Thursday, December 31, 2009

The almost $200 banana..

Time is moving so quickly if I do not record our trip every few days, I will forget. I am right now on the plane from Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. It is hard to believe our trip is already half over..

Our last day (yesterday) in Melbourne we went on a very long tour on the “Great Ocean Road” a 150 mile or so road that follows the ocean starting about 2 hours from Melbourne. We were on a small tour bus, only 8 people, which made it cozy and nice. The other folks were from other countries, one couple from Auckland so we got a bit of the lay of the land before we even arrive there. The day started at 7:00 AM. We were driven to our first stop on the beach where we enjoyed “Tea and Lamingtons.” Lamingtons are little cakes that are so good it makes you want to keep eating them so I am glad they probably do not make them in the states. Our first view of the ocean was spectacular but this was only followed by even more fantastic beaches as the day went on. We saw a forest with Koala Bears, a Rain Forest and ultimately were taken to “The 12 apostles” which are 12 monolithic structures jutting out from the ocean in majestic form. It was so beautiful words cannot even describe it or pictures capture it. The flies and people were out in force at this magnificent tourist attraction. So that dampened the experience a bit. That and the fact that we were whisked away pretty quickly from one site to another. If we had it to do over again I think we would rent our own car. Although the roads were pretty narrow and windy so that may have been a challenge on the left side of the road and all…H and I agreed it was probably best to let someone else have that task this time. There were several cyclists on this road..I can see why-it is a gorgeous place to ride. But the shoulder is narrow and think I would pass on that one too…The day ended about 10:00 PM back at our hotel (they fed us lunch and dinner too-quite nice)..

We had already packed for today’s trip. What a challenge to keep each suitcase under 20 KG!! I think we carried on board more than we checked. The airport today was also more of a challenge, I guess because it was International but all went well and we will arrive in NZ at 3:30 PM New Years Eve, hopefully with our tour guide for the next part of the trip awaiting us. We are doing a self drive tour but a company has arranged everything for us. So far, so good-we shall see as we go how good of an idea that is!

To step back a couple of days, my favorite day in Melbourne- we woke up and met one of my Internet friends, Alison for breakfast. We have met now 2 people I have met online that live in Melbourne-how cool is that! She was as delightful in person as her blog is..Felt like we already knew each other so well from blogland..We breakfasted in a little cafĂ© in one of the “arcades” (sidewalk malls). It was lovely!

Following breakfast we made our way over to the IMAX Theater in Melbourne, the 3rd largest IMAX in the world to see the ever so popular “Avatar.” I was a little hesitant knowing my seasick tendencies at these big screen, up close, things moving around in 3-D things, so I took a half of an Australian seasick pill and was fine on that account. The theater was packed but we had great seats and the funky 3-D glasses. The movie is pretty long and although I wish it was not so violent, it was a familiar theme..Bad guys vs. good guys in ultra spectacular images that will for sure earn these movie lots of Oscars. I loved it!

From there we went back and packed our bags, then headed out for more fantastic Chinese food (H can’t get enough of the real deal) before making our way to the live theater to see “Jersey Boys.” I really did not have high expectations of this play as anything that is not really “Broadway” is always a little suspect but I was sorely wrong. It was one of the best plays I have ever seen. The acting, the music and the great music and did I mention the music?!? It is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and every hit was done to perfection. At the end of the show, the crowd went wild, in their seats. I stood up immediately for a standing “O” and looked around for those to follow and alas no one did. I guess standing ovations are a bit over the top for the Aussies. I finally sat down when I saw I was the only one. Hopefully the cast saw my little one man standing ovation for them. They were FANTASTIC! The perfect ending for a perfect day.

At home I guess things are pretty cold because we heard from Heather that our pipes at home have frozen. Damn! We had this happen a few years ago and remembered we had called the city of ABQ to come out and fix it so she did and they did and now all is well-thank you Heather! So nice to know she is checking on things while we are halfway around the world. Our next door neighbor sent us pics of our house covered in snow. This all seems like another planet away as we sweated around with 100 degree heat at the beach yesterday.

I had to dump some of my clothes to pare down the suitcases. It is amazing on how very little I can live with. This trip is teaching me this as well as a lot of other things. H and I travel so well together, which is good when you spend 24 hours a day together! We are best buds as well as married and tonite we celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary!

Addendum: I think our plane must have crashed and we have died and gone to heaven. We saw the New Year/anniversary in last night from our 5 star balcony in our 5 star Suite at the Auckland Hilton. They even have a “pillow menu” and a teddy bear on the beds and chocolates and bath soaps galore. We are on the harbor and at dinner at the most beautiful restaurant then watched fireworks at midnight off our balcony. WOW!

Only glitch came when a cute little dog at the airport (little innocent looking Beagle) sat by me and I guess that meant I had fruit in my bag and come to find out dang! I did have a banana (H tried to tell me I had taken one from Australia but I did not remember-duh!)…The guy at customs could have charged us $200 but took pity on the stupid Americans and did NOT charge us. That would have made for a very different arrival to NZ. BUT we got off lucky. And that dog was so darn cute-who knew?

We had banana cake last night to celebrate the almost $200 banana fiasco!


LBTEPA said...

So many possible comments
- it was a highlight of my year to meet you two as well :)
- well you will have to come back one day and take your time along the Great Ocean Rd!
- oh no, they are so strict at NZ customs - glad they let you off the banana fine!
- happy anniversary!

Tania said...

That sounds sooo incredible!!! I would love to get out there one day!! Why did you have the banana just a snack? :) Those tricky little beagles will get you every time!! I am glad that you are happy with your NZ accommodations!! Sounds beeeeutiful!!!! Happy anniversary to you and my uncle!! I love you both!!! Can't wait to read the next post!! Oh.. and happy 2010!!!

Flamin' Mo said...

beware the banana sniffing beagles! Sounds like you are having the time of your lives over there. I'm loving reading about it!