Monday, February 28, 2011

The room of purple balloons

We are currently in Cairns, Austrailia where tourists flock to see the great barriar reef.  More on that later, this post will have us traveling back in time to Saturday, which was such a good day in Brisbane. 

It started with going to the market with Alison and Jen.  The market is basically a HUGE outdoor farmers market full of fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, olives, meat, flowers, etc.  It was awesome.  The fruit was so cheap and delicious.  We bought grocieries for dinner....and i could not resist buying (du-du-DAH)

A HUGE BOX OF LIMES!  I know i know.  Your are probably thinking what the heck do you need a box of 50 limes for (a valid question it turns out).  I couldn't resist.  It was only 5 dollars!  As Alison declared "the woman likes limes, ok!!"

After dropping our groceries off at Jen's house we headed to the Art Museum, which was so cool.  It was all interactive art!  Probably the best ever.  Here are the highlights:

A giant table of white lego

 The Wish Wall: it was this wall with probably thousands of wishes printed on ribbon. Not all the wishes were different but many were. 

 You picked your wish ribbon and then put a piece of paper with a new wish in the hole where you got your ribbon.  The gallery staff collect these and then the artist chooses which new wishes will be printed on ribbon.

One of this ribbons is Alison's, one is Jen's and one is mine. Can you guess whose wish is whose?

 Sticker sheets with Bindi dots on them.  "Nothing is ordinary" and "use these to see things in a new way" directed the sticker sheets.  There were people of all ages walking around the gallery with dots of all colors on their faces.

 The purple balloon room.  One of my favories.  It was literally a room full of purple balloons.  Only 5 people were let in at a time, for 2 mins each.  It was so fun.  So so fun.  We'll upload a video when we have access to a better computer!

A pool deck/room.  All of a sudden you were on this pool deck- and could see people "underwater".  If you went downstairs you could go into this pool room.  There was a layer of glass with a thin layer of water on it, which gave the effect of a pool.

Alison in the underwater part of the art display.  Note how she is swimming.

Ali really liked this one and so did i.  It was beautiful.  It was this mosaic, made entirly of mirrors. 

 My other favorite exibit you weren't allowed to take pictures in.  It was basically was a very zen room with four "pods" of linked coat hangers hanging from wires in the ceiling.  There were 50 or so zebra finches flying around- and when they landed on the coat hangers it pulled the wire and created a sound.  They were making the quiet background music like noises that were in the background. THIS is a video on youtube that shows the exhibit.  It was breathtaking.
After the museum we headed home and made dinner. Which was so good and we had lots of fun making it.  Cooking with Jen is always great and it is one thing that i really miss!  Of course dinner was delicious.  And what happened to our limes??

Well after one double recipie of limeaide, lime salad dressing, peanut thai sauce that had lime in it, lime popsicles, lime mini cheesecakes, and lime water.....

we had only used up 25 limes!!! But i guess that isn't bad, considering it was all in one night :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Here we are in Brisbane at Jen's house. Jen is Caryn's friend from grade 4 and a wonderful host! Here are the highlights:

Being in a house: although the Art's Factory pentagon-yurt thing was lovely, there are considerably fewer stumbling pentagon-mates here. A house is handy: Caryn has already baked and we are all up on this internet thing, planning away.

Koala Sanctuary: as cute as it sounds. Even cuter than Byron Bay's Institute of Cute. Man, I am getting schooled on cute with Caryn George around. The zoo had 130 happy koalas, many mostly-happy-seeming other animals and great little 15 min talks. We went to the talks on koalas (TOUCHED ONE!), birds of prey (SWOOPING AT OUR HEADS!), sheep hearding (DOGS RUNNING ON SHEEPS BACKS!), and platapuses (SHOOT VENOM FROM THEIR FEET!).

Eating out: Jen sure knows how to find a good place to eat! An Indian place, Sushi Train with a little round treadmill of goodness circling the tables, the Bunker (a converted old bomb shelter mini coffee house), Comfort (more cuteness), local fish and chips, and Thai Terrace.

Botanical Gardens: A tree walk for Ali! It was lead by a lovely middle aged woman who kept losing trees since her route had been disrupted by flood clean-up crews.

Future plans include heading up to Cairns Sunday to dive. Then we fly down to Sydney. After that yes, we are going to New Zealand. Yes, our flight goes into Christchurch first. Not to worry, we'll be sure to change our flights or hop a local flight to another town.

Love you!

Byron Bay, walk up to the lighthouse

Feeding the lorikeets

Alison, looking tres cute, with kangaroo, looking tres cute


It would have cost $32 to get pictures with the real live koalas (say whAt!?!), so we decided to do our own photo shoot in the gift shop. This one really liked me.


Jen at Sushi Train. Note train, imagine movement.

Jen in space.
aka flower market

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Byron Bay

So we haven't really said anything about where we currently are.  After landing in Brisbane on Thursday, we took a bus to Byron Bay (its on the coast, and about a 2 hour drive).  Byron Bay kind of reminds me of a tropical Tofino in some ways as it is a surf town full of hippy like people.  But it is much busier than Tofino, and larger.
We stayed overnight in The Arts Factory hostel, which is very neat.  They have free didgeridoo making sessions, yoga, hand drumming workshops, talent shows and live entertainment.  Oh also nature walks.  Alison, as I um...type... is on a nature walk. 

After one night at the Arts Factory we moved to a apartment style hotel room as Jen and her husband Kyle came down from Brisbane for the weekend.  Alison and I did surf lessons on Friday, and then did 'part two' of our lessons with Jen and Kyle on Saturday.  It was awesome.  I have surfed probably 5 times before, but it is something that i think takes alot of practice.  Needless to say, it is going to be a while before i can quit my job and become a professional surfer.  Actually, considering the only place i will have to practice when i return to Edmonton is West Ed water park, it is very likely that this may never happen.  I digress....

On Sunday we hiked up to the Byron Bay lighthouse which has amazing views of the surrounding beaches.  As we were looking down on a group of surfers we saw a bunch (that sounds like bananas....a school?  a pod?  I have no idea what a group of dolphins are!) of dolphins playing with surfers who were a ways from the shore. 

Today is Monday- our last day in Byron before we head to Brisbane to spend some time at Jen's.  We rented a surfboard and caught maybe 5 waves total between us.  But that was not for lack of trying!

For those who may be envious of the weather let me say that yesterday had me re-considering my dislike of winter.  I know, i know, it may seem that i am never happy.  But let me just say that 38* is a little too hot for this prairie girl.

(ps.  I tried to add pictures to this post but it kept 'rejecting' me.  thanks a lot google.  anyways we will post pictures soon!  for now you must just imagine white sand beaches, green green green trees, and aqua water!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Labyrinth walk

Feeling great, more comfortable with this traveling thing already.

Last night Jen (Caryn's friend who is living here), Caryn and I walked down to the beach at night. It was incredibly beautiful. The full moon was reflected off the water and bright enough to cast our shadows. It was still warm, but pleasant, and the sound of the ocean was good for this Saskatchewan kid.

While Caryn and Jen caught up I messed about on the beach. The sand is so fine and, from a practical point of view, very easy to work with (as in sand castles, duh). So, I made a labyrinth! Thought my labyrinth/camp champs would like to know my thoughts:

Very thankful. Thankful for Caryn, thankful that we can go on this trip. Must remember to be thankful for all this. For the first time in my many labyrinth walks I was thankful for labyrinths themselves. As I was walking out, I realized my labyrinth was going to be washed away (I know, quite a classic problem). Anyway, it really hit me how everything is temporary. Think about it. This trip, people, relationships, events. It reminded me to APPRECIATE. So, that is what I will try to do.

And I appreciate all of you. Thanks for all the comments on the last post, we are thinking about you daily. xo!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

32+ hours later...

Ali: So, we made it. After 32 + hours of flying (or waiting at airports), here we sit happily at the Arts Factory, Byron Bay, QLD, AZ

Caryn: Our flights were uneventful (which is a good thing). However Ali did chase down some children in the LAX airport, claiming they were famous. I ran the other way because i didn't believe her.

Ali: But seriously. Those guys are famous.

Caryn: She was smitten. swooning. star struck. blubbering even! she had to fan herself for like 15 mins after she got their 'agent' to take a picture of her with them.

Ali: Ok. I don't actually like the band, if you can even call them a band. Ok, I sorta do. It's a catchy song, I can't help it. Your vote: the end of culture or modern romance? take a look: - make sure to watch the My Girl video. (the girl is me, obvi)

Caryn: Clearly, i am out of the loop when it comes to child boy bands.

Ali: Caryn NEVER less than 3's me.

Caryn: Anyways, here is the picture. Ali's encounter with the Famous Children.

Mindless Behavior in love with Alison

Caryn: So we are settling in here, and tomorrow we embark on the road to becoming famous surfers. Jen and Kyle get here on Saturday, so we'll hang out with them for a few days, which will be good.

Ali: So, dear followers, please do comment: Mindless Behavour, yay or nay?

Caryn: we less than three you all!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I scream, you scream: Guatemala: Part 2

You will see everything in Guatemala. You look over, and WHAM! Something you've never seen before. My favourite: overturned melon truck. Melons EVERYWHERE!

Guatemala was a near-perfect trip. Anything that we had done with mom was lovely to do again. It was great to think about her in that context: being SUCH an adventurer. She was so happy there. What a traveler. She would have loved to have met Eduardo, I’m happy we got to see him as a little guy. He smiles with his whole mouth wide open. He was mostly afraid of Kath, Caryn and me, and would scream when we were near (but he also screamed when we left: “LAS NINAAAAAAS!!! So that’s nice).


The west coast was new for us this time. When you go to the coast you don’t see the ocean (too polluted!), instead you go to a giant resort. It’s big and it’s immaculate and Disney-land-esque, but you don’t feel like your ethics are compromised. Yes, all the worker are Guatemalan BUT so are 99% of the guests! I guess everyone in the country pays a sort of... vacation tax... and then they are able to go on holidays locally very cheaply (for example, the rollarcoasters etc were 50 cents).

As someone who loves water parks, I can assure you that the water park was fantastic: the best I’ve ever seen. The Guatemalans know how to do water parks. They know everyone just wants mat rides and to go in trains. So, yep, that’s what most of the slides are. And that’s why Caryn’s lungs were right in my ear when I bore witness to the most terrified scream I have ever heard. Her throat is still sore to this day.

Me: “So, are there many tourists right now because of Christmas?”
Martin (our driver): “There are no tourists.”
Us: (confused silence)
Martin: “There is a no-travel advisory on Guatemala right now.”
Us: (more confused silence)
Martin: “You know, cause of the war up north.”
Us: (slightly embarrassed silence)