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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Learning from friends

Brett and I continued for the second week of getting $10 pizza on Tuesday night except last night we had friends with us!!! Yes, we have friends! We met this couple at a state park awhile back, remember the couple from Seattle, and we just met up with them again in Port. We have been keeping in contact and randomly running into them in towns totally unplanned! We were totally meant to be friends! Anyways, they came back into town yesterday and we went to dinner with them and then ate drumstick ice cream cones on the beach with them! It was so much fun and so awesome to have a couple to hang out with. They are from Western Australia but are traveling around like us for two years. They are really nice and they teach us so much about Australia. Plus, it is really fun to talk to them about the states because she grew up there and he has visited quite a few times and they had their wedding in Seattle. Small world huh.

Here are a few things they have taught us:
1. Graham crackers are nowhere to be found in Australia so the poor kids have never had or heard of a s'more. Ahhh, what is a bon fire on the beach without a s'more. However, I guess since they don't have hershey's chocolate either a s'more just wouldn't be the same.

2. We can buy a club card for $20 for The Coffee Shop (their version of Starbucks) and get buy one coffee get the second one free every time we go in there! Finally I can get my cappuccino and not feel bad about spending $4 because Brett's coffee will be free!!

3. People here either like vegemite or promite. There is no gray area. Vegemite is a vegetable extract spread that they put on toast or lunch sandwiches and depending on what you grow up on that is what you like. They explained it as being the same as liking either pepsi or coke. I instantly understood what the big deal was because people in the states who actually drink pop are so hardcore about the two.

4. Kids here didn't grow up on PB&J sandwiches. People in Australia actually think that the combo is really gross and instead grew up with vegemite sandwiches or PB and honey. Just no jelly. However, I can see why the name peanut butter and jelly would sound gross because here jelly is jello and our jelly is jam. Peanut butter and jam just doesn't have the same ring.

Ok, we are done with brekkie and about to head down the beach to hang out with Ted and Heidi. They are in Port for maybe a week before heading to Darwin so we want to see them as much as possible! Hope all is well there.

Happy Birthday tomorrow BO!!!! (Oct. 1st)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Photos Monday 9.28.09

Hi all,

I know I have posted a lot today but I wanted to put up some pictures from Mossman Gorge. It was an awesome place to swim and eat lunch! We had a lot of fun and it was just the perfect weather for playing in the fresh spring water directly off the mountains.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Christmas Cards

Working on a boat does something to people. Yes, it makes them barf when the water is rough but it also makes them want to take pictures because the water is so blue, the sky is so clear and the beauty of the land is endless. This is where I come in. I work on the boat and in turn this has made me the photographer for many families trying to capture the beauty of Low Isles. (Aka. My office until further notice) I have realized a very funny phenomenon however. Whenever someone asks me to take their picture I always wait for them to pose and I recite the normal phrase of, “This is for your Christmas card!” Hence the reason for this blog. Families in Australia don’t send out Christmas cards. That is only a states thing. I finally realized this after talking to an Australian couple who has friends in the states and after many many funny looks from families who had never heard of the idea of Christmas cards. People in Australia think that the Christmas card photo and especially a letter recounting all the events from the year is impersonal and would rather have someone ring them to give them the bits of information about the family.

Just anything interesting difference between here and there.
Brett and I are headed to Mossman Gorge today. I don’t really know anything about except that Brett is excited and there is a swimming hole. It is only about 30 minutes away so we will check it out and be back in time for the best recommended take away fish and chips in town!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and here’s to a great upcoming week! We miss you and all we love you.

PS. We got to skype with Miss. Olivia today and she is so cute. She looks a lot like her daddy but also a lot like her cousins! She is so sweet and tiny! Keep posting pictures please!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Saturday 9.26.09
Brett and I have been in our apartment for three nights now and it is going really well. It is perfect for what we needed. It is big enough for our stuff. Good thing because it used to all fit in a van and it has to again when we leave. But it is also small enough that it doesn’t get too dirty and best of all it is literally a stone’s throw from the beach.

Brett is working at the beach rental place and hopefully he can do a few lessons each week. So far there has been no wind so he is sticking to renting kayaks, boogie boards, buckets and spades (which is our equivalent to buckets and shovels), wind surfing gear, catamarans and huge inner tubes. It seems he will be working there four days a week and since he likes the job and gets to be outside the whole day in his uniform of board shorts his life is pretty darn great right now! Port Douglas is treating him well!

I on the other hand have run into a bit of a road bump. The boat was working out well however I tried going on the boat one day without taking motion sickness medication and it was a no go. This was preceded by the roughest day some of the crew has seen and while I felt just ok most of the boat was not in very good shape and there were a number of barf bags used. Now correct me if I am wrong but work should not involve this kind of behavior voluntarily or regularly. I have told the company I don’t want to have to be medicated for work every day and to please find a replacement. I am going tomorrow but hopefully not much more after that. However, on a better note I have a “staff meeting” lined up on Tuesday at a cool Italian restaurant that is opening up in a week. I saw the ad today, called the guy, went in and met the guy/looked at the place and he signed me up to come and sit in on the meeting for all the people interested. It looks like it will be a cool little place with indoor and outdoor seating as well as pizza oven and coffee! Keep your fingers crossed that I like it.

So, I have a feeling we will be blogging less because we are now doing the same day to day things as we do at home. However, I will do my best to keep you updated on funny tidbits and anecdotes from the land of Oz.

Here are a couple funny things:

1. Brett eats vegemite on toast at least once a day. He loves it. I am not really sure if he actually loves the actual vegemite product or if he likes eating it because ALL the Australians do it but whatever the reason he eats it. It is just a salty brown spread that you put on toast. Nothing special but funny I guess.

2. We miss the market every day. We miss amazing cheap produce. The food here is either really expensive and really not of the best quality. I don’t know if they import everything or if the price just gets jacked up because it can but it is a lot higher in the US. We still manage to eat well but we miss the prices we know and love.

3. We dry all of our clothes on a clothes line outside the back door. Dryers are few and far between in Australia so we have joined in on routine of washing and hang drying.

4. Here in Australia we have been laughed at more than a few times. They think we talk funny, have funny rituals and have funny names for things. Case in point, we went to a BBQ with Brett's boss and upon arrival he handed Brett a beer and than proceed to ask him if he needed a stubbie cooler for his beer? What is a stubbie cooler? Ahhhh, a coozie! I think the funny differences in language is awesome!
1. Bathing suit = bathies
2. Sunglasses = sunnies
3. Rash guard = rashie
4. Cooler = cold box or esky
I have a feeling things became shortened in Australia because they are just so laid back! I think I can get on board with this!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Photos of Port Douglas

Here are some new photos. Hope you enjoy them.

QLD Address

Ok, so my dad just commented on our blog about not spending too much time tied down working so to be sure that we don't miss out on anything fun. Well so far the plan was to get into the lifestyle a bit and learn to live like an Australian. We are going to be doing that for a little while. Three months to be exact. We locked ourselves into an apt this morning for a short three month lease. We are super excited seeing that we have awesome jobs and love Port. We will get back on the road around Christmas time but for now it is nice to have a real bed, a bathroom that I don't have to put my shoes on to go to and into plus we have a place that guarantees to keep our food cold... a fridge. What a concept huh!!!

Well, anyone who wants to cane send us some mail to:

Brett and Kate Teodoro
"The Aussie BK Lounge"
3/8 Helmet Street
Port Douglas QLD 4877

The apt is great and it is literally less than 50 meters to the beach. We have a small patio out front, a washing machine and a clothes line out back. PLUS A/C!!!! We are sharing the building with three other units and it seems like it will be pretty cool and great for a little while. We are getting to know the town and we even see people we know at the shops and in the restaurants. We started a new ritual yesterday of going to place called Rattle and Hum for $10 pizza Tuesday!!!

Love you all and we will be looking forward to some mail :)

The Port Locals!

Wow, has it only been 5 days...

Where do I begin? It has felt like such a long time since I last blogged however upon looking at the calendar I realized my last blog was on the 17th. That is only five days. Anyways here is an update.

Brett and I arrived in Port Douglas Friday the 18th and life has been nonstop since then. We drove into town, checked into the caravan park, scouted out the town a little and headed straight the kite school on four mile beach. We ran into Bretto, the owner and guy Brett has been communicating with for a job and said hi and tried to feel out what our time might be like here. (Side note: All Australians are so easy-going and positive that everything will work out that you really can’t get a feel for what is the truth or just an idea they have in their minds. Case in point Bretto from Wind Swell Kite school) After chatting with him we were convinced we were both offered wonderful jobs and we had an invitation to go to a BBQ with Bretto and his mates. We drove away laughing and keep uttering the phrase, “What are we doing? Hahah.” Life since then has been so interesting and pretty darn fun! We went to the BBQ, which was awesome! We both have jobs, which is great. We are considering a great apt for the next three months and we are so happy with this little town!

Brett is working at Wind Swell daily. He heads to the beach and sits and sits and sits until someone interested in kite boarding walks by or calls for a lesson. So far he has done one lesson but I don’t think he is complaining considering he gets to relax on a beach very much like Sugar Beach in Maui and fly around kites to lure people in. He is also working this week at the equipment rental place on four mile beach which sets people up with paddle boards, innertubes, and kayaks type boats with small sails. He is in ultra holiday with a little work on the side mode!
After hanging out with Bretto and accidently mentioning that I might be looking for work I have accumulated more jobs than I know what to do with. He knows everyone in town and once the word got out that I was interested in working on a boat I have had offers by two boats and a chance for a possible third. I think it is more that the boat skippers and owners are friends and communicate plus share their crew. However as of now I work five days a week on an antique sailing boat called Shaolin. It is an old Chinese sailing boat and so much fun to work on. Look it up online because it is worth reading about and seeing pictures of it! I am one of three people that help crew the boat and we leave daily from the harbor at 1130am and return our guests at 6pm. We do a cruise out to the Low Isles, which is part of the inner barrier reef, lunch at the reef, a snorkel tour to see all the turtles, giant clams and fish than the guests get to relax on the beach and sail back with us! It is an awesome day and from what I was told we are well taken care of financially for our time!

So, I guess you could say we have fallen back in to regular life here. I have to admit the adjustment of getting off holiday and back on the radar was a little difficult but our goal was to see a little bit what it is like to live and work in Australia so here goes! We miss everyone but we are having so much fun and are so not ready to come home yet.
Love, B&K

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Date night

Thursday 9.17.09
We have made it to Cairns! This is usually the end of the road for people traveling the coast however for those of us who are only 16 days into our trip it is still the beginning. We spent the night in a caravan park last night right outside of the city. I think Brett is realizing that we need some sort of amenities each night because I started crying when I had to pee in the woods the other night. No, I am not a total woosie however I do like to have a proper bathroom to do my business.
We are not planning to stay every night in a paid place however there will definitely be a bathroom from now on!

Brett and I got to have our first official date night last night as well. I know what you are all thinking… “Date night? Isn’t every night date night?” Well, no it is not. For this one we actually took shower intended to clean us up for the night, we put on clean clothes, and we went out for dinner. For those of you who know me let me explain why this constituted as a date night. I put on some make-up and dress. It was so much fun! We went to a happy hour sushi place where the little train brought around small rolls, pot stickers, miso soup and some other “interesting” looking things and we got to grab what we wanted and each plate was only 2.50. It was so much fun. We finished off the night by browsing through the night market, where you can get real Uggs for cheap, we stopped at two gelato places just sample the yummy flavors, and we got some cookies to dip in our evening coffee! It was a great night and so needed.

We are planning to head to a cable park today so Brett can spend some time wakeboarding. Pray for this arm considering that is how he hurt it last time. However I am fairly certain that the point of a cable park it is try and ride rails and go off jumps not so much do flips. Hopefully… We are also heading to a well known kiting place called Yorkey’s Knob. I have a feeling we might spend the night there just to avoid getting to Port Douglas a little longer so we don’t have to start working.

The weather is still wonderful here. I honestly don’t know if it will ever not be wonderful. It is cooler right now because it is spring but that still means bathies and shorts. I am also hoping that once it starts getting hotter is when we will head down to Melbourne. Brett applied to one school and they have all his paperwork so please pray that he gets in. The school is Regis University in Denver and it is kind of a top choice of ours. It starts in May so it would also allow us to plan some more of our trip when we find out if he is accepted. Keep your fingers crossed.

Ok, time to put the bed away in the van, do the brekkie dishes and start planning what meat pie I am going to have for lunch. We’re off for now! Love you all and hope all is well and safe!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Photo album "Destinations Aussie Style"

This should allow you to see the next album of photos. I will add captions later to let you know where each one is taken!

The heater has been turned on!

Throughout the day the constantly see things, hear of things, or Brett and I chat about things and I think, Oh, I better remember that to post for people to read. And then of course we don’t get internet for a few days or I forget what I was thinking. It has become a little overwhelming thinking about blogging about everything we see or do because honestly we cannot do 99% of the stuff justice. However, hopefully we will be getting internet more often because Brett’s online class has started and he is going to need more access. That is good news for us and you guys out there!
Let me see if I can get you some information about our trips and excursions lately! We are currently at a small caravan park in the Atherton Tablelands. We are located at a lake right out of Yunngaburra called Lake Eacham and it is beautiful. We drove through Mailla Mailla yesterday specifically to go to the Mangialla Dairy to try their free samples of cheese and yoghurt. It tasted so good that we bought a small tub of peaches and cream greek style yoghurt and snacked on it while driving through what we think must be the most beautiful countryside in all of Australia. There are were miles after miles of rolling farmlands that are so green the cows look like they have smiles on their faces. Not to mention we have seen three waterfalls and we actually needed the heater on to warm us up while the cool mountain air is blasting us in the faces because our windows are down. I don’t think we have driven with our windows up for more than a few seconds. Those few seconds were out of pure desperation because a freak wind storm was blowing dust and sugar cane into our van. We are on our way to Yunnaburra today as well Mareeba for a few very exciting things. We plan to view platapode in the Peterson River outside of Yunngaburra as well as the great curtain fig tree. It is said to be 500 years old! However our main destination is the Coffee Works Plantation in Mareeba. Erica, for once seriously please be jealous! For a small fee you can take a visit through the coffee history museum and after there is unlimited tastings of their 21 coffees, 2 liquors, 12 chocolates and 4 teas!!! We will probably make that lunch. I will admit the free tastings of coffee and chocolate are luring me in but also because it is the largest coffee plantation in Australia and 70% of the coffee made here is from Cairns Highlands aka the Atherton Tablelands! There is going to be an awesome afternoon.
Here’s more from our most recent days. We stayed Saturday night in the Paluma National Park and planned to see Jourama Falls however after one evening and morning of billions of mosquitoes we, or more just me, decided that we were getting the heck out of there and forgoing seeing the falls. After a trip like that Brett vows to never take me camping again. I don’t blame him and I agree with him. I don’t camp well… enough said. Sorry folks. However, there was one highlight from the trip. We met a really nice couple from Western Australia who were also from Seattle. Random. The wife was raised in Seattle and Everett and moved back to Australia when she finished high school. Her husband, while being from here, went back to the states for their wedding and has been back a few times since. It was really fun to make that connection. They even knew and had been to Gig Harbor! They are doing the same things we are just for longer. We met up with them on Sunday in Mission Beach again and had a nice chat and walk through town. They are both really sweet. From there we stayed Monday night here at Lake Eacham and tonight is unplanned. To you the days may seem off but they are to us as well so bear with us. We literally cannot even tell you what the date is or what day of the week it is usually. We must really be in Oz.
Just for those of you who don’t know Brett’s sister, Michelle, had her baby Saturday morning at 445am. Of course, typical Mich style it went perfectly. She was admitted to the hospital around 2am and had her quickly thereafter. The emails we are getting seem to say that all went perfectly and they are both happy and healthy! Please update us as they sort life out together and I will try pass on as much info! Her name is Olivia Rose Van Someren and she was 6lbs 12 oz and 20 inches long. I saw a couple pictures and I have to saw the Dutch/Italian mix seems to produce similar children because from what I could tell she looked a lot like Gavin.
Please email me with specific questions if you have them and I will try to be better about posting. We miss you and all and we love you.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

An Overdue Update

Friday 9.11.09
Brett and I were I the post office this morning and realized that we were totally off on the date. I guess that is what traveling will do to you. Plus, we live in a van with no clock and we often forget to put on our watches. Our internal clocks literally run only during daylight hours. We thought it was September 12th, which is even harder to believer because it is nearly 80 every day and zero clouds in the sky, so according to us Washingtonians, why would it be September. However, it is only the 11th here! This also means that it is Ann’s birthday, my sister) today in Washington. So, Happy Birthday Ann!!

When I was 19 and at a very different stage of my live I got a tattoo of a turtle on my right foot. Now, when I was 19 I did, believe it or not, think it thought very well and I even drew a temporary henna tattoo of the exact thing, color and placement of the tattoo I wanted just to be sure I would like it. Never in a million years did I think it would actually affect me in any ways except messing up a cute outfit with heels. However, since starting this trip I have grown very close to my turtle tattoo. The turtle or Honu tattoo that I got is an ancient Hawaiian petroglyph which symbolizes longevity and safe travels. I feel very strongly that this tattoo is providing both of those things. Sounds a little strange but I guess when you are driving on a long two-lane “highway” at 100km an hour, swimming in an ocean with millions of creatures and sleeping in a van you start to think about things… (this has been one of my many random thoughts)

On a better less random thought, the Whitsunday Islands and more specifically Whitehaven beach were literally the prettiest places I have ever been in my life. No doubt about it, hands down! I will post some pictures but unfortunately they won’t even do it justice. The sand on Whitehaven beach was so fine that it squeaks under your feet when you walk. It also contains so much pure silica that NASA came to load up some sand to make the Hubble Space telescope lens. Not only is the sand and beach awesome but the water is so many different shades of blues and greens that it is breathtaking. Honestly, go google a picture of Whitehaven beach and you will see exactly what we saw. All in all, our boat excursion was well worth the money we were afraid to spend. We got to cruise the islands on a great boat, snorkel on the very south tip of the Great Barrier Reef, climb up to a lookout point and view the waters and beaches of Whitehaven and then we got to go down and enjoy the beach for a few hours! The crew was great and the lunch was fantastic also!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Living in a Fort

According to Brett we are officially living out every big boy’s dream of living in a fort. However, ours has 4 wheels, a refrigerator, a sink, all our belongings and an unpredictable next destination. I guess this really is a dream! We are continuing to have so much fun and every day we see something new and utterly amazing. Seriously, Australia is beautiful. The highways are long, the beaches are sandy and the water is postcard turquoise.

We spent Tuesday night in an awesome outskirt of Mackay (pronounced Mick-EYE, for those of you following us on the map) called Slade Point. It was again a perfect parking lot with a BBQ and a bathroom. I don’t think it could get any better having both of those within footsteps. I am convinced now that I wouldn’t even want one of the beautiful houses across the street from the beach because I would be stuck in one place. Instead we get in our car the next morning and head somewhere fun and new. Brett took a mid-night swim (around 8pm to us dawn and dusk followers) to cool off and he said it was just what he needed! Just before we headed down to the beach we checked the signs, just to be safe, and read that it was a local place for turtles to lay eggs. We kept our eyes peeled and our head lamp on in the chance that we could catch a glimpse. Apparently they were all tucked away for the night not to be bothered.

Wednesday is another date that we will never get back: 9.9.09. Brett and I spent 8.8.08 in Vegas with about 20 friends last year and about one year later we are spending it together alone in a very cute little touristy town called Airlie Beach. This town is the backpackers dream with lots of shops, bars and hotels. However we came strictly for the Whitesunday Islands. Once again, we are parked in a lot right on the beach and we just had a great little dinner for about $4 each. We made one minute mashed potatoes out of a bag, grilled zucchini and we grilled up a BBQ pack from the supermarket which included some of our new favorites: seasoned rissle (I am really not exactly sure what rissle is or if I even want to know, but it is yummy and warm), dinner sausage links and a piece of steak. We had a feast topped off with a glass of South Eastern Australian Merlot and it literally cost us next to nothing! We were marveling at the view, the proximity to the sand and our great meal thinking we should be sitting at The Four Seasons with the amenities we are getting used to.

We are going to do our best to play like tourists and enjoy the Whitsunday Islands. We booked a day excursion for Thursday. We tossed back and forth the ideas of camping on one of the deserted islands or taking a boat for the day to snorkel and relax. While we thought camping would be really fun and different it is really quite expensive and then you are secluded to one island and/or one beach. To camp on one of the 74 islands you must bring in all your own gear, get dropped off by a boat and get picked up the next day. We thought it would be better to spend the day on a boat hopping from island to island. Tomorrow’s cruise will take us to one of the most popular beaches, Whitehaven Beach, for some relaxing time on the perfect sand beach as well as to Hook Island for some snorkeling and Hill Inlet for a small climb to a lookout point. The excursion will allow us to see much more and enjoy the islands as well as the waters that surround them!

The rest of our trip is still unplanned but we are still making our way up the coast to eventually land in Port Douglas. The next stop is unknown but we have been using our guide books religiously. We are referring to Let’s Go: Australia 2009, Lonely Planet’s Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef 2008 (our parting gift from Simon) and our 8th edition Hema AAA road map. So far, all the cross-referencing and tips from the locals have steered us in nothing but the right direction!

xoxo, B and K

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tuesday to us, Monday to you

Hi all!

I think I have figured out a great way to get online more often. The library!!!!! We are currently in the beef capital of Australia, otherwise known as Rockhampton. I seriously feel like I am in Ellensburg! We stayed last night in Tannum Sands, which was pretty darn cute. On the way into town we spotted 3 kiters so you can imagine Brett's excitement! We headed straight for the beach and unfortunately the wind was just dying. However, since he did kite Monday in Noosa he was feeling pretty good and not too bummed he missed the wind. Tannum Sands was a great little town to spend the night in however while Brett was brushing his teeth he decided to take a quick stroll down to the river and dip his toes in the sand. He found the sand alright and he also found what could have been the end of his life. He walked back to the van and spotted a sign that said, NO Swimming, Crocodile inhabited area. Yikes.

We are still driving up the coast and trying to make it as far as we can. I think Airlie Beach is our destination for today. Airlies Beach is the hub to the Whitsunday Islands. Look them up if you have never heard of them. One of the islands is where the Most Amazing Job in the World is. (Remember the stuff on the news about winning that job) Well, I reckon we will be able to live our own dream for a day or two without have to send in a video to convince the city that we are great for the islands. Hopefully we will get a nice place to stay aka. a nice stall right next to the beach with a BBQ, and some swim time with the turtles! Pray for that please!

We have been on the Bruce Highway (A1) here while journeying up the coast to Port Douglas. Lets just say their version of I-5 is about as safe as East Bay drive but instead we go 100km (60 mph). We can literally feel every semi that goes flying by because our little van get swayed a few feet to the left. And let me tell you a few feet in the little van without power steering is like being on a roller coaster. I am letting Brett, or more like pray he doesn't mind, do all the highway driving. He is very comfortable on the left side of the road. Now, I will tell you I have been driving! I enjoy the less coastal roads and town driving. I would say getting used to the left side has been a pretty easy transition for both Brett and I!

Besides driving we are trying to figure out the insurance stuff, registration for the car and banking aspect of Australia. It is definitely different!

Well, we are out of the library for now. I really think this is going to be the new way of letting you into our lives. Free Internet, comfy chairs and AC!!!

xoxo, B and K

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Coast Travelers

We have finally hacked someone else’s internet! Life on our end has been so much fun! We left Brisbane and we drove up the coast. We stayed Saturday night in an amazing town called Caloundra. We randomly picked the town and our campsite (a parking stall) and posted up for the day. Because we arrived in Caloundra around 10am we got to spend all day walking around town and playing on the beach. We went to two variety stores, their version of a dollar store, and got everything we needed for the van so far. A frying pan, dish soap, cleaner for the countertops, a wash basin, toiletries and a few other things. We now have the van very well equipped and are so happy we don’t have to spend any immediate money on stuff. Caloundra was the perfect first town because it had a long boardwalk right along the ocean. We walked and ran that a couple of times. It also had a free public pool. However, it was not exactly what I expected because instead of fresh water they pumped salt water straight from the ocean. I opted to lay out for a bit instead of swim. We also took advantage of the farmers market on Sunday morning and got all the fruit and veggies we could eat for $7.50. This was our first big bargain and we were so excited that our brekkie was made up of fresh tomatoes, avocados, bananas and apples.

We left Caloundra in search of some other great beach town and we seriously just keep finding one after the other. The coast line is breathtaking and the towns are awesome. We have decided to drive through a few towns, get out, walk the beach and hop back in the car. We decided if we got out and stayed at every great beach we would never make it up the coast in our year here. So we drove through Coolum, attended a Father’s Festival and street market in Maroochydore, ate lunch on a bluff overlooking a mile long beach and read for a few minutes on Noosa beach. We stayed last night in Noosaville. We parked right next to the Noosa River and made our first dinner in the van! We used the BBQs here and made ourselves an awesome spaghetti and meatball dinner!!!!! It tasted so yummy and the process to make it was even better! We are heading out again this morning for a few small hikes where we hope to spot koala bears and dolphins! We’ll post some more pictures when we find internet again!
A few funny tidbits:

It is really expensive here. Let me give you an idea. A box of cereal is about $7.00. However, we got the store brand corn flakes for about $2.50. All the clothes are ridiculously expensive so thankfully we are not here to shop. Going out to eat is impossible so right now so we consider Subway a nice meal out! We are so lucky that we were planning a trip like this because for us the bargain hunting and funny instances are comical and make the trip even better. We don’t pay for campsite but instead sleep in a parking lot. However, while this may sound a little strange it is practically perfect and definitely paradise. Our parking lot is always less than 20 yards from a beautiful sandy beach and there are always facilities within a short walk. The grocery stores all close around 9pm but without fail they all close at 530pm on Saturday. Why? We don’t know. We are never the only van parked in a parking lot for the night. It is always a really good feeling when some fellow van pulls in because we don’t feel like we are doing something completely illegal. We routinely go to bed at 8pm and get up at 545am. For right now it works perfectly. We get to bed early and than have nice long days on the road and in new towns!

We’re headed up the coast for now! Time for some brekkie and to hit the road. Love you all!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Greetings from the raining city

WE GOT A VAN!!!!!!! Simon has officially become our new best friend. No, Simon is not the name of our new van but instead the amazing Australian who sold us our van. The van’s name is still to be determined! I think Simon is kind of free spirit like us considering the facts listed next. He lived in Perth and after he was offered a job in Brisbane he bought the van from an elderly couple and drove it solo across the great Australian desert. He worked in Brizzy for about 2 weeks or maybe it was 2 months (I cannot remember) and royally hated his job so he got a new job in Broome, WA (Western Australia for those of you who thought I was talking about WA state!) and posted the van for sale. Upon hearing from us he got the van ready for sale, bought a ticket to Thailand and hitched a ride from us to the airport upon receiving the cash for the van. He is spending two weeks in Thailand with friends before he starts his job on the west coast!!! He was really fun to chat with and answered all our funny questions about Australia. He was a huge help in more ways than one!!!

So, we have our van and she is safely parked on the street for the night. I am secretly hoping we wake up at 545am for the third morning in a row so we can go play with her and get all our junk situated and be on the road first thing when the sun comes up around 630am! This might take lots of work on my part because Brett is totally determined to go to bed later so we don’t get up sop early but hey, maybe I can avoid a run two mornings in a row if I play my cards right!!!

We had an amazing dinner tonight from Burger Urge. Now, I can guarantee I am going to be getting an urge for this burger once we leave Brisbane. It was amazing. Bacon, avocado, tomato relish, beef, a sesame bun, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and the most amazing chips (ok, sorry fries) with a lime mayo dressing. It was the best burger either of us has ever eaten! We have also come up with a system to not drain our wallets of money. We split everything, especially dinners. It seems to be working great. Thankfully we also have a ton of really great snacks from everyone to munch on if we get hungry between meals. However, we are by no means going hungry!!

Alright, well off to bed for now! We are planning to head up the coast tomorrow! We’ll keep you all posted!

Saturday 9.5.09
It is raining in Brisbane but thankfully we are getting out of here and heading up the coast to a cool small kiteboarding town called Caloundra. We will write more once we get some more experience but for now we need to shelp all our gear to the van, hit the farmers market and begin our drive. Thankfully Brett has already mastered the art of driving on the opposite side of the road!
Wish us luck and thanks for the prayers!

We have updated the pictures on facebook to include the van. You can view all the pictures from the link in the post below.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pictures as of 9.4.09

I have realized that the easiest way to upload photos for all to see is to link the photos from my facebook account. They upload way faster and you will be able to see more!!! Thanks to all who are following us!

Brisbane Photo Album:

Europe or Australia?

Wednesday 9.2.09
Are we in Europe? Did we fly to the wrong city? Brisbane is a big city with lots of people and it seriously reminds me of Europe. The people have the same fashion, cars, lifestyle, and food minus the beautiful old buildings and amazing architecture. I kept telling Brett how I felt like I was in Italy all over again. Funny seeing that I thought I was coming to the outback…

Today was an impressively productive first day in Australia. We spent a total of 3 hours, yes 3 hours, in some form of bank to exchange all our US travelers’ checks and open a bank account. During the 2.5 hour visit in NAB (National Australian Bank) we were delighted to be helped by Lesley, a fellow Brisbane resident. In the 2.5 hours we managed to discuss actual banking topics for maybe 15 minutes and for the remainder of our visit she proceeded to tell us about her 3 daughters and her husband. So we have a bank account and lots of cash burning a hole in our money belt just waiting to be handed to some nice van owner. Brett and I have an appointment to look at a van tonight and we are praying that the timing is just perfect and it is meant to be ours. If so, I am sure we will do a little shopping tomorrow to equip the van, get some food and head up the coast. Oh, I do hope we get this van!

Friday 9.4.09
We looked at the van and we are pretty sure we are going to get it today. We are just waiting for the owner to get a road worthy inspection this afternoon and than if all goes well it will be ours! I'll keep you posted. In the event that we get it, start praying now for our adventure of driving on the right. Or is it the left, ok no the right! Oh man I am already confused.

Brett and I started Thursday morning with a run around town to get an idea of the city and well, just plain work out. It was a bit of an interesting run considering you have to stop every block to wait for a light to change. I guess you could say it was my kind of run and not so much Brett's! We saw lots of stuff and made mental notes of restaurants and shops to head back to.

We also spent literally from 9am until 4pm walking around the city. We went in random shops, talk to people about cell phones, met and took pictures with 4 pretty famous rugby players from the Qantas Wallabies and laid out/napped for a bit at the South Bank Beach. Yes, a beach. The city has built a beach right along the river with real sand and fresh water. It was so fun to play frisbee, lay out and watch the locals. I am pretty sure we plan to head there again today since it is so nice here and perfect for laying out!

So far, we have had an awesome time! We miss everyone and want to thank everyone for their prayers and thoughts while we are adventuring! Thank you for the great goodbye party and we love sharing our stories with you. Hopefully you are reading!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We've Moved! You'll be finding us among the koala bears and kangaroos!

We have arrived in the land down under. (Boy, I sure hope they call it that here because I really like the way it sounds but I sure don’t want to sound like a total tourist) We departed Seattle at 335pm on Monday August 31st and are expected to arrived in Brisbane, Australia at 9am on Wednesday September 2nd. Tuesday, August 1st literally never happened in our lives. Our first flight to LA was, to say the least, easy and short, lasting a measly 2 hours and 10 mins. We boarded our flight to Auckland, NZ at 9pm and slept/ate/watched movies/strolled the cabin for 13 hours. I was shocked at how fast it really went. I think I must have worked it up so much in my mind that it actually went fairly quickly. We ran into a group of kids at the airport in LA, I use the term kids loosely because I swear we are still kids but then we run into students who are studying abroad and I instantly feel OLD. The students were doing a semester in NZ for some ecology class/project. It really sounded like so much fun! It instantly makes me remember my days of studying abroad and how freaking giddy I was boarding the plane knowing I was going to be “living” somewhere so different and exotic for 5 months. However, I was just as excited, if not more, for this trip. Thinking about spending 12 or so months with my best friend on a continent that doubles as an island is so crazy but amazing!
Here’s the second piece for the day. We officially landed in Brisbane and made it to our hostel, the Blue Tongue Backpackers Resort. We got our own room with a bathroom not far down the hallway. It will be perfect for the first few nights. However, Brett and I both agree that we want to get out of the city as soon as possible. We are itching to drive up the coast and enjoy the beautiful scenery and ruggedness of Australia. We have already found a few vans to call on so that is our next step. While we feel a little lost with no phone, car, or sense of direction it is only 11am in Brisbane so we are happy we have the whole day ahead of us to get our bearings in this city and call on a few vans. Wish us luck! So far we feel we have had a very successful first few hours in Australia and cannot wait to tell you more about it!
Stick around for more!
PS. For those of you who know me really well I have officially had my first cappuccino and I feel like I am in Italy all over again. They know how to do coffee here! A small foamy capp with chocolate dusting the top! No sugar needed and it is pure perfection! Sorry Ash!!!