Welcome to Sydney!

Welcome to Sydney!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy New Year!

We've not posted in awhile. It's amazing how busy you can be doing a lot of nothing. We've both enjoyed a nice break from work and job-hunting. We have spent some nice time with friends here over the holidays, everything from Christmas breakfast with friends to nights at our local pub with friends.

From Christmas through end of January (Australia day), things are pretty quiet here. I have said to my American friends, think about if Christmas were in June, that's kind of what this is like. Kids are out of school, everyone is going on vacation. I go back to work on Jan 3 and Dan resumes the job hunt. We decided to explore our local, Rozelle and Balmain, shops and restaurants this week. We certainly enjoyed a few pubs, especially, The London Hotel. Most of the shops were closed. I guess this is the time that most people take their vacations.

We are having some friends over on New Year's Day for Mexican food and jalapeno margaritas. I couldn't find any fresh jalapenos, so we are trying something new with the kind in the jar.

We ate here last night with friends Universal Restaurant. We had these amazing desserts, but the pictures did not turn out very well. Dan had one called Queen Bee, which had a scoop of ice cream with fairy frost on it, that's what they call cotton candy here. I had one called, Snap, Crackle, Pop, that looked like a bowl of cocoa crispies in milk with a slice of "bacon" on it, which was chocolate. For the third dessert, I have to first explain what ice cream treats are called here. Traditional ice cream treats here are called very different things. One of these treats is called golden gaytime. Our friend ordered gaytime with nuts as her dessert, which was basically a deconstructed version of the traditional ice cream. Very yummy, nuts, chocolate, ice cream! I have had one of the paddle pops too. It's like a fruit pop filled with jelly in the centre...way too sweet for me!

Finally, we booked our vacations to New Zealand and back home to the US (in Feb and March respectively). Can't wait to see everyone!

We're going to see fireworks tonight. I'll try to post some pics! Happy New Year!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Jervis Bay Trip

It's been awhile since we've written. I have been sick, yes, again, and then working like a fiend. Dan's been busy networking and starting to look for jobs. He's even had a couple of interviews. With Christmas around the corner and rainy days seeming never ending in Sydney (yes, it is unusual apparently), we decided to take a family trip and head down the Great Pacific Drive for a trip south to Jervis Bay.

We took the doggies and headed about 140 km, or a little over 70 miles. It was a gorgeous drive! It was a slow drive too. The speed limit is 100 max, or about 50 miles per hour. Usually, you are going slower. I think our average GPS speed said 65 km, or less than 40 mph. Anyway, it took us several hours and we enjoyed the drive, but were very glad to see where we were staying. It was a house just down the road from Hyam's Beach, noted in a world record book to be the whitest sand in the world.

Here is the view from the living area.

This is a picture of the beach right in front of our house, the whitest sand in the world. It was a partly cloudy day, but the water was so clear and the dogs enjoyed walking on the rocks! It was too cold to swim, about 70 degrees, but we enjoyed the beach every day.
We also thoroughly enjoyed watching the cockatoos and lorikeets from the porch every day with a glass of wine. Here are some of our favourite pictures of them. There were even black cockatoos there, but our pictures didn't turn out as well.

We spent two days resting and exploring Booderee National Park. It is breathtaking. We stopped at multiple beaches and spots, including Murray's Beach, Green Patch, the Lighthouse, Cave Beach. We loved them all. We will definitely come back here. Here are a few pictures. We did actually see about 10 kangaroos by a campfire BBQ, including a red one, but didn't snap a picture.

Before we even got to Murray's Beach, we saw an echidna. He looks kind of like a porcupine, but has a bill like a duck (kind of). He is a little hard to see here.

 These are 2 black cockatoos, also right outside Murray's Beach, hard to see how cool they are.

This is our first view of Murray's Beach...aaahhh!
Just one example of the interesting little caves and things on the beach.
 Here I am near a big piece of dead wood.
The water was crystal clear on all the beaches except where it was so deep that it looked almost black.
We seen kookaburras a lot in Sydney, but this was an especially close up picture.

Something slimy and weird that washed up...maybe some kind of algae? Kind of pretty.

This is what all the rocks in the water looked like.
These are the little snails on parts of these rocks under water.
These are the little jellyfish on the shore.
This is me trying to get pictures of surfers and missing them all!

This is Dan near the lighthouse where the track ends.

The views from the lighthouse were breathtaking for 180 degrees.

And, on our way back from the lighthouse to our house on our last full day, we hit the motherload! A roo very close to us! We got one shot of it and the lighting was a bit funny, but here she/he is!
This was an amazing place and one of the most beautiful I've seen in the world. We will definitely be back here again!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sculptures by the Sea part 2

Here are some more of the great pieces of art we saw!

 Ok, so not a sculpture, but I couldn't help getting this ocean shot. So beautiful with this smooth rock over it...
 This is a good example about lack of perspective. It is probably about the size of a car or larger, but there was no point of reference.

 This was one of my favourites. I took several shots of it. It is hard to see how beautiful the granite it is made of it and how shiny.

Really recommend this to anyone who has the chance to see it!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Beach Weekend and Sculptures by the Sea

We had a wonderful weekend! Nearly 80 degrees (which feels VERY hot in Australia), sunny, and lots of fun activities. On Saturday, we drove out to Dee Why Beach, a beach north of the city about 24 km from us (12 miles) and set up a shady tent-like thing Dan bought (kind of a portable cabana) and laid in lounge chair and enjoyed the beach. So relaxing!

Here is our view from our personal 'cabana.' We had a lovely lunch on a small cafe with a view here as well.

Today was a beautiful day too. We went with our friends Ellen and Tom (who said we could use their names on here) and walked the Sculpture by the Sea. This is an annual event where artists display amazing sculptures along the beach from Tamarama Beach to Bondi Beach (about 10 miles from us maybe). We parked at Clovelly beach, so walked even further. We arrived at about 9 am, which we all agreed was too late. The sun is just so strong here! We recommended getting there by 8 or so. We ran into our neighbors and friends who got there at half past seven, probably best if you want to walk both ways. We walked it one way and then enjoyed a late breakfast in a cafe at Bondi Beach and caught a taxi to our car...Lazy? Maybe. Smart, I think so! I apologize in advance. I'm posting A LOT of pictures. I know, at least, our friends Jerry and Rich at home will really want to see this. We thought of them the whole walk and know they would have greatly enjoyed the combo of both art and thes sea - two of their favourite things. We miss you both! So, here goes, so amazingly beautiful!

At Clovelly Beach, we saw cute little Aussie kids going to swim/surf class. Look how they ALL wear green caps due to sun exposure and sensitivity to skin cancer here.
 Ellen and Tom at the beginning of the walk.
 This old cemetery has a great view! What a beautiful spot to be laid to rest.

 Dan and I right before we entered the exhibits.
 The first sculpture we saw and one of my favourites!

 This was made out of recycled tires.
 This was made out of pieces of firewood.
I'll post more in the next post. Think I have a lot of pictures here!