Happy New Year!

Trip Start Jul 27, 2003
Trip End Jul 26, 2004

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Monday, January 5, 2004

Sunday 7th December

Had a bit of a cultural day today. We took a walk up to the Museum of Contempary Art which only had one exhibition on but has two new ones opening soon so we can go back. The one that was on was a little lost on me I'm afraid, a sheet of brown paper taped to a wall just doesn't justify the space. I perhaps didn't see the "inner meaning". The guy whose exhibition it was did have some good models though with a model of a housing estate and a petrol station. The art he was trying to portray wasn't the actual models though but the light and sound that went with them, which again was lost on me.

In need of a restoration of faith in Art we headed to the gallery of New South Wales which was magnificent! Three floors of very different but excellent displays. The ground floor was taken up with a brilliant Aboriginal art exhibition and there were some fantastic pictures and displays. Unfortunately it was a no photo zone so we can't show you! We had a bit of lunch in the Gallery cafe and wandered around the gallery some more.

We the took a walk in the sunshine through Hyde Park. We headed to the chaos of Paddys Market to pick up a few bits for the weeks dinner then headed home. We got stuff for the next working week and then headed out to the cinema. We had a pizza next to the cinema in a little Italian before watching SWAT with Colin Farrel which was quite good except the air con was broken - on the on position!! It was freezing cold. The manager came in to apologise and gave us free tickets to go and see another movie so it made up for it.

Monday 8th December

We got some shopping in after work at Coles and then had a nice tea and watched the box.

Tuesday 9th December

We headed out to the internet cafe tonight to type up travelpod before those of you with bets that I wont keep it up decide to call your bets in!!

Wednesday 10th December

We went straight out after work to meet up with a guy called Tim who is Marcus Steels brother ( for those that know Marcus!) Marcus had given us Tims number who lives in Sydney and works as a TV editor. He did Nigela Bites and I'm a celebrity get me out of here, and now does freelance work around Oz. We had a few drinks with him and he invited us to his place on Friday night as he was having a drinks for Christmas for some friends and we could meet Sue his wife. Yey - we're going to a Christmas party! Tim headed
off and we went home to get some tea and watch Planet of the Apes!

Thursday 11th December

Nothing to report except I went for Christmas lunch with work. It was thirty degrees today and still doesn't feel like Christmas.

Friday 12th December

After work we caught the train to the north of Sydney to Tim and Sues house. They have a lovely place in a suburb called Willoughby. It felt really Christmassy for the first time. Sue had a huge ham and a tree up and lots of decorations. We sat in the garden for hours chatting to their friends. They were really lovely and one guy offered to teach us to surf in the New Year on the more beautiful Northern Sydney beaches. We have yet to do the beaches with Manly being the only one we have been to so far. We have yet to go to the famous Bondi Beach and just as popular Coogee beach. Every Aussie we have met so far has told us to forget them and head North to Whale beach and beyond. We headed back to the train station in the wee hours after a great evening.

Saturday 13th December

We woke up to an absolute scorcher today. Jo was coming round tonight so we decided to dust down the BBQ in the garden and Stock up on shrimp and burgers. Nadia, John and Tamlyn also decided to join us so we headed to Paddys Market to get some salad and prawns (which are the size of your hand) and mince to make burgers. We then headed to the park to lay in the sun and read for a few houres. Jo came round about six and we all sat in the garden while Simon took charge of the Barbie. We sat out drinking beers till the mosquitos got biting and headed in to watch a film.

Sunday 14th December

I was kind of working today at Olympic Park. It was works Christmas do and 200 adults and 65 children were going to run riot at a fun day the company had organised. There were loads of people booked to put up bouncy castles, run bungy, bring food and serve snow cones and they offered me cash in hand to sort everyone out. Simon came with me to check out where Johnny won the world cup and I got started at the park we had booked. It was a good afternoon and Simon helped them get rid of the catering quota, whilst I worked from 12 till 5. By 1 everyone was set up so we got involved in the day making snow cones and candy floss and trying to beat the boss at run bungy which is a sort of bungy with no jump! You are tied to a bit of elastric and then you have to run as far as you can till the elastic pulls you back onto the bouncy castle normally onto your head. By 5 the magician and face painter had gone and santa had delivered 65 presents to the now tired children so it was time to leave. Everyone was to take what was left so we headed off with 12 toffee apples and 7 bottles of wine. It was a good day all in all and I made 150 dollars for topping up my tan!!

Monday 15th December
Work has quietened down so I finished for Christmas and Simon finishes on Friday. I went round a few places in Darling HArour to see if there was any work for the Christmas period and a few places promised to call. I met up with Jo and we caught a bus to Coogee beach. It was another Belter of a day and Jo had heard about this walk between Coogee and Bondi. It was about 4km and supposed to be stunning. We got to Coogee which is a nice beach but apparently gets rammed on a weekend. We headed up the hill and came to a memorial for the Bali bombing. A local rugby team from Coogee had been in Bali at the time and 15 had lost their lives which had a massive impact on this small community.

We headed across the clifftops with various lookouts along the way and some beautiful little coves and bays. We eventually got to Bondi and had a rest watching the surfers 'catching a wave'! We found a little caf and had some lunch. We then went to catch the bus journey from hell back into town!

We got on the bus and commented on the uncheerfulness of our driver. We had been on the bus for about 10 mins when he stopped for an elderly lady. She boarded the bus and banged her leg in the process causing it to bleed quite erratically! She sat down and a young man offered her assistance to stop her bleeding. The driver thought this was a good time to shout at her for making a mess of his bus!! The young man told him to go to the chemist which happened to be next to the bus stop and get something for her leg as it was his bus and his responsibility. The driver obviously felt the 20 odd pairs of eyes boring into him and decided to nip into the chemist to get a bandage! While he was in the chemist another bus crashed into the back of us causing the back window to shatter. The bus driver came back with some bandages and tissues oblivious to what had just happened to his bus until one brave guy pointed it out to him. Fortunately the bus depot was only a short drive away where he now took us. We were all transfered onto another bus and the elderly lady was met by a senior member of the bus company who was going to sort out her leg and take her anywhere else she may want to go to avoid being sued! Jo and I were obviously gluttens for punishment because we decided after our eventful bus journey to go on a bus trip!! Jo had been to Melbourne and her and Pam had gone on one of those city tours and had been given free tickets to do the Sydney City explorer.

We got on a big red open topped bus and drove round the now familiar sights of Sydney and learned a thing or two from the dodgy commentary recording. We got off at Darling Harbour and Jo headed off to get her bus and I headed home. What a day!

Tuesday 16th December
Simon headed to work early and I had a lazy morning sorting out stuff and having a general tidy. I met up with Jo for lunch as it is her last day in Oz because she flies to New Zealand early tomorrow morning. We headed to Scruffy Murphys for steak and chips and sat outside in the sunshine. We said our goodbyes and I headed off to get some films developed and spent the rest of the day at the Internet cafe uploading pictures and looking at somw websites for our next phase of travel through Oz! We have decided to fly to Alice Springs and then drive to Brisbane via Cairns in another campervan as it seems the most cost effective way. I sent off for a few quotes and then looked at flights for onward travel in Oz. It is looking likely that Simons Mum and Dad will be joining us for a holiday too in February so I was checking out flights for them too. They want to fly to Tasmania from Alie Springs as we drive off North with my Mum. Virgin Blue have some great prices and after all that driving we will probably just fly to Darwin from Brisbane and then fly onto Perth.

Wednesday 17th December
It was another scorching day today so I went to the park and read my book till 3.30 when Simon finished work. I got a call at 4.00 from a boat restaurant in Darling Harbour seeing if I still wanted work over Christmas. I decided to take it to get some extra cash. I started at 6.00 and had 15 minutes training before being confronted with a works Christmas do of 125 guests an a free bar package!! Its an A Le Carte restaurant and doesn¡¯t actually go anywhere it just floats in the harbour, permanantly moored. I had to take around canapes and my arms have never ached so much, carrying 2 silver platters laden with food and you are pretty much invisible to the diners who just help themselves without a thankyou or acknowledgement.

By midnight most of the stragglers had left as the ¡®free bar¡¯ became a ¡®paying bar¡¯at 11.30. We had everything cleared away by 12.30 and the restaurant downstairs and the other 2 functions were also finished. My feet were aching as the kitchen is in the basement of the boat and our function was on the top deck. This was when the boss told us to set up for the next day and we had to set up for 500 people in various parts of the boat. Before we set up though we had to polish the cutlery and glasses!! We eventually got done by 2am when I changed into my Flip flops and walked home.

Thurday 18th December
I got up early today as Foxtel ( our cable TV company) had The Lord of the Rings on at 7.55 and it was so long since I saw the first one I wanted to catch up before the 3rd one comes out which isn¡¯t until Boxing day here! I sat and watched a couple of films to try and recover from last night. I am not back till Saturday and I think it might take that long for my feet to heal! Simon finished work at 3.30 and we headed to do some shopping and then stayed in for a lazy evening in front of the box!

Friday 19th December
It was Simons last day today at work until January 5th and they were finishing early for a bit of a Christmas party which consisted of beers and a BBQ at 11am!!! He was quite trollyed by the time he came home for a sleep. I lay in the park for a while in the shade reading as it was so hot today. In the evening when it was cooler we went for a walk through Chinatown as there were Christmas markets in the street. The stalls were selling allsorts but didn¡¯t feel even slightly Christmasy! No mulled wine or mince pies in sight just icey drinks and watermelon!!

Saturday 20th December
We got up and headed to Paddys Market to get fruit and veg before it got too busy and then headed to a caf for breakfast. After brekkie we took a walk down to Darling Harbour and went into the Maritime Museum. Its normally $25 but its free now for Christmas and we were glad we hadn¡¯t spent $50 to get in. Not that there was anything wrong with the museum just we had only been in 15 minutes when Simon turned a green colour and we hadn't even stepped foot on a boat! We left promptly and returned home stopping at every public convenience on the way ( fortunately Darling Harbour has a few) We worked out that it must have been the breakfast as he had thought the egg had tasted a bit odd! Simon spent the rest of the afternoon in bed ( thank God we have an ensuite!!!) at 6 I headed to work and had a better night as I was in the restaurant rather than the function rooms. I got finished at one and headed home.

Sunday 21st December
We had a lazy day today after feeling drained from work and Simon still feeling a little delicate! I had work at 6pm so headed down to the boat for another uneventful shift.

Monday 22nd December
We spent a large part of the day on the internet booking internal flights. Simons Mum and Dad are defiately coming and have booked their flights and will arrive on the 4 of Feb a few days before my Mum. I booked flights to Alice Springs for us all and then flights from Alice to Tasmania for David and Rachel. I also booked our campervan from Alice to Bribane where my mum catches her flight home and we will fly to Darwin. We stay in Darwin and Kakadu National Park for a week before flying to Perth which is our last stop in Oz before South East Asia. Internal flights are really cheap if you can book in advance. This took most of the afternoon and before I knew it it was time to go to lovely work!

Tuesday 23rd December
Had a lazy day today as I am working tonight and Simon is meeting Pascal for drinks before he heads home for Christmas and then onto South America. We went to collect some bits for our Christmas day barbie and headed to the fish market to get some huge prawns and a couple of those polystyrene boxes they use to carry ice around in to save forking out for a cool box. I headed off to work at five and left Simon to say goodbye to Pascal.

Wednesday 24th December
We headed to the supermarket to get all we needed for our Christmas barbie. It doesn¡¯t feel right buying ice and beers and cold drinks for the day. We spent the afternoon making chicken kebabs and burgers and stocking our polystyrene boxes with ice. Early evening we took a walk down to Darling with Nadia and John to listen to Christmas Carlols being performed on a floating stage. Still doesn¡¯t feel right, eating ice cream and trying to keep cool whilst listening to ¡®We wish you a merry Christmas¡¯ We decided to sit in one of the many bars and grab a drink while waiting for Santa to arrive at 9pm. Three jet skies came into view as Santa and his two elves jetted into the harbour to an impressive explosion of fireworks. He must have been boiling in that suit!! We all headed home to watch the second Rings which we hired from Blockbuster.

Christmas Day - Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Sophie!
It was so hot today, so glad we planned to go to the beach. We are going with Nadia and John and 2 of their friends Kenny and Hannah. We got up early and opened some presents. We had a $10 rule in the house so we spent $10 on each other. I got a pair of shorts, a keyring and a bandana that cost 10 cents from Simon and I bought him a stubby cooler ( to keep beer cold and are huge over here) and a mini fan! We also opened our gifts from home and Robin a million thanks for updating our mini disc collection, a great compliation and gives us something new to listen to! We also got our first smell of Christmas with our Marks and Sparks Christmas cake (thanks Nic) I wanted to eat it for breakfast but Simon wouldn¡¯t let me!

We headed out to pick up our hire car from Hertz with John who was also getting a car for the day and were surprised by the number of people on the streets and a few places open. We got the car and headed home for breakfast and then loaded the car with our cool boxes and picnic rugs. When Hannah and Kenny ( Nadia and Johns friends) arrived we set of for the beech! We decided to give the local beaches a miss as they are rammed on Christmas day and Bondi charges $40 per person to get on the beach and you¡¯re not allowed to take your own food and drinks so they charge what they want. Instad we headed North to Whale beach which is next to Palm beach, famous for its filming of Summer Bay in Home and Away. The roads were really busy and it was like rush hour but after we got past Manly it got quieter.

Whale Beach is about 35 km North of Sydney and it was a lot quiter. We found a spot on the beach and set up our BBQ and lay in the sun for a while. The surf was really good and lots of peaple were waxing there new Christmas surf boards! We went for a swim and the water was really warm and we surf dived for a while getting batterd by the waves. It was such a hot day and great to be so close to the water.

We then all had our Christmas Dinner. We had Crackers and paper hats and tucked into kebabs, burgers and corn on the cob! It doesn¡¯t feel like Christmas but still a good day at the beech. We lay about sunbathing and got crashed about in the surf for seven hours before watching the sunset and then heading home. Kenny and Hannah headed home and we sat on the balcony with John and Nadia with a bottle of champagne and a couple of bottles of wine until the early hours. A thoroughly enjoyable day just not a regular Christmas!

Boxing Day
We had a lazy morning and a leftover barbie lunch (made a change from Turkey sandwiches!) After lunch we headed to our nearby cinema to watch the final Lord of the Rings with Nadia and John. It was packed out. I didn¡¯t think it was as good as the first two and they dragged the ending out a bit but it was still good to watch. Simon loved it. We then wandered home and had a few beears.

Saturday 27th December
Today we headed into the city to have a wander but it was rammed with sales shoppers so we retreated to Darling Harbour for ice creams. We had a lazy day until 5pm when I headed to work for a busy night.

Sunday 28th December
Didn¡¯t get in from work till 3am this morning so had a lie in. I got up and went to work and Simon went to meet Brendy at Scruffy Murphys for a few beers and a $5 steak and chips!

Monday 29th December
Today was a non day. It was really hot and I was knackered after a 12 hour shift yesterday so we lay about the house only heading out to use the internet briefly. I then headed to work at 6pm for a 6 hour shift - so glad this work thing is short lived!! We are doing really well in saving money for our next leg though.

Tuesday 30th December
After a lazy morning we headed to a Teppenyaki restaurant for lunch which was fantastic. The chef had this huge hotplate on our table and he cooks your food exactly how you want it. It was delicious. We sat for an hour afterwards drinking green tea in the sunshine. We spent the afternoon half asleep in the park. Had an extremely busy night at work but most of the customers were Brits here on holiday for New Year so we got better tips as the Aussies never tip!

New Years Eve - Hogmanay!!
Happy New Year!! Wow what a day. Sydney apparently is the best city in the world to spend New Years and at this moment I agree totally! The organisation that was going on today was just huge! 10s of millions of dollars are spent on fireworks for Sydney alone! There are 2 places to be tonight. Darliung Harbour and Circular Quay. They have 2 sets of fireworks in each place - one set at 9pm and another at, of course, midnight! A 3 course dinner in one of Circular Quays many restaurants would cost you $370 and we were charging $200 to get onto our boat ( but does have the best views of Darling Harbour fireworks!) We decided to stay at home for a barbecue with Nadia, John, Hannah and Kenny and then head out to Darling Harbour for the 9pm fireworks and then back home for more drinks and then walk down to Circular Quay for the Bridge and Opera House Fireworks - We couldn't really be anywhere else for midnight!

We had a leisurely morning and got stuff ready for the barbie in the afternoon. Kenny and hannah came round at 5 and we sat on the balcony having drinks in the sunshine. The boys cooked the barbecue and we had a lovely evening, drinking and chatting till 8.30 when we headed through the crownds to watch the impressive fireworks over Darling Harbour. After 20 mins of fireworks we headed back home for a couple more drinks before heading back out and walked to Circular Quay.

The streets were really busy and everyone was heading in the same direction! We managed to get ourselves into a fairly good position in central Circular Quay with a view of both the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House - What more could you ask for! We stood around taking in the atmosphere for 40 mins waiting for the countdown! 10 seconds before midnight all the lights on the harbour bridge go off and then at the strike of 12 a million fireworks go off around Sydney. All perfectly timed. The Opera House has a big display and all the Sydney Sky scrapers are lit up. There are search lights coming from the AMP tower (the tallest building), 4 news crew helicopters hovering near the bridge and then everything stops for a few seconds and then a grand finale of fireworks erupt from the bridge. It was the biggest most fantastic display we have ever seen.

The weird thing is it is still lunchtime in 2003 with you!! We left Hannah and Kenny to catch their bus home and we started the walk back. We got home and had a drink and watched it all again on BBC News 24!

Well I will close this entry at the close of the year!! Thank you all for your texts and calls over the last week and for all your cards and gifts. Christmas would have been even less Christmassy without them! We have started back at work for a few more weeks and then we head off to do the rest of Oz which we are already getting itchy feet for! Still lots to see in Sydney though and hopefully we will be going to the Blue Mountains this weekend which are supposed to be stunning! I will try and post up some New Years photos which are in the developers now and fingers crossed there will be a couple of good ones in them. Keep in touch and drop us an email with what you all got up to over Christmas!

Lots of Love
Liz and Simon
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