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Sunday 8 Feb 2004
Sydney, Australia

Im a free man (well almost!)

Im free! Finished work yesterday... George wanted me to work the Saturday.. a full day too *groan*! I need the money so obliged, but Im happy I dont have to wake up at 4.30 am each day any more (I was averaging about 4-5 hours sleep each night over the past 2 months which is not healthy at all. I couldnt get to sleep any earlier since my body cant handle an early night!). Im reserving this week for R&R before I continue on to New Zealand.

The past week has been problem-free and Ive become quite the good little labourer, even training in the new Iraqi guy theyve hired to replace me. Ive become quite adept at using various mechanical killing machines like huge grinders (metal-sparks fly everywhere!) and pneumatic drills. Thankfully the boss wasnt being too much of a prick this week so wasnt on my back all the time... Weve been experiencing a bit of a heat-wave though which hasnt helped my outdoor duties: around 35-40 C with 85% humidity!!!

The "new" labourer, Raf, has been doing labouring for 5 years in Oz ever since he escaped oppression in Iraq. Hes going back to Iraq in March to visit family which I reckon is a crazy proposition (he cant fly there so has to take a bus from Jordan at the risk of getting shot at by various tribes). He also brushed up some of my arabic: Ma (water), Malesh (dont worry), and Bukera (tommorrow). These words were in an "Exit Visas" song or something.

On leaving, George reliably informed me that our work site is plagued with a nest of redback spiders, the second-most dangerous spider in Oz after the Funnel web (not including the Fraser island spider which is 10 times more venomous than the Funnel web). I can only begin to wonder why he decided to tell me AFTER I finished... presumably cuz he thought I would refuse to work there any more. And with good cause.

Mad Jonny D has gone off to Melbourne too, in a masochistic desire to work on a fruit-farm. Well I DID try to warn him...

We celebrated our parting the other night in true Ozzie style.. well Indian style, but we honoured the "BYO" system and brought our own alchohol into the restaurant (en entirely Ozzie concept). Pretty funny walking into a posh Indian restaurant carrying grog like a pair of drunks, which is acceptable behaviour here! Had some of the hottest Vindaloo curries that night, but gotta say it wasnt very pleasant working on the site the next day I can tell ya.

Ive bought my airline tickets this week on the credit card (Joy! cant wait to have to pay THAT one back too when I get home). I went to Flight Centre after haggling the price down in the Backpackers Travel centre. Ysee, Flight Centre "GUARANTEE" to beat any other quoted price so my method is to get a really good price in some travel agent and then go off to Flight Centre to take another 100 dollars off the price! I dont think they made any profit on my purchase...

Heres my schedule:

- 18th Feb - Sydney to Auckland (New Zealand)

- 21st Apr - Auckland to Los Angeles (US)

...from LA I make my own way across the States...

- 12th May - New York to London

From London Ill get a Ryanair flight home or summat.

All for only around 850 euros! A bargain I think!

So that gives me 2 months in NZ and 3 weeks in the States. I hope I can stretch my AU$ 5000, but Ill probably end up doing some labouring in NZ to make up the loss. More cheap-living awaits me...

Last week the "Opera in the Domain" show was on. This is an annual event at the end of the Sydney Festival where you lie out in a park under the hypnotising Red-Violet sunset Sydney sky for 4 hours watching/listening to live opera featuring some famous artists while guzzling back a few cold ones. Bliss. A week before that was the "Blues in the Domain" event.. same same but different. Sydney is a great place for free large-scale events.

Im going to be clearing out my room and mailing copious amounts of boxes and didgeridoo parcels this week. Will take 3 months to get home so you can all relax folks. Hopefully Ill be in Eire to pick them up and not in Spain at that stage.

Well my last week in this Great Southern Land lies ahead of me... Im gonna miss this place, gonna miss the tame "wild" birds but not the pesky flies, gonna miss the weirdos on the streets, gonna miss the whole "awww she"ll be roight maaaaayte" outlook on life while chilling out to Jack Johnson and a few Tooheys New beers on the beach... ah well NZ beckons...

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