Friday, December 18, 2009
The transition back to the northern hemisphere was fairly brutal... we came from amazing summer temps in Oz to cold weather in Alberta like I haven't seen in quite some time. This past week however, it has really smartened up. Now if we could just get a couple of more dumps of snow, it would all be good!
We've hauled our snowkite kit a few places around Canmore, to no avail. We got skunked at Spray Lakes on Wednesday... gusty, shifty wind and poor snow cover meant the ice fishermen had the lake all to themselves. Next, we tried Two Jack Lake, but ended up in very similar, early-season conditions. So today we skiied Norquay, which was actually quite awesome. The hill isn't 100% open yet, but the runs that are open are in nice shape, plus there was nobody there! Gotta love having the place to ourselves!
We're off to Red Deer tomorrow - Todd has to work - and then we'll come back to Canmore on Thursday and hang here for Christmas... maybe do some ski touring, and hopefully more kiting!
Happy Holidays to all!
Friday, December 11, 2009
I'm back at work... UGH... a necessary evil... and a few quirky thoughts have popped into my mind with respect to our Oz trip:
*We searched and searched through all our bags when we arrived in Australia, looking for our cherished 'Lonely Planet' Australia guide... it took me weeks to find a place to purchase it from, as I specifically wanted the most up-to-date printing of it... last night when we got home, I burst out laughing when I saw it in the middle of the living room floor!! So basically, I have a travel book in very good shape, for sale CHEAP... heh heh...
*I am suffering serious withdrawal from 'flat whites'... I even accidentally asked for one when I stopped at my favorite coffee shop in Eastview this afternoon...
*I loved being called 'doll' by all the older ladies we met... not sure why, but it just seemed like such a super-endearing term... kind of glamorous...
*I've never seen such large, lush fern plants EVER. The rainforest of southeast Oz is captivating!
*I spent hours on the beaches, looking at shells and sandcrabs. A weird fascination, I know... but I am so intrigued by how the shells are all different and beautiful (and sometimes even have little inhabitants!), and I am so amazed by how the cool purple sandcrabs can disappear from sight in an instant...
*I try to pretend that I like winter... by telling myself that I'd rather put a sweater on (be too chilly) than try to function in +30C temps, and by reminding myself of the fun snow sports I love to do... truth is, my feet spent a month in flip-flops, and today they are sore beyond belief after spending only a few hours in boots... and even though it gets EVERYWHERE, I am already missing the sand!!
*Speaking of feet (and did I mention 'quirky'), my toenail polish looks almost as good today as it did when we left... I made a few minor touch-ups along the way, but mostly it withstood the sun, sand and salt water amazingly well... Sally Hansen is one indestructible bee-otch...
*The two trans-Pacific flights were the longest I've been on yet... but I enjoyed every minute of them! Planes are one of my favorite inventions and I love airports and flying. Bonus - the 747 jumbo jet on the way back had a radical paint job - it was bright red with 'roos and 'ranggers and Aboriginal designs.
The majority of Aussies are a good-humored bunch I must say, and in spite of there being soooo many places in the world I would like to see, Australia is definitely one country I want to go back to. Perth, Alice Springs/Ayers Rock, and Tasmania will be on the agenda for next time.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
We left Merimbula on Monday and stopped back in Inverloch. Both Todd and Brad got in some more great kitesurfing - Inverloch is really a gem of a place to ride! And the town is pretty neat, too. Todd and I lost Brad somewhere along the way... so we just continued on into Melbourne, where we spent our last few days doing some touristy stuff. Wednesday morning, we got the campervan all cleaned out and washed up, and then we ditched it and rode the tram to the city centre. We checked out the very cool Melbourne Aquarium - it has 4 levels of exhibits, my favorite parts were the penguins and the sharks - and we hung around downtown for most of the day.
Thursday (today... still! we have lived through it twice now!!) we were supposed to leave Melbourne at noon for Los Angeles... however there were some technical issues and we were delayed almost 5 hours. Which means we missed our connection to Calgary. Which means we are sitting in LAX as I type this. Oh well. We'll get home eventually!
Anyway, in about 24 hours, the vacation will be done... or I should say, THIS vacation will be done... In ten short weeks, we are booked for some sailing lessons in the Virgin Islands - yeah!! Can't wait!!
Here are the last of the pix that I'll be posting from this trip. Of course it was too darn short, but in spite of that, it has been most fabulous!! The beaches of the Surf, Bass and Sapphire Coasts are more stellar than any I have ever seen, and the Australian people are pretty much some of the friendliest I have ever met. And their coffee... well, their coffee is wicked - I am going to have a hard time kicking my 'flat white' habit! I look forward to going back some day!