Still in Sydney

Trip Start Sep 28, 2003
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24
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Trip End Sep 29, 2004


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Friday, June 25, 2004

Well I haven't written anything in a while, so I thought that it was about time that I added an entry. Especially as it does not appear that I will be doing any work this week.

Unfortunately both of the jobs that I have previously mentioned, have come to a conclusion. The roadside assistance job ending because they did not deem the call volume to require two people. I could tell you which UK insurance companies not to take out roadside assistance with and expect a fast response overnight, but I will remain professional and withhold this information!

The SMEC IT Support job ended simply because they recruited someone to take the position permanently. I was offered the position, but I decided that this was a kind of role that I have had before now and perhaps that I need to look at doing something slightly different in the longer term. Probably still within IT but maybe concentrating on different aspects - still who knows! The other small but significant point, would have been that I would have ended up having to extend my trip down-under for a year or so. Not necessarily a problem, after all the weather here is pretty good most of the time! After thinking about this carefully, I believe I made the right decision to turn down this opportunity.

Luckily I have picked up a few other odd days here and there doing PC installations, but it would be great to get some work, even if it was just two days a week.

OK, so what else has happened over the past weeks....

James left Australia, he is actually on a plane just now - as I write this, bound for the UK, having just spent a month in Thailand.

So around a month ago today we all went to a pub in Central Sydney and had a few farewell drinks - see pictures in gallery.

Since then with have had two birthdays, Kelly's birthday and my own.

On my birthday, I treated us all to some doughnuts. A shop had recently opened for Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Sydney, so I decided that it was my mission to try it out and to ensure that the doughnuts were OK.

Krispy Kreme is a very big company in America, however, so far they only have one shop in the UK. It is going to be my mission to locate it when I return home as their doughnuts (or should I say donuts) are fairly good. In fact the only photo I have from my birthday is of two trays of doughnuts, which we then proceeded to sample. I have put the photo up in the gallery. We were lucky that we had Casey - a friend of Katrina and Matthew - staying with us. See www.whereiscasey.com. Being American, he advised us of the optimum way to eat the aforementioned doughnuts at home. This was in fact by warming them up in the oven. I can verify that this is a very good way to eat them. By the way just so you know, the original frosted doughnuts are the ones to go for. I am sure that they are not short of a few calories, but what the heck - it was my birthday. This week Katrina left to go and do a three week volunteer stint on Lizard Island, near Cairns. We have seen pictures of the island and don't feel too sorry for her, least of all for the fact that it is still a decent temperature up north.

The following weekend, Casey found out about an extraordinary event taking place, just by the Opera House. It was an "Art" event, whereby a brand new car would be crushed by lowering a very large and heavy rock onto it using a crane. We decided that this was an event that we could not really afford to miss, so we were ready and waiting on the steps of the Opera House five minutes prior to the event taking place. Apparently the guy who does this, has already wrecked other cars in a similar manner in many other cities around the world.

You can see a photo of the happenings taken from a distance, by Kelly who was just leaving on the Manly ferry. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me to take any close-ups - I will try and get one from someone else.

So after the main event had taken place, we headed over to Manly for a Food and Wine Festival. This was a big and very busy event, and we were joined by some friends of Kelly, that she had met while at work; Sally, John and Seb. I am not a big wine drinker, but the others sampled some of the wines and got accordingly sozzled, slowly - maybe even quickly! - throughout the rest of the afternoon.

When the wine tasting petered out, we decided that there was nothing else for it, but to head for the pub. So I was able to join in the drinking with a couple of beers. After perusing the newspaper, we discovered that there was a bar that had some live music on, just around the corner, so we proceeded to go and hear some live music. Unfortunately the first group were not really fit to be listened too. It looked a lot like a high school rock band, that were way too into their music, had been offered a few dollars to come and play. I cannot really quite express our feelings for the "music" that this group were producing, but I think that the word Painful, has a lot to do with it.

Fortunately the second band were much, much better and we have even heard a single released by the singer being played on the local radio station. So if Vanessa Morgan turns up on "Top of the Pops", we heard her first at Manly.

Well the following weekend, it was Kelly's birthday, and in Darling Harbour there was a Jazz Festival taking place. So we headed over to that, met up with some of Kelly's friends in a bar before enjoying a rather lame firework finale. Neil later found out, through his lighting company, who were working on the event, that half of the fireworks didn't go off, which explained a few of the gaps!

The music was alright, I suppose we had great expectations. Having seen the Australia Day celebrations in the same area of Darling Harbour, maybe we had imagined something a little better. Our evening was not over though, we headed on up to The Oaks - a huge pub in North Sydney, that allows you to cook your own steak as well as serving other good food. We all enjoyed our meals and spent another pleasant evening in the pub!

On Kelly's birthday itself, it was the day of the England vs France in the UEFA Cup. We declined the chance to get up at some silly hour of the morning to watch it and went for a re run at a much more sensible time of 1pm. We actually ended up back in the same pub as the previous night (The Oaks) a long way from where we lived, but close to the home of Sally and John who we met up there. On the way we had to pass the Krispy Kreme shop and following our new birthday tradition, Kelly bought a box of the originals, which we proceeded to enjoy straight away, and they are most definitely best fresh from the shop, they are hot and just melt in your mouth. So we watched the football, unfortunately the fact the France scored two goals in the last few minutes was a bit of a pain, but we had enjoyed watching most of the game.

After this, we headed over to Bondi (this was the first time I had been) to see if we could see some Whales as they are migrating past Sydney at the moment. Matthew and Kelly both caught fleeting glimpses, unfortunately, I did not this time.

Over the past week, I went with Matthew to Toronga Zoo and we have all been to see a Beatles 40 Year Tribute concert, again at Darling Harbour.

Toronda Zoo was good fun, the main mission was to catch up with a couple of native creatures and we did manage to get fairly close to Kangaroos and Koala's. There were also extensive sections on Snakes and other nasty things - it was a bit different to find that some of them were native to Sydney!

The Beatles concert was at the same location as the Jazz Festival, unfortunately, although picturesque, the performing location (a barge in the harbour) is not too practical as the performers are such a way away. The band were pretty good, shame about the guy who introduced them. I think this was the first time this guy had spoken publicly, he actually took so long to introduce the band, that they had even taken their places and were a bit restless, wanting to start their set. There were a few good sing-along moments and the band tried to get everyone in the audience to wave their lit up mobile phones in the air, in a way reminiscent of cigarette lighters that had been used 40 years ago, when the Beatles had played in Sydney.

On Tuesday we actually came second in the local pub quiz. This was something we had been trying to achieve over the past month or so, having not been too successful on most previous occasions. It helped that we had some Australian friends that came to help out with the local questions. Getting placed meant that we got to win a $30 bar voucher, which we gratefully polished off with our final round of drinks.

This weekend, sees Katrina returning to Drummoyne for the weekend, as both her and Matthew fly to Thailand on Monday morning. No doubt we will be in Sydney for a farewell bash on Saturday night.

That is about it for now, I am starting to slowly plan out the rest of my trip as we leave the house in four weeks. I am looking at visiting Ayres Rock / Uluru, Perth and a bit of the West Coast and also maybe Darwin and one of the national parks nearby. I am currently considering travelling a bit by train as there is a good offer for backpackers. This will obviously be quite time consuming though, so I am keeping my eye on air ticket sales as they happen.

I hope that everyone at home is well and I will try and do a quick update before I leave the house, then you might see a few entries a bit quicker in succession.

Bye for now
Tim
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