Australia has always been one of those places I wanted to visit.You see it on TV and in the movies, but I never thought I would actually get there. This trip started before I got to Thailand with a drunken call from Hailey, Zoe and Ben, by the end of it I was heading to the land down under for Christmas. I was in the pub at the time and when I explained the call to the people I was with, it turned out Ash was also going to be there and we persuaded Jen to come along to celebrate the big 21 (did I get that right Jen ;o).
Anyway the adventure started with Jenny arriving in Bangkok as my first official visitor.We didn't do many touristy things as we decided to concentrate our efforts on the beaches of Koh Samet. Can't turn up to Australia looking pasty.After laying on the beach and dipping in the clear blue sea (which was warm) we commenced the G&T tour of the beach, this involved stopping at all the beach side bars to have a tipple.It was a reasonably long tour (at least 1 km and 6 or 7 bars) and had to be finished with a desert - fried banana (a personal favourite).
Australia was everything I expected and more, except for the temperature.You sit in England and dream of a sunny hot holiday down under.Well I can tell you that going there from Thailand doesn't have quite the same effect.I have to admit I loved having cool evenings again, it's still 30oC at 1 am in Bangkok some days.
I arrived Christmas Eve and we disappeared of to Hailey's parents out in Geelong.Caz and Tommy (Hailey's folks) couldn't have been nicer, I was greeted with a beer and that was the way it continued. Christmas day in the Gorey household was a sight to see, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, partners, girlfriend's parents and of course random strangers. We had a feast, the plum pudding was Hailey's grandmothers recipe and was the best I have ever tasted, did have to check several times to make sure and Caz made the nicest white chocolate fudge.Father Christmas even found me, that man is amazing.After a long and luxurious lunch we headed back to Melbourne for shrimps and champagne back at Hailey and Ben's with some friends (Joel and Loz) who had worked.I have to say it was the most relaxing Christmas ever - I did have to peel a few potatoes just so I didn't appear totally useless.
Now if you are in Melbourne on Boxing Day and a cricket fan there is only one place to go. That's right the Boxing Day test, this year Australia v South Africa.Another great day relaxing in the stands, watching Ponting get a century, Jacque Kallis diving around and soaking up the atmosphere with a few 1000 Aussies.Caught up with Ash, Richard, Jamie and Jen who were in the members enclosure and let Hailey catch up on some sleep. Australia batted well, but South Africa went on to win by 9 wickets.
Unusually for me I had come to Australia with the main aim of shopping.It took about 1 week to work out I am not Thai sized, so the chance to be amongst normal sized people was an opportunity not to be passed up.Hailey took me on a little sight seeing tour of the city and St Kilda - which has the most amazing cake shops.Melbourne is a fantastic city, it caters for just about every sport, has these great streets, wide and airy.My favourite kind of city; one where you can see the sky, there is a total mix of people and it seems quite chilled, no real hussle and bussle.Sat in Federation square for a few beers and watched a live band and a bit more of the cricket, could have stayed there forever.