Monday, April 19, 2010

Hawaii Happenings

Here I sit in Hawaii missing Telstra. Sarah, I hope you are reading this to know that we think Telstra rocks. You won't hear any grumbling from us.

I haven't found a cafe here where I can use my own netbook - of course, I haven't exactly looked - so I am on an ordinary computer and, hence, I can't post photos. That could be a run-on sentence. Once upon a time, I was an English teacher and I would put red corrections on such a sentence.

Anyhoo ... (and, yes, in a past life, I would correct that slangy expression.) ... anyhoo ...

We aren't exactly having downtime in Hawaii. Since we arrived on Saturday, I have been to the beach three times. Bob and I went to a 700-vendor flea market at Aloha Stadium. Unfortunately 650 of the booths were the same stuff you can buy at the International Market and the other 50 were packing up to go home. I preferred the market in Australia. We went to a luau last night and it was great fun.

Today we went on an 11.5 hour tour of the island which included Pearl Harbor. The tour was a terrific way to see a lot in one day. I took so many photos of the ocean that my "ocean photo collection" now rivals my "Sydney Opera House photo collection."

We leave here tomorrow evening and I am sure we will pack a lot into our last day. We have resisted shopping here since we have a whole suitcase of shopping (including the suitcase) from Australia. Our only purchase so far is macadamia nuts.

I meant to make a few observations about our last days in Australia whilst we were still there, but time got away from me. Let me tell you them now:

(1) There is only one grumpy person in all of Australia. He told me in the harshest terms to "get to the left" when I was walking on the right side of the sidewalk. Everyone else was kind, friendly, and personable.

(2) We were in the CBD of Sydney the last few days and I observed that Sydneysiders love pantyhose, leggings, and boots way more than cold Canadians do. What's that about?

(3) All of Australia is immaculately clean. It's a country full of non-litterers and we appreciated that.

(4) On the other hand, graffiti "artists" seem to be rampant. I'm surprised they haven't used Uluru as a canvas yet; they seem to have used all other areas of the country. Most disappointing too is that a lot of the beautiful trees in their parks are covered in carved names. Yuck!

(5) Oh, and all food in Australia is excellent except for in one dinky stall at one mall.

Aloha, Brenda

Saturday, April 17, 2010

At the Airport

Our flight for Hawaii leaves in about 45 minutes. If memories had to be taken home in luggage, then Bob and I would be paying for overweight baggage! We can't pick a favorite time as there have been so many.
This morning we went to the Paddington Market and Chinatown and then we walked for quite awhile along George Street. We figured we will be sitting enough on the plane.
This last photo is of Bob in Scruffy Murphy's Pub last night before "Wicked." The pub meals are still some of the cheapest around.

We'll see our Canadian friends soon and, as for our Australian friends, thanks for making our trip perfect.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Strange Happening in Sydney .... Clouds!

Today is the first time we have had a cloudy day and it`s also our last full day in Australia. If you want to hear someone complain about the weather, look elsewhere, as we have had the most amazing run of sunshine.

"Wicked" is playing in a theater very near our hotel so Bob went over and picked up tickets. As we see the performance, I will be thinking of how Sela used to sing "Popular" when she was little.

This morning we walked down to Circular Quay ("Key", right, Elizabeth?) to catch the ferry to Manly. Gray skies kept me from getting really good photos. We got to see from the water where we went with the Booths on land.

When we got back from Manly, we split up. I went on the hop-on, hop-off bus while Bob went walking. Eventually I ended up in the Rocks and shopped there; there was a market going on but it was really just foods for lunch. From the Rocks I walked back to our hotel mainly along George Street so that I could do any last shopping.

Below you can see a photo of the Anzac War Memorial and the pig in front of the hospital. It has a shiny nose because people rub it for luck. No one can ever see too many photos of the bridge and Opera House so I've put more here. The last is of the market at the Rocks.

For those of you who have left comments on the blog, I am not ignoring you. I still haven't figured out how to respond to comments. You would think if my dog can figure out how to comment, then I could too!

In Sydney's CBD (Central Business District)

I'm going to do the blog a little differently tonight by commenting on the first two photos and then filling you in on our whole day before showing you lots and lots of photos of what we did today. If you are tired of my ramblings, you'll be able to skip that part. If you are tired of my photos, you can skip them. And if you are tired of both, you can leave this blog and web surf!

The first photo here is to show Rob and Elizabeth "mission accomplished." The Coca-Cola yoyos are in the same photo to show a couple of freebies that Bob got at Luna Park.

Bob saw this fellow at Luna Park and thought it was Colin. I, tragically, had to break it to him that it was just a Colin-look-alike.

We had such a wonderful time with the Booths and we can never adequately thank them for their hospitality. We saw so much extra because of their careful planning and it made our trip so memorable. However, today it was time to say goodbye. Before we left them though, they took us over to their daughter and her husband's home. He makes the most amazing puppets and I had lots of questions about the process.

They had three didgeridoos and a combo was quickly formed. It's not every morning that you are serenaded by such sweet music.

Colin drove us to our hotel in the city. Those of you familiar with the city will be able to figure out how far we walked today. Those of you who aren't familiar with the city will have to believe me when I tell you that we walked miles.

Our hotel is south of Hyde Park. We walked over to the Queen Victoria Building which has great architectural details and some very upscale shops. I have included a photo of some of the interior as well as one of the stained glass windows. I like that photo because it shows not only the window, but people walking by outside the building.

We continued our walk and came to Wynyard Station. It made me realize that Aussies must be more respectful of Mr. Wynyard (whoever the heck he is!) because they have named two places after him while Canada has named only one place after him.

We kept walking (I just know I will be using those three words often in the posting) and got to where we could walk onto the Harbour Bridge and we walked until we got to the pylon where we could climb stairs to the top for the view. It was well worth the climb as we had good views of the Opera House, the harbour, and the bridge itself. Elizabeth will spot bridge walkers and be envious that she isn't one of them.

We walked across the bridge with me stopping numerous times to take photos. I believe I took over fifty photos of the Opera House today from various points. I tried to do a few arty ones from around Luna Park.

We got off the bridge and walked to Luna Park. We were impressed with this little park and took time to ride the ferris wheel. We were asked if we would share our car on the ferris wheel with two little boys, probably about six years old. We said that would be fine, but weren't too sure after one of them got scared. We kept him talking though and, pretty soon, he was braver.

We left Luna Park and took a break from walking by catching a ferry to Darling Harbour. We went to the Sydney Aquarium and enjoyed it very much. My favorite was the coral reef area, but I also enjoyed getting this photo of part of the crocodile. He looked asleep but his eyes were open.

I was thinking we would find some convenient transportation when we left the aquarium, but Bob pointed out that there was no reason we couldn't walk back to the hotel. I wouldn't have agreed but by this time I was ready for supper and hoped to find an interesting place to eat somewhere along the route. We did find a good place to eat and the meal gave me just enough energy (barely!) to get back to the hotel.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Please Don't Make Me Leave This Country

Even chores here are great fun! I have wanted a clothesline for 22 years. Finally a brainwave: if Bob doesn't give me one for Mothers' Day, I will give him one for Fathers' Day. I was very careful to hang our underwear (sub-garments, Rob) out of sight in this photo.

And I got to scoop up a few fall leaves today. How great is it to scoop fall leaves this week and then get ready for spring planting next week.
We visited Colin's school yesterday. It is a K to 6 school with 750 children. I hope the W.C.S. staff isn't envious of these photos especially the last two of the staff room. Katie, the school is just constructing a new library. You would want it! Their assembly hall has big garage doors at one end which can be opened to extend the area into an open-air area which is roofed.

Today Bob and I visited Judy (Edwards) Fitzmaurice who was Weyburn Rotary's first exchange student in 1976. At one point in Elizabeth's stay here she lived only a couple of kilometers away from Judy, although they were never in touch. Judy had her two Weyburn yearbooks out so that she and Bob could reminisce.

The wonderful Booths got me to another quilt store, this time to one where there was no cat and no smoking proprietor. I admired a quilt and asked about the pattern. It isn't available yet, but the creator of it was in the back conducting a class. How lucky was that!

We were at a beautiful greenhouse and gardens today. The greenhouse specializes in roses and had beautiful rose gardens. Oops, I had the picture here but it just disappeared into cyberspace. James, HELP!
Tomorrow we head to the Central Business District of Sydney for our last days before we head to Hawaii on Saturday. I don't care how great Hawaii will be, it won't be as great as this wonderful land filled with friendly people.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oz Corrupts Bob!!!!!

The title needed that many exclamation points even though good students of English know that you use only one end mark. When something so earth-shattering - those same students know to avoid cliches, but I digress -so earth-shattering as Bob being corrupted in not one but TWO ways! Mr. Colin Booth shown above is obviously a bad influence as you can see him blatantly defying the sign.

So first of all, Bob has taken to gambling to get Aussie wine. Elizabeth, think "Two Up."

Then, worse yet, he stripped naked - maybe not totally naked. He left his hat on! Weyburnites, do not expect the same Bob King back as the one that left.

Bob did put his clothes back on long enough to be photographed at a lighthouse at Watson Bay.

Earlier in the day we went to a quilt shop that was behind a house. This cute sign at the front of the yard makes it look appealing. Why wouldn't we continue in?

The back yard was a little scarier.

... and then I took this photo inside the shop after kindly asking the proprietor if I could. Notice the cat. When I asked the woman, she said I could but then moved so she wouldn't be in the way. That was a shame as I wanted her in the picture so you could see the cigarette in her mouth and the ashtray in front of her.

Nonetheless her shop was filled with a lot of bolts and I found some great fat quarters.
I took about 50 photos of water and beach today as we were at Bondi and Watson's Bay. Each scene was better than the previous. We remember having to step over people on our last visit to Bondi because it was so crowded. This time of year it isn't.
We went to the Carlingford Rotary Club meeting tonight. Elizabeth will be happy that we took many photos of all her Rotary friends. They all send kind regards and I can tell her more when I see her. They told us that at her very first meeting with them, the microphone failed but she told them that they needn't worry as she could project!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Umina, Avoca, and Quilts (Okay, Royal Fair too)

First of all, I want you to believe that the above photo is of Bob and Colin. You can decide which is Bob and which is Colin. This is at Umina and the weather was beautiful there this morning as we walked along the beach. There weren't many people in the water, but there were a few surfers. Apparently some people didn't feel that it was as warm as all that for the woman below had to have her fur-hooded vest. She looked ridiculous.

The lifeguards were just getting ready to start their day so they chatted with this old lifeguard circa 1959. This was at Umina too.

Then Lyn and Colin took us over to Lyn's sister's at McMaster's Beach for a coffee break. Simon, I hope you are reading this so that you know we had a lamington there. Another Australian dream fulfilled! From there we went to Avoca Beach and enjoyed sun and surf. I truly don't like getting near the edge of anything so here I am fearing that I may go over the side.

And in this picture you can see that Bob mercilessly chucked me over the side.

In this picture Lyn and I are with Bill made from found objects. I love his legs.
When we got back to Baulkham Hills, Lyn and I headed off to her quilt group while Bob and Colin headed off to the Royal Agricultural Show. Lyn's group made some blocks for the Weyburn Guild's ugly block challenge. What a fun group of women they are and they were welcoming and warm and they had fantastic show and tell.

They each brought some Australian goodies for lunch including a delicious pavlova. I found out you can buy the pavlova at the grocery store and then add your toppings. This one has kiwi, strawberry and passionfruit. If you have followed this entry closely, you will have figured out that I had both a lamington and pavlova today. Lyn and I chatted about what would be Canadian desserts. Any ideas?

Do any of you know if Canada has an invention like the one pictured below? It has instant, boiling water in it so you don't have to boil a kettle.

While we were having fun there, Bob and Colin were having lots of fun at the fair if we can judge by how hyper they were when they returned. Bob swears they need to go back for another evening. Since the fair is at Homebush, Bob had to go and rub Colin's pole! Because Colin was a volunteer at the Sydney Olympics, his name is immortalized. I pointed out that Robert King is a fairly common name, so maybe he could have rubbed his own pole.

The men were most impressed with a produce display competition where the scenes were created by produce. I like the comment above this scene.

Bob says the fair rides were huge.
Good night, all. More adventures await us tomorrow.