penny and gary


penny and gary

Gary and Penny, from the beginning... Again. Round the world for a year in 07 and we've decided it's time once more. So packing up the house, the jobs, selling the cars and up up and away, this time with no return ticket and no fixed itinerary. A smidgin reckless, sure, but what the hell. May as well indulge in a few passions before the last great journey in who knows when.
Stay tuned and please stay in contact, cause whilst we love seeing what the rest of the world has to offer, we also love receiving news from home base.

Asia » Hong Kong » Hong Kong Island February 13th 2013

I'd like to superimpose one day onto another please. Day 1 - Shin deep rubbish by the side of roads. An omnipresent film of dust clouds the air. Roads are choked to the point of standstill by vehicles, half of which are 3 wheeled. The most integral part of those vehicles is the horn. The incessant noise has you wishing you were deaf. Every 10 metres an auto rickshaw driver will confront you for an inflated fare to somewhere you don't want to go. Crossing the road is a genuine health hazard. Beggars cohort for loose change. The background odour of stale urine a constant. Everyone spits and men use any spare wall space as a public latrine. Blackouts are the rule rather than the exception. In fact nothing works with regularity. Tourists are, love it ... read more
Junk superimposed.
Ubiquitous double decker trams

Asia » India » Karnataka » Hampi February 2nd 2013

There's nothing intimate about Indian cities. Surely it's here that that well worn cliche "assault on the senses" was spawned. Urban India is where the concept of a billion people in one nation resonates. The gamy odours of raw filth that overlay the spicy aromas of street cuisine. The incessant rhythmic honking of car horns. Mosque wake up calls (there may only be a 10% Muslim population here but that's still 100 million). Mainlining vegetarian curries. Cows knee deep in street rubbish somehow eking out an alternate food source to grass. It's dank, it's full throttle and maybe it's not the Indian romance of imaginations or from the pages of Rudyard Kipling, but the lurching excitement of Mysore, Bangalore and Hyderabad has left a thousand still-life images entrenched in the memory banks. No more so than ... read more
Mysore market
The Guru's guru! Hampi Bazaar.
Mysore market

Asia » India » Kerala » Kochi January 26th 2013

QUIRKSVILLE Boasting over half a millennium of history trading with colonials, Cochin is one quirky corner of India's west coast. The Portuguese, Dutch and of course British influence reflects itself in the city's skeleton but the sounds, smells and faces remain Indian to the core. A walk from Fort Cochin to Jew Town via Mattancherry, about 30 - 45 minutes non-stop, reveals the gamut of those quirks. Begin at the enormous Chinese fishing nets at the tip of Fort Cochin, weave past street-side seafood vendors and listen to the chatter of Karnatakan women imploring tourists to; "just look at my jewellery, looking is free". Move on through to Mattancherry where the legacy of a centuries old spice trade is still in full swing in a manner that hasn't contemporised itself for generations. Before you know it, ... read more
Fisherman Fort Cochin

Asia » India » Kerala » Alleppey January 20th 2013

How many people present the one fingered salute out the window as their plane departs the Indian tarmac, vowing never to set foot on those shores again? Then what percentage of that group end up doing the exact opposite, finding themselves retracing footsteps despite those earlier promises? On our previous foray some eight years ago, barely 10 minutes into the streets of Mumbai and I already had a dot on the forehead, floral garlands around the neck and a bunch of "holy" men blessing me whilst demanding a payoff. I was ignorant that spiritual salvation came at a financial cost. A half hour later and following relentless harassment, all I wanted to do was kill Indians. India was simultaneously the most annoying, frustrating, debilitating yet fascinating nation on this planet. Love it or hate it, back ... read more
Varkala Beach
The good guy

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Hikkaduwa January 11th 2013

MAYBE YOU WANTING BUY T-SHIRT INSTEAD? If you are going to have a sea change, it may as well be by the sea. Our 8 day Hill Country interlude was backed up by our final Sri Lanka week at Hikkaduwa, meaning one final week of surfing before the rental surfboard turned into a pumpkin. The week's waves were standard Hikkaduwa fodder; something every day and plenty of weaving through the European beginner masses. Lots of fun but the body isn't what it used to be. A pair of joints in particular weren't holding up too well so it was time for some chemical intervention. The sign read "Medical Centre and Pharmacy" but the shelves weren't exactly overstocked nor was there anybody behind the counter. A couple of high voltage "hellos" and in trudged the woman working ... read more
Galle Fort
Down by the beach in Galle
Sarongs in the breeze

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy January 4th 2013

Tea, is served. And neither is it some sissy rose petal jasmine tinted version with a twist of ginger.The air of the mountains hangs heavy with the scent of your basic black hard core traditional Ceylon brew. Not that I'm any type of connoisseur but if the choice at breakfast is tea or coffee, the little black leaf gets the nod. Sri Lanka's Hill Country is tea central of the galaxy and travelling to and through the region is half the fun, where the journey itself becomes an essential ingredient of the travel recipe. Sure you could jump the bus but "the little red engine that huffed and puffed" is THE way to slip by the area. Leaving Colombo, urban sprawl quickly turns to rice paddies, then banana plantations before finally climbing up and settling amongst ... read more
Master and the apprentice.
Reading the sports section
Kandy kids

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Hikkaduwa December 26th 2012

Use it or lose it. It's a mantra that rang loud 2 minutes into my first surf session for 10 months. A couple of head high waves on Hikkaduwa's beach break peaking directly in front of me was followed by duck diving and frantic paddling. Already the arms were strings of spaghetti dangling from jellied shoulders. I felt like a bird suffering vertigo. I hadn't used it and thus had lost it. No age is ideal for a surfing comeback from such a lengthy hiatus but 56 is way less ideal. Ruthlessly humbling. What didn't help was the $4 a day rental board that would be ignored by scavengers if it was sitting on a rubbish pile at a council cleanup in Sydney. The guys renting me the board told me I would also need to ... read more
Beach break
Boy and a Buddha
Coconut vendor

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah December 12th 2012

RUBBISH A friend of mine who has spent a deal of time in this region described the Omani people to me as "the hippies of the gulf". I didn't notice any peace sign neck chains, dreadlocks or groups of locals sitting around eating bird seed and smoking numbers whilst discussing the kaleidoscope of colours on the domes of mosques. I do however see some merit in the simile with the general kick back nature of the populace. There's no wild antics, animated gesticulating or hints of aggressive behaviour, as if they have been inhaling a few of those less than licit substances. There's even a semblance of sanity in the traffic. Good news is no news. That's why you have probably never seen Oman occupying the headlines of international media. Flying under the radar is a ... read more
Mutrah souk
Wadi Tiwi
The Corniche Mutrah

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai December 7th 2012

Emirati nationals snubbed their collective noses at that piece of advice. Whatever you may think of Dubai, you have to be impressed with what has been achieved building on sand in a relatively short period. The city actually found itself in deep water a few years back when it was blindsided more harshly than anywhere else by the global financial crisis. Fortunately for them, they had the original Sheikh Of Tweak riding shotgun. Sheikh Khalifa bin-al Nahyan stepped in and bailed Dubai out with a countless billion or so from government coffers. Dubai barely missed a beat. It's titanic building ethos continued to charge full throttle. A lot simpler when you have a well-healed guardian angel looking down on you. The good Sheikh isn't a bad chap to have in your corner when you have a ... read more
Slippers for sale
Dubai Mall

Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz December 5th 2012

TOUCHDOWN No doubt about it, Iran suffers from a chronic image problem. Having a top dog like Mahmoud Ahmadinajad doesn't help. He does for Iran's international profile what Donald Trump does for the hair replacement industry. The rest of the population is guilty by association. Tell someone you're going to Iran and the only sound you're likely to hear is their jaws hitting the floor. Couple that with a blank stare and there is no need to read between the lines to decipher what they think of the idea? We accounted this to a western populace misguided by a prejudiced media but like our visit to Yemen 5 years earlier, we began questioning ourselves when other people from this region debated our sanity. One congenial young flight attendant from Turkish Airlines commented; "Please. At least don't ... read more
Hammam in Kashan

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