Brighton, England

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When I asked someone which city would be good on a day trip, I was told to go to Brighton.

It’s convenient to get to (around an hour from London by train, around £10 only), and the Royal Pavilion was simply marvellous.

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The Brighton Pier wasn’t all that. And the sea wasn’t pretty. Quite dark and dim. Horribly windy, too.

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I love Indian stuff. Hopefully I will get to India someday.

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The gay capital of Europe indeed. Though it’s still nothing as radical or liberal as the Catholic Latin America is. The club wasn’t that good, although it was reasonably spacious considering the size of the city.

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It was far from the city centre and disappointing because there was no-one there (too cold). 😦

Stratford-upon-Avon, England

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The biggest-selling writer of all-time’s hometown is very popular but only really just because of Shakespeare, who didn’t even develop his career there.

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It’s by no means a horrid town to be in, and if anything it’s a good, possibly typical, small English town. 

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It’s a pretty river too. And this boy was so adorable.

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This was Shakespeare’s home or something.

Manchester, England

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I was rather fond of Manchester, actually.

We got there the day before pride – not a good thing, as everything was empty – and my friend from Manchester happened to not be around so once I went out alone. In many ways, my Mancunian experience was quite familiar. I liked it for its historical buildings and I went clubbing on my own, just like I did in Melbourne.

Initially, I found someone on the app who agreed to go with me, who just broke the promise after getting what I suspected to be what’s wanted all along…So I got into several clubs without a company.

There were two cute encounters – I was on the dancefloor, or in reality, leaning against the wall going on Facebook whilst looking at a dancefloor (mostly empty). Some people approached me saying their friend wanted my number, and all I could say, repeatedly, was simply I was only there for the night so there’s no point. Could’ve said something more but oh well.

Then while I was walking on a street some people came near me and started playing with my braces/suspenders (I don’t know why I didn’t run away), and were extremely apologetic when one of the ends got released (no actual harm done).

Newcastle, England

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We were on a road trip after my summer studies at Cambridge, and Newcastle was really just a passing point for us. Not particularly interesting although still pretty.

I met a friend of mine there and he took me to a pre-drinks with some of his other friends. It was an…eventful evening. I’m going to spare you with the details but it started with “never have I ever” and ended with our friend knocking on the door asking “are you guys done yet”. And yes, it ended with that cuz I was too tired to actually go clubbing afterwards.

Even though I went back much earlier than expected, mummy wasn’t amused as she caught me drunk still with a bottle in my hand. It’s not like I was trashing restaurants or anything.

York, England, UK

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York Minster – a building some of my pupils thought was built 150 years ago.

The city of York, in the proud county of  Yorkshire, England is a very famous historical city. The title “The Duke of York” (currently holder His Royal Highness The Prince Andrew, HRH The Prince of Wales’s brother) is traditionally one bestowed to the second son of the monarch (at the moment Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II), which in itself was what the American New York City and subsequently the state of New York were named after. 

The shire is additionally one of only two in England with an archbishop, the other of course being the head of the Anglican world-wide communion, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Archbishop of Canterbury, It was apparently crucial in Christianizing England, presumably in the latter years of the Danish/German Anglo-Saxons, when the Jesus-representing fish started popping up on their stuff.

Somehow, and I’m uncertain whether that’s a serious movement, there’s also a small independence movement. There usually are mock Olympics tables with Yorkshire claiming a good spot, although honestly who cares? You can’t fill your stomach with gold medals so I’m not sure why they aren’t talking more about things like the economy or export.

Anyway, it’s a nice town. It’s quite small. Good for a day trip.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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The historical, tidy city of Melbourne is by far my favourite Aussie city.

Once again, it’s possible that I was simply easily impressed back then, but I really liked its historical buildings. And the fact that it’s so incredibly to navigate. A extraordinarily well-planned metropolis.

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That’s in spite of the little hiccup: I went out clubbing and unfortunately my friend there couldn’t be with me as he was doing his exams, so I just went alone. 

I was, like I am now, rather awkward in clubs and didn’t exactly do anything other than looking at people from afar. Some older guy was hitting me up, even telling me his hotel room number. I didn’t say no, I was undecided. But I guess I didn’t respond much to his advances so he gave up in the end.

Then I had to wait a while before going back to my room as there was a fire alarm in the middle of the night. At least I wasn’t sleeping.

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The park was basically British. Big empty spaces unlike those in the Pearl of the East.

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I think I was on a monument or something. Honestly don’t remember.

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There’s a free tram going around the historic centre, another reason why I loved it.

Sydney, Australia

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I have been to Sydney before this, and found it uneventful. Honestly was planning to pop over to New Zealand but then the airfares were simply too cheap to neglect. (Also couldn’t be bothered to get another SIM card and currency just for a few days in NZ.)

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My first visit to Australia was actually overshadowed by the 2006 tsunami as it hit many of our favourite destinations in Thailand and so perhaps it was for the best I went a second time.

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I even explored some new places like the hippie town. I’m not a hippie tho. It’s just very colourful with lots of Buddhas and stuff.

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In addition, I went to the observatory and it was educational.

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Walked all the way to the university too. Architecturally pretty.

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And the Blue Mountain. It was nice. Australia was the reason why I wasn’t impressed by the nature sites in Mexico. I’ve seen them all.

I had a bit of a scare here tho – I deviated from the main route just because, and I got lost in the woods (there were no signs or anything). I lost reception too,  and somehow the one split second I got accessing the internet I couldn’t load maps (not that it would really have helped anyway, looking back), but a Facebook message from my mother getting upset as I wasn’t responding to her messages.

As I clearly had more pressing issues at hands, I continued ignoring her and in fact that was the main reason why I’m still not reading all of her messages.

Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

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I was a bit of a hipster, and so I didn’t go to the state capital, but a smaller town. Didn’t regret it.

Also, even though it wasn’t a major tourist attraction, I met a friend of mine from Hong Kong on the street. Totally unexpected.

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Launceston is a Tasmanian town in the northern part of the island, and it’s quite peaceful.

Weirdly, I had plenty of sex there. I guess in a town with perhaps 20 gay people in total, it’s not unexpected that a youngster like me was sought after. There was an older guy who gave me a massage with a happy ending, a straight guy who wanted to experiment, and a bartender who would normally be completely out of my league. Oh, and a random Japanese guy.

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The Gorge is the main site to visit in the city. It’s gorgeous and within walking distance so it’s great.

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They’ve likewise got a jolly good museum where you can touch real dinosaur bones. Really cool and interesting.

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Against my parents’ wishes, I also went alone to Cradle Mountain despite it being merely a week after my concussion. The lake, as you can see, was of an intriguing colour; the mountain, pictured above, was of a cradle-like shape.

Happy boy.

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And of course there were some European buildings as well. My hostel looked quite nice too.

Byron Bay, Australia

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Byron Bay is what you may called oriental Australia – it’s the easternmost point of the Australian mainland (it has got some dependencies, including one called Christmas Island, further east).

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A lovely lighthouse. Generally-speaking, it’s a good getaway although there may not be much to do.

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Supposedly, one may be able to spot a whale or two from here. I didn’t. Still worth going though, especially since someone drove me there.