Published: December 29th 2004December 29th 2004
Sydney Opera House
This is the Opera House and me and a bunch of other tourists and some guy fishing!
Hello! A Merry Belated Christmas to you!! And a Happy New Year's!!! I can't believe it's already this time of the year again! Time sure goes by very quickly.
Thanks for all of your emails about the tsunami and earthquake and your concern!! Fortunately, I was in the middle of the woods at the end of a 4 day trek in Tasmania when the earthquake happened. I just learned of it yesterday evening and have been watching the news as much as possible. I'm still in shock that it happened in the area that I was just in and that it's nearly anhiliated by this massive movement of the earth's plates. Apparently there are islands that have completely shifted places. I feel very very fortunate to not have been anywhere near that area. I suppose if I were still in the Philippines or had extended my stay in Nepal, I would be in that area still. It's a bit scary.
While watching the news yesterday, I was told that there are earthquakes that happen quite often in Tasmania and New Zealand. On the news they showed 20 some odd whales that had been beached probably due to the earthquake
These are 3 towers left from an orignal 7 (I think) in the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney. It's amazing here with all the trees and deep gorges. Reminds me of the Grand Canyon, but filled with trees.
that happened off the eastern shore (8 on the Richter scale) of Tassie last week. So I guess there's a bunch of movement in the plates on this side of the world. I'm hoping that they will calm down a bit before I head to NZ in a month. I'll be crossing my fingers for those of you on the other side of the Pacific and that the Big One doesn't happen any time soon....
As for my travels, I spent my first couple of days in Australia going around Sydney, which I really loved. I managed to see most of the main sites in 2 days, including a ballet at the Sydney Opera House. Although it was a bit boring (I was struggling to stay awake...but I also had a full day of touring and I'm definitely not a ballet fan), it was definitely an experience to sit in one of the world's greatest opera houses. I have to say it's not as big and as grand as I had always imagined it to be. In fact, compared to the new Disney Hall in LA, it's a bit blah, but that whole area of Sydney is very impressive.
This is at the aquarium...have yet to see one in the wild. They're funny creatures!
The ocean front and the botanical garden beside it is lovely and I felt like it was too clean to be truely in the midst of Australia's largest city. I guess after being in Asia for so long, my idea of cleanliness has changed a bit, haha...
I spent Christmas in Tasmania on the Overland Track, which is apparently the classic trek that one must do while in Tassie. It is in the middle of what is known as Australia's temperate rain forest. Haha...was I in for a surprise. Most rain forests I've been in are fairly warm, if not just bloody hot. Not this one. The last day of the trek, it was raining and snowing (yes, at the same time!) and sleeting. It was incredible, the immediate change in weather. The day before it was probably 22/68 degrees. So I got to experience the 4 seasons in 4 days.
I just got into Melbourne, so I will put up pictures as soon as I can!
There are more photos below