2013 travel plans…

So the last two days have been spent locked in a darkened office at Dan’s place trying to organise the Asian leg of my grand tour. I seem to be making progress. I leave for Bangkok tomorrow and have a long weekend there with accommodation booked. I’m going for the flashpacker option.

Then on 8 January I fly to Rangoon and out again on 28 January. I’m hoping while I am there to take in the capital city, the golden boulder at Mt Kyaitiyo, do the 2-4 day trek from Kalaw to Lake Inle, head up to Mandalay, take a boat from there to Bagan, fly over the temples of Bagan in a hot air balloon, and then if there is time fit in a few days on the Bay of Bengal before flying to Siem Reap in Cambodia on 28 January. Just hope I fit it all in and that Burmese hotels and transport systems are kind to me.

I’m starting to get a little nervous about how difficult it may be to get around and find my feet in Burma. As it’s a cash only economy it’s difficult to book much ahead of time as they have no means of guaranteeing your stay. But a challenge is exactly what I wanted, so I’ll give it my best shot. This is where the quartergapyear adventure really starts – just me, the guitar, some pristine US dollars, and a Lonely Planet guide.

Happy birthday Louise!!

Normally on new year’s day, I am unlikely to be seen before midday. But this year was different because I was spending it with Louise, whose birthday is new year’s day and also happens to be the person I know who gets MOST excited about their birthday. It would have been cruel to have stayed in bed…

This is Louise’s excited it’s my birthday face.

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We headed over to Darling Harbour for some lunch at Cargo bar with Bec and Michelle.

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After finding a nasty birthday bug in her salad, Louise got us all free drinks for practically the whole afternoon. Not just at Cargo, but at their sister bar along the harbour, Bungalow 8. The photos speak for themselves…

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A very good day/night was had by all…

Happy new year

I saw in the new year at Dan and Scott’s place in central Sydney. We were joined by Louise who jetted in from Melbourne to join the party, along with her sister Bec and friend Michelle who had come over from Canberra.

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Also in attendance were Tony, Will and Will’s friend Richard.

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As the clock approached midnight, there was only one thing to do…

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And then we settled on to Dan’s balcony to watch the fireworks. Truly amazing.

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2012 has been a whirlwind year – plenty of highs, and a few lows. So it felt good to say goodbye to it with the best fireworks display on the planet. And look ahead to 2013, which is already filled with many adventures and plenty more I don’t even know about yet.

Open air sing-a-long Grease!!!

OMG – what a treat! All my favourite things combined last night – Grease (the film), music, singing, wine and giggles. What a laugh. Dr Dan and I did everything we could to embarras Scott and Chris with our public shows of very loud singing. It worked.

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We sat out in Centennial Park, just up the road from where Dr Dan lives, drank copious amounts of cool white wine, watched the bats do their evening fly-by, and the settled in for the film/sing-along.

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After a hard night’s singing, there was only one thing to do – hit the clubs and bars on Oxford St. Long lie in this morning is all I will say on the matter…

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Xmas with the Roberts family

It was such a nice treat to have a family xmas on the other side of the world without my own family nearby. The Roberts family were perfect hosts…

We had a slow start to the day:

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Scott kept us fed throughout the day/night:

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We all enjoyed our presents:

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And in a stroke of cliched genius, I was allowed to throw the first prawn on the bbq!! Best travel highlight to date…

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Sydney bound

After a very chilled Xmas with the Roberts family on Bribie Island, Dr Dan, Scott and I are about to board our flight back ‘home’ to Sydney. Traveling with the doctor has its advantages – we are currently in the Qantas First lounge.

It’s a cinema extravaganza this Xmas – yesterday we watched The Hobbit in 3D in a cinema generously described as a tin shed. Tonight we have tickets to open air sing-a-long Grease in Centennial Park. Holidays don’t get better than this.