Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kiwi Kountry

Hello again and greetings from sunny New Zealand! From Sydney we flew over into Auckland, New Zealand, and after a few days there we decided we had enough of the city and it was time to head to the beach. After having difficulty finding a cheap car rental, we found Matt and Elese, two Canadians staying in our Auckland hostel were heading north as well. We hitched a ride with them in the station wagon they had just bought from another backpacker the day before and took off for Paihia, in the Bay of Islands in Northland, New Zealand. See the picture for how we expertly packed 5 people, their bags, and camping gear and food in the wagon. On the way up we stopped off and went through glowworm caves before arriving at the beach. The Canadians managed to buy a car that dings at you when you're going over the speed limit on the highway, which provides endless laughter on a 4 hour drive. We're staying at the beach now, stayed tuned to see if Mark will ever get a tan...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My Impressions of Sydney

Well we spent two weeks in beautiful Sydney, Australia and we all enjoyed it. Our first night was New Year's Eve which was fun. They put on the best fireworks show I've ever seen. We also spent a few days at Manly Beach which is a beautiful beach. I've been trying to run (exercise) as much as possible, and running on the footpaths along the beach is beautiful. Everybody seems to run in Sydney so it makes it easier to motivate myself. The sun is very intense and I have to be careful with my freshly shaven bald head. The prices here have also come as a shock to us all as we're having a hard time finding a place to eat out for less than about $9 USD, so we're cooking as many meals as possible which is nice.
After staying in Manly moved into the city and are staying in a part of the city called Woolloomooloo (love the name!) Here we're staying in a huge 4 story hostel. We like it here because it's very close to the Royal Botanic Gardens (the most beautiful gardens I've ever visited) and it's close to the heart of Sydney. (I run by the Sydney Opera House everyday) We stayed here a little over a week and did a lot of things. We have spent a lot of time in the nearby gardens, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Fish Market, Sydney Aquarium (very impressive), tour of the Opera House, saw an Opera (La Traviata) at the Opera House, visited Admiralty House (the Govenor General's House), visited Kirribilli House (the Prime Minister's house), saw street performers at Circular Quay, walked across the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, visited the world-famous Bondi Beach (HUGE waves the day we were there), Australian National Maritime Museum, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton of other things.
Now, we're off to New Zealand to find jobs in order to support our insatiable travel habit. Wish us luck!

My New Hair-do!

Well despite my best efforts to have long hair for once in my life, I couldn't take it any longer and decided to cut it all off. I didn't cut my hair once in South America and had planned to go for the "surfer look" while travelling for a year (when else am I going to get the chance), but it's just too hot and I can't take it! So Dave and Lori both helped me cut my hair. (gotta remember the budget) It started off with Dave and I using the scissor tool on a couple of pocket knives to cut it, but that was a slow process so Dave went out and bought real scissors, while Lori helped with the scissors in the meantime. Cutting the rest with a disposable razor didn't take long at all. (I've always wanted to shave my head) Overall, I like it, but I doubt I'll keep it like this for long. I could be in for some painful sunburns....

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!

And we are underway again!! We rang in the New Year in style in Sydney, Australia down by the harbor watching the fireworks. Here's a picture of how excited Lori was as we counted down the seconds to 2007. I like Sydney so far, but we're having a bit of shock at the prices here after being in South America for so long. Sydney is more expensive than DC so far, but we'll find a way to pinch pennies soon enough.