Feb 13 11

Memories of Brisbane

by Emily Benjamin

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Filed Under → Travel
Feb 13 11

A Tale of Two Airports

by Emily Benjamin

I can’t believe it’s been a year since we started organising this trip, and finally the day has come. A hurried start this morning – up at 6am (ok… 6:30am) shower, check packing, greet friends, move mattress, farewell friends, another tidy up and then I was being tapped on the shoulder by Monkey, telling me “It’s time to go…but actually it really is.” A few big kisses for Benny (awww) and I ran out the door, worried that if I saw his little face at the window then I’d never leave.

Upon arrival at Brisbane Domestic Airport, we were lucky to have no line for International Connections. Which was fortunate, because we had to spend about 15minutes at the counter, being informed of our first *Road Block. Our flights in and out of Bangkok are 55 days apart, which, as Cristine at Qantas informed us, was 25 days too long to be in Thailand without a visa. We knew this, but explained that we were only in Thailand for 2 weeks, then returning for another week in April. But unless we could prove this, we would be sent home to Australia upon arrival in Bangkok. Oh dear.

We managed to convince her of our intentions to get out of Thailand before the 30 days ran out, and once we’d promised to do this during our time in Sydney Airport, she let us through. SUCCESS! Take that, almighty check-in counter people! So upstairs we went, and finally got breakfast. Mmm Hungry Jacks :) After that, it was time to head to the gate. The farewells with the family weren’t too bad. They know I’m a robot, but even I shed a tear or two saying goodbye to my dad, sister and brother. But it was a nice goodbye – we were all in good spirits, fat jokes were still being made, and Dad even danced like a gorilla for me as we walked down the gangway. Then he did the **daddy-dance. Ahh it never gets old.

Upon arrival in Sydney, we had a few bits and pieces to sort out with our Thailand road block. A call to Amex, some quick web searches and a solution was found. We could book an extra flight from Bangkok to Hanoi at the end of February, meaning we were out within the 30 days. And that suits us, because we were going to Hanoi around that time anyway. But how to prove this to the Bangkok authorities on arrival? Well, Sydney International Airport is huge. A quick ’10 minute walk to your gate!’ you say? Gargh! Takes ages! But we had to do it in the hope of finding a printer somewhere. SUCCESS! Thank you to Bondi Bar, down the OTHER END of SYD Airport. Tickets printed, ready to present as proof of our onward journey when we arrive in Bangkok in 10 hours time.

So now I’ll get to the point. Mistakes cost money. Ask more questions. Find free Wifi. Always smile and ask for things sweetly, because you’ll have a better chance of getting assistance when you need it. And a king size Snickers is so much sweeter after you’ve successfully sorted two road blocks on your first day of holiday.

I’ll leave you now with one quick photo of the family farewell at the airport. Thanks to Sam’s friend Daniel for being our official farewell photographer.

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Next Post: Welcome to Bangkok!


Em :)

* Fans of the show The Amazing Race will recognise the term Road Block as when competitors are faced with a challenge that must be completed before they move on. Considering we’ve had two of these road blocks already and it’s day one, expect to hear about more Road Blocks in future!

** Daddy-dance – an old school ‘jig’ usually performed by fathers, involving hip twisting, arm movements and the change of balance from the left foot, to the right foot, to the left foot etc. Can be done fast or slow depending on the music.

Filed Under → Words
Feb 8 11

Benny Sparkles Benjamin

by Emily Benjamin

Oh Benny. Boy, am I going to miss my awesome little man.

I got him in October 2007. It had been a pretty crazy few months – a break up, a redundancy, and loss of a home. But then it all came back together, with a new job, my first home purchase, and my beautiful new puppy. Benny was about 10 weeks old when I brought him home, and was mostly well behaved. He liked chewing on old tissues, peanut butter on tupperware lids, ice cubes, and chasing his own shadow. In the middle of the night, he would sneak out of my room and go into the lounge, where he would jump onto the couch and turn on the TV. I’d find him a few hours later with the TV on Rage and Benny fast asleep.

A few months in and I introduced him to ball. I don’t know if this was a good idea or a bad one, because he’s now addicted. But he’s also very, very good at it. He would be an ideal ball boy, or cricket player… or a seal at Sea World.

Now, almost 4 years later, and he’s as loyal as a dog can come. Always at my bedroom door, ready to jump up for a cuddle or to play ball. Never runs away, never crosses a road without me, and always willing to help me finish off a meal. He has his routine – walks in the morning, ball in the afternoon… and he’ll knock at the door if he thinks I’m running late for either. He still loves ice cubes and peanut butter but has given up on the tissues. But his new favourites are the colour yellow, vegemite crumpets, and visits to his friends in New Farm.

Benny is staying here in Brisbane while we travel around the world, but hopefully we find a home in Canada so he can come back to live with me. Miss you already, B-Boy.

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Filed Under → Animals, Words
Feb 3 11

A Quick Guide to Amateur Blogging

by Emily Benjamin

I’ve only had this blog up and running for about five days, but already I am awestruck at the cool stuff you can do on here. So here’s a few of the things I’ve learned already…

For starters, WordPress! I’d heard of it, seen the logo around, and had many friends comment that they use it. But now I use it, and even in it’s most basic form, it’s fantastic. I’m no tech-head, but there are loads of nifty plugins too, depending on your need. But don’t ask me about those, because I have no idea how to use them…

Next up there is MarsEdit, which I’m using right now to update my blog while offline. I don’t need to be without an internet connection to appreciate the advantages of offline editing – when I’m sitting in a jungle in Laos, without electricity , I’ll be able to write my next blog entry, and put together my most recent photos for uploading. Then once I’m back to ‘civilisation’, I’ll only need a few minutes of the internet to ‘Send to Blog’ and taa-daa! Updated blog with no need to pay for hours of wireless!

And finally, there is Jamie Talbot. My ridiculously talented boyfriend is the tech-head that I’m not. From the very basic setting up of a gmail account a few years ago, to fully synced iPhone/Calendars/Email and domain name, he has been the brains behind this blog operation (blogeration? hmm…). He put me onto WordPress, then one day later introduced me to MarsEdit (and when it wouldn’t work for my computer, sorted out those problems too!) – but all of that is nothing compared to the work he put into getting my photos to display they way they do.

You can get a bit more info on how he did this on his page here, but to put it simply, whenever you see photo formatting like this…Output

…then Jamie Talbot is the one to thank! It might not look like much (sorry, Jamie!) but it means you get to view my photos faster and without scrolling up and down to see large images. And this wasn’t a simple plug in, or ‘click and drag’ like I thought it might be. When we realised there was no plugin or application to do this (no free ones, anyway) then he wrote the code for it from scratch! Rather than spending an hour on each set cropping, cutting and compressing to the right size, I just type in the command and huzzah! Photos formatted! The man is a genius!  If this interests you at all, please check out his site for this and many more nifty tricks.

That’s a very brief summary of what I’ve learned from the world of blogging in the past 5 days. Maybe I should have spent this time packing and cleaning with only nine sleeps to go until we leave… Instead I’ve spent it putting together this blog and finally sharing some of my favourite photos with the world! I hope you enjoy the site as much as I already do.

If you have any thoughts or comments on anything else you see on this site, let me know. Until then, enjoy!

Cheers, Emily :)

Filed Under → Words
Site design by Jamie Talbot.