July - August 2006
  • Day1

    It's the final countdown!

    July 10, 2006 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    So this is it one week to go and were nowhere near ready, we have no idea what were takin, how were gettin to the airport or wether stew can earn and borrow enough money to keep us in food while were away! we have plans to buy clothes, plug adapters and all sorts but still havent got round to it and on top of all this ali is graduating tommorrow and were havin this BBQ on sat (if the weather holds out!). Anyway this is basically a test to make sure that everyone gets a message when we post up on here and hopefully when we get going we will have more interesting things to talk about.

    stew + ali
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  • Day3

    WE MADE IT!!!

    July 12, 2006 in Singapore ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    We've just touched down in Changi and are using the free internet to let everyone know that we've made it as far as Singapore. Only one or two screeming kids disturbing our sleep for the past 11 hours. Not to mention the fact that Frankfurt airport was basically closed and all we had access to was a toilet and a drinking fountain, not even a smoking room!!!!!!!! which is why this is a short message as we are just about to go and find somwhere I can smoke. It's not all bad though we're so excited to be here and cant wait to get out and explore the city. Let the adventures begin. Ali & Stew. xxxRead more

  • Day10

    AUNTY ALI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 19, 2006 in Singapore ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    OH MY GOD!!!! at 11:20 pm local time there was a new Wheeler born. Saffron Wheeler weighed in at just over 5lbs and is a fiesty, happy little baby. The first we heard was when we were leaving the botanical gardens to meet Chris and Rebecca for dinner in Chinatown and turned on Ali's phone to check for messages from Chris and there was, "looks like Rebbeca's in labour" at which point we changed the destination of the taxi from Chinatown to Raffles city where we would wait to hear if we should go to the Raffles hospital where they were headed. Chris phoned Ali while we were in the taxi and told us that he would let us know of any developments. 1 hour, a singapore sling, and a nose round the Raffles hotel later we decided to wander down towards the hospital where we were informed that they had gone home, shortly afterwards while enjoying some Korean food, Chris phoned to say that the doctors had sent Rebecca home because she was in the really early stages, we stopped for a beer and got a bit lost on the way home and by the time we got here the
    We salute youWe salute you
    We salute you
    Ali next to the biggest palm leaf we've ever seen
    flat was empty. About 10 mins ago Ali got through on the phone to Chris who gave us the the big news! First thing tommorrow morning we're off to the hospital and will post up photos as soon as we have them for everyone reading this and going AWWWW!!!! we will attach some photos of our day but everything has really been a eclypsed by the new arrival!

    Stew and Ali
    (hot, tired and very emotional!)
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  • Day12

    welcome to the world

    July 21, 2006 in Singapore ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    So i realise how keen everyone is to see the photos, and can't understand why they haven't been posted up yet but its been a long day and i'll try and tell you about it without falling asleep. (if you would rather skip the excuses and head straight for the photos just scroll down I wont be offended). So here we go, due to the excitement of last nights news and jet lag we ended up with about 5 hours sleep , which isn't too bad if you've been getting regular good nights sleep, which we haven't. First thing this morning we jumped into a cab and headed over to the Thomson Medical Centre to meet the latest member of the Wheeler clan and were there within 15 mins. When we found the room we knocked and were welcomed in by a very proud but extreemly tired looking Chris and were introduced to Saffron. Now at this point I should say its Stewart writing this blog and have been asked to say that "Saffron is the most beautiful and perfect thing in the world", by Ali, however I am far too manly and macho to share such sentiment (she so is though!). We stayed with Chris, Rebecca and Saffron for around an hour and Saffron pretty much slept through the whole experience as only a baby can. We then headed down the road to the nearest MRT station to get an underground train to Little India, half an hour later both swealtering in the humidity we decided it best to jump in a cab which cost little more than the train would have done. We arrived in Little India and found ourselves walking around the many indoor shoping complexes full to the brim with every kind of electrical gadget you could imagine, had I found heaven? We then went into one shop and asked about a webcam which we were informed was $49 dollars, which I considered a little expensive and told the shopkeeper we would look around and come back, this apparently was the perfect thing to say as the price suddenly became $35, it was at this stage I realised that this was truly heaven. We grabbed some food in the hawker centre (food court) downstairs which set us back all of £4 for 2 currys, a naan bread and enough rice for two, and headed off to try and find some premature baby clothes for Saffron who at 5lbs 6oz aparently was too small for all of her new born clothes. We spent some time looking around some traditional singapore shops such as mothercare and marks and spencers before realising that babys were only allowed clothes if they were 4lbs and under or over 7/12 lbs.
    At about 18:15 Saffron Wheeler was introduced to her new home and was subjected to more photos and more filming. We orderd a pizza and Chris and Rebecca decided to feed Saffron, it was shortly after this that Saffron started crying, and unsurprisingly continued to cry off and on for the next 5-6 hours occasionally settling for a while, before to the distress of a stressed and exahusted couple of parrents, started crying again. Chris and Rebecca finally decided to take Saffron back to the hospital to get her checked out about half an hour ago at 01:15. I'm sure she is just stressed out at how much of the world she has to take in but I don't disagree with the decision to take her back to the hospital as this just shows how much they both love their new baby daughter and would do anything to look after her. The moment I get any news I'll post up on here, but for now the moment you've been waiting for ........

    p.s. I appologise for the blurryness of the photos but it was very dark and we decided it best not to have the flash on in case we woke up Saffron.
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  • Day12

    Saffron Update

    July 21, 2006 in Singapore ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Just wanted to do a very brief blog to let everyone know that Saffron is absolutely fine. Just heard from Chris at the hospital and he said that she fell asleep in the cab on the way there! Theyr'e gonna stay in overnight again tonight and most of tomorrow day, but I think it's more for the sanity of Chris and Rebecca than Saff because they hadn't really slept since she was born, and she obviously thought they deserved a rest now!Read more

  • Day13

    singapore zoo

    July 22, 2006 in Singapore ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    after the excitement of the last few days we decided that we would catch up with some sleep and wake up at 7:15 and head off to singapore zoo to enjoy breakfast with the animals. We got to the zoo just as it was opening and headed through a few enclosures stoping to see the howler monkeys and the "free range orang ou tans" and booked our place for breakfast with the animals. We then headed off to watch the elephants being bathed, it was at this point we took out both the digital stills camera and the video camera and realised we had charged neither and both were extreemely low on batteries, fantastic! apart from the fact we were unable to get much video footage it was a really great day, we saw loads of different animals including polar bears, bats and white lions. All of which we managed to take photo's of despite the camera's repeated attempts to switch itself off. breakfast with the animals was cool, it entiled a buffet breakfast (which was a little doggy including chicken chipolata's), and a couple of live demonstrations followed by a quick photo session with a couple of orang ou tans
    and a snake. Apart from the swealtering heat and enclosures that looked to small for the amount of animals it was one of the best zoo experiences either of us have had.

    The absolute highlight of the day was feading the Manatees, they were the biggest cutest animals ever (no offence jasper). We donated $5 dolars each for a basket of fruit which we could put straight into the manatees mouth's, it would have been great to get the whole experience on film but i think due to battery life we managed around 30 seconds.

    This evening saw the return of Saffron to the flat who has pretty much been asleep whilst we have been here and is looking more geogeous by the minute. Chris and Rebecca have both managed to get some sleep in the last couple of days and both seem entirely more relaxed with their perfect new arrival. This evening we had to go out and get a few supplies for Saffron in town which was fine apart from a seriously dodgy cab ride home, the driver seemed to speak no english and we wernt entirely convinced he knew where he was going, he had
    what was eith OCD or a nervous twich which coupled with terible driving skills and no sign of a cab licence made for an interresting trip. Home in one piece we decided we would tuck into yesterdays left over lasagne and enjoy a nice cold beer, later on we may have to take our bottle of wine down and chill out in the hot tub, but we dont want to go straining ourselves.

    So this is our last night in Singapore for this part of the trip and these blogs may become less frequent as internet access may not be as freeley available esspecially on and around ayres rock! where we will be for the next 4 days we will however post up a message as soon as we get to Cairnes all about our adventures at Ularu.

    Stew and Ali
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  • Day14

    Bye For Now

    July 23, 2006 in Singapore ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    So it's goodbye to Singapore for a couple of months now. We've had an amazing time here, not exactly what we planned but it couldn't have been better. We're so pleased we got to see Saffron when she was all brand new.

    We're in the airport at the moment, so not a lot of time to write a proper message, and I think we'll be out of contact for a few day until we get to Cairns. Don't forget to keep sending us messages and comments cos it's really nice to hear from you all!

    Will update in a few days!

    Ali and Stew.xxx

    ***Photos added on backup due to limit of 6 per post***
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  • Day19

    Lot To Catch Up On

    July 28, 2006 in Australia ⋅ 🌬 23 °C

    Hello again! Unfortunately there will be no photos on this blog as we're in an internet cafe in Alice Springs at the mo and didn't bring anything with us!

    We've just come back from our 3 day Uluru "tour" and it was absolutely amazing. We slept out under the stars in Swags and it was freezing cold but totally worth it. Uluru was so amazing and our tour guide was excellent so we found out lots of interesting stories about Aborigonal culture etc. We got up for sunrise every day and also saw sunset over Uluru which was spectacular, we have lots and lots of piccies to show you all the amazing colours. We also did a base walk around Uluru which took about 2 hours and saw all the huge holes and cracks which all have stories associated with them. We hiked over Kings Canyon yesterday which was massive, and had amazing views over the dessert. You would believe how much plant life can grow out of a big rock! You can see ripples in some of the rocks and trilobite fossils from when Central Australia used to be covered by an inland sea, which we also saw the remnants of in the form of a big dried out salt lake. We had a great group and we all went out for dinner last night when we got back and have swapped a couple of e-mail addresses. Absolutely shattered and a bit battered and bruised but it was totally worth it and we're loving every minute of it so far. We've had so little sleep since we've been in Oz as we've been getting up at about 5.30 and not going to sleep til about 1 at least :o)every night.

    Off to Cairns this afternoon, but unfortunately our dive has been cancelled but we're gonna try and sort something out when we get there so we'll let you know if we manage to do some diving still.

    Photos will follow from Cairns!

    Couple of personal messages: - Jill - we found the earings you wanted but they're gold not silver, we bought them anyway.

    Chris - congratulations on passing your Cima!

    ***Photos added on backup due to limit of 6 per post***
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  • Day20

    15127 Kms from home!

    July 29, 2006 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Hey guys weve made it out to the coast and it is absolutely stunning and hot here. We both got a bit of sleep on the plane but it was just a short flight anyway, I think we may have caught up on a bit last night aswell as we both managed to squeeze in 13 hours of sleep! before we left alice we had a walk around and looked in some shops which sold didgeredoos (so jill, if you get a long tube package in the mail treat it carefully). We also visited a kangeroo rescue shelter where this guy rescues joeys out of dead kangeroos pouches and then lets them back into the wild when there about 18 months old. We both held a joey (about 4 months old) who was so cute and who liked not only the taste of ali's jumper but also my watch. Not sure if we mentioned it in our last blog but our last night in Alice was fantastic, we met up with the rest of our tour group who all looked surprisingly human once they had had a proper shower and went into Malanka's, which is the main hostel bar in town, for some beer and grub. With our tour guides discount we both enjoyed kangaroo steaks for $7 ( around 3 pounds) and spent the night enjoying their own brewed pale ale for $10 a jug, we thought that this sounded like a really good night out with Luke and Emma a couple we had met on tour until it got even better with the live reptile show! we both got to hold a big snake and some cool lizzards including a blue tounge who you can see below kissing some random blokes nose. Luke, an auzzie, spent the night apparently showing me how auzzies can drink, however when I carried him to his room later that night he wasnt quite so full of it!

    We got into Cairns about 5 last night and got picked up by a girl from our hostel who took us there and introduced us to the guy at reception who told us that we can get free or reduced price meals at a bar in town every night, which is very cool. After we found our room we both decided we needed a lay down and promtly slept till 8 o'clock this morning, when
    we were rudely awoken by a bulldoser ripping down a house behind the backpackers. and so here we are looking round finding stuff to dop to fill the time when we were gonna be diving. Were prob gonna be riding horses and quad bikes tommorrow which will be cool any way hope you guys enjoy the photos.

    ali and stew
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  • Day22

    Walking Like John Wayne

    July 31, 2006 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Yesterday was intense, we started the day being picked up at 8:15 by a driver for a company called blazing saddles who then drove us out of cairns and up one of the windeiest mountin roads I have ever been up and he wasnt slow about it either. The view we saw briefly fly past at the top of the mountain was amazing below us sprawled out the mountain rainforest we had just come through followed by Cairns and the Pacific, we didnt have any time to take this in however as we were quickly slung round another bend and started decending again. We arrived at Blazing saddles (a dusty looking farm/ranch ) to be met by some lovely instructors who sum up the Australian mentality on customer service, friendly, and I dont mean american Mcdonalds staff friendly, I mean genuinly friendly. we were then given some rather fetching hairnets and helmets to wear and taken out to meet our horses. I was on Wattle who spend most of the two hour ride with her head firmly inserted in her 'boyfriend' Arnies rear end. Ali was riding Noddy, noddy can be summed up in one word, SLOW, despite constant encouragement he refused to keep up when the rest of the group went into a Trot.

    Lunchtime gave us a couple of hours to relax and meet some of the locals, 3 baby goats, loadsa sheep, couple of turkeys and a few chickens, not to mention about 50 horses and a full on herd of cattle! we saw a sheep dog display which was the most pitiful thing I think Ive ever seen the dog, although he looked like he was carying out sheep dog like moves was actually clearly atempting to get himself a lamb supper and completely ignoring whatever it was his owner was shouting ( I have this all on film and it makes for funny viewing). Also I got to try my hand at a rather large whip which is used to scare cattle into moving by making a very loud cracking noise, I was told that I could have a go but it took the guy ages to get the hang of it so the look on his face was quite priceless when on my second attempt I made a rather loud noise and contined to do so for the next 15-20 mins while he continued to challenge me with longer whips and harder movements.

    The afternoon was what can only be described as white knuckle, two hours of being thrown around australian rainforest on quad bikes, left us battered scratched, bruised and ever so slightly dirty. After a rather gentile start to the ride the kids and less adventurous riders among us continued to chug lessurley allong whilst our guide who can only be described as absolutely nuts had us following him at 60Kph down tracks so dusty you could barely see the person in front and were following a dust cloud. At certain points we were lead down sheer inclines and up the other side, through Billabongs (what australians call a swamp or something simillarly muddy) and even had us try out doughnuting(360 degree turns) which ended with my bike upside down and me head for a rather large and forboding bush. It was FANTASTIC! we both loved it and were buzzing for ages to come. At this point Ali would like to make a personal apology to the australian conservation society for killing one tree and ripping another clear out of the ground! the first tree with its dying move attempted to get some revenge by dropping a branch square on ali's head, thank god for helmets!

    Just thought we aught to let you all know we wernt kidding about the didgeredoo and infact bought 1 and had it shipped home night b4 last! cant wait to have u guys all sitting roung a camp fire joining us in making some of the best farting noises uve ever heard ocasionally followed by something which sounds like a french horn and every once in a while actually playing it well(which mkes it all worth while!).

    for those of you not keeping up with whats going on interms of our travels, our diving in Cairns has been cancelled and we are not overly fond of Cairns(he says looking over his shoulder to make sure no locals are reading) so weve decided to head south early and go to a place called magnetic island for a couple of nights this afternoon (Monday) followed by a couple of extra nights in the whitsundays then its all back to normal (we hope)

    last but not least I would like to send a special request, can people please start answering their phones! weve tryed calling a few people so far but weve only managed to get through to ali's parents (and that was on the second try) Im not pointing any fingers but u know who you are!

    stew and ali

    p.s. - MICH - thanks for getting hannahs email adress(hopefully she's reading this) and congrats again on your 2i
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