Newsletter Number 9 - June, 2004

I know, I has been four months since my last newsletter but I have been busy - Alright! Besides if it is a choice of a dance party in New York, sojourn to Stockholm, sipping wine on my terrace or writing a newsletter I am sure I know which you would let drop by the wayside. However, here is a condensed version of the last four months and a few happy snaps.

Two Cream Cheese Bagels and a Cosmopolitan

In April I headed across to New York to help a friend celebrate his birthday. For the last few years Mark (my friend - I don't usually write in the 3rd person) heads across to New York to mark the passage of time and his birthday. Well if you are going to get older do it in style I say! This year four of us headed across including his best mate from school Grant and a fourth Aussie Rowan This was the first US city I had visited outside of Houston and must say that it was great to see another side of the US.

The city was everything that I had anticipated, fast, loud, obnoxious, commercialised, glitzy and so over the top! In general I really enjoyed the feel of the place. Not sure if I could live there but certainly would head back for another visit. No trip to NY would be complete with out heading to the top of Empire State (small fact - no mobile coverage all the way up there), walking through Central Park or drinking copious cups of coffee. These were usually consumed in the cafe at the bottom of our hotel across the road from the stage door where theatre where the The Boy From Oz was playing with Hugh Jackman. Not a bad view in the morning! All in all a great week away with a fun group of friends. A few more pics are in the album.

To The Land of and

Again KLM had one of these web deals and this time I headed to Stockholm for a few days. This would have to be one of the most colourful cities that I have visited. Each building is painted in the most wonderful, vibrant colours giving the city a happy feeling, much needed during the depths of winter when days can go by with little sunshine. The city is also a great place to visit if you are on a liver cleansing diet as alcohol is expensive. The only place you can get it is restaurants, bars and the state run liquor shop where you pay for the pleasure. Also be ready to pay a 25% sales tax on nearly all purchases. However, it is a beautiful place to visit. Other cities could learn a lot from Stockholm about outdoor dining. Besides outdoor heaters if you get cold just ask for a blanket or a wrap and the friendly staff at most restaurants will appear with a choice of colours to match what you are wearing!

I won't bore you with the history of the city, you can read that online somewhere. Rather it was a relaxing few days walking around, eating, drinking and enjoying the sunshine. I have, as usual, put a few pictures in the album section.

A weekend in Oxford

Over the last couple of weeks I attended a training course held in Oxford. Having never visited the City of Spires I thought I would stay one of the weekends and explore the city. It is certainly a lovely city, full of history, charm and an eclectic mix of students. Unfortunately most were on study leave when I was there hence what is usually a serene city was, well...very quiet! One charm of the place is that teaching began in some form from 1096 with a number of the existing colleges built in the 1700's. And we call the Universities of Sydney (1850) and Melbourne (1853) foundation or sandstone universities!

For those wishing to visit Oxford - give yourself a day, that should be enough really!

Well that is it - short and sweet. Next newsletter will be a little more exciting as I am heading to Mexico for just over two weeks. Amsterdam Pride is also fast approaching and who knows what other misadventures I'll follow.



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