Weather has been a lifelong passion for me; while my husband and 4 kids all in college and beyond, one now married, have patiently gone along with me!
By: PugetSoundPost, 12:18 AM GMT on August 09, 2013
August 26, 9:00 AM
Well, life again didn't exactly pan out as I thought regarding this blog over the past month. I didn't really disappear, just seemed like it. I had great intentions of having everyone go along on the trip with us, via photo and commentary, but it didn't work out. Internet access proved too difficult, as the main reason. Another was the time it takes to wrangle it all. It was a lot harder than expected to find connection points. If we wanted to spend literally hundreds of dollars to connect at our hotels, we could have done better (but even that comes with limits). It is a complicated story with many components, but choosing to mainly try for "free" access meant we pretty much had "no access". We did the best the first week, mainly due to a fluke in the system, but after that it was down to either airports or looking for McDonalds. Even Starbucks was way too few and far between (think I only saw two on all of our trip, amazingly) and in general Australia seems pretty far behind the curve regarding internet compared to America - something we are starting to just take for granted, I think. I could post a long rant about many frustrations about computers and internet (not exactly all the same story, but I guess similar) but the bottom line was that I couldn't keep up with WU and did only a little better elsewhere. Not much email communication either and the link between us and the kids at home was quite tenuous and both sides heard very little from the other. Even my international phone plan was squishy- texts wouldn't send and then several days later they would suddenly send and I didn't really realize it either way. So that provided some humorous times. I did write up a message for this blog that I was sure posted, only to see later that it apparently did not. So about then I gave up and decided to just wait till I am home.
And, we are home! We got back Saturday afternoon after over 24 hours of transit time - flight time, airport time, waiting time. We had a wonderful trip! Saw so many exciting and wonderful things and places and so many great memories.
After Brisbane, which some photos did make it through of, we moved around to other places. Another several days were spent in Ipswich, not too far from Brisbane, but much smaller and working-class. This was closer to Mr PSP's work and also gave me a different experience in a more "every-day-town" of Australia. We had a weekend trip to Hervey Bay, north of the Sunshine Coast (north of Brisbane three+ hours) and had some nice beach time there. Oh, this little motel in the little place had "free" internet. But once connected, both of our computers started going nuts over security issues involved with their internet, so we shut down and that didn't work out. After Ipswich we did make a major move. We flew up to Darwin, on the far north coast, and spent a few days there. Darwin is very tropical and quite a blast to step off of the plane in the middle of the night and into a sauna! VERY humid and hot there. We spent those days in some tours, including one to watch saltwater crocodiles jump, right next to our boat only a very few feet away! What an experience! We did much more than that too - great experiences in the Top End Outback - parks, waterfalls, long roads, beaches, and so on. After Darwin, we flew back to Brisbane and drove down a bit south to Gold Coast and had a wonderful apt on the beach at Surfers Paradise. This area was described to me by someone on a plane as a cross between Miami Beach and Atlantic City (he was eastern and with me being western and having been to neither of those places I could just guess, but I think he was probably close). We tend to compare it more to Waikiki. Lots of highrises lining miles and miles of gorgeous beach, lots of people in the shops, and lots of activity. But we had fun there - walked miles on the beaches, did some boogie boarding even, and took day trips into the nearby mountains for wonderful scenery and adventure too. We saw pretty much all of the animals on my "must see" list, and some in zoos, but also I think we saw all of them at some point in the wild too. Including a wild koala on our last day, which is not very easy to do, we have figured out. The land and landscape is so very different from what we are used to. Everything there is unique, from plants to animals to geography.
One unexpected thing was that we seemed to be about the only Americans in the crowds we were around. I was surprised by that. So just that made it seem we were further from home than expected to a country like Australia.
The trip was a great experience and a good time together with just the two of us. Nice to do once in awhile!! Other than the internet problems, everything worked out well and smoothly. I plan to post some photos here soon and hit some of the highlights for everyone. It is a beautiful country and there is so much to share with everyone!
August 9, 10:15 AM
What a difference a few days makes! I have changed locations, and now am reporting from the city of Brisbane, Australia!!
Yes, Mr. PSP and I are here for a bit of a time, actually. We are here only because my husband is here on a trip for work, and this time I tagged along and joined him! A pretty easy way to get two people here and while he has come a few times previously, I have never been able to go along until now. It is an opportunity I should take full advantage of, while I can.
We will be in Australia for three weeks, but not all will be in Brisbane. We have been here since this past Sunday, local time (a day ahead of all in the US) and currently we have a hotel right in downtown Brisbane. I have spent the week just walk, walk, walking, all over the city. It is a beautiful city, situated on Brisbane River, which meanders through downtown, making a big "S" shape. The city has really done a nice job of making it pedestrian friendly, with an elaborate series of pathways along both sides of the river, and it is well used by walkers and cyclists. I have learned to walk on the left side of the sidewalk! A new skill! The city is clean, quite vibrant, friendly, and has a "safe" feel to it while out walking. I am not much of a city person, and so I am getting a good dose of urban living, and it has been a good experience for me.
Mr. PSP works all day, "enjoying" a commute out of town that is nearly an hour (just like home) and then when he returns in the early evening, we head out walking again, so I get to do it all day and evening! It has been delightful to find new places to eat, see the nightlife and nightlights, and just walk the city and the river.
It is winter down here, but so hard to tell for us. The climate in Brisbane is considered sub-tropical, but there does appear to be actual seasons here, just not quite what we are used to. Since we have been here there has hardly been a cloud anywhere in the sky, and the days are bright and sunny and pretty warm (forecast into the low/mid 70's, but I have no factual knowledge of how warm it actually gets - feels very warm in the direct sun and while busy walking) but the mornings and evenings do chill off some. The locals think it is quite chilly. We are not good ones to hear that. We told one person that this was maybe only a bit cooler than our summer time, so I guess we didn't give her a lot of sympathy. Everything has its own perspective. The summers here do get pretty hot and mainly humid, we hear, while there is no humidity now to bother us. I can tell by how they sometimes dress that they think it is pretty cool right now. And, actually, last evening did cool off more than before, on top of being a very windy day yesterday and still breezy into the evening. But overall it is very pleasant and I know a lot of Seattleites that would give most anything for a summer as nice as these days.
This is my first trip to anywhere off of North America (other than Hawaii) and certainly a first for the Southern Hemisphere for me. Took a long time through life, but I made it.
Today (Friday) is our last full day in Brisbane. We are heading north up the coast for the weekend, to a beachside area known for great humpback whale watching this time of year, and also near Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island. This is a major tourist destination in all of Australia - great beaches and so on. Not sure yet what we will end up doing, but it will be a big change of pace and scenery from this city life. The island required 4x4 driving only and we left ours at home. It is a national park with a diversity of things to see. Looking forward to it! Then, by Sunday evening we will move to Ipswich, which is closer to where Mr. PSP is working, which he will continue to do next week. Then, the third week we will take vacation and do some travel in this greater area on our own. That part is not really planned out yet. Stay tuned on where we may end up!
This trip has been on his schedule, loosely, for a year now, and with better certainty in recent months. It has come at a good time for us both. It is great to get away from home, see new sights, and think of new things. And we could hardly be much further from home, which makes it better. A wonderful refreshment that has come at a good time.
Sunrise: 6:23 AM --- Sunset: 5:23 PM (Australian Time) Gaining 1 min, 18 sec tomorrow)
Updated: 4:06 PM GMT on August 26, 2013