Friday, October 12, 2007

Blue Mountains or Bust! Sydney and surrounding area, Australia: Oct 6th

We had a hard time getting everyone rallied to get on the bus again. Like obedient children we lined up and took our seats. The trip began with a stop at a park where we had breakfast with the animals. The breakfast was poor but we got to photograph some of Oz’s most beautiful animals. We got to pet a wombat, a strange 70 lb nocturnal marsupial that was oh so huggable even though she was yearning for a good day’s sleep. We saw koalas precariously perched in trees as they slept. We had our pictures taken with a sweet koala mom with a baby in her pouch. She only put up with us only because she was being fed continuously eucalyptus leaf offshoots. The handler said these leaves were like caviar to her and she refused to eat any of the old leaves. From there we walked among kangaroos, emus, and sheep. We saw kookaburras sitting on a gum tree brand and fruit bats hanging upside down.

Then back in the bus for 2 hours to the Blue Mountains with great anticipation. We stopped for a 10 minute view of the landscape. This was breathtaking and has to be comparable to the majesty of our Grand Canyon. Elaine walked up to the Aboriginal that was at this overlook. He said to her do you know what happens when a woman stands behind an Aboriginal male? Elaine learned she is now betrothed to him! Congratulations Elaine, sorry Steve! A lunch followed at a beautiful Victorian hotel complete with ornate stained glass and painted ceilings. Once again, we were served and ate in record time! Then on to shopping in the village of Leaura. One interesting side note on the way home was a stop at the home of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The coolest thing about that is that it was totally off the grid. The site created enough solar power to power the Olympics and were still able to give back to the grid. Note: this was the site of the 2007 World Dragon Boat Championship.

The night was young. Jim, Penni, Louise, Marianne, Jeanne, Peter, Karen, Roberta, Elaine, Glenna, and Pam took up Jeanne’s recommendation and experienced the Lord Nelson Pub and their great brewed beer. We first were entertained and took pictures of the silhouette of a man showering across the street. We had a jolly old time and a great evening of cheer.

Livona, Trish, and Mary Ellen ate at the Grace Hotel’s café and spent hours talking, giggling, and enjoying each other’s company. They enjoyed having a front row seat for the Sydney Walk for the Cure where they got to take in pink power once again.

Ann Marie, Linda, Mary Alice, Red, Jane, Paula, Beth, Joel, Gisella, Tingo, and Cheryl were lucky enough to snag tickets to this season’s opera, Tales of Hoffman. It was as intimate as any of the best theaters in NYC. Though the plot line was unmemorable, everything else about it was unforgettable. The acoustics, seating, voices, choreography, costumes, and staging were magnificent. Being able to actually view the pit orchestra was a treat. The voices were so incredible that if you had closed your eyes you would have thought it was Pavarotti singing to us! Did we mention the bathrooms? Ask us to see the photos.

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