Bats!!

We’ve been having an absolute ball here in Sydney. The weather’s continued to be lovely and we’ve been roving all over the city exploring and enjoying.

Today’s the first over cast day there’s been since we’ve arrived, so we’re using it as a good excuse for a quiet morning and chance to catch our breath, do a bit of admin and maybe get out a blog post or two.

I’ll get back to writing about China at some point, but for now, here is a quick post about one of the fun things we’ve experienced here so far.

There are loads of beautiful spots in Sydney but I think at this point my most favorite has got to be the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The Gardens is a massive green space that starts at one end just next door to the city’s famous harbor and opera house and finishes up well into its business district. It’s full of native and exotic plants, pristinely manicured lawns and local fauna. Visitors are encouraged to walk – or play, or nap – on the grass, and it’s a perfect place for a stroll to enjoy views of the water or the city skyline or the lovely nature.

We spent one whole afternoon hanging out there, enjoying all it has to offer. We’d thought we’d gotten to know most of the animals living there when we heard a racket coming from a group of trees across a lawn. Taking a closer look, we discovered a colony of what must have been about a thousand fruit bats, or flying foxes.

Our love of fruit bats was cemented early on in our time in Asia, so we were really excited to check out the five or six trees that were literally dripping with these massive flying mammals. Here are a few pics. Unfortunately the zoom on my camera isn’t that great so there aren’t any good close-ups.

Also, in case you ever wondered what hundreds of flying foxes sound when they hang out together, click here: (Bats) for a sound clip. Can’t decide if those are the throes of passion or of death! 🙂

 

Wait, what??

My last post on this blog was written about a month ago in wintry Connecticut, about our autumnal adventures in the southern hills of China.

A lot of things have happened since then.

There’s been loads going on at home – soul searching and trials by fire within my heart, exciting exploration in the name of future scheming, lots of time spent with beloved family and friends, yoga, yoga and more yoga, travel research and preparation – and while all this has been going on, Spring managed to arrive on the scene. While I’ve been busy, my hometown exploded into full bloom, sunny afternoons, and birdsong. (Morning birdsong is how I was waking up each morning the past week or two – beautiful sounds that transported me, in the comfort of my familiar bed – right back to childhood memories) It’s been absolutely glorious!

All of this important and lovely stuff has kept me engaged in the present and not very keen to look forward. Or, put more accurately, to think about leaving. I’d been decidedly sticking my head in the sand, assuming that we’d figure out some sort of scheme by which I’d get to stay home for longer. However, the expiration date of Roman’s visa began to loom in a most un-ignorable way and forced us to decide and act.

Which is how we’ve some how, suddenly seemingly (to my heart at least), landed here in Sydney, Australia!

We booked a couple of weeks ago (I think – my sense of time is not the best at the moment!) and it’s been a mad dash to prepare in time for our flight plus I’ve also been busy wading through Olympic sized swimming pools of sadness about leaving my family. We flew into Los Angeles on Wednesday to break up the journey, where we had a fantastic overnight visit that ended with us leaving the country with about an hour to spare on Roman’s visa. 😉

15 hours of plane-ride later and we arrived in Sydney, who was gracious enough to welcome us with her best face forward. I had no preconceived notions about the place and really, with everything going on prior to departure, didn’t really think or care much about where we were going. Yet now that we’ve arrived, I’m SO excited and glad that we’re starting part two of the journey here.

We landed on a perfect Autumn day. Warm sun, brilliant blue skies, and that crisp feel of Fall in the air.

Sunrise and a first glimpse of Australia from the plane

After leaving the airport (where we got our first auspicious sign – we got to watch Nestor Carbonell and his family rent a car. 🙂 Even though we’d just been in L.A., we had to come to Australia to see a famous actor…), we headed straight to the prime tourist spot where we’re spending our first couple of nights: the Rocks. This part of Sydney seems spotlessly clean, at least what we’ve seen so far, and absolutely stunning with a lovely mix of older, colonial buildings in lovely shades of brown and beige countered by impressively sleek modern skyscrapers. All the urbanity is off set by fantastically massive, tropical trees of the many parks in the area and the amazing and iconic harbor at Circular Quay.

We ended up spending most of the day wandering around on foot and discovering delight after delight. Sydney seemed determined to offer us a spectacular welcome. 🙂

Incredible tropical birds, a massive cruise ship parked across from the opera house, an open-air artisan market, fantastic musicians performing Spanish guitar under an overpass, our first didgeridoo performance, delicious food, peaceful parks stunning scenery.

These funny looking guys were hanging around scrounging for food the way pigeons would in New York or Zurich. Anyone know what they're called?

Love was in the air in the city the day we arrived too; we must have seen three or four hen parties cruising the town and countless wedding parties having their photos taken in front of the city’s iconic spots, boarding ships at the Quay for a celebration on the water; there was even one party taking place AT the Opera House. All this added to the magical atmosphere for me and I’m so grateful for this welcome, which has eased the heartache of leaving home and gotten me completely juiced for Part Two of our Big Adventure!

Obviously at this point there is a LOT to catch up on. 🙂 I’ll be doing a combo of posts going forward – filling in all that we did in Asia, bits and pieces about our time in the States and more current events now that we are here in the Land Down Under. Hopefully one of these months this online journal will be up to speed… 🙂