Not all beer and skittles

So it turns out my bites were bed bugs. Nice huh! Not….. They were unlike any mosquito bites I’d ever had and I kept getting them at night despite spraying the room and myself.

I insisted to the hotel that something was wrong. Housekeeping came along to inspect my room and initially didn’t find anything. I was thinking I was going mad and thinking I would insist on changing rooms anyway. Then after he’d inspected the mattress he began on the ensemble base and when he turned it over he found some bugs. Those little critters ate a lot of me. I have bites on my forehead, one on my face, a couple on my neck and heaps on my arms. I’ve had to buy long sleeved tops to cover them up as they look so hideous.

We did change rooms and I had a much better sleep last night. They checked the bed out before I moved in as well apparently.

So covered up I’ve been in this lovely weather while in Adelaide it’s freezing.

But back to the holiday in hand, we went on the Sky Rail the other day.

Can't wait to get on

It was fun (ahem) leaving the station and being suspended in mid air by a cable while your 12 year old son repeats that we’re going to die. Fun I tell ya.

Looking back down the Sky Rail

Once he got over his anxiety about being on the sky rail he really began to enjoy himself and when we got on after the first stop the girls we shared the gondola with noticed his excitement.

On the Sky Rail

The view was spectacular and we noticed the train travelling up the hill.

IMG_1350

Kuranda was a lovely – albeit very touristy – town and we could have spent longer there looking around but I’d booked the earlier train to go back down the hill. JJ bought himself a crocodile skin hat and yes, those are real crocodile teeth he’s got on the hat.

Hi Mr Dundee

We hopped on the train for the one and a half hour trip down the hill and I listened to some of the commentary about how the railway was built. The terrain is very challenging and building a railway back then would have been really hard work. The workers had to supply their own tools. There were a number of pubs built around the area to keep the workers in beer after a hard day’s work. Sounds like they deserved it.

Looking out the train window

Eating out in Cairns – or how not to run a restaurant

In the rainforest

After a day of sight-seeing the other day we met a friend who happened to be in Cairns and went out for dinner. Not being from the area we thought we’d wing it and walked along the Esplanade for some inspiration.

We came to one place – a middle eastern restaurant – looked at the menu, thought we’d stay and asked for a table for three. The waiter said that they were quite busy at the moment and we could sit outside and wait for 20 minutes until we could be seated.

My friend looked inside and noticed that there were quite a few tables vacant and mentioned this to him. He said that it was a really busy time and we’d still have to wait for 20 minutes.

It was getting on a bit and I wanted to eat and head back to Port Douglas before I got too tired so we moved on.

We ended up at a cafe and ordered our meals. My friend and I ordered the same dish – an oriental chicken salad. JJ ordered the usual fish and chips.

The meals came out and our salads didn’t look that great and when my friend tasted the fried noodles she said they were stale. I tasted mine and they were definitely stale. I had a bit of the chicken and it had been bathed in balsamic vinegar and wasn’t that tasty either. Neither of us are in the habit of sending things back but we had to with these meals.

We ordered something different and had to wait for quite some time. We finally got our replacement meals after JJ had finished eating his and the meals were a lot better this time.

In the meantime we’d been offered nothing while we waited – even a drink would have been good.

As soon as we finished eating I asked for the bill and when we received it our sent back meals were on it in addition to our replacement meals.

Of course we mentioned this and the waitress said that she’d made up a new bill for us without those meals. Why we weren’t given that in the first place I don’t know.

As we walked out we said that we’d never be back and after having a look at their reviews on Trip Advisor others haven’t given them good reviews either. I’ve now added my own review.

If I was the waiter in the first restaurant I would have seated us and mentioned that the meals might take a little bit longer than normal due to them being busy. As it was we probably would have gotten out sooner if we’d stayed there. The fact that he couldn’t seat us for dinner just yet was a bit strange.

In the second place I would have offered us at least a drink for giving us stale food. I think we should have been compensated in some way for the inconvenience. They obviously don’t care about maintaining any sort of standards maybe due to the high number of drop-in tourists? But surely if they took more care with their food they’d have better reviews on Trip Advisor etc and be more popular.

The photo at the top has nothing to do with our food, but it was serene in the rain forest earlier that day.

Out damn itch

Things I’m loving about this holiday. The warm weather. Not being at work. Spending time with my son when we’re not at home.

Things I’m not loving about this holiday. The mosquitos, the bloody mosquitos. I can’t believe how I’ve been bitten. I’ve got bites like I’ve never had before. Red, blistering bites. It’s awful. I’m now covered in repellant and I had to buy some ointment to help stop the itching, and I’m on anti-histamines. I bought the anti-histamines for my son incase he ate something he’s not supposed to.

We’re about 5-10 minutes walk from Four Mile Beach so down we went for a walk.

Four Mile Beach

I loved looking at all the little holes that little crabs? make.

Holes in the sand

Fork in the road. That way mum. I should have listened but I don’t mind getting a little bit lost when I’ve got time to do so.

Fork in the road

We visited a nearby wildlife park where most animals are pretty free to roam and quite a few birds just hang around in the restaurant.

I also think it was where I got a lot of my mosquito bites.

Rainbow Lorikeet

We liked this fellow and he eventually did pose for me. Hallo cocky!

Red Tailed Black Cockatoo

I love the way Tawny Frog Mouths blend into the branches they sit on and look really chilled. I think I could learn a thing or two from them.

Tawny Frog Mouths

The sign said to hug a tree because it’s awesome so he did.

Hug a tree - it's awesome

These fellas were safely behind fences. Phew!

Salty croc

And koalas aren’t really bears you know.

How much can a koala bear?

One cheeky fellow to another.

Him and his mate

 

Taking a step back

Plantlife

I’ve been contracting for work for just over two years now. Contracting is stressful because you never know if your current contract will be extended or not. I’ve been lucky for these two years because I was with the same organisation and the last contract was for nearly a year. It was great not to have to worry about looking for more work for that time. As I knew I was finishing up in the middle of the year I thought, bugger it, I’m booking a holiday and hang the job situation.

So while having a holiday to look forward to, I’ve also been hussling my wares on the job front. It wasn’t going so well and I only had two more weeks left of work. Then I saw an advertised job – another contract – that looked promising. Then my work asked if I could stay on for another 2-4 weeks. I also applied for another two jobs and got interviews for both of them. It was all a bit much. People close to me were confused about what job I was talking about that minute and I don’t blame them. I’ve got some work to go back to, so that’s a load off my mind.

But during all of this I had a holiday to look forward to. Unfortunately when we left I had a migraine so I tried to sleep on the flight here and had an early night last night.

Excited to be here

We’re staying in a very green spot inland from Port Douglas in a friend’s brother’s house for a couple of nights before we hit the bright lights of Port Douglas. It didn’t take long for JJ to declare he thought it was fantastic and go off exploring with the resident dog.

Getting a dog fix

The house is what I think is a typical Queenslander. I’m sitting on the balcony typing this and the vista is amazing.

Queenslander

Our accommodation

There is another guest staying here, but he’s fairly quiet and thankfully keeps to himself.

Resident spider

A couple of times JJ has gone off into the ‘forest’ and a couple of times I’ve gone into try and find him. We’ve both had a fairly good explore. Not sure if we went onto someone else’s property, but we probably did.

Canopy

Sometimes you can sneak up on the resident fauna.

Scaring the nightlife

And you can see them in their element.

Enjoying

Coming from the south where it’s pretty dry most of the time, you really notice somewhere different having different vegetation.

 

Sun through the trees

But it doesn’t take long to relax and I’m thinking I should have loaded my Kindle up with more books. Maybe I’ll even splash out and buy a magazine to read. I’m so glad I booked this holiday.

Doesn't take too long to relax

Not so much luck with the geocaching

But we had a great afternoon in the hills introducing some friends to geocaching and topped it off with a beer in the pub. What fun. It’s the first time I’ve come across geocaches that give you multiple clues and directions to clues and so on. It wasn’t that easy especially when you’re directionally challenged like me.

Graveyard

Graveyard

Walking the plank

Creek

Water wheel

Birdwood Mill

Pink

Linking up with Trish for Wordless Wednesday.

Twelve years

12th birthday.

This time 12 years ago I was about to leave hospital with a new baby and no idea as to what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I was also shit-scared because of the new mother thing and because I would be raising him on my own.

Fast forward 12 years and we’ve made it this far. He’s now as tall as me and a pretty damn fine human being. He drives me absolutely crazy sometimes but other times I’m overwhelmed with how much I love him.

While we were celebrating his birthday a couple of nights ago the Australian prime minister leadership spill was happening. I could have been watching it unfold but I know what I’d rather have been doing.

Three years ago we were in Bali when Julia Gillard ousted Kevin Rudd and now the reverse has happened. Karma perhaps? I don’t like it and I hope that the Labor party gets its shit together before the election in a few months so that this leadership thing isn’t a focus then.

But politics aside. My boy is 12.

What happened to this little cutie?

Julian

Besides my boy turning 12 and the political situation there’s been quite a bit of turmoil in my life. I went to a memorial service last night of a friend of The Surfer’s who died of a brain tumour a couple of weeks ago. It was a memorial service because she’s donated her body to science. I only met her a few times but she was one of those people you instantly like. Even though she had a lot of turmoil in her life she didn’t let it get her down too much and was a very positive person.

And I found out on my son’s birthday that a girl I used to go to school with died in a car accident last week. Too many people I went to school with have died in car accidents. Many of them could have been prevented if drivers weren’t drinking or speeding but I don’t think this last one had either of those factors. Just one of those awful tragic things. So, another family is left to pick up the pieces of an unexpected death.

Oh, and my job situation has been top of mind too. Two weeks ago I had two weeks left of my contract with no work after that. Then in the same week I applied for a three month contract which I am still to find out if I was successful but it’s looking promising and work offered me an extension for another month or so. I’ve extended for two weeks there while I wait to hear about the other job and JJ and I are off on holidays after that for two weeks.

I can’t wait to go away. It’s been three years since we had a decent holiday. This is the trouble with contracting. You get a few months here and there and because there’s an end in sight you think you’ll have a holiday after that and then you get extended again so you don’t feel as though you should go away while you’re in the midst of that contract. This time I knew I was finishing up in late June so I booked a holiday a few months ago and come what may, we’re going. If I miss out on work because of it, then so be it. Too bad. I need a holiday.

It will be me and my 12 year old who is now an adult in buying a plane ticket terms. I suppose he’s as tall as many adults and eats just as much but he has a few years to go to reach maturity and the legal adult age of 18. Not that I’m wishing that time away. It goes too quickly.

But at the memorial service last night I thought of him and thought of the silly arguments we sometimes have and thought how trivial they are. He really matters.

Happy birthday JJ. xx

12th birthday.

 

Do partial RSS feeds equal more views on your blog?

Butterflies

A few blogs I read have recently moved from full RSS feeds to partial feeds. I’m not a partial feeds fan because if I start reading something in my RSS feed reader I want to read the whole lot in the feed reader.

I hate having to be forced to click over to the website to finish reading. If I want to comment I will click over and make that comment unless the comment system is Disqus – then often I won’t comment.

I asked a blogger whey they went from full to partial feeds and they said that they needed more page views as this is how online advertisers choose where to put their ads. They didn’t like to have to do it but as they write a lot of content they need to make money with the blog somehow.

I hardly click on ads on any website, do you? I know, I have ads on my website but am lucky to make any money out of them at all but then this website isn’t a business, but a hobby and my pageviews aren’t that great either.

Apparently I’m not alone. According to this Hubspot article, I’m more likely to birth twins than click on an online ad.

I guess people must click on online ads as some websites apparently earn the bulk of their living this way. I guess banner ads are an easy out for organisations in addition to sponsored content and so on, or instead of things like sponsored content. They might help with brand recognition as well?

I’ve been thinking of taking my ads off as they don’t add any real value for me or for the readers I do have.

But what’s your thoughts on partial RSS feeds?