Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A week in Cairns (part III / V) - The Great Barrier Reef

A week in Cairns (part III / V)

Visiting the Great Barrier Reef

The main reason for our trip to Cairns was to see the world famous Great Barrier Reef.  I had learnt a little bit about the reef whilst I was street fundraising for the ACF (Australian Conservation Foundation) such as only a third of the reef is actually protected which is quite surprising considering the whole reef is listed as a world heritage site.  There were even plans to start drilling for oil in the reef but the good people at the ACF applied pressure and the plans were eventually scrapped.

Good on you

As we had previously discovered the only viable way of seeing the reef was through excursion trips.  We took 2 excursions to sail out to the reef on separate days.  On one of the trips about an hour out of Cairns we stopped off at a small island to pick up a few more people.  The island was very picturesque and looked like one of those typical tropical islands you see in travel brochures.  The island was covered in lush green trees and the beaches were made of flawless golden white sand.  There was a hotel on the island but it was hidden away in the dense green forest.  The sea surrounding the island was a beautiful shade of light blue and looked very inviting.  I guess I had originally imagined Cairns to look a bit like this island.

Who's idea was that?  Lets put a pick-up truck on an island with no roads

The Reef

On both excursions after about 2 hours from leaving Cairns the boats would suddenly stop in what looked just like deep sea.  The only sign of the reef from the deck of the boat were some waves crashing on some shallow rocks over in the distance.
After the boats were anchored up we were given the go ahead to get geared up and to enter the water.  Since we were in the Coral Sea I was expecting the water to be pleasantly warm but the water was much colder than I had thought.  The wetsuit kept most of me dry and reasonably warm but occasionally a small amount of water would enter the suit and trickle down my back which gave me the shivers.
When we were all in the water and acclimatised an instructor would lead us to the reef.  Whilst following the instructor I could see what looked like a massive underwater boulder come into view.  I guess the reef was made up of these submerged rocky islands were the water is shallow enough to support underwater plant life.
When we arrived at the reef we were advised not to swim over the reef as the water was very shallow and we could risk damaging the coral with our flippers.  After the instructor left I started to do circles around the reef.  My first impression of the reef was a bit modest at first, I was expecting an underwater forest of brightly coloured coral.  In reality the reef was more of a beige and dark green colour.  I wasn’t disappointed though, I was swimming in the Great Barrier Reef and it was awesome. 

Awesome stuff

The edge of the reef, note how steep the drop was at the edge of the reef

Olivia holding what I think was some kind of Sea Cucumber

Residence of the reef

There were many different types of fish swimming around who didn’t seem bothered by our presence.  Instead they just continued doing what fish do, which didn’t seem to be much.  They were just wondering around the coral (a bit like me).
During my rounds around the reef I came across a school of parrot fish who I started to follow.  They would swim around the reef slowly and then suddenly dive on a section and start eating it.  The sound of 20 odd parrot fish scraping bits of coral off the rock with their bills was very loud and gave me that nails on a chalk board feel.
During my wonders of the reef I would occasionally come across a giant clam.  These ominous looking shells were just sat on the seabed amongst the coral.  I was tempted to put my hand in one of the shell’s open mouth but it was too deep to reach which was probably a good thing.
So...I have swum in the Great Barrier Reef, awesome.  A great experience to tick off my list.

Olivia is a qualified scuba diver and took some of the best photos.  I wasn't allowed anywhere near the
scuba equipment because I have asthma

Show off

Giant clam

I only saw a glimpse of this turtle, Olivia was lucky enough to
get close enough to feed it and give its belly a scratch

The boat from a distance

A good day

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A week in Cairns (part II / V)

A week in Cairns (part II / V)
After getting off the plane at Cairns airport we headed off to our hostel in a shuttle bus.  Olivia had booked us a 5 night stay in a hostel called Asylum, other than the name and some good reviews about the atmosphere we knew very little about the hostel.
It was interesting stopping off outside each hostel and thinking “is this one Asylum?”  After stopping outside some very comfortable looking hostels the shuttle bus pulled up outside a tired looking white building with a big sign outside that read “Asylum”.

The Asylum

We left the shuttle bus and were both immediately greeted by a friendly guy behind the reception who came round and gave both of us a big hug.  
After checking in we headed to our room which was very basic but clean.  It had all the basic facilities including a ceiling fan that had some dodgy electrics.  The fan was operated using a dial on the wall which had numbers 1 to 5 to set the speed (1 being lowest etc) however the dial was broken and turning the dial to any number resulted in the fan spinning at a dangerously fast speed.

Our cell

The fan of doom
After unpacking our stuff and playing around with the psychotic ceiling fan we left the hostel to have a wonder around Cairns.  It quickly became apparent that Cairns wasn’t a particularly special place.  We had imagined a sunny beach town with golden sandy beaches, clear waters and friendly people walking around with surfboards under their arms.  In reality Cairns is a rather dull and sleepy little town.  The roads were wide and empty and the whole place was quite barren.  There was a water front however there was no beach.  The water along the front was dark and looked very uninviting.

Not what I had imagined

The waterfront, complete with some ugly artwork

We did actually find a beach later on in the week,
but this sign kept us away

Another disappointment we had was when we went into a scuba diving shop to find out more about the Great Barrier Reef.  Our initial plan was just to hire some gear and swim to the reef ourselves from one of Cairns nonexistent beaches.  However we found out that the reef was at least a 2 hour boat journey away from the coast and the only way to see the reef was by expensive excursion trips.
Of course we weren’t going to let this small set back stop us from seeing the reef.  The next day we did some research and with help from the great staff at the hostel we had some reasonably priced trips booked.  We had booked 2 full day excursions to the reef and one full day tour of the landscape that surrounded Cairns. 

Strangers are just friends you haven’t met

We might have got some things wrong about Cairns, but one thing we seemed to get right was the hostel we booked.   The hostel had received an award for its atmosphere and we could see why.  Right from our first night we made friends quickly.  It helped having Olivia around as she is more outgoing than me and was very good at breaking the ice with other guests in the hostel and making friends (I did make some friends on my own as well).
There was a wide variety of nationalities staying at the hostel, but everyone was friendly and like minded.  Goon pong was a very popular past time in the hostel and pretty much everybody was involved either directly or as a spectator.
Goon Pong is the same as Beer Pong, only instead of beer we used cheap wine which in Australia is known as goon.  Using cheap wine for this game instead of beer meant losing a game would result in a rather nasty hangover the next morning.

Goon pong, notice the championship table on a sheet of paper in the top left
and the medals for the 2 winners in the centre of the table
Some guy taking an important shot,
 they later lost the match  because his partner got too drunk to play
One thing I began to notice whilst lounging around comfortably in one of the hammocks in the front garden of the hostel was any locals who walked past the hostel would look in at us with a disapproving look.
 I later learnt that the hostel had a reputation for being a party hotspot and the guests staying at the hostel were often drunk and disorderly in the town centre at night (and maybe sometimes during the day).  I even heard that the hostel was the subject of a damning local TV report regarding the drunken behaviour of its guests.  However after the TV report was aired the number of guests staying at the hostel increased.
The frown from the locals did not bother me.  When I travel somewhere I usually try and integrate myself with the locals and their culture as much as possible, but I was on holiday and I had left my cares behind.  I felt like I had already been marked out as an “inmate” of the asylum by the locals and I liked it.  After all I was on holiday and I was looking forward to the trips we had book for the week and the goon filled nights out that gave the hostel its reputation.

Friday, 12 October 2012

A week in Cairns (part I / V)

A week in Cairns (part I / V)

So this is a quick 5 part story about when Olivia (friend from England) and I spent a week in Cairns.
I guess you could dub this was my “holiday within a working holiday” as I am currently in Australia on a working holiday visa.  Olivia (my good friend from the homeland) had worked hard to save some money to go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and since I was already in Australia I thought I would tag along.

At first we couldn’t decide on which resort to go to.  I originally wanted to go to Whitsunday Island because I heard it was a good party destination and I thought it would be an ideal place for Olivia and me.  However Olivia wanted to go to Cairns as it was further up north and therefore a lot warmer plus Cairns always seems to be the number one choice resort when it comes to scuba diving in the reef.

After a bit of research Cairns did seem like the better option overall and we pushed Whitsunday aside and booked tickets to Cairns.  After all it was Olivia’s holiday and she was the one with the scuba diving license, which is always a good trump card to play when deciding where to go on a scuba diving holiday.

Flying north for the summer

The economy class flight from Sydney to Cairns took just under 3 hours and was a good reminder of how big Australia was.  You could fly from the most southern part of England to the most northern tip of Scotland and back again in less time.

The transition from the temperate climate of Sydney to the tropical climate of Cairns was apparent even before we landed.  Looking out the plane window whilst approaching Cairns the landscape had changed from rather dull looking beige colour of when we left Sydney to rolling hills of rich deep green jungle.  Walking off the plane was like walking into a preheated oven.  The humidity made the air a bit sticky but it was not too unpleasant. 

It looked like we had flown into a different country.
Getting off the plane everyone stopped in the skybridge rather abruptly and started getting out their cameras, at first I thought everyone was taking photos of the plane for some reason.  But I then noticed that everyone was taking photos of an awesome rainbow that was spanning across the airport.  This was an awesome introduction to Cairns.

Making our way through the relatively small airport was fine although I was spot checked by security to see if I had any explosive resin on my clothes.  Luckily I tend to wear an apron when I make my bombs (that was a joke, I don’t make any form of explosives).

Cairns made a great first impression
I hadn’t felt the heat of tropic weather since I first arrived in Sydney back in March, and it felt good!  The weather in Sydney over the previous month had been very similar to the weather back in my home city of Manchester.  Sometimes I had to remind myself that I was on the other side of the world, but here in Cairns it felt very different from home.  We didn’t have to wait very long for the shuttle bus to pick us up and take us to the hostel that Olivia had booked us into.  Our new home for the next week, a youth hostel by the name of “Asylum”.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Something missing?

Not a bad place to be stopped

I got stopped the other day whilst walking through Hyde Park.  Some guy said “hi” whilst I was walking past him.  I was daydreaming at the time so it took me a second or two to actually stop, turn around and say “hi” back.  He then introduced himself and why he decided to stop me.  He was a middle aged man with dark frizzy hair that was short at the front and sides but long at the back.  He looked quite friendly, although he generally had a weathered looking face, rough hands and somewhat untidy clothes that made him look very poor.  He had these brilliant blue eyes, though one of them was bloodshot.

At first, I thought he was going to ask me for money, but it turned out he was actually a devote Christian who was going around spreading the word of God.  He asked me what I was doing, what my story was and what I thought about doing in the future.  I told him I was a traveller and that I wanted to see the world.  He started off by saying that there was “nothing wrong with that” and that is was a “good thing for young people to do”, but he did then start to criticise my choice of life.

He said “people who travel, are travelling because they are not content with their life’s and they are searching for something to fill their life’s” or he said something on those lines.  He then continued “perhaps what you should be looking for is more spiritual enlightenment, rather than physical”.  He then went on to quote some passes from the bible (even though at the start he promised he wouldn’t) and talk about his life and how he got involved with God.

The content life

I supposed some of what he was saying was true.  If I was completely content with my life in England I wouldn’t have come all the way out here to Australia.  Maybe I am searching for something?  But what is a content life?  Some people might say England is the best country in the world to live in, others may say Australia is, but you couldn’t possibly say anything like that if you haven’t tried to live in every other country.  

I read in a book somewhere about this theory called “learned happiness” which is the theory about people (and animals) becoming content with their surroundings.  The example the book gave was about this zoo that owned a bear.  At the start the bear lived in a small cage.  The zoo didn’t want this for the bear so they raised money and in the end managed to create a large enclosure for the bear with rocks, trees and even a waterfall.  And what happened to the bear when they introduced him into his new enclosure?  He stayed in an area that was the same size of his small cage until the day he died; because that was the area the bear had become content with.  

So I guess what I am trying to say is you shouldn’t be afraid of what is not familiar.  The same book also gave me a quote, that “uncertainty is the key to a satisfying life”.  If everything in life was certain and there were never any surprises, then life would quickly become dull (for me it would anyway).

Student of the world

Another thing the religious dude said to me that I disagreed with was the fact that he disapproved of me travelling and seeing the world, instead he recommended that I should consider doing more spiritual exploration rather than global exploration.  And maybe I should be open minded to the more spiritual exploration.  But my counter-argument I wanted to say to him was “if God created the world, then I want to see as much of it as I can, and surely God would be happy that I am taking such an interest in his creation”.  I didn’t say any of this to the dude, I wish I did but I was getting a bit impatient of his recited bible verses and I wanted to end the conversation.  I was just walking home and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to have a deep intellectual conversation about religion and my choice of life style.

So I told him that I needed to head off and I would “think about things”.  He gave me a little booklet to read that contained yet more bible verses, we then shook hands and went our separate ways.

Overall I don’t mind being stopped by people like this.  I am always interested to hear people’s stories and opinions, but maybe not quite on a Sunday afternoon when I have a mild hangover.

Some bedtime reading, courtesy of the Jesus People.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Job interview at the call centre

Saturday 6th June (Day 97)Job interview at the call centre

Here is something I wrote ages ago that I thought I would upload....

It has been a while since I have had a job, and looking back I don’t really count fundraising as a job.  Going round on the streets trying to stop strangers to get them to sign up for charities really wasn’t as good as I made it out to be. 

So I have been applying for engineering jobs over the course of the last few weeks, but with no luck.  To find engineering work was actually the reason why I came in Sydney to the first place.  I was expecting to just arrive in Sydney and pick up an engineering job within days, but I am clearly not as in demand as I thought I was.

Oh well, there is always plan B.

Plan B

Plan B was a job at a call centre just down the road.  I heard my chances of at least getting an interview there were good.  Apparently they are always looking for people who can speak English.  My house mate Nick has been working there for a while and has just recently been sponsored (means he can stay in Australia for as long as his job).  So they definitely seemed like an good company to work for.  I filled out their online application form very late one night and I was awoken very early the next morning by a phone call.

“Hi Michael, sorry to call you so early, just wondering if you would like to come for an interview this morning at 9:30?”

Wow, that was quick.
I wasn’t the only person being interviewed that morning.  They had invited 2 other people for the interview this morning, although they received the phone call several days ago.
After waiting in the reception area for something like 40 minutes the three of us were finally led into the interview room.  I don’t think I have ever had a job interview that started on time, but having said that I don’t think I have ever showed up for a job interview on time, so it kind of works in my favour.

The interview room was dull and grey with a large frosted glass table in the middle.  The 3 of us interviewees were sat on one side of the frosty table whilst the boss of the company and a girl who was going to be our supervisor should we get the job were sat on the other side.  The interview started with the boss of the company introducing himself and his company.  After about 5 minutes of the boss flexing his corporate muscles the spotlight moved to us and we were asked to talk a bit about ourselves and why we were suitable for the job.

Sell yourself

They started off with the guy who was sat at the end of the row.  He introduced himself very calmly and then went on to list all his previous customer service experience, and there was a lot of it.  He had a variety of impressive customer service jobs including when he worked for apple where he made over $100,000 in sales!  Damn, this guy was good. He was really not the kind of guy you want to pit yourself against in a group interview.

They then turned to the girl who was sat between myself and the guy at the end.  Although her job history revolved entirely around working at McDonalds, she made up for this in confidence and enthusiasm.  She was pretty good to.

Now the spot light was turned to me and by this point I was not feeling confident.  I was extremely tired and probably looked awful.  I didn’t have a shower that morning either, in fact my last shower was several days ago so I certainly wasn’t smelling fresh.

I managed to cobble something together regarding my previous experience in customer service that sounded reasonably convincing.

I left the interview not feeling particularly confident on my chances.

Later that day...

Later that day, after a good few hours after the interview I got the inevitable phone call.  It was the girl from the call centre to tell me whether I had the job or not.  She started off the phone conversation all happy and cheery.  

She asked me: “so, how are you?” 

“Why don’t you tell me if I got the damn job or not?!  Then I will tell you how I am feeling”.  This is what I said in my mind, my actual reply was something more like “yes, I am fine, thanks”.

Her tone of voice then changed to a more serious tone and there was a long pause.  The type of pause you get just before someone tells you some bad news....

“Yeah, we were very impressed with you Mike and we were wondering if you would like to come in tomorrow to meet the client?” she said.

“Oh, ok, sure” I said in response in a somewhat surprised manner.

It appears I actually have a job now.  A proper job as well, not going around the streets acting all happy and friendly to raise money for charity.  A job I can actually keep for longer than a week.  It’s about time as well.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Some Changes

I haven't written in a while, not for any particular reason.  I guess trying to write about my life constantly on a daily basis was a bit much.  Anyway, I going to start writing again now.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

(Day 95) More Photos from the Vivid Light festival

Saturday 4th June (Day 95)

More Photos from the Vivid Light festival

On the last day of the vivid light festival I went back with my camera and tripod and took photos of all the exhibits I missed out on my first visit.  All the exhibits are numbered from 1 to 63 with number 1 being the Opera house itself and the numbers going around Circular Quays and further north of Sydney past the harbour bridge.

All the exhibits around Circular Quay and on the main drag were all very popular and I visited most of them during my first visit.

Lasting impression 

Heading up north from Circular Quays there are still some nice exhibits.  Also from here you can see the Opera house from across the harbour.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the Opera house from my first visit but from across the harbour it looked so much better.

The further north I headed the less and less people I saw and the worst the exhibits got.  It was like they just couldn’t be bothered anymore and some of the exhibits they had towards the end were just laughable.

Overall the Vivid Light festival was really cool, and I wonder if I will still be here for next year’s?

Ironically most people don't come this far up Circular Quays which is a shame because
the Opera house looked so much better from here. 

The light rain and the water on the floor looked pretty cool with the light exhibits

Don't know what this thing was supposed to be but it looked pretty cool

You can spin this thing.

Random chandelier, and why not?

Children liked climbing through this, but I was too big to fit through :(

Random chandelier and Opera house.

That stupid woman was still rolling around on the Opera house.

All you need is a tripod

It was really quiet this far up the bay.

You can buy these stars for $5, shows how much effort they made towards the end,


Is that it?

Come on...

That is more like it.

These changed colour.


Goodbye Vivid, maybe see you next year.

Monday, 16 July 2012

(Day 92) Talk to the hand

Saturday 1st June (Day 92)

Talk to the hand

Living in a house occupied by backpackers and travellers means that a person moves out and a new person moves in pretty much every 2 weeks.  Today a new girl called Charleigh moved into Amy’s old room.  One of the first things I learnt about her through word of mouth was that she could read palms.

Earlier this evening I was in the kitchen socialising when Charleigh’s palm reading abilities came up in conversation.  I was interested and asked her if she could read my palm.
She asked me to hold out my hand and then she started to look very keenly at it.  She flattened down the edges of my palm with her hands and ran her fingers gently along the lines of my palm.  She then started telling me the names of everyone in my family including my sister’s husband.  She even moved onto the family cats.  “I see cats in your family...2 of, maybe 3.  All black and white...” she said whist fiddling around with my right palm.

I was astonished.  How the hell did she get this information from looking at my palm?
She said quite modestly “I can only do names” whereas her aunty who taught her could predict future events.
It was a fascinating experience having my palm read.  I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time.  I spoke to other people in the house and they all said the same thing, that she got everything right and it was kind of freaky, but in a good way.

The inner sceptic

Naturally you could argue that she just facebook stalked me when she first moved in and got her information that way.  So I decided to make another facebook account and facebook stalk myself to see what information she could have got.  She could have got the names of most of my family but not the name of my sister’s husband, nor could she have got any information about my cats as they don’t have their own facebook accounts.

Really I don’t know how she does it and her ability fascinates me, I spent about 10 minutes staring at my palm to see if I could see anything but I just couldn’t, I just saw my palm.  But apparently you can’t read your own palm.

There is a story in there, somewhere.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

(Day 91) Sofa moving

Saturday 31st May
Day 91

I will do anything for beer...

Today was a relatively uneventful day until Aaron from across the road dropped by.  He was looking for 2 people to help him move a sofa and in return he said he would buy us beer.  My response to Aaron was “I will do anything for beer...”

At first I thought it was going to be a simple task.  I thought he had found an abandoned sofa in some back alley and wanted help to move it into his house.  Sounds tacky but the house I live in now is furnished exclusively with back alley sofas, even our TV was picked up off the street.
So I thought we were just moving a sofa from a nearby alley way but when Aaron hailed down a taxi I started to worry.

...but I won’t do that

If the sofa was so far away that we had to take a taxi to get there how the hell were we going to carry it back?  Another little detail Aaron forgot to mention was that it was actually a pair of sofas he was after, not just one.  So we had 3 people to carry 2 sofas...the maths didn’t really make sense.

Aaron was optimistic and said “you can do anything if you put your mind to it”.  Yeah that is true but my back can’t do anything.

After a 5 minute taxi journey we arrived at some little industrial estate behind a stadium.  I never knew there was a stadium 5 minutes drive from my house.

We met up with this random guy who I didn’t recognise, it turns out Aaron was buying the sofas off him and had found them through an ad on Gumtree.

The sofas were a curved shape (bit like a kidney bean) and they looked heavy.  Luckily we quickly noticed that the sofas came with wheels, and not just normal small wheel but big industrial sized casters.  They were clearly designed to be moved around a lot.

Light work

We stacked one sofa on top of the other and started rolling them back towards Aaron’s house.  The sofas were heavy but we managed to build up a fair amount of momentum and soon we were rolling them down the street fast.  We even started overtaking people, it must have been an odd sight to just be walking down a street and then get overtaken by 3 guys pushing 2 larges sofa stack on top of each other.

At one point we were moving so fast my shoe came off and got run over by the sofa.  We arrived back at Aaron’s house after about 20 minutes.  Whilst we were stood outside of Aaron’s house with the 2 sofas this old couple walked past us looking at the sofas.

They could tell we had just been moving them because we were sat on them getting our breath back.  The woman asked us “where have you moved these from?”  Aaron replied “just from Moore Park”.  The couple looked amazed, “all the way from Moore Park? That is a good effort”.
After we moved the sofas into Aaron’s lounge we opened up a box of beers and put the sofas to good use.  It was a good evening and the sofa moving was a little adventure that came from nowhere.

Big sofas

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

(Day 87) The Opinion of Others

Saturday 27th May (Day 87)

The opinion of others

(This took me a few days to write but it is probably my favourite post to date, please read it all and enjoy!)

When I go for a run I always do the same route which involves running to Hyde Park, round the war memorial and back home again.  My plan was to stay with this route until I could do it without needing to walk some of the distance and then start making the route longer by running further into the park.

Today though Marten was going for a run and asked me if I wanted to come with him.  He suggested we run through the Botanic Gardens, the gardens were way beyond Hyde Park and far out of my comfort zone but I didn’t want to be outdone by my Dutch housemate so I agreed and went with him.

The Botanic Gardens are an amazing amazing place and I will talk about them soon.  However today I want to talk about (or write about rather) some very interesting people I met.

Marten and I were running along a path that runs up to the Art Gallery of NSW near the Botanic Gardens when we saw some random guys stood on boxes alongside the path.  There were 5 or 6 of them all spaced out along both sides of the path and they were all stood on something (wooden box, ladder etc) and they all had several boards in front of them with signs and printouts.

Penny for your thoughts

They were there because they had an opinion on something that they wanted to share with people who were walking through the park.  I guess you could say they were street preachers but in a none religious way.

I will just give you a quick list of the preachers and what they were preaching about.
  • One guy was dressed normal and was preaching about anger.
  • One guy was dressed in a suit with a top hat and sunglasses, he was preaching about politics amongst other things.
  • One guy was dressed like a tourist and he was preaching about public nudity.
  • One guy was dressed like a weird old science teacher and was preaching about science.
  • One guy was dress like a weird conspiracy theorists and was preaching about a new language he had devised.  He also had a t-shirt on that said something about UFOs and how they were everywhere.

What makes you angry?

We stopped by quickly to have a look at what was going on and to read some of the boards.  The first guy who spoke to us was the guy preaching about Anger.  He looked at Marten and I and asked us “What makes you angry?”  We paused for a second to think, I was in a good mood so thinking about stuff that made me angry was difficult.  After a few seconds of internal debate I replied “my landlord, my landlord makes me angry”.

He corrected me by saying “no, your landlord doesn’t make you angry, you get angry because of your landlord!”

He then explained what he meant by this, basically in changing the statement from “someone making you angry” to “you becoming angry because of someone” empowers you.  Rather than someone else being in control of your anger, you by taking responsibility for your anger become in control of your anger.

He did of course acknowledge that my landlord might have been a deeply unpleasant person (which he is) and gives me good reason to become angry (which he does).  He wasn’t trying to say “you should never get angry”, he was just explaining a different way of perceiving anger which gives you more control.

I liked this guy and I thought his idea was a very good one which is why I am writing about it in this level of detail.  Really you can extend his idea beyond anger to just about anything in life.  Rather than blame other people and let other people pull your strings you can take responsibility and in taking responsibility you also take control!
(His actual name was Mr Bashful and you can checkout his website at

Mad as a hatter's tea party

With the words of wisdom from the angry man we moved onto the next guy on the same side of the path.  He was the one who I described as looking like a weird conspiracy theorists.  He had badges on his jacket about aliens and UFO and that shit.

I am sure he had a lot of interesting and wacky opinions he wanted to share but today he was pushing forward the idea of his new language.  Something he probably devised during his second lobotomy.

His first big statement was that dyslexia doesn’t exist and that it is the fault of the English language and the way it is taught.  I found this statement annoying because I have dyslexia and I believe it exists.  If you want proof that dyslexia exists, just ask me to read you a paragraph out loud.

After making this statement he then showed us an example alphabet and sentences using his “new language”.  It just looked like English with a few letters missing; to be honest it looked stupid and kind of reminded me of Welsh.

Marten could read the sentences but I couldn’t, I just thought the whole think looked stupid and it would look better if he wrote his language using a crayon.

The mad guy said quite boastfully “you could take this to Japan and they would be able to understand it” Marten immediately replied saying “no you couldn’t because in Japan they speak Japanese”.

Marten has a great ability of giving very quick and blunt responses and I had to stop myself from laughing.

This guy was getting very impatient because we were disagreeing with him and not taking his idea seriously.  But he was the one wearing the badges and hats with UFO and alien symbols on them.  How could we take him seriously?

After talking to the anally probed nutcase we continued the run going around Mrs Macquarie’s Point and then I headed home whilst Marten continued to the Opera House.  When I got back I decided to go back to the garden to hear more from the mad preachers.  Plus I didn’t take my camera with me on the run and I wanted to take some photos for this post.

The origin of the Earth!

I arrived back to where the mad preachers were and listened to the mad scientist and the guy in the suit and sunglasses.  I didn’t get round to the public nudity guy, sorry.

The mad scientist wasn’t really attracting much of a crowd but I stopped off to listen in to what he was saying.  He was having a discussion with some random guy who had the patience to sit down to listen and discuss his ideas.

At one point during the conversation the mad scientist made a quick statement, he said quite calmly “I believe the Earth is a burnt out sun”.  After that the conversation went quiet.  I am not going to pretend I know the facts but I believe if you asked most scientists they would disagree with his idea and brand him as a bit of a nutter.

The system is broken

The final guy was the dude in the suit and sunglasses.  He had various views about politics and corporate corruption but none I remember well enough to give you an example of.  He had a strong opinion on various issues but he rambled on too much so his ideas were not clear.  He did start talking to me and asked me where I was from, when I replied that I was from England he said “welcome to Australia”.  I think that is actually the first time anyone has said that to me.
Overall I really enjoyed listening to the interesting and sometimes strange ideas from these quirky individuals.  The anger guy to me made a lot of sense but the others I thought were a bit wacko jacko, though entertaining none the less.

I also took some videos of these guys so check out my video here:

Additional note

Through additional research after I finished writing this post I found out that I actually stumbled upon an event called Speaker’s Corner.  You can check out the website here at:

Also you will find that Speaker’s Corner is not exclusive to Sydney but is held in many cities in Australia and the UK.  So if you live near one check it out!

Mr Bashful gives me a smile

The answer is no

Not sure what his point was but he was a very interesting man