Monday, 7 March 2011

The End of the World (Travels) as we Know it...

I'm not going to write too much this time...

Just going to share a video of some of the awesome people that I have met over the last 3 years of my life...




If you want to see what I have been up to this last month or so, just check out these two albums...

Leaving Australia, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Pattaya and Pai

Mostly Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Also Burma

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Australia day, Birthday, and back to Asia!

Hey guys.


I feel like it has been a long time since I last wrote my blog! In fact it has been just over a month, but a lot has changed in my life since then...

My current life...
For a start I have left Australia for good! I can't say that I feel too sad about this. It is a great country, and I met many awesome people there, but two years is a long time, and I feel like I got my moneys worth out of Oz...

The last few weeks in Oz were mostly spent trying to find a few days of work to supplement my meagre resources. I'm not sure if I mentioned before, but the plan upon leaving Australia was to go to South America, see the carnival in Brazil, and to generally tear it up around South America for half a year or so...

Unfortunately this wasn't to be. Mother Nature, along with some girl called La NiƱa, scuppered my plans by blasting Australia with record amounts of rainfall! You may have heard about this on the news... Happily I wasn't caught up in the epicenter of the floods in Queensland; but we saw enough rain down south, at just the wrong time, to make the cherry season, normally very lucrative, into a washout...

This, combined with various expenses incurred in the course of the year, meant that my funds couldn't stretch to getting to South America. A one way ticket to Argentina from Australia seems to cost from $1800 upwards!

Anyway... back to the story... I eventually found a weeks work thinning pears near Shepperton. This was pretty good work, and I managed to add some much needed cash to my reserves. After this I made my way down to Melbourne to meet my sister and her boyfriend, and sell them my van. This worked out nicely a few ways. For me it meant that I didn't have to run around in the week before leaving Oz trying to sell my van. For them it had a similar advantage, as well as avoiding having to pay for a safety certificate... We found out that it is quite difficult to haggle with family members though!

I left Australia on Australia day... Which I thought was particularly fitting... During the day my sister arranged for us to go to the Australia day races... which were very nice, even though the races were called off due to kangaroos on the course! Very Australian!



From Melbourne I flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia... I had been here before, but i was staying with a friend that time, so I didn't feel like I saw the city from a travellers point of view... The return wasn't disappointing! I stayed in a hostel near chinatown. The food was excellent everywhere i went, every meal was completely different, and I never felt the need to "cheat" and have western food. A particular favourite of mine was the roti, curry and sweet tea combination that was the normal breakfast for the Indian locals.

I also celebrated my birthday in Kuala Lumpur. Needless to say I got very drunk. Had an awesome time, in part thanks to Murry winning the semi finals of the Oz Open, and in part to two Norwegians called Kristin singing me a Norwegian birthday song!

Two Norwegians called Kristin...
Since then I have moved north into Thailand. I spent a few days in Bangkok, where I caught up with various people and enjoyed getting back into Thai food again! Thai food is great! Chinese New Year also fell on my visit to Bangkok, so I made my way to Chinatown to check out the festivities that were happening there...

Now I am on Koh Pangnan. An island paradise most famous for its full moon parties... I'm not really in a partying mood... so I am here when there isn't a full moon, and at the opposite side of the island to the party beach. It is very, very chilled out here. I almost like it as much as Koh Tao...

And that is it for now... In another months time I will be thinking about my return home, so the next blog will reflect that a little... be sure to check in for that one...

Friday, 7 January 2011

Happy New Year!!! Well... kinda...

First things first, I'd like to apologise for the tone of this post... It should be cheery, but I think the overall mood is quite melancholy...

The second thing I want to do is to wish all of my friends out there in blogland a very Happy New year. I hope that 2011 brings you all of the things that you need. And some of the things that you want...

Next I will recount for you the tale of my New Years Eve celebrations...

I was kinda planning to spend my new years eve in Orange, have a few drinks with a few friends, and then maybe even go to work the next day. My need for money right now is that great!

Instead of that, I decided at the last minute to head to Sydney and experience the celebration there. "After all," I thought, "I'm only 250 kilometers away... and I'm not going to get the chance to see the fireworks show in Sydney again anytime soon..." (scroll down to see the video I took of the fireworks...)

There are a few places in the world that have world class New Years Eve celebrations... Two of the main ones are Edinburgh and Sydney... Having lived in Edinburgh for several years as a student, I am well acquainted with that celebration, and I felt the need to see this one, if only to compare the two events...

So, it was with a feeling of excitement in my heart that I set off from Orange at around noon on the 31st of December 2010. It was only a week since I had made exactly the same trip to celebrate Christmas in Sydney (see previous post). I made excellent time and arrived in Sydney at around 4pm. I was expecting lots of traffic, as everyone for 500km descended upon Sydney, but clearly most people were rather more sensible then me...

I parked my van outside Jo's house, and then went inside to prepare myself for the celebrations... This mostly consisted of mixing some rum into a coke bottle so that it would pass a minimal bag check, and putting on some shoes...

Jo herself was going to a party with some friends, and the picking her parents up from the airport at around 10pm. I have no idea why her parents chose that day of all days to fly.. but that is another story. I could have joined her friends, but I decided to go for the Sydney experience... after all, that is why I was there!
 
Little trev poses for a picture...
At around 7pm I made my way into the city, accompanied only by my travelling companion little Trev and a bottle of rum and coke. I took the train in. The packed state of the train gave me my first clue as to what the rest of the night would be like... That was nothing however to the sight that greeted me when I got off the train at Circular Quay! There were people everywhere! It took 20 minutes just to get out of the station!




Once I got out of the station I received some bad news! Circular Quay was full! They weren't letting anyone in or out of the viewing zone! I took action and walked up the hill towards the botanical gardens, only to find the same story here! You could get in here with a ticket, but not otherwise... Then I heard something on a loudspeaker...

"This area is full, ticket holders only will be admitted." no good news so far, "there is limited space in Circular Quay West and the Rocks. Accessible from George street"

No-one else seemed to be listening, but I jumped into immediate action! I made my way as fast as I could to George street, and headed to the north end of it, where I figured the entrances were likely to be... It was as I was walking up George street that I noticed a large crowd to my right... At the front of the crowd was a man, stood on a gate, shouting at everyone to get back. This looked promising! Eventually the crowd was stood far enough back to satisfy the man and he ordered someone to open the gate and in we streamed! I was in!! With alcohol!!!

Inside the area seemed pretty relaxed. There weren't too many people... yet... I wandered around the area to get a good idea of the lay of the land, and where would be a good place to watch the show from... It was about 8pm by now, and the place was rapidly getting more and more crowded. I decided to pick my spot for watching the 9pm family show. It was around this point that Edinburgh scored its first point (other then the fact that everyone can drink as much as they like at the Edinburgh NYE celebrations).

The thing was, it was very boring! There was literally nothing to do, or to see, while the fireworks weren't on. In Edinburgh they have processions, jugglers, clowns, acrobats, street performers... generally lots of things to do and to see. It is a party! In Sydney nothing like that happens. They don't even play any music (even though they could... They played music while the fireworks were going off...)!  The most entertaining thing that happened was a sky-writer writing "Jesus" in the sky... What Jesus has to do with NYE I never found out...

Most people weren't even talking... There were some playing cards... I saw a few guys and girls playing on PSPs... In short it wasn't really a party atmosphere... more like the atmosphere in a very long queue...

The family fireworks went off at 9pm (preceded by a lone firework at 8.45... which made everyone stand up, quite excited, and make lots of noise). They were pretty good. Some impressive fireworks technology was on show, including some that exploded into a heart shape!

After the family show there was some general confusion, as some familys left, and they opened up the gates to let more people in. I took advantae of the brief extra space to have another wander arund. It didn't take too long to get crowded again though so I made my way back to my spot... This wait was even worse then before! The kids were gone, so their infectious joy wasn't around, just leaving all the adults, crammed into the little space, with nothing to do but wait for the next 3 hours!

It probably wasn't as bad as I have made out... Certainly if you were there with friends it wouldn't have been so mind numbingly dull (you'd have had someone to play cards with for a start...).

Finally the midnight show came... And how! This part was excellent. The fireworks were well coordinated, and for the fireworks they played music to go along with them. (why they didn't have music the whole time is beyond me...) I was slightly surprised how short the show was... but you can't have everything...

Once the fireworks were finished everyoe let out a loud and heartfelt cheer of "HAPPY NEW YEAR". This is the last time that Edinburgh beats Sydney hands down...

In Edinburgh (I won't even mention that the fireworks go on for much longer there), once the fireworks are finished there is a huge cheer, and then everyone spends the next 2 hours wandering up and down the street wishing everyone they meet a happy new year! Good times are had by all! In Sydney, there is the huge cheer, people wish the people they came with a happy new year, and then everyone heads for the exits as fast as they can!

I have never felt more alone then I did in Sydney, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people, at the new year... Not one single person wished me a happy new year! I joined the general exodus to the exits, and onwards to the train station. This was a little surreal... thousands of people, walking in the same direction, through the deserted streets of sydney... Kinda cool to see that.

I got onto my train (packed of course) and took the 10 minute train ride to Jo's nearest station. Once I got off the train... finally... I got wished a happy new year! I think 3 different people wished me a happy new year in the 10 minute walk to where the van was parked...

Somehow I felt kinda melancholy from all of the lonliness, so I wasn't in any mood to go to sleep... I decided to go to a local park, and sat there for a while.. looking out over the water...

Eventually my mood passed and I walked back to the van and went to sleep...

So in conclusion... Don't go to see the Sydney fireworks on your own! I'm glad that I saw them... It was an amazing show... But it is friends that make new years eve (or any party) worth celebrating...

I look forward to seeing some of you, my friends, in the coming year... And here is the video of the fireworks show!






:)