Visiting Taipei, Australia and Thailand

The winters in Vegas and Prescott are a bit too cold for us so we always try to make it to the southern hemisphere to warm up a bit. This annual pilgrimage usually takes us to Thailand and/or Australia, and in 2006 we also added Taiwan to our itinerary. It's a long flight from LA to Taipei but flying a Singapore Airlines SpaceBed does help:

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It so happened that the Super Bowl took place on the morning we arrived in Taipei so we grabbed some Starbucks and headed to a pub right next to the tallest building in the world:

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The Taipei 101 is an amazing building and it features the fastest elevator in the world:

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From Taipei we flew to Bangkok and then to Sydney. We did all the famous sites during our previous visit so this time we spent more time just walking around and visiting friends. The following shows the view from Gordon Bell's little pad near the opera house:

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Next we flew up to Brisbane; it's a pretty cool city with a beach on the river right in the center:

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From Brisbane we drove up to the Sunshine Coast (north of Brisbane) and dove the HMAS Brisbane wreck.

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The heart of the Gold Coast (a town called Surfers Paradise) feels a bit like Waikiki in Hawaii, with lots of tall resort / condo buildings, bars, and the like:
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From Sydney we flew to Bangkok and then to Phuket. The diving company's van picked us up at the airport and after 5 hours on the road we boarded the live-aboard dive boat:

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Life on a live-aboard is quite relaxed, and there is always time to share the food with the wildlife:
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Leaving the big boat for another dive:

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Between dives we had time to visit one of the Similan islands; we climbed the Sail Rock, walked around the beach and swam in the warm waters:
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The food on the boat was really nice, and some of the combinations were quite amusing: here we have Tom Kha Gai (coconut soup), Panang curry and spaghetti:

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At the end of our diving trip the boat took us straight back to Phuket, where we spent the last night before starting the 30+ hour journey home the next day:

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