Happy holidays and all of that stuff to you all. Most of all, I hope you’re all spending time away from work and with your families, friends and love ones taking it easy.
I’ve completed a big update to the gabnation site. I’ve changed the way the pages to work in order to make it much easier for me to update and maintain. At the same time I’ve finally got around to uploading the photos from our Europe trip and added the thumbnails for the cities and the other albums. All of the albums from now on will be added to the gabnation gallery but I’ll still add a thumbnail and link to them from within the relevant gabnation web page. The main additions are to the travel, party and events section. You can always access these by going direct to www.gabnation.com and clicking on the relevant links.
Just thought I’d put up a quick post about what’s been going on lately. Well things feel like that they’ve slowed down a little bit and we’ve just been getting into the normal routine, although on the other side of the planet.
We went to Barcelona again in late October. We had a great time and it actually felt like a holiday because we did a lot of relaxing. We weren’t in a rush to see all of the sights like last time and I loved the cheap shopping compared to London.
Rach and I went for a shopping expo one weekend at a complex called Bluewater. This place is huge. We spent all day there and I didn’t see all of the floor space. It has over 300 stores, all in the one mall. Believe it or not though I walked away with nothing and Rach walked away with a winter coat and a few other things.
So the big Lambo weekend has been and gone. What can I say? I walked away feeling both terribly sad and rewarded. Sad that it was over till I purchase one back home and rewarded and what a thrilling, adrenaline rush, schoolboy exciting, awesome experience it was. My vocabulary just isnâ€™t good enough to describe it all.
I paid for a printed action photo, every time I look at the photo of me in the Murcielago on my wall it makes me sad and happy at the same time all over again.
My first go was in the V12 Murcielago. I was most impressed at how fast the beast went when I floored it on the long open straights. We were at an airport racetrack called Bruntingthorpe. It was unreal to flip through the gears with the flappy gear change paddles and not having to back off for a gear change. It was like having a smooth jet powered rocket at your command and each time you flipped up a gear another rocket fired and propelled you faster along. All with an unreal roar coming from the massive engine behind my head. I wish I knew what speed I was going in the Murcielago but I forgot to look down. I think they call it sensory overload. Hearing the V12 blip the throttle on down changes was unreal.
Jo W decided it was time to see some London sights for the first time after being here for nearly 18 months 🙂
Jo and the guards
We went and saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. There were heaps of people around as clearly it’s a popular thing to do. It was the first time I’d seen the palace or the men with the red coats and big tall fluffy hats.
The great thing about London is every thing is really close. We walked from Buckingham Palace to the Westminster Church, to Big Ben, to the London Eye and then on to Trafalgar Square. It’s all so close to each other.
Big Ben is very cool. My bus goes passed it and the London eye each day and I still look at the big clock each time. It’s got a lot of detail and looks great in day, as the gold plated parts shine and it also looks great at night too with all the lights on.
New York is unreal. It’s easily one of the best cities so far for sure. It really felt like we were in an American TV show or movie because we kept seeing so many things that are so American, like their yellow traffic lights, the yellow taxis, the fire escape stairs that you always see the villains get chased down in the movies, the sidewalk pretzel / hotdog stands, the steam coming out of the street man holes, the FedEx trucks and so many other recognisable things.
Wall St Stock
I really loved all the huge towering skyscrapers that were everywhere in lower Manhattan. So many buildings looked so modern and neatly designed. My favourite of them all is easily the Chrysler building. With its art deco design at the top, it really looks great when light up at night. Unfortunately the Chrysler Building is not open to the public but we got a good look at it from near by and at the top of the Empire State building.
Times Square was amazing. There is always a buzz in the air with heaps of people around. The brightly light signs look great at night and even in the day.
The first place we headed to when we arrived in New York was Times Square. It really lived up to our expectations, we literally just stood there for more than half an hour looking around, it was even better when we came back that night and all the lights were lit up, it really is pretty spectacular. The photos just donâ€™t do it any justice compared to the real thing.
We then thought we might do some shopping and we knew that Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue were big shopping streets. They definitely are the places to shop if you have lots of cash to spend! The shops along 5th Avenue included Chanel, Tiffany & Co, DKNY, Louis Vuitton, Gucci etc you name it, it was there! We walked around for quite awhile but realised that it wasnâ€™t really our kind of shops and we needed to find another shopping area quick! We ended up finding some streets on our third day that were more catered to our price range in Soho and Greenwich Village, we wished we had found them sooner. Everything was so much cheaper compared to London, we shopped for a few hours each day but it would have been great to have spent a few more days in New York so we could have done lots more shopping!
Murcielago & Gallardo
Look what I got as a present from Rach! Isn’t she the best 🙂
Rach bought me an Ultimate Lamborghini Driving Experience day. I get to race around a track in a Lamborghini Gallardo and then jump into a Lamborghini Murcielago, one of my all time favourites cars. I have two die cast models of this beast as well as a large poster back home. In short I get:
– Familiarisation laps in performance Subaru or Mini Cooper ‘S’
– Drive of Lamborghini Gallardo 3-5 laps depending on the circuit
– Session of Karting
– Drive of Lamborghini Murcielago 3-5 laps depending on the circuit
– High speed passenger ride by race instructor in a performance vehicle
The Murcielago does 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds and costs about AU$600,000
The Gallardo does 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds and costs about AU$430,000
This is the best present ever! I will never be able to repay her for this. All of you know how much I love my cars 🙂 Thanks heaps Rach!
Copenhagen got off to a bad start. British Airways lost my sisterâ€™s bag. My sister is good at chucking tantrums so I thought there was going to be a nuclear melt down at the airport when she went to the baggage services desk. Her bag didnâ€™t make it on the plane and they couldnâ€™t tell her when it would arrive. She wasnâ€™t impressed about that.
We headed for the hotel by train and on the train, this weird kid was seated in front of us with his Dad. My sister assumed he was a bit possessed and said he was a Damien (unless youâ€™ve see the movie Omen , it wonâ€™t make sense). We couldnâ€™t stop laughing and giggling. His faced didnâ€™t change once and he just kept looking at us. My sister pretended she was playing with the camera and managed to snap a photo of him. I’m sure he was a nice kid.
We stayed at this designer hotel called the Fox where each room is designed by a well known designer. Our room was pretty cool. The bed stretched all the way from one side to the other. The bed was more than a metre high. The room was painted as a blue sky with clouds painted around. There was a flat screen LCD TV too. It was unlike anything Iâ€™d ever seen before in a hotel. It would have been nice to see the other rooms. Check out there site to see what I mean http://www.hotelfox.dk/rooms.html
We love free drinks
My recruitment agency GCS put on a meet up for all of the GCS contractors from my work. As you expect, they make a lot of money from us contractors for doing didley squat. So myself and every one else were keen as get some of my money back. Iâ€™d heard that GCS put on a good party.
This party was wild and out of control. We started of with beers and not long after we got there, on the bar were fifteen c-s-cowboy shots. Then my main drink of the night is crushed lime, Vodka, ice and thatâ€™s it. I know it sounds horrible cause you can clean stuff with Vodka but the lime does an excellent job of masking the metho like flavour. Adding a cube of sugar makes it even sweeter. More rounds of c-s-cowboy shots fifteen at a time kept coming. In no time at all every one was well over the limit then some one brought down boxes of cigars. These were â‚¤20 – â‚¤30 pounds per cigar which is about $50 – $75! Every one was getting into them. There horrible and a good way to make your clothes smell. Mum, if youâ€™re reading no, I donâ€™t smoke. I was just posing for the photos. But yes I still donâ€™t mind a drink or two 🙂
Stevie & Adrian
An unreal night was had and by the end of it every one was well over the limit, it was quite funny. Every one had a great time. Itâ€™s always good when a group of people hit a party all with the same objective. That is to get legless 🙂
I turned up to work as per norm and I was he only one there. Two people didnâ€™t turn up for work. One citing â€œstomach bugâ€ issues. The others trickled in slowly up until 11am. Some were looking pretty bad but it made for good conversation at lunch time.
For more photos of the night check out:
SW4 was bound to be a hit. It’s a day musical festival which had a massive line up and of course it’s right in our back yard. Itâ€™s only a ten minute bus away and even shorter for Jo and Pat. I guess you could compare it to Field Day but with a much bigger line up. The line up for the day included big names such as Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, Steve Lawler, Pete Tong, Judge Jules, John Digweed, James Zabeila, Seb Fontaine, Sander K, Shape Shifters and many more. The event is hosted in the well known, massive green Clapham Common Park.
The weather was predicted to be cloudy, with sunny intervals and rain. Who knows what that really means? To our surprise we had clouds and sunny patches all day until the last hour when it started pouring down.
Germany – We all know about the bad parts of my Germany story so I wonâ€™t go over that again. Of the German Rally that I saw it was unreal. They let you get so close to the cars, itâ€™s great. I guess itâ€™s because they don’t have stupid public liability issues like they do in oz. On one stage I was about a metre at with cars absolutely hammering by. Itâ€™s great for photo opportunities.
It’s a tarmac rally so the cars have huge brakes rotors, huge rims and theyâ€™re low as. The cars hold the road like they are on train rails. Itâ€™s a amazing how quickly and sharp these cars can turn without budging and inch. On some corners you would see the brake rotors glowing red hot.
This is a long one so you’ll have to bear with me. Trust me, you might find it amusing.
I landed in Luxembourg on time at 10am. I got into the hire car, a brand new Renault Clio. Only issue of course being the steering wheel is on the left hand side but I knew this would be the case. Gees it is weird. I went to open the car door on the wrong side and I went to grab the seat belt on my right hand side. It’s not there of course. I’ve done both of these several times. Taking off was scary and I had feared driving on the right hand side a few nights before. I circled the airport car park to have a short go.
I only really had text directions to get to Trier, Germany from Luxembourg airport. It’s only 40kms (30mins) away and the directions look easy. I first turned the wrong way and had to do a bit of a loop but I quickly found the exit ramp to get on to the autobahn. Phew I thought that was easy. I took the turn off to Trier but it seemed to keep going and going so being on the motorway it took forever to do a u-turn. I exited out back on to the autobahn and saw the same Trier sign and the same exit but I drove on expecting another. I ended up going on for ages and found a sign that had Trier on it again. I took the exit ramp and drove for ages again. I kept thinking to myself “I have no idea where I am. I have no map”, “I honestly don’t think I’m gonna be able to get this car back to Luxembourg”, “I am completely lost”. I really don’t know how I didn’t have a break down and a couple times I dead set thought I wouldn’t be able to get the car back. Also I had been up since 03:40am! Iâ€™d also been in a line for 2hrs at the airport due to the baggage restrictions.
We’ve been in London now for 7 weeks but it feels like much longer than that! Looking for a place to live and a job was a bit annoying but now that we have both of those we have so much more to look forward too 🙂
I started a new job on Monday, working as a PA for 2 directors. Its an ongoing role so no more temping yay! I temped for the last 3 weeks at 2 different places and they were the most boring 3 weeks of my life!
We finally moved out of the dodgy place we stayed at for the last 6 weeks! It was so annoying staying there in a room with no TV, I missed TV! As well as sometimes having to have cold showers or walk to the other side of the place to look for a shower that has hot water! A girl we were talking to in the kitchen one night said she had a mouse in her room and she went to complain at reception and they just laughed at her. It was such a quality place! We seemed to have such bad luck with houses a lot of places we tried the room had either been taken or they didn’t want couples as well as some places we looked at were just crap! We moved into our place on Thursday which is great, our room is massive and the house has recently been refurbished so its all nice and modern with a great kitchen and bathroom which you don’t see too often in houses in London. We are living with a South African couple, a Aussie guy and a Kiwi chic, they all seem really nice which is a bonus. So it was a great week overall getting a new job and moving into a new place 🙂 except now its starting to get cold and the days are grey and rainy, I’m not looking forward to winter at all!
We have booked a couple of trips, we’re going to New York in September and Barcelona in October. Adrian and Nat are also going to Copenhagen in September. We will hopefully do some weekend trips to places in the UK soon.
More photos of our place:
Ladder to Terrace
I was pretty excited about this as I was interested to see a large international motor show and to compare it to Sydneyâ€™s. The complex was massive. There were two massive buildings with hundreds of exhibitors and hundreds of cars. There was an outdoor mini racing track where they were testing out the Mazda RX-8 and MX-5 to see who would get the quickest time. There was also a massive four wheel drive park set up to show what the new generation four wheel drives can do.
I was most interested the super car paddock. In the photos youâ€™ll be able to see that I pretty much went straight there first, to snap up some good photos before the crowds got too large.
As youâ€™d expect there were some unreal cars on display such as the amazing Pagani Zonda (1 of less than 100), the Ferrari Enzo (1 of only 400), the ultra rare papaya orange coloured Mclaren F1 (1 of only 5) and many more.
I was stoked to see the Japanese GT winner Xanavi wide bodied Nissan 350Z. It seemed out of place amongst the super cars but Iâ€™m glad I got the opportunity to see this beast. Iâ€™ve always wanted to see a Jap GT race. Itâ€™s rumoured a round might come to Perth. Continue reading
The air show is only on every two years so I was keen to take advantage of the situation. It was only by accident I found out it was on. As I was walking by down in the underground I just caught a poster in the corner of my eye.
Why did I go to an air show you ask? When I was younger I wanted to be a fighter pilot. I loved seeing fighter jets in movies and for years one of my favourite movies was Iron Eagle. Itâ€™s a movie full of fighter jets. I also constructed model fighter jets and had heaps of them hanging from my roof. I never became a fighter pilot because of my eyes or more that you couldnâ€™t pull me off the computer from the age of thirteen.
The day started out really sunny and nice but an hour before we were to leave it started raining. We were a bit annoyed because we thought the cruise would be pretty horrible in the rain but pretty much as we were walking to the boat it cleared up and a bit of sunshine came out.
The cruise along the river Thames was very cool, there was a guy on board telling us what was what and some history about the buildings, and he was a bit of a comedian too. He talked about this architect that has designed numerous buildings around London his first one being the Millennium Bridge. The queen apparently opened this bridge and while she was walking along it started to wobble so much so that hey had to close it for 18 months while they stabilised it.
For those of you who are not in the know, Rach and I have been together for a year today. I would like to take this opportunity to say that I love her lots and to say thanks to Rachel for all of the fantastic times that we’ve had together and for the absolutely amazing things we’ve both seen and done together.
How many people do you know that can say that with their significant other, in the last year, they have seen the Eiffel tower, the Colosseum, leaning tower of Pisa and crossed through ten countries? Not many.
A year is only a small amount of time but as I see it, it’s a small step to a big plan.
To celebrate, tomorrow night we’re going on a mini cruise down the river Thames, followed by a visit to the London Eye. We’re then heading to dinner before going to the theatre to see Chicago.
Itâ€™s going to be great.
So what next for the blog? Well thereâ€™s more to come. Our adventure hasnâ€™t finished yet 🙂 Rach and I have started to have a think about where we are going to go next. But weâ€™ve got hurry up before summer passes us by.
Things that are in the pipeline so far:
On our fifth day we went to a popular area name Vilamoura. Itâ€™s a nice area but to our disappointment it has become very infected with tourists. I hadnâ€™t heard a single word of English in the Algarve region and all of sudden we were surrounded by loads of English tourists and shops that all spoke English. I bought a drink and the guy even said to me thatâ€™ll be eighty pence assuming I was British. Apparently flights are very cheap to Faro from the UK and the UK being on pounds everything is even cheaper. Faro is the gateway to the Algarve, being the major airport in the south of Portugal.
On our last day we got to see our other two cousins Anna and Ines (Daughterâ€™s of my mumâ€™s sister Cidialia that we met with in Lisbon). Just like everyone else I had not seen them in more than 15 years. They both speak excellent English so it was good that we could easily communicate. We laughed lots and had a great time catching up. I wish I had got to spend more time with them, it was a shame that the first time I saw them was the last time weâ€™d see them, as we were flying out the next day. In the photo, are all of my cousins in Portugal. At the back are Ines, Nat and Joao. In the front is Anna, Patricia and I. As you can see from the photo, my cousins must spend a bit of time in the sun 🙂
Faro is a town in the Algarve region, which is in the south of Portugal. It has a population of about 50,000 which means they only have three taxis and a minibus service that does three different loops around the town. When I say minibus I mean mini too. Generally speaking all of the minibus drivers were so rude! One day Nat was querying the destination of the bus, the driver grunted, didnâ€™t answer her question and then started to drive off while Nat was still on the bus halfway stepping off the bus. How rude!
Faro was a fantastic place to relax though. Rach, my sis Nat and I all stayed at our grandmaâ€™s place. Our grandma was so good to us. She is the nicest person and not only gave us a free roof over our heads, she always made sure we were fed full to the brim with food. We had the best breakfast, lunch and dinners. Except with one exception when we found a chicken foot, neck and liver in a stew!!! All of us definitely miss the delicious Portuguese bread, soft yummy cheese and fantastically smelling chorizo salami.