Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

We've just welcomed 2010 here in Sydney, and it seems strange that most of the world is still waiting for the start of the New Year. I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2010.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009


I'm in suburb just north of Sydney staying with my brother and his family. I haven't been into the city center yet. My kids all arrived here yesterday. One flight early in the morning, and another flight at night, so in between I went shopping at one of the local shopping malls, and then, because I was feeling pretty sleepy, I decided to take a walk to a nearby station and mall. This picture shows the road I walked down, and it really wasn't very easy walking, because it's pretty steep, both uphill and downhill.
Then I took a shortcut through this park. Do you see that dark spot on the tree just about in the middle of the picture? There were quite a few of those dotted here and there high in the trees, and I really don't know what they are.

Here's a closer look at one of them. It looks like some sort of waspsnest or at least something's nest.
A lot of wild birds come right up to the house looking for handouts. Here is a lorikeet family (mother father and baby) that came right up to the kitchen window and tapped and called out.
And this is a cockatoo, who was so tame he almost let me come right up to him, and even posed for this picture.

Friday, 18 December 2009

The Pinnacles

I took a day tour to New Norcia and the Pinnacles. We visited New Norcia and aWildflower Farm in the morning, and in the afternoon we set off for the Pinnacles. The trees in the picture above looked just like lace, but I can't remember what name the tour guide gave them

We stopped for a break at this beach with the most amazing soft white sand, and turquoise water. There were people windsurfing and kitesurfing, and the wind was so strong that we were sandblasted.

When we arrived at the Pinnacles the tour guide told us to follow the directions on the blue posts so that we wouldn't get lost.

But halfway around I stopped to take a picture or two, and when I looked I couldn’t see another soul. I tried to follow the direction of this post, but couldn’t find another post and got completely lost.

Then these two emus appeared in front of me, and I hid behind a rock and took their picture, but to tell you the truth I was really scared they’d see me and decide I was an enemy, so I waited till they were out of sight and I went in the opposite direction. I did eventually find my way out, but I was absolutely terrified the emus would suddenly run out in front of me again. They looked much bigger than me.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Santa and his Helper

Santa and his helper were dressed for the weather here down under. I just thought his outfit was so unusual, that I had to get a picture. He was ringing his bell as loud as he could to attract any little kids around, and his helper had some candies in her basket.
Suddenly Santa went down on one knee, put his bell on the ground, and held his arms out.

And this little kid ran straight into his arms. Santa lifted him up above his head, and the kid was just laughing out loud. It was such a lovely thing to see.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Rottnest Island - Saturday December 12,2009

Rottnest Island is just off the coast from Perth and Fremantle. It is an A Class Heritage site which is run by the Rottnest Island Authority. No private land ownership is allowed, and only about 150-200 people live on the island, although this number doubles during the summer. Only people who work on Rottnest are allowed to live there.

The island's name derives from a Dutch captain who mistook the quokka (that cute marsupial in the picture below) for a large rat, and so called it a rat's nest.

Quokka mum and baby
There are fabulous beaches with soft white sand all around the island. The colours of the vegetation and the seawater are quite stunning.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Swanbourne, Australia

I took the train to Swanbourne, and this is what the main street looks like. I went into the shop and asked where the beach was, and got directions. It was quite a walk, but I enjoyed it. Luckily before I set off, the lady in the shop happened to mention that when I got to the beach, Swanbourne Beach was to the right and Cottesloe Beach was to the left, and that Swanbourne Beach was a nudist beach. So naturally I turned left.

This is Swanbourne Beach. The secluded nudist area is apparently behind the rocks. I turned left and walked along Cottesloe Beach.

The only things I stripped off were my shoes and socks, and rolled my trousers up to my knees, and walked on the shoreline. But the first wave got my trousers truly soaked, and after that I gave up trying to keep them dry.

December 9 - Bugis Street Singapore

A friend asked if Bugis Street was still there, and so I had to go and see. I had a couple of hours to spare before my flight out of Singapore, so I headed there in a cab. I'd had some really nice weather for my two days in Singapore despite it being the rainy season, but as soon as I set foot in Bugis Street, the rain came down.

Rickshaw drivers waiting in the rain.
Foodstuffs in bulk.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Singapore to Perth - December 10

Palm shadow in Orchard Road

Tree roots dangling into Singapore River

The Qantas flight from Singapore to Perth was a bit bumpy, and we had to wait for an hour for a connecting BA flight from London to land so the passengers could get on our plane, but apart from that it wasn’t a bad flight. The food was actually quite nice too.
Because we landed an hour late I didn’t actually get to my hotel until 3.45 am, so I’m a bit tired today.
It’s lovely and warm here in Perth, and there’s a free city bus that stops right outside the hotel, so I took a ride in to mail a parcel for a friend, and found the post office without any problem. Then I had a wander around the shopping area, bought a pair of cotton crop trousers for only $13.90 – about £8.40 – a bargain.
Wireless internet is really slow here at the hotel, so I’ve decided write my posts offline and upload them when I get a chance, so the date in the heading may not match the date the blog was updated.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A needle and thread

I put on a new pair of trousers this morning, and they were too long. I went looking for a needle and some thread, or at least a little sewing kit, but I couldn't find a single one. I reckon you can find just about anything in Singapore, but I couldn't find a needle and thread. I went up and down Orchard Road asking in every little store that looked as if it might stock at least a sewing kit, but with no luck. Repeatedly I was told to go to Watsons, and given directions (all of this in the underground walkways in Orchard Road). Now I have no sense of direction, and if I don't have landmarks, I get completely lost after a couple of turns. So I had to keep coming up to the surface to check on where I was, before going back down into the tunnels. After about half an hour of searching, I finally found Watsons, but they didn't have any sewing kits or needles and threads. I went into Tang's Department Store in the hope that I'd find a haberdashery department, but again I was out of luck.

It all ended well, though, because the hotel concierge managed to rustle up a little sewing kit for me, so now my trousers aren't dragging along the floor any more.

PS (a few hours later) I found some needles and thread in a small shop in Bugis Street. I wasn't really looking any more, which is probably why I found them.


Arrived here last night after a 12(!) hour flight. The flight was okay, and for me the 31 inch seat pitch was fine, but the seat width left a lot to be desired.
Singapore is amazing, and I'm very happy with my choice of hotels. It's right in the centre within a stone's throw of Orchard Road, which is a shoppers' paradise. The Christmas decorations are brilliant, literally.
Today I did a half day tour by bus and by boat, and then stayed on in the riverside area, and walked the length of the boat trip, getting some really good photos. I managed to find a stall selling noodles by the Esplanade - a theatre housed inside the most unusual looking building.
After finishing up my extremely hot (as in chilli) noodles, I thought I'd walk off the calories by going to Raffles for a Singapore Sling. My Singapore Sling was absolutely delicious, and I really enjoyed the peanuts which sit in a box on the table, particularly the part about chucking the shells on the floor. I did wonder, though, how the peanuts manage to be salty when they're still in their shells.

I was very tempted to have a second drink, because it really was tasty, but thought to ask the waitress if they were terribly alcoholic. The answer was yes, and she reeled off a list of contents, most of which I've forgotten, but which included gin, benedictine, cointreau, cherry brandy and I decided to call it day. I reckoned that if I had another one they'd probably have to scrape me up and pour me into a taxi.

I've had great fun today. I met some nice people on the tour I took, and when I was wandering around on my own taking pictures, lots of people offered to take a picture of me on my camera.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Start

Today I'm going to set off on a two-month journey to Australia and New Zealand. I'll be stopping in Singapore on the way there, and in Bangkok on the way back.

I'll be travelling alone, except for a three week period over Christmas which I'll be spending with family.