Anzac Day

Hey Dad,

So today is Anzac Day in Australia, which means it is a public holiday! 

We all woke up early this morning and headed to Esther’s work. Although the pre school was shut, the children had been asked to perform on Australian news, and so the staff agreed to go and help.

The news was being broadcast live, so chances are dad we all ended up on a background shot of the news. 

After the kids sang we headed to the beach to get some breakfast, and then back to their place to chill out and change. Chilly in the morning, boiling by lunchtime. 

I had already been told by Daniel I would have to play ‘2up’ today. ‘2up’ is a silly game which is banned on every day apart from Anzac Day in Australia. The basic rules are that you have to bet either heads or tails. You hold a note up in the air and indicate whether you want grads or tails by either waving your up up and down or just holding it straight up. You look around the crowd of people and find someone who is betting against you, and for the same amount. Whoever bets heads holds on to the money. A member of the crowd is then chosen (usually you just put your name down on a list for a go) and three coins are placed on a small paddle. They are then thrown into the air. The host, or ref, or head, or whatever you want to call him then shouts if it is a good throw or not. If the coins don’t spin enough, or they roll off the playing mat it is a no throw (odds) and everyone boos! Then simply the majority wins the round.

After Daniel explained all this to me he said there was a pub down the road they would be playing. We went to the pub and met up with a few of Esther and Daniel still friends. As we got into the pub there was a huge crowd around the 2up game. People were betting crazy money! I watched a few rounds and Daniel gave me a $5 note to have a go. 

I won!!

So I was $5 up! The lady I bet against wanted to go again, ok. 

I won again!

I was $10 up! The lady then wanted a chance to win her money back. 

I won again!

I was $15 up on a $5 bet that was not my $5 in the first place! Daniel wanted to play so I gave him his original $5 note back. He lost. Oh well I was  $15 up for doing very little! 

With that it started to rain, it absolutely poured down. We left Daniel at the pub and headed home. We also decided we wanted chips. I treated Esther to chips out of my winnings! We were drenched through by the time we got home! 

We sat on the sofa, ate chips and watched a really bad film. It was a really nice way to spend my last afternoon in Sydney. 

Well time to pack again, I am pretty sick of packing! 

It doesn’t feel like I have been here long enough yet! 

Oh well, I guess I will just have to come back and see Esther again. Next stop Fiji 

Night Dad x

Curl Curl

Hey Dad,

Well the weather looked great today!

Esther had told me about a beach down the road called Curl Curl. 

I walked from Dee Why beach along a coastal path. This path was somewhere between a woodland trail and a hike. It was really steep in places, with massive steps carved into the rocks. It was amazing but my knees were killing by the end of it. It took me like an hour to walk this path, even though I was exhausted, it lead to some amazing view spots. The houses up the rock face were also amazing to see too. Sure you would have had your name on one of them! 

Curl Curl beach was great. It reminded me a little of sand bay in the summer. Manly beach is just down the road, and packed with tourists, cafes and souvenir shops. Curl Curl was quiet; with one small cafe and what seemed like only locals. A bit like sand bay in the summer, no locals are crazy enough to go to the main beach. After Walking the length of the beach, and sitting on a big rock for a while I decided to go for a swim. 

This Dad I am sure would have been right up your street. The beaches have outdoor salt water pools right on the beach, built out into the sea. They are warm enough to swim in and are a decent enough length to get some proper lengths in. They are also pretty deep, and the kids have their own pool! 

I decided it would be a good idea to try out my mask and snorkel before I hit Fiji, so I looked like a child doing laps of the pool, but whatever I was happy. 

I then went back to my big rock to dry off, which accentuated ended up in me having a nap! 

When I woke up I figured I would head for home as Daniel and Esther would be finishing work. I took the main road this time, much faster but no where near as pretty. 

Back to Esther and Daniels now for a home cooked meal and wine. I stocked us up on biscuits on the walk home too! 

Night dad x

Summer Bay and Manly

Hey Dad,

So we got up this morning to Esther having no voice! 

Our first stop today was Palm Beach, or you would know it better as Summer Bay, the ‘Home and Away’ beach. 

We made a stop at this amazing little restaurant on the water front. The restaurant had a jetty off the back and served what looked like really fresh sea food. We only stopped for a drink, the food wasn’t exactly in our price range.

We explored the beach for a little while and then headed down to Manly, which is back down the coast.

We went to a pub called ‘the hold’ which looked like the hill of a pirate ship. They had a burger called ‘the Captain Jack’ I didn’t even read what was in it before I decided I wanted it. I was asked if I would like the vegan version….. ummm. No. No thank you! 

After what was one of the best burgers ever we headed to the beach. Manly is an amazing beach, but it was packed! The weather was amazing and it looks like everyone had come out to make the most of it. Manly is geared up for tourists, with ice creams, cafes and souvenir shops. It felt lile a compleyely different place from when i was there a few days before with Scott and Paul, of course it was the evening. We walked past the restaurant where Scott, Paul and I ate the one Meter pizza, so I of course pointed it out. 

Esther felt awful, so we bought a doughnut each and headed for home. 

Well I think we will be spending the evening relaxing and watching more bad films, it is what we do best! 

Night dad x

More Dee Why and time with Esther

Hey Dad,

So we woke up to a sick Esther. She sounded awful. After mocking her for most of the morning, we decided to go for a walk. 

We ventured to the beach. I wish the beach at home was like Dee Why beach. Sea is blue, sand is golden, weather is great!

After Walking down to the beach, we sat around the salt water pool at the end of the beach and tipped our toes in. We sat there for hours catching up and watching the world go by. We have to fit 18 months of conversations into 10 days, and let’s face it, a lot had happened in the past 18 months. 
Once our feet dried we walked back to the sea front, and back towards the house. We did make a pit stop for Anzac biscuits along the way, they are like my new favourite Australian thing! 

Daniel was out with friends, and Esther was struggling. End result, takeaway! Esther wanted Thai, so we ordered Thai. Well the food took forever to get to us, like well over an hour. I even had to phone to chase it. 

All was well, until Esther found chicken in her Tofu soup. I can not believe how calm she stayed, and did not freak out. I phoned them back up to complain, and they bought us a fresh one. Only issue was that took over half an hour to get here, by which time it was late, too late to eat really.

Early nights all round I think!

Night dad x

Sydney – a very non vegan day!

Hey Dad,

So today was a crazy day! 

Two guys I met in New Zealand were in Sydney, so I had arranged to meet up with them. Scott and Paul were staying in Manly, a short bus ride from Esther’s. Ideal. 

I met them in Manly and we took the ferry over to the city centre. It was an amazing view sailing past the Opera House to the dock. 

We got off the ferry and headed straight to the Opera House. Still one of my favourite buildings, I am not sure I will ever get tired of it. We walked all around the Opera House before heading up to the rocks.

The rocks is an area the other side of the dock from the Opera House. We walked up through a food market, where we came across steak sandwiches! After being vegan for three days, a steak sandwich seemed like a wonderful idea! 

After demolishing lunch we walked towards the harbour bridge and took the walk way under it. We then walked along the path to a new Park area which was under construction. After taking a break sitting on giant rocks looking at the bridge we walked over to the Harbour.

By the time we got to the harbour, in ture contiki fashion, a cider was in order. We stopped for one of the most expensive drinks ever, decided against a second and carried on walking. 

After the harbour we headed towards the sentry of Sydney, and the sky tower. I went up the sky tower two years ago and the guys were not fussed so we didn’t bother going to the top. 

From the sky tower we explored Hyde Park and then headed to the Botanical Gardens. We walked all through the gardens and stopped along the way for photo opportunities. The gardens led us right back to the Opera House.

Next stop, pancakes! We had been on the hunt for ice cream since the harbour, with no luck. Two years ago I was introduced to a pancake house, so I decided to take the guys there. We had a huge stack of pancakes and ice cream each! 

After our fill of pancakes and ice cream we took the ferry back to Manly.

Paul had mentioned a pizza place in Manly he wanted to go to. Pizza seemed like a good idea! 

Well it turns out this pizza restaurant sells pizza by length. You can choose sharing pizzas in a half, one, two or three Meter length. Yep. 

We agreed to split a one Meter pizza, more for the intrigue then anything! Sure enough, one Meter of pizza was delivered to our table on a huge platter. It was amazing! 

Wheat was even more amazing, we finished it! Now I can’t say it was an equal share, there is no way I could eat 33cm of pizza, but as a team effort we got through it.  

Time for a celebratory cider!

As it got late, and the amount of busses was getting less we called it a night. 

It was great catching up with Scott and Paul! Good company again males all the difference! 

Well I have walked miles today, my feet are killing and I am in a food coma. 

It’s been a good day! 

Night dad x

A day with Esther

Hey Dad,

Well Esther has the day off work today! We could run around the city, or explore, or basically do anything Sydney has to offer. So we decided to do what we do best; slob out on the sofa eating (vegan) chocolate and watching films! 

It was great! 

By the time it hit lunch though we felt like we should go and get some fresh air. So we did the thing we do second best, we went shopping! 

We walked to the mall, which was huge! We both needed a few bits, which of course we bought, and then bought more bits we didn’t need. 

One thing I did get though was a mask, flippers and snorkel.  I figured I may need them in Fiji and hawaii, and for the price I would have been mad to leave it. Quite how I am going to pack it I am not so sure mind. 

Well we walked around the shops all afternoon, until it was time for Daniel to finish work. Fortunately he only works around the corner so we walked over to meet him. 

Esther had decided to make fajitas, vegan fajitas. I had to draw the line though at nachos with no cheese. I couldn’t cope with that! I therefore bought a tiny bit of cheese to have with mine. Esther said it was OK! 

Back to another evening of films, conversation and chilling out. I really could get used to this! 

Night dad x

Corruption

Hey Dad,

What a nightmare!

When I came away I knew I would end up with thousands of photos and videos. In true fashion I knew I wanted to have two back ups of everything. After all, it makes sense to back up your back up.  

Well this morning I decided to do just that. I had planned on backing everything up, but the hard drive had other plans. It had corrupted. Meaning with the limited technology I have with me, I can’t use it until I can plug it into my laptop at home. 

My only safe option, buy a new hard drive and back up everything to there. I have never been so glad I had two back ups! 

So I ventured off in search of a new hard drive. After Walking for about 30 minutes I came to a huge shopping mall. I found and bought a hard drive and started the long walk back. 

By the time I got back I had just enough time to start the back up when Daniel came home. We went to get Esther from work and headed out into the city. Esther and Daniel wanted to take me to one of their favourite ‘plant restaurants’

The burger I had was really good, but you would be lying to yourself if you think beef and bacon taste like the vegan alternatives. As a burger on its own merits, no complaints. No complaints from the vegan chocolate brownie either!

Back home and time for an early night, I am exhausted! 

Night dad x