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


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