Saturday, September 16, 2006

16 - September 2006

Sitting in our room this morning, I happened to peek through the edge of a closed curtain to see a kangaroo sunning on the hill beside our bungalow!

While we weren't overly enamored with Hamilton Island--it's a bit overrun with golf-types, the happy hour set, men in Speedos, and tourists (mostly Japanese-speaking, it seems; even signs are in both Japanese and English)--we thoroughly enjoyed our slow-down time there. After all the sightseeing we've done over the last three weeks, these lazy days have been a most welcome respite. And the resort couldn't offer more or be more accommodating (it is a truly ideal family vacation spot, and we would have loved to have the kids with us!), the grounds are really stunning, and the bungalows are great.

We spent the remainder of the morning by the pool and beach soaking up our last Hamilton Island rays (figures, it was all sunshine and blue skies once we were set to leave!). That's when it hit us: we'd become nearly immune to the beauty of the tropical paradise surrounding us. If Hamilton Island had been our first stop in Australia, our jaws would surely still be dropped. I mean, ocean water can't possibly be that turquoise and sand can't be that white, can it?! Suddenly we were terribly jealous of the people just arriving, and we very much dreaded leaving.

Our chipper shuttle driver played "Don't Worry, Be Happy" on our three-minute ride to the airport (all the passengers oohed and ahhed as we passed a beautiful bride loading herself and her "frock" onto a golf buggy), and he had everyone laughing as they whistled and sang along with Bobby McFerrin. There really are "no worries" in the Whitsundays.

We arrived in Brisbane around 3:00 PM, used every last bit of Australian cash we had on hand to take a taxi from the airport to our hotel (the driver was a very kind Russian man who came here for university many years ago, fell for an Aussie girl, and never went home! Like most Queenslanders we've met, he can't understand why we spent any time anywhere else in Australia), and had a look around the major shopping metropolis just blocks from where we're staying. We hit some interesting spots, including a beautiful (and oddly housed) casino and an Internet station for die-hard gamers.

After putting our credit card through some paces, we shared a massive platter of chili potato wedges and char-grilled seafood, including king ocean prawns, coral scallops, reef fish, calamari, and mussels. What a dinner! We followed that with dessert back at the hotel in the form of hot tea and treats from a local chocolatier. Mmmm.

More on how to speak Australian:
--add an "r" to the end of any (and every) word ending in "a," as in "bananar" or "Alisar Ikedar"


Sonya said...

That casino used to be the State Treasury building. Hence the reason why it's called "The Treasury Casino". There's irony in that, wouldn't you say?

9:56 AM  
Alisa said...

Yep, we went inside and learned all about it. Really quite amusing and fitting, I suppose! It's clearly a highly successful venture, too--you should have seen the crowds!

4:19 PM  
twomels said...

Looks like you are having a wonderful time. I love all the pictures of the wild life. So glad you finally got to go on the trip. Suzie and Noby are doing an amazing job of caring for Sawyer and Sadie; I'm sure you already know that, though. And Sawyer appears happy every day at school. Now that I've seen those pictures of you two in the Great Barrier reef and the koalas, I'm going to have to go to Australia one day; if Melody is lucky and if we think Melissa can be a good girl, we'll try to scrape up the money and bring them, too.

Happy travels!

8:44 PM  
reednose said...

Reading about your adventure has made me realize just how little I know about Australia (and I never knew Tazmania was even a place you'd want to visit!). Your trip has been so well planned it seems, we'll have to make you two our trip planner if we ever take such a wild adventure. Alisa, I want a good belly shot in one of these pictures! Is chocolate a specialty in Australia like it is in Belgium? Remember, I never did get a birthday gift this year... yet. Just kidding!!!!

9:52 PM  

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