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Plettenberg Bay

Thursday was our last night (at least for this visit) in Grahamstown. We took Mum and spent the evening at Sue’s home. The next morning we sorted our final things out and left mid-morning with one quick stop, again, at Sue’s.

Our destination was Plettenberg Bay some 3 hours and 30 mins drive to the the west. We took a stop at Jeffrey’s Bay for lunch. We found a sushi bar looking out over the sea. More importantly it was covered, as the weather had been grim all morning.

Due to the weather we had no appetite for exploring so we pushed on to Plettenberg Bay, google maps flawlessly bringing us to our destination.
Yesterday, Saturday, the weather was only slightly improved. We stayed in for the morning and in the afternoon decided to try our luck with the combined Monkeyland / Birds of Eden attractions.

We’re very glad we did. For two reasons. The first is that they were both particularly good. The second is that the weather today is truly awful.

Monkeyland involved joining a group and being guided around a few acres of enclosed forest containing 10 species of primates. An not just monkeys, we had lemurs and apes too. We were lucky enough to see all 10 species.

Birds of Eden claims to be the worlds largest aviary and probably is. Inside there is a three dimensional pathway snaking down, up and across a verdant valley populated by many species of birds and a few more monkeys. Different areas were crafted into different habitats attracting different populations of birds. While we’re not bird watchers ourselves, we can believe this to be a twitchers paradise.

You may notice these photos are not as good as I normally take. My regular camera has failed due to a lens error – probably as a result of sand. Ironic really given where it’s been over the last few years. So these photos, taken in low light with my phone camera, are a bit fuzzy and grainy. I will have to decide soon if I should get the camera fixed or buy a new one. Any advice readers?

Today, with the weather as miserable as one would expect for the UK (joy), we’ve stayed in. We both feel as though we’ve picked up a bit of a cold – perhaps from one of the many children attracted to Monkeyland. We are hoping to go to the movies this evening to break the day a little.

The last two evenings we ate out. Friday night at a cheap Chinese which was as good as we paid. Last night we upped the ante and had a very palatable curry / pizza.

Sue’s 50th

50 years ago, on March 2nd 1963, my sister Sue was born. With mathematical precision we celebrated this event on March 2nd 2013. Sue was also celebrating the almost completion of the work done to her families new home which was my parents old home which they have now made their own.

The theme for the party (all Helen’s fault) was 50 shades of grey, more to reflect the colours Sue likes and an excuse for fancy dress – not an appreciation of trash literature.

The party was a great success. My parents managed to get down again and enjoy themselves. Jay had arranged for a few of us to make speeches about Sue. They went well too. The evening ended with dancing.

Here are the few pics I took. I’ll try and get a few more as a lot more happened than they portray. Incidentally, Helen was transcendental. In my opinion.

Last Day in Australia

After the physicality of the previous couple of days we really did take it easy on our last day. In the morning we paid a trip to the US consulate to have a document notarized. Our US passports leapfrogged us to the front of all lines/queues so it didn’t take too long.

Later, Helen and I took the free bus around town to kill a bit of time. We got off near Chinatown for a cup of coffee.

Later in the afternoon/evening we met up with Brian who was working in Sydney. He took us up to the O Bar, a rotating bar/restaurant with fantastic sunset views of the city. We then visited a couple more of Brian’s favourite haunts in the city before retiring around 1am.

Saturday’s trip to Hong Kong was straight forward. City to Airport Transportation at each end is polished so there was little struggle.

We’re now well rested and ready for our first day out.

Looking back it’s hard to imagine we really went through the last 7 months in Australia and that we have now left the country. For now, it’s holiday mode. We’re going to focus on enjoying this break.


After a lot of walking about the City on Monday evening and Tuesday we felt we needed a change. So we took the bus towards Manley, alighted at the Spit Bridge and hiked 10km along (and up and down) the coast to Manley. The walk was really good and we would recommend it to anyone into hiking. It was hard to tell we were so close to Australia’s most populated city. But there we were walking the coast in wonderful isolation, passing hidden beaches and sometime passing what were probably multi-million dollar coastal properties. The weather was a bit overcast but this was perfect for us as there is no way could I have broken my distance record in the heat. (At this point I will also confess to walking around the city in the morning chasing Ingress portals to much frustration).

I was pretty exhausted by the time we reached Manley but this was soon forgotten when we met up with Dee and Mark who we met and got to know at the Manta Ray pass in Fiji in 2011. We’d always hoped to meet up again but circumstances have obviously turned out a little different to those expected.

Dee and Mark insisted on buying us a late lunch and the driving us around the area to see the sights. They showed us some of the East Coast beaches and took us down to North Head. It made us a little sad at we had expected to sail in between the heads to first see Sydney but what the hell. Being alive is a pretty good consolation prize.

We took the ferry back to Sidney getting more views of the bridge and Opera House. Rather too many pics in my albums but believe me, I’ve deleted at least half the ones I took.


The flight to Sydney was neither late nor eventful. Lugging our luggage from the airport to the hotel was a pain but we made it. We both took a rest in our room before heading out and walking around Darling Harbour. The area was definitely thriving. The pics, when I get to upload them, will hopefully give a sense of the place.

We ended up eating out at a Malaysian restaurant getting a free bottle of wine to boot. Very nice.

Today we’ve been on a stretch. Before 10am we walked to the Botanic Gardens, had a wander around there before walking to the vicinity of the Opera House. The whole area was pretty stunning. I messed around with the Ingress game while out and about as the place was littered with portals. I’m still so far behind it’s hard to get going but I’m learning.

From the Opera House we headed down to Circular Quay where we had lunch. Next we headed up through “The Rocks” up to the Harbour Bridge where we eventually found ourselves at the base of one of the pylons. For $11 each we got to visit a museum and climb to the top, almost as high as the folks who pay 10 times as much to climb to the top of the bridge. We were pretty happy with our choice.

From there we walked over the bridge to the north side before catching a train back to our hotel.

The weather was very pleasant so no heat exhaustion. We’re ready for more tomorrow.