9 December 2013

Adelaide, Australia

After finishing work in Australia and before returning back to rainy England for the Christmas holidays I spent a long weekend in Adelaide.  Its a small city but was relaxed and busy with other Englishmen their to watch the cricket.  Plenty of good pubs/hotels to explore, I saw some guys I'd met in Brisbane just the week earlier so had a few pints with them.
I didn't spend the whole time in bars though going to see the national wine centre and botanic gardens.  South Australia is famous for its vineyards, I learnt about how they grow all the different kinds of grapes here they are up close.  Beneath that is tree bark on an ancient tree which was significant to the local Indigenous people.

Around Adelaide are several beach resorts and villages, I had a long walk along the coastline going up from Glenelg, here is a shot looking back along the beach.

7 December 2013

The Ashes, Adelaide Oval, Australia

Not content with seeing England beat in the first test in Brisbane I was also in attendance for the 2nd test at the Adelaide Oval, which again they lost.  The ground is being redeveloped and still under construction, that said it was I was impressed by it so far and there were good facilities.  I had seats in the upper tier one day which had a good view, but preferred being closer to the action in the lower tier the next day.

28 November 2013

Central Queensland, Australia

This year I spent some time working in in the Central Queensland region, basically in the outback in the middle of not a lot to be honest, that said some great landscape and the scale of the place is endless.  I did enjoy cruising around the land in my 4x4 and even doing abit of work every so often.

21 November 2013

The Ashes, Brisbane, Australia

Its one of the greatest sporting rivalries and clashes that only comes round every few years (well or twice this year after having being played in England over the summer), but I took my role seriously as an ex-pat in Australia supporting my team...having tickets for the first day of the Ashes cricket.

25 July 2013

Melbourne Victory Vs Liverpool FC, Australia

One of the main reasons I was visiting Melbourne was to catch my team; Liverpool Football Club; touring Australia in their pre-season, play Melbourne Victory.  It was played in front of over 95 000 fans at a packed MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) stadium.
It wasnt the highest tempo match i've ever seen but Liverpool didn't disappoint and came away with a 2-0 win.
Stephen Gerard scored and then one of the new signings Iago Aspas rounded the night off with a goal.

10 July 2013

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Been back in Australia a few months now and finally made time to see more of the country I currently live in. This week I had a trip down to Melbourne, after renting a car and a few hours drive down the road you will reach the Great Ocean Road, which follows the southern Victoria coastline.
A good portion of this stretch of famous coastline is national park listed and is home to the Twelve Apostles, which are stacks of eroded limestone rock separated from the mainland.
It was very impressive seeing the landscapes and scenic part of the coast.  But the stacks are subject to constant erosion and there are a few less apostles than the original twelve these days, as you can see from the stack of rubble in the picture below.

12 April 2013

Sunshine Coast, Australia

Been a while since I updated my blog, been busy since beeing back in Australia, mainly looking for and then working alot.  Anyway me and my friend had a trip up the sunshine coast to look at some geological outcrops for her coursework, here is a few snaps.

24 March 2013

2013 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, Sepang Circuit, Kuala Lumpur

After a day shopping in Bangkok on thursday, I flew down to Kuala Lumpur on friday.  It was 2 years ago I was fortunate enough to attend the 2011 grand prix here.  This year I hadn't really planned to go but luckily I was in the right place at the right time; being in Malaysia this week before flying back to Australia next week, so why not go watch the formula 1 grand prix cars racing.
This is a panoramic view from the slightly covered hill-stand where I sat this year.  Whilst not as close to the racetrack as the grandstand I was in the other year, it was still fantastic, being such a large hill there was views over a large portion of the race track.
Some early afternoon rain meant the race started on a damp track.  Fans on the hill got abit of shelter, but as soon as the racing started they where all back out cheering and the rain soon started to clear up.
 After a while the sun then came out, drying the track and meaning pit stops for dry tyres.
Here I am in the sun with the cars flying past in the background.  I have to say it was a brilliant day out,  having watched the race with several other english backpackers.

 More views from either ends of the hillstand during the race.  Evan with earplugs, the noise from the engines is immense as they speed around.

20 March 2013

Bang Saphan, Thailand

My last bit of beach time in Thailand (for the time being this year) has been on Luang beach of Bang Saphan, just a little further down the coast from Ban Krut last week.  Rather pretty beach with some cheap bungalows to stay in, and a few expats who live here.  Heres the beach:
Slightly random photo this next one, but I was trying to capture all the green lights from the numerous fishing boats out at night.  They use the lights to attract the fish, I think squid in particular but not certain.
And lastly here is me getting some sun.

14 March 2013

Ban Krut, Thailand

After leaving Laos, overnight bus-ing it to Bangkok and stopping there for the weekend (to watch the footy), I came down to the small village and beach of Ban Krut; its on the upper part of the southern gulf about 5 hours from Bangkok (100 km before Chumphon).
Its a long bay of a beach probably several kilometers long, lovely and quiet with a few cheap guesthouses and a few resorts that cater to the locals. A relaxing place with a range of good tasting, very cheap thai food aswell, heres views of the beach and the Som Tam (spicy papaya salad) that i had for my lunch.

8 March 2013

Pakse, Laos

The quiet town of Pakse has been my last stop in Laos.  Had a bit of a wander about yesterday, taking in the local market and a few coffee shops, evan had chance to go the barbers for shave and haircut.  Picked up a bus ticket for towards the border and then overnight to Bangkok for the weekend, leaving later on this afternoon.
In the mean time here are pictures of a few young locals that I met; a man busy chopping coconuts in the market and a building under construction (which just made a good photo I thought).

5 March 2013

Don Det, Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands), Laos

When I arrived on Don Det off one of these long-tail boats...
I wasn't really sure what to make of the place. Not a great deal to see or do, but then I think thats kind of the attraction for most of the backpackers here, just general relaxing or sitting in a hammock.
I did a lap of the island and got more of a feel for this little place in the mekong estuary, heres a view out into the river; you can see the greenery dotted about on the other islands/islets. The locals do swim and bathe in the river, I had a swim myself on one of the hotter days (its not totally clean though and I think swimming is better suited in the sea off a beach in Thailand where I am headed back to soon).
Here is a signature dish of Lao cuisine: Laap. I'd describe it as meat salad (mine was chicken) with lime juice, garlic, mint leaves, chilli, lettuce leaves to wrap it in and served with sticky rice. It was pretty good, if a little sweet with all the lime juice.
Don Khon is alongside Don Det and linked by an old railway bridge, I went over to see the waterfalls, but they were more like a huge set of rapids, i was more interested in the geology of the area though and had to have a look at the rocks.

28 February 2013

Champasak, Laos

The small village of Champasak is in the south of Laos, and people mainly stay to go and visit the nearby ancient temple comple of Wat Phu (or Wat Champasak).  I thought I had stopped off in a kind of ghost town when I arrived off a local pickup truck from the town of Pakse, but there is a nice few guesthouses sitting alongside the river.
This morning, trying to set off before it got too hot (it was boiling by the time I got to the temple), I jumped on a bicycle and set out for Wat Phu.  It was about 9km down a dusty road, passing through some tiny local villages, a good bike ride.
The templex complex is spread out running up into the hillside. Set on numerous levels, there is ponds at the bottom before 2 large temple buildings before a few sets of steps to the top of the hill, where the main temple is located next to a freshwater spring.
The locals leave little offerings at the temple, such as incense or these sets of flowers:
Finally here is the view back down the hill stretching to the river:

26 February 2013

Vientiane, Laos

Probably the least busy capital city I have visited, Vientiane was a stopping point for me coming from Luang Prabang, before heading to the south of Laos. It was easy to find the sights with a map and abit of walking around.
The national monument and symbol of Laos is Phat That Luang.  It was worth seeing the golden statue which names means 'world precious sacred stupa'.
Lots of other temples are dotted around the old downtown area, where restaurants run along the road that is parallel to the big Mekong River, with Thailand on the other side of it.  Here is some colourful temple art, depicting stories about buddha.
Then I found a rather overgrown aged looking stupa in the middle of a roundabout.  Called That Dam, apparently it was once covered in gold paint, different to the look it has now.
Finally here is the outside of Haw Pha Kaeo temple, it once held the famous emerald buddha, now it has odd bits of religious art and artefacts inside.  Quite an old temple it sharply contrasted to the shiny new looking presidential palace next door, but I wasn't allowed to go looking inside there for some reason.