August 22, 2005

Two Big Problems with Australia

I had a blast in Aus. It was a good time, a fine nine months. But, with everything else, in the details are other components to this trip, things that held me back, basically. They can be summed up in six letters: I-E-P and G-O-V.

Continue reading "Two Big Problems with Australia"

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August 10, 2005

The Australia InvasIon: Coda

What a near year!

Continue reading "The Australia InvasIon: Coda"

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July 21, 2005

A Dark Knight over SoCal 2

Days covered: July 10 - 21

It was a good time in SoCal. I had high expectations for it, and it more than met my expectations, but not by much. High expectations, remember?

L.A. was good, but not great. Again, not a place I'd live, but probably worth another visit, to eat at some real places, and to see a TV show or two. Analisa and her family are great, and I'm indebted to them huge.

It was good to see T&S again. I haven't seen them since Feb 2004. They look great, and are loving S.D., and now have a little boy, who I hope likes the koala stuffed bear I gave them.

The Con was the thing to be at, and boy, was it good. Very good. Very good. Good. Great. Fun. :D

It goes without saying that if I had more time and money, I'd've done more. But that can be said about anything and anywhere. Las Vegas, or San Fran, or Mexico. But, that said, I'm kinda bushed. I can't be fucked to do anymore touring. Maybe I'm worn down. Or, maybe I know that I'm near the end of my trip and I'm subconsciously winding down. Whatev'.

I'm in LAX now. Customs was harsh. I had to damn near strip search myself, taking off a lot to get through their ultra sensitive metal detectors. I had breakfast (lunch?) at Burger King (NOT Hungry Jack's :) ), and now, I'm waiting for the boarding call.

Oh, there it is now. Gotta fly (literally). Talk to you on the other side.

(Hey, here's an observation: the control tower at LAX looks like the HQ for the Legion of Doom in the SuperFriends cartoon in the 80s. Just a though :) )

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July 20, 2005

SD -> LA -> SD -> LA

Days covered: July 18 - 20

There wasn't much more to do in Sandy Eggo until my friends there, Todd & Sandra, returned from their trip in Canada, showing off their newborn. (How's that for bad timing on our parts?) I thought about going to Las Vegas, but for two days, one of which would've been spent in transit, didn't make it worthwhile, esp. when I didn't have the cash to kill. So, to L.A. it was, just to hang out with Analisa again.

Continue reading "SD -> LA -> SD -> LA"

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July 18, 2005

A Dark Knight over the SDCC

Days covered: July 13 - 18

I'm on my way to the San Diego Comic con. If that's not thrilling enough, I met a wrestler on the bus to San Diego. How's that for a great start? :)

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the SDCC"

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July 13, 2005

The Dark Knight Strikes L.A. Again

Days covered: July 10 - 13

I don't have much time here, but for what I want to see, which is almost everything, it ought to do.

Continue reading "The Dark Knight Strikes L.A. Again"

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July 10, 2005

TDKSFijiA 2

Days covered: July 04 - 10

I did everything I needed to and wanted to here. Go, me!

Continue reading "TDKSFijiA 2"

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July 10, 2005

A Dark Knight over SoCal 1

NB: READ TDKSFijiA 2 FIRST

10 July just wouldn't end.

I crossed the Int'l Date Line to Aus., and lost 06 October 2004. That's something I'll never get back. In its stead, I got the director's cut of 10 July 2005. The time stamps on these babbles may seem like I went back in time, but really, to keep timestamps consistent with local times of whereever I went, I recorded it as you see it. Please read this after TDKSFijiA 2. In reality, there was a 10 hour flight in there. The flight was OK. I saw some good films, Hitch (7/10) and Million Dollar Baby (10/10). Watched TV, ate (food's s'ok on Air Pacific), slept, and touched down into LAX at the scheduled time of 13:40.

To my dismay, at the airport, it was a smooth ride through customs. I purposely had a big beard going through there, hoping for big redneck Zeke to stop me and question my integrity. Nope. However, I got some Oriental guy. Everyone, everyone, at U.S. Customs was ethnic. It's the face of the U.S.A., I s'pose.

But, I'm in L.A. now, and this I'm excited for. I've been excited for my time in Southern California (SoCal) for a while now. First, I've got a few days to finally see the sights here, and a fine young gal to visit. Then there's San Diego for a few more days, just in time for a convergence of fanboys and fangirls, plus some other friends there, a throwback to the Coral days.

It's no tour around Aus., nor is it some fancy coral reef, but it's just as promising.

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July 9, 2005

Nananu-i-ra Snorkelling

Days covered: July 07 - 09

Fiji's allegedly has some of the best coral reefs in the world. To get onto something to see it was tough. Tourist season is at a high now, during their dry season, and tours and/or accomodations were sold out. The Yasawa islands and the Mamanuca islands (off Viti Levu's west coast) were some of them, but Nananu-i-ra, off VL's north shore (pronounced as you see it, but without the "i") wasn't.

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July 6, 2005

24 Hours in Nausori

Days covered: July 05 - 06

Over the hills, on some incredibly rough roads, worthy of only 4WD vehicles, or a 2WD minivan and a good (crazy?) driver (or the tanks the American military used to blaze them), I was taken to the Nausori Highlands.

Continue reading "24 Hours in Nausori"

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July 4, 2005

Panic in Nadi

Touching down in Nadi Int'l Airport was almost the exact same as when I did it back in October. This time, though, the welcoming instrumental band was only two ppl instead of five. Other than that, though, exactly the same. No biggie.

The biggie did come mere minutes later.

Continue reading "Panic in Nadi"

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July 4, 2005

The Dark Knight Strikes Fiji Again 1

My first encounter with Fiji was an eye opener. Fiji isn't all blue water, white sand beaches, and sipping drinks with parasols in hammocks. Away from those resorts is a second world country, one that's pretty dirty and shrewd, yet still clinging to Christian beliefs. Add to that a third element, the simple life of the inland villages. That made for three items to discover this time around. It'll be an action packed week.

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July 3, 2005

The Dark Knight Strikes Sydney Again

Days covered: June 28 - July 03

Fuck you, Sydney.

Fuck you, Tyler

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June 28, 2005

A Dark Knight over Perth

Days covered: June 20 - 28

I'm not sure if it's fitting, the way Andy, Mad Cow, and I made our way into Perth. We were flying as fast and as best we could. We had a little over 300km to drive, and under 4 hours to do it in. Technically, we should do this no problem.

Enter Murphy's Law.

Andy assured us that we could still make into Perth in time, so why not stop at a local dairy along the way, get some cheese for his wine?

Ummmmm... what the heck. Wouldn't mind something myself.

Well, that dairy did produce some fine low fat yogurt (spelled in Aus. "yoghurt"), so it was worth the stop.

Drive drive drive.

We had to stop at a petrol station that didn't have car washing facilities to wash the van. We were doing quite well, when someone bitched and the manager came out and bitched at us. Well, we got most of her clean. Ought to be good enough to take 'er back.

Drive drive drive.

Then the hard part: navigating through the city. Up until now it was a straight highway road. I did plot a course to the drop off point. Now it was a race against the clock.

Drive drive drive. Turn here. Turn there. Drive drive drive.

Stop.

Drive

drive.

Stop.

Drive.

Whoops! Too far. It was the street we just passed. Not my fault. The streets here aren't labelled.

Turn around.

Drive...

drive...

drive...

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Perth"

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June 22, 2005

The Dark Knight Strikes the Big Screen Again

NB: Spoilers follow

Burton's Batman in 1989 was a film about the early days of Batman, kinda like a year one story. It didn't go back as far as to show how Bruce Wayne got into the suit or what lead him to go from ordinary joe to superhero, but it did enough, and it did the job very well. It was tough to follow, but Batman Returns was a decent follow up. Not like the first, but still good, Burton good, good in the style of the first one. The subsequent two, the Schumacher films, totally killed the franchise. A fifth film wouldn't've flown, not with that direction. DC Comics and Warner Bros. decided to hit the reset button to cash in on the success of films based on comics recently. Many wondered "Isn't it too soon since those last two?" Director Chris Nolan had his work cut out for him to make a film that would make people forget the last two films, maybe even the entire set of four films.

DC hit the reset button, and it was successful.

Continue reading "The Dark Knight Strikes the Big Screen Again"

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June 20, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Margaret River

Days covered: June 18 - 20

Vacationing, now, in wine country.

<shrug> Well, there's some things here to keep me entertained. You may well know that I'm not a wine person. I had some lovely pinot noir in Shoreham, and Niagara ice wine is decent (from what I remember), but overall, wine just isn't for me. Andy's ga-ga for it, so this'll be mostly for him. Me, I'm hoping to see a whale or two.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the Margaret River"

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June 18, 2005

A Dark Knight over Nambung NP

Days covered: June 18

After re-entering Australia, not much happened. We got food and stuff in Geraldton, and finally washed the van of it's new brown coat. We camped out at another roadside parking stop, da da da. The next morning we were on course for Nambung National Park.

Yup. Another national park. But this one I was eager to see.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Nambung NP"

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June 17, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Hutt River Province

Days covered: June 17

Ya see there, Normie, it's a little known fact...

There's actually another country on this continent, an entirely sovereign state under its own rule, away from the commonwealth government of Australia. I'm not surprised if you've never heard of it. I never heard of it until a week ago. When I did, though, I knew this was a place to visit.

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June 17, 2005

A Dark Knight over Kalbarri NP

Days covered: June 16 - 17

Another national park, and another set of gorges. Yeah, I'm getting tired of them, too. After what we saw in the north, around El Questro and Karijini, this is probably going to be a step down. But, it'll be our first gorge visit since leaving the tropics. Will that make a difference?

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June 16, 2005

A Dark Knight over Monkey Mia

Days covered: June 15 - 16

We drove long into the night (until about 03:30) to get to Monkey Mia (pronounced "MY-ah"). If we wanted to see dolphins early, we'd have to camp out in the national park. Originally, we were going to stay the night in Carnarvon, but that was too far and we would've had to wake up early to get there. Sleep early and wake up early, or sleep late and wake up late? My choice will usually be the latter.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Monkey Mia"

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June 15, 2005

A Dark Knight over Exmouth

Days covered: June 13 - 15

There's a quiet debate going on over which coast has the better coral reef. The Great Barrier Reef vs. Ningaloo Reef. That thing in the east, the Great Barrier Reef, is more marketed and has some great things to see, but with that marketing comes people and tourists. Lots of them. Lots of folks to rape that small ecosystem. It stands to reason, then, that the west's Ningaloo reef would have more untouched beauty. But, it's not as widely known. Is that indicative of any lacklusture appeal?

The backpackers who know and have been there say Ningaloo is better. One dive instructor I met said the coral reef in the east isn't the most spectacular place he's been to, and also says Ningaloo is grand.

In any event, its definitely worth a visit, even just to see such a fine spot of marine life. Andy and I were advised to visit Exmouth to explore Ningaloo, and so we did.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Exmouth"

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June 13, 2005

A Dark Knight over Karijini NP

Days covered: June 11 - 13

According to the atlas in our van, it's over 1,900 km from Broome to Perth, and that's taking the short way, an inland highway.

BAH! Forget that. There's nothing to see out there.

There's more to see along the coast, away from that inland highway. It begins today, Saturday 11 June, with our first stop, Karijini National Park.

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June 10, 2005

A Dark Knight over Broome

Days covered: June 06 - 10

I met very few ppl who went to this town. One girl worked on a cattle station here, and she loved it, the station and the town. It doesn't boast much, save for came rides and a lovely beach. Pam and Jenny talked it up.

To counter that, Rosco (that great man) said that it's not very backpacker friendly, and "if you get a bad vibe from there, LEAVE!"

I'd follow Rosco's advice (esp. after that cancelled ride crap), but not this time. I'm getting a good vibe from here. Small little town, talked up by most of those who I met/know that've been here, and I'm in a resident's house, not a hostel. Should be good.

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June 6, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Outback 2

Days covered: June 03 - 06

Space Western Australia. The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise 4WD relocation. It's continuing mission: To explore strange, new worlds gorges. To seek out new life and new civilizations wildlife. To boldly go where no one has I have never gone before.

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June 3, 2005

A Dark Knight over Darwin 2

With some sadness, my time here in Darwin came to an end today. I've been here for 31 days exactly, almost to the hour if I stay another half day. But, that's not to be. There's still an entire state to go through, with one more major city and some allegedly nice nature scenes, and I've only got a month left here(!). Darwin, overall, has been good.

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May 28, 2005

SW, EIII: ROTS

NB: Spoilers follow

Everyone, EVERYONE, has waited for this with baited breath since 2002's SW, EII: AOTC. We've been fed teasers since, like that delightful cartoon, the Clone Wars, and the occasional secret spilling out online. Now, it's here, and I say that it's a success.

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May 28, 2005

Defending George Lucas

I'm probably one of the few that actually liked the first two installments of the complete Star Wars story, Episodes I & II.

The nay-sayers said that it was boring, it lacked the magic of the first three, that it was poorly written, that Lucas developed the characters and plot all wrong. Overall, they weren't that good.

To them, I say: bite my ass. Rather, bite Lucas' ass.

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May 24, 2005

Oz Job Tenure 3

By virtue of knowing Wade, I got another job here. This is my third, and God willing my final one. I wanted my last one to be my final one, but here I am.

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May 21, 2005

This Fanboy Dies a Little

I found out in the 9 May edition of Time magazine that Star Trek: Enterprise is coming to an end this season.

I can't say that this is a surprise. They resorted to sex to sell from the beginning, instead of concentrating on the show more. I liked the show's premise, and it did have some good episodes, but it wasn't as compelling as ST:TNG (Seasons 3 and on) and ST:V and the last half of ST:DS9, but it was still good.

Star Wars comes to a finish. (Or so we're lead to believe. Will Episodes VII, VIII, and IX come in our time? Lucas has denied plans for him to make these already.)

Star Trek is off the air, with no new plans for TV nor movies in the works. (If someone knows otherwise, fill me in.) This will be the first time in 18 years that a Star Trek series isn't on the air.

It's a sad time. Revel in the going-out-in-flames-of-glory finales coming out now :)

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May 20, 2005

Now hear this

If you've read A Dark Knight over the Red Center already, reread it. There's a pic in there now. I had to upload it, in celebration of this past Thursday.

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May 19, 2005

Three World Rattling Events

Kylie Minogue is diagnosed with breast cancer, Frank Gorshin dies, and, of course, the Star Wars fiasco. Crazy, eh?

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May 4, 2005

A Dark Knight over Darwin 1

Days covered: May 03 - 04

I really didn't know what to make of Darwin when I first got here. It was hot and humid, the kind of temperature that will have you sweating after 10m of walking without a backpack, weather I hadn't experienced since leaving the east coast. Darwin isn't that big, maybe 80,000 people. But, it's also the city in the Top End, so it's gotta be the big tourist stop here. Problem is, there isn't a heck of a lot of things to go and see, according to my Let's Go guide.

To counter any doubts about Darwin is my contact (and lifesaver) up here, Wade. He LOVES this place, so much that he's made it his permanent residence. He, along with Rosco in ASP have good things to say about it. Really good things.

Nay-saying backpackers vs. pro-Darwin Aussies. And I'm caught in the middle.

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May 3, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Outback 1

Days covered: April 30 - May 03

Originally I planned to skip Darwin. I hadn't heard many good things about it from fellow travellers. It was too hot and boring. Relative descriptions, I know, but still, it's more than what I've got in my Let's Go Australia guide. It took my brother's friend, Wade, who lives in Darwin to lure me up to the Top End of Australia. That, and going to Darwin is the only way to see another set of unique rocks. I leave for it today.

When and how, questions that were answered last night, are once again before me.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the Outback 1"

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April 30, 2005

A Dark Knight over Alice Springs

Days covered: April 28 - 29

There isn't a heck of a lot to do around this part. Alice Springs is an old homestead made into a huge mecca, where travellers rest on their way north, south, or through the Red Center.

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April 28, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Red Center

Days covered: April 25 - 28

I've gone around the coastal areas of Australia up until now. All travels have pretty much been limited to within 300km of the ocean. It's fine and good, don't get me wrong. It's very lush and moist, and, in some areas, very humid. But this isn't the only climate that Australia has. There's a vast stretch of desert that covers most of the continent, and one of the landscapes conjured up thinking about the Australian landscape is wide open spaces of cattle farms and sand, dust, and dirt. Dry, semi-arid, and semi-desolate regions. But within there is splendor that only Australia can give. Gigantic rocks and mountains that are a wonder to see, and challenging to scale. So, I boarded the bus in Coober Pedy bound for Alice Springs, knowing that another item on the to-do list would be crossed off: have the Bat fly over the famous Red Center.

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April 25, 2005

A Dark Knight over Coober Pedy

Days covered: April 24

Translated literally, "Coober Pedy" is an Aboriginal term for "White man underground," or words to that effect. Coober Pedy's an opal mining mecca, and it's also a town where most of the inhabitants live underground. (I guess I could title this "A Dark Knight under Coober Pedy.")

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April 23, 2005

Outta Adelaide

Well, that's it for me and this city. I leave today.

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April 23, 2005

Extended stay in Oz

It's official: I won't be coming home until mid-July!

I've extended my stay here until the beg. of July b/c there's too much more to do, and I need to work again. Another month ought to do it. After that, it's a week in Fiji (where my goals are to see those pristine beaches and waters (I know they exist, just not in Lautoka nor Nadi), get screwy on kava, buy some cool Fijian merchandise, and have some authentic Fijian cuisine that isn't made with humans). Then, it's 10 days in SoCal: some in L.A., more in S.D. The big news there: I get to go to the San Diego Comic Con!!! I've been wondering if I should return to North America in time, and with half the country left to explore, it works out! Oh, and I get to see some folks there in California, but I'm SDCC bound, baby!!! (If anyone in Waterloo happens to stop by Carry-On, mention this to either the man or the woman who run the place, just as news so they don't think I'm dead.)

Happy days!

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April 22, 2005

Papal Names

The installment of Pope Benedict XVI was an interesting time. It's the first for many in my generation to witness such a process. Among the other mysteries/unknowns is the name that the former cardinal chooses. Cardinal Ratzinger chose Benedict. From what I've read, choosing a papal name is pretty arbitrary. (Please enlighten me if you know otherwise.)

I wondered what I would choose, so I looked at the list. Some of them sounded good.

"Pope Constantine II"
"Pope Lucius IV"
"Benedict" isn't too bad, but there's been XV before this guy, so it's not new or exciting. (Something that's probably not considered when choosing the name.)
"Pope Tyler" doesn't sound right.
I like "Pius" because it's short and to the point, but there've already been a thwack of them.
"Innocent"'s kinda lame.

Ah well. No point worrying aboot it. This decision will never come across my plate.

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April 22, 2005

Future Website on Hold

Someone's registerd the domain name of the site I had in my mind for almost a year now. I wouldn't've used it for a while, but still, I want it. Damn them. Hope they let it slide when I want to have it. (I won't say what it is. I won't give them the publicity.)

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April 22, 2005

Good Ways to Die in Australia

  • Get eaten by a Tasmanian Devil, shark, or croc (only if it's quick and painless)
  • Get run down by a seal coming down a sand dune
  • Have the elusive Drop Bear come down on you
  • Gorging on pancakes in Adelaide

That's what Chris, Katja, and myself decided when they were still here, and I added one or two. Just thought I'd share that with y'all :)

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April 19, 2005

I Hate Hostels

I've been living in these tuna cans for nigh on a year now. I've lived in them in U before, but this takes it to a whole new level. In U, there was just myself and one other. Here, there's myself and at least three others. My discontent with them was low at first. I'll go so far as to say "nonexistant." My tolerance for hostels and the vermin within has worn thin over the last year, and Saturday was the last straw.

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April 13, 2005

A Dark Knight over Adelaide

Adelaide, South Australia, is the gateway to the Outback. Most come here before going to Perth in the west, or through the Red Center to Darwin. Still not sure which way I'll go next, but I came to Adelaide to see what this city's all about nevertheless.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Adelaide"

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April 9, 2005

One Year Later

I just realized that this past Tuesday was the one year anniversary of the launch of TK:O. Where does the time go?

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April 8, 2005

Episode III Better Be Good

There's too much hype surrounding it. Book stores have books out, and toy stores have EpIII toys. Comic stores have their own products.

It's driving me nuts. It's soooooooooo hard not to look at anything "Revenge of the Sith" related.

HURRY UP, MAY 19!!!

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April 6, 2005

Missing Out

There's far too many good things going on in the DC Universe lately. An Identity Crisis, the return of Hal Jordan, the Azzurello/Lee Superman storyline, the Batman storylines, the forthcoming All Star line, and now a Countdown to some Infinite Crisis, to name a few.

Not to mention missing WrestleMania XXI this past Sunday. Heard that it was a good one. I tried to watch it, but bars in Launceston weren't open at 10:00.

And my niece is turning two soon. Some birfday cake would be nice right about now.

Plus, Garbage coming and going, as I mentioned before.

I guess sacrafices must be made when one does something silly like tour the world.

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April 5, 2005

A Dark Knight over Hobart 2

I don't know what it is about this city, but I like it. It's got so much of what I like. It's comfortable. It's easy going. It's close to all sorts of things, like the Overland Track, and Port Arthur. It's got it's own good things, like ghost walks and a chocolate factory and a devil sactuary, to name a few. It's got some the tag of being *the* city on the island, so I guess they had to add some type of spice to it.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Hobart 2"

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April 4, 2005

Launceston Blahs

Days covered: April 02 - 04

There wasn't a heck of a lot to do here in Launceston this time around. Just some admin stuff.

Continue reading "Launceston Blahs"

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April 2, 2005

A Dark Knight over Strahan

Days covered: March 31 - April 2

I had a few goals when I came to Tasmania. One of them was to swim in the Great Southern Ocean. I mean the ocean, not some body of water connected to it with a name other than Great Southern Ocean. The next best place to do this is on Tassie's west coast, in a li'l town called Strahan.

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March 31, 2005

A Dark Knight on the Overland Track

Days covered: March 28 - 31

Yeah, I survived. Hell yeah, it was fun!

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March 28, 2005

A Dark Knight on the Overland Track: Prologue

Well, I'm all set. I'll be away on some massive (for me) hike that will end on Thursday when I leave the park. Well, that's the plan, and with just one more week to go and a few more things to do, I don't imagine I'll spend much time there. I'll get some idea later, after talking with folks and getting some info at the info center in the park.

I got my food ready. From now forward, I'll subsist on ham and cucumber sandwiches. I bought enough ham and cucumber to last me (I HOPE!!!) the three days without other food. Water can be picked up there along the track, I understand. I was informed by my guidebook to bring food rather than buy it there. There's only one general store in the park, and you know how they work.

I'm bringing two bags with me. One is my medium sized backpack with me (about 30L in size) with sleeping bag, pillow, clothes, and a few toiletries. The other is a nylon bag from Coles full of food. The rest is staying at Launceston Backpackers, who offer free long term storage! (Good place to sleep, too.) I was wondering what I would do with my backpack full clothes, so this greatly eased that burden.

If you never here from me again, assume I was eaten by a devil. That'd be a great way to go. Falling off the mountain wouldn't be so bad either, compared to, say, dying by some rock that some moron tossed off the mountain.

Ah, who'm I kidding? I'll be fine. I'll love it! (Right?)

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March 28, 2005

Good, Bad, and Worse Garbage News

The Good: Garbage has a new album coming out, Bleed like Me, slated to come out on April 11th here in Aus. It's been since October 2001 since they had a full album, so I'm salivating at the thought of more music from them. (And any new pix of Shirley ;)

The Bad: They're touring very soon after the release of Bleed like Me. They come to Toronto on 25 April. Tix are still on sale. If anyone goes, please please please please get me a shirt, ideally a long sleeve.

The Worse: They're touring before the release of Bleed like Me in the U.K. They're coming to London twice, once in March and once in April. Both shows are sold out.

The Possibly Worse Still: No tour dates for the south Pacific have been announced. I really, really hope they come through either Aus. or N.Z. before June. That'd be good. But if they don't at all, or come here after May, that'd be bad.

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March 27, 2005

A Dark Knight over Launceston 2

Days covered: March 26 - 27

Happy Easter!

It's time to do something in this town.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Launceston 2"

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March 26, 2005

A Dark Knight over Launceston 1

Days covered: March 24 - 25

In Tasmania, there's a north-south divide. The south is lead by Hobart and claims to have the better beer, better scenery, and better... well, everything. The north counters with Launceston. I've been through Hobart. Now I'll see what Launceston's like.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Launceston 1"

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March 25, 2005

A Quick Relinquish of TK:O

Many thanks to Audra for her guest entry. I never went anywhere, nor did she kill me or take me hostage. In fact, I saw her type it out. Thought it'd be fun to have a guest blogger :)

Sorry for the lack of entries. I know I'm 2.5 months behind in my entries. But, travelling and working have taken up my time, and online time was restricted to mailing and simple surfing of the usual sites. But I'm alive, and still post from time to time -- they're seen to the left of this. I'm catching up on the old entries, and right now, I'm in the middle of January. I'm catching up slowly. Bear with me.

Actually, what I think I'll do is post both recent and not-so-recent travels. Maybe I will, Milhouse. Maybe I will...

(Aud: you better mail me.)


NOTE: My posting, A Dark Knight over Port Arthur, came long after posting this, but was inserted before this entry in the interests of chronological consistency.

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March 24, 2005

A Dark Knight over Port Arthur

Days covered: March 22 - 24

Where the baddest of the bad convicts were sent is now inhabited by ghosts and Tasmanian devils. Why wouldn't you want to come here?

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Port Arthur"

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March 24, 2005

Living it up down under

Hello my name is Audra and I have taken over Tyler's site. I was wandering around Port Aurthur in the middle of the night on my 25th birthday with a Canadian looking for ghosts (some would call it illegal but we just called it fun). We had the an amazing time! The weather here is cold but not like there. So this is where he is now in Hobart with me, things are good and he is safe. "There is no noise in the world no peace in the mountains, it's all within yourself." Cheers Audra

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March 22, 2005

A Dark Knight over Hobart 1

Days covered: March 19 - 22

I gave myself two weeks to go through the island once known as Van Diemen's Land. 2-3 weeks I was told should be enough time to go through it, but it'd be an action packed trip. I'm eager to see it, and I thought a good start would be the capital of this state, Hobart.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Hobart 1"

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March 19, 2005

A Dark Knight over Melbourne 3

Days covered: March 18 - 19

Enough happened here, IMHO, to make a third visit to Melbourne noteworthy.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Melbourne 3"

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March 18, 2005

The G.O.R. & The Grampians

Days covered: March 17 - 18

The final thing to do in Victoria is see the fabled Great Ocean Road (GOR). The tour I'm doing also goes through the highly touted Grampians, so I thought it should be a good one to see as well.

Continue reading "The G.O.R. & The Grampians"

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March 16, 2005

A Dark Knight over Melbourne 2

Days covered: March 13 - 16

My plan was to be in Melbourne for a day or two and then head off to the Great Ocean Road, one of the road trips to make in Australia.

Boy, do I suck.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Melbourne 2"

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March 13, 2005

Mornington to Melbourne

It was a bittersweet last half of the week. I've been here in Mornington Penn. for five weeks. I stayed one week longer than I wanted to because the work wasn't lucrative, and a total blast to be on!

Continue reading "Mornington to Melbourne"

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March 1, 2005

The Best Job in Australia

Hands down. No question. No hesitation. The best job in Australia. It does say something. Working on the watermelon farm was pretty easy, looking back. I met some of the locals and thus had some good times at work and at the hostel. Working on the other melon farm provided many hours. Again, met some locals, but mostly got acquainted with those I came in with from the hostel. Working on the mango farm was the best for that two month stint in Queensland. Free mangoes, great cash, and some decent locals, ones you can't really hang out with, but are good to know. This, however, wins by a longshot.

Continue reading "The Best Job in Australia"

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February 20, 2005

The Land of Avocadoes, Grapes, and Wild Raspberries

The tropics of Queensland (the northeast state of Australia) has all sorts of fruit growing there, from conventional veggies to exotic fruits. Anything can grow there. But, each area boasts its own special fruits, and here, in Mornington Penninsula, Victoria, I got my hands into three that I didn't in anyway touch in QLD: avos, grapes, and wild raspberries.

Continue reading "The Land of Avocadoes, Grapes, and Wild Raspberries"

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February 14, 2005

St. Kilda Fest

Victoria, well, Melbourne is a party city. They like to work, but they also like to have a good ol' time. With lots of people.

And lots of music.

And lots of food.

And lots of alcohol.

Over lots of space.

These are the elements for one such event, the annual St. Kilda Festival.

Continue reading "St. Kilda Fest"

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February 8, 2005

A Dark Knight over Mornington Penninsula

Days covered: February 03 - 08

I got on the train on Thursday bound for another fun-filled(?), exciting(?) work experience. I'll be in the vineyards and orchards of a li'l wine country in Victoria, Mornington Penninsula.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Mornington Penninsula"

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February 3, 2005

Another Job

Yup, I found me another one.

My desires to stay in the city go...

...

...

unfulfilled. I'm taking off to a li'l town/area/city/township south of Melbourne to do what I do best: fruit pick.

I had my chances in the city. There were numerous agencies, but no one called. I'm not too disappointed about them. I wasn't ready to live in an office yet again.

The kitchen hand work was there, but not for me. I didn't plan on being around for long, which I lied about it, but either the businesses were already soured on backpackers doing what I was going to do, or having none of my own transportation killed my chances there.

I made a mission way out west of the city. I door knocked on factories, some 50 km west, but was greeted with the usual response ("Thanks for your interest. Please forward us a CV...", ie: F.O.D.). That was a wasted day, but kinda fun, in a perverse way.

So, after an extensive search, that left me quite drained and down, my friend Josh and I resolved to do what our new German friend Nils did: take off to this working hostel down south. Thing is Josh got some offers (on the night we went penguin watching, no less), so I was on my own. And on my own I go.

I leave soon, to who knows what on the other side. Well, it'll be an excuse to use up those clothes I had left over from working in Ayr.

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January 26, 2005

Australia Day

One-hundred and three years ago, Australia as we know it became a nation. This is the end of a month long holiday for Aussies, and it'll end with a bang!

Among the day's events were buskers, lots and lots of buskers. As usual, it's pretty hit-and-miss with them. Some are good, some are bad, some try and don't do it, some are captivating within the first 30 seconds of starting. This was no different. There's two to note. The first is a magician who did some impressive slight-of-hand work with tennis balls. From our vantage point (I was watching it with my friend Josh and another), we saw some of his magic, but others were a little harder to figure out how he did it, like how he managed to pull a huge ball out of nowhere. The other guy had very little in his repetoir, but his work was mostly to heckle passers-by who didn't stop to watch him. He'd take someone's girlfriend by the arm and walk away with her, he jumped into a car to go with it, he pulled out a remote control to "control" airplanes flying overhead. He was hilarious!

There was the token Aboriginal show-and-dance, because I'm sure they loved this day in their history.

The place was abuzz with families and backpackers taking in the events of the day, and it was good, wholesome fun.

That night there was a huge fireworks display. They're always fun to watch.

The day before, IEP had a pub night at some bar that hosted a trivia contest! I carried my weight on the Simpsons trivia and others. (Though I cost us a Batman question that I'll contest the answer for 'til the day I die. It might've been right before the Crisis, but not now.)

So, Australia day came and went. It was good. Honestly, it was pretty standard fare for a national celebration, but I can say I was there.

"Nah-nah-nah-nah
nah-nah-nah-nah
Hey-hey-hey
AUSTRALIA!"

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January 25, 2005

A Dark Knight over Melbourne 1

Days covered: January 18 - January 25

The other major metropolis of Australia is Melbourne. There's a fierce rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, each claiming to be the best city in Australia, so you had to expect something good from Melbourne in competition like this. Having said that, though, Sydney wasn't my kinda place, but still, it's worth a visit to Melbourne, if for no other reason (as I thought when I first got here) than to see the Grand Slam of the Asian Pacific, the Australian Open!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Melbourne 1"

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January 18, 2005

A Dark Knight over Canberra

Days covered: January 15 - 17

What visit to any country would be complete without a trip to its national capital?

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Canberra"

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January 15, 2005

A Dark Knight over Brisbane 2

Days covered: January 13 - 15

I finished my visit with the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles in Bundy, so there was nothing left for me there. I don't like rum, so the tour of their famous rum factory was out of the question. I didn't want to work yet, so Bundy was done in a day. This return to Brisbane was a formality.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Brisbane 2"

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January 14, 2005

A Dark Knight over Bundaberg

Days covered: January 12 - 13

Australia boasts wildlife that are either unique to this continent absolutely, or just unique relative to Canada. You know what I mean: 'roos, koalas, platypi, and a host of others. So, I jumped at the chance to see something I hadn't before, something I wouldn't see in the wilds of Canada:

...

...

giant, green turtles.

Giant green turtles laying eggs.

Giant green turtle babies hatching from eggs and running to the ocean.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Bundaberg"

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January 12, 2005

A Dark Knight over Brisbane 1

Days covered: January 07 - 11

Took a few days -- shorter than Danish Bacon wanted, but longer than my original plan -- but we got here in good working order.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Brisbane 1"

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January 6, 2005

On to Brisbane

Days covered: January 03 - January 06

To Cairns: Thanks for the fun. Sure, your city center's crowded, neon-bright and gaudy, but there were some good things about it, like ample kebab shops. The surrounding areas were fabulous! Atherton, the Reef, that spot where A.J. Hackett has his bunjee jumping station, Crystal Cascades... 's'all good. However, good as you and north Queensland have been, there's a whole country left to explore.

Continue reading "On to Brisbane"

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January 3, 2005

A Dark Knight over Cairns 2

Days covered: December 17 - January 03

Australia has much to offer, I'm sure you all know. Natural wonders galore all over the place. I've been here for near three months now (where does the time go?), and I hadn't done much. Saw Sydney for a week, and worked since then. But, all that hard work was about to pay off. Time to unwind.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Cairns 2"

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January 2, 2005

Australian Festive Season

For the first time in my life, I wasn't in Canada, or anywhere near home, for the holiday season. If that wasn't odd enough, for the first time ever, I was sweating like a hog because of the humid and hot temperatures in Cairns, not from too much clothing to keep me warm.

Christmas was pretty hot and bothersome, and low-key. (You know me, Mr. Low-Key ;) ) Christmas eve was spent with the apt. I was in, dining with Danes and Germans. We went out that night to a local hotspot, the Woolshed. It sucked because there were so many people there. Too many ppl. Reminded me of those horrific days in U <shudder>. It really put me off the rest of the night. Christmas day was pretty standard where I was compared to the rest of the days. Boxing day was the day I made the phone calls to home and others. Early Boxing Day in Aus = Late Christmas Day in North America.

New Years was characterized by a thwack of partying and driving stick for the first time ever!

NYE I and the Danes went to Nightclub 1936 for their closing party. It was a good night -- not great, but good -- with some DJs spinning trance and drum n bass beats. I had to cut that short because I figured it was a good idea to get sleep before we made the trip into the Tablelands for part 2 of the NY party, seeing as I was the one driving.

As for driving stick, that afternoon, Pedro, one of the Danes who owns the van we were going in, taught me the finer points of driving stick. My first attempt years ago was bad. I stalled a car in a parking lot. Twice. This time, I stalled it only twice, but the roads were pretty dead, so all was good. I quickly got the hang of it, according to Pedro, and in no time, I was driving stick like a pro.

I got us to the Tablelands no problem. I'm alive. Everyone's alive. Go me!

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December 27, 2004

A Dark Knight in the Ocean

Never in my life have I taken 27 pictures so fast.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight in the Ocean"

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December 16, 2004

A Dark Knight over Cairns 1

Days covered: December 16

With bags packed, and a cooler full of mangoes(!), I boarded the bus for a seven hour ride away from my home for the last two months bound for Cairns, with the hope that I would realized another goal here: viewing the Great Barrier Reef!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Cairns 1"

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December 15, 2004

That Hostel in Ayr

Coming here, I didn't know about the notion of a "working hostel." The concept's simple, but in my travels around the U.K., I hadn't encountered one. When I got to Australia, it was one of the things to do as it was an easy way to get in on the fruit picking.

What the heck, right? I'll give 'er a whirl.

Ayr Backpackers was the first of many such hostels I'd possibli be lodged at. And in retrospect, on this, my last day, I think I made a good choice.

Continue reading "That Hostel in Ayr"

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December 9, 2004

Queensland Fruit Picking

In my time here, a little over two months now, I've done a lot of farming jobs.

Continue reading "Queensland Fruit Picking"

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November 19, 2004

Roxy Forever

I was asked one time if I knew what unconditional love is. This girl I was talking to had a child, and she was talking about her. Almost unflatteringly to that little girl, I said yes because I have a dog.

No disrespect was meant to that little girl. Quite the opposite. Anyone who's put in the same category as Roxy should feel honoured. Cannonized, if you will. Additionally, I don't refer to many as a bitch, as that insulting term would also put that person in the same league as the Roxinator.

At six weeks old, tiny and dirty she was carried into our house under my brother's arm and it was the start of the furriest, softest, funnest years.

From that stumbly, little puppy that left hair all over the place, you grew into an icon in the neighbourhood, a dog that liked everyone there and protected them. For the next decade and a quarter, you made your mark everywhere, making people and rhodents know who's boss.

I'll remember the walks with me on my paper route, the tricks for food you'd do, the way you tried to open the door to get inside the house, your greetings every morning. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll remember everything. It was great. Absolutely great.

I know you also have some fond memories. The walks, the food, the food, the food, the run-arounds, the food, the brushes (well, maybe not those), the belly rubs, the wrestling, the playing in the snow. Everything, right? Right!

Ah, the life of a dog.

We'll always have the scratches on the door, when you wanted to be let inside the house. You wanted to be with us. You want to be with us. We want to be with you.

Now and forever.


Postscript: Tragedy struck in the early morning hours of 19 November, 2004, at 02:00 EST. Roxy passed away, from natural causes. It was quick and relatively painless.

It was expected. She was 12.5 years old, and slowed down a lot in the last few years. Old age had kicked in. She was still active, and loved to play, just not as much or for as long.

12.5 years. 12 great years.

But it wasn't your time yet, puppy. You were only 12.5! Brandy across the street's older. Her predecessor was 15. 12 is young. It wasn't your time yet. I told you to wait for me until I got back. I guess I should've been more forceful about that one, and commanded you to stay with us. At least you were around after the U.K. Invasion. It's a shame that you won't be there when I get back. You won't see Mack grow up. Worse still, she won't remember you. You won't get to meet the people to whom I told all sorts of fine things to about you. You won't get anymore belly scratches from me :(

All good things must come to an end, I s'pose. God called, and he's got a much better tasting cookie than you could get here. Plus, He'll scratch your belly forever and ever and His arm won't ever tire. And think of all the squirrels you'll be able to catch. You'll catch squirrels and birds and mice that you caught here! Keep on terrorizing them!

Roxy. Rox. The Roxinator. Roxysopolous. Furry-face. Buddy-bear. Loser. Ugly. Pal. Pyal. The big, swoft dwog. The Chyna to my Triple H. Krox. The original goofy puppy. Roxy.

Roxy.

Roxy. The greatest canine.

April 12, 1992 - November 19, 2004.


One of my final pix of Roxy and I, taken shortly after I returned from a weekend in Waterloo, after returning home from the United Kingdom.

The Undisputed Champion and the Intercontinental Champion.
Roxy & I 001.jpg

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October 18, 2004

A Dark Knight over Where?

I doubt you'll find it on a casual map of Australia. Definitely won't find it on a globe. And, to the Dunnville friends, no, not her.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Where?"

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October 17, 2004

A Dark Knight over Ayr

Days covered: October 17

Long ago, back when I was working in the grocery store in Dunnville at night, I read an article about the state of the English farming industry. In there was a picture of some guy doing his job, shaving sheep. A thought came to my head: "How cool would it be to live somewhere getting by on menial, off-the-beaten-path jobs, not normally done here in Canada?" I dismissed that thought, being riddled with debt and nearing the end of my university tenure.

On that, when I got into Sydney, I didn't want some office job or data entry thingy. Done that enough since U. I was willing to trade off some money now to do some non-Canadian job, something totally different.

I made that decision, and found a town to do it in. Today, the day finally came when I left the glitz of Sydney to join the Australian countryside fruit picking.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Ayr"

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October 16, 2004

A Dark Knight over Sydney

Days covered: October 08 - October 16

Through air, over water and waves and lands, crossing political boundaries over countries, hemispheres, date-lines, tropics...

I'm here. I arrived in Sydney to begin the second (third?) leg of my Take-over. Sydney's the first stop in an enormous country with lots to see and do.

I had a rough plan as to what I wanted to do and how to do it, like in the U.K. One thing at a time, though.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Sydney"

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October 8, 2004

A Dark Knight over Fiji

Days covered: October 07 - October 08

If you read carefully, you'll notice a day's missing, October 06. That's because I didn't really have an October 06 -- I crossed the International Date Line. I went from 05 to 07 :)

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Fiji"

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October 5, 2004

A Dark Knight over Los Angeles

Days covered: October 04 - October 05

Many people were surprised that it'd take half a week to get from Toronto to Sydney. Hell, I'm surprised at that. But, this is how I planned it. Well, sort of. It was the cheapest flight that I could get. Besides, this is my chance to see some other places before I get to Aus. I'd be a fool not to take even a short jaunt around L.A.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Los Angeles"

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October 4, 2004

The Australia InvasIon

Days covered: October 04

Part two of the Take-over kicked off today.

The fate suffered... no, awarded to the U.K. will befall those in the South Pacific. I'll head south of the equator for the first time ever. Destination: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. This is going to be a mega ride, though. It'll take me a week to get there. I'm making stops along the way. One thing at a time, though.

Continue reading "The Australia InvasIon"

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About The Global Take-over: The Australia InvasIon
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