Welcoming 2016 at Sydney Harbour

Thursday 31 December 2015 to Saturday 2 January 2016

It has been a long time since my last entry but with a new laptop, a refreshing break and time to sort my photos, what better way to get back into it than a New Years party. Not just any party, but one that I have wanted to be a part of for years. Sydney is one of the first city’s on the planet to welcome in a new year and unlike the equally big spectacles of Times Square, London or Paris…Australia has great weather this time of year.


I finished my last work rotation for 2015 and went the long way back to Perth via Los Angeles. After having a couple of bad trips going via Amsterdam I was too damaged to risk flying this way again. Even though it is about the same amount of time and money going via LA, it is 7 flights versus 3 to go via Amsterdam. So yeah, I was pretty damaged to choose LA over Amsterdam. Following a great family Christmas, my friend Melissa and I jetted off to Sydney landing early morning on New Years Eve. I have been to Sydney a few times and love this city. No problems finding a place to hang out in the CBD while we waited for our Airbnb to get ready and super easy to get public transport around. We booked a place in the inner west suburb of Rozelle where my friends were also staying. My cousin was also in town staying at a hotel in the Rocks. So I was set for an epic couple of days.

And it sure was. The photos tell the story and this is just a quick entry to get me back in the game. But in a nutshell we struck it lucky with success on a last minute waiting list for an expensive ($350 pp) beach-style party down by the Opera House looking directly at the bridge. Perfect location to be amongst it. Free canapes, but would’ve liked some free drinks to go with it. Either way the champagne was flowing and the music cranked. All traffic was shut down in the CBD so I think this is the only time I will walk down the main streets of Sydney…on the actual road. The fireworks were spectacular as expected and the atmosphere vibrant. I am so glad to have experienced it and if I ever had the chance again, I want to be on one of those million dollar yachts away from the crowds and in the perfect vantage point to see the opera house and bridge in one view.


Waking up New Years Day 2016 feeling good was unexpected, but very welcome. Lunch at the Rocks with my cousin and friends, then a big walk across circular quay, through the botanical gardens, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, and then right around the peninsula back towards the CBD. Then a red bull back at the house and out for dinner at Darling Harbour. Definitely the most energetic and full NYD I have had.

On 2 January, I took a ferry to Manly beach. Not the best beach day, and full of tourists, so I didn’t swim. I cannot really understand the attraction here. Bondi has a good vibe and is nicer. But I still rate Perth beaches the best.

Websites and Tips to Make this Trip

  1. The New Years Party was at the Opera Bar. Highly recommend. Books out fast so likely to be on the waiting list and helps to have a sob story about travelling from a little known South American country just for this! http://operabar.com.au/nye
  2. An alternative where my friends watched the fireworks display, is Balmain East at the end of Darling Street. Free. No hassles. Great views of the bridge.

2 Rotations and a Christmas

Wednesday 19 November 2014 to Friday 23 January 2015

Work and life has got in the way of me updating this website as often as I would like, but sitting on planes for hours on end gives lots of time to type the words and sort the photos so here’s a snapshot of the last couple months…

Named Myself Employee of the Month This Rotation

Arriving back in Paramaribo from Curacao on 19 November 2014 (with a cheeky stop over in Trinidad to collect more passengers that I was unaware of) I checked in and headed straight to a bar to meet up with people. I’ve embraced the social side much more than when I would come in and out of Accra, Ghana. Various reasons but above all is that Paramaribo is a city I feel much more comfortable in compared to the unpredictability and challenges of getting around Accra.

Overall, I’d give this rotation a 10 out of 10. I arrived back to site and met up with my friend Ryan who I worked with in Ghana. Surreal to see him here. And then Madison came in. Another person I worked with in Ghana and have stayed in contact with the most. A truly awesome person and makes me happy. I like to think I make her happy too, although she would never admit that. A realisation this rotation was that I don’t laugh enough anymore. The last years have been serious and humour in everyday life was harder to find. But I’m pleased to say it’s back. I have laughed so much at this job that tears roll and that’s a rarity these years. Especially at work. I enjoy the team and the balance.

Memorable highlights:

  • Setting up the hydroseeder to revegetate cleared areas with grasses and getting covered in green mulch
  • Getting positive reviews for my work associated with the CEO visit. Always a boost to get a genuine pat on the back.
  • Having significant wins on the recruitment front as I assemble my team that will represent my leadership in the next few years. One of whom is someone I’ve worked with at Boddington and excited to work with again.
  • Man, I’ve never had boots do that to me.
  • Huge ones. Still not seen a sloth though.
  • End of year company function / Christmas party. Interesting experience.

Perth Christmas 

Coming home for Christmas on 18 December 2014 was important to me. Spending time with family after working in Ghana last Christmas was a perfect way to catch everyone in one sitting. Plus after a couple rotations, I had a long list of things I wanted to bring back to Suriname.

It was all good, got my appointments done, socialised, enjoyed the summer weather, saw in the new year with the Bri where we plotted out our resolutions and reflected on our 2014’s over some champagne just like old days.

Montreal, Lost Luggage and Hectic Work Days

Departing Perth 4 January 2015 I arrived in Montreal where it was -20C compared to the Perth max of 44.4C. What a variance! I was in Montreal for a work meeting for 5 days. The journey there was first time in all my travels that my suitcase didn’t make it. It didn’t make the short connection in Jakarta. Getting it delivered to me should’ve been an easy task but for intensely frustrating reasons that I am so sick of talking about, it didn’t and everyday I was given the impression that the bag would be delivered so I didn’t buy more clothes or a jacket. Particularly upsetting cause I had a lot of stuff in that case that I was purposely bringing back to Suriname. To think u would never see it again was depressing. $4k worth of stuff. But the monetary value is of limited concern. I just want my things! The bag is now supposed to be at the Denver airport waiting for me. I type this on the flights to Denver. I have minimal hope but haven’t given up just yet.

This and other personal things came together to make my 3rd rotation less enjoyable than the high of the last one. I haven’t been this busy at work in many years and many tasks in my personal life have taken a back seat. I’m one who pride’s keeping on top of everything so when I’m not, it annoys me and gets me down. Given the time in Montreal and working extra time last rotation meant my site time was shorter. I crammed 3 weeks of work into less than 2. January is always busy with budget updates, systems, planning the year ahead etc. With my high standards, there was a lot I wanted to achieve.

I ticked most of my tasks and still managed to have some fun times. Got to know people better and there’s always new people starting which I like that dynamic nature of construction. And I was finally able to transfer money out of my USA bank account to Australia, got my last year’s tax return for review, watched a brilliant movie ‘Gone Girl’, got 3 extra staff signed up to join my team next month. Looking forward to that. So that’s all helping to get back on track with my “be more positive” NYE resolution.

The best thing about flying a long distance out on break is you have solid time to decompress and unwind from work. I’m excited to see where my friend Matt lives in Denver, go skiing, explore that city I’ve heard so much about over the years since it is headquarters of the company I’ve worked with for 10 years. Stay tuned for that update…it’ll be quicker this time.