On April 26th I flew to DFW to LAX to Auckland to begin another adventure. I stayed with my friend Alan Watson (recently honored by Academy of Magical Arts and the Queen). From there I moved onto Christchurch and saw a changed city after the earthquake hit since my last visit in 2010. The city is recovering slowly and the gang was very enthusiastic about me being there. Then I went onto Wellington which fast became my favorite stop in New Zealand. The airport itself is like a museum with a bigger than life size Gollum, Gandolph (see the pic above), and a sleeping but breathing Dragon. My host Nopera Whitley and his girlfriend showed me around the city where we played mini golf and took in the Te Papa museum. The Gallipoli exhibit (created by Weta Workshop) was mind-blowing. It was probably the best exhibit I’ve ever seen. See one image below. Lastly we visited the Weta Workshop where things are made for some of the biggest movies today like Lord of the Rings, Godzilla, Spiderman, District 9, King Kong, the new Mad Max, etc.
After NZ I flew onto Brisbane and stayed with my friends Cyrus and Silloo at their palatial estate. They took me to the Gold Coast and showed me their place in the sky there and took me to the top of the highest building. It’s a place I’m eager to return to. From there I went onto Sydney and stayed with my good friend Sean Taylor and his family. The next day my friend Wayne Black took me to see the sites on Bondi Beach and we met our friend Ian Pidgeon for lunch. After that I went to Melbourne and was greeted by Graham Etherington who helped me settle a hotel issue. I spent a couple of extra days there and really got to know Melbourne. One day I toured the zoo with a friend named Lee and loved seeing all of the animals.
I made my way onto Adelaide and Perth and had a good time there. Then the real adventure began when I flew to Singapore. It was my first time to set foot in Asia! Singapore was amazing. See the pic above. It was such a nice city and most people speak English there. It’s very expensive to live there but a wonderful place to visit. The gang was very warm and receptive. The Asian culture is very kind to guests and accommodating. I hope to return there one day.
After a couple of days in Singapore I flew onto Bangkok, Thailand. I was given bad info by the airline so my host waited for me at the wrong airport. After that minor hiccup I checked into my hotel and was shown the city by car, foot, and tuk-tuk (see the pic). Imagine riding around through congested traffic at 70mph in this open vehicle that sounds like it’s powered by a lawnmower engine.
It was 107 degrees Fahrenheit but we took in a beautiful temple. There were pictures of the King and his daughter (the princess) everywhere. They are much loved there. I lectured for a young crowd at The Academy of Magic there run by the amazing Mamada. What he is doing for the youth of Bangkok is truly altruistic. I was their first close-up magic lecture and they were a gracious audience.
After Thailand I went onto Hong Kong. The hotel was nice and I made fast friends with Albert Tam. He went all out to show me this wonderful city. We traveled by foot, cab, ferry, subways and a tram. The gang was a lot of fun and the city was incredible. Plus I did my best to eat local dishes where I went each time. Albert was very kind to take me to some men’s suit shops where I picked some material and had 3 custom outfits made; see the pics.
I then flew to Manila in The Philippines. They treated me like a rockstar there! To introduce me they played their national anthem and said a prayer, played my national anthem and upon walking out they played Hail to the Chief! The group took about a million pictures that night like I was Johnny Depp. Plus they showered me with gifts. The artist I met there James Paul was super cool and designed the poster attached below. My hosts Chubster and George took me out for a night on the town!
The next day me and a couple of the guys walked a traditional mall there. While shopping I found a shirt I liked and paid for it with a credit card. The annoyed sales clerk insisted that I sign it like the back of my credit card so I signed it “See Photo I.D.” We also took in the new Mad Max movie in 3D. Manila is a place I must return to.
Barely catching my breath I made my to Surabaya, Indonesia. That is not an easy place to get in and out of. My host Suchayo put me up and a very nice resort. He, his wife and I had a very nice dinner at another resort like place that evening. Suchayo manufacturers a lot of magic made world-wide so we brainstormed a little on future projects. I hope we will work together in the future.
After that I flew onto Sydney for a day to see my friend Sean Taylor who helped to arrange much of this trip. He’s a great magician and a wonderful friend. Then I flew back to Dallas on Monday (Memorial Day) and had four more shows that week. The trip was exhausting but amazing. 15 gigs over 29 days and 19 flights. I have memories enough to last a lifetime.