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Saturday, October 31, 2009


While we are starting a new month over here most people are gearing up for a scary and spooky, candy filled night out for Halloween! We did the same yesterday although it is not quite the same in a town that basically doesn't celebrate at all. We didn't have to dress up for work, there was zero candy to be found and instead of carved pumpkins there were carved squash. I had to work until about 8pm but then we searched the internet for last minute costumes and created something so we could actually show our faces at the Halloween party we were attending. I went as a toga queen while Brett dressed himself in a white shirt with garbage hanging from it: white trash. We went to the restaurant that was hosting the party and staying to hang out for about an hour. Brett had to get home so we he could get up early for work. It was nice to have an excuse to head home and curl into bed.

Brett and I with Marty (Super Hero DJ Monkey)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

life in the 4877

I thought I would clear up some information and give everyone a bit of an update on what we have been doing and seeing.

Brett is currently in an online class taking a basic sociology class to fulfill the last requirement for entrance into Regis in Denver, and other schools for the that matter. He has his interview for Regis University via skype on 10.29 at 1am our time. This means he will be interviewing at 9am Denver time and 8am Seattle time on Thursday 10.29. Please send up some prayers and cross your fingers for him! I know he will do excellent and he would be the perfect candidate for the accelerated BSN program. We will let everyone know how he felt about the interview tomorrow.

I am still working at The Beach Shack and it is a wonderful job for me! I only work three nights but for now it is perfect. I am allowed to be on holiday a little right?!?! Brett is done at the beach hire due to the end of the tourist season and the arrival of the stinger. The net goes up Monday the 2nd. For anyone who wants to know a stinger net is basically like a big fish net intended to keep the stinging jellyfish out of a particular area so people can still swim in the 85 degree water. Brett also has a famil tomorrow on Sailaway, which is the sister-boat, to my previous boat, Shoalin. The same guy owns both and Sailaway is a 2004 35ft catamaran. A famil is intended to get a prospective employee out on the boat to "observe" while having the opportunity to see the reef and a typical day on the boat. Hopefully he likes it and they like him.

Information on the stingers (jellyfish):

Brett and I went down to Palm Cove yesterday (Wednesday 10.28) to browse around. Palm Cove is a small town about 40 minutes south of Port Douglas but not nearly as exciting. Palm Cove is trying to make its mark on the map as another destination in FNQ (Far North Queensland) however it has not quite taken off. Port has a better downtown shopping and eating area, a better beach and the best weather. We left beautiful and sunny Port Douglas around 9am and within 10 km it was pouring and continued throughout our whole time in Palm Cove. Thankfully we love the rain and it didn't bother us but the people staying in the hotels there didn't seem too stoked.

The weather is overcast with isolated showers today but it is wonderful and very welcomed from us. We like it when it rains because it cools Port down, makes it feel cozy and allows us to not feel quite so guilty about the weather everyone is having at home. Plus, the wind usually comes with the rain so Brett is like a little excited school boy running back and forth from our house and the beach checking the wind!
All is so well here and we are so thankful for our awesome opportunity to travel and see new things. We are also so thankful for our families. We received a very unexpected package today from Dave and Nancy and it was so fun to open. Thank you everyone for the support and skype conversations thus far! We love you and wish you a happy and healthy week leading up to Halloween.

Love, B and K8

Monday, October 26, 2009

I think I have an addiction...

Ahhhhhh, coffee!! While coffee in Australia is nothing like that of the states nor Europe or I am guessing in Asia, it is still delicious. Upon arrival in Australia I entered a coffee shop and immediately ordered a cappuccino because it looked like the ones in Italy (A cute little cup of frothy milk, beautiful caramel colored espresso, chocolate sprinkled on top, an espresso spoon and a packet of sugar!!!) Now that we have been here for 2 months I have tried all the other coffee drinks and none are worth drinking except the cappuccino. Here, coffee is made simply with espresso, which sounds like a great thing, however when the shots are burnt or just not quite right it can ruin an entire cup. They do not have drip coffee here so Brett has learned to order a long black, which is the equivalent to a really strong americano. All coffee here is served either in a cup or a mug however you are crazy to get it in a mug because it immediately costs an additional $1.10 for your already $4 coffee. We have decided we will drink coffee out but only if we have a coupon for a buy-one-get-one-free. Thankfully the coupons are aplenty because they are printed on the back of our grocery receipts.

Since finding the coupons on the receipts we decided to use one this morning and enjoy a break from the instant coffee at home. We set out for a new coffee shop in town called Port Douglas Pantry and I am so happy to report that the coupon lead us to a great little coffee shop on a side street specializing in homemade treats and pies. We arrived around 8am with books and newspapers in-hand intending to enjoy the morning! After receiving our coffees we spent an hour enjoying them with our eyes just as much as with our mouths! We will definietely be going back to the pantry to use our four other coupons. I have finally found another great reason to shop for groceries!

Yummy cappuccino from the Port Douglas Pantry

We got to see more pictures of Olivia, which was excellent. She is the perfect mix of Mich and Chad. She is very cute and looks super cuddly. We miss all our nieces and nephews and they are a huge reason to get home eventually! :)

We miss you ALL and love you all.
Love, B and K8

Friday, October 23, 2009

fellow travelers

While we were on the road traveling in the van we continually had people helping us in so many ways; offering their backyards as campsites, inviting us to dinner or giving us tips of where to go and what to see. We kept saying, usually in disbelief, "Wow, everyone is so nice and helpful. This would never happen in the states." Here is what I have figured out...

I got off work last night and came home to the usual picture, Brett, Dean and Lisa sitting on the front porch eating dinner and hanging out. They were waiting for my arrival home from work, of course ;) Anyways, I got home and they were sitting in their usual places and not 2 minutes after I sit down two girls walk up and quickly Brett begins introducing them to me. I was a little confused but after the introductions and some background information I realized they were 2 girls visiting from Austria and the boys had made friends with them while BBQing their dinner at the park. Barbara and Elka are visiting for 21 days in Australia, 21 days in NZ and then 10 days in Fiji before flying back home. We chatted with them for a few minutes and before I even know it I am writing notes for them of places to go and see. I am also busily highlighting in their Lonely Planet travel book, in German no less, giving them even more tips. I even offered to show them around town the next day to be sure they saw everything Port Douglas had to offer. Then it hits me, I have become that person who we met along the way, and I couldn't be happier about it! There is just something about traveling in a new place that encourages you to be helpful by showing people what is worth seeing and what is simply a tourist trap. Not only did I give them a few tips and leads for cool things to do while in Australia, but Brett and I both were practically forcing them to use our shower and toilet. We must have that helpful travel bug in us as well as feel very sympathetic because they are sleeping in their van while parked in the park next to our house. Essentially we have offered up our "backyard" as well as our house for these two strangers! Thankfully they are really sweet girls who are police officers in Austria, so we know we are in good hands!

I just thought I would share my realization and excitement which led me to figure out that traveling people are not weird or lonely (I mean seriously, people offered to let us park our van in their backyard. They don't know us or have to trust us) but instead they are so nice and we constantly feel the need to help each other out.

Well, it is Saturday here. I have worked two more nights at The Beach Shack and I still have tonight to go. Brett has been working all weekend at the beach hire but the weather is definitely changing and due to the rain there is a very good chance this will be the last weekend for him. Time for him to find a new job. We are going to a house warming party for Brett's boss Calvin tonight. As of now the wet season has not officially hit but it is raining a little each day. I love that you can actually smell the rain coming and see it crossing the ocean minutes before it pours at our house!

We hope all is well at home and we miss everyone! We have been getting to see lots of pictures of kids costumes and fall colors on facebook and it looks like it is beautiful at home. It seems weird to have zero Halloween decorations considering the time of year but I don't think most kids are going to dress up in some funny costume when it is 85 degrees and go door-to-door for candy. Have a great day and we love you all!

B and K8

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10.21.09 Happenings

I have been getting the best comments and feedback from the blog! Thank you so much to all of you who are reading regularly and are curious about our trip. I am trying to be really persistent about updating and giving interesting/funny information that will make everyone drool over our trip. Hahaha, just kidding. Lots of fun things have been happening lately and I have just been waiting, patiently of course, for Brett to put more credit on our internet card so I can update everyone!

We are slowly getting a taste of what the wet season will be like in the tropics. I have heard it starts to take effect anywhere between November and late December and lasts through about February. This being case we will either get about 2 months of it or none of it. I think all the locals block the wet season (aka summer) out of their minds because it is something you want to forget until it rolls around again. It reminds me of the flu, which hopefully none of you are getting. Whenever the wet season does come it will bring rain, humidity, hot weather, thunder storms and the possibly cyclone. Yikes. It has started raining a little bit every few days and let me tell you people from Washington you have not seen rain like this. I swear there have been days in WA when I think to myself, “It seriously could not rain any harder.” Enter… the tropics. Holy cow, it can rain here. It is so loud on our tin roof and it gives Brett and I the most wonderful magical feeling. WE LOVE IT! It is loud, chilly, soaks the ground and then goes away after a few minutes! I can only imagine once it really starts. Of course, we chat with the locals and friends about it and they tell us we haven’t seen anything yet. We are waiting with baited breath.

Not the best picture but it was seriously raining.

Ok, so I have told a few people about how we have made some friends and I wanted to give everyone chance to get to know them a little better! Marty, is from Vancouver BC and is the main guy who runs the chairs business for Brett’s boss Calvin. He has taken on the name Party Marty because he knows everyone and is always the funny happy life of the party! He is about 30 and moved to Australia about 12 years ago. He goes home every season for a couple of months to see his family and check in. He has been living in Port most of the time but he has hopped around to a few other places. He is really great and he has a big screen TV with every sports channel so we get in our NFL fix! It is awesome. We usually spend Monday and Tuesday morning at his house catching the games from Sunday and Monday night football at home! I was shocked to hear from Marty that he is planning to move home for good possibly after this season.

Brett and Marty flipping between baseball and football!

Next is Calvin. He is Brett’s boss and one of serious big guns in town. He runs the entire beach hire business and somehow magically set it up so no one can ever compete with him. He is the strong silent type but so generous and fun to chat with because he knows everything about Port and Australia. He has a really cute dog named Angus who hangs out at the beach with him every day and sit in the pub with him while he enjoys a beer after work with his employees.

We have a great couple we hang out with from New Zealand. We met them because they are our neighbors. They have been here on and off for a few years but are actually moving back to New Zealand at the end of November. Dean is 26 and Lisa is 20. They are really great and we do dinners or hang out on the beach with them quite a bit! It is fun to have a couple who is our age and is fun to hang out with as well! They have become our good friends and it is nice to have neighbors to share stuff with and make funny memories.

Speaking of funny memories Brett came home a couple of nights ago and jumped out of the van yelling for Dean. It was dark and Lisa and I headed out the door after him. Brett was driving back from the movie store and a huge 5 ft brown snake crossed the road right in front of the van. Brett considered running it over but thankfully he didn't because later we discovered it is illegal to run snakes over in Australia so instead we watched it slither away while chasing it with a camera and a flash light. Not the smartest but we were being really careful and the boys were so into it. They were yelling, jumping, laughing and being so serious all at the same time!

"The snake was THIS big!"

Brett has been kiting his little brains out lately and he is so happy because of it. He went out yesterday 4 different times and started no later than 730am and got finished at 530pm. He was on and off the beach the whole day, hanging out with the other local kiters, who he now knows all of them, and stopped only for a football game at Marty’s. It is awesome to watch the boys kite and there are some really, I mean really, awesome kiters in Port. They are die-hard, try anything and everything kiters. Bretto, who runs WindSwell kiting school (Brett’s original job), and his 2 brothers Brendan and Kyle are really good kiters. They are fun to watch and you can tell they push each other and encourage each other to be better. I think Brett really looks up to them!

Kiting at Four Mile Beach (Yes, that is a 7m!)

Ok, so I have given you some updates! There are more pictures on facebook and I have provided a link! Thanks again so much to everyone who has been reading! We love you all and miss you so much!

Love, B and K8

Ps. We received our first package from Mich, Chad, Dick, Bo and baby Olivia and it was awesome! It was a fall inspired care package with so much cute stuff and yummy goodies, plus Halloween candy! Thanks so much and everything was so thoughtful!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Life in Port Douglas is just the way I like it: I have a routine but unexpected things happen!

Yesterday Brett went to work as usual. We ate brekkie together, sipped our coffee and then off he went to hire out the gear. I stayed back and got ready for my morning run which leads me down 4 mile beach and to the water sports hiring trailer. While I was running I didn't notice anything different about the day except that it was a littler warmer than usual. No big deal! However, once I got farther down the beach and closer to Brett I realized non of his gear was hired out yet, which is unheard of, and the beach seemed to be really quiet. Plus, no one was in the water (literally) and there were more life guards than normal.

Earlier in the morning there were two unconfirmed crocodile spotting in the water right down from our house on 4 mile beach. One lady though she saw a group of about five small ones swimming and another lady swears she was being stalked by a croc in the water while she was walking for 100 yards down the beach. I think she was a little more freaked out because she was pushing her baby in a pram (stroller) and figured her new baby was about to be lunch. Yikes. Once these "sightings" were reported the beach was closed until future notice and out came the patrol boat and many more lifeguards to check the beach. Thankfully they found nothing and the beach was reopened at noon. However, it caused for a kind of an eerie day and a very slow day at the beach hire.

Now, about the routine in Port Douglas that I love so much! I always look forward to Saturday mornings. Not only did I get to skype with my parents while visiting with Amy and Zach in Cleveland we also set up a date for a weekly skype for my parents. Another great thing about Saturday mornings is that I get to go to the Mossman market. Mossman is a town smaller than Port just about 15 minutes north. It has a great market with very reasonable prices on produce. Much better than the Port market. I have noticed I complain about the prices in Australia a lot and I wanted to let you know not everything here is a rip-off. I got heaps of fresh fruit and veggies all are $14. That is a steal! I even got a basil plant for my kitchen!

As you can see I got awesome stuff for $14. Let me give you an idea of some prices:
6 avocado $2
5 ears of corn $2
Basil plant $3
watermelon $2
2 homemade pieces of slice $2 each
1 raspberry coconut
1 fresh apple
bananas $1.80
zucchini $.50

Not bad huh!!! I was quiet impressed with myself!

We miss you all and love you all! Thanks for reading!

love, B and K8

Here are some more photos that I have posted on facebook in the Port Douglas album:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pictures from today's adventures!

Here are some pictures from our latest adventures and playing around Port Douglas!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is it the middle of Oct already?

Since I last posted a lot has happened. I had a job lined up at a new restaurant opening in town called Bel Cibo. However, it was expected to open last Monday but due to a fire in the pizza kitchen that idea died real fast. So, I have been on the job hunt. It is always so strange because once you go on a job hunt and find one prospect all the rest seem to come raining down on you. In Australia they do a trial night for any job to see if you like the job, the place, and to give the owner a chance to see if you will be a good fit for the job. I went to one Sunday night and one last night. Sunday night was at Harrison's restaurant located on the main street in town. It is a super fancy French restaurant with a really great chef! It was a great night but after going to my trial night last night at The Beach Shack I realized that I am looking for something more cruisy and laid-back when it comes to serving. I loved The Beach Shack. It was a lot like the restaurant I worked at while in college and much more my style. So, I called the owner from Harrison's and let her know that I didn't feel right about taking the job because she deserved someone who loved the place, that type of job and french food. Of course, it's pouring jobs still because she called back and offered me a job at her husband's cute little Italian restaurant in town, Bucci. AHHHHH, ok I am not trying to toot my own horn about the millions of job offers I just think it is a small town with lots of people coming and going so there are lots of jobs. Now what do I do? I really love The Beach Shack but I would love the Italian place too!?!? I am going to wait to hear my schedule at The Beach Shack and see if I can pull off doing a few lunches at Bucci. I'll keep you updated as it develops.

As I sit here and type Brett is making breakfast! He doesn't cook often but when he does it is always yummy and so sweet! We are headed back up to Mareeba today to use our free-return-with-an entrance purchase at Coffee Works!!! Coffee and chocolate here we come! We are going to try and go to another little town while up there called Kuranda and then round off the trip with a day in Cairns. Basically living in Port Douglas has forced people to head to a bigger city to get the things they need because it is so expensive in Port Douglas. Case in point: I bought a bottle of dove shampoo a couple of days ago and it was $8. We have yet to buy beach towels because they are $14.95 and I don't even want to see how much face wash and other toiletries are.

I have posted some new pictures on facebook of the apartment so enjoy. So far the apartment has been great but I realized one thing I won't miss about Australia is ants in your house. It is not just our apt but everywhere there are ants. Tiny little ant trains by the hundreds. Our apt came with all the furniture and while it is a little bare we are only living here for three months and told ourselves we are not allowed to buy anything because it all has to fit back into the van when we leave. Hopefully we will have more room than before!

Hahaha, we are sitting here on the couch proof-reading the blog before I post it and outside we hear a little mo-ped pull up, stop for a second and drive off again. Brett turns to me and says, "Mailman." Hahah, my words exactly, "Does he drive a mo-ped?" Brett, "Yea!" He goes outside and returns a few seconds later with our mail!!! ahahah, oh Australia!

Thanks for reading. We miss you all and love you all! We hope everyone is having a great fall thus far and please post some pictures of the pretty fall colors and house decorations!!!

love, B and K8

facebook pictures:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

one-night trip

Brett and I went to Cape Tribulation for Wednesday and Thursday! It was a great one-night trip away to see something new and different. We left early Wednesday morning after packing and getting everything into the van. We had all our bedding off our bed and back into the van seeing that it started out in the van. We had a cooler of food for the 2 days and some clothes. We hit the road around 830am and drove an hour north to start our journey. Cape Tribulation is a small bit of land in Northern Australia which is also home to part of the Daintree rain forest, aka the oldest rain forest on earth. Before taking the cable-ferry over to Cape Trib we stopped in Daintree Village which is tiny. There is literally just a shop or two, a tourist information place and a boat ramp for the tours leaving hourly to spot crocodiles. Once arriving in Cape Trib we headed straight for the beach. We went to Cape Trib beach for the afternoon where we layed out, napped, swam in the crystal clear water and ate some lunch. We stayed the night in a small caravan park which doubles as a hostel and restaurant. It was pretty warm at night and the van doesn't seem to have great airflow so we started to make a list of the things we will need while traveling on the road come December. First and foremost, a FAN. We woke up Thursday early and made a yummy breakfast of pancakes. We hit the road for some swimming holes which were beautiful and we were the only ones there! It was a little creepy being the only ones there but the track well well worn so we figured we just went at a slow time!! We also got some exotic fruit ice cream at the Daintree Ice Cream Company made from fresh bananas, raspberries, soursop and wattleseed! It was delicious and really fun to walk around through the orchards. We rode the cable-ferry home again and ended our day back in Port Douglas laying in the shade on the beach and making dinner.

All is well here as you can tell! I think we are falling into life pretty well in Port Douglas and once we get totally settled and a little bored back on the road we will go. We have our apt here until December 22nd so once it gets a little closer we will decide where to spend the holidays and maybe even splurge for a hotel room Christmas night. However, as of now and thanks to Brett's great work schedule we are able to have a few days during the week of to enjoy some other places. I know we want to get back up to Coffee Works in Mareeba to eat come delicious chocolate and sip some yummy coffee and I also want to get down to Palm Cove. It is said to be a cool little resort town like Port Douglas but fancier and they are building this incredible piazza/courtyard/shopping center that is said to throw you right into Europe. I will let you know how authentic it feels!

Brett got his skype interview date for Regis in Denver and he will officially be wooing them on October 29th! I know he will do great but keep your fingers crossed for him and we will let you know how it goes. It is only 20 minutes long but I am sure they will only need 20 minutes to know that he is totally dedicated and excited about being a nurse.

Well, I am off to run the beach to meet up with Brett at work. Hopefully I will find out more about the restaurant today or this weekend. There was a fire in the kitchen on Monday which was opening night so I have not started there. If they don't plan to open up anytime soon I will be off looking for something else. We hope all is well at home and we miss everyone. Lots of love.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunny October

Monday 10.5.09

It is so hard to believe that it is October 5th and it is sunny and well, the same temperature as Gig Harbor at a whopping 18 degrees. However it is suppose to get up to 28 degrees which is 82! It should be a good day. Brett has a kite boarding lesson today at 10am and I start at the restaurant at 5pm! I am really excited to see how this Italian restaurant is going to go here in town. Port is really busy during all the school holidays and we have one more round of schools arriving today from Sydney. All of the locals keep saying that the town will get really slow once they leave so we will see how it goes.

Yesterday, Brett and I went to one of the local pubs here and watched the NRL (National Rugby League) finals with some friends! Well, we started alone and within minutes had a group of friends with us! We are officially locals and we know people. We hung out with Ted, our neighbor Dean and Marty from Brett's work. Marty is from Vancouver B.C. and we are all excited because he has ESPN and the sports network. Marty is going to allow us to get our football fix and thankfully he is just as much a fan as we are!

Yesterday we had coral trout for dinner which Ted caught out on a friend's boat and it was really good. It was a white fish with a really smooth melt in your mouth texture! It was fun to try something local. This is the one bummer thing about Australia. They don't have their own cuisine. They just steal all the other cultures dishes. Some would say that we do the same thing except we have the famous burger and fries and Australia even stole that from us. Vegemite is about all they got.

We would love some updates from home so please send some information our way! How are the babies, weather, house editions, school and such? Miss you and all love you!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Harry Potter

Life is kind of like home. Brett has already gotten up, made breakfast and is rushing out the door as I sit here with my coffee cup preparing for my day. No, I am not saying I don't work but it still feels very similar because we have jobs, we drink morning coffee and we have an apartment in a small town. Before we left I honestly never pictured what our lives would be like while here but they are very similar to our lives at home. I think this is comforting and frustrating all at the same time. I like that we have a home base and a town that we enjoy but I am also eager to get back on the road around Christmas time! I am looking forward to heading south where it is said to be a little less hot and we are also making plans for NZ and southeast Asia so I am doing my research for that!

Last night Brett and I met up with Ted and Heidi again and watched an outside viewing of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! It is a lot of fun and Brett actually enjoyed his first Harry Potter movie and stayed awake through the WHOLE thing! This is a huge accomplishment because I honestly don't think he has made it through a single movie since we have been married and all his friends will attest to the fact that he puts on a movie just to fall asleep! It must have been that he was in a restaurant with outside seating at a regular table and chairs. We snuck in popcorn, cookies and coffee to enjoy the movie and it was a great night!

Speaking of movies, Brett and I have been renting movies to get us through our evenings. We come home so tired and exhausted. Brett from working and me from laying out in the sun. There is something the sun does to you that makes you tired. So, we kind of started this whole thing where we rent movies that we love and know the other person has not seen. I got to choose one the first night and I figured it was a LONG shot but in honor of Patrick Swayze's death I would pick Dirty Dancing. I figured Brett would never go for it but surprise surprise he didn't even put up a fight, we rented the movie and he actually liked it!!!! I was so impressed. We'll see how it goes once he picks a movie but I will do my best to be open-minded!

I start work at the restaurant Monday which means I get to work the opening night!! I am very excited but go figure, I need to go into town to do some shopping because I need a plain white shirt and I didn't bring a single one. Of course, I have billions of them at home but I have to buy one or two while I am here. Oh well, I am more than willing to buy a shirt for a job that doesn't require listening to people barf and gag in the background! Sorry for being so blunt.

Well, my download of The Hills is done and I am eager to watch it so I am off! Time to top off my coffee and brace myself for the drama of the new season. We miss you and love you!