Sorry this is late, I was sure I had clicked on the Publish icon on Saturday… Oh, the jet lag.
We spent our last few days in Australia at the beginning of this week, soaking up sighting more of the incredible wildlife at our mountain cabin respite. The unbelievable bright coloring of one – female or male I know not, of a pair of small birds was most hard to capture as they repeatedly flitted around our car picking off the bugs. I finally was able to catch an image of the actual brilliance, as it was reflected in the car’s mirror! Can you see it? You can click on the image to enlarge it…
We returned to Cairns for our last two nights, but had not realized how far that is from Yungaburra – our meeting point for the evening and the following early morning tour to Atherton Tablelands to view more flora and fauna. We wanted to see a platypus, among others, for example. Not only was our drive to Yungaburra more than an hour, it was on a long, curvy mountainous road. We enjoyed the ride, but along the way became less and less confident of our success, as sadly the weather had turned inclement. On our own there we managed to visit the Curtain Fig Tree – a most unique formation from the various other Strangler Figs that we had seen in the Daintree, then after a light meal, our guide confirmed by phone that it was unlikely we would see much else. All was well as we were not looking forward to two round trips over that mountain anyway…
So we acknowledged our disappointment and enjoyed listening to a classical music station on our much earlier than planned return ride in the dark back to Cairns. And, we did see a little wildlife crossing the road visible by our bright headlights in the dark – a few different small creatures who might have been white tailed rats, mice or some form of marsupial… The closest we came to seeing the nocturnal wombat in all of our time in Australia was of images on road warning signs. I understand that they are about the size and shape of a pig or a hog, but it seems their face is more like that of a cat.
The next day in the wee hours we were up for our flight from Cairns to Sydney where we would have a brief layover before flying on to San Francisco. However, on awakening, we had a text advising us that our second flight was delayed for four hours. We were thankful that the message had not been about our first flight! Flying into Sydney in the early morning offered more and different views of the Harbor Bridge, which made the Opera House seem absolutely teeny from this angle, and, nearby downtown skyscrapers.
The airline provided vouchers to spend however we liked inside the airport eateries or shops to compensate for our delay. But, what would you do with four unexpected hours back in Sydney? Loren chose to stay inside the airport, while I chose to see the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Before my return train to the airport I was rewarded with another different view of the Harbor Bridge and Opera House. Distance can make such a difference in perception of the sizes of things!
We flew on QANTAS whose tagline is Spirit of Australia and with its creative kangaroo logo displayed on the tail fin. Onboard I watched Quest a newly released documentary about a family in North Philadelphia doing their best to make a positive difference in their community. I appreciated learning how Quest’s mother had taught him, “Instead of doing something destructive, do something constructive.”
We left Sydney to arrive in San Francisco on the same date but a day later, because of crossing the International dateline. In other words, we left on Monday, June 11 at 5pm, flew for 13 hours to arrive in San Francisco on Monday, June 11 at noon. It was fun but strange to experience the same day twice after seeing the sun set on the first one. Though this week has been more than a bit of a challenge with jet lag and waking up ready to start the day in the middle of the night. The day we arrived, we visited Loren’s Mom and sister have spent time with them each day since, visiting and, helping in ways we can.
While we missed watching with her the four sweep games that our Golden State Warriors played to win their third recent championship over Cleveland, we were in time to enjoy together their victory parade through an exuberant crowd in Oakland the next day. Even though she has already told me twice this week, “You need to continue to travel while you are able,” in making our difficult decision to come home for the time being, I believe that our regret at not being here now would outweigh our regret at giving up our dream, which we hope to have the fortune to resume at a later date.
In saying we are home, I must clarify that we are not disturbing the tenant who lives in our house. We have rented an AirBnB which is a 10 minute drive from Loren’s Mom’s home. This one is likely the most unique of our home stays, in that it is large enough to offer 9 comfortable bedrooms, where the owners request stays on a minimum of a month. That led me to want to learn the meaning of the term: boarding house. We are not at one because it does not include our meals. So it is more like a rooming house, or a lodging house. And our housemates are quiet and friendly.
We are enjoying this time to visit family and friends, and see familiar flora and fauna. Yes, those are deer below, seen on the street of our AirBnB. And, I was tickled to spot an image of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia on a delivery vehicle in the Bay Area traffic, which would have been foreign to me had we not been to Spain last summer. This is one example of a host of things I have learned abroad. I would be finished with this thought, except that I must comment more on the local traffic. It can be horrendous, sometimes requiring finding alternative routes unless one should want to sit still for hours… Enough said, except today I noticed the lettering on a route directional sign that I read with great interest: Fast, until I realized it was simply a faded sign pointing out East.
This coming week Loren and I are looking forward to visiting with some of the members of my family in California before I fly to New York mid-week for a very special someone’s High School graduation. I will conclude with another inquisitive observation based on our travels – how come American supermarkets refrigerate eggs while the rest of the world sells them from room temperature shelves?