Sparky Travels

May 21, 2010

Book Review Pt1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 3:03 am

I’ve managed to get through a fair few books on my travels, mainly on 15 hour bus or train journeys, waiting for flights and on the beach. I’ve picked up the books from other travellers, book exchanges and sometimes even in (heaven forbid) bookshops.

Here are the first few reviews…

The first book I read as I left Caledonia was Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. I bought it as a cheap and small novel to stick in my bag. Set during Eighteenth century, it displays RLS’ great characterisation as it follows a young man’s flight through Scotland to reclaim his title and freedom. The familiar highland and lowland settings made it all the more enjoyable.

****


Next was Treasure Island, also by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’d never read it before and only had vague memories of Muppet Treasure Island so the twists and turns were unexpected. I see why its such a classic; Its easy to read, exciting and Long John Silver is as charismatic and manipulative a character as imaginable.

*****


While visiting the infamous S-21 prison camp in Phnom Penh I bought Loung Ung’s First They Killed My Father. It is the harrowing autobiographical account of a young girl’s experience of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Horrific at times and shows the brutality of life under Pol Pot. The simplistic childlike writing starts to grate after a while though.

****


Black Dogs by Ian McEwan seemed like a book that was written to win a prize or in anticipation of being studied at school. It’s a real novelist’s book, all subtle metaphors and suchlike. While obviously well written, I’m not sure that I actually enjoyed it.

**


Chrysalids by John Wyndham - written in 1955 -  is a sci-fi novel set in a post-apocalyptic world where genetic mutations are seen as blasphemous deviations. An interesting premise and decent read but the ending falls a bit flat.

***

May 18, 2010

Sydney, the never-ending story

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 10:00 pm

An update so soon after the last one?! Something momentous must have happened in Sparky’s world travels?

Nope.

Anything to avoid filling in yet another unsuccessful job application.

I’ve now been in Australia for over 5 months. The longer than the amount of time I spent in Asia!
After returning to Sydney I settled back into Sydney Backpackers. I rewarded myself for the weekend of hard work by going to see Kick Ass at the cinema with Vince. I was a bit disappointed to be honest. Its  a highly watchable film but it wasn’t ground-breaking or especially funny. I think the genre has been pretty well covered by other films already.

I soon moved dorms back into room 45 which was where most of the other long-termers were bunked. I knew most of the faces already and it’s much nicer to hang about with people you know are going to be there for longer than a couple of nights. They were a good mix of people: Ross(Welsh), Kerry(English), Shaun(NZ), Th’shara(NZ),Danny(English). There was always someone familiar to chat to or drink some goon with which made it feel much more homely.

To fill the time in-between filling in applications I joined one of the Fitness First gyms in town. I chose the classy Platinum branch which comes with a sauna, steamroom and pool. It kept me occupied and has the advantage of allowing me access to any of the other 98 Fitness First branches in Australia.

On the 9th of May I volunteered at a Mother’s Day fun-run at the Domain park in the city centre. If I’d known it was a 6am start beforehand I may not have applied. When I got there I found out I’d been allocated to entrant registration. There were a good few thousand who chose to pay on the day, helped somewhat by the glorious weather, but we managed to keep the queues relatively small. After three hours of that I helped out at the sausage sizzle stall, cooking up bangers for the hungry runners. Three more hours and over a thousand sausages later the crowds finally disappeared. At that point I realised that so had most of the volunteers and supervisors. It’s amazing how lazy some volunteers can be, though I guess you have to credit them for turning up at all. After clearing up I grabbed some of the leftover freebies and headed for home. On the way I walked through Hyde park and handed out choc-ices to the  appreciative yet slightly bemused sunbathers I passed, ending a successful Sunday morning.

Fun Runners

Fun Runners

In other news, I got down to the last four in a 2 month contract Excel/C programming job. I didn’t  get it, but at least its progress of sorts. I did work for 4 hours on the 14th of May at Sydney Homes Exhibition. I was preparing and folding stock at the Miracle Shammy stall. Another one to add to my CV!
The next day I had an induction for an office relocation firm. Its just casual work but anything will do at he moment. That evening I went to Chiswick, where Helen’s sister Olivia had offered to put me up for a couple of nights. It was nice to see her again and escape the hostel for some homely-ness. By the way, if someone offers you the chance to watch the movie ‘2012′, punch them full in the face and run away. It’s awful.

I returned to the hostel for one last night on the 17th of May. The next day I boarded the 8pm bus to Melbourne. I was sad to say goodbye to everyone in room 45 but I was really looking forward to seeing school friends Fuss and Susie in Melbourne and seeing a new city.

Btw, I found this shop in Sydney city centre…

Jizz shop

Jizz shop

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