The Buchulla aborigines tell the story of a spirit, Yindingi, and his helper, K’gari, who’s job it was to make the land and sea. After working for a while, Yindingi suggested K’gari lay down and rest. When she awoke, she saw the landscape that Yindingi had created and she begged to be allowed to stay forever. Yindingi agreed, but K’gari could not remain a spirit. She was turned into an island. Yindingi covered her with flowers, forests, rivers, animals and people so K’gari would never be lonely. K’gari is the aboriginal name for Fraser Island in Queensland. It is a word that has come to mean paradise.
Hot!! It is hot here!
So here we are, living in Queensland and so far it’s been….well, an adjustment. I don’t know why I thought we’d just jump into it and be fine. It is really, really nice here it’s just the weather. Getting use to summer in November is not as easy as it sounds. Especially if you’re someone who loves autumn. It’s my favorite time of year! I don’t like being cold, I don’t like having to go out in freezing rain, I don’t like all the mud, but for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s supposed to be cold! You can keep the February freeze and the March mud, but I want to crunch in the leaves while trick or treating, I want my windows to fog up while the turkey is cooking, I want Santa to not get overheated in his big red suit!
Ok, enough complaning. Who comes to Australia and complains? I knew it would be a summertime Chrismas going into this thing so I just have to suck it up. Come on, breathe!
Everyone is incredibly nice, we’ve even been invited to Christmas by the check out lady at the local Kmart! Not a bad deal! Really though, people are very kind and I know once we get more comfortable in our surroundings, things are going to be great!
We arrived in Sydney bright and early this morning. And by bright and early, I mean 6am! I had visions of myself standing out on the deck taking in the sights as we glided quietly into Sydney Harbour. It was not to be. Instead, I peeked out our stateroom window as we came along side Harbour Bridge to dock at Circular Quay (pronounced key). The kids slept until after 7 and we had ordered breakfast in our rooms the previous night so at 7:30am it arrived and we had a leisurely breakfast in our rooms. No rushing to find an open seat in the dinning room or having to get up 5 and 6 times because I forgot something. It was perfect. Besides, what could I have taken pictures of in the dark anyway!
We spent a lovely morning in Sydney, walking around the Quay to the Opera House for the token tourist photo. Then into town just a little to some of the shops.
It was sad getting back on board for the trip up to Brisbane as all of our friends had disembarked in Sydney to continue their travels elsewhere. We were staying onboard for two more days to Brisbane, which was actually part of a larger cruise that circumnavigated Australia. Now that would have been neat. But we had a house to get to and needed to get settled after such a long voyage.
If only we had left just five minutes later, we would have had the most beautiful sunset over the bridge and opera house.
Noumea was the most ‘modern’ stop we’ve been to since Honolulu. It was very pretty, very hot too. There was a nice market in town with everything from food to used books to remote-controlled airplanes. French is the language here and since we don’t speak French, there was a lot of charades happening in the local shops.
We were able to stop at a supermarket and get a few snacks before getting back on the ship. The kids each got a kids magazine, which was in French, but they enjoyed looking at the pictures.
At the end of the market area there was a stage. A group of woman sang traditional songs while a group of about 8 men in tribal costume prepared to dance. A woman on stage explained, first in French then in English, that this was a traditional welcome song for the people coming from the ship. It was really neat, I wish I had some audio from it, but pictures will have to do.
On board the ship, most of the employees are Indonesian or Malaysian. They decorated the entire dinning room and made traditional food. It was really fun to see the servers dressed up and to see all of the Indonesian and Malaysian objects displayed around the room. There was even a lion dancer!
This was a tender stop, meaning there is no docking area for the ship. Instead, we would be taking the life boats to a pier. There was a small shop set up for souvenirs but mainly, it was a beach day. It was actually nice to not have to think about anything but sand and waves. I know it seems like all we do is go to the beaches, but it is actually a lot to take in when we come to a new port and this was the third port in a row, so very tired.
The markets here were beautiful and right on the water. The colorful sarongs and dresses were everywhere. We walked through the market then took a water taxi to a beach only metres from the ship. It was a great day and definitely fun for the kids who loved the water taxi and were dying to get to the beach to build sandcastles with coconuts for decoration.