01 June 2011

First half of 2011

Hi guys,

I can hardly believe that we are nearly halfway through 2011. Seems like I only just returned from South Africa. How time flies when you are having fun!

We had to find a new house early in the year. We were definitely sad to leave Barkly Street after being there for almost 1.5 years, but decided to keep our band of merry men (and women) together when searching for a new domicile. After looking at a multitude of potential properties, we were fortunate to find a beautiful house in a suburb north of the city. The best bit, which I am thoroughly enjoying, is our massive garden. I have bought tons of gardening implements, including a lawn mower, and am having fun spending time in the garden over weekends.

During the first half of the year I regularly took part in short course triathlons. These consist of a 500-750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. Friends and I play tennis regularly and I am dabbling at indoor soccer (although any skill I may have had has disappeared in the 15 years since I last played). Also, I briefly became interested in basketball as a result of a girl I was seeing, who played basketball professionally.

The next highlight of 2011 started at Easter...

I flew up to Brisbane where I met up with my friends Sarah, Beer and Matt. A very early start on Good Friday meant that we were able to reach our destination of Byfield National Park (near Yeppoon) by mid afternoon. A 4x4 only accessible park, meant that our campsite was one of 12 in the entire park. Result being that very few people were around to disturb the serenity of this very beautiful portion of Queensland. The long weekend was spent swimming, walking in the sand dunes, fishing, and playing cards at our campsite.

After returning to Brisbane, I visited a friend from my student days in Pretoria. Juliet has been living in Australia for the last 10 years and has setled with her husband and 2 dogs in a beautiful house just outside Brisbane. An amazing dinner and great company ended too soon. Hopefully it won't be another 10 years before I see them again.

The next day I jumped on a plane to Bali...

Kuta-Legian was my starting point. The two days I spent in this huge flea market was fascinating but exhausting the same. You can buy everything you can imagine and every few meters one of the vendors will approach you with offers of sunglasses, transport, t-shirts, bags, cars, hotels, etc. The hotel I was in was too far from the beach for my liking, so I started looking for a new location pretty quickly. Getting out of the city and Bali showed its charm.

After these first couple of days, my friend Anna joined me from Germany. Our hotel in Canggu was more of what I had expected from this tropical island. Literally right on the beach where I was able to surf most days, with palm trees around the pool and not much else. There was an excellent restaurant just behind the hotel which became our local for many a lunch and dinner, and behind that a small village and rice paddies.

Even though most of our time was spent relaxing around the pool, lying in the sun, surfing and stuffing our faces with delectable treats, we did do some sight seeing. Since Bali is predominantly Hindu, the island is covered in temples and shrines. Every house is beautifully decorated and well maintained. The people are incredibly friendly and smile a lot. For a couple of days we organised a driver nicknamed "Today" for the gringos who can't pronounce his real name :) who showed us his Bali. I am not going to say any more, and let the fotos do the talking....

Two weeks were not enough!!!

So, as of tomorrow the days start getting longer again... not soon enough! I have decided to start training for the traithlons again, since this year I plan to do at least one olympic distance event. Tennis and indoor soccer also help to keep the beer off my belly :)

What will the rest of the year hold?? Watch this space and find out!

I hope that you are all well and look forward to hearing from you all again.

Lots of love


08 January 2011

2010 Summary

Hello everybody far and wide...

It seems that I start each post with an apology about how I haven't been in contact for ages or how I haven't updated my blog in a while...

Well here it is again, and this time it has been over a year since I last placed any fotos or updates on the internet!!! SORRY!!!!

I hope you can all forgive me and will still be able to enjoy (at least a little bit) the pictures I have uploaded, which I hope will give you a small insight into the last year of my life!

Where to start...

Well I guess the biggest news was that I got a sponsored work at the end of February 2010. This allows me to spend another 4+ years in Australia. To get this visa I changed jobs, however the type of work is still very much in line with what I had been doing in Germany and also for the first 12 months in Melbourne... Diagnostic test development... for those who don't remember :)

In the early part of the year we had a camping excursion to an area called Wilson's Promontory... highlights were the squeaky beach, where the sand is so fine that as you walk it actually makes a noise, seeing live fuzzy, furry wombats and in general the sheer beauty of the area.

At the end of March I visited New Zealand again, damn I love that place! This time around I hiked the Queen Charlotte track in the Marlborough Sounds, then followed a similar path as in December, west from Christchurch and South to Te Anau with my friend Wilhelm. In Te Anau Wilhelm, Frauke and I hiked the Kepler Track which was absolutely amazing..... unfortunately a computer crash post holiday resulted in me losing all of my fotos! I am severely disappointed!!! The memories are great though!!! These pictures all belong to Frauke...

The Melbourne winter was punctuated with me hibernating... or at least my camera, since there seems to be a massive gap over the cold months. A highlight though was a business trip to the USA. A trade show in LA and meetings along the Californian coast all the way to San Francisco. In San Francisco I was able to reconnect with my cousin, Jan, who I haven't seen in the last 20 years and meet his lovely family.

Another business excursion later in the year resulted in a typical Münster surprise. This time Mom, Karli and Maya were the victims. A 24-hour stopover in Johannesburg had to be incorporated on our way to Cape Town, where our clients are based. We used the brief but fantastic stop over to show my colleague John the Pilanesberg National Park, before flying to Cape Town.

My second trip to the mainland USA was a two week stint in San Francisco. I immediately capitalised on my new found cousin and booked myself into their shed in Berkeley! Having a bit more time in SF allowed me to do all the tourist things: Alcatraz, a very wet day at the Napa Valley, Highway 1 and at the Golden Gate Bridge, Giant Redwoods in Ukiah with Axel and Alena.... San Francisco and the surrounding areas are amazing. One day I will be back to explore some more...

Now before I bore you too much, my final and favorite part of the year! Christmas in SOUTH AFRICA! It has been almost 3 years since I last saw many of my friends and spent some quality time with my family. Thank you to everybody who made this holiday so special for me! Camping in the Drakensberg..... Amazing! If you have not been there before put this on top of your list of things to do! And of course I had to go past Soccer City... I hope the engineers/architects got an award because you couldn't get more AFRICAN than that! Well done!!!

So, that pretty much wraps up 2010.... lets hope that 2011 is equally exciting and fun filled, lets hope that Pete gets his act together and updates a bit more regularly (too avoid boring reading) and lets hope that we all remain healthy, get wealthy and hopefully see each other during the course of the year.

My love to you all