Sunday 20th March:
Big sleep in this morning. I was up round 11:00am and Guy arose at midday. Actually wore jeans today for the first time in a very long long time. Don’t like this cooool weather. Tropical warmth for us please.
After showers we headed for the mall for lunch. I dropped Jo off at her work (worked from 2:00pm to 6:00pm) and joined Guy and Jordan at Rebel Sports where we got soccer shoes, shin pads, socks and shirt for him.
Back home and chilled while waiting for Dave (got home at 4:30pm after work) and Jo at 6:00pm.
Nice dinner of spaghetti and relaxed with the kids.
Monday 21st March:
I arose at 5:30am to watch the first round of the MotoGP and was rewarded with a win from Casey Stoner on his first ride for Honda. Great race and a little disappointed to see the Ducati’s down the order.
Had a shower after that race then woke up and the house cold. At 8:00am off to breakfast we all went. After breakfast Dave was off to work and we dropped Jo back home and we hit the road by 9:00am.
Had a good run till we hit the outskirts of Sydney and we ground to a halt. Had almost forgotten what Sydney traffic is like. Made our way to Dee Why where I had stored my climbing / hiking gear in Jo’s garage (she has a flat she rents out there). I retrieved my hiking poles, a small tool kit (for the Thunder Monster) and a couple of photographic filters I was after.
Then off to Dee Why mall for a late lunch. Back to Forest Way mall as Jordan needed a haircut. All sorted and we dropped Jordan’s bags and gears off at his dad’s home then dropped him off at his friend’s house (Ben).
We drove just down the road to Checkers accommodation on Mona Vale road where we are staying for three days while we visit friends and complete our paper work. Guy headed out for dinner with Boots and I stayed in. Pretty tired after the Canberra drive and I am driving to Newcastle tomorrow, to see my old work colleagues, so an early night in order.
Tuesday 22nd March:
Up and I’m off to Newcastle (2-hour drive each way) to see my old work colleagues and I drop off Guy at her old work place in Waitara, Sydney.
We both had a great day catching up with old friends over a cup of tea and lunch.
We both agree that after this visit we have absolutely no second thoughts about retiring when we did.
I pick Guy up at 5:00pm and we headed back to the motel briefly before going to Kim and Ben’s place for dinner. Kim (female Kim) is a very dear friend and was my best “Man” at my wedding with Guy.
An interesting night with their two gorgeous twin 2.6 year old girls and Kyle who is about to turn 12. The girls weren’t having a good night and it did bring back some distant memories of when Guy (Jordan & Jo) and I (Jason & Rik (twins)) had our kids. But a fantastic night was had by all.
Ben has been looking after 3 of my mountain bikes and I paid them one last visit as the decision has been made to sell the bikes. Ben will take the 29er and he will dispose of the others for me. They are just sitting there and I would rather they go to a good home than just sit there and deteriorate. Another chapter in my life closes.
Plus Kim broke her wrist on the weekend at a mountain bike race so lets just say that her grip wasn’t what it should have been on the pot (hey Kim say no more)……..
Wednesday 23rd March:
Off to do our tax this morning for our final year of work. A very pleasant large refund surprise for us both once completed. Guy also finalized her last investment here in AUS which helped the refund. Our refunds have been allocated to the “travel fund” and we are looking at maybe a Europe trip next year. Ooohhh and a new camera for me (Fuji X100) which of course I NEED for the trip.
Had a good chat to our very helpful taxman and he informed us of what is required for us being residents in a foreign country. As it turns out because we are no longer Australian residents we have to pay tax on our annual interest from all bank accounts. This is taxed at a flat rate of 10% from the first dollar and all we need to do is notify our banks accordingly and they withhold it automatically. If we’re still residents we would come under the standard tax laws where we wouldn’t pay any tax till we reached the standard threshold.
The tax office just wants to squeeze that last little bit of tax out of any savings you have even if you leave the country. My Superannuation isn’t effected by any of this (I pay no tax on my super now), thank goodness.
Off to lunch with Ben and Kelly, two very dear friends. Had a great lunch at “Made in Italy” sitting on milk crates eating pizza in an alleyway in Sydney city.
Dinner was with a great group of my outdoors friends in Crows Nest at the Mustang Restaurant (Nepalese). Had a fantastic night catching up one and all and the food was pretty dam good as well.
Thursday 24th March:
Up and checked out of the hotel by 8:30am. Off to Jordan’s school to pay his 2011 school fees and get a copy of last year’s report card (will be ready tomorrow morning). Once all sorted we headed for Karen and Noel’s place where we are staying for the last two days.
Dropped all our gear off and I then dropped Guy off at Dee Why where she was catching up with the girls for lunch.
I drove into the city and caught up with Kim (from Tuesday night) for a Laksa lunch. Had a great lunch and chat to her before going back to Dee Why and picking up Guy. Back to Karen and Noel’s where Guy had organized a Mahjong game with pizza for dinner with the old Tuesday night gang.
I headed across town to catch up with the Ducati boys and gal. These are the great group who I used to ride with when I owned my beloved Ducati S4RT Monster. We had 15 Ducati monster bikes turn up with a few more of the gang arriving in cars. I got my Ducati fix for a while looking at all the customized bikes and had a great chat to all.
Friday 25th March:
Up and off to drop Guy at Paddys Market in the city and I continued on to Mascot (by the airport) to visit my old office and work colleagues.
Had a great chat and lunch and even managed to provide Alan (who took over my old patch of account management) with some old work history on one of his customers. The old long term memory is still there for an old guy…….
On the way back to Karen and Noel’s I swung past the city and picked up Guy who had bought up some aussie souvenirs for the folks back in the Philippines. Battled the afternoon traffic out of the city and will be glad to leave it all behind.
Managed to have a little siesta before we headed to Terry Hills Tavern for a catch up with the parents of Jordan’s best mates’ parents and his girl friend’s parent. Karen organized it and it was a great night to catch up with old and new friends. I was the designated driver so we all pilled into the “shuttle bus” (our hire van) for the trip there and back. I did enjoy a few Cokes with lemon though.
Back from the Tavern and packed for the journey home. Our bags were right on the 46kg weight limit allowance as we had some stuff we gathered in AUS and also 11kg of baby cloths thanks to Doug & Bec and Kim & Ben. We are going to give the baby cloths away to some families we know on the island that are having babies.
Will do the final bits and pieces in the morning and the final weigh in.
Saturday 26th March:
Final pack and weigh in. As luck would have it we were 1kg under the max limit so all good. Headed for the Sydney airport and I dropped Guy off at departures area with all the luggage and I then delivered the hire van back to Thrifty. Was a great van and served us well with ferrying everybody round.
Plane was on time and we left good old Australia at 1:30pm. Felt good to be going home after our very hectic few weeks. Arrived in Manila at 6:30pm local time after an 8-hour flight.
The flight was a bit bumpy at times. And I did feel rather ill in the last hour and of course it was a little bumpy, as we landed, which didn’t help. Man was I glad to get down on the tarmac.
Off the plane and Ed (Guy’s senior police friend) was waiting for us. Straight through immigration (where I received my 12-month Visa) and customs and meet up with Beth (Guy’s sister) who once again was parked in the 2-minute parking zone while waiting for us, courtesy of Ed.
In appreciation of Ed’s help we presented him with a pair of Levis 511 Cord Jeans, which he loves.
Home to Beth’s for a quick cup of tea and off to bed as we are bushed. And for the first time in two weeks we have no appointments tomorrow. Wwwoooo hhhooo we can sleep in…..
Oohhhhh and we have finally become bogan travellers. We travelled with a zip up blue, red and white-striped polly $2.00 bag. We had all the baby cloths in it. Never thought I would do it but hey they work a treat.
And just to finish off the trip I have a nice dose of the flu, which I have brought back especially from AUS. Back to the island Tuesday for some recuperation.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy