Yet More Updates to Come

Yet more travels, and not a blog update in sight.  Sigh…

  • France: Bordeaux, Medoc, Cognac, Provence, Avignon, Arles, Corsica, Dordogne (Rocamadour, Domme, Monpazier), St Emilion, Chamonix, mountaineering week around Mont Blanc massif
  • Spain: Barcelona, Andy & Laura’s wedding, Montserrat
  • Germany: Munich
  • Netherlands: Amsterdam x 2
  • Switzerland: Zurich, Baden, Lausanne, Berner Oberland, Grindelwald, Muerren, Oberwallis, Zermatt, various klettersteigs, Matterhorn preparation and ascent, Geneva
  • Costa Rica: Guanacaste
  • Bahamas: Sailing trip from Miami to the Bahamas, Bimini Islands, New Providence, Nassau, Eleuthera Island, Spanish Wells
  • USA: San Francisco Bay Area, Berkeley MBA 5-year reunion, Yosemite National Park, Miami, Houston
  • Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An
  • South Korea: Seoul
  • Australia: Melbourne, Sydney, New Years Eve 2011, Mum & Dad’s 40th Wedding Anniversary
  • New Zealand: Rugby World Cup 2011, New Plymouth, Mt Taranaki, Lake Taupo, Wellington
  • Peru: Huaraz, trekking & alpine climbing in the Cordillera Blanca (including ascents of Ishinca and Pisco mountains), Lima
  • Turks & Caicos: Sailing trip around the islands
  • Dominican Republic: Punta Cana beach R&R
  • United Kingdom: London business trips, Yorkshire countryside, Edinburgh
  • Norway: Oslo to visit family

Happy to provide information on any of those places if someone is looking to travel there sometime!  Drop me a line or write a comment to this blog post and I’ll answer back.

At the helm of the “Tariro” on the crossing from Miami to Nassau in the Bahamas, October 2011.

Marnie & Matt’s Wedding @ Melbourne Town Hall

My sister Marnie’s marriage to Matt Higgs got me back to Melbourne for the first time since I left to return to San Francisco a year ago.  It was a whirlwind week-long trip but really lovely to see the family and catch up with my friends again after yet another (my ninth!) year living overseas.

The wedding itself was a small, intimate and elegant affair held at the Victorian-era Melbourne Town Hall in the city CBD.  The ceremony was held in the plush old council chambers, folowed by some celebratory drinks out on the balcony overlooking Swanston St.  The reception was held in one of the Town Hall’s beautiful ballrooms was lovely, with everyone seated around a long u-shaped table.

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Marnie and Dad in the classic 1948 Jaguar saloon en route into the city.

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In the Exhibition Gardens for some photos before the wedding.

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In the anteroom.                                    Marnie can’t help tinkle the ivories.

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During the ceremony.                              The kiss!

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Reception in the ballroom.

The following morning we met up in the hotel restaurant for a delightful brunch with the bride and groom.

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Sal, Mum and Zoe.

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Little Zoe, now two years old!

Back By Popular Demand – For One Show Only!

G’day again, and welcome back listeners.  I’m in Australia for a couple of weeks right now and it’s fantastic to be home again.  I definitely feel like it’s been a great chance to recharge my batteries.  While backpacking the Silk Road was a unique and incredible experience, I definitely ran out of steam by the end of the end of it and was fed up with just about everything.  I needed to get back here, put my feet up for a while and just chill, and that’s exactly what I’ve done.  Aaaaah…

The trip home was timed to attend my good mate Colin and Bianca’s wedding here in Melbourne, and I’m so glad I could make it their big day.  I also got across to Perth to see my sister Sally’s gorgeous baby Zoe for the first time- aint she a cutie?!  Ohmygod I can’t believe I’m an uncle!!!

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So what next you all ask?  Well this world-weary traveler’s checked the gauge and has got one more left in the tank: I’m jetting off to South America this weekend.  I booked the flights waaaaay back at the start of this Grand Tour of mine, although I recently started to doubt whether I had the energy for it.  There’s still definitely a part of me that just wants to get back to San Francisco, find an apartment, unpack my boxes and get stuck into my new job.  But I feel up for it now, I’m fired up and I’m gonna come out swingin’, and I’m really looking forward to getting across there.  I’ve loved so much about South America on my two previous trips there, and I have some great plans this time around.  I’m going to call Buenos Aires home for the next few months and kick it off by doing an intensive Spanish course.  I plan to do a couple of backpacking trips to explore the rest of Argentina, and hopefully to the countries next door as well (Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia…).  But, as usual, it’s all TBD!

Before I sign off, a HUGE thanks to those of you who poked and prodded me to kick-start this blog again (yes you know who you are!).  After the Silk Road I was soooo sick of doing it and didn’t think I could give it another go.  But here I am, pounding away at the keyboard again (with my two index fingers – I really should learn to ten finger type!) and I have to admit kinda enjoying it.  This blogging thing sure is a good way to purge, and it’s nice to have my own private bit of the world wide web it fill with all my opinionated crap.  :-)

‘Til next time!  Stay tuned!!

A Week in Mazatlan

We flew down to Mexico the morning after my graduation.  My parents had recently bought into a global timeshare and wanted to try it out for the first time in the Pacific coast city of Mazatlan.  Our resort was the dated Balboa Towers, but what it lacked in style it made up for in location – directly fronting the beach with views of the islands off the coast.

We generally took it easy for the entire week.  We took a short tour down around the old town centre (nothing much there…) and saw the cliff divers.  We ate like kings most nights, and Dad and I went down to the brand new Estrella del Mar golf course for a round one day.  Adriana arranged for us to sail across to Goat Island one afternoon, which had a great stretch of beach and some tracks to hike.

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Cliff diving…

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Dad works his way out of a bunker.        Yum.

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The view from Goat Island.                    Mum and Dad on a catamaran.

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Sunset from our hotel room, overlooking Bird Island.

My Surprise 30th Birthday!

I’ve never had a surprise birthday party, and this one definitely came as a surprise!  Just before we left for Samoa, I’d sent out an email to all my friends in Melbourne inviting them to Mum & Dad’s place on Saturday 14th January for some casual birthday drinks and a catch-up.  What I didn’t know was that my Mum completely hijacked my email list!  She sent another email out to everyone on my email list telling them to ignore my email because she had something else in mind – sneaky Mum!

We arrived back from Samoa on 11th January and I organized to go out for a few quiet drinks with my mate Colin on my birthday – Friday 13th January.  Mum had collected quite a list of RSVPs for my party on Saturday while I’d been away, and I was looking forward to seeing everyone the next day.  We drove down to a local pub called the Geebung Polo Club, which by chance is where I had my 21st birthday party (and I didn’t even join the dots then!).  I grabbed a beer, walked around the corner, and there was EVERYONE!

It turned out to be a great night and a fantastic way to see some friends that I hadn’t seen since I left Australia way back in 1998.  Thanks everyone for coming and making it such a memorable night!!  Special thanks to Matty Farrell and Laura, who came down from Sydney for it!

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Thanks for the pressie guys!!  Now I have my very own Ken Duncan print!

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Mum, Dad, Me, Marnie, Adriana

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The family knife (a hand-me-down through the generations) celebrates another milestone!

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Adri with Katie and James.

More Melbourne

We had a few more days together in Melbourne before Karen flew back to Townsville and Sally and Ren flew back to Perth.  Before everyone went their separate ways we had some pre-dinner drinks at Marnie’s apartment in the Docklands, followed by one last big family dinner at our favourite Chinese restaurant in Hawthorn.

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The view from Marnie’s apartment.          The whole family together!!

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My fam: Sally (super pregnant), Marnie, Mum, Dad and me.

Our family friends the Sellars took us out for a sail on Port Philip Bay, which I haven’t done since I was a kid.  It was a hot summer’s day and perfect for sailing.

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Adri takes the helm.                              The city by the bay, from the bay!

Christmas at Home

The last time I’d been home for Christmas was way back in 1999, so it was a great to be around family and friends this year.  It was especially important for me to be home because my older sister Sally was pregnant with her first baby, so it was definitely a time to celebrate!  In fact, the last time we’d been together as a family was for Christmas in Spain way back in 2002.

We were able to catch up with some of my friends over the days before Christmas.  I had a great catch-up with some of my old friends from university at Katie and James’s place in Richmond.  I hadn’t seen some of these guys in five years!

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Christmas Day at home was fantastic!  We had the whole family there – Mum and Dad, Marnie, Sally and Ren flew from Perth, and my Aunt Karen flew down from Townsville.  We were joined for lunch by our good family friends the Owens, and through the afternoon many other friends dropped by.

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Christmas Day at the Anderson’s.  Far too much fine food and wine consumed…  Enough even to wear the silly paper hats from the Christmas crackers.

Boxing Day (26th December) means one thing in Melbourne – the Boxing Day Cricket Test at the MCG!  It was a gorgeous day so I took Adriana to see her first game of cricket.  We also met up with some of my friends from Berkeley who were traveling around Australia over the break, and we went to the match together.  There was a huge crowd of 75,000+ at the ground for the game, and we had a relaxing day in the sun swilling beer.  Not sure what my American friends thought about cricket though…

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The Army Years

Finally got around to scanning in some old photos from my years in the Australian Army:

  • August 1994 to January 1997 – Officer Training at Monash University Regiment (including Recruit Course in December 1994)
  • 26 January 1997 – Officer’s Commission at Graduation Parade and Ball
  • January 1997 to late 1997 – Platoon Commander at A Company, 5th/6th Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment
  • Late 1997 to November 1998 – 5th Platoon Commander at B Company, 5th/6th Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment
  • November 1998 to October 1999 – Extended leave while working in Switzerland
  • October 1999 to May 2000 – Assistant Adjutant, 5th/6th Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment