also goes to all other people, known or unknown, who have lend me their hands during the great tour.

Although the ending is far from best due to the disappearance of my luggage, I won’t let my excitement ruined. Touring diary in Chinese and beautiful photos would be followed after I take time to write and process. Ahh, surely have to wait after I have process all the headache things about the missing luggage with Vivamacau! \_/ and I have to annouce that all the gifts were placed in it…

2008-Feb 26Tuesday

Leaving is always sad

2008年2月26日20:36  English island, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.

I do not want to leave Siding Spring Observatory, although the price of lodge is more than $100 per day. In the morning, Rob finally contact the person who can bring me into the 3.9-m AAT and look around the giant, but sorry to have kept you wait for photoes — I promise they will be up. The diary now is only something like a pipeline — stay tuned for more “diary” ones.

Then Rob drove me to Coonabarabran and had the postcards delivered (limit products!), then we said good-bye to each other. I took the coach from Coonabarabran to Mongee, then to Lithgow, and then board the train back to Sydney (yep, the train delayed again), took me eight hours again.

I’ll stay at Sydney for another whole day and shall be back to China in the evening of Feburary 28.

2008-Feb 25Monday

The day at Siding Spring

2008年2月25日21:40  English island, 泉志咨文, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.

Although I sleep at 2 a.m. last night, I woke up at 8 a.m. in the morning. It’s already pretty sunshine outside. At 10 a.m. Rob came and guided me to the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT). I’m very lucky because today they are going to remove the 16-t mirrow for maintanence, which occurs only once a year. The procedure will take a whole day to complete so we only checks at some important time. By the way — the 3.9-m AAT is also the largest telescope I have ever seen.

After short checks on the AAT, we went to see the 1.2-m UK Schmidt, visit the observatory shops and have lunch, have a great chat with the assistance (she’s not a professional but an astronomer — it’s still pretty nice to me the way she works, although not a professional one). After that we went back to the AAT, and the 16-t, 3.9-m giant had just been removed, and we watch it was put onto the ground floor. After that we still visit the 1.0-m and the 2.3-m AAT telescope (it marked the second biggest I had ever seen), and see the in-built Sky Mapper dome in distance.

The weather became very clear today (last night it wasn’t, but Rob still show me the software and facility of Siding Spring Survey). At sunset, quite a number of kangeroos went out and ate grass, and we observed a nice sunset at just outside the dome of the 3.9-m.

In the 3.9-m AAT dome -- the telescope is too large to be include in this photo
In the 3.9-m AAT dome -- the telescope is too large to be include in this photo

2008-Feb 24Sunday

Siding Spring, here I come!

2008年2月24日23:00  English island, 泉志咨文, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.

I’ve began my last expedition in Australia today — visit one of the Holy Lands for astronomer, the Siding Spring Observatory.

I board the train to Gunnedah on Strathfield at a quarter past ten, but the train was not quite convenient, it produced much noise and was late for one hour (yep the reasons are broken trains ahead, cow acrossing ahead and held for signal to give way).

Rob and Donna were waiting me on the platform, then I have dinner with them. After that, exactly at sunset time, we departed from Gunnedah for Coonabarabran, “the astronomical capital of Australia”, and then for Siding Spring.

Extraodinary is the only word to describe the scenery along the way.

We took about two hours to arrive Coonabarabran and then Siding Spring. The observatory is surround by kangeroos. I spot at least a dozen around the observatory. Rob showed me around the Uppsala Dome and then guide me to the lodge. I found an female astronomer sitting there enjoying Harry Potter DVD, and Rob and I have a great chat with her on the wizard story.

Scientist still prefer things like Harry Poter should you know.

2008-Feb 23Saturday

Olympic Park and the Sydney Habour with Queen Elizebeth II

2008年2月23日23:39  English island, 泉志咨文, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.

Today the mission is visiting the Olympic Parks for Sydney 2000 Olympics, but Uncle Bob brought me to the Sydney Market and observed another side of the Australian life.

Then at night Uncle John and auntie brought me to the Sydney Habour again (the forth or fifth time I visit there), because the giant ship Queen Elizebeth II had just arrived. Take great many photos there, stay tuned for updates…

Tomorrow I’ll go to Strathfield railway station before 10 a.m. and take the train to Gunnedah, Rob and Donna will pick me up from there and drive to Siding Spring Observatory, and I’ll stay there until Feburary 26.

2008-Feb 22Friday

Kiama: place to see THE SEA

2008年2月22日21:01  English island, 泉志咨文, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.

We plan to go to Kiama today but due to other occasions we made the departure at 5 p.m. Kiama is a seaside town about 100 kilometers south from Sydney, it’s close to the big town Wollongong.

We arrived Kiama town at a few minutes past 6 p.m. but note that the sunset is due to around 8 p.m. at this season, so we have plenty of time. Uncle Bob drop me for good at the entry (the kids might have no interest and the place might be too dangrous for them), but I enjoy myself very much. I had expect to see a plain beach with (mostly) naked men and women, similar to the beaches I had just visit, however it proved me wrong. Kiama coast is rocky and there are nearly no place to swim there, the best and most fantastic thing there is high wave, which can went up to a height of six adults or above. After safety checks, I climb pass the “Warning” sign (yes, that’s permitted if you have make sure it’s safe) and tried to get to the sea as close as possible. After a quater’s climbing I arrived at a small flat area, enough for a solo sofa, and about a few meters up from the terrified high wave, then I stood and observe the wave.

The wind was terrible as well, it blow and made the sea more crazy. Sometimes the wave went out to the sky, salt waters were blow overland and made my body very salty. Nothing other than the sea was rowing with a terrified sound, while sea birds seems were enjoying themselves, they just stood a few meters from me, up the rocks, went up and fly with the wind when they like. Several crosses down on the rocks which are very close to the sea, show that unfortunate accidents often happened even on this famous tourist site. I was terrified by the scene but did not want to leave, because I was deeply strike and move by the power of nature — until the dusk came, then I went around and left that place.

Back to the beauty grassland and modern road, there is another kind of scene. Lovers sat on the grass and spoke quitely, children played around, it seems peace and safe, you can never link them to the horrible image describe above, if you do not go and see for your own.

2008-Feb 21Thursday

Welcome to the capital city!

2008年2月21日20:54  English island, 泉志咨文, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.

Hi handsome, do you know which city is the capital of Australia? –No, that’s not Sydney, and that’s even not Melbourne (although it had been), the capital city is called Canbarra — a small city with about 300,000 population, about 300 kilometers southwest of Sydney.
On Feburary 21th, Uncle Bob drove his family and me for three hours for Canberra. I visit the capital mainly because one of the top astronomical research schools — the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) of the Australian National University (ANU) is located there. And may you be familiar with Mount Stromlo Observatory, it had even been a top research facility but was burn down by bushfire in 2003.

After reach Canberra at 2 p.m. we drove for another half an hour to reach Mt.Stromlo. Thankfully I have able to contact some executives there and they arranged me to meet some professors and show me around. Mt.Stromlo was once covered by tall trees but now there are only grass on the hill, and there are no working telescopes for astronomical researches any more, however RSAA still locates there.

I stay at Mt.Stromlo for two hours, and then we drove back to Canberra and took a look of the Parliament House and the ANU campus. Unfortunately the city was hit by a heavy rain and hail in the afternoon and we couldn’t enjoy ourselves so much, but the Parliament House and the ANU campus look nice. We spotted rainbows on the beautiful extending farmlands while driving back to Sydney, too.

2008-Feb 20Wednesday

To the beaches!

2008年2月20日20:51  English island, 泉志咨文, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.

Just sleep for four hours — from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then I woke up, mainly because Grandpa came. “I may bring you to the Manly Coast if you wish — interest?” I could not say no, although I can hardly open my eyes. They said that Manly Coast is one of the most famous beaches in Sydney region. Uncle John drove grandpa and I to the garden next to the Opera House and then went to work. Grandpa and I had a long walk to the Sydney Central Habour, extraodinary view of the Opera House and Sydney Grand Bridge!

Then we board the ship to Manly, it took us half an hour. Beautiful beaches and clean sea there, I’ll write of it in detail later. Then we had a 2-hour long walk and explored the North Head territory. Grandpa is eighty but he keeps a good health, he just look excited about the beautiful scenery during the walk and told me that he moved out for travel nearly every week. Then we board the ship which back to Sydney Central, another extraodinary view of Sydney Habour, nice photo later when I back to China. By the way, I was hit by the bird waste at Manly Beach which is quoted by my grandpa as the “bigest prize”.

The next day, or Feburary 20th, it was Uncle Bob who drove me around, we visited several very famous beaches on the south (of Sydney) — Watson, Lady’s Bay, Bondi and so that forth, it’s said that Bondi Beach is the most famous one. We visited the University of New South Wales and the bigest park of Sydney downtown (I’ll check the name later) too. Lady’s Bay is the one which you can get completely naked and swim, you may expect the people there will get shy but — not them, that’s me who get shy, because I look like an alien there — with all the cloths, shoes, hat, sunglasses on, to protect that poisonense sunlight. If you are not at the “naked bay”, you will still find the females on other beaches still prefer to take their bras off, however I’ve get used to it now. Anyway, the Australian beaches are very beautiful and interesting — stay tuned for photoes and details.

2008-Feb 20Wednesday

The overland tour (3)

2008年2月20日20:40  English island, 泉志咨文, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.

I passed the best wishes to the Mattiazzo couple (they would be married soon and have their honey moon in China at August) and then left Castlemaine by train at 12:01 p.m. Around 1:30 p.m. I arrived the Southern Cross Station — the second time in 24 hours.

Okay, I arrived. Now the first thing is to look for an information center. In Australia, the towns and cities would have information center to provide free maps, information of places of interest, and other services for tourists. Quite convenient, but this time I took about an hour to reach one. A friendly lady (seems called “City Embassy”?) of there gave me maps and a lot of instructions that I have no places to put them in. According to the map, I complete nearly the whole Bourke Street and arrived the Parliament House on east.

Ashley had mentioned that there is a free tram service of Melbourne, called the “City Circle”, which is operate for the tourists. After I arrived the Parliament House, I walk down-right to the Federation Square and caught a City Circle, and thus I visit nearly all the places of interest in the downtown area, include Treasury Gardens, Calton Gardens, Melbourne Library, Central, Flagstaff Gardens, Victoria Habour, and so on, but still too early to go to the railway station, so I walked for about an hour to reach a Tourist Shuttle stop (free as well) and visit the Southbank, old Melbourne Observatory, Park, Goverment, and MCG (a famous and large stadium). The shuttle terminated the Victoria Art Museum and I wish to have a rest (it was clear and the temperature went up to 35C that day and I carried ~15kg baggage you know), so I went inside and had a brief look.

Then I felt much better, so I went mad again and travel by tram to look at the University of Melbourne (a few kilometers north from downtown) and walk in the campus for about one hour. Still one hour from the Sydney train departure so I travel back to the downtown and visit the Observation Deck — little bit similar to the Sydney Tower which offer you a nice bird view from 250 meters above the ground — then time was up and I walk to the Southern Cross Station.

Train departed on time, many people there, included a very naughty boy, he kept walking around the cars and made his mother very annoyed and tired. I turned on my laptop and started writing something, but soon found I’m not fit at the moment. Sleep? No, that was too noisy outside and you cannot sleep. So I closed my eyes and thought about some dull things. At last I was too tired and lied my head on my bag.

Around 1 a.m. I woke up and found the train arrived somewhere. I look out of the window — it was Wagga Wagga. The sign reminded me the moment when Ashley was on platform and shaking hands and saying goodbye to me, although I’m too tired to think about anything. The train started again in no time and I stared at the street lights and saw them off. Mobile phone rang and it was Ashley, “Just heard the train passed, are you in it? …” Sorrow feeling flooded. Dunno when would we meet again. A face-to-face chat can never ever been completely replaced by Internet chats.

Junee, Gilbone, Cambelltown, and finally Strathfield at twilight. The overland tour ended here, I tidied my bag and walk towards Uncle John’s car.

2008-Feb 19Tuesday

The overland tour (2)

2008年2月19日4:54  English island, 鸡毛蒜皮 评论/Comment.

Wagga Wagga went out of the sight very quickly. After a few minutes from saying goodbye with Ashley, there is only grassland out of the window again — classic look of Australian outbacks. I’ll have another five hours to go until the train reach Melbourne Southern Cross Station — the terminal.

I do not have much time to miss Ashley, although I intend to do so — you cannot have no feelings when you and a long-lost friend were at a very tiny and beautifully-built railway station, and a noisy, old-style train was coming to pick you up, and you have to say goodbye to each other although you had only stay with each other for only a short while, it may reminds you the usual occasions in a 19th-century novel. All right, but I have a big challenge ahead of me: getting alone with westerners for quite some hours for the first time, could be a big game for me to play — basically because of I have to speak foreign language.

The train speeded up and arrived Melbourne on time. It would be the southest city I have ever been for quite a long time, I think. Just like a smaller version of Sydney. I met Mike and his to-be-wife Angela in the station, and my language sense tensed — I cannot use “excuse me” or “pardon” too much or it would be a big shame for a university student! Thanks god, such thing did not happen. “Your english is not too good, but is okay.” Mike noted. He and Angela speak slowly, thus I can understand easily.

Mattiazzo couple drove me to the Southbank area of Melbourne (yeah, to the south of the Yarral River), then he asked if I am interest to try barbecue kangaroos. “What!?” I cried, “isn’t that inlegal?” “Certainly not,” Mike laughed, “I suggest you to have a try, barbecure kangaroos can only be served in Australia.” Although I’m not in favour in eat, I was very curious about the taste kangaroo meats and I accepted Mike’s offer. Well, not even as good as a decent chicken, it’s “just kangaroo meats” and it costs $26 for one dish — a considerable price.

After taking the kangaroo meat as dinner, Mike drove us to Castlemaine, a town more than a hundred kilometers from Melborne, where he and Angela lived. “You might see kangaroos along side on the road.” Mike said, but we did not met one until we reach Castlemaine. Mike make a turn from the road and head the carlight directly at the kangaroos. “Here are they.” I cannot believe my eyes: kangaroos do appear in the town? “Yeah,” Mike said, “quite often.” But the kangaroos have no interest at us at all, they fixed their eyes on the grass and jump away before I was able to take a clear image of them.

We arrived the house in no time, and the Mattiazzo couple introduced another member of their family — Angela’s cat Hedwig. He is very naughty, always lied in front of you and play with his tail. And then, Mike showed me his equipments and point his large binocular to the treasures of southern sky. “You should get up at about 4 a.m. after the moon had set, the sky would be much better.” He suggested.

But I was already too excited to sleep even when the moon is up, simply because there are too many southern sky treasures to see.

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