Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Barossa Valley 2

Steven and I went around Barossa Valley and took pictures of vineyards. He also took me to a mausoleum which inspired me to come up with another photography theme. That will come out soon.

It is NYE and we will spend it with some gay friends and probably watch fireworks in Elder Park afterwards.

I hope to see all of you guys in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Barossa Valley

My 4-day stay in Nuriootpa with the Pope family was very good. They were all very nice to me, especially Steven's parents. It was nice being "adopted" to their family during the holidays. I missed my own family a lot that I found it difficult to sleep on Christmas Day. I just have to keep in mind that I have my own life now.

Nuriootpa is a beautiful town that actually resembles a city. The only strange thing about this place is its rows and rows of vineyards as it is very popular as a wine-growing valley. Many tourists come here to taste the wine but I do not drink alcohol so I was not able to taste that.

Steven and I visited Menglers Hill where they have very beautiful sculptures. It also displayed the beauty and vastness of the Barossa Valley.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Petting My Food

I am sorry if my postings have been delayed. So many things have been happening. One of which is my files getting corrupted. I was about to post photos of the Lobethal lights that remind me a lot of the Philippines. But then my digital camera acted up and I was not able to copy the photos to my computer.

Anyway, here is a photo of me petting an orphan joey. Steven's cousin found the dead mother on the road and was surprised to see this little cutie inside the mother's pouch. Fortunately, Steven's aunt is licensed to take care of kangaroos.

This animal is actually very gentle and friendly. It just loves being cuddled. There is one uncomfortable thing about it though--the anus keeps on closing and opening like a chicken's. I thought it was going to poop on me.

I will post more photos in the coming days. Nuriootpa is a wonderful town.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Murray Bridge, Karoonda, Lameroo

Remote towns in the Philippines are surrounded by crops like coconuts, rice, pineapples and hemp. Many people have a hard life because of the typhoons but they stay resilient and very warm to guests. They value their families and their friendships a lot.

Steven took me to the small towns in South Australia and I was surprised at how different the lifestyle is. People are very insular and very conservative. They do not like homosexuals. They do not comb their hair or press their clothes. And yet there is something there that attracts me towards them. They are real, extremely warm and very generous. They open their arms even if it is their first time to see you. They offer everything that they have to make you comfortable.

The landscape is absolutely amazing. I saw farmlands as far as my eye can see. We drove really fast and yet the farms were still there. Very fierce sunlight showed the blue sky hugging the yellow landscape.

This is the real Steven Pope and not the one who is in Adelaide. He is very warm and generous. This is where the love of my life comes from.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Lights Along Torrens River

It was nearing 10 PM and Steven pulled me away from the computer for a drive. He said we are going to see some Christmas lights. I was not that excited because Adelaide is devoid of Christmas compared to the Philippines.

So we went to Torrens River where a huge crowd was moving about.

We read "Merry Christmas" in different languages but it did not have one in Tagalog. That was disappointing. Anyway, it was fun seeing people with their young children wearing pyjamas and eating cotton candy.

I know it was very late but then it does not get dark here until 9:30 PM.

I miss the Christmas that we have in the Philippines where everything is lined with Christmas lights. Every street lamp is adorned with a star-shaped lantern. Every store is playing a Christmas song. Every house is filled with people smiling.

I miss the Philippines.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Career Limbo

I am doing well in this new country in many ways. I have rekindled very old friendships and establish new ones. They are keen and very helpful in helping me find my way here and I will be forever grateful to them.

I have a new love and my first ever partner in life. I actually hope that it will be the last one. I am learning new things from him and I hope he is learning new things from me. I am on my way on building our home.

The people here are very different from me but not indifferent. They are people that I can learn a lot from. They are people I do not mind changing me. There might not be much of a gay life but the other aspects of my life is being fulfilled.

But I am in a career limbo. My professional growth is very slow right now. In time, I will be back on my feet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quarantine (2008, movie)

Again, I was surprised at how small the cinemas are here in Adelaide. Steven told me that cinema 15 in Marion Mall is supposed to be the smallest. But then it is only the size of a conference room by Bangkok and Manila standards. The seats do not recline as well.

Steven asked me to watch this a few weeks ago. I researched online and I read some good reviews. I should have kept my expectations really low.

Jennifer Carpenter is amazing. I thought I would see Dexter's sister on the big screen but I was mistaken. On the other hand, Jay Hernandez is painful to watch. He is very handsome but he does not know how flirt with a woman. Of course, his portrayal of fear is a few wrinkles on his forehead and water sprayed on his face.

The story and the concept are OK. The portrayal of the characters just suck. It is hard to relate to them because they are merely stereotypes (especially the African migrants). The token zombie girl looks funny.

The CGIs are very convincing though. It is used in many of the stunts including a zombie dog attacking a man. The sound effects are OK.

I still like Blair Witch Project. I do not think CGI or special effects can top it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Taking Certificate IV in TESOL course

I came to Adelaide to look for a job as an ESL teacher but it became very apparent that I need a certificate IV in TESOL to be considered for a teaching position here. I immediately signed up for an online course with an in-class component.

As I expected, I am not learning anything new because I have been doing the same thing for 2 1/2 years as an English instructor. One of the schools that is discussed in this course is actually the school that is still technically my employer and it is the biggest one in the industry.

I am not yet sure if I want to ask for an exemption by gathering documents to prove to them that I am worthy of the certificate without going through the course. Or maybe it is easier and more practical for me to go through the course.

It is strange that all of my classmates in this course are Aussies who are inexperienced and who want to teach overseas and I am an Asian who want to teach here.
Anyway, it is just one hurdle among the others that I have to face until I reach my goal.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Adelaide's Picnic in the Park 2008

I was very excited to be in this event and my expectations were met. Holding hands with Steven and kissing him did not grant us extra attention. We saw other people kissing and cuddling and nobody cared. We felt normal as we are supposed to.

Steven and I met some of our friends. He saw some of his straight friends. In fact, there were a lot of straight couples going around. I guess it is because there is nothing much to do in Adelaide so some people just go to places where they can just relax.

Even before entering the venue, dogs caught our attention. There was a dog show and we were very ecstatic to see the wonderful dogs. Included in this posting is a photo of us holding a Jack Russell. Her name is B and we got a lot of attention because of her. She is just lovely.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Quantum of Solace (2008, movie)

First things first, the Marion cinema is boring, small and old. The curtains squeak very loudly. The seats do not recline. Customers are not able to see the floor plan before they buy the ticket. At least, it was not too cold inside.

OK now the movie--it was cool but the first Daniel Craig version is better. "Quantum of Solace" has a lot of car chases, mano y mano fight scenes and dramatic scenes. I do not mind that it has fewer gadgets and sex scenes but I do mind that Daniel Craig is only half-naked in this one (top part ho-hum!).

The stunts are daring and Daniel's suits are amazing. Those pants really hug his muscular buns really nicely. The visual effects are more believable than the other Bond films but that does not mean they are not over the top. They still are.

I just wish that we get to see Daniel's bare buttocks in the next movie.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann speaks against Prop 8

I am very much in love right now and it scares me that there are things that will keep me apart from the person I love. But it scares me more that these things are beyond my control. To make matters worse, it is up to other people to decide who I want to spend my life with.

I am still reeling from the result of the Proposition 8. More than half of Californians have decided that their own people have no right to be with the person they love. More than half wants to meddle with the very personal lives of other people.

I am very glad that non-gay people are supporting the gay community and questioning Prop 8. It does bring tears to my eyes that gay people are not alone in this fight.

And eventually, in every state, in every country in the world, we will win it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wildlife Kiss

This time it is a video of me and Steven walking on the wooden path inside the Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary. Notice how peaceful it is there.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Warrawong Sanctuary

After all the stress of looking for a job in Adelaide, I went to Warrawong wildlife sanctuary with Steven.

It was almost an hour drive from the city but it was very nice to share it with this man. We saw a few kangaroos sleeping under dry trees. There were some ducks and geckos enjoying the sun. A couple of emus approached me because they thought I was going to give them some food.

It is disappointing that we did not see a platypus or a koala but it was fun spending the day with a man I am in love with.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dexter has a boyfriend

Yes, you read it right. I am sure many of you did not expect that it would happen but it did. I have a boyfriend and it is not just dating or going out--I have a boyfriend!

Steven was introduced to me online by my friends in Adelaide in July. We had been calling, emailing and sending SMS to each other since then. We are looking for the same things in a partner and that is why we clicked immediately.

Here is a photo of us taken a few days ago in Semaphore Beach near Port Adelaide. It was fucking cold then but it will warm up very soon so I will be able to take more interesting pics in the next few days.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kangaroo Sausages

Yes, that is right: I am now hooked to kangaroo meat. I bought this pack the other day because it was very unusual.

The taste is rich. I am sure if Aussie parents raise their kids eating kangaroo meat, the world will be a better place and people will be healthier.

I am sure Filipinos would love this with fresh tomatoes.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dexter Cooks Kangaroo Steak

Last March, Peter cooked a kangaroo casserole for me and I thought it was beef. It was lean and very tender.

Yesterday for lunch, I cooked my own kangaroo steak. It was already seasoned so I only had to cook it. Like other steaks, I seared it on a pan and cooked it some more in an oven.

The taste and smell are strong but it is not really bad as many of my Aussie friends claim. I may still prefer beef for my steak but kangaroo meat is still tasty as a casserole dish.

So here is a picture of my medium rare kangaroo steak. Yum yum!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dexter does the Pokies

After ordering a huge mixed steak at the local pub, the waitress gave me a dollar so I could try out the pokeys (or slot machines). I could have kept the money for myself but my host Kerry wanted me to try it out. Kerry also gave me his free dollar.

I have to say first that I did not grow up in a household where the parents tolerated gambling. My father hated it so much that he never allowed playing cards inside the house. His influence is so great that even up to now, I still do not know how to play cards.

Anyway, so there I was infront of a pokey. I played 5 cents for each spin (I am not sure if I am using the right terms). I won one dollar so I spent it again. Then I lost it.

After that, Kerry made me try Keno. It is like a combination of Bingo and the lottery. I also lost.

Honestly speaking, gambling is boring because it is not intellectually or even physically stimulating. I do not see myself getting addicted. At least now, I can tell people that I tried it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Congratulations America!

I was with my friends when this was officially announced. I felt it is a start of a new day for America and for the world as the US president is the most powerful man in the world.

It has been a long time since the world actually approved of Americans' choice of president. But it is only recently that the world had recently desperately wanted one particular person as the president.

After having the least popular American president in history and amidst tons of economic and political challenges, Obama has a difficult presidency ahead of him. He has to deal with wars that he did not start. He has to deal with an economic structure that does not really support most of his people with corporations breathing down his back.

I believe Barack Obama will make it. I am sure he will be one of the greatest Americans in history.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Hate Qantas

Ok ok I have to tell you first that I arrived in Adelaide in one piece. I know it is not nice to use the word hate but that is exactly what I feel right now. I hate fucking Qantas!

Last April, I ignored the fact that they didn't have movies on demand on my flight from Sydney to Bangkok. I also ignored the fact that there were numerous technical failures in Qantas flights in the past several months. A few weeks ago, a Qantas plane dropped so fast that it caused spinal cord injuries in some of its passengers.

On 2nd of November, I was supposed to fly at 5:25 PM but we boarded the plane half an hour late. I thought that is OK--I would still be able to make my connecting flight to Adelaide. But that was only the beginning.

The pilot announced that there was an engine failure and that they were testing it. Hours passed and they mentioned they have to replace some parts. Three hours have passed and yet we were still cooped up in the airplane. I was getting delirious because I was extremely hungry. And then I saw them serving some food but my jaw fell open when I found out that these were only ice pops.

4 1/2 hours later, the pilot announced that we were going to fly. Keep in mind that we were still inside the fully-booked plane. Many of the passengers had connecting flights so the pilot assured the passengers that sound ground crew would assist us in getting to our connecting flights.

I asked a flight attendant for an arrival card but he never gave me one. I wanted to explode when I got off the plane but Qantas thought that I could take some more beating.

On the ground, we were greeted by two staff members. It was a fucking 747 plane with most of the passengers leaving Sydney and yet they gave us only two fucking idiots!

I spent 45 minutes at customs. I found out from a Vodafone shop clerk that my connecting flight was actually in a different airport. The idiots did not mention this.

So I found the check-in desk. I was also surprised that I had to check-in again and it took me 45 minutes to do it. Obviously, I missed my connecting flight and had to wait two more hours for my flight to Adelaide.

Finally, I arrived in Adelaide at 4:05 PM. I was supposed to arrive at 10 AM. Great job, Qantas!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Rambling OFWs (overseas Filipino workers)

I am now counting the days until I leave Bangkok. I have been meeting one set of friends after another. It is very nice to feel important but I think my waistline is growing.

Here are Phet and Jennifer. They work for the same company but at a different branch.

The traffic was slow on the way to the Japanese restaurant. I got bored so I decided to film them.

Thank you ladies for agreeing to post this video.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We'll Kill Ya

The US Americans will be voting for their new president in a few days. Hopefully, they will vote for Obama.

Before Obama starts a new day for this country, we should pay tribute to his predecessor, the honourable Bush Jr.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Returning to Oz part 5

(one of my first photos at work. That is Rotem--she looks so much different now)

One more week to go and Bangkok won't see me for a very long time. As each day passes, I realise that I am going to miss a lot of things in this city.

All of my friends know that I am in love with Thai food. Every dish explodes with taste. Fruit and vegetables are almost always fresh and they are included in many of their everyday meals. I actually surpass the daily requirement of 5 servings of fruit or vegetables.

Some people are making it difficult for me to leave the country as well. Some of my students are emotional that I am leaving. I have known all this time that somehow, we have gone beyond the student-teacher relationship. Some of them have become friends. Some have become my adoptive parents.

And then I have friends who I will miss a lot. I will miss all the ramblings and the rantings. I will miss the meals together and the late nights. I will miss the gossips and some personal revelations.

But it is nearly my time to move on.