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17. May 2007 10:41
by Rene Pallesen
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Australian Drought

17. May 2007 10:41 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

australian drought


Since 1998 we have had a drought in Australia. The water supply in Sydney has been declining ever since and early may 2007 the supply was down to around 30% with only about 8 months supply left.

On the 17th of May it started raining in most parts of NSW and in many areas the drought now seems to be either over or at least less serious. Here is a radar photo from that day:

The day the drought was over
Our water supplies in Sydney are now up to 57% and still rising. It would be fantastic if we could reach 100%, but we would need a fair bit of rain still.

It also means that there is snow falling in the Snowy Mountains, so the skiing season has already kicked in with plenty of natural snow.

15. May 2007 10:52
by Rene Pallesen
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Romantic Dinner

15. May 2007 10:52 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

romantic dinner


A couple of months ago I took Kim out on this really romantic dinner. She was really impressed with my ability to choose the best places in town. I am writing this post so that all you other blokes (or Sheila's) out there can do the same for your loved ones.

The place I took her to is this really romantic waterfront restaurant placed on some of the most expensive realestate in Sydney. The cousine is traditional Australian but this place is famous throughout the world and regularly appear in magasines.
The food is very reasonably priced and it is almost always possible to get a seat right next to the water. In the evening the waterfront seating is dimly lit and has got enough privacy for some kisses and some cuddles.

A lot of famous people have visited the restaurant and they have got photos of some of the people such as Richard Branson (Virgin), John Travolta (Actor,Grease) and many more. The restaurant has got a rich history and has been in this area for many decades now.

The service is quick and polite. The restaurant is BYO so I can recommend bringing a good Australian wine or even a couple of chilled beers on a warm summer night. The restaurant doesn't even charge corkage like other prime restaurants do.

On valentines day this restaurant still does a-la-carte at their normal prices where other restaurants either have set menus or inflate their prices.

Being on a tight budget is no excuse not to go to this place. They have got food that will fit in any budget and I find it hard to believe that you will leave the place hungry. After dinner go for a romantic stroll along the water and you will have won the heart of your loved one (I did).

Click here to see where the restaurant is

6. May 2007 11:02
by Rene Pallesen
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Climbing - Celebrity Crag Blue Mountains

6. May 2007 11:02 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

climbing celebrity crag blue mountains


Saturday Sarah and I went climbing in the Blue Mountains Saturday. Two of her friends from Canberra were also in the blue mountains, but they wanted to climb at Centenial Glen and Porters pass.

Sarah and I decided to spend the morning at a crag (a cliff) called Celebrity Crag. The cliff is split up into two areas called Jimmy Cliff and Heathcliff. We decided to go to Heathcliff which doesn't see a lot of climbers and we hadn't been there before.

Click here for more photos

We managed to get lost trying to find the cliffs and almost gave up trying to find the right track through the bush. After a final try we eventually managed to find the start of the climbs after more than an hours bush-bashing.

It turned out that the climbs there were excellent. Especially a climb called Bad Blood is a must do. It is a two pitch climb where the first pitch is a very pleasant grade 19 (led by Sarah). The second pitch is a grade 22 (which I led).


Click on this link to download the video I took (18Mb).

Near the top (after passing the crux) I took the biggest fall I've taken on lead so far. I climbed up to the next bolt and while clipping the bolt I got my feet up too high (stay low Andy) and couldn't keep the balance. The fall (maybe 3-4 meters) was nicely caught by Sarah. On the second try I managed to get it.

We were planning to climb out rather than walking through the bush, but we ran out of time and I was way too tired to climb with the backpacks. We decided instead to see how many pitches we could complete of another climb before it got dark. We managed to do the first two pitches and then had to bail due to the time.

We didn't get back to the car until after it was dark, so we didn't meet up with Sarah's friends until we got back to the car park. It turned out that they had had an excellent day at Upper Shipley (which you can see from Celebrity Crag).


It is probably one of the best climbing days I've had for a long time although I was totally of of shape.

Click here to see more photos of: Climbing 2007

23. April 2007 07:46
by Rene Pallesen
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Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia 2007

23. April 2007 07:46 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

opening event


I just got back from our Captaris International Partner Conference in Kuala Lumpur. I flew up there Friday week and we started on the Saturday by going whitewater rafting with just the international captarians.

Click here to see more photos

We had a whole bunch of people of different skill levels from the company, so it was good that the rapids were fairly easy so that everyone could join. But...if I had been there by myself with a groupf of people I didn't know then I might haven been a bit dissapointed.

There is a lot of rock climbing potential in the same area.

On the Sunday we were getting ready for the conference, this means setting up the Booths, presentation laptops and getting all our presentations ready. I also volunteered to take photos at the conference for official use (awards handouts etc).

In the evening the 200+ partners arrived and we had a party at the pool in the hotel for everyone.

Click here to see more photos

Monday morning the actual conference started with local drummers and after that all the speakers started their business and technical presentations for the partners.

Click here to see more photos


During the breaks I was speaking to partners at the professional services booth (here with one of our partners from India).

Click here for more photos

On the first evening we had out Galla Awards party. This is the official party where the partners are given awards for their effort the previous year. The party was held at the the old English governors residence (from before Malaysia became independent). Locals dressed in traditional costumes greeted us at the door.

Click here for more photos

During the dinner there was organised local entertainment in the form of dancing. One of the dances there was the bamboo dance from Sabah which I saw before when I worked on the Ecochallenge.


Click here to see more photos




On the Tuesday we had the official party (which is much less formal and usually more fun). This was held in the cultural centre and the entertainment was as usual sponsored by one of our partners (usually dancing girls).

Click here to see more photos


Click here for more photos

Wednesday and Thursday was followed by more presentations and some training. I did a presentation on the Wednesday on the business track based upon a case study from a project we just finished in Japan.

Click here for more photos


Kim had arrived from Sydney on business on the Wednesday and was staying at a hotel just a couple of kilometers away...so on the Thursday when our conference ended I moved over to her hotel. She was working Friday, so I headed into town to check out what electronic gadgets I could find. I didn't have much luck as prices were the same as here in Sydney, but I did buy a new digital camera for $250. It will come in handy when doing stuff where the SLR is too big to carry and it is also pretty good at taking video.


On the Saturday Kim and I went clothes shopping together. I hate buying clothes and it is much easier when she is there as my fashion consultant. Here is the result of just three hours shopping.

Click here for more photos

Kim managed to buy three pairs of shoes in just 15 minutes...she has got a size 4 foot and hardly any stores in Australian stocks that small a size.

In the evening I managed to book a table in the KL tower. It was excellent, very romantic and very reasonably prices (about $120 australian dollars for the whole evening).

Click here for more photos

Unfortunately we had both earlier that day eaten a sausage bread roll which resulted in a really bad diorrea later that evening. Mine eventually disappeared later that morning, but Kims continued, so she didn't have a very good flight back and was grateful that I was there to assist her checking in her luggage while she spent most of the time on the pot.
Click here to see more photos from Malaysia

15. April 2007 02:16
by Rene Pallesen
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Ethan's birthday 2007

15. April 2007 02:16 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

ethan s birthday


Saturday Ethan (Kims Nephew) had his birthday party. Kims sister asked us if we would like to come and do face painting on the the kids.

For the event I got dressed as a pirate and Kim got dressed as a fairy with wings.




KA, kims sister also helped out with some of the face painting. Here is a photo of KA with Ethan.




And here is Kayla painted as a mouse.

Kayla


For the event they had also hired a jumping castle (can be seen in the background) and for some weird reason the caucasian kids loved the face painting idea where the asian kids didn't want to have their faces painted.


10. April 2007 07:51
by Rene Pallesen
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Great Mackerel Beach - Easter 2007

10. April 2007 07:51 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

great mackerel beach easter 2007


During Easter Kims Family had borrowed a house at Mackarel Beach, so we went up there the whole family, Kim and her three sisters, her brother in law, her dad and two nephews and one niece.

The only access to the beach is by boat from Palm beach one hours drive north of Sydney. There are no roads or shops on the beach. The ferry only leaves once an hour and only between 9am and 6pm. The beach is on the opposite side of Pittwater from Palm Beach and it has got a community of about 50 houses.




Most of the two days we were up there it rained, so we spend the time indoor eating, playing games and sleeping. The TV and VCR was out of order and the place didn't have a DVD player. At least it did have a CD player so we could listen to music.

We cooked dinner on the BBQ and the Kookaburras came to get fed. They were really tame, so you could touch them which is exceptionally rare.

I was on breakfast duty both days, so the first morning I made Bacon and Eggs for everyone and the second day I made pancakes. Sometimes it was a little stressful with that many people in the kitchen while trying to make breakfast, but it went alright! I am coming from a fairly small family,so I am not used to have that many people around.


Easter Monday Kim and I played golf at Mona Vale golf course which is one of my favourite courses to play on.



It is right next to the coast and the course is normally in a great condition. Even though the course is long it is not that difficult.

I was playing pretty average on the first nine holes but improved my game significantly on the second nine and managed to play a number of the holes at par. On one of the holes a Currawong (big black bird) flew down and stole Kims golf ball. I had to chase after the bird for 200 meters until it eventually landed in a tree and then dropped the ball.

1. April 2007 09:22
by Rene Pallesen
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Lake Macquarie

1. April 2007 09:22 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

lake macquarie


This weekend we rented a house at Lake Macquarie in a place called Overnight Reflections at Fishing Point near Newcastle.


The place is an easy 1.5 hours drive north of Sydney assuming that there is light traffic.

It was a fantastic and very relaxing weekend. The house was right at the water, so we could hear the water and see the full moon (almost) reflect in the water at night.

Having breakfast at Lake Macquarie

Saturday afternoon we went playing golf at Toronto Golf and Country club. This was quite an experience. The course itself is nice enough although it needs some maintenance (especially the bumpy greens)...but some of the people playing there should not be allowed onto a golf course.

One of the players stole Kims golf ball and on several occasions started bashing up his own golf bag while shouting Fu...k!!! Fu...k!!! Fu...k!!! Obviously it wasn't a great idea confronting him regarding the ball. We were planning to complain to some of the members of the club...but there was no-one else around and eventually we lost track of the guy (fortunately...because he was quite scary).

In the evening we went to a very expensive restaurant (even by Sydney standards) at Warners Bay...it was ok, but not a place I'd recommend. Kim and I wanted a bit of a special night out to celebrate and this seemed to be the best we could find outside of Newcastle itself. From living in the Newcastle area years ago I know that it is hard to find a decent restaurant up there...most people regard fish'n'chips as a romantic night out!


Anyway...the place we stayed at was very nice although it troubled the owner of the place that we didn't want to have breakfast until after 10.30 in the morning...what IS WRONG with these Sydney people!!! Kim and I enjoyed catching up on some sleep and just relax without having to rush around for set meal times, be a tourist etc.


Especially Sunday troubled her at we didn't want to check out until 2pm because we wanted a snooze. She even sent down her grandchildren to make a bit of noise to wake us up.


Anyway...it was actually quite amusing and Kim and I didn't mind, the woman running the place was actually quite sweet....and $300 for the two nights in a lake front cottage was good value. It is definitely a place I'd go back to.

18. March 2007 10:09
by Rene Pallesen
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Hunter Valley 2007

18. March 2007 10:09 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

hunter valley


This Saturday Kim and I went to Hunter Valley with a couple of her Colleagues from Epicor. They had one of her colleagues visiting from the US office.

I was invited along as Joanne was the driver and kim doesn't drink, so I was the only person who could drink with the visitor (I didn't mind :-) ).

Normally I go for all the red wines, but I decided on this trip to dry some of the white wines, especially try and find a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio...which I eventually did at the Bimbadgen Vineyard.

Kim also bought a couple of really nice desert wines that I'm sure I will be allowed to share.



Hunter Valley

12. March 2007 11:29
by Rene Pallesen
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La Traviata & Golf

12. March 2007 11:29 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

la traviata


Saturday Kim and I want to see La Traviata in Sydney Operahouse.

For Christmas I got a couple of tickets for the opera from Kim. It was an opera I hadn't see before and the stage setup was really good and the performance was excellent. Kim had gotten us really good seats...we had front row seats in the dress circle upstairs.

During the performance they were broadcasting the show to the steps in front of the operahouse as well as to one of the parks in Melbourne. They wanted to show what Opera is like to a wider audience.


Afterwards we had dinner at Circular Quay close to the Opera House.



La Traviata

Sunday we drove down to Catherine Fields to Camden Lakeside Country Club to play a round of golf. Sasha and one of his friends dad visiting from Canada also came along.

It was really hot, so for the first time I was actually glad that we were driving a kart rather than walking the course. The guy from Canada was almost dead by the time we got back to the club house.

I played a really good round (43 points stableford, HCP 13) and Kim played almost at her handicap.

It is obvious that there is a drought on. Most of the lakes were dried out, I was looking for a photo online to post here, but the course is totally unrecognisable because of the missing lakes.

28. February 2007 12:19
by Rene Pallesen
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Back From Hawaii

28. February 2007 12:19 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

back from hawaii


This year Kim met her targets at work. This meant the she got invited to Hawaii (with a partner...me) as part of the Chairmans club.

We got back two weeks ago and had a fantastic trip. The first few days we spent in Honolulu at Waikiki Beach...we got to see all of Oahu, went snorkeling and Kim went shopping. One night we all went to a shooting range in Honolulu.


After this we went to Kauai where we were staying at a big resort. Here we went snorkeling, sailing and played golf.

There was parties every night and we also managed to find a bit of time to ourselves.



Kim and Rene


See the rest of the photos from our trip here: Hawai Photos/Slideshow