A Travellerspoint blog

Life in the fast lane

... don't it make you lose your mind

Well we returned to the land of OZ and immediately set about getting to know some of the local wildlife.

After our time working for the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, we got busy trying to get ourselves a slice of the corporate life. Meaghan immediately found herself managing a small business in Armadale and I stumbled on a consulting job in Albert Park.

We loved the first few months being back in the WORLDS BEST SPORTING CITY!!!!
We caught the Australian Open, some Summer Cricket and the World Cup Track cycling.
We get back in the vibe of Melbourne, cool hidden bars, Degraves Lane coffee shops and some of the best wontons in Australia.

We also had a great time catching up with some old mates and family.

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Canos at the Northcote Social Club.
Get out there and see this band - you won't be disappointed.

We even did a trip down to the Wilsons Prom lighthouse. It was awesome. Cheap wine, good sunset and great company.

Then we both somehow got really busy at work, and soon found ourselves in a 9-5 style grind. Less time for family and friends, we set our sights on entering the housing market. After months of false starts we ended up buying our castle on our very own small patch of turf.

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Our house - pretty much in the middle of our street

Oh yeah, and I got a new job as an international man of mystery.
That has kept the travel bug at bay for the past little while but now we are on the verge of our next big adventure.
In preparation for the trip - we did some last minute research and saw the Australia Vs New Zealand friendly match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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The mittens came all the way from our mates in Canadianaville - Josh and Jess - who we lived with in Istanbul.

Since that game we have had a great time doing some last minute trip planning and catching up with another couple of travellerspoint regulars on their recent short trip home.

Posted by adamandmeg 05:22 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Watch this space - an update is coming soon..

We've been back home for a full 18 months and about to leave on our next adventure.

We are about to head off to the World Cup in South Africa, but we'll give you a quick update of what we've been doing since coming home.

We've been busy.

Posted by adamandmeg 02:52 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Back from the Brink

Our time at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary

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View Scotia - Back from the brink on adamandmeg's travel map.

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy owns a wildlife sanctuary about half way between Broken Hill and Wentworth in Western NSW. There, they are fighting on the front line of Wild Life conservation and are literally bringing critically endangered species back from the brink of extinction. We were lucky enough to work there for a month in October 2008. This was a tremendous privilege as we got the chance to work with endangered mammals.

We feel like we have been around the world a couple of times or maybe more after leaving Melbourne. We spent a lovely three days with Viv and her girls, Jessica and Olivia. It was an action packed few days one of which we had the girls for the whole day. Exhausting affair even with Olivia napping twice and Jessica almost able to amuse herself with her favourite toy (a trampoline spring in an ice-cream container called Captain Hook). Anyway, we had a lovely time chatting and catching up and marveling at how much the girls had grown.

After Puckapunyal it was off to Bec and Aly's new pad for the Grand Final. We stayed for six days re-acquainting ourselves with Canberra and more importantly the new Canberra Centre - awesome, love a big shopping centre. We had a great time hanging out with Bec and Aly and the cats. We even headed to RMC for old times sake.

After Canberra we had a night in Wagga with Peta and Bwett. We had a fantastic dinner avec magheuritas at Montezumas and then we 'got ourselves a convoy' to the Scotia turn off for the next day. After having a good chat to Peta and Bwett about our impending employment and the possibility of using scary power tools we felt much better about the job in general.

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Our arrival at Scotia was hassle free as we set up our relatively luxurious accommodation. We have a whole corner of one of the buildings complete with massive kitchen / living area, bedroom, bathroom, sunroom and verandah. Fantastic!! Our first few days we spent cruising around with Tony who has worked here for a couple of years. We learnt a lot and realised that there were plenty of fences, compounds and gates and that we would get lost consistently over the next two days. The parts of Scotia that we are working in are called stage one and stage two. Stage one and two have been declared free of feral animals which was an enormous job. In these areas there are a number of endangered species being managed for release or for insurance. It is pretty cool. On our first few days here we went out with the ecologist and helped with bagging, checking and releasing woylies (a cute little hopping mammal) into stage two. We have also bee entrusted with feeding the bilbys and the bridled nailtail wallabies. The wallabies all wait around for feed time and they are just lovely. We have taken some good snaps of these little guys. Our main job over the last four days has been building pens for the wallabies - a few of them are getting relocated and the pens are for any potentially sick ones that get trapped. Hopefully they won't have to use our work of art at all!! The pens are almost finished but there has been dramas and blood, sweat and tears already. Adam did bang in a star picket upside down which is quite a big effort. Ian, who is sort of supervising us, really only comes up to laugh which is fine by us!

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We did manage to get a trip into Mildura - or the Big Smoke as we now call it - to pick up a vehicle and some other stuff. Very exciting trip which also included ten minutes in Coles for a power shop.

So we have been pretty busy here working up to ten hours a day. At least we won't get bored! We also have four days off starting tomorrow which we will hopefully spend with Peta and Brett in Broken Hill. We will most definitely need a resupply of interesting food. The day our cashews ran out was a sad day indeed!!!!

Anyway, that's all from us for now. We are both well and still loving it up here!!

Posted by adamandmeg 16:10 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Out of the pit

Our last week at Scotia

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View Scotia - Back from the brink on adamandmeg's travel map.

Well we are in our fourth week at Scotia and it has been quite a busy one!! We spent a lovely four days with Peta and Brett in Broken Hill relaxing and not doing any fencing whatsoever. It was a nice change. We visited Peta at School of the Air (just in time for morning tea as it turned out - nice one) and checked out the ultra modern studios and equipment. It was really fantastic and well worth the visit if you are in the area. They have tourist sessions but of course we got the private tour.

On return to Scotia it was all systems go with a news crew and fund donors arriving to watch the release of the rest of the Woylie (little hoppy mammal thingamys) population into stage two. It was all very exciting - hopefully some of you caught the story on Channel Ten National News . . . . We also had to finish off our wallaby pens in preparation for the release of most of the Bridled Nail Tail Wallabies into stage two. This was a huge program which required four all nighters in a row. A big team from Adelaide including the Head Vet from Adelaide Zoo arrived to do all of the vet checks and treatment of the sick animals. The rest of us were pretty much involved in the trapping, transporting and releasing of the wallabies. Adam and I also got a stint in the lab which was very interesting. It was an incredibly busy five days with many lessons learned. The first lesson learned was that our wallaby fences were not high enough. Two sick animals were placed in the first pen on night one and subsequently became the first escapees. This seemed quite amusing early on until we had to renovate and build a second storey. This took some imagination and a lot of scrounging but the end product looked pretty good and, shock horror, actually kept the wallabies in!!

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Pulling wallabies out of traps proved to be a bit of a challenge. Surprisingly they don't like being in the traps and then getting dragged out by their tail and shoved into a bag head first isn't popular either. As a result everyone ended up with a few (and in some case - a lot of) scratches and for the boys the inability to produce children. All in a night's work I say!! Adam spent a lot of time trapping and I spent a lot of time releasing the little guys into various places at Scotia. The experiences we had are some of the best of our lives and once in a lifetime. We were hands on all the time and got to handle lots of the animals. The best part was releasing them. They emerge out of the bag like pouch babies and are happy to sit there while you pull their little front paws out to encourage them to venture out into their new world. Some needed more encouragement than others and some didn't make it which was a little heart breaking. Generally though we had a very high success rate. We also got to help with joeys that had been kicked out of the pouch as well as helping to put them back in. I also had the pleasure of sexing and measuring the pouch young in the lab which was amazing. On more than one occasion Adam and I had little joeys stuffed down our jumpers to keep them warm. It was an exhausting four nights and some tempers ran high at various times but apart from that it was fantastic. Plenty of personality clashes and some interesting stories to tell. . . . for another time perhaps. Anyway, we have attached some photos of our four nights - we hope they're not too boring.

Our time at Scotia is drawing to a close and we are looking at leaving on the 1st of November - and it will be with heavy hearts because we have really enjoyed our time here. We still have some fencing and so forth to do so we are going to be busy until the day we drive out of here. We are looking forward to a few days in Broken Hill with Peta, Brett and Annie which will be awesome.

Love to everyone

Posted by adamandmeg 16:10 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

shadows on the mountain side

shadows on the mountain side eagles find the souls they hide and the outcast child enchanted by the sun will seek his shelter never knowing one

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View Home is where the heart is on adamandmeg's travel map.

The last part of our Moroccan adventure was just the two of us for a week, so we headed out to go camping and maybe do some hikes in the high Atlas mountains. We ended up being extorted by a standover merchant, befriending a nerd called Frank, meeting two really cool Belgians who had just walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostella and climbing a mountain.

It was ace.

It began the day we left Marrakech, we had read that you can walk out of the Medina and catch a local bus to Imlil, in the mountains. By all accounts it was going to take about 20 mins to walk to the bus terminal and cost very little to catch the bus. On the way we noticed a guy walking in front of us with a pack on and we decided that he must know where he is going so we followed him. After about half an hour we caught up to him at a cross road and we chatted, he also thought that it would take 20 mins and having now been walking for more than 30 we decided that he didn't know where he was going afterall and that we had better start paying attention. His name was Frank.

We kept walking for another half hour or so to eventually find the station. Where we were immediately offered the kind assistance of a 6ft tall 100 kg local guy with an attitude. He ever so nicely helped us load our bags onto the roof of a waiting bus and negotiated a price with the driver.

We got on and took our seats and waited for our immediate departure. Which didn't happen. Our new best friend (Not Frank the other guy) got on the bus as started demanding a tip for baggage handling and a commission for the sale of the bus ticket. This turned into a heated exchange where we were getting yelled at and stood over by this huge guy while everyone else on the bus looked on with amusement. Initially we stood our ground and decided that this just would not do. We are Australian and not only do we not tip we hate getting ripped off!

Earlier we had agreed to living life by a series of principles and one of them is to not give money to arseholes any more than once a day and this guy was low on the list that day, so we were prepared to stand fast.

We didn't though, fear of violence and a respectful sense of self preservation resulted in us paying our rather inflated (Ten times the price) fare. Poor Frank, who witnessed these exchanges quietly in the back must have been wondering what he had got himself into, it was his second day in Morocco.

We arrived at Imlil and set about doing the first three essential tasks:

1. Find somewhere to sleep
2. Research a walk up the hill (Mt Toubkal - second highest in Africa)
3. Find Frank another friend (By this time we had a reasonable appreciation of our own time and how much he detracted from it).

All of which we had done by the end of the night.

So the next day we started our walk up the hill.

Our loyal readers may remember that earlier on this year we had attempted another climb with a similar lack of preparation in Greece with Josh and Jess.

Well this one was a little bigger but we did take longer to do it. We were a little sceptical of the advice given by a well known (LP) guide book after a bad experience in Turkey with the Lycian Way maps, so we did talk with the Mountain guide association before the climb. It was incredible.

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En route to the refuge at Base Camp

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Base camp.
While it is possible to do this climb in one day - some people actually run up from Imlil and back in a day - our memories of the trip with Joss and Jess made us a little more cautious - we didn't want to miss out on the summit this time. And besides what an awesome place to camp and acclimatise to the altitude.

The next day we got up early and made our way up towards the summit.

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The last push to the summit was a real challenge, altitude has a sly way of creeping up on you and pushing all of the air out of your lungs, so it was pretty slow going, but the views from the top were indescribable.

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So, after a short lunch break of a couple of Stewart Diver chocolate bars, we headed on back down... and down... and down...

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We eventually collapsed into a really nice hotel in the heart of the Imlil Valley (some 800 m short of where we wanted to get to though) had by far the best Tagine meal ever and passed out.

And that pretty much rounded off our mad month in Morocco. We headed back into Marrakech and patiently outlasted a couple of cases of Berber Belly and started our journey home.

Posted by adamandmeg 18:48 Archived in Morocco Comments (3)

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