So, going back before christmas, one night we went out with one of phil's old friends. We ended up going to this french bistro place, i had snails for the first time. They were actually pretty good!
For christmas we were staying with friends of phil's called kate and charlie, who live in newcastle which is about two hours north of sydney. They also have two kids called hamish and alexander who were 12 and 9 and proved to be prett entertaining. We went up there on the 23rd because they were having a big party in the evening. So we got to their house, which was really nice, and had a pool but it was empty because they were renovating it. Curses. Before the party, kate had told me that there wasn't really going to be anyone my age, apart someone's daughter. So halfway through the night kate wanders over to me with this girl in tow, and says 'dave, this is jackie, she's your age, ok bye!' Well that was amusing. She was pretty cool, had been to Bali so I picked her brains about that, she's planning some big road trip across the states with a friend as a well. So some time later she leaves with her parents, and so then it's just me with a bunch of drunk middle aged people. Fun times! Crashed at about half 3.
Next day myself, phil, jeremy and the two kids went down to the beach. We took the dog for a walk and went for a swim. Phil always calls me 'boy', and so suddenly everybody was too, even the kids. Although they would say 'boy, do you like being called boy?' In the evening we went out for dinner, which was pretty good. Soon enough twas past midnight, and phil accidently got out jeremy's 30 year old port. But it tasted good :D
Christmas morning, the kids got up early and opened their presents. I can hear hamish playing his electric guitar badly. Excellent. We get up and have some breakfast, and then open our presents. I had some stuff that was sent over from home which was cool, one thing i got was this hilarious tshirt with a picture of some of my family on saying 'we're with you down under!' Cheesy as, but very sweet.
As well as us lot who were already there, a whole bunch more people were coming for xmas dinner, there was 24 of us in total. And just as we sat down on the veranda to eat, the rain came, and didn't really go away for about 2 days. Felt just like home! But it was a great christmas day. Most of the people who came were expats, as are kate and charlie so that's not that much of a suprise really!
Boxing day, i can't really remember too much of. Not that i was drunk, i just can't remember! Remember taking the kids and the dog for a walk. Hamish and alexander were big fans of me, mostly because i was one of the few people who didn't tell them off! They were a bit spoilt and got away with quite a lot, but so do most kids. I remember when we went for a walk, i was walking the dog, while alex was on his longboard and hamish was on this other wiggly board thing. Anyways, i was just on the road and a car was coming, so i jumped off and accidently bumped into hamish who was flying past on the pavement on his board, and sent him flying onto the grass. Whoops. He was fine though!
On the 27th we went to Nelson bay which is about an hour away further north, to see steve and oonagh. We went to a pub for a while, then came back to their place, as they have a bar in their basement. Awesome. That was a good day. The next day we came back to Newcastle, and went to see sherlock holmes in the evening which i was pretty happy about. I love the stories but was worried that they were going to ruin it, but it was pretty good! Next day we came back to Sydney. A couple of friends of phils fron england had flown in on boxing day and were staying at his place, so we came back and met them, and then went out for dinner. Can't think of much else that happened between then and new years. We were originally planning to just have i at phils place, as you can see the bridge from his place. But a couple of days before he went to see his friends new house which cost something crazy like 8 million dollars, and mostly its that expensive because of the view. It looks straight out over the harbour. Awesome. So we went round around 8ish. They have fireworks at 9pm for kids, which were awesome enough by themselves! Then from 11pm there would be a few random ones just to build up the tension, thn 12pm hits. Boom. Lots of boom. Fireworks are set off on the water as well as n the bridge. They were pretty epic. Went on for about 15 minutes altogether.
Some time later we went for a walk on the beach down below, and then eventually started walking back home. It was fun walking home, with people walking past and wishing you happy new year, as well as seeing all the people trying to get a taxi, which is pretty much impossible to do. I overheard one girl on the phone to a friend who said ' oh my god i hate everything right now'. I laughed. She didn't look amused. I offered her a piggy back service. She looked even less happy. I laughed some more. It was a good time :D
Next couple of days we didn't do too much, on the 3rd we went the scg to watch the cricket, aus vs pakistan! In the morning we went to the gym first (which is part of the cricket ground. We had some breakfast, and it started drizzling. So they called off the start. The food area filled up, and we ended up sharing with an old aussie guy, an old kiwi guy and his grandson. So we had some fun talking about cricket and rugby, mostly just phil and the older guys remeniscing about stuff before my time! Eventually the rain stopped and play started at 2pm. We were in the members section, which meant wearing long trousers and a collared shirt. But it was pretty cool because we had the two dressing rooms and balconies behind us! Anyway, the cricket was awesome, australia decided to bat for some criminal reason and ended up all out for 130. I did find myself cheering a bit too loudly when the aussies were getting out, especially as i was pretty much surrounded by aussies :D
I went again the next day, but by myself as phil had a rugby reunion. His gym membership meant we could get in for free which was pretty sweet. It was a pretty dull day though compared to the day before as pakistan batted pretty slowly. And of course, now that its several days later, even though the aussies were 200 behind after the first innings, they still managed to win. Bastards! Well, the day after the 2nd day i slept in as i'd been getting up early a fair bit, and going to the gym quite often too. So i just read and sat in the sun.
The next day, which was yesterday, i went to Wollongong to go and see Fi! I got up early and walked to sydney central station, bought a ticket ($13 for a return, two hours each way, that would cost bucket loads in england!). The journey was pretty scenic, then i hopped off at north wollongong and saw fi. She's a friend from the second time i went to canada when she was working as an instructor, but originally she had been a gap student like me, the year before i was there! So i was there for a year and heard about her loads, and it was cool that i got to meet her when i went back for the 2nd time! We had a pretty chilled day, lying on the beach, fish and chips and then had dinner at her place. It was really awesome to catch up with her, and hopefully it won't be too long til i see her again. She's keen to come over to the uk on a work visa at some point, particularly as her co gap student was a scot, and they are still close friends. It's been really good being able to catch up with old friends while on my travels, and hopefully one day they'll come through my neck of the woods when they are over!
I came back in the evening and there was a party going on, the couple that were staying at phils place as well were leaving the next day, the guy called nick used to play rugby over here at one point back in the 70's. So phil invited over a bunch of guys from those days, but by the time i came back they were well on their way to drunkville.
And so now i'm up to date. Yaaay. We're off the blue mountains tomorrow which should be good, then i fly on sunday to singapore, where i'll be sleeping in the airport (yay) and catching an early flight to bali! I've started reading up on indonesia to figure out what i'll do, and i think i'll start in kuta, which sounds pretty crazy, then head up to lovina, which sounds a bit more laid back. Then wonder westwards towards yogyartka, to see borobodur etc. And then beyond that i don't really know yet! Should be fun. I think it's going to be more of a challenge (once out of bali) to get around etc then the other places in asia i've been too, bt i'm looking forward to the challenge! And not even slightly jealous of the snow. :D