Yes, Nick has abandoned me again (four months in Atlanta and Saudi Arabia). He came, changed the cuisine around here, upgraded my transportation (now an old Mercedes), talked me into joining his Dragon-boating team, and basically left me with high expectations. Now life is very different; it's back to peanut butter and jelly. -Nick was complaining about no job prospects when three jobs fell in his lap, all at the same time. The two he chose are more his "thing": the overseas adventure as a contractor for the military, and teaching at Sydney's illustrious Macquarie University, part-time. Congrats Nick; too bad Kathy.
Well, back to my birthday, back in February. I really was excited to go camping. Never done that on my birthday before. It was a holiday weekend too. Alas, it was one of the rainiest weekends in seven years here in Oz. In fact it was quite a rainy late summer and everything was much greener than normal. With patience, we finally got out to go camping about a month later, only we went separately.
I went with a group of native French speakers, friends of our friend, who are now our friends; you know how it works. Naturally, it was a good test of my French skills which are weak. But I did pick up a few words here and there. (Beautiful language.) -I felt sorry for Nick, as we had the most fabulous food on the most fabulous beach imaginable. Let me describe: the caribbean (only colder water) and gourmet salads, marinated artichokes and eggplant, variety of cheeses and breads and wine (not for me, thanks). Lovely. The place is called Jervis (pronounced Jar-vis) Bay and is renown for it's beauty.
Nick was obliged to attend a "Bachelor-Backpacking" Trip. Naturally, they took whatever food they were willing to carry. Nick tried to keep things light, due to his knee problems, and feeling sorry for him, the others felt obligated to fed him their scraps. The hike was typical Australian, straight up and straight down, crossing several streams. Nick had economized on his clothing also. So on the last crossing, he decided to take off all his cloths (minus his boots and hat) to keep the few remaining clothing dry. CAN'T YOU JUST PICTURE THIS?!! (I have tears in my eyes, and am rolling with laughter as I type this.)
One last outdoors adventure, and I will head to the city, Sydney. (Trying to keep your interest.) But the highest peak on the continent cannot be ignored, Kosciuszko. (Yes, that's the way it's spelled on the map.) Knowing full well that Aussies go straight up hill, we decided to take the longer, less vertical logging road to the peak. I was rather disappointed. It was all treeless and rather boring except for an old shelter and the continent's highest toilet! (Nick, as many of you know from experience, cannot let that opportunity "pass"!) Nick headed back the same route, but my friend and I wanted to see what could be seen from the other side of the mountain. We discovered that most people doing the summit, go by way of the ski lift. That's cheating in my opinion, so we hiked below the lift. As we endeavored the decent, I could understand why the ski lift was so popular. The groomed path had individual stairs that were three feet deep! It was a real workout on the knees and I thought I'd never get down. But, again, fabulous scenery.
SYDNEY, probably the most famous city in all of Australia, yet not one of our favorites, until we stayed there for a week. Believe me, driving in Sydney is the worst. There are tolls everywhere, and without a good GPS, you get completely turned around and usually head the total opposite direction from what you intended. But, staying in the Central Business District, and relying on public transportation isn't so bad, not bad at all. Basically the bay is what makes Sydney so beautiful. Therefore any walk along the coast, or ride on a ferry, walk over a bridge, or visit to a beach is marvelous. There you are; poster-like snap shots everywhere. They also have the elegant old Queen Victoria Building, the Patty and Rocks Markets, and the beautiful Botanical Gardens with the Opera House, the crowning jewel of Sydney. We were there for business (Nick's teaching job), pleasure, and also for Nick's close friend's wedding. (Nick met Jo teaching in Cyprus and they hit it off magnificently. -Ally's from Canberra originally. She's smart, vivacious, energetic and totally down to earth.) The wedding was done to the nines. What a pleasure it was. --Imagine the most beautiful young bride, a nervous handsome groom, and a cloudy, but rainless ocean setting, and you'll have the picture. The food was out of this world, and we also met some of the most interesting people. In fact, an elderly woman, Janet, was the owner of the radio station we loved in Tassie. What a small world.
And now back to the real world. I feel like I work, work, work. But at least the time goes by so quickly. I'm so grateful to have my phone connection (Magic Jack is highly recommended) and SKIPE so I can keep connected. It's my lifeline, especially for the next four months.
Keep in touch!