Tuesday, June 24, 2008

G'day Mates

We are now living and working on a beautiful, tropical, organic farm in Queensland, Australia. More on that in my next blog. This one shall focus on Sydney. After a 24 hour layover in Honolulu we arrived in Sydney. I traveled to Sydney 12 years ago as a part of the Evergreen State Gymnastics Team which was composed on top high school gymnasts from around Washington state. As a 17 year old traveling en mass with 14 other gymnasts, our coach and a several parents I don't think I was able to fully appreciate Sydney's size. Nor was I able to appreciate its subtle nuances while being shuttled from gym to tourist attraction to gym. Stepping off the train from the airport at Central Station I felt a bit overwhelmed by the number of people and the sheer size of the station alone. My serious jet lag and an over-sized travel pack added to my disorientation. However, we found our hostel with ease, settled in, and went in search of a warm meal. If you want a warm meal on an international flight these days you have to pay for it and there isn't much in the way of vegan/vegetarian fare. We stayed in the colorful King Cross neighborhood. Think Seattle's Capitol Hill only much larger. Our hostel was only a short walk to just about everywhere we wanted to be - Sydney Harbor, Darling Harbor, The Rocks. Seattle's grey skies followed us across the ocean but that of course didn't stop us. Fortunately, Sydney vies Seattle for the number of cafes per square kilometer so I was able to stay awake and warm with my good friend double tall soy latte just about anytime I desired. And I desired often and much. Our days were punctuated with reading over coffee harbor-side each morning and chatting over a pint in local pub the evenings. A little splurging was in order - we are on vacation after all. Sydney is a beautiful city. It is clean and easy to negotiate. We went by foot everywhere not wanting to miss anything while underground in the tube. Perhaps my favorite thing about Sydney is its abundance of public parks and plazas. Even in winter, which is considerable milder than ours, people enjoy there afternoon coffee and lunch outdoors. The Royal Botanical Garden is the Central Park of Sydney. It is massive and boasts a myriad of rare and interesting flora and fauna. The well fed possums, the prehistoric looking Isis and the so called 'flying foxes' to name a few. Alas, Sydney is still a booming city (the vast majority of Australia's population live in Sydney) and after four days in the hustle and bustle of speed walking, highly caffeinated, albeit friendly Aussies, we were ready to move on. We are now enjoying a much slower pace on the farm. If you would enjoy a more detailed, eloquent and fun account of our Sydney experience read Cameron's blog. He's the writer after all ;-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Locks of Love

I finally got sick of it.  Actually, I really loved it, but the California heat gave me a small dose of what working on a farm in 70 degree weather with a full heed-o-hair would be like - HOT!  Now my head is 10 inches lighter and hopefully a child undergoing chemotherapy treatment somewhere can benefit from it.  Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides wigs made from donated human hair to children suffering from cancer or other illnesses that cause hair loss.  Cameron shaved his head too.  It took an hour, scissors and three razors to shave his golden locks of love.  He had a white helmet where is hair was but the is sun is slowly evening things out.  I'm being beckoned out of my room now for a final meal with my family.  Can't believe we leave tomorrow......

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Art of Relaxation

I have now perfected The Art of Relaxation. After a day of restless laps around Cameron's mom's home I was finally able to surrender into being rather than doing at the family's vacation house in Palm Springs. The recipe: one part inflatable lounge chair, one part salt water pool and two parts mai tai. We spent the weekend relaxing pool-side, reading, playing ping-pong, cooking and eating. The weekend's high points include a sunset walk through the palm tree laden golf fairways and an off-road golf cart adventure to Starbucks (oh how I miss you Zoka). On a more serious note, it was wonderful to finally meet Cameron's beautiful sister and spend some quality time with his family. Back in Pasadena, we checked out a couple of different yoga studios yesterday and spent today people watching in Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Still ahead is Six Flags Amusement Park. Even though my stomach disobediently flips at the crest of each climb, I can't help but love roller coasters.