Little Citizens of the World

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Home Sweat Home (yes, I mean sweat!)

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!


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G’day Sydney!

Sydney Opera House

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.

Not a great shot but there they are together!

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.

Sunset over Sydney

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Noumea, New Caledonia

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.


Traditional Dancer

Welcome dance

Welcome dance

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Indonesian Night

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!

Our amazing servers

Our amazing servers

Marionettes and masks from Java

Marionettes and masks from Java

Lion Dancer

Lion Dancer

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Easo, Lifou, New Caledonia

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.

Traditional hut

Ship, sea and sand

Back to the lifeboats

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Port Vila, Vanuatu

The markets here were beautiful and right on the water.  The colourful 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.

Food market in town

In the souvenir markets

Gorgeous beach near the ship

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Suva, Fiji

Bula!!  We were greeted by tons of Fijians shouting “Bulla!” super loudly as we disembarked.  I believe it means ‘hello’.  Fiji is stunning, and hot!  it’s definitely not as “modern” as the US.  I don’t like to use that word but I can’t think of the one I want.  The consumerism of the US doesn’t really exist here.  Yes, there was a McDonalds right in the centre of town and, I admit, it kind of dented the illusion for me.  But people weren’t driving the latest cars or wearing brand names, they were just doing their own thing and doing it happily.  I’ve never seen such happy people.

Also, they took great pride in beautifying their streets.  Every inch of lawn was covered in beautiful flowers.  There are a lot of islands in the roads and every single one was perfectly manicured with tropical gardens.

Local bus

One of the main streets