I'm not the author Alan Glynn (click here for him) but fully recommend his novels Winterland & Darkfields

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Sal's ?th Birthday

It was Sal's birthday at the weekend. I can't tell which one but it was a big one and put it this way the free bus pass isn't as far off as it used to be.

Birthday Girl

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

Bellurgan, Sydney, NSW, 2000

While I was working in the Irish pub Padhraic Mulligan and Stephen McShane came up to the bar I was well shocked I'd no idea they were coming over here. Later that night they met up with a guy called Raymond Finnegan also from Bellurgan then Liz Carlon and her sister Catherine came in. So for a couple of hours there six people from Bellurgan in PJ's. Small world eh! And thats not even mentioning the stacks of heads from Dundalk we've bumped into.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Ho, Ho, Hot

Its just doesn't feel like Christmas down here. We went shopping recently and the shops are full of fabulous Christmas decorations, amazing animated window displays, carols playing in the background but it's just to wierd because it's in the 30's and we were walking around in shorts and flip flops. The Christmas cards have snow scenes on them too!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Gainfully employed at last

Well after about four weeks and five interviews later I've finally got the start!

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


We eventually got off our asses and went to the beach on Sunday (we got there about lunch time, everyone else was there from about 8am we reckon, there is no lying in on the weekend here).

Birthday Girl

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

Civ Eng Reunion

The Civ Eng reunion was a good laugh, reminiscing about the nonsense we got up to in Edinburgh. I've such a bad memory so it was good and bad to be reminded of a few things.

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

When it rains it pours

Well last week was postitively miserable here. It rained all week and when it rains here it tens to rain! Everyone we met keep joking that we'd brought the Irish weather with us. We weren't finding it funny, we were feeling pretty down, the job hunting wasn't going to well and we couldn't even go outside. We even sat in over the weekend to conserver our precious euro.

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

Sunny Sydney

We arrived in Sydney from Fiji expecting some restbite from the heat only to arrive on the hottest October day in 150 years. It was 37C! Not the nicest weather to be running around trying to get stuff sorted. Thank God that was a one off and the heat has abated to the mid twenties.

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

Bounty Island - Fiji

After an over night on the mainland which was well needed,ordering from menus and hot showers become luxury's after a week on the islands, we arrived on Bounty Island. We stayed here for 5 days. Bounty in comparison to the earlier resorts was luxury. It had hot showers, dvds and the food was amazing.


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

Kuata - Fiji

When we got to this island we found out sals bag had gone awhol.We did get it back the next day but it was a bit of a scare. To make things worse they had over booked and we ended up in the Dorm instead of a double room. This didn't really bother us but because I snore, esp after some beers, its a problem for everone else. So I ended up sleeping out on the beach in a hammock which was quite cool. Got to see a really nice sun rise. But as I was dropping off to sleep a english guy who obviously couldn't see in the dark tried to get into the hammock with me. He got a shock when I said "hello". He'd just fallen and seriously cut his leg but assured me he was fine as he had half a bottle of vodka in him. He hopped into the next hammock and we had a Waltons moment before we both started a blissful soring session.

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

Korovou - Fiji

Korovou was more of the same but a bit more civilised. The accommodation and food was getting better. Korovou had a huge beach side deck on which we ate our meals as the sun set over the cove. There was more Meka and Kava drinking and even a fire dancing show which was different.

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.

Korovou Sunset

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

I'm a shithead

After dinner each night the Fijians put on some music and would ask everyone up to dance and while this was really nice of them, all we wanted to do was chill so one way to avoid dancing was to play cards. Some of us were playing shithead and I mentioned doing a forfiet who ever is the shithead. I suggested that the looser ask a Fijian up to dance. As soon as I suggested it I knew I was going to loose. Its happened me before: Princess St, run, nearly naked. I ended up being the shithead and had to do my own forfiet. At this stage the dance area was totally empty. So in front of about 80 people I asked one of the Fijian girls for a dance. As soon as I asked her my heart sank as she was absolutly delighted to be asked to dance(the Fijians love to dance). I felt really quilty that it took a dare to get me to ask a Fijian to dance. As punishment the CD player stopped for what felt like and eternity just as we started danceing. There I was with the Fijian girl standing like a pleb in frount of the whole resort while they struggled to fix the CD player. They eventually fixed it and I got the dance out of the way but it felt like I was in one of those bad films where the jock does something for a dare then falls in love with the girl who in turn finds out about the dare and breaks it off and he spends the rest of the film trying to win her back. I don't think the Fijian girl found out but what a shit head.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Yasawa Islands - Sunrise - Fiji

The Yasawa islands are a group of Islands to the North West of Nadi. Basically the further north and away from the main island you go the more rustic things get. So unbeknownst to us we started on one of the most northern islands.

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.

Our Pad

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

Arrived in Fiji

We topped off a great six weeks in NZ with a fabulous dinner in the revolving resturaunt at the top of the Skytour in Auckland (Highest building in the southern hemisphere). I totally recomend doing it. The meal was really resanonable and included the entry fee to the tower. We got to see the sun set over the harbour and all the lights come on accross the city which was quite a sight. We traveled back accross the bay by ferry to get back to the camper.

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've just spent the final couple of days in Auckland before heading for Fiji. It's great to be in a proper city again. Unfortunately we didn't get to see the match. Only one pub in NZ was showing it and it was going to be too expensive and awkward to get to it. Hard luck Mayo...we were praying for you! Going for a nice meal tonight and then up early for the flight to Fiji.

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

Paddy in Paihia

After the caves we buzzed up north to meet Paddy who Alan used to work with, picking up our Fiji tickets en route in Hamilton. We spent a night in wild camping just north of Auckland in an area equivalent to Dalky, the neighbor's weren't too happy when they woke up and found their view of the beach blocked by the Travellers. Lovely place though. Off we went and met Paddy in the Bay of Islands which is a fab place. It was great catching up Paddy and comparing stories. We'd a few beers and headed out and had the largest burgers ever. Went in search of another pub but like so many other towns everything was closed or close to it. But you can't stop the Irish when they are thirsty so we found a cute wee bar tacked on the side of a hostel and finished our night there. We felt at home when a fight between a local stag do and some other locals broke out. Unlike Dublin there were no bouncers to break it up so it was a bit of a saloon style fight. Only the English and Irish stayed on to watch, the other tourist all fled.

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

Black Water Rafting in Waitoma Caves

This was just amazing and one of the highlights of the trip. You get totally suited up in wetsuits, minerhats and inner rubber tubes. You climb down into some caves which are pitch dark and which have an icy river running through them. So you crawl, walk, climb, swim and float through the cave system. Jumping off waterfalls and switching the headlamps off when you get to the glowworm cave which light up the ceiling of the cave like stars at night. We did this with about eight other people and the craic in the caves was great. Again this ended with a hot shower and complimentary soup and bagels (yummy). We met a couple from Wicklow too, who'll be in Sydney when we are there which was cool.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

White water rafting in Taupo

Taupo is a attractive lakeside tourist town near the Tongariro National Park which has an active volcano. We stayed here for two nights and had a amazing day rafting on the Tongariro river. We woke up and the sun was shining so we decided to do the rafting. We were both a bit aprehensive about what to expect but it turned out to be exactly what you expect. We spent two hours (12km) on the Tongariro river which is cut gorge like through Tongariro National Park with a good dose of both rapids and time to see the wildlife. The water was alpine cold so every time we got a wave of it in the face you knew about it. Soup and brown bread, provided, topped off a great day.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Smellyville (Rotorua)

We smelt Rotorua before we got there. Its the thermal capital of NZ and has lots of hot springs, bubbling mud pools and geysers every thing you'd expect for a volcanic area plus the smell of rotten eggs. The first thing we did was have a well earned spa and massage. For about 30 euro you get an hour in outdoor hotpools (36-40 degrees) then a half hour massage or a facial which Sal went for. Then back into the hotpools. It was total luxury for the price and they treat you like royalty.

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

East Coast of North Island

After a good night out in Wellington, we made our way northwards to a nice and chilled campsite in Palmerstown North. We didn't do much here except chill and went for a swim and a long spa. Hastings and Napier next. Not much to report except the wonderful National Aquarium in Napier which was well worth the visit.

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

Wino's in Blenheim

We decided to leave the south island on a high note so went on a wine tour of the Blemhiem region before getting on the six o'clock ferry to Wellington.

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

New Abode

We are officially part of the traveling community now. We picked up the camper van on Tuesday from Christchurch and have made steady progress northwards, we are now in Wellington.

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.

wild camping city style

Monday, September 06, 2004

Glacier Walking

Had a great day on the glacier, 8hr almost constantly hiking but it was worth it for the unearthly experience. We even saw a small avalanche which was had the erriest thunder like sound. There is always one of the group who falls into a glacial puddle (2ft deep of icy water) and that was poor Sal but the thought of a hot shower and a pint beside a roaring fire kept her going. We had that pint later and last orders was at 10pm, can you believe it and that was Saturday night.

In Christchurch at the moment, we're picking up the long awaited Campervan in the morning...can't wait...

Friday, September 03, 2004

West Coast - Rainforests and Glaciers

We eventually left the Queenstown region and crossed the Alps into the West Coast and what a difference a mountain range makes! Its about a couple of degrees hotter which is heavenly after the cold and wet of our last day in Queenstown plus we've being traveling trough the most amazing rainforest covered valleys. Which is yet another country NZ now looks like. So far NZ looks like Canada, Ireland, and now Brazil!! (Mind you we haven't being to Brazil or Canada so its just what our we think they might look like)

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 ;-)


TV is such a novelty for us at the moment. There was no TV in the first hostel which we stayed in for the first week. So when it absolutely poured down all day on Wednesday we sat down to some good auld telly, and good auld telly it really is. Between reruns of Corrie and The Bold and the Beautiful NZ TV makes pretty poor viewing but we lapped it up like the TV addicts we are but I had to laugh when I caught Sal watching Maori News in Maori.It wasn't as if she was just watching it for a split second while flicking she watched it for a good ten or fifteen minutes before I pointed out to her what she was watching. Bliss ...

We stayed in the Southern Laughter Hostel, which has a great atmosphere, free soup & spa and is very central.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Wash Out in Milford Sound

We left the what was becoming a very comfortable base in Queenstown to go and see Milford Sound which is a huge Forjd, think Carlingford Lough on a massive scale. We left a very sunny Queenstown but by the time we reached Milford, 4 hrs later, it was absolutely pissing it down. When in rains in this part of the world it seems to RAIN, average rainfall in Milford is 5.5 meters per annum. Anyway we couldn't see a thing so we just sat in the car park and ate our packed lunch like a couple of OAP's.

Milford Sound in the rain

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


We're just settling into Queenstown life. It was a jaw dropping experience getting off the plane. The scenery is amazing and so was the temperature (0 degrees). Queenstown is a class little town. Every house has an amazing view of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

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.

the view of queenstown from hostel room

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.

Freeway Driving in California

Freeway driving was an mad experience. We covered 900 miles with the radio stations constantly disappearing off the dial not that they are up to much unless you like "soft rock", thankfully we had the ipod.

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

Survived Yosemite

We went from 4 star luxury in LA to -4 star in Yosemite, but we surived and really enjoyed it by the end. The scenery was amazing, photos here in a while. We bit off more than we could chew, by being scabby we took a one way bus trip to the top of the valley and decided to walk down the "four mile" trail. It should be called the "four hour" trail. It was 30C so so steep. Fair dues to Sal who did it all in her flip flops and a mini, every one else had hiking gear.

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

Nearly Time To Go

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

Final Ticket Payment & Hidden Charges

Since we are now insured for cancellation I decided I'd pay off the remainder on the tickets. Of course the final price has risen by €50 each due to an "increase in global oil prices". These are the hidden charges they don't tell you about. In total we paid an extra €€204 each above the advertised amount of the ticket. Hmmm not impressed considering airlines are supposed to hedge the price of oil on an annual basis but what can you do and besides on the grand scale of things the ticket price isn't a big portion of the overall cost.


I finally got our travel insurance sorted out. What a nightmare. Finding a reputable company and then reading through all the fine print to make sure "that it does exactly what it says on the tin". There are a surprisingly large number of Irish companies that do Backpacker insurance.

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

Car Sold

This time it really is sold. No messing like the last time.

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

F**king Students

Had a bit of a set back selling the car. A student from DCU who agreed to buy the car a week ago basically kept stalling when it came to actually coughing up the cash. I stupidly told other potential buyers the car was gone. I was very suspicious but he gave me his word he wasn't f**king me around and he'd take it off me at the weekend which has just passed with out as much as a call to say he wasn't going to take it off me. Very rude. The jumped up little shit has no manners. Anyway the car is back on the market as of today. I've learned not to say its sold until the reddies are in my paw and not to be so trusting.

Packed Up

I bought a rucksack/backpack at the weekend. €€135 for a 60ltr Berghaus Silhouette. It's a travel pack rather than a hicking pack, with a large front loading zip for easy access to the contents. It also has a shoulder strap cover, useful to save the straps for baggage handler death. It comes with a i-trak tracking system which just seems to be a glorified address label, but heh it was free so complaining. It's also got one of those detachable day packs which I thought I wouldn't want but reckon it could be handy esp. when you can't or don't want to bring the larger pack with you.

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

Jabs of Joy

Just got me jabs, oh what a delight, honestly. After a quite a bit of shopping around I decided to go with the Albany Clinic on Fitzwilliam St. because most places charge the same thing and the Albany Clinic is right beside my work.

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

Resignation Time

After my sole workmate beat me to the post about two weeks ago I've been mulling over when to hand in my resignation and I after careful consideration and consultation with various people I thought the most honourable thing was to give Ed, my Taiwanese boss who lives in Taipei, as much notice as possible.

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

VW Golf for Sale

Its time to off load, what has become my beloved, golf. It passed its NCT with only the brake lights needing repair so time to sell. I've put up this page so potential buyers can have a goo at it. I tried linking to this page from a free add I put up on the Buy and Sell but the cheeky gits removed my link and also didn't publish the advert in the hard copy of the paper as punishment. Looks like I'll have to invest in some real paper inches to get some more exposure. What's needed is a daft for cars.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Geocities Remote Link Test

Geocities block remote linking to images but one work around is to rename the file extension of the image you want to link to as txt.

So here goes:
 you should see a red motor bike

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Another travel toy

I bought this little baby (Canon Powershot A60) this morning for £99 on amanzon.co.uk. A steal in my eyes. It seems from various web reviews its a cracker for the price and that's taking in the fact its only 2 mega pixels. At £99 I won't be worrying about losing it when traveling or taking it out on the raz.

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.

Phone to blog test

Just testing the email to blog functionality from my phone.If this works it will make blogging very easy, esp for Sal who is an sms freak.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


I've a large gap between my two front teeth which the dentist insisted he narrow for me when I was at Uni and because it was free I agreed. All was fine until last year I went for a cheap check up in the dental hospital in Dublin. The second year student was great very but she decided I need the gap redone and again I agreed only this time it has only lasted a year as opposed to 5-6 years since the initial version. Version 2 has crumbled already so this got me thinking I should get the auld teeth a check up before venturing off around the globe.

It's not really a round the world trip, more around Austral-asia with a stop off in LA.

Illustrated route

Thursday, April 22, 2004


We finally got around to booking the trip on Monday and the faffing around costs us about €200. Ticket price now €1664 instead of €1555. Ah well, its just great to have it booked. It feels a whole lot more real. I still can't believe its going to happen. The itinerary is as follows:

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


Last weekend I took the short hop over the Irish sea to Holyhead to pick up a little investment. With the holiday fund getting eaten up by inflation I decided to invest the money in a car that I heard was going cheap. The car, a black 3 door 1.4ltr 52K on clock Volkswagen Golf with alloys, was owned buy a girl who works in London who just recently picked up a company car and wanted to get rid of the Irish reg'ed golf asap. So I duly obliged at the right price and hope to sell it on for a small profit. If you are interested please get in touch.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Ultimate Travel Toy

I’ve just got hold of the ultimate travel toy for the trip one of these little babys:

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

Around the world ticket

I've had lots of "advice" on this, where to get the cheapest etc. but as it turns out there seems only to be a few quid difference between the agents we went along to. We tried Trailfinders, Abbey Travel and the Australia Centre but everyone quoted the around the world ticket at €1555 ex tax.

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.