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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/nannamom
Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #2017254
My random thoughts and reactions to my everyday life. The voices like a forum.
I do not know quite what happened or when , but my hubby and I now qualify for seniors' discounts at some venues. This creates a quandary; in order to save money, but not face, we have to admit to our age. HMMMM..... We definitely do not consider ourselves to be old. In this day and age ,when people as a whole are living longer and healthier lives why are 'young seniors', those in their fifties, like moi, considered 'old'?? It's so true that age is just a perception! "Maturity" is very objective/subjective, and I object! Whew, a few years have skittered by since I composed this biography block. Those "fifties" are in the rear view mirror and they are distant, fond memories. Oh, I do not plan to stop writing any time soon.
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August 11, 2020 at 3:42pm
August 11, 2020 at 3:42pm
#990539
Day 11, Halong Bay, Vietnam:
         
         OMG! Now we're experiencing a cruise. Are we participating in our own unique travel film, Planes, Trains, Tuk Tuks, Buses, and Ships? Even if this two-day cruise should somehow leave us stranded like Gilligan's Island, we will be blissful. Wow, Halong Bay is stunning! The water is a shimmering shade of turquoise. The azure endless sky frames many limestone islands swathed in vibrant green.
         Our ship is spectacular, a floating hotel. My room is airy, lovely and multi-windowed, perfect for an eye feast. It is said that keeping one's gaze fixed on the horizon combats seasickness, but this beauty is mesmerizing. How could I feel queasy?
         Day 11 of our virtual adventure and I am still evading fatigue and weight gain. Bobbing in the sun-sparkled water, I feel weightless, alive, free. I concentrate on my breathing as I paddle. Under the kayak, sea creatures dart and dash, mysterious shadows. Craning my neck to follow their course, I tip myself into the surf. Spluttering, I remember to roll and right myself. What's a bit of dampness? I shiver thinking this could have happened in Antarctica. Today, clad in a swimsuit I am able to drip dry.
         Titop Island beckons with its crescent shaped white beach and green-topped hill. I disembark on that warm sand which means I stumble and lurch. Have I forgotten my land legs already? After a stroll along the beach to stretch my muscles, I take a deep breath, square my shoulders and begin the climb to the summit. I lose count after fifty steps and I later learn it is four -hundred and fifty steps of slogging and perspiring to reach that gazebo. I may have appeared to be transfixed by the panoramic view, but I was wheezing and gasping. I consoled myself with the theory that a descent should be less strenuous. I also reminded myself that calories abhor physical exertion.
         My return to sea level is motivated by the opportunity to explore Me Cung Cave. It is aptly named with its maze of corridors. The multi-coloured stalactites sparkled and noise echoed.
         I wonder if pirates once stood here? Could this island have been a rest stop? Imagine them frolicking in the turquoise water and sun bathing on the beach. Pirate bonfires?
          Back on the cruise ship, crew members whispered that they know this island as Cemetery Island because of the 1905 wreck of a French cargo ship. Huh, it seems so tranquil, idyllic. That beauty hides her secrets well.
         Luckily, I did not have to sing for my supper. I merely had to learn to cteate spring rolls and sample them. This did not prove to be a problem. Food and I are sympatico. The staff made the class fun.This served as the appetizer to a seafood feast. When in Vietnam...
         In the evening, we were given two options of entertainment, karaoke at the bar, or squidding. Lyn Carly Apondia Prosperous Snow BlueMoon WakeUpAndLive‍‍~August⊕ and I decided why not combine the two? We belted out tunes as we trolled for squid. In the eery green glow from the water, we sang. I suppose we are now squidders and squawkers.
August 10, 2020 at 1:46pm
August 10, 2020 at 1:46pm
#990448
Day 10 Pak Chong, Thailand:
         
         
         
         
         Ten fun days of exploration and we're still on speaking terms. What vast extremes we've subjected ourselves to as we've wandered. Never did I imagine myself sleeping under the stars in Antarctica, or kayaking amongst iceberg sentinels. In the wilds of Australia, I experienced the desolate desert and the lushness of palm trees surrounded by brilliant flowers. It's a land of contrasts. I've been jostled on a train named after cameleers. I've been suspended in a cable car, soared in a small plane, wobbled on a bike, meandered through gorgeous parks, relaxed on a sight-seeing bus, hiked, mined for opals, avoided an arrest for theft, cuddled a cute joey, thrown a boomerang, shared silly songs 'round a blazing campfire, and binged on local delicacies. Whew! That guaranteed non-weight gain is still lingering from Antarctica. I'm on the move and the weight cannot keep up with me. In Cambodia, I bounced around in a tuk tuk, learned to cook as a native, reveled in the luxury of a Rolls Royce, and soared weightless, again, in a hot air balloon. Keep the adventure rolling!
         My feet have landed in Thailand today. They have behaved admirably during this whirlwind jaunt. I'm not certain, but I've heard the refrain, " these feet are made for walkin' " shadowing me.
         My eyes were stunned by the vision that is the Kensington English Garden Resort Khao Yai. I do not banter the word lush about, but this hotel site epitomizes that word. The manicured green lawns, trees, topiaries, red and pink roses exude gorgeousness. This complex is vast with pathways and fountains. I salute the gardeners and surely there must be a team.
         I noticed that bikes are offered for the use of patrons. Hmmm, perhaps I can persuade my fellow boggers / travelers to explore the area. We will be a bike posse?
         Our first foray of the day takes us to Bonanza Exotic Zoo. Okay, with our entry fee we were given two boxes of carrots, not to munch on, but to proffer to the animals. I've never been so close to giraffes before. Here I stared from a raised platform, but these magnificent beasts are still much taller than moi. During my saunter, I espied tigers, white lions, llamas, meerkats, and orangutans. The fluttering birds are bright jewels amongst the greenery.
          Lyn has arranged for us to visit and picnic at Haew Suwat waterfall. Woohoo, ogling and eating! The hotel staff are kind enough to pack some life-sustaining snacks and they smell divine. We will not starve with corn fritters, Thai shrimp lettuce wraps, Thai spring rolls, chicken satay party sticks, Thai fried ribs and Thai fish cakes.
          The hike into the park to view the two waterfalls, or twins is a short one from the parking lot. To access the base of the falls we creep slowly down a set of too many steps. At the bottom of our descent, we stumble amongst slippery boulders that test our balance. A guide has warned all of us, "no swimming." Um, yep, that's a practical plan. I could not help but consider the possibility of tumbling into the lagoon. I had my defense ready. Oh, me? I'm not swimming. Technically, I am thrashing, floundering and flailing.
         During my brief stay here in Thailand I have noted the questionable English displayed on warning signs. The Falls' signage warns "Do not collect anything but rubbish." Sure, I'm a tourist, but I prefer to collect fabulous pics and memories NOT garbage. Yes, I understand the intent of this wording. Yes, English is not the first language spoken here. Yes, I will not litter.
         Um, er, Lyn another sign admonishes "Do not bring food to eat around waterfall." Not that I wish to dine precariously perched on the slimy rocks. Of course, we will find a more suitable dining spot. I'm tired of yelling over the falls' roar anyway. We will picnic near the falls. Our appetites will be voracious after we ascend all of those steps anyway.
         WakeUpAndLive‍‍~August⊕ Apondia Carly Prosperous Snow BlueMoon Lyn gulp... another sign warns "Beware of wild elephants." Do you think our choice of picnic delicacies will attract them? Did anyone save a few of the carrots from the zoo? Could we toss them as bait into the jungle?
August 9, 2020 at 5:49pm
August 9, 2020 at 5:49pm
#990362
Day 9 Angkor and Siem Reap, Cambodia:
         
         Is it the ninth day of travelling already? We're accumulating the miles. I barely feel any jet lag.
         Here we are descending upon Angkor, Cambodia after an uneventful flight. Despite Covid protocols we were not escorted from the plane. Our exuberance did not ruffle any feathers.
         The Viroth Hotel is wonderful to behold. It oozes welcome. Its atmosphere preceded it when the vintage Roll Royce picked us up at the airport. Never before has a grand gesture screamed you are important to us, we value your presence. We sank into the comfy leather upholstery and absorbed the decadence. We could imagine ourselves speaking with a posh British accent and calling the chauffeur 'my good man.'
         Later, I intend to swim in the saltwater pool. My the staff is friendly! No one frowns.
          The first thing I do before sauntering on my own two feet is hail a tuk tuk. The cute name intrigues me. It is a motorcycle pulled cart complete with a canopy. Yes, this announces I am a tourist, but no one will mistake me for a native. From my perch, I am free to people-watch. I note the hustle and bustle, the constant hum.
         My intrepid driver/guide deposits me at the site of an enormous temple, Angkor Wat. Here I climb and meander amongst the stone. Walls, columns, arches, steps and statuary of stone rise from the ground. I admire the design and ingenuity.
         Emerging from this site, I am surprised to see 'my' tuk tuk driver, smiling and beckoning to me. He has adopted me. Without question, he escorts me to a cooking school, Le Tigre de Papier, The Paper Tiger. After perusing a fresh air market for ingredients with a master chef I tie on my red apron ready to create a feast. Soon I am chopping, mixing and sauteing. The tantalizing odours tickle my salivary glands. I am far from disappointed with my humble efforts. The fish amok and the banana rice cake taste divine.
         I wander on foot through the Old Market in an attempt to lose some recently acquired calories. Due to my recent gorging, I am able to decline a sample of crispy fried tarantula. Cooked or raw, it does not appeal to me.
         Finding I can breathe a bit better, I opt to clamber aboard a hot air balloon confident I am no longer too heavy to lift. Wow! There is nothing to compare to floating suspended above Angkor. The mountains seem smaller and the rice fields present as a geometric quilt of lush green. With a sigh of reluctance, I return to the ground.
         I am speechless. My tuk tuk benefactor is awaiting my next move. I ask him to recommend a night spot and he drops me off at Miss Wong's Cocktail Bar with a deep bow and a beaming grin. Oh, he has earned a generous tip.
         I feel right at home with the high ceilings, red walls and flickering lanterns. With a cool drink in hand I settle back to hear the escapades of Apondia Carly WakeUpAndLive‍‍~August⊕ Prosperous Snow BlueMoon Lyn .
August 9, 2020 at 2:54pm
August 9, 2020 at 2:54pm
#990353
Day 8 Perth, Australia... Perth By Bike...
         
         
         "Hop on, blend in," smiled the tour guide
         pushing to me my two-wheeled ride.
         In Perth atop a bike it's posh
         to perch wide-eyed, mumble "My gosh."
         Wiggle, wobble, heart a'hammer
         through King's Park I stutter, stammer.
         Head a'swivel I snatch quick peeks
         of fellow bloggers' flushing cheeks.
         Huff, puff, gasp we strive to propel
         our bikes through lemon-scented dells.
         'Round lush green trees and lawns we loop
         snagging bits of our guide's swift scoops.
         Cheerful, non-stop Aussie patter
         urges me on, no quit natter.
         Careening amid perfect Perth
         my bike top perch bemused my mirth.
         I found my balance core in Perth.
         The Down Under trip proved its worth.
August 7, 2020 at 12:04pm
August 7, 2020 at 12:04pm
#990185
Day 7 Darwin, Australia:
         
         Is this the seventh day of our virtual adventure? The days are blurring together. Australia is awe inspiring.
         I breathed a bit easier today and I found myself relaxing more. Now I can laugh about it, but Lyn had me jumping at my own shadow and recoiling at loud noises. I expected to hear and feel the cold clang of hand cuffs at any minute while in the desert. She spun a yarn of our involvement in an opal heist. Ya, right, jewel thieves hit a mine in a desolate desert. We escaped in a cloud of red dust. Bumbling tourists or genius cons?
         Today, I shrugged that off and continued in my role as an intrepid sightseer.If I am a wanted woman, they, whomever they be, will struggle to find me in plain sight. I will blend in and become one with all the camera toting visitors.What better hideout than a tour bus?
         From my perch on the upper section, I lulled myself into feeling safe. I relished the gentle breeze tugging at my hair and the warm sun caressing my skin. Wow, Darwin is a beautiful city. This is a leisurely way to get a feel for a place. I noted the vibrant hustle and bustle of a coastal centre. It is blues, greens, pinks, reds, and yellows in an exotic motif.
         I hopped off my transport to check out Crocosaurus Cove. Oh, I espied saltwater crocodiles. They are massive prehistoric looking creatures with yawning jaws of teeth and beedy eyes. Nothing cuddly about them. Um, some adrenalin junkies opted to swim with the young crocs and I assure you I was not one of them.Even babies may bite and any baby teething will nibble on anything handy.
         I hiked through an area of trees, rocks and water known as The Cascades. It's a serene, lovely area. For a peaceful spell, I simply sat and dangled my feet in the clear, flowing stream.
         My next bit of exploration took me to Bicentennial Park a lush, green oasis in the city. I meandered past towering palm trees and striking flowers.Along a stone wall, I stopped to survey the coast.
         I saved Mindil Beach for my evening foray and it did not disappoint. I wandered amongst vendors and marveled at their wears displayed in booths. I sampled nibbles from foodies as I soaked up the animated vibes.Wow, just wow. I viewed a spectacular sunset of reds, oranges and golds. It shimmered. It glowed.
         Darwin is indeed dazzling.
August 6, 2020 at 3:17pm
August 6, 2020 at 3:17pm
#990125
Day 6 Katherine to Darwin
         Is it just me? Does anyone else read Katherine to Darwin as a prelude to a romance? Will there be desert sunsets and amorous clinches in the sand? Yuk, I hope not! I am touring as a single gal, hubby free this August. In my virtual reality I am seeking fun my way. I choose my adventures for better or worst.
         Dusty Kate appears as a desert oasis shimmering in the heavy heat. It's billed as outback meets the tropics. I discover more than just endless sand.
         Okay, I am roped into attending an amusing show featuring animal training at the Katherine Outback Experience. The different horses are put through their paces. Sheepdog / collies entertained me with their antics herding cattle, or not. These characters have their own endearing petsonalities and who can resist cute puppies. Our ringleader Lyn attempted to depart with a wiggling, furry souvenir tucked under her shirt. Claiming it had followed her failed to convince anyone.
         Imagine meeting a singing cowboy here of all places. Tom Curtain is talented. His lyrics speak of his love for this ranch and this territory. "It's who we are running through our veins. We're battered and bruised with nothing left to lose and we're still here. We've lived through the dust. We're not going anywhere, we're still here."
         Despite friendly warnings re freshwater crocodiles, Carly Apondia WakeUpAndLive‍‍~August⊕ BlueMoon Prosperous Snow Lyn and I kayaked the gorgeous Nitmiluk Gorge. No one lost any toes or fingers and nothing loomed up out of the clear water to surprise us. The fumbling created a refreshing splash. No one slipped or flipped from their balanced seats.
         We decided to be natives for a few hours and we joined Aboriginal Manuel Pamkal to learn Rarrk a cross hatch style of painting. I am messy and my shirt resembled a tie-dye rainbow. Manuel taught us how to light a fire simply by rubbing a stick between our hands. It's a lot of work to coax a spark into life. Throwing a boomerang is an experience and I reflexively ducked after I set it zooming into the sky. We oohed and aahed our way through the Katherine Art Gallery.
         Oh, the hot springs are phenomenal! I'd like a hot tub like this at home. Soaking should be considered a sport.
         We rounded up our latest adventures with an Aussie bush tucker dinner served at a campfire. I enthusiastically tucked into the grub offered. The hilarious stories and the rowsing campfire sing-along were the perfect night cap. I taught everyone a few Guiding songs.One of them is about a kookaburra sitting in an old gum tree and another is about Alice the camel who has one hump. I knew they were saved in my repertoire for a reason.
         I did manage to whisper a question aimed at Lyn . She hissed at me to shush, but I only wanted to know if we are hiding in plain sight? We are not opal thieves! I'm a tourist and the only thing I steal is awed looks.
August 5, 2020 at 4:41pm
August 5, 2020 at 4:41pm
#990023
Day 5 Outback Australia:
         
         
         Oh, stretch, yawn. I survived my first night in a sleeper car. It felt kinda strange to be both rocked and jostled into slumber. Thank goodness for strong, fresh coffee. I need to be wide awake today.
         The train slid to a dusty halt in an outback post known as Manguri. This is where I disembarked, in the desert. Not much for the eyes to focus on in the distance, but a blue horizon.I checked to make sure my shoe laces were tied. This us not flip flop country.
         I ventured into an opal mining town, Coober Pedy, pronounced close to Petey. Legend had it that this Aboriginal name means white man in a hole . Many of the residents shelter from the harsh sun and extreme heat within homes created underground. They moved sand and stone to build their dug outs burrowed into sandstone hills. I noticed the air shafts dotting the ground in groupings that resembled chimneys. I also noted the sand everywhere.
         This is just the place for a klutz like me. There are mounds of sand, tufts of hard scrabble greenery, loose sand, and a plethora of unmarked holes that are most likely mine shafts. Yes, the DANGER signs are prominent, but my feet do not read or obey signs.
         I toured a few of the down under homes and they look quite comfy. Some have walls marbled with opalesque stone. These people are resilient and ingenious to forge living space in this desolate desert. I visited the underground bookstore, too.
          I found the shafts gloomy and claustrophobic. I do not relish toiling under ground.
         I sifted through loose piles of sand seeking an opal. Whoo, this is tedious work. I indulged in a purchase of some shiny opals when my search only yielded sweat and dust. This is my daughter-in-law's birthstone. Won't she be surprised to receive a fresh one.
         Did I mention the sand and the unrelenting sun? I believe my squint is becoming squintier. I worked up a thirst just staring at the dry landscape.
         Oh, I almost forgot to mention the down under lunch. This is a first for me, dining in a cool cavern. I sampled a ginger beer.
         I could barely keep my eyes open when I returned to The Ghan. What a contrast between its luxury and the desert. I indulged in a night cap only to hear everyone's version of today. Even with bleary blinkers, I enjoyed the night scape of blazing stars.
August 4, 2020 at 4:07pm
August 4, 2020 at 4:07pm
#989900
Day 4 Train Travel Through Australia:
         
         Train travel? The most I've experienced of rail travel is day trips. Wow, The Ghan is a beauty. I envision The Orient Express. Will there be murder and intrigue? Nah. Perhaps we will kill a bottle or two while the Aussies butcher the English language. Oh, right, they love their slang.
         I couldn't help my curiosity re the unusual name.The Ghan references 19th century Afghan camel drivers who came to Australia to explore its remote interior. I also like the term 'cameleers.' My Nanny once bobbed atop a lurching camel in the Canary Islands, but I digress.
         So, today I ventured forth into the desert, a new type of scenery for me. The unrelenting sun beating down on me caused an impression. I squinted a great deal. The sand I usually slog through is next to a freshwater lake and it's not this ochre colour.Now I understand the term scrub trees. They are stubby and squat without a luxurious green canopy.
         Throughout the day, I kept my eyes open for buzzards and lizards.
          My first excursion took me along the Oodnadatta Track once a traditional Aboriginal trading route. My transport was a Hover Bus and it rocked and bounced over the rutted ground. The area is bleak and beautiful with several desert springs. We jostled into the city of Alice Springs known to locals as simply Alice. It's a desert oasis in the Red Sands Centre.
         The gang opted to hire bikes so we could stretch our legs and experience this fascinating landscape at our own pace. It felt strange to say hire of an object. I say hire of a person such as a driver not the mode of transport I pedal. I would say borrow, lease, rent or buy a bike, but not hire it. Oh well, semantics. We didn't choke on too much dust as we pedaled at a leisurely pace. Sure, some wobbling interrupted us, but we persevered.
         Without too much gasping, we discovered the Alice Springs Desert Park. We ogled the exotic wildlife and fed a flock of birds. The Bilby is a cute nocturnal marsupial that is now extinct in the wild. With its long rabbit-like ears, long thin snout , silky blue-grey fur and bushy black tail with a white tip it is striking. Apparently, it doesn't require much water. Unlike me...
         A pre-historic looking creature walked slowly and jerkily. It featured a yellow, orange and black spined body. It just appeared to be all sharp, jagged edges. These spines help it to collect dew drops from plants it brushes up against. Grooves in its skin redirect the moisture directly back to its mouth. Clever design. I like his name, the Thorny Devil.I could use his voracious appetite at my seasonal campsite. He only dines on small black ants.For obvious reasons, no one wished to pet him.
         Next we visited the Kangaroo Sanctuary in the late afternoon. At that time of day, the 'roos are awakening. Many are here because they are orphans or were injured. I must admit babies, or joeys, are so cute and yes, I couldn't resist cuddling one.
         Back on The Ghan, I put my weary feet up and enjoyed a refreshing pot of tea. Desert adventures left me parched.
August 3, 2020 at 11:49am
August 3, 2020 at 11:49am
#989787
DAY 3 In Sydney, Australia:
         
         
         
         
         Woohoo! I'm in Sydney, Australia pinching myself. This is a dream destination and I wish my eldest grandgiggle, Sydney was with me. I shall have fun in her honour.
          The Hilton Sydney will be my one-day base and though it boasts many features, I have plans that will take me away from its amenities. Sigh, the life of a jet-setting tourist is a busy one.
         As fast as I could chew, I scarfed down my choices from the breakie buffet. I glanced at a menu and noticed a strange offering. The odd name spoke to me, lime syllabub. I learned it's a pudding concocted of whipped cream, sugar, lime, and sherry or white wine. Hmmm, intriguing... maybe I'll indulge later this evening.
         Oh, this is definitely a first for me, a vending machine that offers flip-flops. This gadget stands in the hotel lobby and a foot-sizing chart is displayed conveniently on the floor before it. Is this a subtle hint to relax and adopt beach footwear? Thanks, but I never travel without a pair of my own. My toes anticipate some sand and surf dipping today.
         My feet and I hit the street for a self-propelled walking tour. My head constantly swivelled and I rarely blinked. Wow, Sydney! I strolled through Hyde Park and I'm certain all anyone heard from me were gasps, oohs, and ahhs. The grass is so green and lush, but I did not tarry to lounge on it. The most gorgeous tree I ever espied took my breath away. Its leaves resemble green ferns and its blooms bedazzle with a vibrant purple. I like its unique name, too, the jacaranda tree. This is the oldest public parkland and it glows with pride and preservation. The many fountains are amazing and the Archibald Fountain is a stunning work of art. I love the water-spouting turtle.
         With no time to waste, I saunter over to Darling Harbour and of course, the name Darling reminds me of Peter Pan. Is this the exotic Neverland? Certainly, pixie dust has been scattered here. I can imagine pirates cavorting here, too.
         I enjoyed my meander through the lovely serenity of the Chinese Garden of Friendship and I stopped to savour a quick cuppa at the Tea House.
         After my brief respite, I discovered the magnificent steam-powered carousel created in the 18th century. Now, this is a working piece of history. Noticing the lack of steam did not dampen my fun ride. I envisioned bonneted, long-gowned women enjoying this sedate, civilized attraction. I am so grateful that style of fashion is in the past. Toting a parasol everywhere? Not for me. Buttoned shoes? Uh-uh, flip flops for me. Alas, a modern electric engine is deemed more efficient, but the original motor remains.
         I rewarded my toes with a dip in the pristine sand and surging surf at Bondi Beach. I strolled barefoot as I squinted and gawked. In my mind, I strutted as one of the beautiful, bikini clad beach bodies. Hey, this is a dream, virtual vacation, isn't it?
         With my walk behind me, I set sail on the Sydney Harbour Coffee Cruise. Now, this is the life, sippin' and sight-seein' on the water! With unlimited self-serve coffee, tea and biscuits I could prop my tired legs up and just exercise my eyesight. The scenic few hours slipped away like the silent wake of this water craft. The sun danced and sparkled on the water and caressed my pale Canadian skin. I ogled iconic sights such as the Opera House. Its distinctive white-sails roof is a wonder.
         Since money and time are refuted concepts in this virtual exploration, I next opted to indulge in the Blue Mountains Day Trip. This could have qualified as the various forms of travel in the comedy film, 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles.' My excursion began with a van ride across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I then ventured on a train, a cable car, a tram, and my own two feet hiking.
         I felt the cooling mist of a waterfall and marveled at its mighty roar. It was no Niagara Falls from my home province, but dramatic nonetheless. I felt the imposing power of The Three Sisters. At Featherdale Wildlife Park I got up close and personal with a kangaroo and coaxed him to nibble treats from my hand. Oh, what fun, I posed for a pic with a cuddly koala. More of the unique scenery greeted me as I returned along the Parramatta River on a ferry.
         Intrigued by its name, I signed up with The Buccaneer Explorer trip. Sigh, no pirate ship or frigate awaited me. I was not lent a sword, a peg leg, or a head scarf. Pirate speak was not mandatory either.
         I boarded a small plane for a flight over waterways and lush foliage. Back on land, I beheld the wonder of the Horizontal Falls, a phenomenon of sea water and rock formations. At Cape Leveque, I dined on the white, sandy beach. I swam, splashed and snorkeled in the refreshing clear water which glimmers blue and green when spied from the air. Now I truly understand the words turquoise and azure. As I bobbed on the waves, I seemed weightless. Sigh, my eyes rebelled. Salt water stings. Reluctantly, I flew back to Sydney.
         Did I fail to mention the harmony of various accents I heard during my walkabout/ gadabout? Australia lures many diverse cultures. My ears savoured the broad long vowels of the Aussies delivered with such ebullience. I noted the sing song of Asians. European tongues are no strangers.
         Apondia Lyn Lazy Writer WakeUpAndLive‍‍~August⊕ Prosperous Snow and I gambol over to Paddy's Markets to browse and unabashedly people-watch. It's a fun evening after our busy day. Sydney pulsates with life. We chin wag and laugh. We come to appreciate the Aussie expression, "no worries mate." I wonder what awaits us during the train trip?
August 2, 2020 at 4:01pm
August 2, 2020 at 4:01pm
#989734
Day 2 in Antarctica:
         
         
         Yawn. Stretch. I feel like a sled dog as I awaken and shake off fresh snow. I never dreamed I'd be digging my way out of slumber. I am grateful for my longjohns and the cozy bivy sack. This super crisp, fresh air zonks me out.
         Chocolate for breakie and strong, hot tea. Why not?
         . I tripped over my own two feet climbing into the zodiac. Ice is everywhere. Wow, the towering icebergs are majestic! They are enormous, silent sentries. I wonder how old they are and what they've witnessed. This zodiac slices through the water effortlessly. My kayak weary arms appreciate this.
          My gasp is involuntary. Green snow? I don't see this at home. Our guide explained this is a phenomenon attributed to algae, global warming and penguin poop. Huh. Apparently, penguin guano is high in nitrous oxide commonly known as laughing gas. Is poop a laughing matter? We were told red and orange algae snow exists, too.Bizarre.
         I espied a few hundred or so waddling, cuddling penguins. Smart birds, they create chick care groups known as creches, the equivalent of our child day cares. One adult penguin is left in charge to permit parents to forage. Even penguins need a break from their offspring. When swimmimg in the frigid water, they are well camouflaged by their dark feathers.
         The resident leopard seals kept their distance from the zodiac. As I understand it, they hunt penguins in or near the open water. The penguins feel safe on land in their large groups.
          We toured The Vernadsky Research Base. What an impressive station in the middle of nowhere. I love the story of its origins and subsequent change of owners. Back in 1947, the British established this base and in 1996 they sold it to Ukraine for an entire pound. It was deemed too expensive to dismantle and it thrives today with numerous scientific studies.
         Wow, an impressive bar boasts that it's the southernmost bar in the world. We all sampled its wares and toasted our wonderful guides. Of course, there was no shortage of ice. It felt relaxing to shuck my heavy parka, toque, scarf and mitts.
         Returning to our sea taxi, we indulged in a brief snowball fight.

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