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Right-side up again!

Well, I'm back in the Northern Hemisphere, a couple hundred km south of the southwest corner of Japan, 38000' over the Pacific, 9 hours into my 10.5 hour flight from Sydney to Seoul... an hour layover after that, then 2 hours later and I'm in Tokyo! I'll be there for 5 days, mostly in the Tokyo area I think, but as always I haven't really made my plans yet past getting there and having booked a hotel for the first couple nights.

My last week and a half in Australia was fun... I headed up to Cairns last Tuesday, a couple days after my Blue Mountain expedition. Did a 3 day/2 night liveaboard dive cruise on a boat which was great. Got my Advanced Open Water certification while I was out there (means I'm certified to go down to 30m now.) It was amusing when we did the 30m dive and tested each other for signs of nitrogen narcosis; one of our group had numbers disappearing off the slate we were supposed to be hitting them in order on--she was definitely narced! Then this red bass came along and stole a tomato right out of our instructor's hand! (He'd brought it down so we could see how purple it looked at 30m; colors disappear in spectral order the deeper you go.) But yeah, doing a few days on a liveaboard is totally the way to go. You get in a ton more diving since they haul you up at 6am, and I made some new friends along the way since we had ~30 people stuck together on a boat.

Oh yeah, if you're not familiar, Cairns is right near the Great Barrier Reef...so I got to spend 3 days diving on the reef. :) Saw tons of cool reef life and such; all kinds of amazing fish and coral up there. Diving in the 24-25C water was a welcome change from Sydney too! I'm now up to 25 dives and exactly 15:00 total underwater time. (Got in a couple fun night dives too, my first ones.) Stayed in Cairns for a couple more days after that and did some sightseeing and such. After I got back from Cairns, I remembered I wanted to climb the Sydney Harbo(u)r Bridge and had forgotten about it...oops. Fortunately, I managed to sneak it in yesterday on my last free day in Sydney! That was a lot of fun too (other than it being kind of a ripoff at AUD169.) Takes about 2 hours for the actual climb (more like leisurely stroll) up and down the bridge, with plenty of time for sightseeing along the way. I went on the first night climb, so the sun had just dipped under the horizon as our group set out up the bridge; so we got in some sunlight before it got dark on the way up.

That about sums up the end of my wonderful trip to Australia; spent a bit over 1.5 months there, and I can't wait to go back sometime! Left Sydney at 8am this morning (as one might guess I just stayed up, so I'm gonna be pretty dead when I get to Tokyo... napped a bit on this flight but I've mostly just been wasting time online and watching movies so that I don't end up staying up all night again. Doesn't help that Narita (Tokyo's International airport) is about an hour on the express train from Tokyo proper, assuming I make it in time to catch the last express train!) So 5 days in Tokyo, a week to split between Malaysia and Singapore, a week and a half in India (that'll be mostly business; I need to get back to more of that), then it's off to Europe for two months! Yay. I'm well on my way around the globe. Back with more boring monologue after I experience Japanese culture the other way around!