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By: James Bicknell

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Sunday, 22-Oct-2006 13:44 Email | Share | | Bookmark
All good things.....

Steve and Charlotte
Charlotte and Dan
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must come to an end.

I am writing this back in England, where I have returned home to a deluge of rain and washing.

The last two days saw me do more touristy stuff. On the Thursday the weather was shining so off we headed to Bondi beach. The view of Bondi is great but the water is freezing! Therefore we stuck to sunbathing and watching the world go by. You see some strange people at the beach but the guy in the posing pouch was a bit over the top.
In the evening I met up with more of my Aussie friends who took me on a tour of Sydney's more unusual drinking establishments, where I got slightly intoxicated before getting home at about 1ish.

6 hours later I woke up on the final day of the holiday. Sarah and the kids were leaving for a wedding early so I had to say goodbye to my new friends Oscar and Rosie, but look forward to seeing them all when they are in England in December.
After they left I headed into Sydney to finish off the souvenir shopping for the nephews and nieces and to go to Sydney Opera House. I have been outside it before, but to go on a tour and learn all about the constructionand history, and see the inside was fantastic. I would really like to see a performance there one day.

And so the holiday ended. The highlights - Pav and Claire's wedding obviously, Blue Mountains, meeting up with some great friends. The lowlights - coming home and jet lag.

Thanks to Pav and Claire for the invite, Jay and Sarah for their hospitality, and Steve and Charlotte for being great travel buddies (despite Charlotte being always hungry).

Hope you have enjoyed my blog.



Friday, 20-Oct-2006 06:41 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Making new friends

Cheeky Monkey
Junior Malones
The winner and his prize
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Coming over to Australia is about me meeting old friends, but this time I made many new ones, two of which are very special. Oscar and Rosie Malone. Rosie is a beautiful bonnie six month old, who is so good I have only heard her cry 3 times the entire holiday, and also has a tendency to suck on her feet, something which her dad Jason is hoping she isn't able to do when she is older. Oscar is a two year old bundle of pure energy. Whilst I have been staying here I have improved my drawing and playdough skills, increased my knowledge of Bob the Builder and got to know lts of Wiggles songs. I am not complaining though, as Oscar is a really nice kid.
Having not experienced the energy force known as Oscar, Steve and Charlotte offered to take him to the zoo. Sarah, myself and Rosie tagged along for a delightful morning looking at the animals. Much to our surprise Oscar was unbelievably restrained, unlike some of the animals, especially the gorilla who decided to play with himself in front of an audience, lions fighting over a lioness and a chimpanzee who took recycling to the extreme and had a good feed on his waste.

Monday, 16-Oct-2006 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Blue is the colour

Really blue
Three Sisters
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Sunday the plan was to get up very early to get the train to the Blue Mountains. Unfortunately due to someone ringing at 5am (10 pm UK time) I woke up 10 mins before the train was due to leave. So if I ever find out who it was.....
Anyway, one hour later we were on the train to one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I have to admit I was skeptical as to if it was actually blue. However my skepticism was unfounded.
We got on a red bus and headed out on a tour. First stop was Scenic World. To get to this place we had to traverse the Scenic Skyway, a cable car across ravines 720m high. I did feel a tad uncomfortable but the views of the Three Sisters (see the pictures below) were great. Once we got to Scenic World we then went on the Scenic Railway the steepest descending railway in the world. We almost had to lie down in the seats it was that steep. So, just before it started those great wags put on the music from Indiana Jones, suitable as it was a white knuckle ride. After a cable car ride back up and a short lunch we then went a short trek which resulted in us crossing a short bridge on to one of the Three Sisters. Despite my hating of heights I am glad I did it.
Finally we went to see Leura Cascades. This is a spectacular waterfall, but unfortunately due to the drought in Australia this was more of a trickle. I hope to go back to see it in all its glory.

Sunday, 15-Oct-2006 08:38 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Friday 13 - Lucky for us

Manly beach
the ocean
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In the last entry I had arrived in Sydney and gone to the football match. Well, the next day, Thursday, saw me wake up with a terrible hangover, which was not helped by workers using a pneumatic drill outside. So eventually I got myself together and went into Main Sydney (Jay and Sarah live in a delightful suburb called Balmain). Steve and Charlotte were doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb with her brother Dan, but I am too scared to do that, so spent the time getting to know Sydney again and getting ideas of things to do. I then headed back to Balmain to move some very heavy furniture and have a wonderful BBQ with Jay and Sarah.
We had decided to go to the beach on Friday 13th, and luck seemed to be on our side as the sun was shining, with temperatures in the mid 30s. It was hot hot hot. We headed over to Manly on the ferry and then spent some time catching the rays and enjoying the views! Once we were too hot and sandy we headed back to prepare for an evening of drinking once again.
Last time I was here Jay took me to a pub in Balmain (ironically called the England) and introduced me to a lager called Redback. I do not like lager much, but this stuff goes down a treat. Luckily as well, hangovers are less severe with it as well.
After the scorcher of Friday, Saturday turned out to be even hotter, so with layers of sunscreen and our hats on Jay, Sarah, their 2 kids, Oscar 2 and a 1/2, and Rosie 6 months, and myself got a bus into Sydney to meet up with Steve and Charlotte. After this the Malones went home but Steve, Charlotte and myself went to the Rocks Market, a quaint place which sells the bizarre as well as the touristy. Later that evening we met Charlotte's brother Dan and went to eat in a revolving restaurant in the Sydney Tower. Much to my delight there was a carvery, so I happily requested 4 meats (including Kangeroo - nice) but turned down the opportunity to try camel. After getting our money's worth we left to prepare for the Blue Mountains trip the following day.

Thursday, 12-Oct-2006 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
What happened in Croatia?

Preparing for Perth Real Estate 101
At the Perth Mint
Crikey Mate
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Well its been a little while since my last entry so I thought I'd give you an update. Well since the wedding on Sunday we have been doing larglely touristy stuff.
Monday saw us take a cruise down to Freemantle on the Swan River. I fully expected to take lots of photos of historical stuff on this cruise but the captain proceeded to tell all and sundry the price of real estate along the river side, with every area being the most desirable. So if you have anything between A$500K (GBP 225) and A$20 Million (GBP 13.25 Mill) I can recommend some great places. On Tuesday we had to check out of the hotel at 11.30 but were not flying until gone midnight so we had some time to kill. First we went to the Perth Mint which I found most interesting, but as it is a active mint no photos allowed. We actually saw a gold bar being made there and I discovered I was worth nearly GBP 1 Million (A$2.35 Million) in gold, although that was only because I was wearing my backpack at the time.
After the mint we went to Perth Zoo. Firstly a piece of advice. If you are in Perth and wish to go to the zoo wear some comfortable shoes for walking, as you will have to do a fair bit. I was wearing my "thongs" and my feet and legs ached for much of Tuesday and Wednesday. However, the zoo is incredible and I will be posting pictures soon (storage problem to sort out). The orangutans were probably the best, although none were called Clyde.
To finish off this killer day we went to the casino. Both Steve and I were doing well in the Blackjack but the croupier was starting to talk to us (trying to put us off I think) so we called it quits with Steve up and me evens for the night to go take the killer red eye flights to Sydney. I now know why they are called red eyes as after a 4 hour flight with no sleep or on board entertainment I arrived in Sydney absolutely shattered but faced with a whole day ahead. This didn't last long as I soon fell asleep at Jason and Sarah's house.
Luckily though I did wake up in time to go and watch Australia play Bahrain in the "soccer" which was not the best of games but saw 1 good and another great goal as Australia won 2-0, a result which I later found out was the same as Croatia's against England. The coverage over here has been sketchy but they have been showing the second goal to their delight. Thank god I'm thousands of miles away.

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