On the prisoner’s road and other Tasmanian surprises.

After two weeks on the road in New-Zealand, we landed in Tasmania, intent on spending 4 nights in a nice hotel, with the occasional day trip outside the city.


The easiest one involved a short, if tortuous, drive up Mount Wellington, where you get a stunning, above the clouds view of Hobart.


While New-Zealand is charming and easy going, “sophisticated” is not an attribute that often comes to mind. Tasmania being so… out of the way, with a population roughly equal to that of New-Zealand, one could expect certain similarities. One would be wrong. Hobart is not a big place, but the centre of the city and the waterfront are very refined neighbourhoods, with a wide array of shops, fine dining options and lots of beautiful people. After all, any city boasting “drinking consultants” is bound to make a dashing impression on me.


January 2011, marked the completion of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart. We did not expect much going, even though we were told it was THE thing to visit in Hobart. After being surprised by the 45 min wait to get in on a weekday morning, we were stunned by the museum. Mostly built underground, it hosts a variety of interesting creations, old and new, such as this gothic cement truck!


Even the parking is provocative. Since pictures are often prohibited in museums, I did not bother to bring my camera with me (except my little point-and-shoot). Big mistake. We stumbled upon one of the most original creations I have ever seen. “bit.fall” is an artificial waterfall that works a like an inkjet printer, “writing” letters of water in mid-air. I would have needed my camera to capture properly, but you can check it out on youtube.


A little by chance, I took two pictures near my hotel which illustrate how timing can be everything when travelling. This is Salamanca Street on a Sunday morning.


And on a Saturday morning! Market day is only once a week and is enormously popular among tourists and locals alike. Arts and crafts and  musicians abound (including the city’s Pipes and Drums band).


Uninterested in shopping, I focused on food. This little stand had a mustard like none I have ever tasted. Never before have I been satisfied about a mustard being hot enough. For the first time ever, I had to open my sandwich and, with tears in my eyes, scrape some of it off. It was insane. From breathing while chewing, I could feel the burn in my windpipe!


Having been around the city core, we headed south, trying not to add to the piles of road kill along the way. This sign warns of tasmanian devils crossing. Having grown up watching the Bugs Bunny Show, it would have been clearer for me had the sign shown a little tornado with claws sticking out of it, but no matter. Sadly, tasmanian devils are threatened with extinction. You would think that Tasmanians would spare no efforts to save such a unique national symbol, but the reality is that they do not know what to do. The species is experiencing an unexplained epidemic of communicable cancers called devil facial tumour disease. Healthy animal are currently being quarantined to insure the survival of the specie, should they die out in the wild.


After driving a camper van with a third of a million kilometres across the curvy and hilly roads of New-Zealand, driving this little thing with less than 4,000 km around Australia felt like the Indy 500. I could perform such incredible feats as accelerating while driving uphill! Of course, neither of our suitcases could fit in the trunk, but life is all about compromises.

As you may have heard on the news, Tasmania, and parts of mainland Australia, suffered severe fires in January. We were in the heart of it – although things were under control by the time we showed up.


From a distance, it almost looked like Eastern Canada in the Fall. As it turns out, these leaves have not merely ceased to produced chlorophyl, they have been “cooked” by the brushfires.


Looking closely, you can see the kind of heat that the burning grass must have generated to have such an effect on the trees. I wonder what conditions cause a brush fire with such an effect, compared to what we call forest fires back home, where the entire tree goes up in flames. While I believe loss of life was limited to a single elderly man who perished in his home, scores were left homeless. We drove through a small village where at least a dozen houses had burned to the ground. We were surprised at the seemingly random distribution; with a pile of ashes between two intact houses. Perhaps the efforts locals put in defending their own homes or small, but critical differences in the surrounding vegetation? I did not have it in me to stop for pictures in front of the villagers.


While these devastating fires are certainly no laughing matter, we did laugh a bit at ourselves. On the first morning, we awoke to an acrid smell of smoke. Walking to the nearest cafe, we were surprised to find a significant amount of smoke in the street, to the point of slightly reducing visibility. We assumed winds had changed direction and smoke from the neighbouring countryside was being carried vast distances into the city. As it turns out, this store, three blocks away from the hotel, was on fire!


During our short stay in Tasmania, our only significant road trip involved going to the old penal colony of Port Arthur, about an hour and a half away. This facility would have been the equivalent at the time of a maximum security prison, and all 7,000 prisoners who served time there were repeat offenders. This is a small proportion of the 165,000 condemned criminals deported to Australia or, as they called it at the time “transported” (judges would sentence you to “transportation” for 8 years, 15 years, life, etc). Kids as young as 9 were transported there (in early 19th Century Britain, you were responsible for your acts by age 7 and could be sentenced to execution by age 8). Ironically for a maximum security facility, there were no fences or anything else preventing you from walking away when you were not in the buildings. The security came from the fact that there was nowhere to go to.

The site is on a peninsula and detainees would have been transported by boat and not be aware of what was in which direction. If they attempted to walk towards Hobart, they would have gone through a narrow passage and likely been caught by soldiers who would have long been warned by semaphore that a prisoner had escaped. Many who escaped eventually came back, exposed to the elements with nothing to eat and nowhere to go. Some were never heard of again, but it is difficult to know if some attempts were successful or if they merely perished in the wilderness.


The bush fires that raged the week before our arrival are nothing new to the region and the church, just like the main penitentiary building, have long been destroyed by fire. Prisoners were allowed to practice Catholicism as well as Protestantism, but some sort of church attendance was encouraged, as a means of reform and rehabilitation. Hard work was also encouraged as the path to self-improvement and the prison eventually built an impressive level of industrial output, in such areas as lumber and even ship building.


For repeat offenders who couldn’t manage to behave, a special penitentiary was built. This was revolutionary thinking at the time. Prisoners used to be packed in large numbers in insalubrious prisons, mainly with an intent of punishment and deterrence. In penitentiaries, inmates would be isolated in individual cells and left, or so the idea was, to reflect upon their behaviour and repent. In this facility, they would not be allowed any contact with other inmates. They spent 23 hours a day in their cells and when a guard had to enter, or when they had to leave, they wore the mask you see hanging on the wall, to prevent any non-verbal communication.


The hour outside the cell was spent, alone, walking around this exercise yard. This type of isolation and sensory deprivation gradually replaced the whip and other forms of corporal punishments of the past.


The special penitentiary had its own church and even there, detainees were isolated from each other. Eventually, the prison closed in 1877.

While searching online for that very date, I came upon a fact I had long forgotten. Port Arthur was the site of the 1996 mass murder which led to the massive reforms of Australian gun laws. A mentally retarded 29 year old man, Martin Bryant, opened fire on tourists, killing 35 and injuring 21. He was caught by police on the scene and is currently serving 35 life sentences, plus 1,035 years without parole.


Christchurch: where real earthquakes meet fake engineers.

Since we were travelling in a camper van, the only way to move between New-Zealand’s North and South Islands was to take the ferry. These ferries are not small ships; the one we took could carry well over a hundred cars, 660 passengers and a few railroad cars.


We got on last, leaving our camper van outside the “garage” (the white one with red window curtains). I wished we had been inside like 95% of the vehicles, as all the windows got covered with a thin layer of salt. The ferries leave from the national capital, Wellington, and arrive in a small town called Picton.


While we considered going glacier hiking on the West Coast, the distances were too great and I was not so keen on driving long itineraries on steep, winding mountain roads with the camper van. By comparison, the East Coast was much easier driving and very beautiful scenery, especially when the road was close to the sea.


On the way to Christchurch, we stopped for lunch and an afternoon hike in the small but very beautiful Kaikoura Peninsula. Here is the North side.


And South Bay.


Upon leaving the peninsula, I saw a sign by the road advertising twice daily sheep shearing shows. By chance, the next one was in 8 minutes, so we pulled over. The owner’s family used to keep thousands of sheep and the family owned most of the peninsula. Nowadays, they only keep 600 sheep, enough for the twice daily show. This somewhat reflects the situation of the whole industry. Falling prices for wool have resulted in a huge decline in the sheep population in New Zealand. Most of the revenue comes from the meat, as a sheep’s wool only generates roughly $20 a year (or twice a year for  some species).


Shearing that one, in front of a dozen tourists paying NZ$12 each, resulted in a lot more money (early 2013, NZ$1 is about CAN$0.80). Pros can do the whole thing incredibly fast. While this guy could probably do it in a heartbeat, he took a good 3-4 minutes so we could see the process properly. Most sheep owners never do it themselves. “Shearing gangs” move from ranch to ranch and process them in bulk (not sure if they use the term “ranch” in NZ). The same system is used in many North American farms. Most wheat or corn growers don’t own millions of dollars of machinery to do the harvest, they just pay for the service.


A few moments later, we get one naked sheep. I already regret writing the previous sentence. I will get visitors to the blog who have Googled “naked sheep”!


Apart from cattle raising, New Zealand also has a very diversified agricultural production. For example this farm produces 76.1% of all bubble gum consumed in the Southern Hemisphere. Seriously, let me know if you have any idea what this pink field may be. I sure don’t.


For logistical reasons, we drove right past Christchurch, intent on going back a few days later. Dunedin, the southernmost point we reached, was a booming town at the turn of the century, growing on par with Los Angeles. A good illustration of this boom is in this picture. “The Last Post” pub and restaurant is set-up in the old post office. Only 20 years after its construction, it was deemed too small for the city and a new post office was built, right next to it. The scale is not exactly the same.

Dunedin suffered greatly during the depression and the relative economic stagnation that followed lasted many decades, limiting the development of the city. For that reason, all the beautiful limestone buildings of the early 20th century are still standing, whereas in other places they were demolished in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, to be replaced with hideous Soviet-style concrete boxes, as we too often did in Canada.


For some strange reason, I wish I could have met the person who lives there.



The main reason we went all the way to Dunedin was to see penguins, specifically the smallest in the World, aptly called the Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor). They spend all day fishing at sea and come back to their nests at sunset. You can actually see a darker spot on the water as they approach. They run up the beach and hide in the bushes. When it gets completely dark, those whose nests are further away from the shore make the final move. They are only visible for a short moment and despite the soft floodlight of the observation platform, it is very dark. I had done test shots with the seagulls, but I really didn’t think the penguins would move so fast, and my pictures turned out very bad. Oh well, pictures of fast moving objects in the dark is not exactly easy. That’s when a professional, full-size DSLR sensor and a fast lens (f/2.8 or less) become essential. Instead, I have bad pictures of penguins and I saved $10,000 in photo equipment!


Finally, we made our way to our final destination in New-Zealand, Christchurch. I certainly remembered the city had been hit by a very strong earthquake in February 2011, resulting in 176 casualties and damage estimated at NZ$15 billion, but I must admit I did not give it any thought when planning the trip. Perhaps I expected it to already be old history. Even though the earthquake occurred almost two years ago, it is anything but history in Christchurch. Our campground receptionist gave us a map of the city. The centre was marked with a large red area, the exclusion zone. Walking along this street everything seemed quite normal, but there is nobody living or working beyond this fence, except demolition crews. The area occupies many city blocks.


While a few parts of downtown seem perfectly normal, you only have to walk a short distance to see scenes of complete destruction.


Entire streets have all the buildings condemned and you can still see the graffiti left by emergency crews as they searched the structures for survivors and victims. The majority (115) of victims died in the collapse of the 6 floor Canterbury Television Building, built in 1986. Since the building also housed an English language school, over 60 of the victims were from Asia. It was odd that neighbouring buildings suffered limited damage. The Government inquiry mainly blamed the construction engineer and recommended major changes to New-Zealand’s building codes. However, the most shocking finding was that the construction manager, engineer Gerald Shirtcliff, was in fact, not Gerald Shirtcliff, and not an engineer at all. As a technician in the early 70’s in South Africa, William Fisher stole the diploma and identity of a British engineer and built a career that eventually had him involved in the construction of many major buildings in New Zealand and Australia, over more than four decades. Watch the story on 60 Minutes Australia.


While many buildings are simply being torn down, others with architectural or historical value are left in place, presumably awaiting the day funds or workers will be available to restore them. At first I though these sea containers were a temporary way of shoring the facade, but I then noticed it did not touch it at all. I believe they were put in place so that if the facade was to collapse, it would do so on itself, and not on cars and pedestrians. That’s just my guess, but we saw a lot of similar structures.


Protection from debris is not the only thing residents of Christchurch use sea containers for. Businesses prevented from returning to their buildings built a small “city” of sea containers just outside the exclusion zone. You can find all sorts of stores, cafes and restaurants inside sea containers. Last time I shopped in a sea container I was having a leather coat made by a Kabul tailor. I must say the sea containers are a little nicer in New-Zealand than in Afghanistan (if anything, less bullet holes!).


And finally, while we never got to see a kiwi bird (except a stuffed one in a museum), we did get a kiwi cloud!


Zorbing with Hobbits and glowworms in Northern New Zealand

After recuperating from New Years Eve in Sydney, we headed down to New Zealand for a two week camper van road trip. I had never before travelled in a camper van, but I was told it was the thing to do in NZ. We rented the beast in Auckland, with the intention of returning it in Christchurch two weeks later. Because prices were high in the peak holiday season, we opted for a discount company called “Lucky Rentals”. The van had 325,000 km, but the employee was honest and said they rarely broke down, but because of their age, sometimes the spare battery, the fridge or the safe stopped working. We were indeed “lucky” and had no problem on the 2,000 km itinerary. Of course, if you put the “pedal to the metal” while driving uphill on the highway, you might be able to reach 65 km/h.


On the topic of motor transportation, I was surprised by the large number of massive cargo ships carrying automobiles. Wikipedia came to the rescue and told me that in the 80’s and 90’s NZ gradually decreased and eventually eliminated the tariffs it used to have in place to protect its automobile industry. Unable to compete, the local plants all closed down and since 1998, New Zealanders import all their cars and trucks.


That fact was hardly the only thing I didn’t know about NZ. Unlike Australia, which I knew very well from having watched many episodes of “Skippy the kangaroo”, the only things I knew about NZ were the abundance of sheep and zorbing. Uninterested in buying a grazing animal, we immediately headed for a zorbing “station”. For the unaware, zorbing involves rolling down a hill in a giant inflated ball, partially filled with water (or not), itself inside a larger inflated ball. You can borrow a GoPro camera and film the experience from the inside. These are stills from the movie. The first one, as we are zipped-in the zorb.


And rolling down the hill. “Ridiculous” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of zorbing, but I must say it was a lot more fun than I had anticipated.


Michelle looks like she is about to kill someone, but she actually enjoyed it as much as I did (except perhaps the fact we shared the inner sphere with 40 litres of water).

Another important fact about New Zealand is that all Lord of the Ring movies have been filmed here. Apparently, I was the only person in the World who did not know that. Since I haven’t read any of the books and fell asleep watching the first movie, I guess it is not surprising. That being said, New Zealand is a country of only 4.4 million people, and it is quite far from… hum… everything really. So unsurprisingly, not a whole lot happens here and the filming of these movies was a huge deal for the country. I did not even have to enter the country to discover that.

Before any flight safety briefing, they usually say “even if you are a frequent traveller, we would appreciate your attention for a few minutes…”. I won’t lie, I never pay attention, except this time. The video briefings on Air New Zealand are actually done by elves, hobbits and whatever other creatures populate the Lord of the Rings universe. Watch it on this Youtube link.


In case the attention of the national carrier is not enough, you can go to the post office and buy hobbit stamps, or just marvel at the 19 gigantic outlines of dwarves on the roof of the main post office in Wellington.


This cinema had rebuilt its facade for the opening of the new Hobbit movie. Out of respect for the most important thing ever to happen in NZ, we went to see it, but thought it was drawn out and a little boring. However, we were amazed by the small but fantastic VIP sections some NZ cinemas have, with enormous reclining seats at the back and a special pre-show waiting lounge. I ordered a glass of wine (a proper wine glass, which you can bring in the theatre), and pre-ordered another glass, which was delivered to my seat at the mid-point of the movie, along with a plate of some sort of tapas for Michelle. All very civilized, and expensive enough to keep annoying teenagers out of it.


When not enjoying indoor urban pursuits (i.e. shopping trips), we marvelled at the renowned beauty of the NZ countryside. However, while I don’t mean to take anything away from it, I must say that coming from Canada, I found it lacking that exotic feeling I like to experience in foreign outdoorsy settings. One can drive a few hours and discover a completely different landscape and NZ packs a lot for its size, but many of the scenery is similar to what you could find in parts of Canada.


This nice lakeside sunset, on Blue Lake, near Rotorua, is a good example. It is certainly beautiful, but I could drive 45 minutes from Ottawa and find something very similar.


What I can’t easily find in Canada is volcanoes, and exploring the geothermal areas around Rotorua was the best part my trip to NZ’s Northern Island. This geyser, the Lady Knox geyser, was discovered when some convict workers saw a hot water pool and tried to do their laundry in it. A few moments later, it erupted and sent them running. As it turns out, injecting soap into it breaks the surface tension keeping different layers of water apart and it goes “woosh!”. I didn’t quite understand the explanation, but the point is that once a day, the park officials drop detergent into the hole.


A few moments later, to the amazement of a few hundred tourists, it erupts. Pictures are taken, sunburns are had and that’s a wrap. Don’t get the wrong impression, the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland site is absolutely amazing, but the geyser is not that impressive. My recommendation would be to visit the rest of the site during the geyser show, around 10:00; you might very well have it almost to yourself.


Like in any geologically active area, appearances can be deceiving. This beautiful stream might feel inviting for a quick dip.


Travelling upstream to the little waterfall might make you change your mind, as you realize a lot of it is not water at all. Take a bucket-full from the light blue pond on the top right of the picture, and you’ll have enough chlorine to sterilize your swimming pool, assuming the bucket doesn’t melt!


Further upstream and the colour is completely different.


The amount of life on the surface is indicative of the amount of life underwater: not much, perhaps some bacteria with crazy metabolic pathways?


Another cradle of wildlife. Unfortunately, this being in the developed World (Kiwis even qualify as honorary Westerners, like the Australians), the site is well designed and fenced, which limits the photographic opportunities. Most pictures are taken from above, at a distance, behind fences. In Ethiopia’s Dallol, I was walking on surfaces that would be cordoned off from a hundred meters in NZ.


We came upon what looked like snow, but is in fact a sinter terrace, a “river” of calcium carbonate deposits.


A close-up of the surface.


Eventually we arrived at the most famous location of the site, the “Artist’s Palette”. Swim around this magnificent lake and, as you go from one colour to the next, you will enjoy the health benefits of large concentrations of chlorine, antimony, arsenic, sulphuric acid and all the other good minerals streaking to the surface.


The palette, from the other side. Now THAT is the kind of thing I travel for; nothing like it near Ottawa!


Rotorua is a major tourism centre on NZ’s North Island. Apart from the many geothermal sites and the countless active pursuits (zorbing, parachute centres, canoeing, etc), it also has a very nice city centre. This magnificent building is the old bath centre, now the Rotorua Museum.


Locals enjoying lawn bowling. We watched a bit and it reminded me a lot of curling. I was on the edge of my seat: very, very, anxious… to leave!


Heading straight West, we stopped for a day in Otorohanga and visited the Waitomo Caves, where we went on a “blackwater rafting” tour for a few hours. Essentially, this involves walking in a cave system and going down underwater rivers sitting in an inner tube. Nothing special, but I had never before seen glowworms. You can see them on this not very good picture taken by the guides (Michelle and I are the two red helmet reflections on the bottom left. As a matter of fact, the glowworms are not worms at all, but rather the larvae of the Arachnocampa Luminosa fly. The eggs of that specie hatch in only 20 days, but the larval stage lasts 6 to 12 months. The larvae build nests on the ceiling of caves and, a bit like spiders, hang several threads of silk covered in mucus. They then attract insects to them by glowing, which perhaps suggests to the victims that the light is an opening to the outside world. Once they hatch, the adult flies immediately mate, the female lays eggs and both die in 1 to 5 days. Adult flies do not have mouths and as such, cannot ingest any food. Having accomplished their goal in life at that point, the ancestors of these flies never evolved an ability to feed themselves as adults.


As charming as the area was, we were on a road trip to Christchurch, so we got going South towards the volcanos, in our case Mount Ruapehu. Despite the complete lack of sheep in the picture, this shot is the one that will remind me the most of beautiful New Zealand.


Torua ski field is located at the top of the road. We drove up but, this being summer, there was nothing much happening. An empty parking lot, save for a row of snow cannons. And off to Wellington we were.


New Years Eve in Sydney!

Initially, I found starting this blog to be a huge amount of work, and a bit of a pain. Then, I got used to it and realized that I was already enjoying reading my older posts. However, now that I am travelling with my girlfriend, I am finding it difficult again. I find photography, especially, to mostly be an individual endeavour. To get dawn pictures of Sossusvlei, I had to get up at 4:45 in the morning. These days, I go out for dinner and drinks in the evening, we have great times, and I don’t get up at 4:45.

The last week of 2012, spent in Sydney, was very enjoyable, but not conducive to storytelling or photography. Museums, restaurants, shopping centres and bars. Nevertheless, here’s a few stories and pictures to prove I really did leave Yemen without being abducted.


Michelle and I had an urge to indulge in fish and chips. We went to the restaurant which, like all other fish and chips restaurants, serves the “best in town”. Good fish restaurants usually don’t serve them, but “The Fish Shop” did, at a price comparable to any fish and chips joint… +200%! We got the kitchen view and enjoyed watching the incredibly efficient craziness of the kitchen action.


A+ for originality. The fish came on wax paper-lined vegetable oil can lids and the bill on a sardine can lid.


A classic not to be missed, “Harry’s Cafe de Wheels”. The joint started serving little single serving meat pies, accompanied with mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy piled right on top of the pie, way back in the days of the Great Depression. As stated on their website, it was “keenly sought by sailors, soldiers, cabbies, starlets and coppers alike”. We had pies, sausage rolls and all sorts of embarrassing goodies. The walls are covered with shots of movie celebrities stuffing their faces and the picture on the bottom right is that of KFC’s founder, Colonel Sanders, enjoying a pie in 1974. The place is right next to a Navy base and in 1978, the base Commander christened it HMAS Harry’s!


Since we had rented an apartment for the week, we didn’t eat out every meal and cooked a few things at home. Our biggest supermarket shock was the fresh meat pet food lines. The fact that they existed was not as alarming as the fact that they were on same rack as human food! The enchiladas on the right are for humans, the ground meat on the left with a dog on the label is not a korean delicacy.


Sydney is a popular tourist destination in the summer, and it experiences a significant peak around New Year. New Years in Sydney Harbour is like New Years in Time Square, something unique (for the bucket list: done and done!). Busy can be fun, but this was a bit too much. We wanted to see a 3D movie in a theatre downtown on December 30th, but the matinee showing was sold out, and so were all the others until late the next day! On January 2nd, we went to the world famous Bondi beach and found this small crowd. It was not nearly as crowded as the Cote d’Azur in August, but not exactly quiet either.I took this picture with a point and shoot as soon as we arrived, and the battery immediately died. Unfortunately, this means I have no picture of the siren going off, warning of a shark sighting. Everybody got out of the water, patrol boats went around, then a patrol helicopter, followed by a Channel 9 news helicopter. After a while, things went back to normal. In the big picture, 5 people probably died accidentally that day in Sydney (car crash, drowning, overdose), but a potential shark attack is world news…


I don’t know how to describe this horror, please suggest some captions for the “pink-stretched-Hummer-limo-downtown-wedding-photo-shoot”.


One of Sydney’s high adrenaline activities: bridge walking. I later discovered they have the same thing in Auckland. Not for me.


The bridge, with the Crystal Symphony, one of two ships belonging to Crystal, the luxury Japanese cruise line. It has a passenger to crew ratio of less than 2-1!


The Central Business District and the Opera House, seen from a ferry.


The Opera House sees 7 million visitors a year. The area was certainly busy on a nice day between Christmas and New Year.


The Opera House was completed in 1973. Because the shape is so unique, I would have assumed the roof is made of some high-tech material, but it is in fact a concrete structure covered in good old-fashion ceramic tiles. Here are a couple more Sydney building pictures.


The Harnett Towers, under close guard.


This church is under renovation, but the construction company is nice enough to show tourists what it’s supposed to look like!


Travelling with someone naturally involves compromises, so off to the zoo I went, even though I don’t like zoos. This is my face when I realized we had boarded the wrong ferry. Getting to the zoo went from 10 to 100 minutes. I was not happy about the zoo trip.


The gorilla was not happy either.


The kangaroo was simply disgusted.


The koala bear was not impressed (and strangely reminded me of Master Yoda).


And the red panda could not express any emotions, as it is too cute to do so. I did not know such an animal existed. The highlight of my zoo trip.


Finally, it was time for New Years in Sydney. In the immediate area of the harbour, people rush in when they open the gates at 8. That’s 8 am! There was no way we would do such a thing, so we found a nice spot closer to our apartment and showed up at 11:45, pm. This is the picture I would have taken, had I been sober. I took this one during Canada Day 2012, in Ottawa. But, sober I was not at all.


My best fireworks picture from New Years Eve in Sydney. No further comments.