Counting Down the Days

Hey there! Over the past few days, I’ve done a few little updates here and there. One of them is that I’ve re-added a countdown of when I am going back to the USA. I’ve also updated my upcoming travel plans for my own amusement. It’s more about helping me get my head around how much time I have left before I go back.

I’ve got about 162 days left before I head off and believe me, I’m counting them down. I’m incredibly eager to go this time. It might be that I’ve got a handful of “new” relatives to meet or maybe it’s just that I’m quite eager to get out of this small town for a while (you know, to go to another small town). Maybe I just need an extended break from work or something.

I’m actually in a much better financial position to do these things now but unfortunately, the currency exchange is horrible. Right now, Every $1 I bring with me is worth $0.70 US. That means that I’ll end up paying about 30% more for everything or if I want $5000 USD, I’ll need to bring $7143 AUD. Add the fact that you have to tip everybody for smiling at you and taxes aren’t added to anything until the very end, you’re looking at a pretty hefty premium to go to the USA. I planned to have a few thousand dollars to do things with, but I’m afraid that won’t even be enough. I’ve put back all my living costs while I’m gone (since I am not entitled to annual leave). I work at my workplace as casual which means I am paid more to make up for it. My pay is about 125% more than the base wage for what I do. Anyway, I’ve been throwing around the idea of getting a part-time seasonal job while I’m there and then quitting in the most lavish way possible.

I’m planning to do a few things this time. I’m planning to stay a few days in New Orleans with my family. It’s going to be really fun. I’ve lived pretty close to there most of my childhood and early adulthood, but I never spent any time there. It’ll be a good experience. I don’t know when, but it’s definitely on my list of things to do.

I’m not even sure if I’ll be around at this time of the year. (This is Mardi Gras–not the Sydney one though.)

As you can see, I am really happy to be able to get back. I’m missing my mom and sister something fierce. I’ve been having a lot of dreams about my family.

I’m also pretty excited that my husband will be going for a few weeks too. I can’t wait to have him see where I grew up. I’ve warned him about a lot of things, but have also said a lot of nice things too. I guess I’m gonna have to ask people back home where to go and what to do for someone who’s never been to the USA.

Mardi Gras 2020?

I had Mardi Gras pictures, but they were all very blurry, so I had to find one on the internet.

In 2013, my good friend and I went to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. I am a horrible photographer, so almost all the pictures I still have are incredibly blurry. I also told myself back then that it’s not something I need to do again. I was thinking about it last weekend and realised that it would be a good thing for my partner and me to go to since he’s never been. I think we’re gonna try to go next year.

I’ve never been one of those people (even when I was single), to go to events (or travel to new places, in general) for hookups, parties, and stuff like that because I don’t particularly enjoy being around a ton of people that I don’t know. (As you can see from the picture, it’s not a very good place to be if you don’t like being in huge crowds.) I think the experience would be really nice with J, so I think we’ll start planning for that. Hopefully I’ll be back from the USA by then. (Oh yes, did you know that I’m States-bound in November?)

If you’re planning to go next year, maybe you’ll see me. Maybe we can find some really good food and have a chat. Who knows?

I’ve checked into India

Hi from India, everybody! I just wanted to check in and see how you are doing. It’s amazing here. Not because of all the really good looking men, but India has a lot of nice charm to it. It’s so different than what I’m used to and it feels a bit strange being the lightest skinned person (because everyone’s looking at me and I am just really uncomfortable with that).

I think this country has a really unfair bias to it. The people are wonderful. The food is amazing. It’s just incredibly unreal that I’m even here right now because I’ve always wanted to come here. I’m only seeing part of the country this time though. I’m super curious about what it looks like a bit north too.

The climate reminds me of the rainy humid days where I’m from in Texas. It’s not too hot for me. It has a tropical feel. I like it.

Kinda bums me out that here, I can’t be as cuddly with my husband as I usually am back in Australia.

I’m going to get around to recording some audio on my phone soon so I can share things more in detail. I’ll check in soon with some photos at least.

Bye for now.

Motel Hell

Right now my partner and I are out in regional/rural Victoria. It reminds me a lot of home, in the USA. Not much is happening. People are walking around and half of them are preaching the gospel. It’s one of those places where people probably get off on getting their tractors and lawn mowers running well. It’s incredibly horrifying. And to think, I may have to live nearby soon. I think I am probably going to die. (Podcast Info: You’ll hear more about this in this Friday’s podcast, [“Can’t Stop What’s Coming; Can’t Stop What’s On its Way”] so I don’t want to say too much.)

One of my crazy triggers is being in a hotel with free internet access but it is absolutely unusable. I totally  hate it. Actually, if I was brave enough, I’d write a whole review for this hotel. It’s quite awful but it was also $85 per night which is probably one of the cheapest rates anywhere in Victoria.

Now, for the bitching:

  1. Everything is run down. It looks like someone furnished this place with thrift shop rejected furniture. The vibe I had with this place is that it’s one of those hotels with hourly rates. (It isn’t.)
  2. The bathroom doesn’t have an exhaust. Not pleasant when someone does a number 2.
  3. The shower is horrible. It has two temperatures: ice cold or scalding hot. You’ll leave the shower either with ice cubes surrounding your toes, or with 3rd degree burns. The drain didn’t work and there were hairballs floating in it. Ewww, gross.
  4. The water pressure reminds me of what it was like in Manila. It seems like it takes a lot of effort for the water to travel through the pipes.
  5. The AC/heater is LOUD. I felt like I had to scream over it to be heard.
  6. I don’t think any of the housekeepers know how to properly wash dishes. It had free breakfast, but almost all the dishes were dirty.
  7. The internet is almost unusable. In fact, I’ve been relying more on my phone’s data the whole time. I totally get that the internet access is “free”, but it should at least be usable. It was so bad that I was considering buying a temporary pass to Telstra Air/Fon access point. I can’t even post any pictures because I know that they would all fail to upload.
  8. The bath towels were wet when we got in. I think somebody tried to dry them, but 30 minutes later decided that it was good enough.
  9. The paneling is popping away from the walls and you can see where they used screws to make the paneling stick back to the wall.
  10. They have a pool (which wasn’t open), yet they charge $5 per towel! Who the hell does this?!

It’s a bit frightening when the ghetto-looking lock doesn’t even lock. Read the part of the bottom why I really wished that I had a good lock…


We’re two pretty hairy guys, but we’re not this hairy. It floated up out of the drain while we were taking a shower.

The good? Um, okay, let me try to say some positive things about this place.

  1. They allow pets here (and that’s probably why it’s so run down). I saw a long-haired golden retriever who probably thought I wanted to play with him. He was right.
  2. The bed had electric blankets: one on each side. They were good and warm. When it’s -3º C (about 27º F I think), it’s very nice to have a warm heated blanket.
  3. It is close to KFC, Macca’s (McDonald’s), and Hungry Jacks (aka Burger King). You know how much I love me some junk food! It is also close to the city’s centre. So not so bad. (Partner didn’t let me go to KFC. I tried a few times. It’s probably because I can always go to the one that’s across the street from where we live.)
  4. The staff here were friendly (BUT I think they’re totally oblivious to the fact that everything is so run down).
  5. Breakfast was included. It wasn’t anything spectacular. Just continental breakfast: cereal, toast, orange juice, coffee, etc. But still, it was good to have as an option.
  6. The soap in the shower smelled like green apples. The shower could be total garbage, but have apple-scented stuff, and it makes it marginally better. First thing I did when I got home almost is to take a shower.

[Note: The part below was added the next day.]

And now, the fun part. We decided last night that we were going to go to sleep and wake up early so we can get home at a reasonable time, so fine. All good. At around midnight, I heard someone calling out for help. I mean, like really calling out like they were being chased by a werewolf. They were screaming out “Help!”. They did it a few times and I started to get out of bed to check if the guy was okay. Right after I took one step out of bed, I hear “It’s going to get me! It’s coming after me! It’s on me!”. I thought to myself, eh, probably not safe for me to get up. It lasted a few more minutes. I think the police finally got him. The way it sounded, it was probably someone off their gourd on drugs. It’s very sad.

My partner and I didn’t sleep well because of that. He said that someone screamed for him to shut up or something, but at the time, I didn’t think he was awake because I swear my guy can sleep through a tornado.

What’s funny is that I kept saying since we went there that the hotel choice was his decision, not mine, because I would never stay in a ghetto-ass place like that. Come to find out, I was the one who sent him the link and he booked it. I’ve gotten comparable pricing just out of Melbourne and for MUCH better before, so I was shocked that it was my fault that this place was my idea. Not a good decision on my part.

On the key, it said that the rooms were refurbished. When? 1985?

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be a review of the place. I also didn’t tell the owners of the problems I had either (and I think that it’s probably something you should do so they can try to improve in the future). I guess it’s one of those cases of “you get what you pay for” and if I had to stay there again, I probably would limit it to one night. A few days again? No way. (We are going to leave them a proper review.)

Poll: How much do you want to see of India?

In a little less than 2 months, I am heading to India for the first time ever. I have been planning to go to India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal since around 2013 or so, but never worked up the courage to go there alone. The thought of being in a really unfamiliar place alone scares me a little. I’m not sure how I managed to go alone to Manila in 2001 but it was a little easier since I was a bit familiar with their culture and religion. I was also used to their accents.

Of course, while I’m exploring India, I plan to document it as much as I can. The members of my family and I haven’t always been really that great at documenting vacations, so it will be a challenge. I think that I am more inclined to do a better job if other people want to see the things that I see while I am there. I also want to make sure that I have a “record” of this trip because I don’t think anything exists from my Manila trip except for some pesos.

My plan in India is to see the architecture, natural parks (mountains [if possible], waterfalls, etc), temples, beaches, and all of that stuff. I’m so into the natural stuff. I love that and wish I could do more things like that here in Australia. I love the outdoors. That might be some of my small town Texan upbringing. I think the parts of India that I’m going to will really surprise me in a good way. I’m looking forward to it a lot.

I also want to eat–a lot.

I am really hoping to get to interact with the people there. For some reason, I want to see how the people are there. I want to see how good (or bad) I communicate with people there. I am pretty shy though, so we’ll see how that goes.

So that brings me to my poll question:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Please note that I can’t/won’t post anything too personal in these updates (which will probably be videos). It’s more about showing you India through my eyes and not focused on my relationship with my partner. I’m basically asking the question before I go so I can do my artwork on my computer before I head off. I’m not going to have access to my regular computer while I’m there. You’ll probably see one final video when I am back. 🙂

India in the Near Future

I disappeared for a while. I didn’t get kidnapped or anything while I was in Sydney. I knew once I got back, the next week would be really busy, so naturally I just kept all my thoughts to myself unless you are one of my unfortunate Twitter followers. There were a few things happening this week though.

indian-foodI mentioned a while back that I was planning to go to India. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen then. My whirlwind week consisted of getting told that I’m going to go to India, applied for my visa, getting that visa approved, and booking tickets. So, it’s a done deal and I will be heading off to India for about a month a few weeks after getting married.

Traveling has always made me a little anxious. I don’t really know why but have an idea that it’s because I don’t really like crowded places. I also don’t like flying, but once we take off, I’m usually fine, even when we land. I’ve flown a lot and I thought I’d probably get over it, but I haven’t. Take offs have always been a little unsettling for me, but I know I’m not alone in thinking that way.peacocks

I’m not really that great with going to unfamiliar places because, as I said when I went to Sydney, I have a fear that I’m going to get lost or stolen. When I go places, I usually just stay inside and don’t do too many touristy things. I’m going to try to work past this for this trip.

I think a lot of my anxiety will be alleviated because I’m going on this trip with my partner. I don’t think I’d go if I had to go or come back alone. I think that was one of the reasons I didn’t want to go last time because I’m just that horrible with unfamiliar places.

I’ll see how it goes. I know I’ll probably be putting random thoughts until I leave and showing you some pretty cool things once I get there.