Welcome aboard

Hello (안녕 하세요 annyeong haseo) and welcome (어서 오세요 eoseo oseyo).

As you may have guessed from the characters above, the next few posts will chronicle my adventures in South Korea.

Last week whilst exploring the wilds of Albania on WA’s south coast, I was convinced to write 750 words per day by an exuberant Irishman. This writing enthusiast assured me that “with just 49 easy, two page essays,” I’d be well on my way to a draft of my first novel/travelogue. I foolishly agreed to the task ( admittedly, my wookie attire and the dram or two of whiskey under my belt may have affected my good judgement on that fateful day). Having Darth Vader looking over one’s shoulder tends to lead to a rushed decision-making process too.

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Doyle and McCarthy: No wookies at playing dress-ups

 

So, the outcome is that over the next couple of months, I’ll be slaving over the keyboard and any poor folk that make the mistake of subscribing to this blog will be subjected to two pages of dribble. Let’s hope that the learning curve comes into effect and the prose develops into something readable by the end.

All in all, it was a fairly unconventional preparation for two months living and working overseas. I was lucky enough to have three days in Albany, where the mild, drizzly weather was a welcome relief from Perth’s eternal sunshine. Catching up with old friends and the happy, honeymooning newlyweds; celebrating a Star Wars themed birthday party; and climbing Mt Toolbrunup in the Stirling Ranges were the highlights.

View from the peak of Toolbrunup.

View from the peak of Toolbrunup.

Then it was on up to Quindalup via the scenic South Coast Highway for a magic couple of days with TDoyle and the Olivieri family where beach-side activities were squeezed in beside schemes for matchmaking cousin Jordan with the pretty girl in the coffee shop.

Back in Perth with a day and a half up my sleeve, it was a wild rush to clean up errands, visit friends and pack for 7 weeks of business and pleasure in a sub-zero climate. My bulging suitcase is testament to the difficulty of fitting a 5 day corporate outfit along with ski clothing and warm casual-wear.

In addition to the 750 word quota, borrowing Damo’s flash camera (pardon the pun) has inspired me to take at least one decent photograph each day along the way. I have a feeling that my prowess (or lack of) behind the lens could result in a compilation reminiscent of the recent Mace Francis Orchestra album, “Music for Average Photography“. On a side note, great record, by a great Western Australian band and bandmaster – well worth a listen if the opportunity presents itself.

Today’s average photograph comes to you from Sydney, where the other AKIP (Australia-Korea Internship Program) interns and I are gathering for a pre-departure briefing. It depicts the magnificent Great Hall at Sydney University – a building which piqued my interest on my last visit to Sydney (and where I was lucky enough to listen to the Hilliard ensemble in an outstanding concert). This building earns a Doyle’s Gallivanting gong because strolling into the Quadrangle makes me feel as though I’ve been transported to Cambridge or Oxford university in England – but with balmy, summer weather instead of sleet and far less Englishmen (a double positive, perhaps…)

Gallivanting Gong: The Great Hall

Gallivanting Gong: The Great Hall

Having arrived in Sydney around 12:30pm and snoozing until 4:00 (lulled by the tranquil sound of a hyperactive leaf-blower), I ventured out for one of my all-time favourite travel activities: directionless wandering. This took me past a cricket match (where the innocuous medium-pacers of Sydney Uni were making light work of the Blue Team at 6 for 81) and the aforementioned Great Hall. (Photo has gone missing for this one, I’m afraid). I wound up sitting on the balcony of a little cafe (Well Co) on the trendy Glebe Point St, enjoying a cup of tea and their free wifi services. The staff are friendly, the food is good and there’s a faint breeze to cool off the muggy evening. Being in Sydney, I’m happy to report that WA cafe prices have been left behind and my wallet is already looking healthier. Between sentences, I’m enjoying the people-watching opportunities provided by the smattering of hipsters and assorted trendies in the cafe and on the street below. At this stage, I won’t be venturing down the slippery slope of food-blogging, but perhaps I’ll mention some of the more memorable delicacies in Korea.

Just before I sign off, I’ll mention to anyone that’s really interested in a particular topic to feel free to comment and ask questions, level accusations or start conversations if you desire. That’s all for now, folks.

Annyeong!

Doyle

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