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I'm taking the opportunity to make a fairly rapid, west to east, circumnavigation of the globe. My journey will take me to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, NZ, Fiji, USA and Canada before I head home to the UK.
It should be good!
February 25th 2007
I'm in Ottawa and it's really nice to spend some time here before I fly back to the UK. I arrived here somewhat jaded from the pleasures and rigours of all that had gone before and it has been restorative to share the company of good friends in this place which I have visited many times. This is my first "Winter" sojourn in the nation's Capital and I've been initiated into some of Canada's seasonal obsessions. I went to my first "Hockey" game and saw the Senators beat the Oilers 4-3 after a shootout in front of 19,000 people at Scotiabank Place. It was great fun and, to use a technical term, "I'm hooked". I've "curled" my first stones on a rink at Nepean and, on the same day, taken my first (very) faltering steps on ... read more
February 16th 2007
Hi I'm writing from the lobby of the Strathcona Hotel in downtown Toronto. I'm wearing a jumper and thinking of discarding it (I just have). 10 feet away - on the other side of the plate-glass window- it,s minus ?? and there is lots of grey and white but hardly fresh snow. Rewind!! - I arrived at the bus/train station in Vancouver on Sunday and elected to take the "Canadien" train across country rather than the bus (perhaps I'll get a refund?). It was a good choice :- 2,500 miles, 80 hours, great food, great scenery (subjective), great staff, extreme enui , and EXCELLENT COMPANY. Amongst my (without exception) splendid co- passengers (and train crew) were 5 Canadian travel writers. Notwithstanding that they were enjoying a "freebee" - they were all fun, gracious and interesting and ... read more
February 10th 2007
Hello I'm now in downtown Vancouver having crossed from Victoria this afternoon. The BC Ferry ride from Vancouver Island is really scenic and not dissimilar to those in the Western Isles of Scotland. I spent exactly one day in Victoria having yesterday had an equally attractive voyage on the Victoria Clipper (Catamaran) from Seattle. Washington State and British Columbia are really nice places to be. I had a look around Victoria which epitomises "nice" though it was a short day as I went to bed ridiculously early. I think I'm getting all the jetlag at once (poor me). My hotel room in Vancouver is on floor 26 of 42 which I find both exciting and intimidating but the view is undeniably spectacular, if a poor excuse for the cheesy title of this Blog. I've just been ... read more
February 6th 2007
Hello - I've been in Seattle for about 15 hours having survived the long haul from Fiji and the Southern Pacific generally. Fiji was beautiful and the locals and tourists I met were great but the heat and the sand flies and the cane toads and the giant spider in my bathroom were something of a distraction. There was a huge amount of rain as well but it is a fabulous place and ideal if you just want to relax on a tropical beach and indulge yourself. The big flight from Nadi to Los Angeles was tolerable and I actually slept for a few hours thereon. The views over LA as we came into LAX were stunning and I would love to have been able to take some pictures. The flight to Seattle was ok though ... read more
February 1st 2007
Hi - it's "ilivin" thirty on Thursday morning here in central Auckland and literally and metaphorically the sun shines bright - except for the Villa getting beat by the Toon and James Milner scoring the opener. At least the new face Young is off the mark. Enough about Soccer (anyways - that's for softees - Ive become a rugby man here in the Land of the All Blacks). I've been up the Sky Tower which gives one an excellent, panoramic, 360 degree view, of the City and its magnificent harbour. It's certainly the tallest structure in New Zealand though I suspect no longer the tallest in the Southern "Himisphere" as the lift operator told me - barely stifling her yawn when I told her I'd now "...been up the tallest structures in both hemispheres having also ... read more
January 30th 2007
Yesterday I arrived in Wellington after a beautiful rail journey up the East Coast of the South Island from Christchurch followed by an equally scenic ferry ride across the Cook Strait to this, the capital, city of New Zealand. I continue to have a great time. The only very feint blemishes have been: (1) The post office at Christchurch had no bags so my air mail stickers stuck to other items in my shoulder bag (2) My digital camera seems to use up batteries very quickly (I must make sure they're longlife). Nobody said it would be easy. Trivia - my old flat mate Paul Larsen from Christchurch whom I met, with his partner Sara, for a very pleasant lunch in Christchurch, owns a car dealership in Invercargill which is the most southerly car dealership in ... read more
January 27th 2007
I'm in Christchurch which is the southernmost point of my travels and easily the farthest from home I've ever been though, to quote (the guidebook quoting) Anthony Trollope : "The great drawback to New Zealand comes from the feeling that after crossing the world and journeying over so many thousand miles, you have not at all succeeded in getting away from England". I can see his point but it certainly doesn't feel like a drawback and one has only to look at the nearby mountains and Scotland is equally evoked. Certainly Christchurch, as intended, is redolent of a type of Oxbridge Englishness, with it's small river (more like the Cam or the Test than the Hampshire Avon I think) overhung by willows and navigated by people seeking gentility in punts. Gentile seems like a good way ... read more
January 25th 2007
Tomorrow morning I leave Sydney and fly to Christchurch. I've had a truly excellent week here in NSW. I'm sad to be leaving which is good because it means I've really felt at home here. Apart from the world famous sights it's a nice place just to hang out and eat cheap, ethnically diverse, food and drink good coffee. Whatever you want to do - it's here. Like the other places I have visited, people have been helpful and courteous, almost without exception. Within 5 minutes of passing through immigration the woman behind the counter at "Travelex" advised me that it would be cheaper for me to obtain Aussie dollars from the nearby ATM than over her counter. 10 minutes later the girl at the station ticket window took time out to advise me that a ... read more
January 23rd 2007
I'm at Bondi Beach which is a short hop from the City by train and bus. The weather remains hot and sunny though there are a few small clouds in the sky. As ever I hope that conditions in the North aren't too unpleasant. I've been in the water and it was truly exhilirating standing in the shallows waiting to be engulfed by the next breaker. It was unalloyed fun and I couldn't take the stupid grin off my face. The waves are powerful to say the least and I gave away my rookie status whenever I got knocked off my feet. I gather that one should duck, or preferably dive into the waves. No matter, it was brilliant and, of course, I stayed between the flags (which are quite close together). There are quite a ... read more
January 21st 2007
Have been doing some more of the sights so I thought I'd thought I'd offer a few more scraps to my ever hungry and ever expanding global audience. Just a few photos with captions. I think that's enough of the City so the next words and images will be of the Blue Mountains and at least one of Sydney's famous beaches. ... read more