friday the 13th

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Steph, cousin and hostess extraordinaire, has been showing us bits and pieces of this glorious city that we might not have spent time in on our own. As much as I love exploring places on my own, it is always possible to miss the gem in front of my face because as a first time visitor, I lack context. Steph and Scott, the cousins we are meeting through them, and my friend Marianne, have provided so much rich context for which I am so thankful. Yesterday, Scott and I talked a bit about how we connected- his meeting David’s folks when he was a high school exchange student, David getting in touch with him as his interest in family grew just before his death, Cheshire meeting Scott when he was traveling in NYC, our meeting at Rita’s wedding, and the larger faceboook family group.  Serendipity played no small part, small pieces of a moving puzzle that needed some magic to connect. And then, here we are!

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beach day

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Time is crazy.  I’ve been chatting with Cheshire and some friends back home.  I think it is last night.  I look at the dates on this blog and they are not necessarily reflective of when I posted.  Not exactly.  I acknowledge how tied I am to clock and calendar.  How would I do in a Star Trek universe? Jumping galaxies, condensing and expanding time. I’m overthinking.  I am inclined to hold the time differences in my head—it doesn’t work.  I write, I post, I text.  I just hope I haven’t woken anyone up. Continue reading

Travel challenges

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2FEE176F-2829-4F02-91AE-FC2715000860On the train from Umina Beach to Sidney Central and then Randwick, traveling from a quite northern suburb of Sydney to the center.  There is a lot of water to see, quiet water and surf beaches.  I am enjoying the water. Marianne took us up Mount Ettalong to view the beaches that flank it—Pearl Beach and Umina Beach.  Later, we walked one of the beaches. So much of what we will see in the next weeks hugs the coast!  I need time to just sit and stare at waves. Continue reading

Sydney: ferry and art

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7FCDCE73-EFB4-49A9-A290-1156B9930136Back to Sydney!  Staying with my friend, Marianne, in Umina Beach which is north of Sydney.  We took advantage of a Sunday special, Family Fun Day, on the trains and ferries. $2.70 for the entire day. We took a regular ferry under the landmark bridge and past the Opera House, the Maritine Museum and Luna Park.  Later, we walked into the old Customs House.  I was particularly struck by the carved face of Queen Victoria.  Younger than most that I have seen. I can’t imagine what it is/was like to be a person whose image is such common currency. Continue reading

King’s Canyon

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Another early morning hike. This time in Kings Canyon. The proposed hike began with 500 natural steps which I didn’t think we could do successfully.  We did half the hike beginning at the end.  We still climbed steps and clambered over rocks but the rise was gentler and easier to manage.  Julia climbed easily and was independent through tout most of the hike.  This adventure is offering her a good deal of independence.

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right after first light at Uluru

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Around the base of Uluru there are natural caves which the aboriginal people have been using for thousands of years.  The caves provided shelter from harsh weather. They also provided a natural gathering place.  There were men’s caves and women’s caves and caves for all. They were places to teach, to tell stories and to celebrate.   The relatively smooth walls were excellent for painting. (We would see the ochre pits in two days time where many shades of ochre used to make the fat based paints could be harvested.) The caves paintings are only visible on the upper half of the walls because early tour guides attempted to enhance the colors of the paintings by splashing buckets of water on the walls. Continue reading

Sydney 1

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Saturday.

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Wonder Woman finds a friend.

Sydney.  Randwick is the suburb our cousin, Steph, lives in and is our first home base here.  I was admittedly pretty grumpy in awakening. Jet lag is the probable culprit. I woke up too early sure that I had under packed abommitably.  When Steph picked us up the previous morning, the outside was freezing and this second morning was cold enough for Julia to put on all her warm clothes at same time.   Just as I had read and been advised, the daywarmed up, we stripped off layers and I dug out sunglasses.  After breakfast, I wanted to walk and Steph took us to Coogee Beach. We have many Australian beaches in out travel plans but the first sight of the Pacific was magnificent!  Sun, blue skies and waters, white caps, jagged mock outcropinngs, white sand and many people reveling in the lovely day.  Julia couldn’t wait to be on the beach today although we resisted taking shoes off and letting the waves run over our toes.  We were still cold and the wind whipped our hair.  There were a number of swimmers, all without wetsuits which encouraged the belief that we too would be in the water soon. Continue reading