Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Australia Walkabout Creek

Here is a link to the Walkabout Creek photos.

Well, this is my last post on the trip to Australia. It was a fun time, way too short, but an opportunity that could not be passed up. 
One of our early days there we went out to the bush in the city. Walkabout Creek is the tip of a great big wild area and bush preserve. We walked along a lake side and crossed a creek a few times. It was fun to be out in the bush and see the trees and plans and hear the bird calls. It was really a relaxing and refreshing time. However, we were still having some effects of jet lag and were a bit less focused than we would have wanted. We did not see any land animals while were were walking but heard lots of birds and saw some interesting bugs. At the lodge we did see some wallaroos, one with joey in her pouch, which is something I really wanted to see. So cute. Australia has the largest number of native marsupials, actually I think maybe the only place where they are native (?). They have marsupial bats, possums, kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, koalas, they even have marsupial mice and other things that in other places are not marsupial. Interesting to say the least.
We enjoyed the long bus ride there and back and I got to preview my trek to Paddington, which I mentioned in another post. The walk was fun and the scenery beautiful. It actually reminded me of the nature walk we took in Atlanta at the Chattahoochee. Not quite as tamed, but similar.
Here are some photos:

 The legs of the joey sticking out. He jumped in head first.
 This kind of turkey is EVERYWHERE and apparently quite a nuisance.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Australia city botanical gardens Brisbane and Cathedral

Here is the snapfish link to the Botanical gardens photos
This was on the day I enjoyed a long walk around the city by myself. Yes, it was safe. The Ibis are a large bird which I understand are an annoying critter around the city always begging for scraps and making large messes. But, they are pretty and I liked them. They are nesting in the palms and bamboo. Making a lot of noise and trying to attract a mate. The other birds were doing the same but are not in such large numbers. Nor so loud.  The gardens are beautiful and unique but nothing like the Denver Botanic Gardens. It was more like a very gorgeous park for strolling and biking through. It ran along the river and a bike and walking path ran along the river and a boardwalk as well. The gardens are free and open to the public like a public park, like the amazing swimming pool I posted about in the last post. Really a beautiful oasis in the city, also beautiful in it's own right.

 Grandfather Ibis. Not in the least flustered by my very close presence. Not so much as glanced my way.

Snapfish link to the Churches of Brisbane
I also visited several churches and cathedrals on that long walk. I saw the amazing St. John's cathedral which was so beautiful and awe inspiring with the organ hymns in this empty cavernous, ornate, stone cathedral. It was amazing and took my breath away. I don't really care for the organ in any other setting. I saw St. Andrews and All Saints Church and others. They were all old and beautiful. We usually visit a church on our trips around but as we traveled on both Sundays we missed this opportunity. I would have loved to visit a modern Evangelical worship service (my preference). I love churches. Old and new, plain and ornate. Church to me represents the magnificent Holiness and the continuous presence of God with us. A body unified in belief in the God of the Bible and the wonderful gift of salvation.  I love the church of God; church in the jungle, on the porch, in a white country church, a mega church, a humble church, high church, low church, modern church, traditional church, cathedrals and old stone chapels. God is with us and He is magnificent, He is mighty to save and he is for all people everywhere. So, I take pictures of churches and visit them. Here are some of my pictures.
 All Saints Unifying Church
 Ann Street Presbyterian
 King George Square Unifying Church

 St. Andrew's Anglican
below: St. John's Cathedral

Above: St. John's Cathedral. Anglican

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Australia - on my own

Ok, time for a bit more on our Australia trip.
While Dave met with various people and presented at the conference and attended the conference I wandered around the city. It was great fun.
The first day I went out I walked across the bridge to the Queensland library and museum. It was a fun trip and I learned a lot about Australia. I learned about explorers, historians, mining of Opals, the wool industry cowboys, WW2 and Australia, interesting early vehicles made in Australia, the first boat to go around the world with only one man. I learned about the unique Queenslander house too. Up on stilts to prevent water damage and to let air circulate to keep it cool in the heat of summer. In fact, I did then notice that most of the houses were indeed up on stilts with garage and storage space under, closed off with lattice or nothing at all. Needless to say, not many houses like our large ones here. Nope. Not many at all. Not much on Aboriginal culture for which I was disappointed. I also wanted to know more about the colonization of Australia.  I did learn all about the Unofficial national anthem of Australia. Waltzing Matilda. What is that? Well, waltzing is taking a long walkabout, you know and a Matilda is a wanderer who carries his bed roll and a pack. Like a hobo here, also called a swagman in Australia. If  you are interested in this you can check out these sites for more interesting info than I have space and time here. Really interesting. link 1, link 2, link 3. Walking home I found the greatest farm market day! WOW it was terrific. I got lunch there and felt so happy. It reminded me of the markets here but gave me the good feelings of the markets in Bolivia where we used to live. It was a good outing.

The eggs were HUGE! We also noted that whenever we ate eggs the yolks were Orange, not yellow. I asked the seller about this. She said older chickens lay larger eggs. They grow their own wheat and feed their chickens that. What makes them orange? Don't know. What kind of chickens? Just your standard chicken.

Fire bike

The next day I did this, I took the city bus to a town called  New Farm and looked at an Antique mall there. I found some fun stuff and it was fun to compare American antiques to Australian ones. Then I took the bus over to Paddington to look at an antique mall. I found some fun treasures there too. A previous day I had been to the Queensland museum and I had seen a teddy bear called Tambo Teddy and wanted to see if I could buy one. I had been asking around and no one seemed to know what I was talking about. I thought maybe in a town called Paddington there would be a bear fanatic who would know. There was! I was directed to the Teddy Bear shop, a wonderful charming shop full of exquisite teddys of all kinds. I walked about 25 min. from the Antique mall to the Bear shop. No Tambo Teddy. But, it was the first person who DID know what I was talking about. Tambo Teddy is made by hand by a group of sheep rancher wives in the town of Tambo. You have to go to Tambo to buy one. Their shop is only open at select times. They have a web site. You should go look at these adorable woolen teddys. I really did not want to leave without him but alas time was short, the trip long and expensive and they were not open anyway. Too bad. Tambo teddy has to stay in Australia. Is he not the cutest little thing, all decked out for a trip to the outback. I think he is ready to be a little Waltzin' Matilda. That was my adventure for the day and it was a fun one.

That evening we went to eat on the Queen Street mall and The Salvation Army band was playing Christmas songs outside. It was great. Palm trees, balmy weather and not a snow flake or crisp air wave in sight and Christmas was loud and clear and the band drawing applauding crowds. The evenings down on the mall are hoppin'! There are usually lots of singles and lots of teens. Not quite like our big city crowds. I felt totally safe all the time. These kids we saw that night were standing in a group HELPING a couple of young adults who were disabled and could not seem to locate who they were or where they should be. They were on the cell getting help. Not making fun of or teasing,  not leaving them there to just be...... they were getting help. This was the feeling I got all over the place. The good of the community, not the good of me. Needless to say I was impressed with the spike haired, chain wearing low, tight pants wearing kids who did what I would not have expected. I guess it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. The inside is what counts. Don't judge a book by it's cover, etc....
Here are some photos of the Market day, museum, and a very cool swimming pool.  (Snapfish).

maps of my outings.

The other time I went out like this I walked all over. (lower map blue arrows) The bus was on Saturday schedule and not many were running. So, I walked down to the Botanic Gardens. They were so pretty. Then I walked across the bridge and found the most beautiful walking tunnel of flowers and a long park along the river. There was another market there, called a lifestyle market. Jewelry, crafts, clothing, etc. There were also shops all along the way. There was a maternity store called Egg. Cute. They had the cutest stuffed animals made by Momma's and Poppa's. I also discovered the most amazing swimming pool I have ever seen. It is a man made lagoon of sorts with three or four sections all connected for different age groups. There is actually a beach and there are water features everywhere. What was most amazing is that this pool outdoes every pool at Disney world and it is their PUBLIC pool and it is FREE. How very cool is that.
Then I took the city ferry down the river to the far side of the city. I got out there and walked up to Ann St. and toured a magnificent church and took photos of several others. I then met Dave back at the hotel and we walked down to the mall and over the bridge to the Southbank again so he could see the pool and market and we ate dinner over there and enjoyed the view of the city. There were a bunch of Christmas parties for groups of all kinds. Families, kids, work, school (like Prom at the end of the school year). This is the end of the term and in Feb. they go back for the next grade. We walked back to the mall for some last minute shopping and then back to the hotel for our last night in the terrible horrible no good very bad bed, that really was good enough but not at all soft. Side note here: It is interesting to note that everywhere it was Christmas holiday and Merry Christmas and not once did I see or hear Happy Holidays or summer break. The schools were all on Christmas Holiday, and everyone everywhere said Merry Christmas to us. Just thought that was interesting.
There was also a big Cricket match that last weekend. It lasted four days. It was a big deal and lots of places were shut down for it. There were people wearing their team colors and in fact I saw a group of three  wearing bright yellow suits in yellow.
The judges wear a interesting outfit too. The long black robe that ours wear is the same. Under that they wear a black vest with tails and white blouse with the ruffles at the neck. They wear a grey powdered wig of the colonial sort. Even the female judges wore this same outfit with their skirt. I was a bit taken a back when I was crossing the street the opposite direction as a large number of them were headed the other way. Wigs in hand or on their heads, robes and tails flapping. Quite the sight.

 City hall

 Bike rental station
 hall of flowers in South bank

 Memorial to Anzac soldiers of WW2
 Pie Face, the most yummy bakery. We ate breakfast here a few times.
 sculptures from the world fair in the 80's
 typical Queenslander house
 city from the cultural center near South Bank. Our hotel was in the city buildings there just across the river from where I took this photo near the Queensland library and museum.

 river ferry
 these are of the very cool pool.

 city and walking bridge and ferry
A few other obervations that I made:
while crocs and Uggs are very popular here in the states, I saw stores for these Australian shoes but saw very few people wearing them. I did get some comments on the interesting nature and potential comfort of my Keens, but they had never heard of them. The general style is far more formal. They call it "smart casual" and that is what most wear in the day. Night is another story, but still not so casual as here. Maybe like the East Coast.
On the topic of fashion, the kids of ALL schools wear a school uniform. It makes our school uniform look like guidelines. The girls wear a skirt and a blouse or a jumper. They all wear the same thing on the same day. The boys have shorts and a button down shirt. They have ties and hats. This is for kids of all ages. There are sport clothing too for gym and after school activities. This is sport shorts and a jersey looking like a sport jersey all fitting the kid not baggy and not tight. Each school has it's own color scheme and that is what the uniform was. The kids regularly ride the bus and train system to and from school. There are no school buses.

The Queen Street mall was close to us and we went down there most evenings. We found that while on the outside it looked like a large scale 16th Street mall like in Denver, there was much more to it than that. A building that said Arcade on the outside actually indicated a huge shopping center inside that historic building. They kept the outsides in tact and ripped out the insides creating huge modern shopping malls. One, the Myer Center, was, I kid you not, 5 or more levels of shopping. Ok, maybe big cities have this sort of thing, but not in Colorado.  (oh and there was a business group called Colorado and a clothing store called Colorado). I was fascinated by the shopping area being so large and such a surprise when you went in these big old buildings,  but too busy seeing other things to really go explore that.
They have Target and K mart, McDonalds and Starbucks and Subway. They have Woolworths, a grocery store. There are no stores that are mega marts. You have to go to the grocery for food, to the drug store for meds and shampoo, etc. and you have to go to the clothing store for clothing, etc..... In fact one grocery that I did go to had no meat and no bread. Next to it there was a meat market, a bakery and a drug store. Pretty interesting. So, while you could go to the same center for it all they were all separate stores.

Here are some photos of the River that flows through Brisbane, this link sends you to the Snapfish file.
Here are some photos of the city Brisbane (Snapfish).

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Keep on the Sunny Side

The Whites - Keep on the Sunny Side
(Depression Era song)

There's a dark & a troubled side of life
There's a bright, there's a sunny side, too
Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

[cho:] Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us ev'ry day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

The storm and its fury broke today,
Crushing hopes that we cherish so dear;
Clouds and storms will, in time, pass away
The sun again will shine bright and clear.
Let us greet with the song of hope each day
Tho' the moment be cloudy or fair
Let us trust in our Saviour away
Who keepeth everyone in His care