Visiting The Whitsundays

I’ve been away in the tropics. We stayed in Airlie beach then did a bit of Island hopping around the Whitsundays.

AirlieWhitehaven

Wow, was it hot up there. It was strange actually because the temperature has been hotter here in Newcastle but the sun up there seems to have a real bite. I could feel my skin ageing years by the second so spent a lot of time lurking about in the shade.

When we flew out it was starting to rain here and we later discovered that it had turned into a little cyclone with torrential rain. My daughter sent me a text at 3am that night saying – It’s really windy here, I’ve never been in weather like this before. And I thought – well ok, nice to let me know that in the middle of the night but I wasn’t too worried as she is a bit of a drama queen. Then she sent me another one about an hour later saying – The side fence just blew down into the lane-way, I went out to have a look but I feared for my life so left it. So then I thought, I’d better have a look at the news back home.

It was crazy. So much flooding and damage has occurred in a large area of the region. People have died, washed away in their houses, some in cars or car accidents, towns were isolated and main highways closed due to flooding. So many trees and electricity poles down on houses and cars I can’t believe more people weren’t injured. People here are still without power almost ten days later which must be very inconvenient.

We didn’t have any damage to our house. We bought it just after the last big floods they had here so when we were looking at places you could easily see which ones had suffered water damage so we avoided them.

So I was sitting up there in paradise sipping on cocktails complaining about the heat and it all seemed like another world away. When we arrived home we flew back into another storm which was a bit hairy. It was night-time as well and I don’t like flying at night at the best of times. My husband asked me at one point if all the jolting was the wheels hitting the runway but it was just us buffeting about in the air. I always wonder why people drink on one hour plane flights, like why they can’t just sit there for an hour without alcohol but maybe turbulence is the reason.

Anyway we arrived home and I was sorry I’d complained about the heat because it was freezing here and the first thing we did was drag out the gas heater. I always think I’m going to like winter much more than I actually do.

Day 5: five places you want to visit

Five places out of the whole big wide world.

Honestly, I’d be happy to just see more of Australia. Going to Perth is just about going to another country for me with it being a five-hour flight. There are so many beautiful, amazing places to see here that you could take a whole lifetime and still never see them all.

Trouble with travelling within Australia of course is that it’s prohibitively expensive which is why everyone from here goes to Bali or Thailand. Why have a weekend at The Whitsundays when you can have ten days in Asia for the same price – and what’s not to love about Asia – gorgeous beaches, delicious food, friendly locals and cheap shopping if you want it. Dodgy toilets in lots of places mind you but just work on your thigh muscles and you’ll be squating like a pro in no time.

I am a terrible traveller – after about ten hours on a plane I can understand why people go crazy and start trying to open doors and wrestle cabin crew. Last year we went on an excursion to the State Library on the train and I was like a cranky five-year old – are we nearly there yet, are we there yet, are there any snacks, is there a toilet, are we there yet??????????????????? See I thought we’d be on something like The Orient Express and I’d be able to wile away my three hours in a drinks carriage.

So five places hmmmm

1. Australia – lots of it. I can get a camper van and take Chicken Little with me – maybe my husband.

2. Vietnam – wanted to go there for a while now. I’d really like to go on a tour with Luke Nguyen and actually the tour people we went to Hong Kong with are talking to him at the moment about meeting up with the tour they’re doing later in the year to Vietnam – interesting. As long as he doesn’t want me to eat deep-fried bat or festy old raw eggs straight from the shell.

3. Hawaii – 50th birthday maybe??

4. Guernsey – because that’s where my dad was born and I’d like to see it. Not even thinking about that plane flight – 26 hours here or there. That is a helluva time on a plane or two.

5.Like to see Tahiti but of course that costs an arm and a leg. Mind you if Mum manages to get me on that boat trip from hell it goes via Tahaiti so I can knock two off the list at the one time.

Lots of places I’d like to visit but it won’t really bother me if I don’t see any of them. See I’m a home girl, I love being at home – I love being with my dog, I love being in my bed or my backyard, I love meeting my friends at the Pub things like that keep me happy. Thats why I like my holidays to be no longer than a week – after that time I’m over it and want to be at home.

Oh – I want to change 5 to China please. I was only there for a day but wow – what an interesting looking place – so much history there.

Hong Kong – the departure

WordPress is being stubborn this morning, or maybe it’s my computer. I’m too tired to worry much about it though – Hong Kong is only a three hour time difference to Australia but it sure makes a difference. I think it’s because our flight back was overnight and I can’t sleep on planes so I lost that time as well. I’m pretty sure that my time limit when flying is about ten hours so I probably won’t get to England, Europe or America but I’ll get to see a lot of Asia. I don’t have a fear of flying it’s just the extreme boredom that does me in. After about 8 hours I can start to understand why people snap and go crazy and try to open doors and stuff and it’s such an unatural thing to do – fly. Whenever I get up to go to the toilet I look around and think – how weird is this – I’m 10km in the air in a metal capsule with 300 other people and we’re sitting around watching movies and eating packaged food.

So we set off last weekend in a very old dodgy bus and we stopped for a break half way to Sydney and had sandwiches and champagne to start off the trip.

There was also a fruit seller who can’t spell and an ambulance waiting bay there.

We had a couple of hours to spare at the airport so had a drink then a roam about. I don’t know why they make all the kangaroo statues in Australia so damn freaky. This guy reminded me that I have to go back and take some photos of my shopping mall christmas kangaroo at night.

I don’t know that I’d call the meals gourmet but they weren’t bad. I’d put in an order for a vegetarian meal but they gave me vegan which didn’t matter but I could have done with some butter on my dry rolls. On the way over I had a spinach gnocchi and on the way back I had a zucchini pasta which was really pretty nice.

First time flying with Virgin and they weren’t bad, trip back was better than the one over, service wise. But OMG – how hot is it here! It was hot in Hong Kong – even though it is Autumn there we were still sweating like mad due to the humid days but stepping off the place here was nasty, Hello summer!

back on track

I’m up!! And I’m even going to leave the house today for the first time in eleven days – I hope I can remember how to drive. I’m going to the library to get a few things and then I’ll have to go to the supermarket which sucks and I’m thinking about going to the outdoor furniture shop to buy a sun lounge because yesterday Chicken Little and I sat in the sun for about an hour and decided that even though it was lovely that it would have been much nicer if we’d been able to lie down.

I have this really annoying cough that won’t go away though – a mad tickle in my throat that is impossible to ignore. But it’s a useless cough that doesn’t do anything except relieve the tickle for about five seconds. I try to ignore the tickle but it’s impossible because every time I breathe and air gets in there it aggravates it so I have to take these little shallow breaths like a dolphin. They’re shallow breathers you know.

I was thinking this morning that I’d like to go somewhere warm soon for a holiday – I might head to Cairns like everyone else seems to be doing, or Darwin, or Hamilton Island. I was thinking that I’d like to go to Hawaii for christmas but then I remembered you crazy americans have that no drinking until 21 law so that means Lizzie would have to stay home alone every night while we all went out raging. So that will have to wait until next year when she’s 21. Maybe Tahiti would be nice; nice and expensive I think but not too far away. I’m a terrible traveller, I get bored really easily. It’s like when you try and sunbake and you think you’ve been out there baking for about two hours at least and you’ve only been out there for about twenty minutes. That’s what it was like when I caught the train to Sydney last year, it just seemed to go on forever and there wasn’t even a dining car. I thought it was going to be something like the Orient Express and I’d be off to the dining car for snacks and drinks but no such luck, best offer I had was from the woman sitting next to me who offered me an apple which wasn’t quite the same.

Thats the trouble with living in Australia, we’re so bloody far from everywhere. Thats why everyone just lurks about Bail and Thailand although even Thailand is still a 14 hour flight. Trouble with Australia is that you have to fly for five hours before you even leave Australia and now they have those maps on the back of the seats with the little plane flying so you can watch every excruciatingly slow hour pass.

Oh and I just wanted to mention something about that new come and see Australia advertisement that I’ve seen on television. I have never, in my entire life, ever had a kanagaroo hop up to me on the beach for a pat on the head so don’t think thats going to happen if you come here. And in fact if you do see a kangaroo hopping up to you in the wild I’d run away and climb a tree because it’s probably about to rip your stomach open with it’s sharp claws.

Just saying.

A travelling man

Amongst other things my grandfather was a photographer, a golfer, a farmer and of course a traveller. Until I started sorting out his holiday snaps I never realised the enormity of the trips he took with my grandmother.

First of all you have to take into consideration that they lived in a very small NSW country town; the population was approximately 2500 people. Picture red flat land, scorching hot dry summers, sheep and wheat and you get the idea. Then you also have to take into consideration that their first world trip was in 1957, which wasn’t really that long after the second world war ended. And of course there was no air travel then, it was all by cruise liner and boat. I asked Mum where they went in 1965 besides America and she said – ‘Well it wasn’t Russia because they were on a boat in cold waters in that area the year Emjay was born but they would have gone through the Panama Canal and I wonder when they went to Spain, they rented a house there for a week or two.’

The more I think about their travels the more gobsmacked I am by them. I’ve been sorting photos into Countries they visited and this is what I have so far:

Belgium – Denmark – Egypt – England – France – Germany – Gibraltor – Greece – Guernsey – Hong Kong – Singapore – India – Ireland – Italy – Netherlands – Norway – Scotland – South Africa – Spain – Sweden – Finland – New Zealand – USA – Mexico – Canada – Austria – Suva – Hawaii – Russia – Poland – Trinidad.

Not bad. My Papa was not a small man but he was a real gentle giant and when I look through the photos I can really see his sense of fun and adventure shining through; he really immersed himself in every experience that he could.

That’s him on the left with the tie on and thats my Nan with the glasses.

I’m so proud of my Nan and Papa, they inspire me, they really were adventurers.

a travelling man

My twenty year old son Lloyd has gone travelling again.

He came to me last year and said

I’m going overseas again next year. I’m tossing up between Mexico and South Africa.

Why’s that I said, couldn’t you think of anywhere in the world more dangerous.

So it’s off to South Africa. He’d be just about leaving Sydney now. When he went to Europe and the US he went alone but this time he’s going with a friend. A friend who has yet to go overseas without spending time in hospital. They will spend two weeks doing volunteer work in one of the conservation parks over there then they have two weeks just………………

That part all seems very disorganised to me. It seems to just involve going with the flow.

He has his great grandfathers travel bug. That’s Papa on the left, already has his camera out.

Those were the days, when people dressed to travel.

And to see them off.

Bon voyage to Lloyd. I’m throwing streamers in my mind to wish him a fantastic trip. Stay out of the path of any cranky hippo’s. I know we seem to have all the deadliest creatures here in Australia but at least most of them are small. If you see them in time you can smash them with a shoe or a shovel.

He’ll be 21 when he gets home.

Twas the night before christmas

and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except Chicken Little who said

No More Paparazzi Please

Anyway I need to get busy. I’ve been away for three days and now I have to get ready for christmas lunch tomorrow with my funny group of sixteen. We have my family of five, my friend Bubbles and her family, My other friend Cath, her two kids, her father and our friend Neil who is Cath’s recently ex husband. Then there is our other good friend Shane who is also our brother in law and who is also recently separated  from Daz’s sister.

We have an enormous leg of ham in the fridge to put on the bbq. It’s wrapped in a garbage bag in the fridge and every time I open the door I think Dexter’s been in the house. But I think I’ll start with the potato salad.

So I want to wish all my Vox and WordPress and Blognow and WhitePage blogger buddies, and my family and friends who read this a very merry merry christmas and happy new year. As Jeff Fenech would say – I love youse all.

A song to match your mood. 30 days of blogging day 8.

Well this is awkward. Because when I first saw this question I knew exactly what I was going to play. It was going to be T-Shirt Weather, by The Lucksmiths.

Hey Mike, you busy?
All this sunshine’s making me dizzy.

and so on

Because I always feel like singing that song when spring arrives. I love spring, I love t-shirt weather.

However for the past three days we’ve had this awful cold snap. Gale force winds, snow on Mt Sugarloaf, freezing conditions. I’ve had to pull out my long socks and my River’s coat. Definitely not t-shirt weather anymore.

So I’ll give you some Angus and Julia Stone instead. I’m not a mad fan. I like them but I don’t go mental over them or anything. Although he is pretty cute in a hairy unwashed way. But anyway I’ve been hearing this song a lot in the mornings when I’m on the treadmill. And when I’m running my mind just wanders. And when I hear this song it always wanders away to the idea of me leaving the drudge of the day to day and flying off on a big jet plane to The Cook Islands for about ten days. Because that’s what I’m saving up for at the moment. That’s the plan for next year.