Wednesday, December 08, 2004
We celebrated it around the corner from the apartment in bar over looking Darling Harbour. We started off with a bottle of champagne but quickly we lost the posh pretence and it was on to scooners (the Aussie attempt at a drinking vessel - 3/4 Pint) and shots. The flavour of the night was a "Cock Sucking Cowboy" which is butterscotch brandy and baileys shot, ahh the thought of it now. Very entertaining night, between Liz's general madness and watching Clem (who's staying with us at the moment) and Pauline (Paddy's friend)chasing each other around the bar trying to soak each other with beer. All in all a great night with a trip to Maky D's at 5am to top it off.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
I'm starting with Ericsson Australia tomorrow working on Hutchinson 3's 3G services. So I'm a happy bunny at the moment, well at least until I start. I don't think its going to be one of those job's that you sit around for the first month waiting to get you user name and password to login. Basically the project deadline is Christmas, six weeks away, which doesn't leave a lot of time to get my head around all I need to know. But hey, I'm looking forward to getting stuck in besides day time television is worse here than back home. I can now go to the pub at the weekend in the full knowledge I truly deserve being there. Plus it'll be good to be back on the correct side of it too.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Out to Coogee beach we went which is a fabulous beach complete with Aussie life guards with ridiculous hats on. It was pretty cloudy when we first arrived but then the sun came out and its safe to say Sal now knows how strong the sun is in the southern hemisphere. On the beach we got a nice call from a very drunken, but still coherent John and Trish (back in Ireland) who where just home from Nicoles 30th b'day party which we sorely missed.
I'm starting in P.J. O'Brien's our local Oirish pub tomorrow just to keep the money ticking over until I get sorted with a proper job which is taking a bit longer than I had anticipated. So "torty tree of the buggers" to you too mate!
Saturday, October 30, 2004
We all meet up out at the Coogee Bay Hotel which was the first time we saw one of the eastern suburb's famous beaches not that we saw it properly it was more a glimpse as we got off the bus and walked the two meters into the hotel.
Big Willie couldn't make it which was a pity. We started in CBH and after several rounds of jugs we sensibly went for some food in Ranwick (12euro a head - eating out in Sydney is ridiculously cheap) and on to a proper Aussie local (bookie beside the bar) to finish. Great night.
Some more photos here.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
With a break in the weather on Monday we also had a break on the job front. Sal has started in a salad bar across the road from the apartment. It looks like a quiet little cafe from the outside but its turned out to be one of the busiest in Sydney. It's not her ideal job and its very hard work but she's just glad to get working.
I've a couple of job interviews tomorrow so fingers crossed I'll get sorted by the weekend. This weekend is a mini Heriot Watt Civ Eng reunion in the Coogee beach Hotel, Colin, Chris Cuthbert, Big Willy Dorethy, Kenneth Anderson and Me. It should be a laugh hopefully I'll have a new job to celebrate too.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
We got ourselves a very swanky pad in the city centre. Fully furnished which right down to a selection of DVD's for the DVD player which isn't the norm here most pads come unfurnished but we're not complaining. Its got that show house look about it plus it has a gym and swimming pool. We're sharing with Derek a Corkonian we meet in Russell NZ.
All we need now are jobs to pay for it all. I should be able to find some contract work easily enough, well, so everyone keeps telling me. Sal has it a bit harder. She has to get approved before she can teach and that can take a bit of time. She's a bit apprehensive about what she'll end up doing till then and doesn't really want to be doing nothing!
So far so good, it been quite a soft landing a lot of it due to Colin and Claire help and connections.
Monday, October 11, 2004
You can walk around Bounty in 20 mins so its exactly what you expect from a Fijian Island. We walked, swam, snorkeled, eat well and generally chilled out for the next few days.
Monday, October 04, 2004
He was gone in the morning and I didn't see him again but a week later, on another island, we bumped into an English couple who meet him since and his gash had got quite infected and he had told them about some irish guy he met on the beach that night who was kicked out of the dorm for snoring!!
Saturday, October 02, 2004
The second day I went snorkeling with Manta Ray which was truly amazing. The Manta Ray are huge and if you are brave enough you can ride their backs. Did some reef snorkeling after the Ray which I hadn't done before and I'm now hooked on. You can swim for hours and still see fish you haven't seen before.
Four of us sat up till 5.30am drinking and playing cards with two of the locals. We played presidents and assholes which is a great game but needless to say I never made president even though everyone else did. It wasn't helped by the Fiji Bitter, Jim Beam and some home grown. I think the last hand took about an hour to play. At one stage I thought I was playing the game under water and expected to see Nemo swim between us. Memorable night.
Friday, October 01, 2004
Thursday, September 30, 2004
The resort was called Sunrise and it really was rustic. The accommodation was a very drafty bure(straw hut) which Sal just didn't enjoy staying in for fear of inscets. With spiders the size of my hands I felt her pain. The showers were cold and one set didn't even have heads so it was just a slow trickle from a pipe in the roof.
But this was all part of the charm of the place and it was great to know you weren't in some serille touristy resort. We were actually living with and like the Fijians.
The food was interesting but the portions were tiny. Put it this way no food was left on anyone's plates by the end of a meal. If you didn't like something someone else ate it. I ate a Danish girls whole lunch one day because she felt sick. Waste not want not and all that.
But apart from this, which wasn't really a problem because we all could do with loosing a bit of weight, the welcome we got here was amazing. We were literally welcomed into their family. The Sunrise people where the most friendly of all the islanders we meet. Dutchy was the main man, who could remember everyones name where they came from which was no mean feet.
Because Sunrise is so remote and we were all part of one big (starving) family we got to know some great people most of them just starting their Fiji experience too and what happened was we ended up traveling down the islands towards the mainland together which was great craic.We'd meet people from Sunrise on the ferry and on every other island we stayed on.
About 20mins from Sunrise is the Blue Lagoon beach where the film of the same name with Brooke Shields was shot. It has to be the nicest beach we saw. Just amazing white sandy beach fringed with palms and the deepest blue water.
Apart from Blue Lagoon there wasn't much else to see or do but the Fijian lads kept us entertained with coconut tree climbing, crab racing, fishing, Fiji lesson and of course Kava drinking.
Kava is what the Fijians like to drink and by all accounts drink it every night. Its made from a plant root and is added to water in a big tea bag and hand squeezed. Its looks like muddy water and tastes pretty bad. Its doesn't get you drunk more numbs the body but a have enough of it and you'll sleep like a baby.
We were lucky enough to join the Sunrise Kava drinking ceremony one night. Which was immense, this wasn't any show put on for tourists this was just what the do at the end of the day. While the Kava was dished out they just sang, practicing the Bula (Welcome) song and other Mecka (a dance) songs. It was really cool thing to experience. Sal and Claire kept wetting themselves because its kind of rude to say no when offered Kava but the guy giving them the bowl had his big dirty green nail in it.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
We've just arrived in Fiji and first impression are great. Its cloudy and hot, we're hoping it'll be sunnier out from the mainland. We head to the islands in the morning.
Sal has just been attacked by a monster frog in the shower...happy days ahead.
Monday, September 27, 2004
We're really looking forward to the sun at this stage but a bit apprehensive about what to expect from Fiji. Possibly no electricity, phone coverage or internet for the next two weeks. Think of the film Castaway and thats what we reckon its going to be like. Will Sal survive with out a mobile and hair straightner. If not, no doubt Alan gets the blame... ;)
Bye bye camper van, we will miss you.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
The following day we met a friend of Paddy's just by chance on a ferry to a place called Russel. We spent a great day with him in Russel, eating and more eating and we're going to meet up with him in Sydney where he's just left for.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004
As it was the weekend we hit the town expecting a lively nightlife being such a tourist town but yet again bar a couple of pubs it was very quite. We met some NZ guys in the Pig and Whistle Pub which was a good laugh.
There is so much to do around Rotorua if you can afford it, I ended up doing a Zorb, just for the sheer "you can't do it anywhere else" of it. We wanted to do a dry Zorb which is getting strapped into a huge plastic ball and rolling down a hill but they were only doing wet ones which is when they throw a couple of buckets of water into the ball with you. Normally the water is luke warm but some Swedish asked for cold water. Needless to say I had a warm one. It was a good laugh.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
We wild camped on the seafront of a very small city called Gisbourne, where Cook first landed on New Zealand. This was a cute wee town but like so many towns in NZ it was a virtual ghost town after dark. We went to see The Village in the local multiplex on the main st. It was run by a friendly old lady, who seemed to own half the town and kept a Doberman behind her desk (she tried to get Sal to pet it - no chance, this was scarier than the film for Sal) and listens to the police scanner for entertainment. Needless to say we were two of four people watching the film which made it all the more scary. We then had to head back to our lonesome camper beside the sea. Aaaah.
We survived and the sun came out the next day. We went for a walk on the fab beach, had a Home and Away moment and then played some tennis.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
We imagined we would see some vines and get to see the whole wine making process so imagine our horror in the first winery when we were given seven different wines to try. We knew we'd try some wine but we thought that would be at the end and not at 10 in the morning.
We soon got into the swing of things and by the third or fourth winery we were experts at picking out oaked wines. We got dropped back to the ferry at four and by six we were starting to get hangovers. Great craic and because it is off peak we were the only people on the tour so we got some "extra" attention and judging by our hangovers we got extra wine too.
Friday, September 10, 2004
The campervan is everything we expected of it. Its absolutely amazing how much they squeeze into it. Of course Lord and Lady muck have splashed out on a "Deluxe" four berth version when most couples make do with a smaller two berth. So we could be back at Christmas at the rate we are spending our money.
Of course the campervan doesn't come with a TV and when we asked the rep about hiring one, her jaw nearly hit the floor and said most people come to NZ for the sites. But it gets dark at six so what sites can you see then. Anyway we popped in to a pawn shop in C'church and picked up a portable for 25 euro, no doubt stolen or something.
We spent the first two nights in the campervan in camp sites which was cool, literally but last night we decided to "wild camp" which is when you camp at the side of the road. Most "wild camping" happens out in the wilderness but not us, Wellington city centre did the job. We woke up to fantastic views of the bay and rush hour traffic rushing by it was great.
Monday, September 06, 2004
In Christchurch at the moment, we're picking up the long awaited Campervan in the morning...can't wait...
Friday, September 03, 2004
Stayed in Haast last night,in a very nice hostel(Wilderness Backpackers, very clean and friendly if a bit unhomely).We went for a walk on what must be a ten mile long deserted beach watched the sun set over the Tasman Sea, which mightn't sound much but we haven't seen the sun set since we got here, there has always been a mountain in the way.
In Franz Josef tonight (Glow Worm Hostel,absolutely brilliant,very cosy,free soup and spa.) An eight hour round glacier climb in the morning!!! Hope we'll survive. We'd a hot spa tonight soften up those muscles before the climb ;-)
We stayed in the Southern Laughter Hostel, which has a great atmosphere, free soup & spa and is very central.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
So we headed back to the nearest town Te Anua, 2hrs down the road, and spent the night in a woeful hostel. When we got up this morning the road was blocked by a rock slip so no Milford Sound for us. We are now back in civilisation in Queenstown. I think its dawning on us how remote NZ can be.
Best of luck to all the Teachers tomorrow, just think its nearly the weekend!
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
After the overnight flights ( LA - Auckland - Chrishchurch - Queenstown) we were like zombies and the whole thought of organizing ourselves seemed so overwhelmingly. It's the usual, everyone seems to know what they are at except us. The hostel, Hippo Lodge is class, its a series of small lodges each with its own lounge and kitchen. Ours is called the Honeymoon House as its full of double rooms and we're even sharing with an English couple of who are on honeymoon. They are really cool but so fecking organised compared to us. We were just blinded by their organisation. This morning, 7am, they were running around getting a packed lunch together,wraps with honey and lime hot drink for up the mountain, while we just bumped into each other sleepily trying to make jam on toast.
So with some sleep replenishment today we got ourselves as organised as only Alan and Sally can be and booked ONE day's snowboarding, which we are pretty proud of. One day at a time and all that. The plan is to see if we like the boarding before booking a few days otherwise we'll just ski.
The US drivers just love open road and it doesn't matter what lane that open road is in or what speed the traffic is going. Several times I'd have cars passing me on the inside and outside. This is fine and I got used to it but what I found astonishing was when you are on a two lane freeway and in a long line of traffic in the outside lane about to pass a truck. Cars will race up the inside lane (open road) right up to the truck and then shoulder their way into the fast lane. This happened time and time again. You are driving at 70 and these cars mussel in causing everyone is forced to brake. To make it worse all the cars in the line drive as close to each other as possible to stop the guys on the inside barging in.
I just left huge caps between me and the car in front and this was like Christmas to the other drivers they just lapped up any free road space even if only going a 5mph.
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Just arrived in San Fran, we got lost on the way in doing so saw a good bit (one hours worth) of the back streets. It's looking good, just going to head out and explore now. American leg of the trip coming to an end, we are really really astounded by how hospitable and friendly the yanks are. For all the complaining we do about them, the Irish welcome isn't a scratch on the American one we experienced.
Hi Uncle Sean, we really miss you and you look French! ( You can lodge that cash now) - Sal
Friday, August 06, 2004
Since it’s nearly time to go and since I haven't updated this in over a month I thought I'd put something down about the last month.
It’s been an absolute mental month. Between wrapping up Jeecom Europe, moving out of the apartment in Smithfield with 6 years worth of crap, getting all the final travel related things done and saying goodbye to everyone its been exhausting. It got pretty stressful which is fine as it’s going to make the trip all the sweeter by the time we get going (in 12 days).
We've booked the American leg of the trip with the help of Robbie (thanks), who was just back from the west coast. We're staying in LA for the first night then hiring a car and going to Yosemite National Park camping with the bears for two nights, San Francisco for one before the long drive back to LAX for our flight to NZ on the fourth evening. It's going to be over 1500 mile by car, which is worrying me. Have we bitten off more than we can chew? I'll let you know.
Over the last couple of weeks we've had some great nights out saying good-bye to the various groups of friends. It great craic but it really takes it out of you (getting old). Everyone asks are we excited but I'm not sure if its really sunk in yet. Someone said it will after a fortnight when you'd normaly expect to be going home. There has been the odd lump in my throat which I didn't think I'd experience and I'm afraid to tell Sal about because I'm supposed to be the strong one!
Thanks to those who gave us advice and things for the trip, surprisingly useful and thoughtful.
For the next week I'm helping out around the folks house, seeing a bit of them, going to see the lads from home, see a dentist and get the final final things I need like an old fashioned toothbrush.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
If you are interested I drew up this spreadsheet of Irish and UK Travel insurance providers and the cost of the policy plus a breakdown of the cover. I eventually went with gohop, they offered a middle of the road package with ski cover for 30 days for €289 per person compare that to Trailfinders' €680.I would also recommend Usits insurance but you have to book the trip through them to avail of it.
Friday, June 25, 2004
I had mixed emotions seeing the car being driven off, sparkling after a good will wash. I really grew attached to the bloody thing but then there is the relief of not having to worry about it anymore. The money is safely in the bank and I made a healthy 20% return on my orginal investment which ain't bad with interest rates as low as they are.
Yet another item I can cross off the to do list. I'm gradually getting through the list, next travel insurance!
Monday, June 21, 2004
Sally opted for a similar design but by a lesser known brand and at half the price it'll be interesting to see if lasts. Sal's is a 70ltrer which I think is big but its better than the 100ltr wheelie one she initially wanted. At least if I end up carrying her pack its not going to be massively different to mine. Phew ;-P
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
They are extremely nice people in there and took a lot of time over the consultation (no rushing you out the door mentality) mainly working out the best Malaria drug to take. The jabs themselves were painless.
Another thing off the to-do list. Rucksack and travel insurance next.
For those interested the Jabs cost €145 including consultation.
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Whatever way he takes it it's going to take a while to either shut down the office here in Dublin or train up someone to carry the torch further. So I emailed Ed and awaited his phone call yesterday and when it came it was soon apparent he hadn't read his mail so I had to tell him over the phone, which was interesting. Ed is a compulsive talker and after telling him I was off around the world for a year in two months he was silent for the longest period I have every experienced. He now thinks there is something under hand going on because both Paddy and myself have left to go travelling but I assured him there wasn't.
Any way we decided to shut the office buy the end of July and try and recruit someone to keep things ticking over from a smaller venue most preferably an ex-employee.
So last night it dawned on me how much shite I've to do to get this office back into the shape it was in before we moved in. It might be possible to do a deal with the landlady considering we've turned this basement office into a fully serviced modern office it would be a shame and a waste to lose it all.
Well the relief of not living a lie anymore is great but that has being quickly replaced with panic that I won't get everything sown up by the end of July. I really want the beginning of August to chill out at home with the folks and not have to worry about work!
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
At this rate the pack will be full with electronics, with a phone and ipod in there already. I have to call a halt at this. Watch this space for some sample pics when I get it.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
It's not really a round the world trip, more around Austral-asia with a stop off in LA.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
18th August Dublin - LA
22nd August LA - Auckland - Queenstown
2nd October Auckland - Nadi (Fiji)
16th October Nadi- Brisbane
TBA Cairns - Darwin
TBA Darwin - Bali
TBA Bali - Singapore - Bangkok
TBA Singapore - London - Dublin
Roll on August 18th
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Sals friends were over in New York for mid term and one of them bought it. Saved me roughly €100 on buying it here. I also bought a thing called an iTrip, which connects to it and turns it into a mini fm radio station (illegal in Ireland BTW). Very handy for use in the car and playing songs through a stereo at home, no wiring it up, just pop on the iTrip and tune in the radio. For any one interested, the best frequency to use in the Dublin region is 88.8, its very clear.
I going to be able to put all our music and all the music gathered over the years at the office on it and still have room to use it like a portable hard drive.
You got to hand it to the Apple designers they really take design seriously. Even the way it was packaged is very well thought out. I reakon its a design classic allready.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
We're going for a conventional seven stopper ticket with BA and Quantas however if you are doing anything slightly different and want to stray off this beaten path you might find a difference in price shopping around.