Monday, 31 December 2012

My Melbourne yoga setup

I've been pretty diligent with my morning Ashtanga practice since I've started traveling around Australia. I've done yoga on a lot of carpets, kitchen floors, and quiet little corners.

In my expertise, carpet throws off balance and makes jumping forward and back really difficult. So, I try to avoid it.

But kitchen tile is incredibly hard, so I grab a sarong or towel to cushion my old bones.

The view of stove, vacuum, and table fades away by Surya Namaskar B.

I'm loving self-practice because I don't have to wait for adjustments (while at the same time, I miss them), and I can listen more carefully to my own breath and rhythm. I'm expecting my return to Mysore to be loud and busy as compared to self-practice.

There's no better way to usher in a new year than with a good, strong, knock-the-sense-back-into-you Ashtanga practice!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

A triathlon...of sorts

For Christmas and New Years, Steven and I are staying in a beautiful condo in Melbourne.

We chose it for its amenities: pool, hot tub, gym, grocery and mall right underneath.

We figured, if we're stuck indoors for Christmas and New Years when everything's closed, we might as well go to the gym and attempt to make some muscles. We hear all the pretty girls like big muscles.

I went around the world (like 2 or 3 different bookstores, so a huge bother to my very busy life...not) to find this book because this girl kept mentioning it in her blog. So far, it's very readable and interesting, and I've only read 2 pages!

I've been anticipating this book for so long that I was already inspired by the cover. I decided to do my version of a triathlon in our beautiful gym/pool.

We lifted heavy, HEAVY weights in the first leg of my triathlon.

Steven told me what to do, because I'm not sure how to make muscles, and he has some, so maybe he'll give me some. He's going to be my trainer!

Then, I went on a bike and I did about 20 minutes of biking.

The last part of my triathlon was the EPIC swim.

The pool in this building is amazing. It's 25 meters and almost always deserted! I did a few good laps, but my arms were sore from the first part of our triathlon.

This is what TRIUMPH looks like (in an elevator). 

What would your triathlon be, if you could do anything?

Monday, 24 December 2012

Froyo in Melbourne

Merry Christmas from Melbourne!

This is where Steven and I will spend our holidays.

While we haven't really fallen in love with Melbourne, as we have with other cities, Steven and I found mochi balls in Australia!

It's froyo, coffee, and desserts--all organic! 

The downside is, it's not a self-serve froyo bar. That means you get as much yogurt/toppings as they give you, not the 1:2 yogurt-to-mochi ratio that Steven and I usually go for.

But at least they had mochi! First place in Australia that we've found with mochi balls!

We got Mango and Green Tea froyo with kiwi, strawberries, and mochi!

I can't describe how pumped we were to get our mochi fix.

Until we ate it...

It's passable, but barely. It lacked the plump, chewy goodness of Menchies mochi. The taste was almost artificial, or preservative-y.

But the yogurt was as good as Steven has had, which is the good news.

We discovered (through extensive research aka back of the napkin) that Cacao Green is somehow connected to Red Mango...and Koreans... We're guessing Koreans bought the Australian rights to Red Mango and renamed it Cacao Green. I know a simple wiki search would settle this, but I am FAR too lazy to do that.

We walked away pretty happy with this, the latest of our FroYo adventures.

Random cool tourist picture:

This was taken at Hosier Lane, a famous graffiti landmark in Melbourne.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Our first vegemite encounter

During our Fraser Island adventure this weekend: 


It's disgusting.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Brisbane Kangaroo Point oh-bloody-pain run

Is it that time again?


Run time!!

This evening, I took my Garmin out on the Brissy town.

When we first got to Brisbane, I was amazed by how many walking/running/biking trails there were all over the city.

They even made 3 specific paths for a shorter run (red, 3.39 km), a longer one (blue, 6.47 km), and the longest (green, 8 km).

In my non-running condition, I decided to do none of these. Just go as far as I could along the river to Kangaroo Point.

The running path seemed awesome when I first started.

Designated pathway for bikes vs. runners.

Beautiful river to the left, arbour pathway to the right.

Eventually the cliffs appeared to my right. Lots of local rock-climbing groups use these cliffs as practice. You can sort of see two people standing at the top. I think they climbed up there. Or they're climbing down. Not really sure. 

In any case, they're definitely having more fun that I was, fighting the wind today!

These Brisbane-ers are really healthy. 

The paths were busy with runners/walkers and I saw plenty of this along the way--outdoor boot camps! These guys were kicking and punching on a giant chessboard (I think?) in front of Kangaroo Cliffs. 

This was the view from the Kangaroo Cliffs looking out at Brisbane River. Awesome sunset that my crappy iPhone didn't really get. Sorry! 

By the time I was running home, I could really feel my knees and the blisters on my feet. I'm in no running form, and the hard concrete path didn't help either. 

My sad, sad stats: 
27.24 minutes
2.77 miles
9:53 min/mile average

Not exactly a stellar run, but every run counts, even the sad ones, right? 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Santa surfing

This is how Santa travels in Australia--rally up the dolphins and surfboard his way around the continent.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Walking isn't cardio, Steven

Steven and I spent this past weekend at Surfers Paradise (yes, they don't have very good grammar sometimes here Down Under). 

One of my heart challenges from my sister was to jog 5K up a mountain, 5K on a beach, 5K in a desert and 5K in a city. 

Well, there was plenty of beach at Surfers Paradise! 

My stats: 
2.18 miles or 3.5 KM
10:02 min/ mile

The verdict: 

Running on sand is bloody PAINFUL

My feet, toes, calves, ankles, front of shins, back of shins, insides of shins... everything HURT for days after my run. My feet still feel sore and stiff! 

This is not the work of 2.18 miles... it feels worse than 10K, and it's all because of the shifty sand underfoot. It doesn't help that I run barefoot either! 

Later, Steven and I were on the bus and this happened:

Steven: "I feel like we got a good cardio workout in with all our walking."

(We walked from Surfers Paradise to Broadbeach, just in case you wanted to stalk me with Google Maps or something creepy/sweet like that.)

Sandy: "Walking isn't cardio, Steven."

Steven: LOL "The look on your face when you said that. Let's recreate it and take a picture so you can blog about how silly I am."

That's a totally true conversation absolutely word-for-word it really is.

Later, back in Surfers Paradise, we found Yoghurt City, a self-serve yogurt bar like Menchies or Yogurty's back home.

Unfortunately, the people in the joint never heard of mochi balls.



We got an assortment of fruits and candies and dried banana pieces, which was really all that appealed to us out of their small selection of toppings.

The yogurt (we got a mix of passionfruit and green apple) lost its taste once we added the fruits and banana. This is where Menchies is the KING! Their yogurt manages to stay tasty and tart through the toppings.

Steven rates Yoghurt City 2 and 1/2 kangaroo kicks out of 5.

Don't kick kangaroos. Stay in school.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Byron Bay Lighthouse hike

Last week, Steven and I visited a suburb near Byron Bay, a popular surf/vacation/resot town. 

One of the highlights of our trip was the Byron Bay lighthouse hike. 

The views were so jaw-dropping that our jaws literally dropped and we had to pick them back up, dust them off, and surgically sew them back into our faces.

To get to the lighthouse, we took a 20 minute bike ride.

So, you see, we started off already tired.

The winding, little residential streets took a steep uphill at some points, so we got off our bikes and walked it (don't judge me, it was a HUGE hill!). 

At the start of the walk (and throughout), we got lots of signs and notes.

Already, from the height of the start of the trail, you can look down and see the entire Byron Bay.

Water dragon alert!

 There were a LOT of steps! Great cardio workout. There were even people running this loop. Our host calls this path their local gym.

The trail reaches the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. Sorry for the face...sun in eye. I was also worried about losing the sun, and having to bike home in the dark.

Which we did.


This was definitely one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever done.

The lighthouse is by FAR the most beautiful lighthouse either Steven or I have seen. Very well kept, pristine, beautiful lands and structure. A really amazing hike.

I put on my Garmin so my sister could Garmin-Connect-stalk me. Here are the stats:

Bike to lighthouse walk:
23 min
3.38 miles

51:16 min
2.19 miles

Bike home:
16:59 min
2.51 miles
(because we walked into town for dinner, and biked from there)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Marvellous Creations!

Jelly beans and crunchie wafer bits covered in milk chocolate.

Weird and delicious!

Australia, you are awesome.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Kangaroo hunting

Steven and I are staying at a private home here in Byron Bay. The host family has an apartment attached to their house with it's own entrance, kitchen and bathroom.

Not only is it AWESOMESAUCE, but the family is awesomesauce as well.

We chatted late afternoon yesterday about how Steven and I haven't ever seen a wallaby, roo, or really anything yet.

So the family offered to take us for a little drive into roo country (a big park, really).

"Is that a tree stump in the distance?"

"No, it's moving!"

"It's a kangaroo!"

They never let us got close enough to feed them or anything (after all, this wasn't a zoo. We literally walked around a park). This one here stood in the sunlight all James Bond-like staring at the Canadians approach.

They hopped away once we got too close. It was hilarious! But also marvelous! It's so cool that these animals HOP to get away from things that could possibly hurt them. WONDERFUL IDEA, EVOLUTION!

There it is! That's a roo!

After our Roo Sightings, we walked over to the local golf club and had dinner at The Deck, a nice little eatery.

It was curry night, so we both had a nice curry with rice, yoghurt sauce, crispy chip-like things, and NOT HOMEMADE NA'AN! Oh, sister, I miss you (and your GAH-mazing baking skills) so much.

I ordered chips with aoili (French Fries with flavoured mayo, for all you Canadians) on the side because I'm a Chip-a-holic and gosh-golly-gee these were AMAZING. Are the potatoes here yummier or something?! Mmmm!

Today, we did a big beautiful hike that I'll post about later! The photos are so amazing you'll have to hold onto your socks. Or maybe take them off completely. Or whatever you're into with socks. I accept you. Cool.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The right way to do breakfast

After a home practice (those back bends HURT) and a quick shower. 

Breakfast at 9 AM, while your boyfriend is still sleeping....

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The hearts

Before we left Toronto for Australia, Steven and I got a very special gift from our friends.

The card reads:

"Dear Sandy + Steven,

From our hearts to yours before your big journey!

Just some words of advice and ideas of things to do together on your year-long adventure. There's more where this came complete 3 heart ideas, let me know & I'll send your SPREADSHEET of love ideas! <3


I've been friends with Adrienne since I was 2, and she's always been an excellent gift giver. This really topped the list though!

Each heart in the stack had a "thing to do" or a wish for safety and happiness and the survival of spiders, cockroaches and killer sharks.

We completed our first challenge tonight!

Observations about the supermarkets:

1) Prices seem steep, but they really aren't. Everything here is measured in kg, whereas back home we do lb for some items, like apples. The apples here ranged from 3.99 per kilo (granny smith), to something like 5.99 per kilo (for pink lady).

The Loblaws flier for back home shows me 4.39 per kilo for apples, or 1.99 per pound. See? Not really a big difference for a fruit that seems to be in season in both Toronto and Sydney.

Now, we did notice that grapes were crazy expensive--16.99 per kilo! But that might be seasonal. I don't think grapes are in season back home either.

2) There are funny names for some foods, like "Paw Paw" (giggle) and Capsicum (so scientific!)

3) Tropical fruits are readily available! Mangoes, papayas, pineapples, and melons! Wonderful selection for winter-broken Canadians.

4) Eggs weren't sold in the fridge. Why aren't eggs in a fridge?!?!

5) There are family-owned fruit or vegetable stands here in some suburban malls, which helps cut costs for people like us (trying to save as much as we can)! I got 2 green onions for free from the nice man at the vegetable stand just by asking for it!

"You sure? Two is enough?"

"We're only here for one evening and we're cooking dinner..."

"You only feed him one green onion for dinner? What kind of diet is this!?"



So the supermarkets here really aren't that expensive or different. Steven and I have kept ourselves fed (and vegetarian!) for quite a few meals by cooking at home.

More challenges to come!