Firstly, I can say without a doubt that we simply didn't have enough time in Oz. Maybe it isn't possible to have enough time in Oz.... We want to move back.
Christmas was great- seeing our family after a 2 year absence was pretty mind-blowing. Our parents hadn't really changed, but more and more we want to get to know who they really are. Our siblings hadn't changed much either, but all had things to show and tell. Most of all the children had changed, and I feel sad about missing that.
After Christmas we had a wedding of two good friends. Great wedding, great day.... Congratulations Jez and Claire....
put on lots of sun-screen, photographed the flowers..... At the same time my sister and her family were staying in Perisher so I spent a day with them. It was fun running around with the kids and seeing them.
Iain and I spent a day together by ourselves in the Snowies.... very chilled. There is no way to describe how good it felt to see and smell the Australian bush. What a great time!
We finally returned to Sydney, after popping on by the National Gallery to see the Sidney Nolans (Ned Kelly series), and to have lunch with the newly married Jez and Claire. We had a great time!
Back in Sydney it was all about seeing people and seeing people. Iain managed to get in a few days of rock-climbing, I managed to visit a few colleagues. Spent a day with Daniela and her lab. Things look good for her- but it is still very stressful when the whole concept of science funding comes up. In general that was pretty sad for me. I still believe in Australian science, but don't understand why it is so poorly funded. Go get 'em Daniela! Somehow Iain and I will make it back to work in Science.
I got to fly my kite one day.... in the sun... on the beach..... I love my kite.
Dinner with more friends, attempts to catch up with more people, brunch with our parents,
a little cleaning and tidying and sorting and shopping, Sushi with Dan and Laura, mussels and beer with Dave and Kate, BBQ with Geoff and Bel, a party without Dave at his place (thanks Dave!), dinner with Greg and Sue, Chloe and Sam....
a tour of the new Kennett establishment and an awesome Rasberry souffle, Lucky's Pizza with Ian and Heidi, markets with the girls. More time, we just needed more time.....
It really took no time for the 13th to come around..... 13th meant flying to Japan.
After some good-byes at the airport we hit our Qantas evening flight with the intension of sleeping to Japan. As always ideas are nice in theory, but in practice a large group of rowdy Australian teenagers ruined our plans. So, sleepless and maddened we arrived at Narita airport, negotiated the only bank machine that would serve foriegn credit cards and bought Nozumi tickets on the bullet train to Kyoto.
It was a strange sleep-riddled trip- things were surreal. One Bento box of rice and other unusual things our tummys were full and we were tired but ready to hit the sights.
It was a public holiday- Coming of Age Day.... and the first temple we visited, called Fushimi Inari was crawlling with locals in traditional dress. Fushimi Inari has hundreds of huge red Tori's that run up and down a little mountain. It was cold- very cold, and we were pretty pleased to get back to our hotel room to warm up and get some sleep. By this stage I'd come down with a cold/flu thing from hell and I had the worst fever I've had for a long time. At this point I'd like to thank the people that developed Sudafed, because without it our expensive 5 days in Japan would have been completely wasted. Thanks to Sudafed I was able to solider on regardless.
Day two: Golden Pavillion- got there early and there wasn't a soul there... a such a beautiful day in Kyoto. Then we went to theIwatayama Monkey Park in Arashiyama in Kyoto (more excellent photo opportunities) and then wandered around Arashiyama (one of the best things we did!). We saw bamboo forests and made it out to a few more unusual temples and shrines including Otagi Nenbutsu-ji (my favorite).Finally, for dinner we wandered into Gion district....
Day Three: The morning was Heian Jingu Shrine. This is the temple from 'Lost in Translation" where she jumps across the stones in the water. There are just so many places we could have gone in Kyoto- easily. We also spent some time in the Kyoto craft centre choosing a wood-block print to bring home. In the afternoon we took the Nozumi back to Tokyo, checked into our hotel in Ginza (the Washington Ginza), and met up with Chris Lukey who kindly took us out to dinner. The food is Japan is GREAT!!! You might not know what you are eating, but generally everything we had was good (except the slimey fermented bacterial 'Nato' for breakfast, not recommended).
Day Four: Tokyo- out to Harajuku and to Akihabara. Dinner was Sushi, and then we wandered around Ginza. Crazy place- lots of lights and stuff.
Day Five: 5 am start at the Fish Markets (6 min walk from the hotel). Even crazier- so much action so early in the morning.... headed back to the hotel, packed our bags and headed for the airport.... plane delayed 2 hrs, but when we finally got in the air the plane was almost empty- Iain had 4 seats to himself, and I had 3.....
Hit London at around 8 pm.... got back home by about 11 pm. Spent the weekend trying to recover.
And now it is business as usual.
Planning another holiday already – a short trip to Morocco......