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Newcassle, pet

30 March - 4 April 2010 Newcastle was founded in 1804 for convicts too hard even for Sydney to cope with. I arrive in torrential rain and the landing on Oz’s equivalent of Easyjet freaks me out a bit but I am met at the airport by G & G and whisked off to their lovely home and their two pooches. They tell me that it has been boiling up until now and now the rain has started – I am beginning to develop a complex about the weather in Oz! I have a reasonably early night and I am still suffering a bit with all the flights and time zone changes: I know Oz is big but it seems ridiculous that there’s a half an hour time difference between Cairns and Brisbane and now an hour between Brisbane and New

Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz

29 March 2010 Update: I am very sad to say that both Mrs and Mr B are no longer with us. RIP. Mrs B has to work so Mr B takes me on a trip around the area. First stop is the Merc garage as the hood and the electrics on his CLK have stopped working. This means a 40 minute drive to the garage in sporadic showers (yes, the weather has followed me down here but least there are sunny intervals) with the top down (the car’s). I have to put the umbrella up at one stage, and I must like a right dipshit sitting in the front of a car with an umbrella. As it turns out, the reason the electrics are not working is because someone, who shall remain nameless, has not put the batteries in the remote in pro

Hippie Hippie Shake

28 March 2010 I leave Cairns amidst sporadic showers and I am disappointed that I didn’t get to snorkel the GBR but there might be an opportunity to do some snorkelling in the Dominican Republic when I visit Ig and family. If not, then there are always plenty of other reefs in the world to look at! B & B pick me up at Brisbane airport and I am whisked off to Maleny which is about an hour and a half’s drive North West of Bris Vegas (as the locals call it). Maleny is a lovely little ‘hippie’ hamlet situated amongst rolling hills and farm land and most of the countryside reminds me of England. B & B live in a house overlooking the Glass House Mountains and the view from the house is quite spect

Rairns in Cairns

26 & 27 March 2010 I am in better spirits today and despite the rain and the swimming pool outside the front door of the hostel. I brave it and head towards the local shopping centre in search of free Wi-Fi and a cinema. I have decided to head off to Maleny on Sunday and to wait and see if the rain subsides tomorrow to allow me to get to the GBR. The shopping centre is, thankfully, close by and I soon find a cafe and type up my blog and check emails etc. The trouble with hanging out in a shopping centre is that it encourages one to spend money on clothes and I treat myself to a pair of shorts but I resist the shoes..... By the time I know it, it’s 6.30pm and I head back to the hostel and th

Dreamtime Painting

27 March 2010 Here's a picture of the painting I bought. Answers on a postcard, please.

Exit Alice

25 March 2010 It’s my last day in Alice and I cannot say that I am sad to see the back of it. I join some of the others and we wander into town to have a coffee and to find some of the locals selling art but there are nowhere to be found. We head to a local park to have a picnic and coincidentally, there are some women in the process of painting. I like one of the painting and am told that it’s for sale for 50 AUD and it will be ready in half an hour and I wait in the park whilst the others head off. Mavis is one of the women painters and she comes and sits next to me in the bench. I cannot really understand what she is saying but I get the gist that the painting is about a male dreamtime an

Picnic at Ayers Rock

23 and 24 March 2010 As I mentioned, I managed to get a good night’s sleep in my swag under the stars and even managed a trip to the dunny in the middle of the night without running into any dangerous animals. We went for a hike around Kata Tjuta which is near Uluru before having a look around the Aboriginal Cultural Centre. The ACC is a tourist rip off and whilst the paintings are lovely, they sell for around the £800 mark. I am curious about how much the artists actually make from having their paintings brought by galleries and why there aren’t more traditional galleries set up by the community itself. We get our first taste of the rock with a small walk around it to have a look at some ro

There are flies on the windscreen

22 March, 2010 I survived my night in the yoff hostel despite one girl snoring like a beast and I think it would be rude not to thank the person who invented earplugs. Everyone staying there was really friendly and I had dinner with two German girls and another girl called Fabian who is sharing the same room as me. In fact, everyone seems to be either from France, Germany, Austria or Holland and there are no Brits. Of course, the Europeans all speak perfect English and speak English to each other as one of the reasons they are here is to learn English (learning Australian English?!). Most of them also seem to be incredibly tall so for once in my life I feel diminutive! ‘The Rock’ tour starts

Alice Springs Eternal

21 March, 2010 Another early start as my flight to Alice Springs was at 8.10am and I had to get a taxi to the airport as P was doing a cycle ride for charity in the morning. The fare was a hefty £45. I am beginning to haemorrhage money and I've hardly done anything. (UPDATE: sadly P and I lost touch a few years back but I believe he’s still in Oz) As we come into land, I am struck by how green it is and there are clumps of greenery midst the rich red of the desert sand. I am staying at Annie's Inn yoff hostel and I think I must be the oldest person there by 20 years. There wasn't a great introduction to the hostel as some people had been waiting at the airport for 2 hours to be picked up b

Kute Koalas

20 March, 2010 P is up bright and early for a bike ride and I have a bit of a lie in although I am not managing to sleep properly anyway. When P gets back, we visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary which also houses Tasmanian Devils, Roos, Wombats and other weird and wonderful animals. The koalas are lovely little things and you just wanted to pick them up and hug them to death. They are bone idle and sleep for 19 hours a day and don't do much else for the remaining 5 hours of the day. It cracked me up that they had a 'retirement' section for the older bears (which of course, they are not) as it seemed to me that most of them were in retirement already! I didn't have my photo taken with one bec

Surf's up, mate

19 March, 2010 Today we are off to Noosa which I find out is the Oz equivalent of Plett. For those of you who don't know, Plett is a des res place on the south coast of South Africa and so far, Oz is very much like SA (although I think SA is far more beautiful) We make our way up there on the Bruce Highway (I kid you not) along the Sunshine Coast. The 'sunshine' is being threatened by a cyclone further up the coast and it is expected to hit Airlie Beach this Sunday. I am praying that it has all settled down by the time I am due to be there to sail around the Whitsundays next weekend, otherwise I will have to make alternative plans and it will be a shame to miss the Whitsundays since I’ve hea

I couldn't give a 4X

18 March, 2010 It was an early start to get to the 'plane to Brisbane but it was made easier by a smooth journey by MRT to the airport. I was collared in to having a 'make over' by a Dior assistant at the airport ('I want to make you look prettier' she said sounding convinced she was up for the job) so I obviously looked rough and by the end of it I looked 'done over' and make a swift exit to the toilets to wipe most of it off. I lucked out again on the flight by getting a seat by the bulkhead and a spare seat next to me. Maybe the spare seat was something to do with my made-up face... P was there to meet me at the airport. We first met in Oxford at differing stages of our studies and he now

Singapore Sling

17 March 2010 I am still suffering with the jetlag and spent most of the morning trying to sort out the wireless connection in the shopping centre across the road. Finally, after one attempt in McCafe (yes, I went into a McDonalds....but needs must), two attempts in Starbucks (yes, I went into a Starbucks...) and one attempt in an appliance shop, I got it working. Everyone was extremely helpful and pleasant so I felt obliged to Starbucks to buy a tea and a sandwich and to use their wifi! I set off to Chinatown on the MRT which is clean, cheap and efficient. Chinatown is an interesting place with lots of opportunities to spend money on rubbish and other stuff that you may not need. I went i

Greetings from Singapore!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010 My tour got off to a good start with a hassle free bus journey to LHR from Richmond (thanks to J again for letting me stay at hers in Richmond so I could catch the bus from (literally) around the corner) and I also managed to blag a seat with extra leg room without having to pay the £30 fee ('heightest' if you ask me) and then I didn't have anyone sitting next to me. And the pilot was a Saffa, so good news all round. I am in love with Singers - it's clean, friendly and warm. Everything London isn't! I chat to the taxi driver to takes me from the airport to my friend B's apartment. He tells me that his children cannot afford to live in Singapore and have all moved to Ca

A gone-by era

I love fashion,art and architecture from the 1920s and 30s - I take a lot of inspiration from these time periods. When I am thinking of new deigns for my camera bags, I look to the romanticism of this era.

Welcome to Mapp of the World!

Eight years ago this month, I set off on my world tour and visited friends I knew living across the world. I had been made redundant in 2009 from my role as a city lawyer & was struggling to find another job. Instead of staying in London, I decided to make use of the time off and headed on my travels; paying visits to Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Peru and the Dominican Republic. A lot has happened in those eight years and I intend to republish my travel blog posts and update them! "Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over and watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to know." Winnie the Pooh (inc

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