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Clara Douglas

7 Blog Entries
1 Trip
70 Photos


Australian Adventure

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I am from B.C. Canada and I currently live in Minnesota. I'm traveling around Australia in a van for a month with Jana Forsland. Read on below to see what I'm up to, or follow the map to see where I've been. There are also pictures to view. Thanks for reading!

Melbourne is jolly good mate!

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne 31-5-10

Melbourne is awesome! Out of Brisbane and Sydney, it is my favorite so far. Mind you, I didn’t get to see much of the city in Brisbane, and my allergies were skewing my perception of Australia’s awesomeness. The kids here are so fun, and we’ve became good friends with a fellow named Andrew Bird, he’s a real person who just happens to have the same name as my favorite singer. We’ve been staying with his parents Beatrice and Alan Bird, who are some of the most funny, generous and delightful people I have met. Today, we were planning on spending half the day in a Laundromat and half of the day in the city shopping. First, Beatrice insisted on us using her washer and dryer, but we thought that would be too much because each of us probably had a load (four girls). Then she insisted on DOING the laundry for us, she really seriously wanted to do our laundry. We were all really grateful and picked up groceries and made everyone supper, which everyone seemed to enjoy. We took the train into the city, it was very easy and seems like a pretty comprehensive system, while we were in the city, and we took the tram around. The streets are lined with small café’s and cute little boutique stores, most of which were out of our price range, but we found some cute designer shops selling samples and damaged stuff for cheap. I picked up a dress, a scarf and some shoes for $75 all together, that’s about $65 USD, pretty good deal. The city was so busy considering it was a Monday afternoon, we walked through graffiti alley- an alley that is completely covered ground to top with local artists work, I took some pictures and I’ll post them at the end of my stay in Melbourne. Our Sunday morning meeting was at a house literally three houses up the street from us, so we all walked to meeting- Andrew with four girls in tow, and his parents. The meeting was so good; people were singing three different harmonies during in the hymns, some really good singers. There was also gospel meeting that night, their field has two sister workers: Helen Edmonds and Marie (I forget her name), Helen is the elder worker and she knew Connie Dietlen (I don’t know how to spell that). Connie was the first worker I ever heard speak at a meeting, so that was pretty cool. Helen knew Connie when she was teaching English in Aussie a while ago, before she offered for the work. A lot of the Aussies know people in the US, so it’s fun having conversations with people and finding out whom they know that you know. Tomorrow we’re going to head over to Phillips Island and check out the animals and local stuff there, at dusk the fairy penguins come out of the bay for the night, it’s supposed to be quite the spectacle, unfortunately, flash photography can severely damage their eyes, so no pictures.

permalink written by  Clara Douglas on May 31, 2010 from Melbourne, Australia
from the travel blog: Australian Adventure
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It's Rainy

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne 28-5-10

Unfortunately, during our time in Sydney, it was rainy and cold. We decided that our chosen path of travel was to go to the Blue Mountains in Katoomba. It was raining so hard- monsoon rains, in higher elevation it was super foggy, so on top of being rainy and cold, you couldn’t see or do anything in this outdoorsy tourist destination unless you had the proper gear for cold and rain, which we didn’t. We stayed at a hostel overnight which was a relief, to have somewhere dry to sleep and cook food etc. During the next day in Katoomba, we walked around the town and shopped at thrift stores. It’s been almost a month that I have been dealing with stupid allergies, and unfortunately, we are mostly travelling and planning on staying an old van that has mold. Like I said in my other posting, I am allergic to almost everything I come in contact with, and I have not slept well almost the whole time I’ve been here, which really puts a damper on my perspective of Australia. I’ll grant that there have been some really cool times, and some good sites to see.
We just got to Melbourne it’s Friday and it’s rainy, I think everyone is a little crabby from being inside a stuffy van with lots of stuff for the last couple days. I really hope that Melbourne is good! I’ve heard that it is like the New York of Aussie.

permalink written by  Clara Douglas on May 28, 2010 from Melbourne, Australia
from the travel blog: Australian Adventure
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Sydney, Australia

Sydney 22-5-10
We’re on the road to Sydney, we left on Thursday afternoon, and we’re in line to get there Sat afternoon. On our way we stopped at Byron Bay, a big tourist area in EA. Jana and I spent the night in the van and Chris went to a hostel for the night. Jana and I were awakened by a park ranger at six a.m. apparently there was a big sign at the entrance to Byron that says NO CAMPING anywhere. That morning we walked up to a lighthouse in which we were at the most easterly point of Aussie. Jana and I went to a coffee shop and had our five dollar cappuccinos, if there is one thing I am spending good money on, it’s coffee, and after a restless sleep in a van, that coffee was worth it.
Unfortunately, I have been experiencing allergies to anything and everything in Australia Since the day I got here, I have had almost completely plugged sinuses, itchy everything: ears, throat, and eyes. At night, I get really wheezy and can’t breathe, so essentially, it’s like plugging my nose and breathing through a straw, kind of a bummer. I’ve seen a chemist (pharmacist) and spent about eighty dollars trying to remedy my allergies, which has mostly consisted of drugs that make me tired all the time, the good news is, I think the worst part is over and I’m getting back to normal.
After Byron, we proceeded south and stopped at Coff’s Harbor and South West Rocks, and then we drove to Crescent Head and stayed there for the night at the beach (where we weren’t supposed to camp). Jana and I jumped into the ocean in the morning to bathe, which was really nice. It is currently their winter, so the only people out swimming are the surfers in wet suits. The water was quite warm it is about at warm as the ocean ever gets in the summer in Vancouver. They are used to the really hot summers here, so they think it’s crazy to swim in the ocean during their winter season.
Sydney is cool it’s a big city, lots of people and cool shops and places to eat. I have acclimated to this winter season and I now think that 10 degrees celsius is really cold, the thing I appreciate about Minnesota winters is that we are prepared for it, we have heating everywhere, you’re never cold when you’re inside. Right now, we’re staying in a really old house, our friend Dave is house sitting for a couple who have a home right outside downtown Sydney and its teeny tiny, built in the 1890’s. You can tell that it was built before there was electricity, the kitchen is a 6 foot by 6 foot square, and the refrigerator sits in the adjacent room. This house is very poorly heated, so I am inside with a toque and my jacket on at all times, we are hearing that it is even colder in Melbourne, yikes! The van that we’re travelling in/sleeping in doesn’t have heat either. By the time I get back, I’ll consider my bedroom a five star hotel! I’ve been looking for jobs back in Vancouver for the summer, so I don’t know where I’ll be when I get back, when I left for Aussie, I had full plans set out for the summer, which have completely changed, I’m excited about being with family and friends in BC for the summer, and I’m hopeful that I’ll get some kind of work, I’m sure it will all work out just fine. I’ll post pics as soon as I can.

permalink written by  Clara Douglas on May 23, 2010 from Sydney, Australia
from the travel blog: Australian Adventure
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Fraser Island Camping Trip

Fraser Island, Australia

Brisbane 4-5-10

I spent my first day in Brisbane bopping around town mostly. Jana got me at the airport at 7 am and she had coffee for me, which made me very relieved because it was about 4pm on Monday my time. Needless to say, I am an addict and had a withdrawal headache by this time. It quickly subsided and I was feeling awake, like normal the whole day. No sign of jet lag yet. I’m staying in a new house with four other girls, including Jana. The house is nice and clean and everything inside is new, there is no dryer because everything is hung outside on a line and it all dries surprisingly fast!
This weekend, Jana, Chris, Steve, Roxy, Jodi, Rachel and I all went camping at Fraser Island, just off the coast of Brisbane. It was AMAZING and beautiful. One is required to have a well running, four wheel drive vehicle because it’s 95% loose sand. There are little pockets of beautiful lakes and sand dunes at the interior of the island that we visited. For the most part, we traveled along the coast watching the surf crash in, it was really neat. There are sharks and a very strong under toe, so one can’t swim in the ocean. We hiked up to a giant sand dune and at the bottom of it there was a lake that we swam in and washed up in. This was the real deal camping, no toilets, no showers. I got used to it, and mastered the no-bathroom issue, thanks to my back-to-nature friend Jana. The first day we were there, there were tons of dingo warning signs, dingoes are wild dogs that are famed for the real-life baby eating debacle, that ended up being made into a film with Meryl Streep, called A Cry In The Dark- Evil Angels: http://www.flixster.com/movie/evil-angels-a-cry-in-the-dark I had seen this movie years ago, so I have a very irrational fear of dingoes. The danger signs posted instructed civilians to cross their arms, not look the dingo in the eyes, and back away facing them. The first night we were there, Roxy (an Aussie girl who is scared of them too), Jana and I all needed to go to the loo before bed. We all had our head lamps on and we wondered down to the beach, which was just down the hill from our site (it was really cool, we were literally on the beach camping). As soon as we got down there, we saw two eyes light up, the dingo started towards us, so we all crossed our arms and walked backwards, but the dog kept coming towards us, so we yelled for Steve and he ran down the hill and charged at the dingo. Apparently, we were doing the complete opposite of what you are supposed to do. It was really scary. We went for long walks on the beach at night and drove around the island during the day and stopped at all sorts of places. Enjoy the pictures!

permalink written by  Clara Douglas on May 9, 2010 from Fraser Island, Australia
from the travel blog: Australian Adventure
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Weekend in LA

Los Angeles, United States

I got to LA 4 hours early and got to experience the transit there. It wasn't very involved, I just took a shuttle to a train station, and a train to a town near Sarah's house. The weather in LA was beautiful and reinstated my desire to live there one day, even just for a little while. I stayed at Sarah Smock's house with her momma Evelyn, who are both very great ladies. On Thursday we had some Mexican food with some teacher/old high school mates of Sarah's. Friday Sarah worked (she's a Spanish teacher at a prep school). I walked to the local library, I really, really enjoyed all the perfectly maintained California houses on my walk. I photographed some palm trees with mountains in the background, which was an extremely cliche tourist thing to do. Palm trees are ridiculously tall and put of proportion. I got some audio books out for my research for a school paper. I got the go ahead from my globalization sociology instructor to write about pre-war food production and the modern (disgraceful) way we mass produce food until it is something unrecognizable. Obviously this is something I feel very strongly about. Among some of my resources is the documentary/book called Food, Inc. This film is very accessible and I recommend everyone watches it. It does have those scary factory scenes that are unquestionably unsettling, but I like the way it reveals what we see at the grocery store and don't think enough about.
Food politics aside, I really loved all of the people I met in LA too! I can't remember all the last names, but on Friday night, Sarah and I went to Jaime's house and had a craft night, Allison, Kara and myself were all there. Sarah and I made some seriously peanut buttery cupcakes from a website called http://mingmakescupcakes.yolasite.com/ with a chocolate ganache topping, which remained shiny for days! On Saturday, Sarah, Allison and I went to free yoga in the park at long beach. It was pretty cool, minus the loud amateur football game going on 10 ft from us. There were live African drums, some fluty thing, and some weird circular giant wine glass rim thing. The instructor had ridiculous dreds, and her four year old daughter, who would jump all over her during her instruction also had little baby dreds. She also had an infant that she cradled every now and then while teaching, it was pretty cool. I have some pictures posted under the LA tag. Hanging in LA for the weekend was really fun, almost unexpectedly fun, and hanging out with Sarah was really great. I hope to hang out again in LA for a few days on my way back to Minnesota!

I left for Aussie on Sunday at midnight and I got three seats all to myself, which enabled me to sleep for at least 8 hours. The timing worked really well I think. I got in at 630 this morning in Brisbane and I feel just fine, I hope this means no jet lag...
Jana and I are hanging out at Chris Blair's (one of the friends') house here who Jana works for part time. It is very tropically raining here! Like, dumping. I'll check back in a few days or next week. We're going camping this weekend to Fraser Island, supposedly very cool, I'm excited!

permalink written by  Clara Douglas on May 3, 2010 from Los Angeles, United States
from the travel blog: Australian Adventure
tagged LA

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Leaving for LA tomorrow

Vancouver, Canada

I am leaving Surrey tomorrow morning early to catch a flight through Seattle to LA! When I say I am from Vancouver, it is really a broad statement meaning I am from the lower mainland, but really I am mostly from Surrey- which I consider the armpit of the lower mainland. I can say that because I grew up, mostly in Surrey. I was lucky to live in a cool old building in a heritage neighborhood in New Westminster before I moved to Minnesota.
My visit here has been pretty good, I saw my niece every day, I am addicted to her and I am so sad that I can't continue to see her every day. She is my sister Alma and her fiancee Fernando's baby, her name is Sofia and she is two months old. She is the most well behaved, calm, happy baby I have met, that is not a biased opinion, it's true! And my sister Alma is taking motherhood on like a trooper. I got to get into downtown Van a few times while I was here, today I had lunch with my friend Noor (who is having her second child in only a few weeks!), Martina and Agnieszka. These are old friends from IKEA, and we've kept in touch, which is really, really cool. I also got to visit my best friend Laura and her boyfriend Kurt who just bought a House together.
This entry is starting to feel like an award acceptance speech.
I don't think I am categorizing the photo's I'm adding properly to the places I am. But the pictures here are some from Minnesota and some from my visit with my family in Canada.

permalink written by  Clara Douglas on April 28, 2010 from Vancouver, Canada
from the travel blog: Australian Adventure
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Still in MN

Minneapolis, United States

About ten more days till I leave. I've decided to take a backpack, purse and carry-on suitcase. Since I usually over pack, I am getting nervous to try and fit all my favorite things into two bags. Plus everything has to be mini. I am anxious about leaving Jonny for six weeks, skype will just have to tide us over. Thanks for reading!

permalink written by  Clara Douglas on April 8, 2010 from Minneapolis, United States
from the travel blog: Australian Adventure
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