Re: My trip diary, Part 3
- From: "Kyla =^..^=" <kylawaterman@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2010 17:02:55 -0700
You're very welcome Joy.
Well, you did have a wonderful trip and again, thank you for sharing.
(((((((Joy))))))) Glad to have you home again :)
Thank you, Kyla. I'm glad so many people were able to share a little bit of my enjoyment..
Don't believe everything you think
"Kyla =^..^="Yes, I agree, just wonderful, all your diaries and your pictures, thank you for posting them Joy and sharing them with us :)
They were wonderful indeed. Glad you're back.
and a big HUG to Lee.
just wonderful, its so nice to read something that takes me completely away from rl issues, Lee
Here's the third and final installment of my trip diary. Again, if you want to save it, I will be posting photos. This installment begins on the evening of the day the last one ended.
I was able to get a shuttle to my hotel for only $18.50 round trip, which is much better than the $67 one way I paid in Sydney. Of course the hotel is closer, but even so . I had a little trouble finding the entrance to the hotel, but once I did, check-in was easy. My room is on the second (third) floor, as far from the elevator as you can go. The good thing about it is that I passed the laundry on the way to my room. After I settled in, I tried to call to confirm my night zoo tour, but couldn't get an answer. I called the desk and the girl there said if I came down, she'd try. She found the right number and confirmed it. I also got change for the laundry. Then I came back up and did my laundry. I still had a little time to rest before my tour.
I went across the street to the bus stop. There were a lot of people waiting there, so I was surprised I was the only one to board when the coach got there. Nobody else was on board, and it turned out we were picking up only one other party, after about a half hour drive. I was the only one on the coach for that trip, so I asked the driver to point out places of interest, and he did. The other party consisted of a young couple from Sweden and their 11-month-old son. It rained part of the way to the zoo.,
When we got to the zoo, we went into a pavilion with tables and benches in the middle, a modified bar (beer, wine and soft drinks) at one end and a cafeteria-like counter at the other. We sat at the tables for a while. There were two other groups of people, one from Japan and one from Korea. I sat at the table with the Swedish couple, and we talked a little bit, but mostly they were interested in their son. Finally we were told dinner was ready. There was steak, pork & parsley sausage, grilled chicken, baked potatoes, rice with veggies, gravy, and three kinds of salad - coleslaw, green and fruit. There was also bread and butter. I took the steak, sausage, cole slaw and green salad. I'd have liked to try the fruit, but I'd gotten apple juice to drink and didn't dare have more fruit. There was an accordion player, and I went over and talked to him a little bit. What he played wasn't familiar, but he kept those fingers flying. He offered to let me try the accordion, but I declined. It's just been too long.
Eventually they served dessert - what looked like cheesecake, some chocolate squares that were sort of a cross between mousse and brownies or cake, or fruit, with whipped cream.
Finally they gave us a ten-minute warning, telling us to finish our drinks and visit the loo, then pick up a flashlight and an umbrella. The rain had stopped, but they expected more. Actually, it never did rain again, so the umbrellas were a bit of a nuisance. They led us through the zoo, stopping at various enclosures. The Swedish couple and I were the only English-speakers. The Koreans and Japanese had their own translators. I had trouble keeping up with the crowd at first, but soon managed to stay with them. We saw assorted nocturnal critters and had a chance to hold a koala and get a picture (for a fee, which I paid). It wasn't quite the thrill it was the first time, but was still lovely.. Those who didn't want to pay extra could still pet a couple of them, and have someone take a picture with their own cameras. We also had the chance to touch a black-headed python and a wombat.
Then they led us to another pavilion with tables and benches, and we could get more drinks. The accordion player was there. He played a bit, then they handed out instruments for a bush band. I was one of four who got a long pole with bells on it, which you tapped on the ground. The accordionist played a lively number, and we accompanied him. He played Waltzing Matilda, and then they organized a bush dance. It was actually a bit like a polka, in which partners were switched often. One of the zoo workers asked me to dance to start with, so I participated It was a lot of fun, but very lively and tiring. Then he sang Home among the Gum Trees, and everybody was supposed to act it out. I didn't do the gestures, but I sang along. He finished with Now is the Hour, and we went back to the entrance to get our coaches.
It rained some more on the drive back, but stopped by the time we got to my hotel. I didn't have any trouble remembering or using the night code, so I got to my room okay, though very tired. The room was rather hot, so I got the fan going and read a while, then went to bed.
Tuesday, September 14 - I didn't sleep very well. It was very noisy, for one thing. My window faces onto a street, and there were people talking and laughing until well after midnight. My window was open, and I couldn't close it all the way.
I woke up for good about 6:00 and tried to get on line. I can, but through another outfit than the one the girl at the desk sold me a card for. She told me I might have troubles, and said she'd take back the card with no charge if I couldn't use it. It's noisy this morning too, with street cleaners, buses and traffic.
I went down for the free breakfast. It's just like at the hotel in Sydney - toast and cereal. Well, it's worth the price. Went downstairs and asked about changing my room. They can't do it until tomorrow, but if I pack up before I leave in the morning, they'll move my things to room 211, so I should have two less noisy nights.
Walked down to the terminal for my boat to Green Island. The trip was about 45 minutes. When we landed, I had about that much time to walk into the little shopping area/food court, use the rest room, get and eat lunch. Then I walked back partway along the dock and got the glass-bottomed boat. We didn't go to the Great Barrier Reef, but we cruised over Green Island Reef, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef National Park. We saw all sorts of strange coral, and an assortment of fish. The pilot feed some of the fish, and the seagulls tried to get their food. At one point, two seagulls hitched a ride on the front of the boat, staying there until we had moved from one part of the reef to another. It was delightful!
When we got back to the island, there was still over an hour before our boat back to town I checked for tee shirts, but couldn't find one for Dave, or for me. I got an ice cream cone. I could have gone swimming or snorkeling, or taken a self-guided nature hike, but I hadn't planned on the first two and didn't have the energy for the last. I did contemplate a helicopter trip, but there was nobody in the booth, so I saved $148. I found a shady spot and sat and read until time to get the boat back. I went inside and found a seat. I was really tired, walking back to the hotel, but I had a couple of hours to rest. I thought I'd sleep, but I haven't so far. However, I have relaxed, and feel better. I even made a start on packing things up so they can move me tomorrow. I should be able to enjoy this evening. I just wish I could get on line
The Tjukapi evening was a mixed bag. After the bus dropped us off, I talked to a couple of Englishmen - a father and son. Then I wandered around the gift shop and bought a T-shirt for Dave. The woman who sold it to me said they were doing face-painting outside, but when I went out, the painter had gone. The Englishmen were there, and complained about missing it, too. At least the son did. We talked for a while, then were called in for the first part of the show. The only thing about it I didn't love was the fact that we had to stand for the whole thing. After about 20 minutes, they had us go outside, where we stood in a ring around the stage and watched. This time they had audience participation, as they had us do some chants, and finally dance around in a circle, chanting and occasionally changing direction.
After a while, we went inside for dinner. The food was good, but they had assigned seating, at tables for two. I was alone at my table, and didn't like that at all,. I was near the Englishmen, and at the end of the meal when they said we could have coffee or tea, the son offered to get me some . At first I said no, but when he pressed me, I took a cup of tea. It wasn't bad. The dinner consisted of grilled steaks with a sauce and a bunch of other stuff, which I forgot to record. There were several desserts. One looked interesting, with assorted fruit, so I tried a little. I wished I'd taken more. It was a wonderful meringue!
After dinner, there was more show, and this time we were allowed to sit, most of the time. They got some of the audience to participate. Afterward, one of the performers was by a fire, ready to pose for pictures. One of the employees offered to take mine with him, so I let her. I thought I needed another short-sleeved top, so I bought myself a T-shirt, as well as a refrigerator magnet. I sat by myself to wait for the bus, and when I got on, I took a single seat opposite a double, hoping the Englishmen would sit across from me. They didn't, but when they got off the bus, the son said goodbye. The son was very friendly. I suspect the father may have thought I was a predatory female.
I wasn't as tired when I got back to my room as I was this afternoon. I finished packing as well as I could, and set my timer to get up in time for a shower in the morning. If I get up early enough, I'll go down for breakfast. If not, I'll dig out a breakfast bar.
Wednesday, September 15 - I woke up early, got my shower and went down for breakfast. Then I went back up and finished packing up. Walked across the street and waited for the bus, which was about 10 minutes early. The bus driver verified that I was supposed to visit the crocodile farm, but I didn't get clear instructions on how that was to be handled.
After everyone was on board, he went through a complicated schedule of when we were supposed to do what. He repeated several times that we should get the Skyrail at 12:45 and he'd meet us at the bottom. He took us to the train, and onto our car, where we apparently had a reserved section. There were sets of three seats facing each other. A couple I later found out live near Sydney was sitting in the forward-facing row, but the backward one was empty, so I sat facing backward. A young man who turned out to be from San Diego took the aisle seat on my side. The four of us had a nice chat on the train ride, in between when the loud speaker was telling us what we were seeing, or repeating safety instructions. We stopped at one point so we could get off and take pictures of a waterfall.
When we got to the village of Kurunda, which was our stop, The Aussies said, "We'll see you later, probably at the Skyrail. I never saw them again. There was a lot to see and do there, but I missed out on where to get the bus to the top, and everything was upstairs or uphill. I got very tired very quickly. I had barramundi for lunch at an Irish bar & grill. Then I walked back up a way and got an ice cream cone I got a double, but the girl didn't put the stop scoop on securely, and it fell off after I'd only had a couple of licks. I was really tired by then, so I waited until almost 12:45, then caught the Skyrail. I had a car to myself. They're designed to hold six, but that would be very cosy. This way I could move around and look, or shoot photos, in any direction I wanted. We passed over a couple of sulfur-crested cockatoos in a treetop, a river and a lot of beautiful rain forest. There were two stops were we could get off for sight-seeing, but I didn't feel much like walking. There was a waterfall down some stairs at the first stop, but I didn't think I could make it back up, so I didn't go. I got down at about 1:30, and the bus was due at 2:30. Luckily there were benches and I had my book. I was so tired I just sat a while before taking the book out of the bag.
I was so tired I decided not to see the crocodile farm. I was still a bit disgruntled when the bus finally arrived, and the driver told me I'd missed my connection for the crocodile farm. He said accusingly, "I told you 1:00. I'm sure he didn't, but I just told him I was tired and asked him to bring me back to my hotel.
I came to my new room and, sure enough, everything had been moved. In some ways the room is better than the other one. In some ways, it's the reverse. This room also has a single bed, which gives me more room to spread out my stuff. There is no clock, and no phone by the bed, though there is a wall phone nearby. It isn't noisy like the other room, and the air conditioner works at least somewhat. The AC in the other room didn't work, although the fan helped. The windows are frosted and sealed, so I can't see out of open them. I did enjoy having a little cool air coming in at night. However, I'm not here for that much longer, so I won't complain, although I may ask for a pitcher for the fridge.
I still can't get on line in my room. I have to use the Internet cafe on the ground floor. At least it's there. I'm worried, though. The computer shut down after telling me it needs to be recharged. I was going to plug it in, but couldn't find the cord I searched all my bags twice, and never did find it. I emailed Di, who looked and didn't find it. I'm not going to panic yet, but I'm getting worried.
I checked email again, and still hadn't heard from Gia, who was originally going to pick me up. I had no idea whether Gia was male or female. I checked at the desk and there were still no messages. Finally I went on line and found the club website. There was a phone number, which the man at the desk called for me. Luckily there was an answer. Gia was out of town, but I learned she was a woman. I spoke to the man at the other end, and he picked me up. We had a misunderstand about where, but he found me.
By the time we got to the club, it was almost 6:30. He showed me where I could get food, and said he'd see me at the top of the stairs. The food didn't come until 6:50, so I just got a few bites of my garlic prawns before I decided it was time to go up. As I was looking for the stairs, I saw David, the man who had picked me up. He was looking for me to tell me that the meeting place had been changed. He took me to the room where it was, where he introduced me or people introduced themselves. They're a very friendly bunch.
They were having their humorous speech contest, and asked me to be a judge. I had to lead the other two judges by the hand, because they were newbies. Also, the ballots we had were for the Table Topics contest, but they worked. We all agreed on the placement of first, second and third. For the contestant interviews, they had each of us tell each speaker what we thought of their speech. I had to do a little tap-dancing, but think I managed okay.
David brought me back at about 9:30. I checked my email again, then came up. I was really tired, so decided to goof off and finish searching in the morning.
Thursday, September 16 - Since this is my day off, I decided to be lazy. Instead of getting my shower and going down for breakfast, I ate a breakfast bar in bed, then got my shower. I started searching again, and suddenly remembered the compartment on the bottom of one of the bags. I checked it and found the cords! Big sigh of relief! The computer is charging now.
I went downstairs and sent a couple of emails. One was to Nicky, who is supposed to pick me up tonight. Once again, I had no idea whether Nicky is male or female. I had tried calling and got no answer. Then I went to Woolworth's and bought a bottle of water, a sandwich for tomorrow, and some candy. Went to Subway and picked up a foot-long, a coke and two cookies - half of each for lunch, the rest for dinner. Came up and ate lunch. Soon I'll go down and check my email again, and maybe do a little exploring.
Ate my lunch, cleaned my teeth and put things in the fridge. Then went out and told the maid in the hall that my room was ready to clean. Checked email and found a reply from Kaj saying Nicky had asked him/her to pick me up at 6:15, so that's sorted. Walked around a little, but I was very tired and it was hot, so I came back up. The room had been done. Closed the drapes, since the sun and heat were coming in, even through the frosted glass. Laid down with my book, read a few pages, and went to sleep. Slept soundly for an hour or two, then woke up much refreshed, though still tired. I thought my early afternoon fatigue was from the tours, but apparently it's either Cairns or my age. Anyway, I'm glad to have some down time, although it would be more convenient to get email in my room.
I rested a while longer, then went down to check my email. Yowie (a cat newsgroup friend who had planned to meet me) doesn't know if she can make it into town. They're all devastated because they had to have Fluffy (their dog) put to sleep.
Came back up, rested some more, ate my "dinner". I thought I had set the timer, but I didn't start it, and I suddenly realized It was later than the time I had planned to get ready and go downstairs.
I got down just before 6:15, and Kaj (male, pronounced 'Kai') picked me up a few minutes later. It was quite a drive to the meeting place. Nearly everybody on the schedule was missing, so there was a lot of rearranging, but it all worked. They're a very friendly, welcoming club. I was drafted as General Evaluator.
Kaj brought me back about 9:30.
Did as much packing as I could.
Friday, September 17 - Slept pretty well. Up about 6:30. Ate breakfast, got dressed and finished packing. Went downstairs and checked out. Waited quite a while, but the shuttle was on time. It was actually cool enough while I was waiting that I could put on my jacket.
The airport here in Cairns is crazy. Instead of seats near each gate, there are rows of seats several yards from all six gates in the area. There was a long line to board another flight when I found the area. Luckily I arranged to pre-board. As it was, I had to be watchful, because the loud speaker was mostly unintelligible, and people were talking very loudly. It seemed as though there were miles to walk to board, once we went through the gates. My seat was in row 3, and there were a nice older couple in the other two seats. The flight went quickly, but I still don't understand why it took as long to fly from Cairns to Sydney as it did to fly from Adelaide to Cairns. (When I got home, I looked at my map and saw that Adelaide and Sydney are both about the same distance south from Cairns.
I've had a great time, but I'm ready to come home. I took a taxi again. Apparently I picked a hotel about as far from the airport as you can get and still be in Sydney. The hotel is okay, and the staff are great, but if I ever come back, I won't stay here again.
After I'd settled in for a while, I tried calling Barry, but didn't get an answer, so I left a message. He finally called me. His 80-year-old cousin had a fall, and he had taken her to the hospital for x-rays. I gathered they were waiting for the results when he called. I was going to walk around the area a bit, but it was kind of chilly - quite a change from muggy Cairns - so when I came to a pizza place, I got one to go and brought it home. The box says "Authentic Quality". The pizza cook and waitress are Asian.
I'm tired, so it's probably a good thing Barry didn't have any big plans for this evening, and there are no more Toastmasters meetings for me to go to.
I don't know what will happen tomorrow. Yowie lives about an hour south of Sydney. She had originally planned to come up and take me to either the Botanical Gardens or The Rocks, depending on whether she could get a sitter for her son Carey. However, she emailed me yesterday that they had to have Fluffy put to sleep, and the boy was having a hard time dealing with it, so she didn't know whether she'd make it or not. I told Barry that, and he talked about possibly driving down to where she lives.
Anyway, tomorrow is my last day here. I'm not looking forward to the flight, but I am looking forward to getting home, and seeing my cats.
Saturday, September 18 - I slept pretty well again, although I woke up once with my hip hurting like crazy. I took some Advil, turned on the other side, and got back to sleep. Woke up a little before 8:00, got a shower and washed my hair, and went down for breakfast. They had little apple pastries this time, which were good.
Barry called when I'd been back upstairs for a few minutes. He says he'll pick me up between 9:55 and 10:00. That means he should be here by 10:15 or so. He got here about 10:10. His cousin Kathleen is very nice, but, as he says, she talks a lot. So does Barry. I was lucky to get a word in edgewise once in a while.
We had a lovely drive, around Sydney, and south almost to Wollongong. We were going to try to visit Yowie, but her address didn't work in his GPS, and she didn't answer her phone. On the way down, we drove through a national park and along the coast. There were some spectacular crashing waves at times. We saw hang gliders on the way. We stopped at a place where we had a lovely view of the beach and ocean below us and ate lunch at a convenient picnic table. Kathleen had made curried egg sandwiches and ham sandwiches, and we had them with water Barry had brought. It made a nice lunch, with a beautiful view, and seagulls very close, but not bothering us.
We drove by where Barry lived as a child, and where he lived when he was first married. He invited me to dinner, and I accepted, so we went back to his house. Kathleen is staying with him for the time being, because he doesn't want her to be alone until she's recovered from her fall. Timothy took Kathleen to her church for mass, and Barry was going to pick her up at 7:00. Barry noticed I didn't seem to be feeling well, and asked if I wanted to go to my hotel. I thought it over and decided I did. He brought me back and I rested for a while.
Timothy is picking me up at 10:15 in the morning, so I'll have time to go down for breakfast.
Did as much packing as I could. I wish I had another book now. I'll finish my last one in about 5 minutes after I go to bed. I wish I hadn't given Di as many books as I did.
Sunday, September 19 - Woke up before my alarm again. Got a shower and went down for breakfast. Came back up and finished packing. Went down and checked out about 9:45. Barry and Timothy picked me up. Traffic was really bad in a couple of places. Today was the Sydney Marathon, and the bridge was blocked off, along with some other streets. However, I was at the airport between 11:05 and 11:10, waited in a very short line, and got my aisle seat with no problems.
The flight was very long, with no book. I played some games, slept maybe two or three hours, and watched three movies. There was a lot of walking once we disembarked, but there were some moving sidewalks that were actually moving, so that helped. Going through Immigration didn't take long, and I went to the luggage carousel. The good news was that luggage trolleys are free here! The bad news was that it took forever for my bags to come. I think there were hundreds of other bags first, which is no exaggeration, because I think there were a several hundred people on the plane. My bags finally came, and I walked through Customs without even having to put my bags on the moving belt. There was a lot more walking before I finally got out.
There were various places along the way where people were meeting people. I didn't really expect Irene (my daughter), because I'd said I'd get a shuttle to their house near the airport. I had decided on a taxi, instead, but didn't have to do either one, because Irene was there! I was so grateful! We had to do a lot more walking, but Irene helped a lot with the luggage.
She took me to their house so I could meet their new kitties, who are currently Oscar and No Name. One or both may get new names. They're about 5 months old, adorable, and very playful. Then she brought me home, where my kitties were nowhere to be seen. We did a thorough search, and Irene finally found Waffles under the bed and Pickles in a corner in my office. They did come out, then, and Waffles jumped in my lap for a bit before Irene left.
After she left, I fixed some lunch and slept for a couple of hours. Both cats came in my lap before I finally got up (not at the same time, of course).
Don't believe everything you think
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