20 July 2018 Friday
Port Douglas. I need to be putting days of the week with dates because we’ve traveled long enough to lose those connections.
We left Sydney on the 18th and struck out on our own. No more cousins or friends whose counsel we could depend upon. Flying to Cairns and picking up a car. Driving on the other side of the road! Big deal for me. I’ve wanted to explore the UK for years and didn’t dare for fear. Friends and public transport got me to enough places, but in Australia . . . This is a big country. There is some public transport but what I want to see is not necessarily close to anything. Transfers via private buses and vans are pricey and constraining. And so, it was time. Continue reading
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!
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
On 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
Back 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
West MacDonnell National Park and Finke River. An early morning walk close to our last campsite. We were still pretty cold but in good humor. Continue reading
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.
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
After our Kata Tjuta walk, we climbed back in the van heading for a prime viewing spot to see the sun set at Uluru. We were one of many tour groups but it was a big viewing site with plenty of space. Our group was set up with wine and cheese and crackers and our first tastes of emu and kangaroo. Continue reading
Written on 7 July
It is unusual for me to have no time for writing and reflection for days. I may choose not to write for days and I may have nothing worth publishing but usually I have the opportunity for both.
Then four days in the Outback.
We arrived in Yulara airport Monday afternoon from Sydney, shuttled to a hotel close by and we’re picked up by our guide, Claire, and taken to our first fo three campsites. There was no settling in, we were swept away to our first walk (walk or hike at Kata Tjuta. Most of what we did was doable without much strain. Experienced hikers would probably find it a bit tame.) Continue reading