Travel Journal: Christmas Dinner double and Cyclone season

I had not only one but two Christmas Dinners with the flatmates. Our first on the 24th (European Christmas ) with myself, and two Dutch flatmates each cooking a course and it turned out my soup was better than I thought so that was good. Our  main course of lamb was a little under cooked for myself and but that’s the way our chef likes it so we were polite. I feel our final flatmate made the best course – pancake mix pancakes for dessert. It was a nice little night. Our second was a bigger affair and thankfully I didn’t have to cook for this one. Now that a few more people were in the house we had a big Boxing Day dinner as well. With flatmates coming and going as one headed off to the Whitsunday Islands for a summer break and with the addition of fellow flatmate who had just returned from Fraser Island and several of the guys from the flat upstairs it was all very busy in the house

Christmas Dinner (mark II)

On the menu tonight Swedish meatballs and Pork with lots of sauces and veggies with chocolate cake for dessert. Dessert was supposed to be Christmas pudding but apparently the supermarket had sold out. I was ok without the Christmas pudding and I don’t think anyone other than our English flatmate (who was desperate to have it) would like it. After lots of food we stuck to the tradition and ended up watching Love Actually only I had to “translate” the Portuguese bits in the Colin Firth story because our version didn’t have the subtitles for it. It made me realise I have seen that film way too many times.

Other than eating, I actually managed to get skype to work and opened presents with back home via video. I only had one box because I had asked people not to send things encase they got lost or nicked at customs and also because whatever was sent would then be more weight for me to carry in my backpack for the rest of my trip. However, Andrew chose to ignore that request and I did get a shiny new iPod for my combined Christmas and 21st. I’m very happy to get it even if its supper shiny and I don’t want to touch it encase it scratches. It will be a lot handier than my dodgy phone to pick up wifi and check emails etc. Everyone back home seemed to like their presents or at least were good at pretending to.

The satellite picture of Cyclone Tasha

The Christmas period however, had a bit of added ‘excitement’ with weather warnings for Cyclone Tasha. The news was filled with updates on the cyclone’s predicted course but basically no one could really predict and so the entire East Coast of Queensland was told to prepare for the worst on Christmas Night and Boxing day. Thankfully for us Tasha had downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached us but in Cairns, where the cyclone hit first, there is a lot of damage. There is widespread flooding everywhere and most of Northern Queensland lost power on Christmas day. Cyclone Tasha was only a categories 1 cyclone, the smallest and as Michiel puts it “cutest” cyclone you can get but it was still pretty frightening to watch the radar pictures on the news. I have however become a  true Queenslander and do have the government weather radar system saved as top bookmark. It has not reached home page status but it might get there as cyclone season gets into full swing.  This is something I adopted from working at Lone Pine where the radar page is on a screen all day to watch for the tropical storms and hopefully get warning of them before they hit. So we’re only suffering the tail end of Cyclone Tasha but she is only the first of the season and with a second predicted for Tuesday my eyes are glued to the news.

So to end on a cheerier note I’m also waiting to hear back from The Wilderness Society as to whether I shall indeed be volunteering at Brisbane’s Sunset Sounds concert in January where the concert makes a generous donation to the Cape York World Heritage campaign, in return for our volunteers helping with the clean up! The Wilderness Society is campaigning to ensure Cape York Peninsula including all its animal and plant life is protected for generations to come by gaining World Heritage status. Sounds pretty worthwhile to me and as a bonus I get into the $200 concert for free even if I’m working part of it. But over Christmas no one answers emails so I wont hear back until the 4th.