Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I will never forget a conversation I had with my dear friend, Hody near the end of our first year of travel...
Hody: Where the heck are you going to want to go on vacation after all this travel?
Me: Weeelllll, I definitely want to go to camping in Botswana and have a meerkat climb up my body and sit on my head!
Hody: What, in the hell, has happened to you?
Now, I will preface this with the fact that camping is my dear friend Hody’s idea of hell on earth. But, as I thought back to the conversation I realized that camping in the desert of Botswana to have a wild animal crawl up my body wasn’t exactly at the top of my list before we starting traveling.
The thing is, it is now. It is actually #7 on my life list.
I’ve been toying with putting my life list on here because I think it’s kind of personal but hey, we’re friends, right?
I think a life list or bucket list or whatever you want to call them is a great idea. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE crossing things off a list AND in all seriousness, I think it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget all those little (or big) things we really want to do in this lifetime.
I started working on this list 5 or 6 months ago and will hopefully continue to cross off and add more as life goes on. I’m blessed that so many of the things I would have originally put on the list (Taj Mahal, Petra, Manchu Picchu, etc.) I had already been given the opportunity to do/see.
The Wife even started working on hers, but since she actually has a job and then has to travel like a maniac every weekend, she’s understandably not quite finished. I’ll post hers when she’s done. You can find it up there under the "Life Lists" page.
What’s on your life list?
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I was perusing our blog stats the other day and noticed some traffic coming from another blogger’s site. Being the nosy person that I am, I went and discovered a very nice mention of our two blogs that inspired someone else to start their own. I couldn’t find any way to comment or contact so if you’re reading…
Thanks, Eating in Neverland. You, in turn, have inspired me to be better about updating our food blog because I truly believe you can learn so much about a people and dig so much deeper into their culture by what they eat.
Monday, March 28, 2011
We're bound for our first repeat destination...
I found out last night that Malaysia was being handled by regional people leaving SA as our second choice for the round. We always leave a country saying what we would do if we came back, so we've already got quite a few weekends in mind. I hope they all work out!
I'm also thrilled that another spouse will be there with me again! Although I'm always happy to have company, it means that much more in Joberg because there is little to do in the city that is safe.
If you're new to the blog you can read about our last time there in 2009 here and here or you could just look at my wrap up of our time there here.
Main goal for our return- finally see the dang leopard!!
Ooh and buy this really cool wooden bowl serving thing that I didn't have room for in my luggage last time.
I’m always anxious to know where we’ll be heading next. I can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t want to know where they’re about live for the next 2 months, but for some reason I’m overly anxious to find out this time. Word is out that the schedule is done and on its way, which means it won’t come out for another week or 3 weeks or who knows when.
Will it be Kenya? Are we headed back to South Africa? Are we finally going to pay our dues in the north of Brazil? Could I really be getting to go to Malaysia-truly-Asia?* Are we being sent back to Atlanta? Okay, I don’t really think that’s an option this round, but they’ve “surprised” us before.
Just. Tell. Me.
*Long story, but that will forever be its full name to me. If you watch CNN International you know what I’m talking about. I bet you can even sing it.
Our weekend in Sydney was good, although not exactly what we planned considering it was plagued by gloomy weather.
Seriously? I thought rugby was a pretty tough sport, but hey, they did beat the eels and I can’t say much for their mascot either…
I enjoyed the game, not as much as American football, but it was much more enjoyable than soccer for me.
We had planned a beach day for Saturday, but it was raining on and off so we decided to catch the ferry over to the zoo. Although we did get up close and personal, we didn’t actually get to pet the koalas…
When the one on the right decided to slide down on top of the one on the left and the one of the left proceeded to bite the living heck out of the one on the right’s butt I was actually happy we weren’t allowed to touch them. Apparently, koalas get very cranky when they’re trying to sleep and they sleep like 20 hours a day. You do the math.
They were ridiculously cute though…
I did get to see the duckbill platypus, but no photos to show for it. They’re extremely shy little creatures and although he/she did quite a show for us swimming the exact same route over and over and over, the lighting was horrible and it was doing said route at a pretty high speed. I’m obviously not that talented of a photographer. It was much smaller than I expected, like as long as a loaf of bread and very cute.
Taronga Zoo is pretty big and it took us 4 hours to make our way through it. I felt like most of their habitats were way too small for the animals though and it made me a little depressed. It was definitely a world away from the wildlife habitat we visited in Cairns.
Sadly, my oyster feast was not to be this weekend. Storms kept rolling through on Sunday and we decided not to take the ferry out to the beaches or go to the fish market.
We don’t get many lazy Sundays together these days, so it was nice just hanging out together not doing much. I mean who wouldn’t want to hang out with my Wife? She’s pretty freaking awesome…
Pics from the zoo…
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Hence, why I only have a photo of the rail itself.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
We’ve decided to stay put this weekend and enjoy Sydney. Our jet lag is finally starting to wane so we can finally stay up until a decent hour. We’re still waking up at 5am or so, but I’m hope that is about to end soon.
Tonight we’re headed to our first rugby game. I kept calling it a “match” but was informed by a nice Aussie guy that they don’t speak the Queen’s English around here and they call them “games’.
We’re seeing the Rabbitohs vs. the Eels. I’m pulling for the Eels and shockingly enough (pun totally intended) it isn’t because of their team colors. I have this thing about Russell Crowe, specifically, that I can’t stand him. The aforementioned nice Aussie guy told me that he’s a big owner of the Rabbitohs.
So, easy enough…GO EELS!
We’re planning to go to the zoo, the fish market and maybe to one of the nearby beaches if the weather is nice. I’ve got the Weather Channel app on my phone, but it always seems to be wrong about the weather here. It said it would only be 72 and cloudy (20 degrees for my international readers) today and it’s 81 (25 Celsius) and gorgeous. It said it would be in the low 70’s (20’s)all next week so I thought their fall weather was upon us, but all I see are shorts and flip flops all around me. Who knows. Hopefully the weather will hold out and we can get to a beach at some point.
We had planned to stay the last weekend of the audit as well, but now we’re toying with trying to go somewhere. As usual, we’ve run out of weekends for all there is that we want to do. Tough burden to have, isn’t it? Guess we need to cram in as much as we can this weekend.
My main goals for the weekend are to pet one of these…
see one of these…
and eat lots of these…
Happy weekend to everyone!!
See that button up there that says "Travel Writing"...yeah, that one. There they be.
I'll be updating it as articles come out...which I suppose means I need to start writing some new ones.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Our first real weekend in Australia and I think we covered the basics…we snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, fed kangaroos, saw crocodiles, pet some wallabies, ran from an emu, watched koalas sleep and eat eucalyptus and drank a few Tooheys (this is “Australian for beer”, I haven’t even seen Fosters here).
We had a hellacious flight on Friday night. It was probably the worst of my life and I pray it holds onto that title. We were dropping and slamming from side to side on and off through the entire 2 1/2 hour flight. Not cool. I was shaking and seriously thought I was going to throw up out of fear. Thankfully our flight back was smooth because otherwise you’d need to travel to Sydney if you ever wanted to see me again.
We landed late and all went straight to bed since we had an early morning ahead of us to get out to the Great Barrier Reef.
About 2 hours out to sea and we were there…
We hit three different dive/snorkel sites and each was better than the last. We saw literally hundreds of different tropical fish, a sea turtle, massive clams, gorgeous coral gardens, hordes of f-ing jelly fish (thank God for ‘stinger suits” otherwise we would have been toast) and I even spotted a reef shark. Needless to say, no one had mentioned anything about sharks to me, reef or otherwise, so I was pretty freaked out for a while, but apparently they don’t dine of humans so I could enter the water again.
It was a long glorious day and afterwards we were beat. After some much needed showers we hung in the lounge and had a couple cocktails and watched thousands of giant bats take to the city at sunset…
(yeah those are bats!) before heading to the harbor for some local seafood.
With El Diablo going back to the reef the next day, us 3 Georgia girls decided to stay on land and spent the day hiking the Daintree Rainforest…
floating down the Daintree River looking for crocs…
driving along the beautiful Aussie coast…
checking out some Aussie natives…
and actually petting and feeding kangaroos and wallabies…
Which, as you can see from the ridiculous grin on my face, I obviously thought was the pièce de résistance of the entire weekend.
Great Barrier Reef, yeah it’s one of the world’s 7 natural wonders, but is it a cute as a wallaby?
I didn’t think so.
Pictures from this weekend...
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The magnitude of the loss, fear and uncertainty that the Japanese people are experiencing breaks my heart in a hundred pieces.
This morning in the Sydney Morning Herald I read a blog from a woman living in Sendai. She was talking about how the community has banded together to help one another and how strangers were helping strangers survive. In closing she said:
"And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don't. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that much larger than myself..."
I cried openly at the hotel lounge when I read this article. I cried, not because of the hardship she and her neighbors were facing, but instead I wept tears of joy in knowing we humans are capable of so much love and kindness. I couldn't help but cry tears of happiness because God is answering all our prayers for the people of Japan- His hand in on each of them, bringing forth their best selves to care for one another.
You can the entire blog here on Ode Magazine.
That's where we are off to this weekend! Did you know the Great Barrier Reef is the largest structure in the world built by living organisms? Me either, but I'm researching today in preparation, so I thought I'd share.
Packing up makes me realize that we're officially back on the road again. It's weird knowing this is one of our last rounds. Granted, we may be on the road for the entirety of 2012, but even so, there are only 4 more rounds after this one! 4! 4 more possible places to live before we press the "play" button on our life back home. Crazy.
But...until then I'm just going to keep enjoying this opportunity to the absolute fullest, because we're not promised another minute, much less another day.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
I guess I was right about the exhaustion letting me sleep so long the first night because we were both awake at 1am and then again at 5am. After about 30 or so minutes we decided not to fight it and just get up and go to the gym. Of course this could have been due to the fact that Jules was conked out at 7:45pm and I pulled out the toothpicks that were holding up my eyelids at 8:30pm.
We're going to try walking around tonight, maybe grabbing dinner outside of the hotel or something to try to stay awake longer. It's pointless really, but you never give up trying to rid yourself of the lag. You think you can somehow trick your body into getting on track, but the theory that you need 1 day for every hour difference always holds true for us. We'll spend the next two weeks wrestling with it and then like flipping a switch we'll be staying up until midnight and fighting over who's turn it is to get in the shower first in the morning.
It's almost noon here and I've been researching weekends all morning. I'm now dying for a nap. Dying.
Will I listen to my body and lie down? No, I'm going to do the stupid thing and go out and walk around. Even though I've just written it down and know it's an unfair fight- I still think I can overcome the lag!!
7pm bedtime, here I come.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
We've arrived in Australia!! 20+ hours of travel is never easy, but we decided to pay the piper and use miles to move up to the front of the plane so, it could have been worse. I didn't get a ton of sleep due to the incredible amount of turbulence that plagued almost our entire flight from LAX --> SYD, but I did catch up on 4 movies, so not a total loss.
We arrived around 8:30am and ended up having to wait almost 4 hours before our room was ready. Not exactly cool when you'd give your right arm (your stinky, funky, "been in a plane for 20+ hours" arm) for a shower. We did see Chuy from Chelsea Lately getting in a cab when we arrived though, so that was cool. I would have asked for a picture, but I didn't want him telling some story about a greasy American girl who smelled like a goat approaching him in Australia. According to the bellman, Chelsea had just left the day before.
After we got into a room and freshened up, we met up with El Diablo's friend from Spain who's lived in Sydney for a year. He graciously played tour guide and took us down to the harbor to see the bridge and famous Opera House...
We then made our way to "the Rocks" neighbohood and found a table at a German beer garden to enjoy the glorious Sydney sunshine.
We'd only been out for 4 or so hours, but we were all hitting the wall and decided to head back to the hotel. We popped up to the lounge to hang with the rest of the team and have a couple of nightcaps before crashing.
Amazingly enough, the Wife and I stayed up until 9pm and only woke up once at 5am before sleeping until a more Godly hour. This is a HUGE jet lag accomplishment. Or I was just wiped from only sleeping a whopping 3 hours (in 20-30 minute increments) on the way over. We're currently 15 hours ahead due to you guys springing forward this weekend. Apparently, we'll be 16 again when Sydney does their daylight savings in April. I'm sure we'll struggle for a couple of weeks getting on track, but I'm feeling pretty human-like today and that's better than I expected.
Australia has always been the Wife's #1 location she wanted to visit in all the world and from the moment the landing gear dropped out of the bottom of the plane, she's been estatic...
which in turn makes me estatic. We've got some pretty high expectations this round and so far we're thinking it is going to live up to the hype.
Photos from the day...
p.s.- I've got a lot of catching up to do and had all but abandoned the blog while working at home. Sorry!! I promise to get caught up!!