Bill Bryson’s Down Under

I can be quite a cheapskate when it comes to buying books. Though I may spend a lot on comics, I have reservations about shelling money on books. Looking at the way I take care of my books, it seems fitting that I buy second hand book instead of brand new ones.

It was just my luck that buying second hand books in Australia is a joy. Not only are they cheaper than buying brand new, most of the used books I was able to buy were nearly new. It was actually in Melbourne that I started collecting and got hooked on travel books.

One of my finds was Bill Bryson‘s Down Under. Bill Bryson is one of the names I often come across when people mention travel books, and find his book about Australia is very fitting indeed.

Bryson writes well, and can illicit quite a few chuckles while reading. Not only was the book a joy to read, it was also a great way to learn about the history of the country where I currently am staying. For me, history is interesting, but it can get quite boring to read. Down Under presents gives you a nice alternative to boring prose about how Australia came to be, and is a recomended reading for every travelling headed down under.

Out of five stars, I give this book a 4 1/2.

Where to go and what to buy

So here I am, back in Manila and daydreaming about my next trip. I want to go overseas, but I also want to visit a new domestic destination. I also want to buy a new camera, preferably a DSLR. The problem is, I don’t have that much money.

Do I:

Buy a DLSR and go on a domestic trip


Travel overseas and pacify myself with a compact digital camera

I would prefer the overseas travel and DSLR, but I have to be realistic; that isn’t possible.

Why do I always have these thoughts when I’m broke?

Getting the itch again

Even before I came home, I already told myself that I won’t be travelling anytime soon. After all, after 3 months of holiday, I have a mountain of work waiting for me, not to mention the credit card bills I have to pay.

However, reading forum threads about places I haven’t been to yet is trigging that desire, and right now, I have Cebu Pacific’s and Philippine Airlines’ websites open in my other browser.

For other travelbugs out there, how do you cope with life in between trips? Especially when you’ve just come home and have no money.

Being cheap in Australia

Coming from a third world country, where things are dirt cheap, checking price tags in Australia can be quite shocking (not the good kind of shock you get when you look at Indonesian prices). At first the prices look cheap, but once you convert it to peso… ay caramba!

That is why they say that when you travel, you shouldn’t convert prices anymore, else you won’t buy anything. However, I do believe that it’s still important to convert — mainly to check if the same product sold in your own country is sold cheaper as compared to where you currently are.

The cost of traveling in Australia is definitely not cheap. Excluding airfare, you can expect to be shelling out around between AU$50-80 (US$40-70) a day, and that’s already being cheap (4-6 person hostel dorm room, 3 cheap meals a day, full day’s transport, maybe a little extra for beer or admission tickets). Also, if you want to visit the top tourist attractions, you would have to spend a couple more bucks for admission (AU$10 upwards). Some attractions are also situated outside the city, and not as easily accessible by public transport, leaving you with no choice but to drive there using your rented car (or bombs, as they call it) or join a *shudder* tour group.
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