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I get 30 days a year… let me make this clear… it’s not a lot more than most other professionals… and when you put it in line with Teachers, it’s practically nothing… I usually carry five days over each year, which means, I use my 30 days.

Now, I’m not one for a fortnight off… I tend to do two or three days at a time, which means I have lots of short holidays. The advent of the Virtual Private Network has also meant that effective use of holidays has become a whole new ball game. Why would I want to take time off to travel to NI, when I can travel over, work from either my brother’s or my parents’ house?? I still get to spend time with the family & friends, but I save a days vacation.

Anyways, I’ve now booked up all my holiday allocation for the rest of the year, to the point where I’m carrying five days over into 2010.

Next week, I’m taking Wednesday off to watch the 7th One Day International between India & Australia. The series is currently 3-2 in favour of Australia with the penultimate game taking place this weekend. An Indian win would perfectly set up the game in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday!! Fingers crossed.

At the end of the month, I’m taking two days off to have a long weekend in Sri Lanka. SL has has had it’s fair share of troubles over the past few decades, but the end of the ‘war’ there earlier this year, has effectively opened it up more to tourism IMHO. Yes, tourists always have gone, and yes, it’s usually quite safe in the south, but the end of the fighting has certainly made me more keen to see it. SL is known as the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’ so it’ll be interesting to see it. I’ve not really got a plan yet, but hoping to see Colombo, some nice beaches, and a cricket ground or two.

And then in December, I’ve booked my biggest holiday for the year, taking nine days vacation, which will see me off work from the 11th December to the 28th December (You’ve got to remember there’s a couple of weekends in there and of course the Christmas & Boxing Day bank holidays.

The plan, in essence is quite simple. I fly out of Mumbai on the 11th, and take a short flight to Dubai, where I’m staying until the 15th morning. I’ve booked into the Hyatt Regency Dubai on my Hyatt Points, so staying there will effectively be free!! I’m quite intrigued by the Middle East, and plan to go back next year, but Dubai is bit of an anomaly… that said, it’s got a Desert Safari, an Indoor Ski Slope, the tallest building in the world (or so I’m told), some beaches and some amazing architecture. I’m sure four days will fly by.

On the 15th, I fly to Johannesburg in South Africa. Again, I’ve used Hyatt points to book myself into the Hyatt Grand in Jo’burg – again, effectively staying for free!! I’m staying there until the 19th, and my purpose is to watch the First Test between South Africa & England in Centurion Park. I’ve heard Jo’burg doesn’t have much to offer tourists, and frankly, it’s got a shocking safety record… so I’m planning to keep my head down, get to the Cricket, get back & stay behind security in the hotel.

On the 19th, however, the plan is to up sticks out of Jo’burg & head for Kruger Park to do some Safari. Now, this is the bit of the plan which isn’t sorted yet… I need to source a park with good accommodation, and organised jeep trips into the savannah to see the animals. I’ve been told that being in the parks at the crack of dawn is a necessity to catch the animals at their watering holes, and also that a night safari is quite good fun.

Once I’ve had some animal spotting done, it’s then time to again take a flight, this time from Jo’burg to London, landing on the morning of the 23rd, where I’m not going to do a great pile… I’ll probably head into town & have some Christmas Lunch with some friends from work. And then, on the morning of the 24th, I’m flying from London to Belfast where I’m in the car & back to Clabby for the Christmas holidays with family & friends.

I’m looking forward to sitting up in Clabby, with a log fire on the go, when it’s a wintery dark & cold outside… and I’m looking forward to catching up with the lads, seeing ‘the Joiner’s’ first kid, and generally seeing about the old place again for a wee while.

And it’ll all come to an end on the 3rd January, as I fly back to London & catch a connecting flight back to Mumbai… to be in work on the 4th January 2010. I’ll be a year older by then too… though still the right side of 30 (by a distance before anyone gets cheeky). And then… who knows…

I’ll have to start planning holidays for next year soon!!


About Mcfaggen

Having grown up in Co. Fermanagh where most of my family still reside, I thought it would be worthwhile to keep a blog of my travels around the rest of the UK, Europe and the World.


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