Cherry Ripes are the best chocolate bars EVER!

Trip Start Nov 12, 2012
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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Australia was as fun as ever, catching up with friends and this time family!

I started in Sydney where I stayed with the couple I met volunteering in Sri Lanka - Ivan and Lauraine. Ivan is from Sri Lanka so it was fun to see him in his home in Australia.

After that I headed to Adelaide to meet up with Natasha who I first met in 1995 when we worked together at Innes National Park in South Australia. Nat and her mum, Lenore, picked me up from the airport and we then spent the next 5 days working out her brothers problems. All the same problems that had been there the last time I visited 2 years ago. Nothing changes and nothing did this time either!

We had a great night discussing why middle age men run off with younger women and in one particular case - Asian women. Now after quite a few glasses of wine - someone said in the group that "perhaps its because they have an extra muscle in their you-know-what". Errrrrrrr........Nat whipped out her phone (ha ha had you all fooled there) and found out that this is of course total bolloxs and is made up as a reason why sad middle aged men leave their wives for younger women! Not just because they are total losers mind you! But because they are thinking with the only muscle they possess!!

Nat returned to Darwin and Lenore and I hung out and chilled for a couple of days before I went to stay with Nat's dad, Ron, and his partner Mary. Mary was busy harvesting the many veggies from their land and made a fabby tomato relish which I couldn't wait the allotted 2 weeks to have some on my sarnies. Yummy. Must try when I get home and find 4 kilos of tomatoes just lying around.

My first Yoga class EVER was christened with the discovery of a dead mouse in the village hall! Mary valiantly picked it up and flushed it down the loo before we started. My foot is still sore from being kicked in Sri Lanka so rolling a squash ball on it was a worry but it seemed to help a bit. After the session we did some relaxation exercises on the floor with a pillow, blanket and eye mask. My inner chakra went into overdrive and I was asleep within about 5 minutes. Ooops.

I then headed to Melbourne to meet Erika and her family. I met Erika in 1996 when I was working for Surrey Wildlife Trust and staying in Guildford. Erika was 18 and on a gap year and we have stayed in touch ever since. What can I say about the 10 days I spent with Erika and her husband Jon and their 3 children - Maddie, Kate and Felix? Exhausting! I don't know how they do it every day. Of course my inner child came out and I played hide and seek many times including being covered in cushions on the sofa to surprise grandad David - only to hear the phone ring and him saying he was running at least 10 minutes late. I stayed where I was as it meant I could nap for 15 minutes while the girls drew a treasure map for grandad to find me. When he finally arrived he played along and pretended he never saw the giggling mass under all the cushions. Brilliant!

I went to White Nights with Erika's mum and dad - David and Vanya. It is a light show, dancing and music from 7pm until 7am. Pretty fab stuff so check it out for next year if you are in the area.

Erika and I also visited her sister Georgia who lives in the converted cherry ripe factory. Shame there were none still lying around. Although she did kindly buy a fun sizes bag for our visit! On our way home a policeman pulled us over and another car also stopped. We didn't know what we had done so I pulled down the window only to see the policeman RUN past our car with his hand on his gun holster and yelling at us to keep going! Blimey.....I looked into the other car as we passed it and saw the driver. Well I don't want to presume that the local police are racist but this guy was not white. Nuff said.

I then headed to Melbourne itself to stay at a hostel for a couple of nights. I was also going to visit my cousin Alison and her family. I had recently seen Alison at her father's funeral in Glasgow and before that it must have been about 35 years ago. So it was nice to see her and to meet her family. We went to Brighton food and wine festival and it was a scorcher with some great views back to the Melbourne city skyline.

I realised that I didn't take many photos while I was there and some are pretty blurry - time for a new camera I think.

After that I headed back to Singapore for a few days and then on to Kuala Lumpur for 2 weeks and of course the Malaysian Grand Prix. Cant wait but that will be my next posting.

Al x
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