Thursday, December 2, 2010

Living in fantasy land

I recently interviewed Juliet Marillier for the Bookseller + Publisher blog, Fancy Goods. I was a big fan of her books as a teenager, and was really pleased that the latest one still grabbed me as an adult. You never know, it might even kick off a renewed spurt of fantasy reading - having avoided them like the plague since writing my honours thesis about postcolonialism and stuff (or lack thereof) in Aussie fantasy back in 2006. Those who know me will be pleased to see that I managed to wedge in a (kindly worded) question about why all antipodean fantasy is set in blimming Ireland.

You can read the interview here.

PS. My dear friend kate.o.d over at bean there, read that can often be seen on Fancy Goods too. Check out her latest review here.

PPS. kate.o.d is cool and gives shout outs to her buddies.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Have currently got Antonia Fraser's marvellous Mary Queen of Scots on the go, and have just finished the new Sevenwaters book from Juliet Marillier, Seer of Sevenwaters.

A queen cops a whole lot of bad luck in Scotland, an Irish druid-in-training... also cops a whole lot of bad luck.

4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

À la recherche du temps perdu (or, Same Same but Different)

It's the strangest thing, coming back to a place you once knew so well, after a long stretch of time. The streets, the shops, the bars and restaurants, the faces of the people, the smells and tastes, the air itself -- it's all somehow so very familiar, yet brand new.

The language comes back to you in spurts, at once known by your tonuge but a stranger to your throat. Some things have not changed at all -- the bartender, Fred, in your favourite hangout, the dog poo everywhere, the waft of cigarette smoke in the air. Some things have changed utterly -- the dingy ancient railway station has been replaced by a gleaming architectural construction like a sweeping spider's web, your favourite pizza place has closed down. And some things have changed only slightly -- the décor in a cafe is new, there are more boutiques and fewer beggars, people wear cool clothes not skinny jeans and chunky shoes.

You convince yourself that that bar, that restaurant, that café, that gym you used to go to have all closed down, and then you turn the corner and realise that they have been there all along, it's just that your memory has failed you. The streets are so familiar, yet you get lost. The neighbourhoods are so familiar, yet you can't remember where you were that one time when that thing happened.

It's the strangest feeling, being back in a place you once knew so well. You want to keep saying "I'm not a tourist! I live here!" But you don't live here anymore, you are a tourist. You find things you never knew existed -- museums, roman ruins, alleyways full of ancient churches and old houses with stone fences and cats among the flowers. You realise that despite all the time you spent here, you never strayed from the same familiar path. Suddenly this place seems so much bigger than it ever did before, and at the same time so much smaller.

You want to come back not to this place, but to that time, that life, that other you. You want not the nostalgia but the reality of the life you once lead -- the people who are now spread all over the world, the feeling of having all the time you need, the knowledge that if you ever felt lonely you could go to that one place and find someone there you know. These are the things you can never get back. You may have the same meal, the same beer, in the same place, but you are not the same, your life is not the same and nothing will ever make it the same again. Not even coming back.

You can never really go back to a place you once knew. All you can do is find a new place. You can reminisce with old friends, you can exclaim with delight over the things that remain the same. But at the same time you can taste that new beer, eat in that new restaurant, make new friends. The past and present can exist together and you can appreciate all the things you know now that you didn't know then. All that you have now that you didn't have then. The old friends remain -- you may not see each other as often as you'd like, but they will always be your friends.

At the same time as everything is changing, nothing changes. I am still the same person, here, in this place, as I was before. I am still the same as I am at home. But I am also new, I have found new things in this place that I once knew so well, and I have found new things in me.

(I have found that I am still capable of staying out drinking until 9 o'clock in the morning).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010


Pretty much everyone I know has at least one of those cross-cultural stories up their sleeve. Or at least anyone who’s ever been overseas, which is, frankly, most people these days.

This kind of pisses me off I must say. I love travelling. I mean, REALLY love travelling. And part of me just wishes that everyone else would stay the fuck at home. Because I consider travelling to be a big part of who I am. Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who starts every second sentence with “Ah, well, when I was in...”And I’m proud of it, dammit. I should be allowed to show off. I’ve spent thousands of dollars and innumerable weeks overseas, which has directly resulted in me currently being practically the world’s oldest intern. Everyone else in my office is only a year or two older than me, yet they’ve all been working there for seven years and they make a heck of a lot more than me, which isn’t all that hard really, considering I WORK THERE FOR FREE! And, considering I’m working at a travel company, they’ve all been to at least as many places as me and are not in the least impressed by my years spent hitchhiking in Belgium, trekking in Peru, lolling on a beach in East Timor and vomiting up my guts on a 24 hour bus ride in Brazil. I. Have. Been. Completely. Jibbed.

But I do have one or two good stories up my sleeve. You know the kind I mean... the ignorant American in Paris, the Aussie whose nasal tones can be heard wafting over the Mekong Delta, the European who knows nothing about your homeland apart from the fact that there’s this one funny looking animal that jumps there, or that someone once murdered someone else on the other side of the bloody country.

It must be said, most (if not just about all) of these stories are about Americans. I’ve seen a fat man in Venice walk past a spectacular restaurant and moan to his wife, “if only we could find a hawt dawg”, I’ve been asked by a southerner whereabouts in New York Melbourne is, and I’ve been told more times than I can count that I have a very nice English accent.

The thing is, it kind of goes in reverse too. I had, for a long time, collectively referred to all Americans as “Yanks”, until the day my North Carolinean friend shoved me to the ground, sat on my chest and refused to get up until I admitted that she “weren’t no damn Yankee”. Then I had to say “Up With Confederacy”. Then we went and got us some slaves and drank us some iced tea. That was weird, but I had to admit that she got me on a technicality there.

I also had, for the longest time, gotten on the backs of my American friends about pronouncing the word “buoy” (as in, a floating thing in the sea) like “boo-ee” instead of “boy”.

“THIS IS JUST RIDICULOUS!” I exclaimed. “Everyone knows it’s BOY. Derrr.”

Until I looked it up. In fact, the word comes has its origins in Old French, and the pronunciation “boo-ee”, while chiefly American, more closely resembles the modern French bouée.

Yanks: 2. Hannah: Nil.

But actually, my favourite ever cross-cultural travel story comes from the American’s slightly simpler, less often picked on northern neighbours, the Canadians.

I lived in Canada for awhile (yes, that’s right people, lived, I wasn’t just one of those piss-weak travellers who spent an afternoon in the airport there and has ticked it off their list of places to go) and while I was there, a good friend of mine and I had a fantastic conversation in his living room one day.

Him: “Oh Hannah, I just love your accent.”

Me: “Really?”

H: “Yeah, gosh, it must be so much fun to have an accent, eh?”

M: “Aw yeah, I guess so.”

H: “It makes everyone like you.”

M: “Really? I thought that was my charm and wit, and the fact that I buy them beer.”

H: *chuckles at the wit*

M: “Hey, you know, you should come to Australia sometime. That way, you’d be the one with the accent.”

H: “Yeah, you know, that’s not half a bad idea. I guess I would pick up an accent after awhile.”

M: “No, I mean, you’d be the one with the accent.”

H: ??

M: “You have an accent.”

H: ???

M: “You speak differently to the people in Australia. If you went there, they would all be speaking with their accent, and you’d be speaking differently. Ergo, you have an accent. Maybe they would like you for that, because they clearly won’t like you for your intelligence.”

H: “But I don’t have an accent.”

M: “Yes, you do. It’s kind of... American.”

(Note: this is quite possibly the worst thing you can say to a Canadian person ever. Usually.)

H: “No, I don’t.”

M: “Yes. You. Do.”

H: “No, YOU have an accent. Americans have an accent. I’m Canadian, I just speak normally.”

M: ???

H: ...

M: “Are you serious?”

H: “Yep, now let’s get oot of the hoose”

So, I vote we let the Americans keep their boo-ees and give the classic cross-cultural story award to... Canada! Eh?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

From the archive

Two poems I wrote while travelling in the US... (Don't stop reading just because they're poems. They're terribly silly, I promise).

An Ode to the Ton of Bos

Boston, oh Boston,

You let me stay here.

For just a few days

You gave me some cheer.

I wandered your streets,

I looked at your art.

The main thing I learned

Was that you have heart.

Out in the sticks

I made some fine friends,

And at the Black Rose

We drank vodka blends.

Your parks and fine gardens,

Your great Freedom Trail,

All of it blurry,

'Cause I sampled your ale.

But when I felt ill

You didn’t just shun me,

You did in fact welcome.

It’s really quite funny.

For with pizza and milk

Your good shops abound,

And you have funny buses

To show us around.

At your Jewish memorial

I thought for awhile

It’s special to Boston

To remember in style.

And of course, alongside,

Non-stop Irish pubs.

At Faneuil and Quincy,

Ay, there's the rub.

For it's hard to see history

When you're soaking up drink,

And in these there bars

I started to think.

Boston, my dear,

Not too snobby or new,

My liver near died

When we were with you.

Meditations in Central Park

How did squirrels get to Central Park?

Did someone put them there?

Did they grow brown squirrel wings

And fly over through the air?

How did squirrels get to Central Park?

Did someone really care?

Or did they stick them on that island

To see just how they'd fair?

Monday, May 17, 2010


I have a confession to make.

I mostly blog (or read other people's blogs, which is far more enlightening really) when I'm supposed to be doing my uni work. Well, it's not like I get to spend much time online at work like other people do 'cause anyone who's ever worked in a shop would know you don't exactly get much random-interwebs-trawling time when standing behind a counter, what with all the folk and their "Hey, do you have that book about that guy who did that thing? I think the cover's, like, blue-ish?".

I also complain about how much time and effort doing a Masters takes up. I mean, really, who'd've thought they were supposed to be difficult? So this morning I got up and opened my latest essay and some online research papers, and the first thing I did was type the following into google:

dog people vs cat people

I don't even know why. I don't know where this came from or what made it so important that at 8.30am it was the only thing I wanted to find out about. So then I deleted the words from the google box and went back to the paper I was reading on typefaces.

Then I went back to google and found out that dog people tend to be more social and outgoing, whereas cat people tend to be more neurotic but "open". Thanks CNN.

So I've come to the conclusion that when it comes to uni work I'm just a Master Procrastinator.

I mean, I do get things done. I even managed to finish my undergrad degree with a bare minimum of all-nighters the day before an essay was due. And these days my idea of being "late" with having an essay finished is that I'm only on my third draft two weeks before the due date. And when it comes to the workplace I'm just fine... This affliction strangely only affects the university study portion of my brain.

But still... How much more fun is it to check Postsecret or Garfield Minus Garfield than to actually knuckle down and get some shit done that you're supposed to get done? How much interestinger is it to write a blog about procrastinating than just do the thing that you're putting off? How much cooler is the word "interestinger" than the phrase "more interesting"? How great is it making up stupid words?

Speaking of awesome words: Tickety-boo.

Proscrastinating ROCKS, and if you can deal with the mostly-consuming sense of guilt, the last minute panic, the sudden realisation that it's 8.30pm and dark outside and you've done nothing all day but look up lost, grainy old Beatles footage on YouTube and various other internet-type-random-datbases that may or may not have given your computer some kind of cold, if not a virus -- well, then, you too are a Master. Rejoice!

Now get back to work.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Currently reading both Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan and Eating Animals by the indomitable Jonathan Safran Foer.

A stunning re-telling of a Grimm tale; a funny-man's polemic against the meat industry.

A bear eats a man; a man chooses not to eat a... cow.

Both exceptional and well-paired if I do say so myself. Five stars.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Old old old blogging

Oh wowsies (who the heck says "wowsies"?!) I was just going through some old files on my computer and found one containing my blog posts from my 2005 trip to South America, Canada, the US, Europe and South Africa! Madness!

It's long, but I could resist re-posting. Just going to do it in one big old block so please do excuse the length. And it's backwards, so if you want chronology you should start from the bottom. Also excuse the lack of capitalisation and the terrible grammar. I was going through a bit of a "damn the man" phase at the time...

December 10, 2005

le grand voyage: home edition

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 4:26 pm

well. it has now officially been over a week since i landed. how bizarre. the things that seemed awfully exciting last saturday are now once again perfectly normal, the crazy night out on the town last friday has left me all croaky-voiced and unable to swallow (worth it!), and work is…work. i love that crazy bookshop, and it sure as heck feels like i never left. why, just yesterday i copped a fair ticking off because a very unhappy customer didn’t like that i didn’t know whether or not we had the book by a guy named jeff with a blue cover that’s about another guy, maybe named paul something. yeah, i could see why he was ticked off, and i can also see why i missed that place so much. hehe. christmas is madness. oh, and everyone out there with grandparents should tell them right from the start that they just want MONEY. cold. hard. cash. cos they make booksellers lives crazy with all their “oh, you’re not too busy are you dear” and “my grandson’s not very bright but i’d like him to read dickens” and “do you have anything else for $10?”, then, “can you wrap these hundred cheap books for me please dear? and don’t put bows on the boys ones. and don’t forget to take off the pricetag.”

they’re lovely really…old people. i have all kinds of respect for them, honestly i do.

so, as you can see,work is keeping me completely entertained. and when there’s not work there’s always kristen, melinda, a bottle or two of bubbly and a couple of chick flicks. gotta love a girls night in!

November 30, 2005

my last post?

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 5:28 am

le grand voyage draws to an end. i cannot and absolutely refuse to believe it. this is my last night in joburg, my last night in africa, my last night in any bed except my own…well, for a little while anyway… and not counting the plane, i’m hoping that time will be nothing more than a speedy blur that i don’t even notice passing. hmph.
what did i do today? i was up at the arsehole of dawn (that comes before the crack) to roam around pilanesberg game reserve (a crater in an ex-volcano right near the edge of the kalahari desert, north east of joburg. if, of course, anyone’s interested) in a land rover, scouring grass and bushes for all kinds of groovy things. yes! things that eat things! yesterday i saw zebra eating grass, elephants eating trees and grass, impala eating trees and grass, blue wilderbeast eating grass (they’re not blue! they lied!), warthogs eating grass (and singing hakuna matata) and baby warthogs sucking on their mums tummies for some reason, all kinds of birds eating all kinds of bugs…well, i could go on for quite some time. i saw a LOT! plus, bright and early this fair, raining, storming, fair, raining again, fair again morning i added giraffes eating tress and the occasional thorn, rhinocereseseses eating grass, dung beetles not quite eating but rolling bits of poo to their home so that they could tuck in, and all sorts of lovely sprightly little creatures standing around fattening themselves up so that the lions, leopards et al (who chose not to reveal themselves to this lowly australian vegetarian) could pop along this evening and gobble them up. i’ve always preferred grass and tree eaters anyway.

it really has been an amazing couple of days. i feel like david attenborough, or, even better, david’s charming young and fabulous counterpart. so, even though i miss cape town (mostly the wineries. just kidding, it’s really elize and ja i miss!) i have been sufficiently distracted. oooh, especially when we found a whole herd of elephants and then they found a waterhole and there were these little teeny tiny cutesy wutesy baby elephants and these slightly older and grumpier teenage elephants and these older and wiser HUGE elephants watching the others play and pretending not to be enjoying it. and THEN we saw a giraffe with a bird on its head and a whole bunch of little birds on its neck. and THEN we saw an elephant scratching its bum on a tree. and THEN we saw a hippo…doing nothing at all actually.

so, the journey ends, but certainly on the best note it could possibly have! and i’m already planning my asia trip for sometime in the next couple of years. am turning into such an elephant fan i think i really need to go see another kind. i’ve been hang gliding in rio, hiking in peru, attempted water skiing on lake of bays, rode the greyhound through parts of the states, now done a motorbike tour of pretoria (woohoo!)…think elephant riding in thailand could be next on the agenda.

everyone who’s reading this (particularly those i met/caught up with during this year away of mine): i love and miss you, and please don’t forget to call/email me if you’re ever in melbourne. i don’t care if i barely remember your name (which is likely if we went drinking together), you’re more than welcome to crash on a piece of my floor (that even goes for elize and ja, even though they have sworn to only come once i can offer a spare bedroom and bed) and i promise i’ll do my best to show you all the cool spots in olde melbourne towne. still my favourite city.

guess i’ll write again from there. hopefully in a couple of weeks i’ll have many more photos to share (and perhaps some explaining to do). but until then,


November 21, 2005

afrique du sud

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 6:34 am

weird. i am SO sure i already wrote something here since i got to africa. probably, now that i think about it, i just had the INTENTION of doing so, but unfortunately the computer i’m using here is SO painfully slow (no offense elize!) that i went off to pull out my hair and got distracted. anyway, here i am in africa, the last continent to be graced by the presence of hannah mae cartmel (antarctica doesn’t count. i don’t do cold).

so far i’ve seen: seals eating crayfish, whales eating other fish, monkeys eating bugs, more seals eating more types of other fish, baboons eating whatever i’ve just thrown into the rubbish bin, guinea fowl eating…guinea fowl food, lions eating chickens, adorable little floppy-eared bunny wabbits being fed grain so that they can be fed to big meany snakes (which, i must say, were also very cute), cormorants eating even more types of other random fish, ostrichs eating stuff too, and the place where they kept nelson mandela and didn’t let him eat much of anything.

south africa, land of freedom fighters and things that eat things.

i’m having a very very lekker time. my afrikaans is…still non-existent i’m afraid (aside from lekker and howzit, but that’s not really afrikkaans i don’t think) “but it ain’t so bad, cos sooth efrika were colonised by the over-powering rugby-playing poms ay? so even the afrikaaners speak english man”. i’ll have none of this dutch bollocks. they were silly enough to lose australia, so they don’t deserve to arrive at any land and call it their own even though there are already people on it. ug. god save the queen.

just spent a weekend with elize and ja (rotary exchange, district 9820 of 1979 and her husband) in hermanus, a lovely beachside tourist hotspot not far from cape town (in the bay that’s the third along from cape point on the very south coast of africa if any of you care to look at a map) where we had a house RIGHT on the water and plenty of time to do…um, not much of anything really. sigh. besides whale watch of course. but, you know, i spend most of my weekends lazing on the patio drinking vodka and gazing out at southern right whales playing in the clear blue waves, so it wasn’t anything really special. what’s REALLY cool is that this lovely little town came equipped with market, so i got to buy a really cute skirt with bells on it for only like fifteen bucks. now THAT’S a weekend treat.

time to go sleep off all this excitement. keep on truckin.

November 8, 2005

bella italia

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 5:39 am

well, here we are in glowing florence. the city of palazzos, pontes and penises…marble ones that is. can’t believe our big trip is in its final week. it’ll be very strange not to have mother with me after saturday. still, now only a short while until i’ll be home with her all the time…having to start thinking about money and job and uni crap. blurgh! anyway, for now i’ll concentrate on wonderful wonderful italy…

venice was totally cool. no wait, we went to milan first so i’ll start there. overnight train from pairs a real shocker. “first class” turned out to be a tiny cabin with rock hard bunk bed things, the best two of which were stolen by our psycho italian cabin-mates. combine that with mum’s snoring and the noisy people next door and it was NOT a good night’s sleep. still, once we found our way into central milan (nice homeless man helped us buy metro tickets, for a small fee) and the duomo we felt somewhat revived. very very cool big church that. awesome paintings and real dead bishop bodies. ew. checked out some armani, dolce and gabbana and other all too familiar yet completely on another planet shops. noice! there turned out to be a cool palazzo in milan, with acres of museum, so we bought us a ticket and had time to see about a tenth of it. amazing collection of old instruments in there. wow. then was back on the train…to venice! what a breathtaker. the boat to our hotel took us straight down the grand canal and under the rialto bridge. mum’s tongue was hanging out. really nice hotel there too, though due to toilet probs we actually ended up staying in one of their apartments. couldn’t have asked for better: an actual bathroom all to ourselves, a couch, a kitchen! can you believe it???! even a fair dinkum venetian courtyard with old lady knickers hanging out windows and the whole bit. mum damn near cried. :)
aside from mean gondola men, venice was a treat. we just wandered non-stop for two days. getting lost and found then lost then found again in the same place. must’ve walked in the same circle about five times and only realised on the fourth. oops. tehe. still, we found lots of cool little alleys and amazing paper and glass shops, and of course canals. sigh.

train trip down here to florence a whole lot nicer though far less exciting. first class actually turned out to be lovely and a darling indian couple kept us entertained for hours. arriving here quite a shock, suddenly had cars and buses and all that crazy stuff to contend with. bring venice back! still, we trouped off to see david in all his glory, and had a gorgeous dinner. melty melty yummy mozarella like you’ve never tasted. mmm… today was the duomo with the cool dome, then climbing 400 bloody stairs up the campanile for a FAB view over all florence and out to the tuscan hills. the first time we’ve been “up” in all europe, and probably the last. mum stayed plastered to the inner wall the whole time. wasn’t too impressed with me hanging over the edge to take pictures either. also checked out the palazzo vecchio and the ponte vecchio, and all that crazy old medici stuff, like the corridor they have over the ponte vecchio, so they could go between their offices and their palazzo without having to mix with the plebs! plus, the ponte is half falling into the river cos of all the gold and silversmiths that line it. old lorenzo “the swell” or whatever didn’t like the butchers and traders on there, so kicked ‘em out and brought in his gold-loving mates to class the place up a bit. crazy bugger.

anyway, tomorrow we’re off to the uffizi to check out some botticelli chicks and other renaissance porn. should be grand.

love to all. ciao ciao.

November 1, 2005

paris = $20 coffees

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 7:41 am

i love paris in the fall…isn’t that how it goes? anyway, whoever wrote that was right (though i think the point of the song is that’s it’s kind of ok all the time right?) it’s pretty bloody nice here i must say…though i hate the fact that just because i speak a different language i must suddenly be rich. ha! as if!! mum and i did the eiffel tower (though not up. too high for mother) and boat trip on the seine thing saturday. very cool. simply TOO romantic (mum even kissed me under a bridge. teheh) spent yesterday at the louvre and the orsay, getting all arsty and educated-like. saw some water lilies and sculpture-type-things. was pretty groovy. today was champs-elyséees and the arc de triomphe, then an evening of ballet at the paris opéra garnier (not the shampoo). simply too too wonderful for words!! do i sound like a pompous prat yet? i’m feeling like one… london, brussels, paris… *sigh*
being back in belgium was absolutely COOL. very very impressed to see the exchange students still getting sloshed and making out with random in liège. that was the life…
home in a month!!!

October 26, 2005

england and belgium

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 10:28 pm

julia’s sitting here demanding that i write something…even though she’s heard all about our latest adventures already! actually it’s really bloody annoying writing anything from belgium cos the keyboards are laid out differently…frustration!! plus, mum’s sitting alongside asking questions. how can a girl write with so much distrqction??! to add to it all, there’s beer, chocolate, frites and waffles waiting not far away for me to tuck in. what can i do??!!
england rocked…london is one very groovy city!! i also had a beatles fix in liverpool. we saw their houses, pqvements where they walked once…too much excitement for me! also got to drink a beer while listening to beatles tunes in the cavern club. *sigh*
being back in belgium super cool and weird…loving it though!! got a few days here to chill out.
will write more soon!!

October 16, 2005

scotland the brave

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 4:26 am

here i am with dear mother in a very very cool country!! had a somewhat traumatic flight over from t-dot but made it here fine and spent a day with comba in edinburgh before meeting mum at the airport!! took us a little while to recover from that (half hour hugs) but we eventually got up to the castle and whatnot and saw most of edinburgh - a really beautiful city. actually reminds me of melbourne, compared to north american cities anyway! we picked up our “wee car” this morning and eventually found our way out of the maze of raoundabouts on the way out of edinburgh. drove through stirling (checked out the castle and saw bannockburn) to fort william, where we’re staying tonight. our bedroom window looks out over loch leven and some higland mountains. spectacular!!
off to skye tomorrow and both very excited. the drives go so quickly here, with so much to see on the way, and ridiculously cute little villages to get excited about. yay!
hope everyone’s well. email me!!

October 5, 2005

“four dead in ohio…”

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 2:49 pm

can’t get neil young out of my head. 1- because i went to the rock and roll hall of fame in cleveland yesterday (which ROCKS by the way), and 2- because i’m at kent state university right now, where four student protestors were shot dead in 1970, and that he wrote a wee song about.

anyway, basically you can maybe gather that i’m in ohio right now. took the grand old greyhound overnight from nyc to pittsburgh on sunday/monday (after spending a fun few final days in said crazy city….the met, guggenheim, un headquarters, jay z’s club, spamalot the musical and other broadway wonders…just a couple of highlights) then met becky and hubby (mike, what a dork!) who showed me around exciting pittsburgh for an afternoon (a trolley up a hill and a hard rock cafe being the most exciting things about) before heading out to alliance, ohio for an awesome mexican meal. mmm…spent yesterday with becky in cleveland, and today with her in amish country. mum, mum?! can i keep one puh-lease??! old amish men are the CUTEST things you’ll ever see, and they seem to think the same about people from australia, so we got along famously. i’ve never before met a group of more genuinely kind, interested, smiley and friendly people…and they have really cute kittens and pigs too which helps (oh and a horse called sally!) plus, they make damn good cheese and fudge, so i’m sold. definitely turning amish one day (though no electricity means no ’sex and the city’ which i’m not sure i could handle).

so, now i’m hangin out in kent with katie (belgian rotary club oldie) and meeting up with rachael and marshall (belgian school newies) tomorrow. huzzah.

gotta say, i do kind of miss new york though. the subway steam, getting lost in central park, beautiful people, men with snakes in times square, unbelievable street performers, art art art, music everywhere, history, $15,000 tiffany’s watches i adore, being able to get ANything you want at ANY time of day. i even miss that weird china town smell…there really is something very special about new york. or maybe carrie bradshaw has got me brainwashed…

this time next week i’ll be back in toronto. can’t believe how amazingly quickly the past few weeks have gone. can finally say “see you next week” to darling mother! eek!!

for now, must get to bed. got lots of screaming as i reunite with old pals to do tomorrow, so will need some energy :)

September 29, 2005

big apples and stuff

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 6:03 am

so i’m sitting in the new york public library, on 5th and 42nd, trying to be a good tourist and see some sights, but my head is kind of throbbing. you know, it’s easy to be a tourist in new york though, there’s not even any need to be active in your attraction seeking, it just comes straight to you. i LOVE this huge crazy city!! it’s ad week and my friend emily just happens to be in advertising, so she and i got raucously pissed last night courtesy of yahoo. i was sitting on the roof of a hotel building in soho, with cocktails being constantly delivered by gorgeous waiters, chatting to ad execs and glancing out every now and then to see the (currently lit red white and blue) empire state building not too far away. unbelievable. i also did the ellis island/statue of liberty thing yesterday which was very very cool. not sure it’s quite sunk in yet that i’m actually here, i’m just so used to seeing new york on tv and in the movies, so i feel like jerry seinfeld or sarah jessica parker is about to jump out and tell me it’s not real…or something like that. maybe that’s just the passionfruit margaritas still talking…
had an amazing time in boston too. lisa is a mad cow and LOADS of fun, so we terrorised some poor defenceless english boys and irish pubs together. it’s such a cool city though. didn’t actually walk the entire freedom trail, but did see lots and lots of old buldings where very important stuff happened. to be honest, i soaked up more beer than i did history, but had a bloody great time! maybe if i work my arse off back in melb next year i’ll be able to talk harvard into letting me hang out with them for a bit. hehe not likely.
hope all’s well with everyone out there. sorry i haven’t had much time for emailing, i’ve just got too darned much to see and nowhere near enough time!! speaking of which, rockefeller centre and trump towers are calling me so i best fly…

September 22, 2005

moncton, fredericton, halifax, cavendish, charlottetown…

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 4:45 am

here i am in charlottetown, on prince edward island…have SO much to share but not much time…

my flight out of toronto was delayed and annoying, so i arrived in moncton at about 2am (by my body clock, though 3am there with the time change!) then had to take a ridiculously expensive cab to my weird little resting place for the night. EVERYTHING floral and covered in plastic and manned by a tiny little chinese lady who took me to a far bigger room than i’d asked for and tried to make me pay the $20 extra. i think not. crawled between my floral sheets, under my floral duvet for a few hours precious sleep then up bright and early for funny-little-lady-style eggs (only served til 8am) and some sightseeing. um, warning to anyone considering a new brunswick voyage: there is NOTHING in moncton! so, i sat in a park and read til it started raining, then killed time in a shopping centre and at the bus station. oh, did visit the moncton museum, where i learned all about a cookie company that was there for about 50 years but closed down ages ago. thrilling. so, then it was fredericton, where i was met by dear liz ross. hung out with her for a bit and yakked about belgium quite a lot (for those who don’t know, liz was an exchangee in belgium with me). met some of her classmates at a pot luck lunch on friday and had a great time, eating WAY too much and chatting. headed to the ‘harvest jazz and blues festival’ in dowtown fredericton that night, and took in the sights and sounds. really lovely little city that fred, even with the drunken first year university res kids and their crazy dancing orgy. so, then saturday was goodbye liz and goodbye fredericton, and HELLO katie and halifax! survived six or so hours on the bus with strange smelly people and then caught up with the old goldmum. went out saturday night to the alehouse, and danced to weird nova scotia folk music…hmm…had two days to see the sights of halifax: gardens, harbour (with actual salt water!! i’ve missed you ocean!), alexander keiths brewery mmm, hippies, cool shops, general stuff, pizza corner (was the highlight katie!). also caught up with jen dobie and generally had a cool time just chilling out. REALLY like halifax, could live there for sure. got on the pei shuttle bus at 7am (yuck. picked me up right at katie’s front door though luckily) then headed to lovely prince edward island!! liz’s dad’s friend and fellow rotarian met me at the bus and took me straight to green gables and cavendish beach. it’s everything i imagined! the people are lovely, the houses quaint, the scenery just beautiful. i feel as joyous as anne herself! saw the ‘anne’ musical last night which has really fabulous costumes and a great take on the story. off to a breakfast rotary meeting this morning with dick (another early start. blurgh) then toured myself around charlottetown ‘the birthplace of confederation’ for awhile. learned all about how canada became canada (and it started happening right here!) and found out i’ve now been to all four of canada’s original provinces (ontario, quebec, nova scotia and new brunswick). charlottetown is such a charming little city. i just adore it! absolutely EVERYTHING is ‘anne of green gables’ here, but i’m not complaining! oh, and cow’s is the best ice cream ever. mmm…
tomorrow is new hampshire time, and i’ve just been informed that the leaves have started turning early, so i get to experience a real new england fall. how wonderful! (been watching plenty of ‘gilmore girls’ and ‘dawson’s creek’ to prepare myself. tehe) then it’s boston for the weekend, then off to new york new york! can’t believe it!! will write more soon. tchau for now.

September 15, 2005

bye bye toronto!

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 5:31 am

it’s back to airportville for me…heading off at 9.15 this evening for the fabulous city of moncton (recently hosts of the rolling stones, so don’t be too unimpressed!) impossible to believe it’s really this time of year already, it’s just flown by! only 30 days till it’s mum time in europe. amazing! so, i’ll be keeping this site up to date on my movements (i hope!) as i go along, and will probably do the group email thing too…can’t believe i’m actually going to new york! wow! hope toronto doesn’t fret too much, i’ll be back for a day or two next month. so, i don’t yet have to say a proper goodbye to my old haunts, just “till next time” (which, i must say, is my favourite type of goodbye). wish me luck!

August 19, 2005

lake of bays

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 5:38 am

i can now assuredly say that i suck as much at waterskiing as i do at surfing. guess i’m just more of a “splash about” girl than a real water sports person…probably could have told you that years ago. but anyway, i tried, i pulled muscles, i can now barely walk. at least i can say i’ve got guts, if not sporting prowess!
just returned to the big smoke after a few relaxing days on lake of bays (in haystack bay if anyone’s curious) at the family mcbride’s lovely cottage. i now feel like an official canadian, having participated of the grand tradition of sitting on a dock on a lake, drinking beer and reading for an entire day. what a beautiful place too! the lake glistens blue, the trees are the greenest green i’ve ever seen, and after nearly five months in the northern hemisphere i’ve seen the big dipper for the first time! i also got in touch with true canadian wildlife: deer, hummingbirds, chickadees, blue jays, chipmunks, shania twain…
photos to come. including one or two of my waterskiing attempts…you all have to promise not to laugh though. or i could just keep my fingers crossed that dwight is a kindly photographer.
so, in keeping with the general “canadianness” of the past few days of my life, because i’m, in a way, recently home from the forest myself and because of a late night sing-along seesion last night, i feel the need to share some great canadian song lyrics, from the wonderous brain of mr gordon lightfoot:

home from the forest.

oh the neon lights were flashin
and the icy wind did blow
the water seeped into his shoes
and the drizzle turned into snow
his eyes were red, his hopes were dead
and the wine was runnin low
and the old man stumbled in
from the forest

up a dark and dingy staircase
the old man made his way
his ragged coat around him
as upon his cot he lay
and he wondered how it happened
that he ended up this way
getting lost like a fool
in the forest

and as he lay there sleeping
a vision did appear
upon his mantle, shining
a face of one so dear
who had loved him in the springtime
of a long-forgotten year
when the wildflowers did bloom
in the forest

she touched his grizzled fingers
and she called him by his name
and then he heard the joyful sound
or children at their games
in an old house on a hillside
in some forgotten town
where the river runs down
to the forest

with a mighty roar the big jets soar
above the canyon streets
and the con men con but life goes on
for the city that never sleeps
and to an old forgotten soldier
the dawn will come no more
for the old man has come home
from the forest.

August 7, 2005


Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 2:32 pm

cirque du soleil rocks!

August 4, 2005

all kinds of cool stuff!

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 2:02 pm

hey all. much excitingness to report this time. huzzah! due to the extreme crappy unreliablility of my gap scheduling i ended up with a week of no shifts which seemed to suck at first but actually ended up a blessing as i had time to visit the lovely city of montreal! yay! had a rather yucky bus ride then a lovely couple of days walking and walking and getting lost, seeing galleries, old buildings, crazy frenchies and the like. walked so much my foot gave in and is still recovering (despite the acupunture a cool melbournian i met gave me!) ouch. montreal is just wonderful. i kept on forgetting i was still in canada…thinking i’d need to pay for stuff in euros! found a cool hostel too, chez jean is highly recommended to anyone who may be in montreal any time in the future. although the thirsty cat will keep you up half the night (so will jean’s snoring). was very strange to be on my own again after being surrounded by great new friends all the time in toronto…but somewhat empowering too. laurent, denis and catherine were my friends for a bit (look at a street map of montreal if you don’t get my little joke) another pooey bus ride had me back in the old t-dot (home sweet home?) ready and raring for a keg party at my house. let’s just say there was much beer, free jagermeister and a punk band in the kitchen. actually that’s about all i remember of the evening so not much else to report there. saturday brought a trip to the toronto lakeshore for the caribana festival - a yearly caribbean happening in these parts with more feathers and glitter than i’ve ever seen before (yes, even more than the gay pride parade a few weeks ago). loud music, bum wiggling and spicy food…all on a hangover but still very awesome. my next big excitement came yesterday (tuesday) with a trip to niagra falls!! (after a lazy sunday, a trip to the airport to wave goodbye to dear jasper, a change of bedroom, the arrival of my new friend amy the acupuncture girl and quite a few sangrias). had nothing better to do so tagged along with amy and had a grand old time. to be honest, it was all a bit disappointing…i mean, there’s so much build up and hype and all the casino and touristy bollocks is just so over the top and then the falls are really cool but you’re kind of over it already. maybe it’s just me. we were lucky to have a storm though (”lucky?” you may be thinking) cos it meant we got lightning over the falls, then a rainbow! yay! can’t wait to see my photos of that (they’ll be up here shortly no doubt). had a bit of delay in returning thanks to air france taking up half the highway but was certainly worth the effort. i’m feeling like a real tourist again, none of that “i live here” stuff!! still, am well and truly back into toronto life now as i started my new job today. i can tell cirque is gonna be a blast…even though it’s about 38 degrees here with the humidity and there’s no air conditioning so the merch tent is like a bloody sauna! training was a bit tedious but after it was all over i got to see the show!! it’s FABULOUS! wow. i still just can’t get over it. this was a new show called ‘corteo’ (so i’m one of the first in the world to ever see it, tonight being the dress rehearsal of the grand opening!) and it was quite dark and burlesque-ish. absolutely spectacular as you can all imagine.
now i’m just trying to decide whether to drink a beer or collapse into bed. hmm…
bed i think. good chance to have my drink-free night for the week!
gros bis to all. email and/or leave a msg here!!

July 25, 2005

nothin new really

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 11:55 am

hey hey hey. nothing much new to report. still just chillin in toronto…but felt bad for not writing for a bit…though i’m not sure if anyone actually checks to see whether i’m putting anything new in here anyway. feel free to post stuff people!! only new thing is that i got a job in the merchandise tent for cirque du soleil’s toronto season…so i’ll be working there for all of august. pretty cool. should be fun. toronto is very very muggy and gross and it kind of smells, but aside from that is all good. that’s about it really. oh, and i’m going to montreal this week. didn’t get any shifts at the gap (grr) so i decided to take off on my own for a few days. hopefully will have something exciting to report from that! so, until then…tchau tchau.

June 24, 2005


Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 12:39 am

in case you all haven’t heard, live8 is coming to toronto!! well, if you go to the website (i have a link, look right) you may get a tad confused cos it’s listed as barrie, which is just outside toronto, where there’s a big stadium thing. anyway, I’M GOING! unfortunately, the t.o. version isn’t going to be as huge and amazing as those in london, paris et al, but it should still be a cool day of music and saving the world etc. was very lucky to get tickets as there were only 35,000 and seeing as they’re FREE they disappeared within about ten minutes when they came out at 10am today…but i’m luckily working for the government this morning (youth probation office, thought i’d have to deal with some tough customers, but it’s dead quiet) so have had plenty of time to hang about online and was right there first in line for tickets. huzzah. now i just need to decide who to take with me…hmmm… :)

June 22, 2005


Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 10:28 am

wowee…i love it when mic gets bored, i get a new look website! kind of goes with my new look self. yes, the self-confessed hair dye junkie is at it again (i know i told myself was done with it, but this is only semi-permanent. no more bleach i swear) you know the chick in ’spiderman’? well, i guess i was inspired by her or something. fun times. everyone tells me it looks cool, so i’ll take their word for it! i’m supposed to be working at the gap right now, but my lovely friend angela is leaving town tomorrow, so i went in for a few hours ‘denim training’ (i can tell you all about the cut and wash of all the gap jeans if anyone wants a lesson sometime) then asked a cool manager if i could leave. so now i’m here drinking very very strong coffee and getting ready for another night on the beer…*sigh* it’s really a very tough life.
well, hope you all enjoy the new look website. should have some more photos soon… time for me to go drink. yay. :)

May 22, 2005

the annex…

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 12:03 pm

hey all…stuff is pretty cool in toronto. weather has been absolutely gorgeous, which always makes the world seem a better place! i LOVE my new house and housemates and there has been much drunken frivolity…the most exciting of which being the fact that i won a competition in a club the other night…two backstage passes to an oasis concert!!! AARGH! so me and one of my cool new irish friends (denis) are off to make friends with liam, noel and co on the 15th of june. YAY!!

May 10, 2005

stuff and things

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 10:20 am

nothing new to report…but i felt bad for not posting anything for awhile, so i thought i should at least write something! funny reading back on my first thing from toronto, and the fact that that one shooting seemed like such a huge thing…well, don’t want to scare anyone but there seems to be a shooting every few days around here…one just down the street from me the night before last! sorry mum, you probably REALLY didn’t want to know that. but i guess michael moore would be interested in reading of my time in toronto…maybe i should keep a local shootings diary then send it to him. perhaps canada isn’t the promised land after all?

i’ve made the pleasant discovery that if you buy a large popcorn (for about a hundred dollars!) from a ‘famous players’ cinema here, you get a free refill…so i had popcorn for dinner last night AND lunch today…nutritious and delicious! went to see ‘kingdom of heaven’ which is pretty good…even if only because it’s two and a half hours of orlando bloom! ‘look at me’ is better though, even though it’s french and full of opera…

i’m moving house in a couple of days…heading to the heart of artsy fartsy, studentsville downtown toronto. if brunswick street was actually a few streets, and these few streets were lonsdale and parts of elizabeth and queen, that’d be the melbourne equivalent…should be rather groovy.

how bout them blue jays? (toronto joke)

vv homesick. would love to hear tales from all of you, so please get your finger to your respective keyboards.

April 12, 2005

canada eh?

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 6:31 am

i’m in toronto!!
hard to believe i’m really here and that time has gone so quickly! so far it’s really lovely, quite like melbourne with lots of different areas and lots of funky student-y hangouts and artsy folk. it’s great to be surrounded by english again, as much as i enjoyed learning portuguese and practising my spanish! yesterday there was a shooting in downtown toronto, about five minutes after i’d walked past the very spot it happened. quite terrifying really, but apparently not a common occurence so hopefully no more close calls like that for me! don’t worry mum, i’m fine, it’s fine, we’re all fine (noone died by the way, but a few innocent bystanders got injured…not cool…)
in happy news, i’ve started applying for jobs, including sending a resume to second cup, canada’s answer to starbucks. could be interesting there, especially since i don’t really drink coffee…but it’d still be a good place to work, with lots of young people etc.
tonight i’m heading to a book reading. the fabulous jeanette winterson is in town to promote ‘lighthousekeeping’ so i though i’d roll along and check her out. may also bug some bookstore types to see if any jobs are around. will hit the streets in the next few days to give resumes and pleading letters to every bookstore i can find! fingers crossed!!
off to find me mobile phone now. yay!

April 4, 2005

incas and rocks

Filed under: Travel Log — Hannah @ 3:42 am

my knees hurt!! nobody warned me that the inca trail was going to be so hard!! actually, it´s been fabulous but right now i´m just relieved to be back in civilised society where wine flows and toilets flush. have had an amazing few days of staring at my feet, being damp and generally hurting and not being able to breathe.but it´s amazing how spiritual such an experience can be!! lots of photos to come and hopefully lots more from all the cool people i´ve met along the way too. had such an awesome walking group and have generally really loved peru…except of course for the whole no longer being able to walk thing. my friend krys from england thinks that i look like i´ve shat my pants…you can imagine how i look getting up the hotel stairs…eeek! totally worth it though for the amazing machu picchu…just the most mind boggling thing i´ve ever seen.
please pleaseplease everyone post some messages on here…i feel like such a boring loner being the only one talking…

March 29, 2005

sao paulo, santiago, lima…

Filed under: Travel Log — Mic @ 3:06 am

oops, been a few days since my last update and i now have only five mins to cover quite a bit…hmm…final days in rio were relatively uneventful. oh, aside from the whole hangliding thing i did this one morning. that was fairly ok. (!!) oh man it´s the most amazing thing and i still don´t believe i actually did it it was like being a bird in a dream when you can look down on the whole world and it all seems unreal and you just float there and feel like you might fall but the air somehow just holds you up and it rocks and i´m totally addicted. so, yeah, rio was cool. being back in sao paulo felt kind of funny and familiar yet strange, but it was awesome to see mel again! we retreated to her grandmother´s house in the country where there was a lot of time to do nothing which totally rocked for a couple of days! especially since those couple of days included easter and lots of wine and chocolate!! we had a lovely lunch and egg hunt and generally recuperated. yesterday (sunday…we were naughty and did the egg thing on saturday) i had a day of flying (in a plane this time!) which all went well, and i ended up here in lima. arriving was a bit terrifying. at lima airport there are hundreds of people trying to get you to take their bus or taxi or stay at their hotel or join their group or smoke their something…and this was at 1am! but i survived and am now in my trippy ´colonial´ hotel in the miraflores district. am off to see the sights of lima this arvo then tomorrow i fly to cusco! good times. hope all´s well with everyone…be in touch soon!!

March 23, 2005

back in rio with lenny

Filed under: Travel Log — Mic @ 12:10 pm

well, i´m back in rio and loving it so far! i guess maybe the reason i´m on such a good mood is that i´m not sick anym ore, but it´s also the vibe of rio i think. this place just oozes fun! arrived on the bus yesterday arvo and checked back into the mellow yellow. then last night was a FREE lenny kravitz concert on copacabana beach!! woohoo!! there were a few too many people there for it to be truly enjoyable, and i don´t even really like lenny kravitz that much, but it was still definitely a good night…brazilians are mad and love to dance and party and drink the most amazingly bad, cheap random alcohol. blurgh! there was a whole bunch of people there from the hostel which always attracts all kinds of attention from the locals (´my friend my friend, you want to make fun with me??`) but we all just let loose and had fun…good times.
i´m going shopping today i think because my clothes are starting to disintegrate…unfortunately brazilianz have some kind of obession with polyester, so this could be a fun outing! i´m thinking of going paragliding tomorrow…will have to see how my nerves are feeling throughout this shopping voyage…

March 17, 2005

message from a lobster

Filed under: Travel Log — Mic @ 7:07 am

well, it´s official. i´m not a surfer. unfortunately there´s something about me and the ancient art of surfing that just don´t mix, but at least i gave it a shot! actually, i have to give it another shot tomorrow as i have my final lesson, but something tells me i won´t suddenly take to it! all that´s come of my time as a surfer is a very red and very sore bottom. poor thing hasn´t seen sun in many many years!!
i´m in itacaré now, somewhere between salvador and rio…the plan was to head slowly south but i think maybe i´ll just hang here three more days then brave the 20 hour bus trip back to rio in one hit. it´s nice here, with actual vegetarian food and without people asking for your money every five seconds! salvador was pretty cool though i must admit!´
i´m off to crawl back into bed and nurse my throbbing head (got a cold too) and my poor arse…

March 10, 2005

travellers log…what the hell date is it??

Filed under: Travel Log — Mic @ 6:07 am

hey i just noticed the new picture in the middle of my photoboard there.mic responsible? very cool.
this log should now officially be called ´the lobster girl diaries´…i don´t know what´s wrong with me but i seem to just keep on getting burnt. crazy rio sun! tonight´s sleep will probably be very uncomfortable, but since it´s now 5am and i only got 4hrs sleep last night i think i´ll manage!! been out to see one of latin america´s top drum and bass djs. very cool stuff, have been dancing all night. had a quiet day today though, just lazing on copacabana beach (and getting burnt in the shade!)
tomorrow i´m off to salvador (which i´d point out on the map thing mic sent me if only i could work out how!!) which is a 26hr bus ride away…should be interesting!! still, looking forward to getting there. it sounds like a very cool place with lots of gorgeous beaches and gorgeous men! off to bed for me…tchau for now folks.

March 6, 2005

traveller’s log stardate 532005

Filed under: Travel Log — Mic @ 6:02 am

well, here i am in copacabana!! i’ve only just arrived and have yet to make any friends at the hostel so thought i’d drop a line to you folks!! this kezboard is giving me the shits cos someone has swapped all the kezs around so half of them don^t actuallz bring up what the picture on top sazs thez are. verz annozing!! anz tips on how to change it all back to normal“מה גבר? it’s reallz not EXACTLY a resort…mz room is on the top floor and is as HOT as hot can be and everzthing else looks like it¨s about to fall apart but aside from that it¨s all good so far!! rio looks MUCH nicer than sao paulo, smaller and more approachable so something tells me i¨ll feel a tad more comfortable here…all good. this kezboard is driving me mad so i’ll say farewell for now. tchau from sunnz rio!

March 4, 2005

captain’s log star date 432005

Filed under: Travel Log — Mic @ 9:58 am

hmm…well, here’s my first entry…and i really have nothing of interest to report! i’m doing this cause it’s more exciting than watching tellie and because my plans for the night fell through so i’m home alone in mel’s apartment. actually, i do have some news…i’m off to rio tomorrow! (it’s actually pronounced ‘hio’ in portuguese which is quite amusing… this is even funnier when talking about the film ‘ray’) got a five hour bus ride ahead of me which is the last thing i want having only just recovered from 38 hours in planes and airports but it’ll be fine and then i’m staying at the coolest backpackers in the world!! check out and get jealous! should be very cool.