Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 1: I can't believe I am actually in Australia!!!

 That's right, I am living it up in the Southern Hemisphere as we speak!

Today Phoebe and Liam had to both work, so I am enjoying a bit of down time by myself in their lovely little home. Just so you know. I am sitting in a big house on a hill that has rainforest all around it and a stunning view of the rainforest covered mountains from the back windows. All the windows and doors are open to let in air as there is no air conditioning and I could not be more comfortable. I really do love my life right now.

I will take this opportunity to bring you up to speed on my adventure thus far...

I guess we'll start at the airport when I left - my flight from Phoenix to LAX was well enough except for the 30 minute delay. It made for a stressful transfer through LAX (which is a horrible airport). to add to my already shortened transfer time, I also was stopped at security for random extra testing where they had to swab my hands and run the swab through a machine. After that pointless exercise they sent me on my way. I made it to my gate just in time to board, but luckily that flight was also delayed. I sat down at the gate only to immediately be called to the desk and there was asked about my Australian visa - again, another pointless questioning - and then I sat down. The flight from LAX to Sydney was the most worrisome flight because I don't sleep well on planes and often get squirmy... but miracle or miracles the two seats next to me were empty!!!! I got to stretch out to sleep the whole way there!
Our flight started with a welcome from John Travolta on the screen in front of me (I'm sorry I thought I was flying on an Australian Airline, why is John Travolta talking to me?). I tried my hardest from that point on to stay awake. Our dinner meal was going to be served within the first 3 hours of the flight, and I wanted to wait to sleep till after that. I made it about 20 minutes after take off before I was out. I woke up a couple hours later to see the people around me with empty dinner trays. In a panic I called the attendant to see if I could still get food cause I was starving and she happily brought me a tray - it was the fish instead of chicken like I requested... but I was so eager to go back to sleep I didn't care. After dinner I set my watch to Sydney time and fell back asleep. I woke up 3a Sydney time as rested as I was going to get and proceeded to watch Water for Elephants and Thor. They served us breakfast around 5a and then we landed at 7:45a Friday Sydney time (2:30p Thursday Arizona time).
Since my flight was late getting into Sydney, I had even less time to get through Australian customs in Sydney, so I was racing like a mad woman again. I stood in the passport line for 30 minutes (where the passport man told me I had a beautiful smile) and then the line for actual customs for another 20 minutes (where I declared that I had a whole box of twinkies and they let me go through no sweat - for those of you who don't know, Australia has THE STRICTEST customs EVER! They don't like any type of food or animal product entering their country from elsewhere. Foreign objects tend to create havoc for their eco-system). After customs, I raced to my gate, when I saw they hadn't boarded yet I ran to the bathroom only to start washing my hands and have them call last boarding call for my flight... holy moly! (due to my rushed state I left my hat in the Sydney bathroom. It is actually no matter cause I have since gotten a WAY cuter hat here.)
I made my flight from Sydney to Cairns (where the in flight movie was Water for Elephants) and made it to Cairns with no sweat! It was only as we were flying along the coast that it truly hit me that I was in Australia!!

Australian Coast

Elephant shaped pennisula
I landed at Cairns Airport and in just a few short steps I was running like a crazy woman toward Phoebe. We probably scared most people around us with our screaming and crying and hugging! It was so great to see her!
We promptly got my bags and got into her car and drove the 1.5 hour drive up toward Mossman. I attribute the excitement of being in Australia and being with Phoebe to my burst of energy.
The drive to Mossman is spectacular! Phoebe and I kept reminding each other that I was in Australia!

Along the way we passed over a river and Phoebe told me to check the banks for Crocodiles. Low and behold, there it was. What first looked like a log, noticeably had legs and was in fact a crocodile in the wild... creepy.

Before getting finally home to Mossman, I was up for some walking around after being on plane for the better part of 30 hours, so we stopped at Port Douglas, a beach town just 20 minutes from Mossman.
Port Douglas Chapel

First picture in Australia on the Coral Sea

Port Douglas main street

Me with an awesome tree!

Phoebe and I together again!!!
After 2 years 1 month and 20 days!
After a little time around Port Douglas we continued on home to Mossman. Phoebe and her boyfriend Liam live with a couple of Liam's co-workers in a super cute house right outside of Mossman. It is on a hill which has the most spectacular view of the mountains of the Daintree Rain forest!
Phoebe and Liam's backyard

Phoebe had awesome welcome gifts to Australia for me, including a rain poncho, Australian kids' storybook, earings, and a lovely Kangeroo hat!

The latest Australian fashion 
I also brought gifts for Phoebe which included Twinkies! They don't have them in Australia at all and Phoebe wanted to know what he fuss was all about.

I then went straight on to unpacking and discovered that my face wash had exploded in my bag... sad day.

Sun set from the back yard. That tree on the right is also full of scrub turkeys. 
Liam came home from work (he's a paramedic in Mossman) and made burritos for dinner and I was in bed by 8:30p. I consider it a great feat to have made it all the way till then without completely passing out.

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