Thursday, January 17, 2013

More from Oz

It's good to be blogging again. I know I barely spend any time reading fb, much less post. And despite this blog requiring people to seek it out, as opposed to fb forcing it on my friends, it does seem to work. Just the other day, Kelly proved that by commenting on Oz story #1.

Which motivates me to write a more substantial post this time.

So, because the Pearlz family is leaving Shanghai in less than 5 months (sorry if you're learning that news here--we really should talk sometime!), we thought this might be our last chance to take a relatively easy trip to Australia. Meaning only a 10 hour flight, and no jet lag, as it is only 3 hours different. Plus, a 3 week break for Xmas meant we could really stay awhile.

So we flew to Sydney, stayed 5 days, then flew to Cairns for 3 days. The rest of the time (almost 2 weeks) was spent along the coast. Driving 3300km on the left side of the road might sound dumb, but I did it anyway. We had a blast and I only got sick of driving on the last day or two.


  • snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. Saw big parrotfish, a manta ray, a small shark and her baby, GIANT clams, tons of coral of all types, so many cool-colored fish I cannot even describe, clownfish, and best of all, NO box jellyfish (whose sting can kill you in 5 minutes).
  • Brisbane! A lovely city with a winding river running through its heart. We recharged our batteries there, so to speak, after a few days on the road.
  • The people, in general, were incredibly friendly and laid-back. It was fun to travel someplace we could talk to locals, that still felt somewhat exotic to us. (Grocery stores closing at 5pm on Saturday? How primitive!) People were curious about us, and would openly talk of their lives, let us play cricket with them (Desi was killin' it), and one old man at a holiday park offered to let us crash in his RV for the night, if the rain was getting in ours. (It didn't.)
  • Spending a lot of time as a family. Just the 4 of us, which is different from our usual mode of travel, when we go with another family or two. We had a lot of fun with one another, and the boys liked the car camping lifestyle (more on that in a later post). 
  • Dinner at The Rose Hotel. Anyone from the Pacific NW who wants a taste of home should eat/drink there. Great food, great patio, lots of beers to choose from. 

Some photos, and then I'm off to help the boys with their homework. Let's hope I'm not needed so I can keep reading The Zookeeper's Wife. So far so good, after 100 pages.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Australia was Ausome

We just spent 3 weeks on the east coast of Oz. Two of them driving down in a camper van, from Cairns to Sydney. That's over 3000km, if you are counting. We loved it. Here's pics to prove it.

along the Bronte-to-Bondi beach walk in Sydney:

at the Billabong Sanctuary near Townsville

and in stinger suits, heading out to the Great Barrier Reef (we saw no stingers, phew)

more to come...