Subject: Movin' Towards A New Year Mate
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 16:55:05 +0000
From: "-= Audacious Adventurer Al =- "

December 31, 2002 2:24AM . . . SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
(3+ million people, similar to Manhattan, New York - this city never sleeps either, Home of the Sydney Opera House & Summer Olympics 2000)

New Year's Eve!
G'day! Happy New Year's Eve! Tis' just me again, Allen, back to share some of my anecdotes at this unearthly hour to be awake. I should be restoring my strength for tonight's big festivities in Melbourne City in Victoria State. However, I couldn't find a bed in big Sin Sushi Sydney arriving here at 12 midnight by bus. Thus, I'm hanging out in this Internet Cafe till the sun comes up. I hope I'll be able to enjoy the sunrise over Sydney Harbour later this morning. Ah, to be young and strong! Actually, these all-nighters are taking their toll on me more than they did a few years ago.

How creative can I be at quarter to three? Let's see:

My Christmas Day the Aussie Way:
Try this one: I woke up to receive two presents: a pack of playing cards from my mate Scottish Bob and a big bag of ANZAC (oatmeal cookies) from Scottish Sally (Way cool).

The fab five volunteers head out to a beautiful breakfast overlooking sailboats on the blue serene bay. Brekkie is only mango jam on toast with ANZAC cookies, but hey, it was good.

The first Christmas song I heard, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas."

We head down to the lagoon, which is essentially a huge assortment of swimming pools. You see, people cannot go into the ocean this time of year in the deep North without wet suits because of deadly jellyfish. Thus, their solution was this lagoon.

Later, we had our big roast lamb lunch barbecue. There was a full size lamb roasted on a spit from the early morning. Additionally, lots of salads, ham, fruit cake, champagne and all the fixings helped satisfy our palates. Even better for a cheapskate like me - $6 US dollars! Heck, I bet you all wish you could've been there!

In summary Christmas was full of dining, swimming, massages(!), kisses (!), friends - could anyone ask for more living abroad?

Stranded on the Whitest Beach in the World
I stepped foot on the Whitehaven beach. It's the whitest in the world and the only beach that can be seen from outer space. Stepping on the beach was not enough. I had to run that bad boy from end to end. I'm guessing it's about 4 miles long one way. It was way cool running next to manta rays drifting and skimming the along in the ocean water right next to me. To my non-amazement, my boat buddies thought it would be funny to leave me stranded on the beach by myself. They waited till I got in sight to see the small yacht attachment vessel pulling away. Would I have to swim through the stinger infested waters to get back to the yacht? No, of course not. I flailed my arms a few times and that gave everyone on the yacht enough jollies to come retrieve me. Why is everybody always picking on me? Because I love it :) :) :)

Elvis and George
While snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, I swam near the biggest fish I've ever seen in my life. At one reef site was Elvis, the only male in the area. He was big, gray, and had all the fishettes to himself. What a lucky guy! George was at another reef site and he comes right up to the boat to be fed some bread. After all, he's just collecting his toll for us snorkelers swimming in his territory.

Interestingly, the ocean water temperature is at least 27C (84F) degrees. It's like hopping into a bathtub. The jellyfish, or stingers as the Aussies call them, love the warmth too.

"Bring Your Party Shoes"
I'm headed to Melbourne to meet an Aussie gal, Adele, for a fine night out in the big city of the South. You may remember her from my emails from my first adventure to Australia. Last night I asked her what time the party starts. She wittily retorted, "The party starts when you get here!" We start the party 15 HOURS before most of you.

New Zealand is the first country to reach 2003 and hour after hour other countries join the festivities East to West!

Have a great start to 2003! I'll probably be fast asleep at Philadelphia's 12:00AM! It'll already be 3PM here, January 1st.

Some toasts for you:
Whatever road thoust go, may fortune follow close behind!
May you have everything you want in life except one thing - so you always have something to strive for!

Allen :)

Some resolutions for you that I thought were pretty good:

"Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged,
 sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and wrong.
 Sometime in life you will have been all of these." -Dandy Lion

"Let us resolve to be masters, not the victims, of our history,
controlling our own destiny without giving way to blind suspicions
and emotions." -John F. Kennedy
Bang some pots and pans for me at midnight!