The End … for now

Sydney Opera House - still there when we returned

Sydney Opera House – still there when we returned

We’ve come almost full circle; we’re back in Sydney because A:  we loved it and B: our flight back to LA leaves from the Sydney airport.  We make our way to ‘the best hotel in the whole world’ again, where Samm welcomes us back like an old friend.  Which we hope he’ll become.  Continue Reading →

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Elaine’s Ephemera

 

Captain Cook welcomes you to this weird post

Captain Cook welcomes you to this weird post

As the trip draws to a close, I thought I’d share a few ‘homeless’ items that haven’t earned their own blog posts.  Sadly, this will give you a bit too much insight into how my mind works and what my interests are, so proceed at your own risk. Continue Reading →

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Driving the East Coast (of Australia)

There's no way I could have gotten this close to a bakery case - they were always too crowded

This is the only bakery that wasn’t virtually full of people

This post is for people (and me) who have some mild interest in what the Australian landscape looks and feels like.  We took two days to drive from Melbourne to Sydney, so, admittedly, you aren’t getting an overview of Australia’s topography.  Just a slice of the natural and cultural ‘pie’, as you’ll see. Continue Reading →

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Canberra

 

Parliament house SundayThe capital of Australia is Canberra, a new and gleaming city that was chosen because of endless bickering between Sydney and Melbourne about ‘who was the prettiest’.  In 1927, Parliament said, ‘enough of this!’ and plopped themselves down in the middle of … not too much.  (Seems to me that Sydney won; the capital is only 3 hours away by car.  If you had an issue and were mad enough to complain to the PM, you could still be seething by the time you got there.  However, Melbourne is 7 hours away, so you’d have to pack a lunch (or stop at one of the many delectable bakeries that can be found in every small town along the route) and all of your oomph would be gone by the time you arrived.  Advantage:  Sydney.) Continue Reading →

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Penguin Parade

I realize this is a terrible photo, but there's a reason for it.  Please read on...

I realize this is a terrible photo, but there’s a reason for it. Please read on…

Our last expedition in Victoria, after Melbourne, was to head out to Phillip Island (‘nothing between us and Antarctica”) for the Penguin Parade:  the nightly migration of fairy penguins (they’re small.  What were you thinking?) from the sea up to their little cement bunkers and burrows in the surrounding hills. I hope you’ll pardon the pictures for this post; they are ripped from the internet (except for the obvious dreck, above) because photography is prohibited.  After all, we don’t want to scare the little guys.  Who’ve just been in the sea with LOTS of things that eat tiny penguins.  And are now waddling up hills full of foxes that can devour 40 penguins in a single night.  But photos?   Too scary! Continue Reading →

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A Melbourne Market

Queen Vic market signOne thing I love doing when we travel is checking out the local markets, whether supermarket, farmer’s market, stock market (okay, I went too far) or corner store.  Melbourne has a market that I wish I could teleport back home; it was visually stunning and made me envious of people that could shop there every day.  It’s not earth-shatteringly different from many European markets, but it’s the only one we saw in Australia and I wanted to share it with you. Continue Reading →

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Melbourne

South Bank Yarra River TITLE

Trying to take photos for this posting was an exercise in frustration (and forgetfulness). Read on for an explanation…

We spied Darth Vader sitting hunched over a tiny cup of coffee at a café in Melbourne, trying to look inconspicuous. He’d apparently been successful until eagle-eyed Roger said: “Look! There’s James Earl Jones!” This sighting would have been much more surprising had I not seen Mr. Jones, along with Angela Lansbury, in “Driving Miss Daisy” the afternoon before. We shook hands and chatted for a few moments; he was quite gracious. At his age, he looked a bit more Jabba-the-Hutt-ish than Darth, but, oh, that voice! I didn’t ask for a photo, (yes, I forgot!) but I do wish I had asked him to record my voicemail message. (“Thank you for calling. I am your father.”). In lieu of a ‘real’ photo, this will have to do. (I gave the play five stars.)Driving Miss Daisy 1

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Cairns and North Queensland

Cairns from our hotel room

If South Beach and Tijuana hooked up and had a little city, it would be Cairns.  It’s tropical, it’s wet and it’s got a hefty portion of tacky. A primary hub for boat trips out to the Great Barrier Reef, this holiday destination is filled to the brim with backpacking Aussie and European kids, all looking for seasonal work. The streets are also teeming with Asian tourists.  The city helpfully provides these signs in all the bathrooms to help with the cultural differences:

 Bathroom warning sign

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The ‘Not So Great’ Barrier Reef

Barrier reef in distance
It wasn’t the reef’s fault. It can’t control the endless attention it receives: photos from space, travelogues, reef lore, films like “Open Water”. And it really is completely at the mercy of the weather. And lens filters.

And if one is just talking about size, then, sure, the reef is great. It’s bigger than Great Britain! My experience with the reef – and, granted, we were only together 8 hours – was SO not great. Continue Reading →

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Shopping (and fun) in Sydney

Shopping and fun are one and the same for us, but we did manage to branch out a bit while in Sydney.  Strangely, I’ll start with something we didn’t do, but that really looked like fun (unless you’re Roger and have a great fear of heights):  The Harbor Bridge Climb.  You can, voluntarily, agree to don a nondescript grey jumpsuit (to keep from distracting drivers on the bridge), tether yourself to the bridge and your fellow climbers and then climb across catwalks and up the arch of this Sydney landmark.  Keep in mind that your walking surface is not solid and, at many times, is more  like a ladder.  Since I had a desire to keep Roger alive and sane til his May 1st birthday, we agreed not to attempt this.

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