Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Just Around the Corner...

video-2011-11-02-06-18-41.mp4 Watch on Posterous

How amazing is this place we live in? As I am out walking this morning I thought I would share a little piece of the neighbourhood with you.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Rainforest Sunset


Just caught the last rays of sun on the track up to byron bay lighthouse tonight...

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Did You Know Facebook is Blocked in Vietnam?

I have only been able to login to Facebook once in the last week during my time here in HoChiMinh City, and that was from a random cafe. According to my brother-in-law, it depends on the ISP address. Anyway, I have posted this to my blog which is linked to my Facebook account, so if you are reading it on/from FB then that is how I got around the censorship. I think the blocking has to do with the Socialist Government not wanting the 'people' to have an easy way to connect with each other, in case they organise a rally or some kind of anti-government activity.

Anyway, our time here is up, and the taxi arrives to take us to the airport in 50 minutes. We travel for almost 24 hours to get back to our house in Byron Bay, so I guess we will be a bit tired on Monday morning back at work! We have loved our time away on holiday, and got to explore HCMC, especially all its wonderful shopping while we were here.

I have lots of photos and short video clips, but have just not had time to deal to them all yet, hence my lack of posting them. Keep an eye out because they will be showing up on this blog, as well as my Flickr site, and my Facebook.

Time to go and do the final packing - see you back in Australia!


Sunday, 2 October 2011

Buddhist monks chanting

video-2011-09-25-13-55-17.mp4 Watch on Posterous

These monks were chanting at a ceremony to welcome two new novice monks.
All their families were gathered around the huge courtyard behind the temple waiting for the ceremony to finish, which it did while we were there and the smell of all the incredible dishes they were preparing was mouthwatering...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Our Phuket Adventure Begins...

After eating from a non-descipt American franchise at the gargantuan Bangkok Airport (which is just so impressive you have to see it to believe it!) and ordering pizza that was supposed to take 5 minutes 'guaranteed' but we were told to come back in 10 minutes LOL, we flew to Phuket Airport on Sunday night. 

We are staying at the very nice Thavorn Beach Village & Spa in Nakalay Bay, near Patong Town on the beautiful island of Phuket. The resort has obviously been here for a while as the room was a little frayed around some of the edges so to speak, but still very opulent and with a view out over the sea. To get to our room we had to ride up a very steep incline in a cablecar that took rather a while, so the next day we changed rooms to one that is right on the beach. I'm talking about 20 metres from the water. This room is brand new, but unfortunately the weather is so wet, we can't really enjoy being on the beach.

Here are a few shots of the Resort and the view from our first room:

We almost missed breakfast on the first morning at the resort due to the room clock being 35 minutes slow, but we managed to get in just in time. The selection of dishes is mind boggling, from standard fair to a Muslim corner where everything is prepared without using pork products, to Thai style savory food that is a bit hard for me to stomach in the morning. After changing our room, and having a lazy morning we jumped on a shuttle bus (that was actually a truck with a metal canopy stuck on the back!) and off we bounced to Patong Town. There were masses of Russians on the bus all speaking their gutteral language. We found out that Phuket is a very popular destination for Russians, and numbers have tripled over the last 2 years. I can't say they were very friendly, and Maria got pushed out of the way by a very severe looking middle aged woman as we tried to board the over-crowded bus! 

Once in Patong we discovered it to be a very big town with a couple of main streets that are very very long. We spent 2 -3 hours walking and still didn't come close to doing them all. Lots of tiny shops and street stalls, with dark little side streets disappearing amongst rows of obnoxious t-shirts, suitcases and DVD's. It was funny because we kept getting called 'boss' and 'darling' and they all tried really hard to get us to stop. One guy even came up to us with a very concerned expression on his face and said "let me ask you a question. Honestly, would you like a new suit? Very special price just for you boss". I had to do my best not to laugh on his face, but I politely declined and we extricated ourselves from his intense interrogation.

We did end up succumbing to one of the numerous offers of "you want massage, manicure, pedicure? Thai-style foot massage?" Maria had a pedicure and a manicure while I 'relectantly' agreed to sit there for one hour and have a very relaxing foot massage. Such bliss, and it only cost about $30 for us both.

The rain had held off for a couple of hours, but while we were getting pampered, it decided to really come down in one of those monsoon downpours that you really have to experience. I was loaned an umbrella and sent down the road to buy two disposable raincoats, which ended in me getting soaked up to my waist! We ran across the road and discovered a very American style mega-mall, where we happily spent a couple of hours shopping and ended up having sushi there for dinner. They even had a water and light show while we were dining - very Las Vegas to say the least!

Next we walked the streets of Patong for a while and discovered the seedier side of Phuket, with every second guy showing us a laminated flyer with pictures of scantily clad girls titled - GO GO SHOW or PING PONG SHOW. Once again we politely declined to follow them into the bars to which they were excitedly gesturing, seemingly surprosed we were passing up on the opportunity to see girls do who knows what!

We finally decided that our aching feet (and bodies) needed to go to bed so we picked the cleanest looking TukTuk Taxi (took a whlle) and headed back to the resort in a puff of smoke with blue disco lights flashing inside the cabin while the driver tried to kill the engine by staying in 3rd gear all the way, despite some very steep hills.

That was Monday, and it is now Tuesday evening, but it is time to eat, so I will fill you in on our adventures from today later (and post some photos as well)...


Bangkok Temples are a real treat...

We arrived in Bangkok late on Saturday night and crashed early, but Sunday morning we were up with the birds (becasue our body-clocks told us it was 3 hours earlier than it was) and we booked to go to 3 of the most famous temples in Bangkok. I have left the brochure somewhere so can't tell you the names, but you will get the idea from the photos below. They were all, suffice to say, incredible and each one held its own beauty and particular style. The tour guide was a lovely guy and he gave us a good history lesson throughout the morning.

Here is a slideshow of a few of the photos to give you an idea of what we experienced:


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Crashed out after a long day...

Just sitting in the hotel room in Bangkok after a long day travelling. Up early tomorrow to arrange a tour of the city sites.
Very excited to be here. Not as chaotic as I expected. The airport was fairly quiet, but man what an impressive building it is! Didn't have the camera or phone handy so no pics of it :-(
Can't wait to explore the city in daylight tomorrow...

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Bumpity bump, bounce bloody bounce! On the way to the airport


I never realised just how uncomfortable mini vans are. Could be as we are in the back seat?!
Anyway we are nearly at Brisbane airport. See you in Bangkok...

Friday, 23 September 2011

Preparing to fly to Bangkok...

Very excited as we prepare to fly to Bangkok tomorrow. We spend one night there and will be doing a bus tour of the major sites on Sunday. Then on Sunday night we fly down to Phuket where we will be staying in an amazing looking 5 star resort for six nights. From there we fly to stay with my sister and her husband and 3 beautiful children for 7 nights in Ho Ch Minh City.
We are both feeling like this holiday has been a long time coming, and we are really looking forward to it...

Watch out for more as I can post it. There will be photos and videos and little stories to give you a feel for what we are experiencing.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Wellington Zoo is brilliant!

I had such a brilliant time at Wellington Zoo with all my nieces and nephews a few weeks ago. The Zoo has changed so much over the last few years, with great looking enclosures and cool animal shows throughout the day. I especially liked the new African Village you can walk through while looking out the huts' windows towards African animals and terrain. We all got to feed the giraffes, with their really long and slimy tongues! The chimps were so amusing and their enclosure is very open so you can see everything that goes on. The staff are lovely too...

If you ever visit Wellington, I highly recommend you pay the Zoo a visit in Newtown:


Friday, 18 March 2011

Tonight ukulele concert was awesome!!!


Just got home from seeing James Hill from Canada playing with the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. What a mind blowing night. Talent just oozed off the stage.
Too wired to go to bed...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Really enjoying my time here in Wellington, New Zealand...

As Day 2 draws to a close, I sit here reflecting ont he beautiful day I have had.


10am this morning I drove out to Kelson to rehearse with Hayley for our gig on Thursday night ( The sun was shining again and the drive out to the Hutt Valley was just so beautiful, as always. The new motorway is great - I was in Kelson in just 20 minutes, all the way from Ngaio! Hardly any traffic lights from Petone to Kelson now.

Hayley and I had a great rehearsal, with it being like we just played together last week. I guess that's what happens when you work so closely with someone for so many years, it then doesn't seem to matter how long between gigs, you have always got it. Her children Daniel and Eva are just beautiful and her husband Glen isn't too bad either :o)

Then this afternoon it was over to Matt & Karly's place for a family gathering for afternoon tea. Lots of kids and nibbles.


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Day One...

What a lovely day I have had. After arriving to a beautiful welcome by my two nieces and my mum at the airport, we drove home around "the bays". Oriental Bay was sparkling in the sunlight, and Wellingtonians were out in force enjoying the stunning day.
After spending the rest of the afternoon at my brothers place with his soon to be wife, Karly, and their delightful daughters, we all had good old Kiwi fish and chips for dinner.
The last couple of hours have been busy with me fixing mums computer, no surprises there!
Tomorrow will be busy with a rehearsal with my long time ex-singer Hayley for our gig on thursday amongst other things.
Stay here for more...

Brisbane Airport a bit quiet this morning...


I am sitting here contemplating life as I wait for my flight to NZ. How deep is that?!

Friday, 11 March 2011

My journey begins!


Just contemplating packing my bag. Hmmm I wonder how long I can contemplate before I actually do any packing?!