21.05.2008 - 04.06.2008
Well finally…7 months, 10 countries, 10 flights, 4 train journeys, a gizillion bus trips, a few litres of suncream, plenty of litres of beer, too many malaria tablets, 42 dives, 4 “romantic encounters”, 1 hospital visit, -7000 euro, 4 pairs of sunglasses and 3 cameras later…I’ve arrived in the beautiful country of New Zealand: my home for the next 12 months I hope So indeed, while this is the end of the first part of my adventures, the second part is only just beginning!! But before I sign off and go job-hunting, I’ll tell you quickly about my 2 weeks in Sydney…
One of my mam’s many aunts lives in Sydney and I was very fortunate to be invited to stay with her for the entire time I was there. During the first week Elizabeth (my grand-aunt), or Lily as we all call her back home, was there so I spent most of my time with her. Altho’ she’s usually a big walker and swimmer, we went for more drives than anything else as she’s waiting on a knee operation in the near future and wasn’t up for too much strenuous activity. So that week was lots of relaxing, sleeping eating (lots of yummy “Irish mammy dinners”!), watching TV and generally just chilling out after all the traveling.
The following week I was on my own as Elizabeth went on her annual trip home to Ireland leaving me with keys to her apartment and her car I spent most of that week in downtown Sydney internetting and catching up with friends, one of whom is an old diving buddy from uni and the rest live in Sydney - I’d met them while traveling. It was lovely to catch up with them all (yes Marcus, I did buy Phoebe that drink I owed her!). I didn’t do a single touristy thing in Sydney, having visited most of the major sights and beaches last year. But I did go to see a performance of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ that was absolutely brilliant!! I had seen the first half of it about 9 years ago in Dublin, but due to “technical difficulties” at the theatre, I never saw the second half… Fortunately my amazing memory didn’t let me down: I couldn’t remember any of what I’d already seen, so it was all like new…and I LOVED it!!
And that was pretty much my time in Sydney..!
So, that’s it…yesterday I flew from Sydney to Wellington – the views of NZ were amazing on the way in. The plane flew right over the north coast of the south island and the skies were clear as far as the eye could see. The Southern Alps were snow-capped and looked stunning. We passed over Nelson and the Marlborough Sounds, and if I hadn’t been so mesmerized by it all I may have managed to get my camera out and take some pics – it was amazing!! Mairead, an old friend from uni, met me at the airport and I’m hanging out at her place until I find my feet (v much appreciated!)… I’m meeting Kieran, an old friend from home home (i.e. Waterford), later this evening for drinks and I’m meeting Cushla, the Kiwi girl that did the trek in Nepal with myself and Marcus, tomorrow evening hopefully And in the meantime I’ve got to start job-hunting..!
And oh yeah, before I forget (as if I could!), this Sat, I’m off to see the Ireland V All Blacks rugby match that’s on here in Wellington with Mairead, Kieran and Kieran’s girlfriend Helen…And for all you avid rugby fans back home, I do promise to try to learn all the rules of the game and all the names of the Irish players etc. before Sat…ha ha!! And if a TV camera goes by I promise I’ll wave to ye all too :p I can’t wait – the atmosphere is going to be electric…I hope to god they put up a decent fight! Now, off to town to buy some green facepaint…
So, that’s it! The end of long group emails! Thanks a million to all of you who’ve stayed in touch with me over the past 7 months – it always meant so much to hear from home (and from friends not in Ireland of course!).. I promise to try to do much more of the personal emails from now on…I know I owe lots of ye emails – sorry! If any of ye are in this part of the world in the next 12 months make sure to get in touch and we’ll go for a drink or 5..