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To Dubbo I go!

Sitting at the Sydney airport, waiting for my 1hr flight to Dubbo... (And train fares here are weird. It cost me AUD17 for the 2:45 trip to Newcastle, but it just cost me AUD12 for the 20 minute trip from the city to the airport.) I'm going to spend a few hours at the zoo there (it's supposed to be really good; it's an extension of the Sydney Zoo, which is very small, so they put way more stuff out in Dubbo.) Then it's off to Tooraweenah, 120km to the north, population 76, to visit my friend James. I'm renting a car out of Dubbo, and I've never driven on the left side of the road in my life, so this should be interesting! At least it's on fairly unbusy country highways, not in a city. Be scared, Australian drivers... I've been warned all about the dangers of kangaroos and wallabies that jump in random directions into the road too. Exciting animals they have here!

The past couple weeks have been quite fun. I've done a bunch more hiking and walking around the area, to the point where I seem to have slightly injured my left knee, so I've been giving it a rest the past couple days. Went wine tasting with Shana as planned when I was up in Newcastle as planned which was a lot of fun. We hit half a dozen wineries and a brewery, and I tasted more wine than I'd have thought possible in a single afternoon. Bought a dozen bottles of wine total, and her parents are in the shipping business so I left it up there and they'll arrange shipping it home for me for much less than it'd otherwise cost!

Let's see... I met up with Sam (of Sam and Noam) on Monday, and she took me all around the Eastern Suburbs which was a lot of fun. The coastline has tons of beaches as well as rocky cliffs, so it's rather nice. I saw the famous Bondi Beach of course! Tuesday, a nice geocaching friend in Sydney took me on a geocaching tour of the city; found 7 caches while getting a very nice walking tour of all the interesting places in the city. The funniest thing happened after finding one cache in the middle of the city: we started crossing the road and this random guy pops up from behind us and is like "so how'd you like the park?" So I started wondering why this strange guy was talking to us... And it turned out he was the owner of the cache we'd just found! What a random chance encounter. He'd seen me taking pictures of the cache site and figured we were hunting it.

So this weekend should be fun... I'll have limited net and cell access (apparently if I find a tall hill I MIGHT get a cell signal), so it'll be nice to be removed from civilization temporarily! I'm going to some sort of Christian men's club-type activity with James tonight; he assured me they're completely non-confrontational about religion so it should be fun to meet these folks who live in the middle of nowhere. I'm sure they'll all be wonderful people.

Oh yeah. I've decided I'm going to get certified in scuba diving next week! I'm going to take a 3 or 4 day course, which will give me my basic certification. Then I'm going to try to head up to Cairns the week after and go diving around the Great Barrier Reef. Should be tons of fun; I've been meaning to get my certification forever. Gotta make it up to Melbourne some weekend too to visit a friend there.

Well, I have a flight to catch so that's that for now. Oh yeah, obligatory geek commentary: I finally got my nice 1U Opteron in service, since it's been sitting there for months (while my 6 year old Celeron 433 steadfastly held its own.) Moved over all the websites from the Celeron, and now I have a box with tons of disk space and enough CPU power to run Gallery at more than a crawl, which is a step in getting my pictures in place. Off to DBO!