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Published: March 9th 2018
And go I did. Traveling from SJ through SF, LA, Sydney to my final destination of Perth took me on a journey of 33 hours from door to door. I had arrived as far West as I could go. Heck, if I went any further West, I would have been East. Or is that just my jet lagged mind thinking it is clever when it should really simply sit there and look pretty? Either way, I am in the sunny land of Australia where I was welcomed with the hottest day in 2 years. So much for the email I received happily telling me that the summer had been mild.
All 3 flights were nice. The longest leg, from LA to SYD had a passenger load that was very small, so I was able to move from my chosen seat to another bulkhead seat, but this one allowed the armrest to raise allowing me to stretch out over 2 seats. This was my first trip on a Dreamliner and although it is still a plane, I did notice that I didn’t dry out as much as I usually do. Overall, I was pleased with the trips. As an added bonus,
I was given both the pasta and chicken entrée since there were so few on the plane. Truly I hate to say this, but darn, they both were the pits. We were fed on the Qantas flight from Sydney to Perth and it was extraordinary. I had a chicken curry and rice entree that smelled as awesome as it tasted. My camera was in the overhead bin, so there are no pictures of it, but it is definitely a dish that I will remember.
Through Travelblog, I have met some wonderful people. Most are known only through the virtual world, but as it says, Travelblog is the “World’s friendliest travel community”, so when I wrote that I was going to visit Australia, I received invitations from TB friends. In Perth, I am staying with Cindy, littlewing
. In Sydney I am staying with Dancing Dave
and his wife Denise. Jo Trouble
is flying in from New Zealand to join the party. From traveling alone to traveling with D MJ Binkley
to staying at people’s homes, my travel horizon has broadened exponentially. That I have never met any of these friends in person didn’t matter, so here I am.
It was only when I
disembarked in Perth that I realized Cindy and I never discussed where we were going to meet. I headed down to the baggage claim where my bag was one of the last off the plane. This had the advantage of thinning the crowds, so when Cindy walked up we both recognized each other immediately. Heading out into the oppressive heat, we talked and carried on as if we had known each other for years. We headed to her sister’s house where I would be staying. We sat and talked food, talked travel, talked about anything that felt right. After some time, it was time for dinner. Anxious for my first Australian meal, I rode with Cindy and we went to this restaurant called Hungry Jacks. Oh my was it so familiar, yet I couldn’t put my finger on why. What to do, what to do? Oh yes, in the US it is called Burger King. Truthfully, it was just what I needed. Sleep came quickly that night and was also just what I needed.
I woke up at 5, which wasn’t bad. Out on the patio I sat listening to the endangered red tail cockatoos squawk as they flew
overhead. While they did their thing, I read and enjoyed the cool morning. Cindy had a business meeting that I was tagging along to. We drove and I have to admit that even when we pulled into the parking lot of the Cohuna Koala Park I didn’t pick up on what she was up to. In my mind it was odd that her business was in a parking lot, but who am I to judge? I pulled out my Kindle, asking if I should go with her or stay in the car. It was at this point that she finally explained that this was actually an outing for me to hold a koala. Gosh, now it made sense. Perhaps I am more jet lagged than I thought.
The koala park was awesome. Before paying the entrance fee we had a large emu stop and pose for us. No, seriously, this emu was a runway model in a not too distant life. It knew how to pose and get the best pictures. Peacocks walked around in all of their splendor, and again, this was before we had even paid. Once in the park we saw beautiful birds and parrots, feeding
Pink and Gray Galah
Eating popcorn and looking awesome
them popcorn and listening to them chirp and in many cases, say hello in cooing little voices. We met a couple dingos which have the most expressive faces and look as sweet as can be. My first visit with a kangaroo was the smaller one, not the large more familiar one. Again, their faces were so expressive. We fed them popcorn and patted some of them on the head. Their tails, even though they were small roos, were incredibly thick and strong looking. Today was a hot day, so most of the roos were lounging in the shade. Several were nursing small ones. I also met my first ostrich today. The park had 2 of them and they are as funny looking in person as they are in pictures. One of them came right up to the fence to check us out. Cindy threw popcorn in for it, but neither of us was going to try and feed it with our hands. My take away was how the head and neck look like puppets on a string. I was very intrigued by this guy and apparently it was taken with me as well. We wandered into a neighboring section where
Proud as a peacock
Yeah, it's a thing
we passed this same ostrich and it started doing a dirty dance for me. Wings flapping, head bobbing, this went on for a good 5 minutes. Cindy was laughing hysterically that a bird was performing for me. I have to admit, it was something I had never seen. As we walked away, letting it down gently, we agreed that since I am so tall and had been face to face with it, that must have been why it was so keen for me. Later she found the similar ostrich dance on YouTube. Laughing, we wandered off to check out some crocodiles. Did you know the way to tell the difference between an alligator and crocodile is that one will see you later, and the other will see you in a while. Argh, bad humor.
It was now time to meet koalas. I was outfitted in a cloth overlay, given eucalyptus leaves to hold and then handed Albie, a super cute little koala. Koalas are as cute and interesting in person as they are in pictures, just as ostriches are. He smelled strongly of eucalyptus and was content to lounge in my arms eating the leaves I was holding. I
was content to hold the eucalyptus and enjoy his soft, fuzzy little face, and his little paws grabbing onto the leaves. Cindy laughed because at one point she saw Albie look at me telling me to move the leaves so he could get more. Apparently this isn’t his first time to do this. Today was a definite bucket list check, done not in pencil, but in large brushes of spray paint. What a great way to spend an afternoon. If this is a business meeting in Perth, then sign me up. As an added bonus of happiness, we drove up a winding road to a roadhouse for lunch in Jarrahdale, Cindy’s old stomping ground (one of many I am learning.). I have to admit, seeing a car driving toward us in the opposite lane caused me to gasp quietly a couple times and not so quietly a few other times. This is my first trip where they drive on the left side of the road. Super happy that Cindy is doing the driving. Lunch was just what I needed. Steak sandwich and spuds
Once again, I was starting to hit the wall and could hear the bed softly whispering
Blackfoot Rock Wallaby
Members of the kangaroo family, so I am calling them roos.
my name for a nap. I did have enough energy reserve to meet Cindy’s parents. Her mom is Egyptian and sweet as can be. I’m not going to lie and I mean this in the best way possible; her father is exactly like what I picture an Australian man to be. He looked, talked and acted just like a man from a big screen movie. I genuinely enjoyed spending time with them. He is as interesting as Cindy and has traveled and worked extensively in the Outback and all over the country. I was shown authentic boomerangs and learned the difference in the different types- none of which are the shape of the ones sold in souvenir stands. Fancy that! He had some very interesting artifacts and I was pleased and honored that he would share them with me. This is the side of traveling that I am getting by staying with locals. I am excited for my time with friends in Sydney.
After a nice long nap, I was up and ready for dinner. Japanese was the choice and Cindy knew of a new restaurant. No pictures, but it was not only cutting-edge cool, but the food was
very good. If today is the stick by which this trip will be measured, I am in for a super, incredible, amazing trip filled with friends, food and fun. I hope you will stay tuned and join me on the rest of this adventure. But, for now I must go. Margaret River wine country is becoming impatient for me to visit.
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