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

Monday, August 01, 2005

Not Married Yet!!

By the way the wedding pictures in the photo section are not real but are of a day we spent modeling (standing around in wedding outfits) for a new hotels wedding brochure. We got a weekend away in any Radisson hotel for our troubles. I now fully respect the modeling profession and the hard work they do.

Well and truelly home now

Well, we're home four weeks and it's been an action packed four weeks. We've been flat out meeting up with every one which has been great craic but is taking it's toll on my liver. Plus I haven't got around to update this blog which I hope to do soon.

We bought a car and I've started to look for a job with a few interviews coming up. Sal was concentrating on getting ready for John and Trishs wedding which was great wedding. She has a month left of her holidays before going back to school.

Once I get sorted for work we'll move back to Dublin and back to reality but we've some great things to look forward to. My sister is having a baby in September the first grandchild in the family and we're going to buy a house in Dublin so it's going to busy.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


We stayed in the Resor Seminyak, which we both recommend, it's got a great pool and some great restaurants outside the gate which saves you having to brave Kuta (the strip) every night for something to eat. The Balinese people are so desperate for your money its very hard to go out at night with out being totally harassed by the hawkers trying to get you into their shops.

We found it very unsettling and we were delighted when we moved to a less touristy area for the final five days of our stay. We stayed at the Sheraton Lagona and it was absolutely fabulous. More swimming area than I've ever seen. The breakfast table alone was a gastronomic master piece. Being a five star resort meant everything in the resort had a five star price so we, being scabby backpackers, avoided buying stuff in the hotel and braved the hawkers every night and ate in the neighboring village for about 12 euro a night. The Indonesian food is excellent.

I took out the hotel hobi cat sailing boat for a blem on afternoon and capsized it which sparked a mini rescue operation by the hotel staff while everyone on the beach looked on. Put it this way I was a little red faces coming ashore and it wasn't from the sun.

All in all Bali is a beautiful island and we didn't see much as we just wanted to chill but they need to do something about the hawkers.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Big Waterfalls and Visa Hell

After nearly spending nearly a week in Cairns we planned an over night in Darwin before we flew to Bali the following night. We stayed at the Melaluca Resort which was very nice but not worth the $95 per night.

We'd a great day in Lichfield national park just outside Darwin. Jumping into plunge pools swimming under waterfalls and seeing some of the bush wildlife. We were on great form when we arrived early at the airport for our flight to Bali and looking forward to some five star luxury when the check in staff refused to check us in as we didn't have a visa!!!

Absolute nightmare. It was 10pm at night and our much dreamed about 5 star hotel room was taken from us. I couldn't believe it, I'd booked the accommodation in Sydney and was sure the agent would have warned me about the visa. It turns out Ireland is one of only a handful of countries in the EU that can't get a visa on arrival. To make things worse the next flight out of Darwin wasn't until three days later.

We then spent the next day, Friday, frantically running around the Darwin trying to sort out the visa in time for Sunday and trying to get our accommodation moved. When we got to the Indonesian embassy we were told under no circumstances was the visa going to be ready for the Sunday flight. Which meant we'd have to get the only flight after that which was Thursday. That would mean waiting around for a week. The whole situation was getting out of control and the two of us were stressed up bunnies.

We then tried all the other options of flying out of another city and skipping Bali, getting a refund on the hotel but everything just was going to cost us a bundle. I then went back to the embassy to see if we could just fly in and fly out of Bali with out a visa and the guy said no but something changed in his attitude and he said to come back at 4pm and he "may" have it for me. So we spent the day running around in the scorching heat trying to get accommodation in Darwin and Bali sorted (Stayed in the YHA which is very chilled and has a nice pool).

By four we were at our wit's end and where praying this guy would come through for us and he did with the help of a giant bar of chocolate which he proudly added to his stash.

We chilled out for the next two days just glad we were getting away on the Sunday. We sat by the pool and worked on the tans and in total we lost out three days accommodation in Bali one of which was free. That's a lesson we won't forget in a hurry.

Darwin is a much nicer city than people had us believe and it was good to soak it up over the few days unscheduled stop. I watched the super 12 final and we took in our first movie in ages (Star Wars). The museum is worth a visit if only for the Cyclone Tracey exhibit with it's "Cyclone Room" which was excellent.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Cape Trib

Cape Tribulation is about two hours north of Cairns. So we decided to hire a car and save a few bob on a tour. It's a huge tourist attraction and we'd a great day out. Eating at every stop we made and topping it all off with a nice meal in the salubrious Port Douglas.

Beware of the killer Stingers

BBQ Watter's Family

A cousin of Sally's Donal Watters lives in Cairns. Sal hadn't seen Donal since he nearly broke her nose when she was four. He's now living with his family in the Tropical Rainforested hills surounding Cairns. We meet up for the day and they took us on a tour of the local beaches. We'd a BBQ on Clifton Beach followed by a long walk on solubrious Palm Cove.

Snorkeling on Great Barrier Reef

After we got our hostel sorted we spent the day out on the reef,the weather was fab and we were on a smallish yacht with 12 people. We spent an hour in the water looking for Nemo. We didn't find Nemo but saw some reef sharks instead. Reckon Fiji is still the best place for snorkeling as the water is clearer. After a delicious lunch we went to Green Island where we watched a croc show. We sailed back to Cairns eating cheese and crackers and drinking wine. Perfect end to a great day day.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Cairns isn't half as bad as people make out. It's certainly not the outback muck savage redneck place people told us it ie.

We stayed in a shitty hostel last night at the back of a travel agent! Hello! That's the problem with blindly booking places over the phone. Don't stay at Hostel 89 (esplanade Beach Hostel). We've since moved into the Global Palace, none of the rooms have a natural light i.e. a window but this is a bonus in Sal's book; it doesn't have the potential insect factor of the first place. Don't be fooled by the free meals either, two of them wouldn't even fill a five year old let alone an adult. Other than that it is a really nice place.
The place we really want to stay is Gilligans which is more a Hotel than a backpackers but its all booked up.

Well, we're off snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef in the morning and then meeting up with Liz and Catherine Carlon tomorrow night to paint this town red.

Solway Lass - Whitsunday Island

Well, after what seemed like an eternity of rain we finally got some absolute glorious sunshine for a three day cruise around the Whitsunday Islands on board the Solway Lass, a hundred year old tall ship.

Solway Lass

There was about 30 on board including five crew. It was a truly excellence experience. We ate like kings, snorkeled, sun bathed on deck, swung from ropes and all in the company of some great people. We even had a film crew come on board film us for a travel show on the last day.

The seas were like glass for the whole trip except for about two hours on the last day when out of no where a mini storm rolled in which was really exciting and we got to do some proper sailing in torrential rain and driving winds. One minute all the girls were sunbathing in bikinis the next it's lashing it down and blowing a gale. And as sudden as it started it all ended. Two hours later its back to calm and sunny again.

Back on land we all headed out on the piss which was a great way to end a great trip and say good by to a motley crew.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Whitsunday Islands

After a 15hr bus journey from Hervey Bay in which the bus broke down in Bundaberg (2 hr wait) we made it to a very sunny Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. The sky is cloudless and sun splitting the rocks we can't believe it after all the rain of the last week. We're heading out on a tall ship for the next three day's which should be excellent if this weather holds up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Hervey Bay Fraser Island

Well Hervey Bay didn't have much to offer but it was fine we just chilled out really. Except for the morning Sal woke up and couldn't move her neck without sever pain. We gingerly got her to the hospital which was tough because the girl from the backpacker drove like a maniac. We waited six hours in the A&E to be told go home and take some Paracetamol that they couldn't do anything for her. Sal's a bit more flexible now so we'll leave tomorrow for some sunshine...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Fond Farewell Sydney

'As the sun sets slowly in the west we bid you a fond farewell' Sydney and those of you left behind. We're back on the road again and it's with mixed emotions but one thing we don't have mixed emotions is the weather. It's been pissing it down since we left Brisbane on Sunday. Noosa was a total wash out. I don't mean the odd shower it's been a constant tropical downpour since we arrived at noon yesterday. Apparently it's been raining there solidly for last three days. It was impossible to do anything so we decided to try and travel our way out of it and left Noosa a day early. Which is a shame as Noosa looks like an amazing little town. So today we spent five hours on bus watching the rain lash the windows until we got to Hervey bay which is a bit drier but not for much longer so we've made the sad decision to pull the pin on the camping on Fraser Island which would be tortuous in the rain. I don't think Hervey Bay has much to offer other than Fraser Island but, hey, we'll soon find out! The weather better get better for the Whitsundays....

Saturday, April 30, 2005

The end is near

We've spent the last week living out in lovely Manly in Megan and Grahams fab apartment. It's just like a fantastic version of Malahide. We really regret not taking Shane and Maries advise and living here from the start. We're making the most of it now and our city centre life seems like ages ago. If you are coming to Sydney live in Manly. Sal takes the ferry to work every morning which is a lovely way to start the day. She's got very sophisticated reading the paper and sipping on coffee with all the other suits on the ferry....not, it's more a case of staring blankly into space wondering how and why she's up so early.

We've just planned the last leg of the trip home, leaving next Saturday. It doesn't feel like long since we were planning the first leg of the journey.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Accommodation Malfunction

Well I haven't put up anything here for a while, mainly because I've been far too busy which is 'all good' as they say here but I thought I better share the weekends antics with you.

The weekend was a bit of a paradox, on the one hand we had this marvelous day out on friends fathers yacht, drank champers (staple outdoor drink for the ladies) and some beer while we gently cruised around Morning Bay(which is around the head from Summer Bay). That was followed by some great food on board and we watched not one but two firework displays. Did I mention before the Aussie lover their fireworks...anyway...

Then on the other hand we had the hassle of leaving the apartment we've had for the last 6 months. Getting it clean, posting home excess crap we accumulated and then moving into some temporary accommodation before go out on the boat. Then we got back to Sydney after the sailing and boy did we get a shock. We'd four big black shiny cockroaches sharing the room with us! All you hardened travelers and even Aussies who are used to the big buggers will laugh but we just couldn't stay in this place. This was about midnight so we split to a hostel. All this I must add was with a big box of food and books and using taxis. We moved hostel again on Sunday, back to the original one we stayed in when we got to Sydney, which is more of a hotel than hostel. On top of this the nice people at Bondi Waldorf are charging us for the night we didn't stay there. Pure rip off, when I rang to complain about the room they must be so used to complaints that they didn't even apologize just launched into damage limitation mode and told me that I should have contacted their 24 reservation line the night we left. Out of principal I'm going to pursue this to the hilt. Pure stress!

View From Balcony

Luckily Sal's ever giving, now ex, bosses Megan and Graham have insisted we use their Manly pad while they go on holiday after selling the cafe. How could we refuse, the place is on the best parts of Sydney and over looks Manly wharf and is beautiful. We owe them our souls at this stage they've been so good to us.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Da Opera with me Ma

Last night the Brennans went to visit their uncle Plunkett so me and the mother went to the opera in the Sydney Opera House. It was just amazing I certainly didn't expect it to be so good. It was Strauss's 'Die Fledermaus' and we'd front row seats, not the best acoustically apparently not that we'd notice but great view of the boys in the pit.

Me and Me Ma at d'Opera

The opera was really funny and understandable too, it was in English so that helped. We spent the intervals outside drinking champane looking out over Sydney harbor at the electrical storm rolling in. For someone who is used to Irish lightning storms the light show last night was amazing. I always imagined the Opera House being more interesting from the outside but the inside is just as good, it reminded me of Newgrange for some reason!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Taytos, chocolate and Ferry rides!

Both Sal’s parents and Mum have now arrived in Sydney. Sal’s parents arrived a week ago and my Mum last night.
Mum is hilarious she brought us:
  • 0.15Kg of Tayto Crisps
  • 1.8 Kg of Cadburys Chocolate (10 large bars)
  • 0.5 Kg of Barrys Tea (on top of some Sal’s folks brought us)
  • 0.6 Kg of Beetroot and Jelly (my favourite)

That’s 3 Kilos of stuff! I think we'll be eating chocolate and drinking tea for the next couple of months!!!!

Sal's folks seem to be having a great time we're out most nights with them eating and drinking. Gerry, Audrey even came to watch the Irish English match in a local Irish bar at 2am on Monday morning. Fair dues to them, they we the oldest by a mile but got right into the spirit of thing s and weren't put off by a pub full of drunken backpackers.

We organised a travel pass for them that gives unlimited travel on bus, train and ferry and they've just become obsessed by this ticket they've been to places I've didn't even know you could get to by ferry. Every day they do about five ferry rides and at least once to Manly. I'd say Sal and myself have been on about three ferry since we arrived so good on them. We meet them in the evening and they've trained it and ferried it around half of Sydney. I think the made up the 20 euro cost of the ticket in the first day.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Well, three months has passed since I started working and legally time is up with Ericsson so they’ve offered to sponsor for another three months. Which is great news but it does eat into our travelling time home, which is really what this whole trip is about. We’re aiming to be back home by the end of June ‘05 in plenty of time for John and Trish’s wedding.

We’ve two months left of the apartment lease and once that’s up we’re moving to the beach and forsaking the city for some suburban beach living, to County Bondi no doubt. It’ll be an extra commute but the city skyscrapers are getting a bit claustrophobic at this stage and we’ll probably never get the chance to live beside a beach again. Plus we’ve to savour the whole Oirishness of Bondi that everyone gives out about. I’m off to by my GAA shirt now.

Now that I’m sponsored I can apply for all sorts of allowances so it should make up for staying on a bit longer than planned. Tax (30% + 9% pension) and how you get away with paying as little as possible seems to be the biggest talking point amongst travellers here. Everyone has their own take on what can be done. Offshore companies are the latest one but no doubt the Irish Revenue Commission will find out about them at some date in the future and recoup the money with interest so I’m doing it by the book. Sal is going to continue her career in salad tossing and stay on at the cafĂ©. Her folks are here in two weeks, which is going to be great and my mum arrives a week later.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Australia Day

Yesterday was Australia Day and we'd the day off work, which was nice as it was a scorcher. So we wandered down to the harbour bridge a spent the day in a park over looking the harbour. As always there was plenty of free entertainment as we soaked up the rays. On the bay there was a fancy dress ferry race (best dressed won a prise), which seem to involve anything that floats, a tall ship race that was very slow, an aeronautical display and some guy's parachuting into water.

After all that we went for some food and drinks with friends down the Rocks and then on to Darling Harbour for yet another excellent free fireworks show, the Aussie just love their fireworks.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Symphony in the Park

You got to hand it to the Aussies they are great at putting on free events. The Symphony in the Park, in Sydney’s Domain is another example. It was basically a free classical concert, with lots of sound tracks like ET, 2001 A Space Odyssey and Star Wars thrown in for those of us who haven’t a clue about classical music. It was great laugh and like the Moonlight Cinema the Aussies were out in force with their Mega Picnics. We saw people carving chickens and others had industrial sized bar-b-q’s. Needless to say we’d a few stubbies and we were happy out. Great night topped with some fireworks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Moonlight Cinema

The Moonlight Cinema is an outdoor cinema in Sydney’s Centennial park and its such a good idea. Basically you rock up with your picnic at about seven and the film starts when the sun sets around nine. So you have all the Aussies who are totally prepared with four course picnics, champagne, pillows, duvets, bean bags and deck chairs and then there was us with measly towels and bar of chocolate. We went to see The Goonies, which I wasn’t looking forward to but it turned out to be such a laugh. Everyone there was in their late twenties so it was a real step back into childhood watching it again. Lots of crowd participation some much so a guy streaked. Not often you see that at the cinema. Really good night except for a bat shat on us but hey how lucky must that be!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Christmas Time

What are the odds of a cold overcast Christmas in Oz and a white Christmas at home. We braved the beach anyway just because it had to be done. The amount of nutters in the water was amazing but apparently it was warmer in the water than out of it. We braved the cold for a few hours,had a few beers and turkey sambo's and then went home put the feet up watched some movies with a couple of ports. A very different Christmas day I must say. The hole holiday season here less of a drink induced haze as it is back home so my liver must be loving it.

We went down to the Rocks on New Years Eve and then on to the harbor bridge for the fireworks which were a bit poor in my mind. We were right beside the bridge thinking it would be the focal point of them but it barely had more than a few minutes worth. I've seen better in Edinburgh. A lot of people were giving out about them. Good night otherwise. Finished it off in a Belgian bar.

After that we had two weeks off, We only went back to work on the 10th. We spent the rest of the time doing some well needed touristy stuff. Like the zoo, the beach and we spent a couple of days down the south coast which was nice. We borrowed Sal's bosses car and drove a couple of hundred km down the coast to Kiama and Jervis Bay. All in all a very chilled Christmas which was a welcome change.

things are going well on the Job front my contract has been extended by a month and Sal's cafe have hired a few more people so it's not as manic as it used to be.

Sal's folk's and my Mum are coming over in February/March and we're really looking forward to seeing them.