"Ha - ppy New Year"

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January 2nd 2007
Published: January 3rd 2007
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Friday 29th December

We had one last day before flying on again and decided that we should really explore Melbourne a bit after spending several days in the area but not really exploring. The first stop of the day was a short walk to the Victorian market. The place was huge and sold everything from food to didgeridoos. We had a good wander around and Alex bought herself a fancy looking hair pin which calmed the shopping urge for a bit longer. We then caught a free tram from near our hostel which took us on a circuit of the city centre. Half way round we decided to jump off seeing as the tram was fit to burst with all the locals and tourists getting a free ride. We crossed the Yarra river to the southern bank where we wandered along the waterside and shops, seeing if there was anything decent to buy. Not having much luck we crossed the river again and went into the main shopping streets in the middle of town where I managed to buy some board shorts and we both managed not to buy everything in sight. After a spot of lunch we decided to hop on another tram and head to St Kilda. We thought that getting a tram wouldn't be too hard but there was a lot of messing around as you couldn't buy train tickets on the tram without the right change and you couldn't buy them at the tram stops. We eventually found out that you have to buy them from the 7/11 shops which is the strangest system.

We arrived in St Kilda and headed straight for the beach. The beach was packed and we soon found that most of the people on there seemed to be British so it gave the area a Blackpool or Brighton feeling. We figured most of them would be cricket fans trying to get over the humiliating defeat of the day before and there were several games of beach cricket going on to support our theory. We strolled down the beach and then into an amusement area called Luna Park. We decided that we didn't want to queue for ages for any of the rides seeing as the weather was hot (for once) but we did both have a go on a basketball shooting game where I showed off my shooting skills.

St Kilda has got a big cafe culture and we stopped for a refresing milkshake and coke to watch the world go by. We completed our tour of the town by headed up the jetty for a sit down with great views of the beach, including plenty of kite surfers enjoying the increasing wind, as well as great views back to the centre of Melbourne. Getting hungry we set off back down the pier and into town to a restaurant we had cased out previously for a really nice meal before getting the tram back to our hostel.


Saturday morning was spent packing and getting ourselves to the airport for our flight to Perth. The flight went without a hitch except for the landing and the approach to the landing which left Alex a little green but ok. We collected our bags and didn't have to wait long before spotting Clem and Becky who would be our hosts for the next few days who had kindly come to pick us up. There was loads of catching up as we made our way to their flat, which is really nice and hopefully something like what we'll get in
Perth CupPerth CupPerth Cup

Alex, Becky and Clem
London (yeah right), and we got some good views of the city as well. In the afternoon we made Clem and Becky take us to some shops where I dragged those two and Alex around while I tried to find a new shirt for New Year's Eve, eventually finding one in one of the last shops that we looked in. We then headed to Kings Park for a wander around the gardens with great views back to the city where we were pointed to Clem's place of work, including the swimming pool nestled on the top of his building.

In the evening we went out for a meal with some of Clem and Becky's friends, twenty of us in total and the only other person that we knew was Dicky who Clem, Becky and I went to university with. We had a nice meal and a good chat but Alex and I were ready for bed by the time the bill came as it was about 1am Melbourne time.

New Year's Eve

The weather was glorious in the morning and it wasn't hard for us all to decide on a trip to the beach was the best idea. Clem and Becky were surprised at the number of people there though and after a bit of fun and games trying to find a parking spot we made it onto the busy beach. Thankfully the beach was huge, streatching for miles in each direction, so although there were loads of people, we didn't feel crowded at all and found ourselves plenty of room to set ourselves up for the morning. We spent the next few hours either laying out under the sun or in the sea which was a gorgeous temperature, not cold but still refreshing, and the waves were great for the boogie boards that Clem and Becky brought with us. Seeing as the beach was only ten minutes from the flat you can see why people would move over to this part of the world.

We were back at the flat for a late lunch and we all relaxed before getting ready for the evening's festivities. Clem and Becky had invited some more friends over for the evening, Rich and Alison, Tim and Ange for a BBQ - how Australian!! Clem and Becky put on some great food, including lamb which Clem cooked on the new rotissarie that he had been given for Christmas and had great pride in showing us all. Becky was also playing the hostess with the drinks and kept plying the group with cocktails through the night to supplement the beer and wine. Seeing as she had the ingredients but not the quantities for the cocktails they tended to be on the rather strong side but there weren't too many complaints. The night peaked nicely at midnight and we had a good sing song and shouted happy new year at other parties on the balconies of the nearby flats. Several of us hit the temporary dance floor in the living room to finish the night off before the other guests left, leaving just the four of us up chatting until the early hours.

New Year's Day

The plan for New Year's Day was to hit the races for the Perth Cup. Everyone was a bit delicate and seemed to wait for each other to make a final decision on leaving the house. Eventually we all got ready and had managed to get a sausage sandwich down us before setting off in the relentless heat to try and find a taxi. We arrived at the racecourse and fought our way through the crowds of people, none of whom seemed to be hung over and a lot of them were dressed very smartly. We somehow managed to find some free water which we took into the main stand to find seats, easier said than done, so that we could relax in the shade. We watched a race or two as well as watching the masses mingle in front of us before deciding that we should have a gamble seeing as we were there. Clem and I tried to fathom the racing guide while Becky and Alex looked for the best names until we had decided on a horse each for the next race. Clem and I went to put the bets on and made complete idiots of ourselves in the process seeing as we didn't have a clue as to what we were doing. Bets placed we made our way back to the girls and to await the start of the race. Seeing as it was flat racing there wasn't too much drama but both Alex's and my horse came in the top three as did Clem's horse so we were all fairly pleased. When collecting the money though Alex and I made a huge $8 profit while Clem and Becky managed to make a $4 loss. Not really what we were hoping for so we decided to have a flutter on the next race. Seeing as we were now pros at the betting counters, Clem and I got the bets on with no problems at all. This race was a bit longer and Alex's and my horses were in the top three by the halfway point. This wasn't to last though as they both faded, only to be replaced by Clem and Becky's horses though who came in second and third (lucky buggers!). They collected there $115 winnings and we all decided that it was time to leave, even though the main race of the day was yet to be run but we didn't want to end up in an hour long queue trying to get home.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing in the flat and having a quick dip in the pool.


Clem and Becky were back to work which left Alex and I to fend for ourselves. The weather was rubbish so we spent the morning looking at our travel plans for Thailand - I think we'll evacuate Bangkok as soon as we arrive after the bombings. We also managed some more cricket watching as the fifth test started - why do we punish ourselves?

The weather perked up a bit so we decided to take up the offer of the car and we drove to Cottesloe. It wasn't sunbathing weather but we managed a stroll down the beach and we sat for a while watching people playing in the sea. We walked back to the car along the coastal path, checking out the shops on the way. We eventually made it back to the appartment, despite a ten minute detour after being in sight of the flat as we managed to get ourselves on the freeway by mistake!

We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon and even had a dip in the pool. To repay Clem and Becky for their hospitality we decided to cook an evening meal for them. We cobbled together a very repectable chicken parmegiana with carrot and kumara mash, followed by an apple crumble. I got lumped with the majority of the preparation though as Alex was recruited into Becky's netball team as they were short. Dinner went off without a hitch despite Clem not liking cooked apple - he got crumble and cream!


4th January 2007

Happy Birthday Agnes
hey Al, Happy Birthday...hope you have a fabulous day..judsxx
20th January 2007

Thanks for all my b'day messages! Was kind of a strange one, but enjoyable nonetheless. Looking forward to speaking to you all on the phone soon and not having to communicate via the blog!

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