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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Photos - in random order

Europe: (captions to come!)

Can you guess where this photo was taken: Thats right, in old Paris town. We had a great 4 or 5 days there after spending 2 nights with my friend Sebastien in Brussels. The Eiffel tower was very cool, but the city as a whole was just mind-blowing: every building was beautiful (ok, except our 'budget' hotels), and contrary to stereotypes we found the French people to be extremely friendly.

Here is me hot on the Da Vinci Code trail at the Lourve Museum. Just kidding... but seriously, i did quickly check to see if the holy grail was lying around somewhere in the basement. Strangely enough i couldn't find it, but the Mona Lisa was very impressive nonetheless.

(Not joking) This was pretty much our daily diet in France: bagette, pate, cheese and missing from this photo our sliced ham, yum! Maybe its not so great for keeping those love handles at bay, but you know, we're on holidays.

Across from our room overlooking the Bastille was a sign made from socks, yes, from a couple who were "just married". Needless to say we never saw any signs of life from that room as there were probably 'a-hem...' busy sightseeing all day and night and generally enjoying their honeymoon elsewhere. Either that or their hotel had room service and they will need to come back another time to check off the tourist sights.

And now for some classic shots of us posing in the amazing Venice, a city i have always dreamed of understanding ever since i accidently studied Vienna instead at school.

Here's the boat i snapped up for a bargain in a special deal when i purchased a Lamborghini and ocean-view apartment in the luxurious city/country/whatever of Monaco. Such a beautiful spot and definitely a playground for people with so much money it scares me. After this trip i will barely be able to afford to print this picture let alone live the dream!

Like most millionaire playboys like myself I too have a gorgeous babe by my side, and here she is posing in front of some sexy boats on the gorgeous coastline of Monaco.

...and here she is again with the port of Nice in the background.

And this is what the poor people of Europe consider one of their best beaches and holiday playground, Nice in the south of France. Sure its pretty nice, but make she you hire a banana lounge at the beach or else you will be cooking yourself BBQ style on rocks, a bad substitute for the beautiful sands found here in brazil and Australia.

And here we are posing on the esplanade in Barcelona, with a hungry lobster hot on our heels. Its a statue, sure. One of the strangest sites occured near to here where boatloads of Africans illegally sell their wares on the footpaths, anything from Louis Vitton bags and Prada sunglasses to you name it. An even funnier site was a guy in Venice selling fake Prada stuff outside the real Prada shop. When i tried to explain the irony he didnt really get it, but would give me a good discount, and a bad at a great price.

And now onto Spain, although we actually went there before Italy, but oh well. Here's Corrina on the lovely beach at San Sebastien, by far the best beach in Europe we saw, and definitely a place i would recommend.

Here she is tasting some of the local dishes in the tapas bar. We were quite tipsy that night after i made some sangria in our hotel room. From memory the drink included cheap red wine, orange juice and pieces of fruit like apples, but without the fruit we thought we would try it anyway. As disgusting as it was, and embarrassing when we learned what a real sangria tasted like, it did the job, and we bounced around the tapas bars having fun and frivolity and probably spending a small fortune, but definitely a great night out! We left that hotel room very quietly as i had spilled som red vino on the bedspread, and thus begun a string of incidences of me creating wine mess in various hotels across Europe. One such incident was in Rome where somehow i managed to kick a glass off a bedside table and the wine splashed 2m up the plaster wall, soaking in like ink to chalk. Again being quite tipsy we considered our options over more wine and in the morning checked out to another hotel around the corner, not chancing our luck with the hotel owner and a potential cleaning bill i could ill afford.

...and finally here is Corrina trying to hitchhike our way out of Europe. I reminded her we had a plane already booked from London to Rio so dont bother putting the thumb out. The only time we did actually hitch a ride was after a long long walk in Provence, France: along with the hiking mad europeans we scaled a very tall mountain near Aix, admiring the view and with a last drop of water taken at the peak began the descent which was supposed to be much quicker. Although the instructions we NOT to follow the colour coded signage we thought we were following the correct arrows that would point our way down the mountain and onto the road where we could wave down a bus that would take us back into town. Somehow we kept veering right when we thought it was left that we should be taking, and suddenly an hour turned into 2 turned into 3 and with any water and almost completely lost (although there was plenty of frenchies still on this trail) we popped out at a spectacular damn which frustratingly had no drinking water for us dried out sponges. Having high hopes of a lift we sheepishly contemplated our options but chickened out of actually sticking a thumb out. Eventually Corrina walked up to a French couple in their car and gestured that we were going to Aix en Provence and would they give us a ride. Having no idea whether they were going there or not we hopped in. The only conversation we could make was that we werent English, which i felt was a tacticle move. Having said we were Australians we sat utterly pooped in the back seat saying nothing to our driver or his wife or each other, still not sure if they were even going back to Aix but happily taking the familiar ride to our hotel. They even offered to drop us at teh tourist office, how nice!!

South America:

They rolled out the red carpet in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro for our arrival. Well thats what i thought it was for, but it turns out they decorate the streets like this around christmas time every year!
Heres Corrina with the view of Foz do Iguacu behind here. A spectacular view... of the falls too!

This photo was taken just as we were about to be driven in the boat right under the falls (to th left). Altough it was a little dangerous and almost completely suffocating with that amount of water pounding onto our heads i screamed out to the driver for "one more time!"... and then another.... and so on.
With the gushing water raging in the background this gushing couple grabbed an American to ash him to take our photo, the first tourist who could actually make a good photo when asked. Of course when i get home i will edit my love handles out with Photoshop.

Just like a photo of an original beach boy this one is of a person who is actually better at having his photo taken holding the board than riding the waves. As you can see in the background the waves were baby sized and perfect for beginners like us.

Gorgeous beach babe lovinĀ“ her board. One of the most beautiful beaches i have ever been to on this tropical paradise of Ilha Grande (big island). The water was so clean and warm, waves were gentle and beers cold. No wonder it is rated up there!

Here is our wonderful host and friend Carolina. Her family has taken great care of us, sharing Christmas Eve (the day celebrating Christmas, not the 25th) and preparing ourselves for a huge New Years celebration. Get this: penthouse apartment pad overlooking Ipanema Beach where the huge fireworks go off while the Black Eyed Peas pound some tunes to the millions of people gathered wearing all white clothing, and offering all sorts of gifts to the sea goodess. Such gifts like flowers, jewellery and perfume... I might have to go to the beach in the mornining after to collect some belated Christmas presents.

OK, i didnt actually catch this Cayman myself, that was done by our trusty Steve Irwin-esque guide, but i did manage to get a quick photo taken while i held its head. Corrina also had a go posing with the scaly critter only to drop it into the boat where it scuttled around near our delicious toes, giving me a heart attack and laughs to the rest of the crew.

Trail riding with a pack of stubborn mules. Although they promised my 'horse' had a bit of "go" in him i couldnt get him out of second gear no matter how much i thought i was in control and showing him who was boss. All i got was sore feet from kicking him loads and a saddle bum from bouncing along to his annoying trot.

This time the cayman was held tightly enough to get a photo and return him to his mother eyeing us off from the muddy swamp. It was a pretty good tour in all, we saw and heard from Howler monkeys, giant rodents, cayman, plenty of birds including a toucan (!), deer and various other non exotic animals like goats and cattle. The only slightly dangerous activity was actually leaving the Pantanal in the 4WD... we were sliding along a mud road when the steering cable (or whatever) broke and we went off the road. Nothing serious but if we were a further 10m down the road things may have been different as there was a bridge with a cayman infested swamp below. Really mum, i am just adding this story for dramatic effect, all was fine.


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