Archive for the 'Sydney' Category

…and by all accounts it’s been good fun. Here’s a quick run down of some of the highlights:

  • Good flight from Cairns: Twas really smooth and went rather quickly through spending most of it chatting to a woman sitting next to me about all sorts – and watching Wild Hogs (she’d seen it on other Quantas flights 3 times already, much to both of our amusement when our flight’s film was announced).
  • Saturday evening drinks with Jonny (the Irish fella from Western Exposure) and his mates: Due to not having drunk any alcohol for almost a week, I was a little tipsy rather quickly, but that didn’t stop me enjoying “the Craic” until late on Sunday evening
  • Sunday lunchtime Chinese food with Sam (from Sydney) and his friends: We went to Chinatown into a place called Dim Sum, which served, in fact, Dim Sum – a tapas-style Chinese meal. I enjoyed the often delicious and always rather different tastes of such things as shown below:
    Dim Sum!

    Whilst I was chatting with Sam’s mates and struggling to get to grips with my chop sticks, Sam tucked into some rather, er, interesting delicacies:
    Sam Enjoying A Delicious... Chicken Foot.  Mmm.
    I was also rather excited to find that, having just been chatting about where Sam should go in London when he visits next year, we stumbled across a place I’d only just recommended:

  • Sunday evening drinks with Kate (who I’d met in Cairns ages ago): being the classy travelers that we were, this evening started by going down to the offy, grabbing a 4 litre box of “goon” (shit, shit wine) for just over $10AUD and necking some from a sprite bottle as we walked to the pub. The goon was also used to, er, “spice up” drinks in the pub:
    Kate Enjoying Some Delicious... Goon. Nice.
    Despite early intentions, this evening was quite a short one for me as I started to feel a bit ill (probably the goon, methinks) so called it quits at about 9pm, which was a shame… but meant I was feeling good and awake for the next day:

  • Monday afternoon visit to Taronga Zoo with Sam and Co.: A nice ferry ride across the harbour took us to Taronga Zoo and despite nearly passing out when asked to pay over $30AUD each to get in, we got into the cable car (oh yes) for the ride to the zoo entrance:

    I was really surprised by the size of the zoo, actually. I’d expected it to be rather on the small side, mais non! It was rather sizeable, with various shows throughout the day. Alas we were there late on so only got to see the bird show, but that was rather impressive – especially given that this dude flew around the audience for a while:
    Big Bird
    After seeing that we wandered around checking out the animals, as you do in a zoo where, say, the purpose of visiting is to, say, see animals… but of course spent some time being very normal and mature too:

    Yes, there certainly was some “monkeying around”… I swore the zookeepers were going to go “ape” at one point. Ahem:
    Group Shot!

  • Monday evening in Manly: Again with Sam and the crew, we spent the evening relaxing in Manly, enjoying some wood fired pizza and then some awesomely rich and evil chocolate in Max Benner (he was rather accommodating, given how many of us there were. Aha. Ha ha. Ha. Ahem).
  • Tuesday evening drinks with Kate + her mates Dave and Paul: Similar to Monday, but without the leaving early… and with less goon… alas with some rather drunk dancing in Scruffy Murphy’s bar towards the end… and the feeling that Thursday wasn’t going to be a great deal of fun.
  • Wednesday morning trip to Canberra: Oooh how glad I was to have been drinking lots the night before. Oh, no, wait… the 3 hour Greyhound bus journey to Canberra, devoid as it was of any films was rather a) dull and b) “touch and go”. Not in the sense of late-90s cheesy requesting-a-night-of-sex based dance song “Would You?”, but more in the “trying not to be sick” sense. Luckily I managed to hold it down… just. Getting to Canberra made it all worth it though, what with the slightly basildon-esque town centre and great sights like this to enjoy:
    I mean, what. The. Hell?

  • Wednesday afternoon walk up Mount Ainslie: I’d decided the best way to get myself feeling better was to walk the hangover out of me. So after checking into the (really rather tasty) Canberra YHA, I walked up the 200 metre climb of Mount Ainslie to check out the views:

    And say hi to the locals:

  • Wednesday evening Cinema visit: To Transformers? Shrek 3? Pirates 3? Nope, I went to an alternative cinema (although I’d assumed it was mainstream til I’d got there and thought I’d accidentally been in a beer-induced coma for a year, missing all the films I’d heard of) to watch the (excellent) German film The Lives Of Others. I recommend a watch of it, if you can ever get hold of it.
  • Thursday trip to Parliament House: This was a highlight from Canberra, what with it being rather damned impressive. I wont bore you with the details, but let’s just say it’s a cool looking building, built into an existing hill, with loads of impressive artwork around it (donated by various nations), a “roof top” lawn with views of the city… and impressive looking senate house/house of reps rooms:
    Scullion In The Great Hall! Arthur Boyd Painting The Great Hall Tapestry's Based On
    Big Flag Pole(s) Parliament House Foyer
    Senate House
    Some great history to be told about it, which is why I’m glad I went on a (free) guided tour. I would relay the information to you but, well, I’d just bore you and (no doubt) have forgotten the facts already :-)

  • Thursday afternoon walk… and being soaked by the spray of a MASSIVE JET OF WATER: If you go to Canberra and see the following sight:

    Do not, under any circumstances, think it’ll be fine to walk along the path that is in the path of that massive water jet’s “steam”. It is NOT like walking through drizzle, or even a shower. It is like having half of your body dunked in a bath:

    I also visited the war memorial, which was pretty impressive:

  • Friday souvenir buying: Not really a highlight as, well, I’m a bloke and, well, it’s shopping, but I did see some rather amusing sights:
    A squeezy stress relief can. Check out the description:

    Some, er, Kangaroo hands and, er, ball bags:

    It’s a strange world we live in.

  • Friday drinks with James (from Heading Bush): Following a Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat (I’m vowing not to have any more of these this year *), we headed to the 3 Wise Monkeys pub and drank lots of Carlton Draft (by far the best Aussie Beer – well, that an Toohey’s Extra Dry), watching a great live band and chatting with a lovely (aren’t they all) Kiwi couple.
  • Saturday chilling: Despite the beers I’ve not been hungover today and have just chilled out, meeting Sam et al for lunch and then spending the afternoon grabbing a couple of extra souvenirs, packing my bags (all done now, wooh), uploading photos and… writing this.

(* Whilst in Australia)

So there it ends. My last week in Oz. It’s been a good one to go out on. I was thinking of writing a “Wow, it’s the end, here’s a review of the trip and how I feel about it all and where I am now” blog entry, but I’m going to save that for when I get back home and am not paying per hour to blog. In summary, though: this has been the best experience of my life. I’m so glad I’ve done it. I’m happier than I’ve been for so long and really excited about where my life’s going to be going now. :-)

Really looking forward to going home, but to be honest the 9.5 hour flight, 2.5 hour wait in Hong Kong airport and 13 hour flight to Heathrow aren’t exactly causing me a great deal of excitiment.

Oh well. Hopefully they’ll have a good set of movies on the plane. I’m looking forward to seeing Norbit again.

Take care y’all, all the best from me and Squage (Yeah, all the best from over ‘ere :-) – Squage) and I’ll see you back in the UK!

Farewell from Australia,

Pat (and Squage) :-)

by Pat
on May 28th, 2007

Wooh! I Did The Bridge Climb!

Well, despite my ever-continuing fear of heights, I managed to get myself up and walking along see-through grilled platforms over 50+ metre drops and up a long ol’ climb to a point 134 metres above the Sydney Harbour.

Yep, today I did the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb.

It was at once amazing (the views were just incredible from the top and, frankly, the entire structure is awe-inspiring – particularly when you think about the people who risked their lives to build the huuuge structure) and bloody scary… fortunately I managed to make the entire thing without panicking, which was nice, and also got some Quality Cheesy Photos ™ taken near the top.

The aforementioned photos will follow… till then, I think it’s time for a beer :-)



Still a bit shaky, but so, SO glad he’s done it

by Squage
on Feb 7th, 2007

Prior To The Road Trip

Howdy folks!

Righty, well Pat spent quite a while each evening writing a daily diary thing to then put online. Thing is, I read through it prior to putting it online and realised that it was waffley and rather dull. Kind of like a Birdseye Potato Waffle made of McDonalds Fries. And no one wants that.

So what I’ve decided to do is continue the summary-bullet-point-stylee of the Sydney update.

Here goes:

Tuesday 23rd January: Bavarian Aquarium

  • Two major highlights of the day:
  • Sydney Aquarium: After falling out of bed late (again) Pat and Jersey walked to Hello Darling Harbour and visited this ‘ere place. There were lots of sea creatures to see (unsurprisingly) – the highlight for Pat was watching Seals swim about from within a glass tunnel:

    Seal Floating Over The Viewing Tube I Like This Shot
    Keeping An Eye On Things

    Aside from that it was, well, ok, but too full of unruly kids running around for Pat’s liking. Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater Adventure World Place Zone (or whatever it’s called) is much better, too. Admittedly it’s not much of an option if you’re in Sydney, as it’s in Aukland – about 2000 miles away.

  • Evening Entertainment: This was situated at The Rocks (an area near the Harbour Bridge) and was rather entertaining. Pat and Jersey met up with Jersey’s cousin Anna and her mates for some food and drink. They ended up in a place called the Laurenbrau Keller. It’s a big restaurant room, with a stage at the front. This sort of thing happens on the stage:

    Comed-er, I Mean Authentic Bavarian Dance! Bell Ringing!
    My, What A Big Horn You Have

    They also get people to participate. Pat was fully enjoying the friendly, party atmosphere of the place. Unfortunately for Jersey, he was sitting right next to the stage:

    Jersey Takes Part Jersey Takes Part Again

    Still, he was kept happy with the rather generous beer portions:


    These continued for a while, then several other beer-serving establishments were visited by the gang… before Pat and Jersey staggered back to the hostel at silly O’Clock AM.

Wednesday 24th January: Hungover

  • A classic post-beers day for Pat:
    1. Get up very late: He awoke at gone 11am and managed to fall out of bed at close to 12pm.
    2. Do very little during the day:We saw nothing of interest today. Most of it has been spent chilling in this hostel:

      Lazy Afternoon

      Which is no bad thing (particularly when you’re listening to the hilarious Adam and Joe Podcasts), unlike the third factor of post-beer days:

    3. Eat crap food: Jersey and Pat wandered wearily to Pizza Hut and had a buffet lunch. There goes the diet (again). Pat didn’t go too wild by his standards (like that says anything!), but poor ol’ Jersey didn’t quite know when to stop. He felt quite ill all afternoon.
  • In the evening Pat, Jersey and Tim (their French roommate) went to Coogee to meet up with Anna – and have next-to-no beers. He enjoyed the sights… but Anna has lots of nurse friends, I’m not sure which “sights” Pat means…
  • Some sights were odd though:

    (A large dog (being walked by an old woman), which was wearing little red booties)

    (A Domino’s Pizza van with an odd dorsal-fin-esque attachment)

    There was also a 7.1-on-the-richter-scale Earthquake, as can be seen above.

  • Pat went to bed a bit annoyed after getting back and spending two hours poncing around trying to un-DRMify (that’s the technical term) some songs he bought on iTunes so he could put them on his iRiver. He failed. He only realised the next day that he could’ve just burned to CD and re-ripped. What a nonce.

Thursday 25th January: Opera House

  • Today was a pretty good day.
  • Despite waking up feeling fully knackered (mainly due to his PC entertainment the night before) Pat managed to do something he’d been meaning to for ages: go on the Opera House Tour!
  • It was really pretty interesting hearing about the history of the place, particularly the political mess that caused the original architect Jorn Utzon to quit the project with only the outer part of the Opera House designed.
  • It still looks quite cool:

    Deep Thought? More Crazy Opera House Architecture
    Concert Hall Back Entrance
    Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take photos inside the actual concert halls themselves, so the following picture was definitely not under any circumstances taken by Pat against The Rules:

    The Concert Hall

    Utzon apparently wanted the interior of the “sails” framework to look “like a scuplture” and as such the big concrete framework’s never been painted. Shame, as it does look a little bit “Basildon” in places…

  • During the tour Jersey and Pat fell for the “Show the tour participants the set for tonight’s performance” trick (Oh, that *classic* one… – Pat) and after seeing the (apparently awesome) set for the Sweeney Todd musical in the Opera Hall, they booked tickets for the evening’s performance. Second cheapest tickets ($65), but with a good view – middle of the back row. Nice!
  • The musical itself was, in Pat’s words: “Really bloody good”. He expanded a little further but seeing as I’d been stuck in a bag in the Cloak Room for the entire performance, I wasn’t really in the mood for listening.
  • Pat enjoyed an evening away from computers and had a fairly early night – in preparation for the My Chemical Romance gig the next evening… on Australia Day.

Friday 26th January: My Australia Day Romance

  • So, it’s Australia Day. It’s the day Australian’s celebrate the first fleet arriving. So what better way to celebrate than have a lie in and spent an hour or two blogging? That’s what Pat decided anyway. And that’s what he did.
  • Fortunately it did get better than that…
  • After another pasta-and-veggies-based mid afternoon lunch, Jersey, Sam, Tim and Pat headed off into town towards Luna Park, where the evening’s My Chemical Romance gig was to occur.
  • After a long yet enjoyable walk, through crowded, bustling streets, past lots of free live music and a large amount of Aussie flags…

    Australia Day Crowds At The Rocks More Oz Day Crowds

    …we arrived outside Luna Park’s “Big Top” (which was more of a, say, large building than actual big top).

  • Two things surprised Pat about the queue to get in:
    1. Size: Given that he arrived at 6:30pm and the doors didn’t open til 7:30pm, the several-hundred-people-long queue was a little longer than Pat had expected – or hoped for.
    2. People: Black was the clothing colour of choice, which wasn’t such a surprise, but Pat was a bit confused to find that he was quite clearly the oldest person out of the 100 or so he could see around him. There were a LOT of 16-18 year olds. He felt like he was gatecrashing a Goth School Trip.
  • Anyway, after finally getting into the arena Pat and Tim found a spot by the sound stage in the (notably roomy) Over-18s (licensed) area whilst Jersey and Sam headed for the moshing area.
  • The support were pretty good, despite Pat having no idea who they were (they’d introduced themselves by saying “Welcome to My Chemical Romance!”. It would be quite a coincidence if that were their name).
  • My Chemical Romance themselves were excellent. Great interaction with the crowd and the ability to go from full-on CRAZSHY ROCK IN YOUR FAYSHE to heart-string-tugging (e.g. Cancer) with ease.
  • Pat left impressed, somewhat tipsy (the bar was quite close to where he was standing) and with an urge to become a concert tech op (having been watching the sound booth as much as the band most of the evening, the saddo).
  • A few long exposure shots (below) later and Pat and the gang were back at the hostel:

    Long Exposure Opera House

  • Pat will probably be buying The Black Parade when he gets home. Hey, he might even buy it from iTunes whilst travelling! Or he might just poke his eyes out.

Saturday 27th January: Dossing

  • Quite a “nothing” day today. In fact, it can be summarised in a simple paragraph:
  • Pat woke up late, he drew a bit, he grabbed some food, he watched Apocalypto and he helped Jersey out with some CD burning. Then he went to bed.

So, yep, that’s it. As an aside, Apocalypto’s apparently pretty good (at least better than Pat expected), but Pat felt that the drunken rant from the lead character about how Jews will be responsible for all future wars was a little unnecessary.

Righty, next blog will be the ROAD TRIP (starting on Sunday 28th Jan)… til then, have a good [Time Between Reading This And The Road Trip Blog]!



by Squage
on Jan 26th, 2007

Sydney – A Quick Catch Up!


Yep, ok, firstly I’ll admit: I’ve been lacking in Sydney-based updates. Mainly this is because I figured the daily update thing was a bit too much… but then I just got lazy.

As it happens I’ve been writing a diary at the end of the past few days, which I’ll be uploading soon, but before that I figured I should fill you in on what Pat and myself have been up to between getting to Sydney and the 23rd (diary writing start time thing).

Saturday 13th

  • Pat and I left sunny Melbourne and headed to Sydney
  • The flight was fine (despite leaving from the out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Avalon Airport (hint: don’t choose Jetstar if you want to fly from Melbourne to Sydney and you might get to use the normal Melbourne Airport), and the somewhat bumpy ride down into Sydney)
  • After checking into the Wake Up! hostel Pat met up with Scottish Iain from the Kiwi Experience, had a wander and had a couple of drinks in the evening – including visiting some irish bars (every city must have at least two, it appears) – and then hit the sack.

Sunday 14th

  • Pat and Iain (who seems to like shopping and is therefore strange – that’s the only explanation I can see!) spent the day wandering around looking for a new camera to replace Pat’s “finally bitten the dust” one. After lots of pushy salesmen in shops (“We give you extra SD card if you buy today!”) we went back to the hostel to think about it.
  • In the evening we saw In Pursuit Of Happyness, which is a pretty feel good – if predictable film… and rather shocking in that it included Will Smith actually doing some acting. Seriously, I’m not joking. It wasn’t awful either. I know!!

Monday 15th

  • Pat finally bought a camera in the shops during the morning (at the place which wasn’t trying to force cameras down his neck the day before) – fortunately it was the last in the shop so he got a discount. Unfortunately it was the last in the shop so it’s a girly purple/pink colour. Oh, and even with the discount it’s about as expensive as his old camera – but two models down from it. HOORAY FOR HIGH STREET RETAILERS!
  • In the afternoon Pat met up with Iain and wandered around the town a bit, grabbing a bite to eat at a nice Italian restaurant in The Rocks (near the Harbour Bridge) – oh and checking the views from Sydney Tower:

    Attempted Arty Shot #549990 Sydney.  From Sydney Tower!

  • In the evening Pat and Iain had a couple of bevvies in a few bars: Side Bar (Wake Up!’s bar, which is quite good, if somewhat dark), Three Monkeys (good live music) and Bar Broadway (featuring a quite fit barmaid that Iain spent a while chatting up). Pat wasn’t much in the mood for beers so was on soft drinks most of the evening. Hard core!

Tuesday 16th

  • Pat moved to the awesome City Central YHA today and then spent most of the day chilling by himself in their huge lounge, doing some drawing and listening to chooooons. Twas lovely to not have to wander around shops for a change!
  • Exciting thing of the day: Pat got himself a hair cut! Sadly the “grow hair long” thing he wanted to do hadn’t quite worked – twas more a case of “grow hair into an unmanageable birds nest-style mess” by the time he got it cut.
  • An early night was had too, which was lovely.

Wednesday 17th

  • Following a lazy day on Tuesday Pat decided to get out and about, so set off in the direction of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • A veerrry long walk later and he’d walked both ways across it, seen the “disappointing” Luna Park fairground and even trundled to “Hello” Darling Harbour to enjoy the sights:

    Pat And Squage On The Bridge Pat And Squage.  And Some Bridge And Building Thing.
    Sydney Harbour Bridge: Bolted Down Monorail!  Monorail!  Monoraaaaiill!

  • After another quiet evening Pat headed to bed.

Thursday 18th

  • A surprisingly similar day to Wednesday occurred, although this time in the company of Iain – and with some swimming pool action later and another cinema trip – this time to see the tres bonne Pan’s Labyrinth.

Friday 19th

  • Iain left for Byron Bay and in his place Jersey arrived:

    Jersey Has Arrived!

    He’s in the same room as Pat, which is cool.

  • Quite a chilled day occurred today but Pat managed to pay off his credit card in spite of crappy internet banking connectivity, so that was a bonus!
  • Late in the evening Pat accompanied Tim and “Shirtin” (phonetically spelt – it’s actually spelt with some Js, Ks and, frankly, I’ve no idea how to spell it – sorry dude!) for a couple of beers – sans Jersey who was fully knackered (having not actually gone to sleep on Thursday night due to a late night tattooing followed by sitting in an airport for 8 hours… mmm, nice)

Saturday 20th

  • Pat and Jersey went to the glorious Coles supermarket and did a big food shop! The plan is to a) eat healthier and b) save money! How long will it last? (Well, about 4 days. But it’s still clinging onto life now :-))
  • In the evening we all trundled to the Symphony In The Domain, an open-air orchestral concert courtesy of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. It was brilliant – and packed – complete with a fireworks finale to the awesome 1812 Overture:

    A Better View Of The StageSquage Prepares To Enjoy The Orchestra
    Badly Framed FIREWORKS!

Sunday 21st

  • Highlight of the day: we went to Games Workshop! Wow! Jersey’s a big fan of the Warhammer stuff – to the extent that he didn’t give up buying Games Workshop kit 15 years ago when it all became funking ridiculously overpriced! Now that’s dedication!
  • We met up with a guy called Sam, who Jersey met on his latter leg of his New Zealand trip. Sam’s a fun fella and gets extra points for taking us to the awesome Easy Way Tea for some bizzare yet great tea-based drinks. Pat had a Pineapple flavoured Fruit Milk Tea(!). It was odd, which is not surprising. What is surprising is that it was really tasty!
  • In the evening Pat actually did some cooking (!!!), making a tasty vegetable sauce for some pasta… then Pat dragged Jersey to see Pan’s Labyrinth. Again. Wooh!

Monday 22nd

  • Today we secured our Friday night plans: we bought and picked up tickets to see My Chemical Romance play Luna Park. Wooh!
  • Also, we went to the Museum Of Sydney, which despite being small was really interesting. Particularly cool was the exhibition about the Sydney Harbour Bridge design and construction – loads of interesting designs and the construction of the thing was an awesome feat! Alas photos weren’t allowed, but we got one of the outside:

    Pat At The Museum Of Sydney

  • After that we browsed some cool shops (comics and games stuff), made some more pasta + sauce and spent the evening chilling out doing some drawings…

Tuesday 23rd – Friday 26th
Well… you’ll have to wait and see. There’s some ramblings a’coming, I just don’t know when. :-)

That should do for now, methinks.

In summary: Pat’s enjoying Sydney. It’s a nice city to walk around in with lots of cool sights and loads of things going on. Apparently he’s quite keen to be getting on the road though – which is lucky as he and Jersey are hiring a car on Sunday to take a trip to the blue mountains and down the east coast. Wooh!

Anyways, will no doubt blah on at length shortly… so I’ll leave you for now. Hope all’s well where you are!




Right, firstly: hello! We’re in Sydney! More on this in a second.

First though I’m afraid I need to draw your attention to this:

Less Than Three

It’s AWESOME. But only if you’ve been using computers long enough and are nerdy enouhg to find Myspace and all that just a bit too, you know, “hip” and “cool”. Hence both Pat and I like it.

Thanks to Mr Rik “This will ruin my reputation as someone who doesn’t at all like silly happy hardcore songs filled with acronyms” Ward for pointing this out to Pat :-)

Right, that’ll do for now – see you in a whi-what? Oh, right, yes, other stuff:

We’re in Sydney! Wooh!

Following an easy flight from Melbourne on Saturday Pat and I checked in to the hostel (Wake Up!) on Saturday afternoon. Since then we’ve met up with Ia(i)n and wandered around a bit, mainly looking for cameras (yep, Pat’s camera has finally given up the ghost) and seeing the “pretty good actually and what the hell, is that Will Smith doing some proper acting???” The Pursuit of Happyness.

We’ve not really had a chance to see the sights (although from a distance the Opera House and Harbour Bridge look fully awesome and the harbour they sit on/over is very pretty) so can’t really comment on that yet, however the first impressions of the place are that it’s a lot busier with a lot more rushing around than Melbourne. It also feels a bit more cramped than Melbourne as the streets aren’t quite so wide and the buildings are generally taller.

Still, we’ve not seen that much of the place (only really from Chinatown to the harbour) so who knows what the rest of it’s like. We’ll reserve judgement for then.

Today we’re going to be tourists and see the bridge close up, go up the Sydney Tower and check out such things as the Luna Park fairground! Tomorrow we’re going to be checking out of Wake Up! and into the nearby YHA. Wake Up!‘s good, it’s just that the kitchen’s tiny and there’s not much room for chilling out.

Right, time to go and get a camera and then wander up to the Sydney Tower to check out the views!



P.S. I don’t think I mentioned this, but terrestrial TV out here is AWFUL. It’s all US Sitcom reruns with adverts every 5 minutes. We miss the BBC…