Adventures in Australia-May 2018

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As my time in Australia was drawing to near, it became evident that there was so much I wanted to see that I had not.  So I started planning to go places with every free moment I could spare. But sometimes life has other plans. Like an ear infections, cancelled flights, flooding. But I did manage to see a fair bit.

Funny enough, I found myself back in Sydney,playing tourist again. My cousin was visiting from the States.  So we did the requisite walk thru the Botanic Gardens, before heading to Bondi for lunch.

 


I continued my Australia on roller skates tour and headed to Uluru/ Ayers Rock or the Big Red Rock in the middle of Australia. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour flight from Sydney. If you go, try to get a window seat on the left side of the plan.  It was pretty cool to see an aerial view.

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Since I was traveling alone and short on time, I only booked an overnight. Plus it’s really kinda of expensive.  So if you are looking to do this on a budget, I would suggest driving and considering camping/backpacker options.  If money is not object I suggest checking out Longitude 131.  Sadly it was $3,000/night with 3 night minimum so I had to pass.  But lucky, Voyages has accommodations for all, from the backpacker to the more luxurious.  If you are like me,  and only doing one night, do not go too crazy with accommodations, it’s all on the same compound.

I booked The Night at the Field of Lights tour., which was great since I had such a short time. It was started with watching the sun go down while viewing the rock.  The outback canapes included crocodile and kangaroo. I would like to say I tasted crocodile but I passed because of my food allergy. But I did try the kangaroo. It’s gamey

This followed by the Sounds of Silence of dinner and an enlightening talk about the stars. Which was fun being in the Southern Hemisphere.  And then the best part of the night, the Field of Lights. A light installation by Bruce Munro. Words and pictures just do not do it justice, it was AMAZING.

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I had a few winks before getting up for the sunrise over the rock.  A few observations, I longer I looked at the rock the I agree that color does change depending on the sun.  And it sort of looks like a elephant on one side.

I suggest if your budget/time allows make the trip before the light installation is gone. There is a energy that is indescribable. I wish I had spent more time.  I am glad I went though, even it it were for such a short time.

I had time between hotel check out and the shuttle back to the airport so I walked over to the on site Art Center. They have local aboriginal artist in residence, that you can watch paint. Indigenous art tells a story. They are abstract because they have a sacred meaning and they design to disguise their meaning from western eyes.  The artist in residence that day had just finished a painting that was really eye catching to me and quite small. Meaning it would be easy to transport and find a place on a wall. WELL….. there was a line at the checkout. So I wondered off.  I just let the photos speak for themselves….

It’s actually stunning in person. I am quite happy with my purchase.

Until next time, safe travels!

Adventures in Australia-April 2018

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My “adoptive” Australian parents, Jenny and John, were heading to Canberra to visit some friends.  There happened to be a Cartier Exhibit... in Canberra?  Well I am always up for adventure.   So off to Canberra I went…..

It was a beautiful fall day in Canberra.

And the Cartier Exhibit was fun

With the added bonus of seeing some art, including a Jackson Pollack and Monet

And that concludes my exciting trip to Canberra. Seriously. Some friends from Sydney were going to drive out to get me, and I politely suggested that I catch a flight.  This is not to say that Canberra is not worth a visit, it just was not a place that I would high on my list. In fact when I arrived back in Sydney it felt like I just flew in from another country.

A funny thing happened when I was flying back to Australia in April. I was on the long route, Chicago- London-Perth-Brisbane. On the London-Perth flight was I was bored, I know shocker, and was having a chat with one of the flight attendants.   Some guy comes in the gallery, complaining that his shepard’s pie was cold, like frozen. I was made a face, because seriously who eat PEA’s mid flights? Especially when bacon sarnie’s where an option.  He noticed my disdain and was like sorry it’s seriously frozen.  The ensuring conversation was funny.  Turns out he is a show producer that was going be touring around Australia.  A George Michael Tribute, Fast Love.  I was intrigued.  Turns out the Brisbane show was sold out, but there tickets still available for the Sydney show. And I just happened to be in Sydney that weekend.

Well wasn’t I in for a surprise. I actually really enjoyed it. I say I was surprised because I was just not familiar with his music.  It was quite good.  If you have the opportunity to attend, I highly recommend it! In fact, go ahead and break out your leather pants.  You will not be only one.

April is probably one of my favorite month’s in Australia.  If you get a change to visit, I highly recommend considering coming over in late April, after Easter and school holidays!

Until next time!

Air Adventures- March 2018

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I know I have said this before, but I do think that sometimes stuff happens on my travels so I have stuff to share on this blog. Since so much happened on this last trip, I decided to share.

I was heading back to the States for a few weeks and decided to book the long route. By long route I mean, Brisbane to Sydney to Singapore to London to Chicago.  For someone who does not work in aviation, I am not sure why I thought it was good idea to spend even more time then necessary in the air.  My first flight was only 1.30 but they managed to serve a pretty yummy lunch. My window seat provided a nice view of Sydney.

I had a surprisingly painless experience getting thru security. I headed over to TRS to get a tax refund on purchases I had made while in Australia. Shocker, there were only 3 people in line. The first guy in line was claiming a steam iron. Which I thought I was odd, because why would you want to carry that on the plane? It looked heavy. The next gal in line was trying to claim purchases her Mom had made. And Mom was not there.  Oops. And the 3rd was best. For second, I had to make sure there were no camera filming for border patrol. I was not paying much attention to what the lady was claiming until the Agent asked to see the Chanel handbag. My curiosity was peaked and my attention turned to her and away from the girl with Mom’s receipts.  The lady proceed to pull out a cloth bag, sort of like a dust bag but not. I have personally have never seen a flowering Chanel dust bag, but then I don’t have a degree in all things Chanel.  Unfortunately for the lady, the Agent did. And from the look on her face she was dubious about what was in the cloth bag.  The bag that came out was not a Chanel maybe a Channel.  It was obviously a fake. The agent said as much. ” Are you seriously showing me a counterfeit bag?” The lady insisted it was not fake.  Hmm. Made me wonder if she thought she was buying a a legitimate bag. I am sad to report, I am not sure how the story ends. I do know she did not get a tax refund, but she did get a nice citation.

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My ride….

I did not have much time before boarding. I was not in a hurry, because I did not have much to carry on and I was flying first class. (BEST use of all the miles I have been earning).  The first thing I noticed was the cabin had party atmosphere.  Everyone seem to have some to talk to. Great it was going to be a long 24 hours as a solo traveler. Then I noticed that not one but two couples were enjoying pre-flight cocktails, in their seats. Meaning the 2 people were in one seat.  I’ll let the pictures explain.

Well I was sitting in 4A. There was sweet older couple sitting in 2A and 3A.  I politely asked them to refrain from mid-air hijenks. The husband said that his wife (2A) would be joining him for dinner but maybe I could come over dessert…..  Oh I knew we were going to have a fun flight.   It should be noted this was all happening before we had even left the gate. Shortly after take off, 5D was back sitting with 5K and I can say was there was a lot of movement going on under that blanket.

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Meanwhile over in 4A… Party of One…..

Before we knew it, we had arrived in Singapore, with enough time to buy some TWG Tea. (Golden Earl Grey is amazing). And then it was back on the plane for another 14 hours.  With my friends in 5K. Who apparently did not get enough on the flight to Singapore. Since we were taking off so late, the load a full meal but a lot people opt to have their beds made and go to sleep.  Well my friends, had one bed made and dined in the other seat, which actually is not a bad idea. Until we hit turbulence, and they tried to buckle themselves into the same bed. At this point the cabin crew said enough, due to safety, everyone in their own seat.  It was just too much…

I have to say it was easier to fly to London then to Chicago. Body clock wise. But I am not a fan of 14+ hour flights. I made the mistake of returning to Australia on the new London-Perth and NOPE. That’s all I have to say is NOPE.

Stay Tuned for London…….

Adventures in Australia-February 2018

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It was finally time for me to head back to Brisbane. It felt like I had been gone forever! I could not have planned my departure any better. There was this white stuff on the ground………

I was SO happy to see these blue skies…..

And then I walked in into the best welcome EVER at the Hilton Brisbane. aka “home”.Felt a little bit like a rockstar.

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I arrived back in Brisbane to catch the last few days of the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. I stood in line for 45 minutes to see the Soul under the Moon for 30 seconds.

It was interesting. But since the exhibit was in final days, they already started taking some of it down. I did manage to see quite a bit. I am glad I braved the heat to check out.

Until next time safe travels……..

Adventures in Australia-September 2017

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I have very few adventures in Australia in September. Mainly because I was gone most of the month. A friend was unexpectedly in Melbourne for the weekend, so I flew down to hang out. Which was rough, I flew in from Austin on Thursday and flew down to Melbourne on Friday.

I stayed at my 2nd home in Australia, Grand Hyatt Melbourne. I love this place, it like visiting with friends. Truly. They called me out for being cranky and jet legged, yes Roddy- I heard you. So they organized a massage over at the Park Hyatt. So much for never going back there. It was just what I needed.

Since it was raining when I met up with my friend ,we headed over to the National Gallery Victoria, which was featuring a Dior exhibit. It was surprisingly fun.  His original pieces were just amazing.

The gallery was quite interesting as well. It has unique collection of art and aside from special exhibits, it’s free. So another reason to visit.

Ironically, the sun came out as we were leaving. Melbourne is a bit like Chicago with it’s weather.

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There were not too many adventures in Brisbane, because I headed back to the States a few days later. Yes you reading that correctly,  I was in Texas flew back to Australia and then back to the States in a matter of 2 weeks.

Until next time, safe travels!

Melbourne, Australia-August 2017

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After a very rocky start, I have become to love Melbourne. When my friend, Katherine, who lives in Sydney, mentioned that she has never been, I suggested that we do a girl’s weekend.  Have I mentioned how much I love the Grand Hyatt Melbourne? Seriously if you are heading to Melbourne, this should be your first choice. Book a club level room, and be spoiled by the amazing lounge staff.

As what usually happens with trips like this, we start out with like 10 people and end up with 4. And we wonder what we were thinking inviting anyone else in the first place. I was flying down from Brisbane and arrived before the others. I “cheated” and hit up my one of my favourite shops, Tiffany Treloar, with the promise to wait to buy for when the girls were with me. We had grand ideas going on a tour or something, but in the end we barely made it off Collins St.  We appropriately started off with champagne and macaroons.

Followed by some serious and I do mean, serious shopping……

Love that Katherine’s boyfriend was such a good sport about shopping with the ladies.  We headed off to Rockpool at the Crown Casino. If you know Melbourne, you know that the Crown is huge entertainment complex,  but really there is a like one main entrance. Our taxi driver insisted that there were 5 Crown’s in Melbourne and we needed to be very specific about where we were going. We gave him the exact address and even then insisted that it was not sufficient.  He then started making racist comments.  Note to the wise, I would avoid Melbourne taxis, if at possible.

The weekend was just what the doctor ordered, good friends, good food and lots and lots of laughs. I hope to be able to repeat it again in the future.

Until next time.. Safe Travels!