Our Trip to Australia
Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
9Trip End Jun 30, 2008
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Happy Valentine's Day was almost not so happy.
While in Shanghai, I very efficiently booked two tickets to Australia for Travis and me. I thought I was efficient-got them from Qantas and at a pretty good price. Travis then booked tickets from Shanghai to HongKong and we left on Feb. 13 to go to HongKong. As we left, I really felt badly leaving Melissa because she was just getting the flu that I'd had and had to go back to work!
We got to HongKong about 6 that evening and went to the transfer area to see if we could just have them move our luggage over-a very nice young lady named Yammie at the Qantas desk assured us that they could and then asked where our visas were! OMG! I hadn't even checked into visas-we thought we knew Americans didn't need visas for Australia-in reality everyone does but the process is SO easy, we could've saved ourselves lots of anxiety by inquiring earlier
We spent the night in the HK airport which wasn't too bad-it was heated after all. And had beer and other amenities. And couches to sleep on. The next morning, we got on the plane ( no one stopped us and said-go home!) and off we went! We weren't really secure til we finished going through customs where they did question us a bit about the whole thing but they let us in, suspicious though we seemed. Then we met Lizzie and Shelly who were waving an bag with an eclectus on it to identify themselves as fellow eclectus worshipers (I am-not Travis necessarily though since he got to stay in a lovely resort for free because of my ekkie friends, he's probably pretty friendly towards eclectus). YAY again! We were really in Australia and it was really nice and warm and summery!
We stayed the first night in Sydney at Lizzie's really nice house from the 1920s-her son, Andrew, lives there and is great fun. We sat up almost all night talking. The next morning, we left for Narooma. We stopped at some lovely places along the way to see the coast. The neatest was when we drove down a dirt road to Pebbly Beach (the Australians like simple, descriptive names sometimes). It was lovely-when we got out of the car, there were parrots all around-King Parrots, some Crimson Rosellas, some lorikeets
We spent the rest of the week in Narooma. Lizzie wanted to be sure that we had time to relax and recover from the long trip home-especially since I'd just been in China a little over 2 weeks when I had to fly home and back. It was great-we had no schedule and didn't race all around trying to see all of Australia in a few days. We concentrated on the area around Narooma and that was plenty! It is just spectacular around there and there are many small, charming towns to see as well as wonderful scenery. The Australians were unfailingly polite and friendly plus they are have REALLY good beer. I was taken with Carlton Draught and had several bottles of it while there. Bob, Lizzie's partner, is a very good host who made sure there was plenty around. Victoria Bitters is also very good. It was a wonderful time. Every evening, we sat on the balcony of Lizzie and Bob's place, drank some beer, talked , fed hamburger meat to the wild birds and enjoyed watching the sulphur crested cockatoos wheel around the sky screaming at the sundown
When we got to Narooma, it was late afternoon and the rainbow lorikeets were all over the backyard-we put food out and there were more! There was one young one very interested in actually getting close and he would jump on my hand to see if I had something better than the others were getting. The lories were so beautiful and bright-of course I wanted one. I wanted one of all the parrots I saw except the cockatoos who were really loud!
The next day, Lizzie, Shelly and I visited Mogo which is a very neat tourist town near Narooma. Really neat little town with old small buildings made into shops with a neat selection of things. I got lots of stuff in Mogo! Mogo is set in some lovely countryside too. And it had a fabulous scrapbooking store! I found some stuff for Australia and I can't wait to use the paper that Shelly gave me to do the pages on. All I have to do is get some pictures printed up. Shelly has a wonderful collection of card making supplies and we planned to do lots more than look through it but Shelly got sick so our crafts time was sadly curtailed. Travis was also sick the first two days there but luckily rallied so that he could enjoy the barbeque boat!
On Sunday, Feb. 17, Bob and Lizzie took Travis and I out on the bbq boat-we missed having Shelly and Jonathan along too. Darn flu! But it was a wonderful trip. We went all around the inlet by Narooma which is lovely clean water and wonderful trees right up the the edges. There are lots of oyster farms there too. We drank some beer, Lizzie barbequed some fabulous ribs, sausage and steaks and we pigged out! It was lovely day.
Monday, Shelly, Jonathan, Tirsa and Jonah had to go back home. After they left, we decided to take Travis to Mogo and Tilba-we skipped Tilba Tilba altogether. He found neat stuff for folks there too. We also had some delicious fish and chips-fresh caught fish battered and fried very crisp and then lovely fries. We almost caused a sea gull riot when we started giving some bits to some young gulls that were following their frustrated mothers around trying to get fed and peeping a lot. I know the mothers were thinking, "you are weaned! Go find your own food!" but the babies did not agree
Tuesday and Wednesday, we spent sightseeing and to several beaches around Narooma. We also had some delicious fish and chips-fresh caught fish battered and fried very crisp and then lovely fries. We almost caused a sea gull riot when we started giving some bits to some young gulls that were following their frustrated mothers around trying to get fed and peeping a lot. I know the mothers were thinking, "you are weaned! Go find your own food!" but the babies did not agree. We pitched a couple of pieces of potato to them and it was like the move The Birds! Gulls came from everywhere and got closer and closer. When we were done, we broke up the leftover chips and flung them in all directions and the gulls had NO idea where to go. We also stopped and saw the beach at Bermagui which was, as are all the beaches, lovely. There is a place at Bermagui called the Blue Pool where they have built a pool that traps sea water so people can swim without getting dashed on the rocks. This area has fabulous vistas and lots of wonderful views of the sea crashing on rocks. Travis, in particular, loved this and took loads of pictures.
We also went to the Narooma Bar where Australia Rock is-this is a rock with a hole in it that is shaped like Australia-there is speculation that there has been some human help to make it more Australia-looking but it is cool. Everyone has to have their pictures taken in front of it and it's best if you can get Montague Island in the background-Montague Island was visible from every place we went, I believe. I think it is in almost all the beach pictures that show the horizon
On Thursday, Bob and Lizzie, Jaid and Jasmine, took us to the airport for us to fly back to HongKong. I was really sad to leave and see them drive off. What a wonderful time with wonderful people! We flew back to Hongkong and from there took a bus back to Guangzhou. Next morning, we came back to Zengcheng to begin teaching on Monday! More on that later.