Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Great Wall of China

So back to my massive trip this year, with my last related post seeing us getting into Beijing on the train. One of the biggest highlights happened the next day, being our visit to The Great Wall of China.

A minibus took the 7 of us (Belinda, Jess, Harris, Jonesy, Mark, Karl and myself) outside of Beijing in the morning, to the Mutianyu section, promised to be one of the most scenic by our China Vodka Train Honcho. The anticipation was building in the group, despite a couple of the crew having visited the Wall before on other travels.

We were dropped off at the carpark at the bottom of the section, and directed to the entrance where a choice of stairs or the Cable Car was quickly made. The ride up in our little glass bubble to the top gave us a tiny glimpses of the structure marked as one of the Wonders of the World.

Starting our walk of the section, we took in the awe of the expanse in front of us, being the tree-covered mountains, ribboned with this amazing man-made structure all along, winding over each rise.

One of the better preserved and intact sections, Mutianyu is also reportedly remarkable for it's watchtower structures, which we walked through on the several kilometers of Wall we covered. It was also reportedly not as crowded as some of the other sections, so whilst we didn't have the Wall to ourselves, we had the opportunity to take in in our stride, and experience it fully. So overwhelming, really!

Negotiating uneven steps, and then slope sections, passing through the watchtowers - this day was such an amazing experience. Something I've always wanted to see, and it was awe inspiring to actually be walking along the Wall.

Now, of course, the Chinese have thought of everything, and so rather than walking down to the bottom of the section to finish our visit, we took the Slideway! Yes, a toboggan each had us sliding all the way back down to the little markets and carpark. This was just the morning of a pretty special day in Beijing....

Radelaide: Ashes

Terrified that I would miss my flight, I must have skipped my hangover after the wedding, and made it out to the airport to fly from Melbourne to Adelaide, to join the test match for Day 3. Checking in at Sheila HQ along North Terrace, Belinda and I then walked down to Adelaide Oval for the start of play. Entering via the Member's, we watched till drinks, and then joined a very hungover Daisy for the next hour till lunch.

I then moved to the outer, and joined Jess and Andrew on the hill, who had just completed a roadtrip to be there. A day of runs for England, with KP scoring a double century, before the rains came and ended the days play. I found Melissa and Greg on the hill, for rain delay beers, and much discussion about Greg's allegiance.

Blender party at Sheila HQ was the order of the evening, with a large purchase of a blender, and fruit and all other important bits for random cocktails were collected. Melissa and Greg joined the Trans-Mongolian crew of myself, Belinda and Jess in a shot of Russian Standard vodka, to start the evening. Our apartment soon filled with the crew attending the match, and Jess and Andrew popped in at some point, for quite a large night of blender concoctions of all colours. Very good....but lethal!

Sluggish the next morning, I confess to not seeing a full days play, but eventually joined Jess and Andrew again on the hill, and a reluctant recovery beer. Perhaps not worth it, with the Aussies capitulating with wickets falling, a bad light and rain delay, and coming back on to lose hope with Clarke's wicket finishing the day.

A more subdued night, Day 5 started with Belinda, Dillo, Carl and I picking up the car for the beginning of our roadtrip, and then driving to the cricket for the mere hour of play it took for England to win by an innings and a bucket of runs. Very disappointed, the group of Sheila's in the Members watched from the Pimm's tent in horror. With more than anticipated time on our hands for this day, a pub lunch was found in North Adelaide before we farewelled the crew for our adventure ahead.

*Photos lifted from Jess and Andrew - thanks! Was so great to see you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Breeanna and Damien's wedding

A couple of weekends ago, I was invited and attended the wedding of the year! It was gorgeous - congratulations to Bree and Damien.

After a rush down to Melbourne, and a quick visit to a hairdressers local to Melissa's, I grabbed a cab over to the Rose Garden of St Kilda Botanical Gardens. Under the beating sun, on a glorious Melbourne summer's day, Erin, Bec and Scott, Alissa and Dan, Lana and Pete, and Nikki and I gathered ready for the bride's big entrance.

A lovely, relaxed ceremony had Dam with the biggest, proudest reaction upon Bree's arrival, and laughs and smiles all the way through to husband and wife. So cute.

After individual congratulations, and group photos, our group escaped the heat along Acland Street, with me and the lads ducking in to catch the cricket score, before joining the girls upstairs at Big Mouth for cocktails and wine to cool off.

A taxi to Sails for the reception, walking into the venue felt just like walking out onto the beach, with full length windows out to the bay, the beach, and the sun blazing down. Amazing. Drinks on the decking, before we were brought into the function room for a full cocktail reception, including a lolly buffet.

It wasn't long before the band kicked off, and everyone was on the dance floor. As the sun set on the water of the bay out the window, the room was filled with fun and joy for the happy couple. Great party, and such a lovely day!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Roadtrip Mix

As I am floating around the house, packing for a trip that will include a big roadtrip, I am reminded of the Roadtrip Mix I received in the mail this year. As part of the group, love is a mix tape, this swap delivered a set of tracks to drive to....

1. Hit 'n' Run - Horrorpops
2. Last Of The Steam Powered Trains - The Kinks
3. Road Runner - The Animals
4. Saturdays Nights - Tiger Tones
5. Still Ill - The Smiths
6. Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan
7. Wagon Wheel - Lou Reed
8. Silver Stallion - Cat Power
9. Run For Your Life - The Beatles
10. Midnight Swift - Buddy Holly
11. Cape Cod Kwasa Kwassa - Vampire Weekend
12. Ohio - The Dandy Warholes
13. Haulin Hearse - The Ghastly Ones
14. Dead Road 7 - The Kills
15. Do The Hansa - The Cure
16. Transmission - Joy Division
17. Mesopotamia - Santogold & Diplo
18. Black Tongue - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Only 1 song I had in my collection already, and several bands I was keen to give a listen. Another awesome mix gift from a music lover somewhere in the world!
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