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First of all, I want to thank Angus Logan for inviting me to speak at the APAC SharePoint Conference in Sydney, Australia this week. This was my first trip to Australia and I didn't know much of what to expect. Thankfully some friends, old and new, were gracious hosts pointing out things to do and places to see. Thanks to Mick Badran, Niki Page, Ivan Wilson, Sezai Komur, Kathy Hughes (one of my fellow co-authors who I finally got to meet in person at the conference) and so many others who took us out to dinner and pointed out great places to see and things to do while in Sydney. Thanks to all of you... you helped make this one heck of a trip.

Today was the last day we had in Australia... and it was fantastic. After breakfast, Meredith and I headed out for a bit of shopping since the weather was poor. We then caught a ferry to Watsons Bay and walked down the coast. We got some fantastic pictures of the cliffs looking out over the Pacific, which also provided some breathtaking views back towards the city:

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From Watsons Bay, we caught a bus down to Bondi Beach and took a coastal walk called "The Cliff Walk" along the cliffs to Tamarama Bay and Coogie Bay & Beach where we watched the sun go down.

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We then jumped back on the bus to Circular Quay which is which seemed like the main ferry stop, nestled between the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge (you just can't see them enough). After taking some night-time video and pictures (finally got two decent shots of each at night), we headed back up to the hotel.

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It's been a long week... but a fantastic one. Sydney is a beautiful place... one I hope to come back to. What struck me about Australia (granted, this was only a week-long Sydney-only experience) was how nice the people were. Everyone seemed so friendly. I never got used to people driving on the left-hand side of the road (then again, it's probably reversed as everyone else in the world looks at us Americans saying "why can't you drive on the correct side of the road, and use the metric system too?"), and it seemed dining out was much more expensive than it is back home in the States. Another thing... Aussies have their own unique lingo. It's almost like a different language, but its still English... it can just be challenging to understand what is said at times (at least it takes a few extra seconds to parse what is said). Here's my stab at the local lingo explaining part of our day today (to my Aussie readers [Angus, Mick, Kathy, Sezai...], how did I do?):

This morning, Meredith and I headed down to the Hilton's Executive Suite to get some brekky. Next we headed out for some shopping, but the weather was dodgy so we left our sunnies behind. No worries, the weather started to clear up. After dropping off some stuff at the room, we headed to the ferries (with our sunnies thankfully as the weather really cleared up) to head out to the coast for the arvo. Upon landing, we got some lunch and split an order of bugs which were very good. I couldn't leave Sydney without trying what I was told was one of the best local beers so I had a schooner of Toowey's New (which was very good)... a much better size then the middy I had yesterday at lunch with my mates.

That was fun typing that :). I uploaded a bunch of pictures from today to Flickr... my last set from this trip... feel free to browse: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewconnell/sets/72157600187940763/

I really hope I have a chance to come back to Australia again in the next few years, or in my life for that matter. Meredith and I only concentrated on Sydney for this trip. I'd really like to head out into the country and see more of the non-urban aspects. Can't to everything in one trip! You Aussies have a beautiful country and city.

Tomorrow morning Meredith and I head to the airport to start our journey home. It starts with a 10:30a departure from Sydney on a 19hr flight arriving Saturday at 9a (yes, the same day) in Los Angeles. We then get to wait around all day until 11p when our red-eye to Atlanta leaves. Factor in a 1hr layover in Atlanta plus the 1hr flight to Jacksonville, and we're looking at a whopping 39hrs of travel time to get from Sydney to Jacksonville. Oh yeah, I'll start packing in the morning :)

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