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sometimes blue
DrewI am a thirty something married gay boy living in Sydney, almost on top of the gay scene but not in it! Why Sometimes blue?, because I love blue, but also I am sometimes blue :)
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Back to Semi Normalcy

It's back to semi normalcy now with things almost straight back to the grind of work and normal life. I am really suffering from jet lag this time round and am having a hell of a problem getting properly into the time zone.

I am falling asleep early at night and waking early, it is getting better so I am not all that concerned over it.

I had wanted to make some comments about my time in San Francisco and my trip over all so I am going to do a bit of that today, and be warned I am in a slightly bitchy mood triggered by some stuff with work.

Every time I go to San Francisco I am reminded just how much I love the place. We almost ended up moving there earlier this year for work but that didn't come through. We both love LA a lot and would probably move to either city given the chance.

Although as the boy says LA is better because it has more sun (like 365 days a year LOL). But for me LA would involve one small issue ... I would have to drive again something I have not actually done in about three and a half years.

But I am starting to think I want to start driving again and we have even been talking about next year getting a second car (one which I did not work about scratching LOL).

But back to San Francisco, The weather was perfect for our stay this time, beautiful sunny skies and really nice weather. We only had one night and a full day in the city but we made the most of it.

We had dinner with a friend who has moved to SF from Sydney and ended up of all the strange places an newly opened Australian / New Zealand Wine Bar in SOMA, go figure that one!

The next day our flight was not till almost eleven PM so we used the day for some shopping in town then we went to Sausilito for lunch and essentially drove the entire round the bay and across all the bridges.

You can't help wondering sometimes as you are on all these bridges just how strong and earthquake proof they are, but that's just my general strange anxiousness.

Travel Observations on Airlines

This is the bitchy part - I have to say that after travelling on Finnair Business Class for most of the trip having to get back on to one of the old QANTAS 747s was a huge shock. Whilst it is not uncomfortable as such and it's still above cattle class it did not come up to the standard of other flights.

The aircraft was probably a few years shy of my age and it certainly showed and sounded it's age. I flew one of the new QANTAS A330's to Tokyo at the start of the trip and the service and difference was extreme.

Talking about this with some people I discovered that the Tokyo flights are considered 'regional' and as such the staff are not actually employed by QANTAS but are contractors, Subsequently they are younger, fresher and more into helping and serving.

The crew on the SF to Sydney router were by contrast considerably older and less inclined to provide the same kind of service.

Overall though I have to take my hat off to Finnair and say just how amazing their service and aircraft were. If you have a chance to fly with Finnair I would say do it.

On the other hand my flight from New York to LA with American Airlines in Business Class was very ordinary.

Bottom Line on Round the World Travel

I did a total round the world fare in just over three weeks, which was probably a bit too much or too many countries. By the end of the second week I was over the travel and I think I would have liked to have come home. I also left some important business meetings right till the end of the trip, whereas I should have done these at the beginning. But we live and learn right!

Don't use facebook at Work!

I have to make this comment it's been bugging me for weeks now LOL. I share an office with another start up company and a lot of the staff are quite young and inexperienced. Like all good gen Y's they use Facebook constantly, and they are always sending messages, adding comments, applications and tagging images.

Problem is you can see exactly what and when they were doing this on their profile. Now for someone who runs a small business and has staff if I could see on a staff members profile that twenty times a day they were doing something on Facebook DURING BUSINESS hours I would be significantly concerned. Especially since they state they are 'really busy' with work.

You can add up just how much time a day someone spends on Facebook during the time they should be working and it's only a matter of time before bosses get wise to this and start cracking down.

Anyway I need to get my ass into gear and get to the office and get my day started!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

And back home at last

And we are home with the puppy :)

After three weeks away on my part I am more than happy to be home!

Details and thoughts to follow in the next couple of days as I catch up on all the non urgent work that I have been avoiding!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

San Jose California home of the Private Jet!

San Jose is smack bam in the middle of Silicon Valley which means there are people living, working and commuting with serious money.

One of the most visible outcomes are the sheer numbers of private jets that are constantly landing at San Jose Airport. Since our hotel has the perfect view of the jets coming in in line with the room I have been amazed at the numbers!

I have a real love of private jets and totally understand how in the USA where commercial air travel is becoming more and more difficult, with increased security, queues, over booking and the aircraft invariably never running on time. Large corporations do not want their senior executives wasting half a day just to fly an hours flight from LA to SF.

Coupled with the much reduced cost, increased safety and time effectiveness corporations are using companies such as Flexjet, Netjet etc to buy either fractional ownership or to buy time in an aircraft.

We know a few people who own their own private jets in the states, but by far the most popular way to is to buy a time share.

We just don't really have the market for this in Australia, it's the tyranny of distance which means that short routes like Sydney to Melbourne etc are well served by the commercial airlines, whilst the longer haul routes to Asia and beyond are generally not cost effective. At somewhere between 10 - 50 thousand dollars an hour for a jet that can do Sydney LA non stop (the Gulfstream 550) it is pretty much out of the the average corporation's pockets in Australia.

But over here it is simply a way of life and if you have serious money you do not fly commercial. Instead you fly fro one of the small local airports to another small local airport. No queues and no rude staff.

Every time I have flown in the states commercially I have always had problems. A few years ago on a United flight from LA to Chicago a passenger fell ill on the flight and collapsed near the crew bulkhead. Unfortunately for the poor guy he was 'of middle eastern appearance' and rather than provide immediate medical care the crew took up defensive positions on the aircraft and we made a very fast emergency landing into Colorado Springs.

This even after the flight had been delayed two hours and I was almost bumped anyway! The crew were unhelpful as we were forced to wait at Colorado Springs in the aircraft for three hours while they did whatever was required.

Again this last weekend my experience with American was troubled. We were almost 'wait listed' off of our flight to San Jose and put on a flight two hours later. While that may sound OK to some it was already 7 O'clock at night and we both had meetings in the morning, so a late night was not what we wanted. We have learnt though in America and especially LA you pull rank or do whatever you can do to get something done. In this case the boy is an uber level Frequent Flyer which means airline staff are usually extra helpful, and in this case just the foot tapping and simple pointing out of the level of Frequent Flyer was enough to sort the problem out.

Anyway this afternoon we are driving to San Francisco where the boy is working this afternoon then we are having a drink(s) with a friend who now lives here! Then tomorrow it's a day of final shopping with the amazingly ridiculously high Australian dollar and a very late night flight back to Sydney and my puppy dog!
And just to remind you what my beagle looks like...

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Do you know the way to San Jose

As you can see from the picture I am in San Jose CA (well OK maybe the song was a giveaway). The heart of Silicon Valley the home of companies such as Adobe who I visited this morning. The hotel we are staying at is right in the heart of downtown, but one of the cool things is the airport is right nearby and the flight path is literally right outside the building.

Ah how I love the dulcet tones of a Burt Bacharach song!

Yesterday we spent our last day in LA travelling up to Long Beach to have a look at the Queen Mary which was totally craptacular. OMG it was dreadful, not the least of which because of the idiotic American tourists.

But a highlight of the day was finally meeting my provider of forbidden pleasures (also known as Hershey Bars) Bryan from My firstimpre55ion which was fantastic although very short. By the time Bryan arrived we were running dangerously late to get back to LA grab our bags and speed off to the airport.

But even short time is good time and it was great to finally meet him!

Every time I go to LA and stay with the boys leaving is so difficult! It's amazing how friendships develop and even though you don't see people very often the friendship just seems to take off from where you last were 15 months later! Much like the girls in Finland, even though it had been five years since I last saw them.

I do love LA a lot, it's a fun place to visit, unwind and of course shop LOL...

The boys think that we are total shopaholics because we also end up shopping like crazy when we are in the US. But although we do tend to do a lot of shopping it's mainly because we don't shop when we are in Australia.

And let's not forget the clothes are far cheaper in the US and the Australian dollar is over 90c USD which makes a pair of $150 Levis in Australia less then $50 in the US.


The video was taken in the Abercrombie and Fitch superstore in The Grove LA, and contrary to what Benjamin Nicholas may think an old 35 year old fart like me can wear A&F without looking totally stupid LOL (well I hope so anyway).

So we are of to San Francisco tomorrow and then we leave late at night on Wednesday night back to Sydney where we will see our puppy dog!

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Having fun in LA

I am on a very limited connection at LA which keeps on dropping in and out so this will be quite brief.

WE are astying with good friends who we alsways stay with and so far have been having a blast!

We hit the Abercrombie and Fitch store yesterday where we spent a fortune on making sure our wardrobe had enough new A&F clothes. Talking of which the new fitout of the A&F store at the Grove is way cool! Three floors of dark very groovy clothes, furniture and quite homoerotic art work is very cool!

I ended up going from the train from Exeter direct to my hotel and crashing for a couple of hours, as I was dreadfully hung over from the night before. But then I did get back into London and had a fantatsitc dinner with a friend and then we went out to a cool hole in the wall night club / bar in Notting Hill.

I must say that I really now want to go back to London and spend some time there after that night, as I said in previous posts my tastes has really changed and one of these things is my far more interest in the bigger the better cities.

anyway so only a short two more days in LA which is a huge shame as I would like to spend more time with the boys.

Off to San Jose tomorrow night for a day and a half and the San francisco!

Oh and the picture above is of the hottest guy I have seen in years, that's his hot perky ass at the grove LOL

Oh and one of my friends here has an Apple iPhone, I am so in love with it! IT is the best phone / device I have sen in a long time and I so want one!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Changing Tastes & Closure

It's amazing how your taste and desires changes.

When I lived in the UK nine / ten years ago I used to love the beautiful green countryside and I glossed over the fact that I disliked the standard dreary sameness of the houses.

This time round though things have very much changed. I came down to Exeter knowing that everyone bar the one friend had moved on, but subconsciously still expecting things to be the same. IE having friends here spending hours doing lunch and sitting in pubs and drinking.

But things have moved on, people have moved on and I have moved on.

It's funny, my time in the South West of the UK was both great fun and also clouded by much fighting and anger.

I can see now just how far I have come in the last ten years, how much my tastes have changed and just how much I have grown. My friend asked me whether I wanted to revisit old haunts while I was here and some I do, the beautiful gardens around the old castle, the old House that moved and the old city walls are all places I visited yesterday.

Whilst it was nice to wander through there was no emotional response to these places no clearing of the mind.

The other places I used to hang round with friends? Well I could go but it would not be all that interesting as it was the friends that made the places exciting! And the friends are no longer here they are spread out all over the world.

I must admit that I am looking forward to getting out of here, I am finding it quite depressing, the people are just sad the dreary grey weather is depressing and I have totally moved on from being here!

I am going to leave first thing in the morning and head up to London and find some vibrant life, I have a very early flight on Thursday morning and I am staying out near the airport so I will have to behave myself and make sure I get back to my hotel at a reasonable hour and I am not too shattered LOL.

It will be a bit annoying since I will have to either store my bags at the railway station for a few hours while I do some of London or I will have to go to the hotel check in and then get back to London.

Or if I am feeling particularly boring I can check into the Hotel and stay there.

Whatever way I go, I don't really know many people in London anymore so I will do some alone wandering.

Mind you I have a 7 am flight to Helsinki on Thursday morning and then a flight to New York and then after a four hour wait a flight to LA UGH! It is going to be one very very nasty day of travel!

Interestingly in retrospect I should have stayed down here only for two nights and gone to London today to have a full day and night in London, sigh we do live and learn!

So anyway off to have brunch and read the newspapers and have a laugh.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Goobye Paris Hello Exeter UK

I am still totally flabbergasted by the total lack of service and inability to organise a piss up in a brewery by the Parisians.

Correct me if I am wrong, but when a city wins a major event like say the Rugby World Cup, the city would make sure the main tourist attractions were all open. This includes such silly places like the Eiffel Tower having all of it's lifts working and not making people queue for several hours to get up the tower.
While I am also at it this means that the airport (you know that's the place where people go to move from check in to their plane smoothly) is not under major and I mean MAJOR renovations to the point that you were walking through a building site trying to find the check in counter.
Whilst I understand the need for increased security and can understand waiting for your turn to go through the security check points, the state of the airport was laughable especially as Paris and France are hosting the World Cup.

At least on a good note the final full day in Paris was not without enormous merit. We finally got to the Modern Art Museum the Georges Pompidou Centre.

It has pretty much confirmed to me that I am a modernist and love my modern art and architecture. The collection was fantastic and we loved wandering through the gallery, but by far the most fantastic surprise was the restaurant at the top of the museum.

This was certainly not your regular fare at a museum but a culinary masterpiece of modern delicious food. The actual restaurant itself was amazing a sort of modern wonderland with groups of small rooms in fluid tunnels almost like being inside a brightly coloured sea anemone.

I have a theory that people only ever go to Paris once, see the sights and never return, so the people of Paris essentially hate the sight of all the tourists. Mind you I could be totally wrong and just have got the busiest time of the year.
Anyway onto the UK I have come and I am now in the south west in a small city called Exeter which is in Devon. This is the third time I have been back here since I lived in a nearby town late last century and I daresay this will be my last.

I am staying with a friend who I have know for about ten years which is great to see him and spend time with him.

It's quite amazing just how much a place can change in six years! Most of the people I used to hang round with have all moved on to other places, London, Plymouth and further afield. So this part of my trip is all about relaxing and revisiting places I have been in the past.

So far I have been shown the new shopping centre which has basically taken over the high street and made the whole area substantially different.

It's early morning here (well nine am) and I am trying to work out what I want to do today.

More details to follow!

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Musings on Paris

My second full day in Paris has been particuarly busy with visits to most of the major museums and tourist attractions.

Paris is a lovely city and may be the number one tourist destination in the world, but my God the Parisians need to learn some manners and service ethics!

So far I have been ignored, walked away from, shoved and generally treated rudely by the very people who depend on the tourism dollar.

It may seem incredible, but actually giving someone a menu in a restaurant, or taking there order within 30 minutes of sitting down is in the rest of the world normal. †

I do find the whole attitude thing of many of the people working in Paris in the service industry to be laughable. †Yes Paris has a lot going for it, the museums and monuments are amazing but the service (or lack thereof) ethic really lets the entire place down.

We have one full day left in paris tomorrow and then I am off to the south of the UK for a couple of days and the boy is off to the US where I will meet him this time next week.

We are hoping the weather is better tomorrow as we will do the Eiffel Tower and have a final standard tourist experience!

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Goodbye Oulu hello Paris

I am now in the legendary city of Paris home of The Louvre, Palais de Versailles and so far the rudest service staff I have met in years!

But before I talk about Paris I wanted to talk about Oulu.

Waiting for my flight to leave for Oulu Airport I looked at the Departures board and it did make me giggle a bit. It would seem that there is no other destination from Oulu than Helsinki :)

I must admit that as the plane took off from the airport it hit me that I was not going to see the girls again for a few years and I did shed more than a few tears. It's funny how people come into your life for a short time but you stay in contact with them over the years and they become very close friends.

Landing in Finland last week it really did not feel like it was five years since I last saw the girls, it really felt like it was only a few weeks or months. I won't get to sappy but they really do go out of their way every time I see them and make sure I have a fantastic time!

*wipes away tears*

But back to Oulu and some really interesting observations about the place. This was my third trip to Oulu, I have been there now twice in Autumn and once in the dad of winter. I do love the place and the extreme differences between Australia and I suppose a large city to this decidedly small city.

One of the results of being so far North in the World is both the climate and surroundings and what this represents! Oulu is very pretty and at this time of year there is an intense yellow as the trees all turn and this amazing display of colour is everywhere.

Oulu is very flat which for me coming from Sydney which is very hilly really unusual. Berry picking int he forest with the dogs Hiski and Jalo (who I totally fell in Love with) was really cool! But at times unsettling for me as I would have been lost in two minutes without the girls as there was no higher point of reference for me to look at.

Something really interesting about Oulu and Finland in general is the influence of Russian architecture and design in the buildings. Oulu especially is very Russian in it's influences of the buildings with very strong angular straight lines. There was a huge property boom int he seventies to house the population explosion and much of these buildings are in a very Russian style of box like with small windows.

A really fascinating historical throwback is the Nuclear bomb shelter the bottom of the girls apartment building. It makes perfect sense since the Russian border is just a scant few hundred kilometres away and in the seventies when this building was built, it was the height fo the cold war!

These days the bunker is used as for storage for apartments, but it was pointed to me that the construction of the storage cages was done in lightweight wood that could be ripped out very quickly in the case of a surprise Nuclear Attack on Russia.

You can see in the pictures the huge metal blast door which would have been slammed shut with the airtight seals around it. On the wall you can see the seal able air vents which were all perfectly serviceable as I discovered when I closed one.

The girls were amused by my interest in things like this but as I explained we just don't get things like this in Australia!

On my final night in Oulu we had dinner and drinks at one of the Girls house on the outskirts of the city. She lives in the most amazing old falling down wooden house. Her mother was a nurse who looked after the old lady whose house it was and when she died my friend was given free rent to live in the house for as long as she would like. Really fascinating with huge white boilers in every room and many of the original features of a house built in the late nineteenth century.

There is a lot more I want to describe, but I am waiting for the boy to arrive from his long flight from Australia so I will leave with a special just for the boy. This is Sari showing us where the Crappy Gay Bar is (CGB).


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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Itís been a pretty laid back couple of days up here in Oulu, Northern Finland. Itís such a small area city (about 120,000 people) and the lifestyle is very much different to what I am used to.

I did really want to say how fantastic the seats and service were on my Finnair Flight from Tokyo to Helsinki. It was a pretty new A340 and the business class was just fantastic. The distance between seats was huge, you almost needed to get out of your seat to touch the seat in front of you. Although they were not full lie flat seats like Qantas Business Class, with the help of a small sleeping pill I had a great sleep. It will be really intetesting to see how the service and seats stack up on the flight to Paris, the UK to Helsinki and next week to New York.

But back to Oulu and the weekend!

For a start the city centre is quite small, but manages to have a pub at least every ten metres of so. Now I am not saying that I am drinking any alcohol but OMG letís just say I have seen the inside of a few of these pubs.

From past visits up here to Oulu, we have been told about the Crappy Gay Bar (names by us CGB). You would think this being a University city (world famous university in fact, The patent for Text messaging is from Oulu University as are the Fitness Heart Rate monitors ( and more) that there would be a vibrant gay life up here.

But oh no!

On Saturday night after a night of drinking at another wine bar in downtown Oulu I begged to go to the CGB, I just had to have a look at this place (yes I had been pre warned).

At three in the morning on their busiest night (they only open on Friday and Saturday nights) there were a total of a dozen people in the club. And one of them was the requisite blonde twinky swishy thing too!

I laughed so hard I actually fell over outside (or that may have been the alcohol Iím not really sure).

Eariler in the evening I was trying to explain to someone why I wanted to go and have a look. I knew it was bad, but I needed to see and experience just how really bad it was. I was later told that the gay scene is more private up here and there are large private parties where everyone meets and mixes, and most people go to the regular bars and clubs anyway.

Needless to say Sunday I was feeling slightly under the weather, although we did manage to go walking in the forest!

My internet connectivity woes are continuing but I am learning to live without being connected 24x7, although I dread to think what my mobile telephone bill will be like when I have finished the trip (it can get up one dollar a minute for me to call out!).

I have however been keeping up with the gossip back in Sydney, hearing today that Lumiere has been cancelled as one of the team (either Brett or Andy) are extremely sick. I have heard more on the rumor mill but I refuse to elaborate as it is not confirmed.

On other news from back home the boy who has spent the last five nights at home by himself (usually it is me who is home alone as he travels) has been letting the puppy sleep on the bed with him! This is just unprecedented and very cute, as she is normally not even allowed upstairs unless for a quick visit to wake one of us up!

An event has occurred in the cold war which may trigger a reconciliation between myself and the friend, but I will not be holding my breath, nor will I be all that open to the reconciliation unless there is an apology.

But I highly doubt that!

I must admit that there is a bit of schadenfreude in me about this situation, and I know that itís not quite the right thing to feel.

So today being my last full day in Finland, we will be taking the dogs to the Forest and I will finally get to pick berries (or watch the lesbians do it anyway LOL). Then taking the girls out for lunch and having dinner tonight at one of our other friendís places up here.

Tomorrow afternoon I am off to Paris where I have a night on my own and then the boy meets me on Thursday morning.

I am so looking forward to seeing the boy as I have not seen him since he left for Singapore well over a week and a half ago. So as you can imagine I am very excited!

So more pictures and stuff to come soon!

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Monday, September 24, 2007

The woes of the Internet Age

The woes of trying to stay connected while travelling are hilarious.

Although the girls have an Internet Connected computer they are not quite as obsessed with the web as we are (the boy and I, I mean). Consequently they do not have a wireless network or a network that I can actually hack into.

So instead I am relying on the local free wireless access provided by the town, but to get this access I need to have the computer aimed at just the right angle on top of the sofa or on the table in the living room at just the correct angle.

But the damn connection keeps on dropping out and so I get this weird in and out access.

But as I battle that small woe, I am having a fabulous time!

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Day Two in Finland

I am using the girls coputer as I still need to get a converter so I can charge my own notebook computer, so I am trying to use a weird key board and everything is in Finnish!

I have to say that having full sleeper seats all the way from Sydney to Helsinki and then having to be jammed into a small a320 airbus with only one class configuration awas a total shock to the system. Sitting on the ailse I was constantly being banged by the trolley as it went up and down and by the end of the 45 minute flight from Helsinki to Oulu I was ready to slap the cabin crew member that was doing it!

But onto far more important things though!

Finland and in particular Oulu is as beautiful as I remember them itīs that time of year when the trees are an amazing vibrant mass of yellows, greens and oranges for as far as the eye can see. It is fantastic to se the girls for the first time in over five years and it feels a bit like it was yesterday the last time we saw them.

Their two new whippets are quite amazing and I have particuarly fallen in love with Jalo who I would love to take home and introduce to Lucy (I am sure they would get onlike a house on fire).

Hiski is so beautiful too but he is far more reserved and stately LOL.

This mornng we all even went to the gym - me for the first time in quite a while which was great for me.

Anyway off to go into the town center to meet up with Maarit and Jonna who I have not seen in ages either!

Pictures and more will come later when I am back on my own computer!

The picture is of Oulu Cathederal which I can see perfectly from the girls apartment!

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And I am in Finland!

After three flights and nearly thirty hours of travelling, I am here, with the girls in deepest darkest Finland! The view is from their apartment and these are their two Whippets Hiski and Jalo (aslo known as JLO)
More to come tomorrow but I am jet lagged and generally fucked!

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Day One in Tokyo Airport

I am waiting for my flight from Tokyo to Helsinki which should be in about another two hours or so.

I have quite a few comments about the trip thus far, in particular the total stupidity of not being able to buy contact lenses solution thourgh Sydney Airport Security, and not being able to buy the required container of less than 100mls before hand!

Damn damn damn stupidity!

Anyway only another 16 odd hours of travel till I get to my next destination.

Oh and the First Class Lounge here has blocked Superdrewby as Pornography! What the fuck is that about!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Day Zero

In just a few short hours (well over twelve in fact) my holiday begins! Tonight I will fly from Sydney, transiting through Tokyo, Helsinki to end up in Northern Finland in a small city called Oulu. Where I will meet up with the Finnish Lesbians and their two whippets!

Realistically my trip is going to be quite boring to most people, especially my readers, but it's my blog and I am going to comment on it the whole way hehehehe

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