Saturday, January 28, 2006
The bluest sky I have ever seen.
Just call us beach bums. We have spent the last two days at the beach enjoying the magnificent unspoiled beaches of Byron Bay. We have been running, eating, swimming, eating some more, playing in sand, playing in the ocean and eating for the last two days.
Here are our gracious host Janet and Simon.
Their youngest daughter Susie.
And their oldest daughter Jessica.
Gemma building a sandcastle.
Today we walked up to a light house and to the the most easterly point in Australia.
Then we started our walk down to the beach.
The sea was amazing!
Susie paddling in the water.
Big sister Jessica paddling too!
Mom Janet was helping the kids.
Gemma was loving to pose in her bikini.
Luckily we were at a nude beach.
Angus also enjoyed his paddling.
Tomorrow we are heading off, but not sure where yet. We have been having a lovely time and have really enjoyed the weather. After 10 years in Arizona and then 4 months in Chengdu it is so nice to have the sun and blue skies. I definitely won't take it for granted again.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
A view from Janet and Simon's backyard into the rainforest.
A view from Janet and Simon's backyard into the rainforest, part 2.
We arrived in Byron Bay around 8 p.m. last night. The Williams met us in a small little village called Federal and we followed them to their house. They live in a very hidden area that backs to the most beautiful rainforest. Pictures can't even describe the view they have. It is more than picturesque, it is breath taking.
It was great seeing everyone again since we have always managed to miss them when we are in the U.K. It was great seeing their girls Jessica, 8 and Susie 5. They are beautiful little girls and Gemma was so thrilled to have cousins to play with on her trip to Australia.
Today was Australia Day, so instead of trying to beat the crowds we just chilled out at the house and had our own little party. We swam, ate, swam some more and ate some more. The kids were exhausted at the end of the day. Gemma has been quite the nudist since we arrived and her and Susie decided to go on the swing in the middle of a down pour.
Susie and Gemma played all afternoon. I am sure Gemma will sleep like a rock tonight.
Simon and I cooked dinner for everyone. We had lovely fish, chips and veggie kabobs.
Tomorrow morning Jonny will try his hand at surfing with Simon. We are also going to try and explore Byron Bay and hit the beach. More pictures of this beautiful part of the country tomorrow!
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
After our run we took a long walk to a trendy shopping area that ended up being not so trendy. We had lunch at a little Indian restaurant, which was delicious and started our trek back to the South Bank.
We decided that the walk and heat were too much for us, so we hopped on one of the city ferries that take you across the river. I would imagine it would be so cool to live in a city with such great public transport where you could choose between bus and ferry. The kids loved the boat ride and we loved getting out of the heat.
We went back to the hotel room and got changed to go swimming. We headed over to the Parklands for a dip. It was the perfect time of day because the sun was just going down and it wasn’t very crowded. Gemma managed to make some new friends while we were there. Gemma’s new friend Gabby invited her to her birthday party in May, so I guess we will be back in May. (I wish!!!) Australians are the nicest people and would talk to anyone. Talk about feeling welcome in a foreign land.
Today we are preparing to leave for Byron Bay, which is located in the northern part of New South Wales. We are going to stay with Jonny’s cousin Janet, her husband Simon, and two girls Jessica and Susie, who immigrated to Australia from England a couple years ago. We are really looking forward to our visit. The last time we saw them was when Jessica was Angus’ age when they visited us in Arizona. What we have read and heard about Byron Bay it is a hippy skippy town with lots of new age types. Should be right up our alley!
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Angus and Gemma enjoying the koalas.
We started off our tour by checking out the native birds of Australia. We saw lots of lorikeets, parrots, kookaburras, and beautiful, white cockatoos. We head to the other side of the sanctuary to check out the newly added sheep herding demonstration.
Jonny, the sheep herder, Kelpies and sheep.
Both dogs were extremely intelligent and could make the sheep do anything. The funny part of the demonstration was that I didn't realized that the dogs actually hop on top of the sheep to get them to move. Here is a photo of one of the kelpies just laying on the sheep.
After the herding demonstration we headed over to have lunch. During lunch we were visited by a few different animals.
A very healthy lizard.
There was a lizard who looked like he was ready to explode from all the food he had eaten and several brush turkeys who kept trying to fight the lizard for Angus food droppings.
After lunch we had to have our family picture with the koala. The picture taken turned out fairly well and I had the pleasure of holding the bear. They are extremely soft, but they donÂt like to be handled very much so it was a quick cuddle. I guess it might have something to do with them being nocturnal.
We wanted to learn more about thkangaroosos and wallabies, so we went to a discussion on the marsupials of the sanctuary.
We were able to hand out with the wallabies and kangaroos. They were all so gentle and eager for us to feed or scratch them behind the ears. We also noticed that there were quite a few kangaroos in season. I could actually post quite a few x-rated pictures of kangaroos, but I decided to keep it clean.
We had a great day and head back into town. I was lucky enough to get a much needed pedicure while Jonny took the kids people watching. Tomorrow we donÂt have too much planned. We are going to run the river, take the kids swimming, head to a trendy shopping area and hopefully more fabulous food!
Monday, January 23, 2006
Today we slept in quite a bit longer than I thought we would. I woke up and worked on the blog and let everyone sleep until 10 am. China does not observe daylight savings time because it caused too much confusion, (imagine that in a country of 1.5 billion!), so Brisbane is only 2 hours ahead of us. After Jonny and the kids woke up we headed over to the South Bank and had breakfast and then went for a nice run along the Brisbane River. It was so nice to run outside, especially along the clean, well kept river. Unfortunately the only two times I ran in Chengdu I was hit by moped and almost coughed up a lung from the pollution.
Here we are walking around the South Bank area.We took the kids over the South Bank parklands for swim in the man-made beaches. The city has done a great job of drawing people to the area. There are several swimming pool/beaches that are interconnected with a view of the Brisbane River. There are also tons of restaurant, cafes, and bars in area.
Angus loved the water!
Gemma in her new bikini.
They loved splashing around together.
I think Angus is a natural water baby!
Family after a day of swimming. Angus was exhausted!!!
Jonny with some Australian Synchronized Swimming babes on our way back from swimming.
So far we are enjoying the food choices we have here. We are lucky enough to have a hotel room with a kitchen. I did a little grocery shopping for us, so we didn’t have to eat out for every meal. It is so difficult with too kids to go out for dinner and I refuse to go out for fast food for the sake of convenience. This morning for breakfast I had Eggs Florentine with delicious hollandaise sauce. I have not found spinach in China and so this was a perfect breakfast for me to have. For lunch we went to this Turkish Kebab shop which is similar to the Gyros shops in the U.S. I had a Donar (lamb) kebab and Jonny had a falafel kebab. Talk about tasty! We are so lucky we are walking every where here because we would definitely gain major amounts of weight. I also had some incredible Pineapple Passion fruit sorbet from a shop called New Zealand Natural. If you have never had the pleasure to have passion fruit, it is one of the most amazing flavors I have ever tasted. I have never been able to find passion fruit in the U.S., so if anyone knows where I can find it please let me know! Can you tell I love food just a little???
Enjoying the food in Brisbane. We both had fish and it was so yummy!
We are headed to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to take in the native animals. We have been there before and you can pet the wallabies, kangaroos, and koalas. It should be a great day!
Gemma with a beautiful flower in her hair. They have these huge trees covered with these white flowers. Not sure what they are, but I will find out.
Brisbane River at night.