Sunday, 9 September 2012

Luggage returned

Against all the odds my luggage was found (nobody has said where!) It was delivered to my door this evening, so I've been reunited with my's been three days since I used it last! :-) Boogie board is a little more battered than it used to be but will probably still work ok. I'll just tell the other surfers that I had a run-in with an Ozzie shark! well this concludes my blog - I'll leave you with a picture of my darling baby asleep on the pile of clothes I now have to wash since they were returned to me after all!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

I'm in England...luggage is not!

My oversize baggage was put in a white cage at Melbourne and I thought at the time that it looked a bit dodgy...after waiting for two hours while they unloaded baggage at Manchester and then searched the cargo baggage they decided that mine wasn't there. It may be delivered tomorrow, or it may not...I strongly suspect that it is still in the white cage in Melbourne! Becky's parents are driving us home from Manchester airport after waiting all that time, bless them. We left Port Douglas 41 hours ago and counting!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

For future reference...

...never try to put your entire arm in a Dyson hand drier -it squeaks menacingly and blows your arm into a funny shape. And after all that my arm still smells of a cacophony of perfumes from the duty free. One hour to go...

Travel zone

We haven't even left Australia yet and we've been "travelling" for eleven hours! I am well and truly floating in the "zone" now. For those of you who have never done a long-haul flight, let me describe the zone in a bit more detail (why does my phone think I want to say 'butt' every time I wasn't to write 'bit'?! How often do people use butt in everyday conversation for goodness sake? I think it's because my language is stuck on US English and I cant get it to change to UK English...grrr!) Back to the zone. So, the majority of the time you walk along with a glazed expression on your face, seeking only that information that is relevant- gate numbers, fight delays, check-in times, that kind of thing. You sit for incredibly long periods of time staring into space, interspersed with merry trips into shops where you plan to spend at least 45 mins closely examining every souvenir, exciting shop keepers with talk of purchasing a last-minute didgeridoo, and then coming to your senses moments before you part with your remaining cash (and realising you already have a cumbersome boogie board strapped into your rucksack and fitting in a didgeridoo just isn't going to happen!) and exiting the shop quietly while they are in the store room (I'm elaborating, but that's the way scenarios go when you're in the zone)

Then, you go to the toilet for the fifteenth time just for something to do and sit awhile in there just for a change of scenery. You consider the best way to use up Australian dollars. Having given up the didgeridoo idea you consider useful body shop products, until you realise that they are all bigger than 100mls so you cant take them in your hand luggage (and your checked-in baggage is full of boogie board). So you use the most expensive tester of body lotion over as much of your body as it is decent to expose and then leave quietly. You consider food, but you have that feeling of already having eaten aeroplane snacks all day so you're not entirely hungry though you do feel vaguely empty. You consider Australian animal finger puppets, at only $5 each they're a bargain...but there are a lot of indigenous animals and you don't have enough for the full set. Unable to decide whether you are more likely to use a wombat or an echidna in a workshop you give up the whole idea, decision-making is not a great quality of the zone.

You realise you have lost track of what souvenirs you have bought for what people, but decide that the principle of buying souvenirs in an airport is just all wrong and that they'd probably rather have nothing than a t-shirt that says "Somebody who loves me has spent 5 hours in Melbourne airport and got me this t-shirt."

You check the board to see if check-in is open yet, realise that it is only five minutes since you last checked and still over four hours until the flight.

Then you decide to blog, and supplement your entry with a photo of chocolate coated peanut brittle.

And there are still four hours to go...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

And we're off!

Well, the second pair of sunglasses has broken, and my underwater camera has finally leaked water into the lens so now it only films through a sexy's obviously time to come home. We've made it as far as Brisbane so far...and I have watched a whole film minus the last eleven minutes...if they haven't got "Salmon Fishing on the Yemen"on one of the next three flights I will never know which guy she chooses!

I've also managed to leave my snorkel in Port Douglas."How is this possible, a snorkel is huge?!" I hear you cry! Well, it was sitting on a rolled up blanket on the floor which I have only needed one night...a couple of nights ago. On this night as I scrabbled in the dark for a little warmth, I think it may have got folded in between the blanket and where it was tucked into the base of the bed. Grr... I've asked Jeanette if she can post it to Brisbane for me in the hope that Sian's parents who are currently visiting have space to bring it back to UK for me, and if they don't, it it doesn't get there before they leave, then Annabel can have a late birthday present from me! It's only been used about four times, mind you there are more drastic things I could have left behind. I've remembered all my limbs (plus spares) and most of my soul is already waiting for me in old blighty...

What am I doing here?!

Bizarre end to the evening...had a lovely meal out with Jeanette and Alan as it's our last night and then went to see the famous cane toad racing! Cane toads were introduced into Australia to get rid off a bug that was eating the sugar cane but unfortunately the bug could fly and the toads couldn't... so they bred and bred until they caused havoc to Australian flora and fauna!

And then they decided at The Iron Bar to start racing them...involving using a party blower to encourage your toad to jump off the table. Unfortunately (fortunately?!) our ticket numbers weren't pulled out of the hat so we didn't get to pick up our toad out of the bucket, kiss it and place it on the table!

Like I said...I did wonder what I was doing there!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Port Douglas Market

This morning we pottered around the Sunday markets again. I'm not usually one for shopping but I really enjoy getting lost in this market and seeing all the arts and crafts and trying homemade specialties. For example, cane juice pressed by someone pedalling a bike which turned two wheels through which the cane was fed, or cassowary cake, which was blander than I expected but still quite nice. On second thoughts that might be cassava cake...I'm guessing you're not allowed to kill the endangered cassowary especially with the intent of putting it in a cake!

I picked up another souvenir which I won't be able to fit in my bag on the way home without throwing away half my clothes, but it was a good buy! Last week I bought a wooden rake the size of my first finger, just because it was only a dollar! I plan to use it in my home- made zen garden. It's all part of the zen me that I am planning for September. You heard it here first! (apart from one person reading who heard it on its conception in July!) (I may need reminding of this once I've gone back to school)

This afternoon the waves were big so I finally got some dramatic boogie boarding action! The calm surf has given me all the steering and wave catching practice I needed so now I'm not unlike superman on a board! (or something like that...) Hopefully it will stay rough for another couple of goes tomorrow...but I tell you its exhausting! Particularly fighting against the waves buffeting against your stomach in order to get back out so that you can catch a wave back in again. Usually you have to stand against anything between six and ten waves to get back out to where you want to be, but there is something strangely addictive about it. If anyone is reading this thinking "I must have a go", get in touch with me when I get home and we'll make a plan for Scarborough!!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Emma Tatnall

I am almost convinced that the name Tatnall had some historic Australian background because out here people don't look at me funny and make me spell it every time I say it. Also there is a "Tatnall Cottage" somewhere out here that we visited fifteen years ago.

And the most exciting thing...we were watching "Spicks and Specks" (an Australian soap) and at the end my name came up on the credits! I have never seen/met/heard of anyone else with my name! If you click on the name, you will see a cast list and find that I am a production assistant!

Breakfast with the birds

'The Habitat' in Port Douglas is famous for "Breakfast with the Birds" and "Lunch with the Lorikeets" so we decided to try the former and arrived at 8am hungry in anticipation if an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast! There was delicious fruit, cooked bacon, sausages, eggs & beans, croissants and other pastries (my personal favourite!), cereal (why fill up on this?!), juices and tea & coffee...And the only limiting factors were how much you could fit in your stomach, and how much the birds stole from you should you leave your filled plate on the table to get another cup of coffee!

Well, we packed away as much as we could and then went round the rest of the habitats -grassland, wetlands and rainforest. There were some interesting and informative feeding tours, and we were lucky enough to be there on the one day a week that they feed the crocodiles. It's quite impressive when 4.2 metres of crocodile launches itself in the air to grab a dangling chicken!
We also stroked a snake, a baby crocodile and feed the kangaroos, but there were a lot less people around than at the other place we visited from Sydney. Also the animals all had the freedom to roam, only the quoll was in a cage and it was a big one. The staff were friendlier and gave more interesting talks and at this place the koalas were only allowed to 'work' for 30 mins every 3 weeks. Becky cuddled a koala...or rather it clung to her shoulders with its sharp claws as if she was a tree, but she still managed to smile for the camera! I had some close encounters with kangaroos/wallabies which were really lovely...I tempted them over for food and they let me stroke them in return :-) It was a bit of a mission stopping the magpie geese from pecking the food out of my hands and there were some pretty greedy moorhens too running aggressively towards me, but I managed to distract them with scattered food while the kangaroos ate out of my hands.

I forgot to take a picture for you, sorry, but I must tell you one last thing- I saw a sea eagle today, flying over the sea (funnily enough!) while Becky was using my bodyboard. An impressive sight even without binoculars because it was close enough to see its white head and dark wing tips with the naked eye. Brilliant!