As promised, here’s a recap of my 12 day vacation to the land down under!!! I must warn you this will be quite a long post, but as with all of my posts – worth the read! =)
Our adventure began when my darling mom, my favorite travel buddy Lauren and lil’ ol’ me boarded a 14 hour Qantas flight to Australia’s third most populated city – Brisbane. Qantas is an awesome airline – they feed you non-stop (including ice cream) and you have your own TV with tons of movies and entertainment. I think I watched a total of 6 movies on my trip including the “Sex and the City” movie again! I also watched “The Happening” which was not so good but did cause me to scream really loud during one of the scary scenes and cause panic to the entire airplane. The flight attendant even came running to my aid. Whoops – my bad =).
Sooo 14 hours later we arrived at the beautiful city of Brisbane. The city is a modern architectural masterpiece. It kinda reminds of Chicago. We did a lot of sightseeing, eating and shopping – pretty much what I did the entire time I was in Australia or anywhere for that matter =). One of my favorite parts was when we visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and where I met my cuddly Serenity (see previous post). Luckily, a dingo did not eat my baby nor did I have one with me for him to eat.
We also got to feed kangaroos!!! There were heaps of them (I used the word again =)). I must admit they look different from what I see on TV. They were skinnier and looked a lot like deers. Here’s me and my mother petting “Joey”. My mom was definitely not scared of any of the animals:
And here’s me during my best kangaroo interpretation =). Joey didn’t seem too impressed.
And now we are off to Sydney!!! We took a short flight and rented a car to drive to my uncle’s. Yes I drove on the opposite side of the road!!! Yes it was a lil’ scary and I got honked at a few times, but it was definitely an experience. And so I finally got to meet my uncle and my mom was finally reunited with her big brother after 30 years!!! My uncle is a very funny man and looks just like my mom! My uncle and wonderful cousins took us out to a yummy Vietnamese dinner (at this point I was craving for some Viet food!) and I kept on making my 8 year old cousins say the word “lovely” and other phrases that showed off their fabulous Australian accents =). I soon realized that family is the same wherever you go. After all that’s what makes them family. I felt so comfortable around them and it was like we had known each other our whole lives. I was sad to leave them to move on with the rest of our trip, but I’m sure I will see them again. They promised to come to America next! Here’s my family from down under – yes those are all cousins and my uncle is standing next to my momma – told you they look alike!!
My mom stayed with my family while Lauren and I journeyed to downtown Sydney to do some more sightseeing and visit our friends from Sydney. As usual, we were armed with our handy travel guide and took full advantage of the great public transportation that exists outside of LA:
Sydney is truly a beautiful city with lots to see and do. Now you can’t go to Sydney without visiting the infamous Sydney Opera House. We took a ferry around the harbor and had this amazing view of the Opera House at sunset:
We also went to the famous Bondi Beach in Sydney. It was a beautiful day and we ate at this delicious restaurant called Icebergs. It had a perfect view of this:
Finally we got to reunite with our girlies!!! We love these girls! Lauren and I had met Jane and Sam on our trip to Greece 2 years ago (yes I love to travel!) and it was like we had met our Australian counterparts! CHEERS!!!
A few days later we were also sad to leave incredible Sydney. Fortunately we were heading to Melbourne where we heard has the best shopping in all of Aussie. Unfortunately, it was about 50 degrees and raining in Melbourne when we got there. Nevertheless, Lauren and I shopped til we dropped despite getting a lil’ wet in between. We stuffed what we could into our tiny suitcases (we only had carry-ons!). Here’s a few snapshots of in between the rain:
After Melbourne, we could not wait to get to Cairns where it was a sunny 80 degrees and where we would be snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef!!! We boarded another flight (I took 6 flights total!!!) and I realized how much I loved life when I looked out the plane window and saw this:
We went on a fun-filled tour to the reef where they dropped us off on this breathtaking beach:
So you know I had to get one of my feet-on-the-sand shots in!
Next I put these on my feet and was ready to find Nemo!!! =)
Ok so I didn’t find Nemo but I got to see heaps (there I go again =)) of colorful coral and swim (well not really swim because I can’t – I wore a wet suit AND a floaty) among schools of fish!! It was the best snorkeling experience of my life and I could not believe it when our tour guides told us the reef may be extinct in 10 years from global warming! I couldn’t help but again feel how fortunate I am to experience the things I get to in life. I’m feeling very thankful right now. And then I went back to Sydney to pick up my mom and we headed back to Cali and reality. *Sigh…*
So where am I going next???? I’ll let you know when I figure it out!! =) Stay tuned! =)