Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Quick Word on Visas

Visas are a lot like car insurance. Lots of money, lots of hassle, very low perceived value. Ok they get you in the country of your choice and all that, but still, come on, nobody really likes insurance or Visas (apologies to the Visa and insurance sales forces).

Allow me to explain. We are visiting 12 different countries (counting the EU as one for this exercise). 7 of these countries require a Visa (Australia, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Turkey, Egypt, and the EU).  Only one of these countries allow you to get a Visa 90 days in advance (Australia) and the rest its only 60 days! That means I'll need to be applying for Visas while on the road, which seems just crazy town to me. Besides the fact that each Visa appears to cost around $100 or more, which adds up after a while. Thank you thank you thank you to Thailand, Israel, Morocco for not requiring this process, much appreciated.

If anyone has had experiences with this and can offer some advice, that would be much appreciated.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Researching Sydney

Sarah has been rehearsing like crazy this summer for Hair - the musical, which opens tonight on Granville Island. I'm very excited to go see the show, which promises to be amazing, and to cheer on my favorite hippie. But as she's been rehearsing/dancing/singing/hugging trees, I've realized the big trip is very quickly approaching. Time to plan. First port of call - Australia.

We land in Sydney first, and will probably pop in on my step-sister Shannon, the itinerant world traveler who always seems to pop up in the most fascinating places. I've been checking out things to do in Sydney and it seems be a lot like Vancouver - bustling city on the water with a strong outdoor orientation and a serious mix of populations and cultures. I'm excited to check out the exhibits on Aboriginal artwork, the Chinese Garden in Darling Harbor, and a little Bondi Beach.

I did check out and found some really nice, centrally located rooms for rent in people's homes (40-70/night), which is even cheaper than the extensive hostel network around Australia. I'm sure we'll get our fill of hostel culture over the trip so perhaps we'll stick with cheaper Airbnb alternatives (or just sleep in Shannon's hammock!)

We'll only have a couple of days in Sydney, so probably no time to do exploring around the region, but once we get down to Melbourne and hook up with Tanja, Joel, and Otto, there will be plenty of time to venture further off the beaten path. If you have thoughts on good hotspots in Sydney, we'd love to hear from you!