Written by Milton Lai
Well, it seems that it has been 4 months since I installed this blog. Time to start blogging. The past month has been the most enjoyable so far - starting my new job, and just got home from my short holiday. About a month ago, I received confirmation that I had received a position for my industrial training as part of my uni degree. This placed me with my final week at my previous job of nearly 2 years. That involved packaging and dispatch. What I needed and received was an I.T. position relating to my studies. So as of the 11th of december, I started my new job as a computer systems officer. The weekend before this, I planned to go mountain biking again with the girlfriend. My last 'free' day before full-time work was to begin. This proved to be quite a horrible experience. We headed to the Oaks Trail which is a simple, enjoyable ride lasting less than 30 kilometres. This was all well and good as we had been on the track before. What we didn't, well I didn't intend on happening was getting lost. We hit a picnic area which is supposed to split into a dirt road and a bike trail. Last time we were there we headed on the dirt road. This time I 'thought' I knew where the entrance was to this trail. It ended about 3 minutes after we got on there and it continued on a dirt road. So I was thinking it was just a loop trail. Continuing on for about 20 minutes downhill on this dirt road we hit a dead end at Red Hands Cave. As stressed as we both were, I called the Glenbrook NPS and asked whether to turn back or was there another way. I was recommended to go through the walking trail which had a sign saying no bikes. I was told it was faster but needed to carry the bikes just towards the end. So we continued on riding down a long set of stairs till we were right in the valley (10 minutes in). I forgot to take note as to how long the walking track was - big mistake. The track we were on was definately a walking track. There were logs lying across the track every 20 metres or so. The track was just wide enough for the bike to fit through, without carrying it, most the way. So we were determined to get home. Having continued on this track for nearly 3 hours, we reached a large rock platform area where the track seemed to have ended. There was no sign of a track anywhere unless we climbed. It was at this point we decided we were lost and I ended up calling for help. Police were sent out to search for us. At this point I had left my bike behind because my girlfriend was able to carry hers (also at the risk of scratching her beloved bike). She really wanted to get out of there before dark and we powered on, eventually hearing a car. We were about another 15 minutes till we got out. This was why I wish I had paid more attention to the map in the beginning. Headed back into the trail to get my bike and we 'only' then had to get up the final part of the ride which I believe is a climb of 150 metres over a distance of 1 kilometre. So a day trip that was supposed to be over before 5 (since we were doing good time) ended at 8. I know now either never divert away from the dirt road at the picnic ground, or someone please show me where the trail is. I believe when I hit the wrong dirt road, I am supposed to go into the picnic ground and there is a track somewhere there, but as far as I have read, no one has given PRECISE instructions for me to follow. At least if we do go looking for it, we know never to go on that walking track ever again. So after a long and tiresome weekend, being quite the opposite of what I was after, my first day of work started and I was placed in a small but important project which had me doing PHP, not that I knew any PHP at the time. The system needed a few features added in and a few aesthetic changes. I was able to learn a fair share of PHP in the first week and complete the project. My second week came and linking to the first, since it was christmas time, there was a lot of eating to be had. I was also told on numerous occasions that this will not happen again until next year so to not get used to it. The second week had me researching a project the company might employ. Also helping out my co-workers with enquiries and I.T. help for the rest of the company. Bit of a quiet week since people were going on holidays. Finishing up with that week, lead me into christmas. Spent most of the weekend, christmas and boxing day with the girlfriend and planning for our little holiday. Who knew how busy the shops in the city were going to be on boxing day. If you were there, you would've been lining up to get into Myer, or lining up at any register that was open. I would say about 100 people were queuing to get onto the first escalator on the first floor, with most people being very calm and collected. We only made it up to the fourth floor. Everywhere was either too packed full of people, or you had to dig through piles of things to find a bargain. We headed up to Newcastle on Wednesday for a spot of shopping. Then we continued up to Nelson Bay. Fantastic weather up there, and at this time of year, plenty of people around. Fishing was great as well. Spent about an hour fishing and caught a yellow tail and a couple snappers - all too small to keep. Then headed to out to dinner with some local fish and chips, rented season 4 of Friends on DVD and watched that most the night. Thursday was a big day. My idea of a holiday is of course to pack as much as you can into a day as possible, but not everything suits your itinerary. So at 9:30 we headed to Anna Bay where we hopped on Quad Bikes for 2 hours. Good fun, slightly overpriced, but an experience to be had. After that we headed to One Mile Beach where we hired surf boards and my girlfriend, having had one lesson, started to teach me how to surf. She got me a surfing lesson for the following day, but she really wanted to get out there, so we did. I ended up catching a few waves back to shore. I definately needed a wetsuit or at least a rashie. My chest was burning afterwards, having to slide on the board but your skin just sticks to the board. Finishing off with surfing, it was shopping night so we headed back to Newcastle to find one of the other shopping centres and found a westfield. Quite small and disappointing for a Westfield, but nonetheless a shopping centre. Had dinner there, and headed back to a good nights rest since we were heading home in the morning. Friday came and we had to pack everything and leave. We got to Manly Beach at about 1:30 but we had to get longer boardshorts since my girlfriend's ones were too short and had received grazes from the surfboard. Lesson started at 2 when we were in the water, everything was great. Was able to catch nearly every wave I set out to catch. Makes me want to get a surfboard. Headed back to a friends place for a BBQ, before heading home to a good nights sleep back in bed.