Our first trip to Australia

It’s close to midnight in Sydney, Australia, where we just spent two weeks. We’ve been flying towards Honolulu a good 6 hours now. Three more to go. Our daughter is sleeping on my lap. The keyboard is propped up on a blanket and a pillow. My phone (on which I write) rests against her inflatable car-seat on the tray table to my right; if I lowered my own, it would bump into my little one’s head. I listened to Pride and Prejudice for a while, then Hubby and I watched The Count of Monte Cristo (One of our favorite movies). My body is tired. My eyes burning from wont of rest but my heart is full.
Full of excitement at the thought of being home soon, being warm soon.
Full of happy memories of the past two weeks.

“Wanna go to Australia?” I had asked my husband after receiving a promotional offer for discounted tickets to Sydney.
“We’ve always wanted to go. Why not now?” I had said.
“ We’ve been married 19 years… If not now, when?” I had said.
Three tickets were purchased within 30 minutes: this is one impulse buy we will never regret.

The trip started in spectacular fashion as a full rainbow greeted us when we landed and it kept on getting better.

I’ll never forget the gentleness of the kangaroo as it held my hand with both paws and happily munched on the feed I had brought along, its fur so soft, its eyes so full of curiosity.

I can still hear the koala bear chewing on Eucalyptus leaves as we posed for our souvenir photo. The cute fuzzy grey ball was solely focused on eating and totally ignoring us.

I’ll always remember our first morning in Sydney. Jet lag had woken us up at 5 am; we could go watch the sun rise over Bay Bridge and the Opera house. It was still pitch black and very cold when the taxi dropped us off at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Once the sky started lighting up, the cityscape glittered under the sunshine. Some scattered dark clouds dropped a passing drizzle of rain and offered us another beautiful rainbow. The magic spell was broken a minute later as I tripped and fell, my right knee taking the brunt of it. The hole in my jeans will forever remind me of the searing pain I felt. The gashes have not heeled yet but they will and the magnificent photo I took just before the accident will last for posterity.

I was glad I could still walk… and walk we did!

We took a leisurely stroll through the botanical gardens where we encountered our first black beaked white Ibis (we’ve dubbed them the “pigeons of Sydney” as we soon found out they were everywhere) and screeching white cockatoos.

We walked hours at the Sydney wildlife zoo and aquarium where we particular enjoyed our visits with the Tasmanian Devils, the Dugongs, the Penguins, and, our daughter’s favorite, the duckbill platypus.

We took careful steps as we explored the colorful tide pools of Susan Gilmore rocks.

We hiked through Glenrock national park all the way down to the spectacular Glenrock Beach.
We stood in awe at the bottom of centuries-old breathtaking cliffs painted in various shades of nougat and caramel. We ran awed fingers on the black veins of coal glistening under the ascending tide.
We stared at bright blue skies and miles of golden sand, their shimmer reflected in the sparkle of our eyes as we smiled and smiled, giddy to be the blessed witnesses of such beauty.

We took a sunset promenade by Nobby’s lighthouse.
We collected beautiful shells at Caves Beach.
We caught a glimpse of a sunbathing golden skink.
We breathed in the cold wind, dipped our feet in cold waves, and touched shiny smooth rocks, beautiful like jewels in the clear water.

When we were done exploring, hiking, and strolling, we relaxed with friends; we ate cauliflower pies; we visited bookstores and bought Australian classics (of course!); we enjoyed the view from our appartment on the 66th floor.

Before we knew it, departure day came. We packed our bags and drove to the airport. We boarded the plane and, as we looked out the window to wave goodbye to Sydney, we saw the perfect circle of a glowing full moon against a watercolored pink ski.
Australia bade us a grandiose farewell that measured up with everything else we’d experienced there, a silent invitation to come back… and we just might.


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