Posts Tagged With: Beauty

On: The Land of Oz

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Today to you in the west is the 30th of April, 2014. Our last full day in Australia was on the 29th. The day before (4/28/14), we finally made it to the ocean. So for today’s post, even though we are already in Japan, spending the night and leaving for home on May 1st, I wanted to share some last minute OZ’ stuff with you. Most native Aussies pronounce Australia as, OZ- tralia.We have in many ways, felt like we have been in the land of OZ! 🙂

It's a BIG country

It’s a BIG country

But Australia is not only a country comprised of six states and two territories, it is also, a continent. We have never left the huge state of New South Wales. Not only have we not seen the rest of this beautiful and interesting country, we have not even scratched the surface of New South Wales!

We spent most of our time with family at their home in Camden, NSW, Australia. I personally, fell in love with this wonderful community! We went to Sydney, NSW, a couple of times, went to the Sydney Opera House, the Harbor area, downtown Sydney, the Chinese Friendship Garden, took a ferry boat ride to Toronga Zoo, and went to Sea World. Still, all of this is located in New South Wales. We rented a cottage for the weekend in Katoomba, New South Wales, in the Blue Mountains. On and on and so forth and even though we saw and experienced a lot in just over a month’s time, what do we really know about this wonderful country, not very much! And even though I took probably 1,000’s of pictures, if they all turn out and I shared them all with you, Australia has SO MUCH MORE to offer! And the same can be said of Japan as well!

But we made it to the ocean in Australia. And do you remember a few posts back while in Katoomba, NSW, I said we saw 100 or more sulfur crested cockatoos fly overhead? Perhaps you found that hard to believe, especially since there were no photos or videos to back up that claim.

I'm so pretty! Thanks for looking! HAVE A NICE DAY! :)

I’m so pretty! Thanks for looking! HAVE A NICE DAY! 🙂

 

Well, at the bottom of this post are two videos. 100 or so cockatoos flew over the home where we have been staying in, Camden, NSW, Australia. It was an early foggy morning with a little light rain. It was on our last full day here on 4/29/14. The videos show these same birds, perched in a couple of gum trees, in front of the house. Incredible, beautiful and NOISY! 🙂

The day before 4/28/14, we set out to see the ocean. The following unexpected road sign was seen while in route.

Koala Crossing

Koala Crossing

Road sign to the Ocean

Road sign on the way to the Ocean

We got to the ocean to Susan’s pure joy and delight! If I told you Susan loves the ocean, that would be an understatement, GREATLY UNDER-STATED!! 🙂

It was a nice drive there through some ‘bush’ of eucalyptus forests, past the koala crossing and with a gorgeous view of mountains until, we descended toward the beach. And there, was, a little sand path walk to the shore. It was a lovely cool day and a bit cloudy. It was definitely a remove-your-sandals-and-walk-barefoot-in-the-sand kind of day. There were huge barges and boats in the distance. Several surfers were out trying to, “catch some waves.” Jonathan and baby Felix, Susan and I walked and explored the beautiful beach and walked along the shoreline. But of course we rolled up our pant legs and dipped our feet in the water! It was wonderful! Susan and I collected a few shells to bring home and spied all kinds of washed-ashore plant life and a couple of little live creatures. One was a tiny hermit crab, walking with its shell still attached. There were large black rocks covered with barnacles. But after all is said and done, it’s all about the ocean!

Ocean I

Ocean I – our path to the beach

Ocean II

Ocean II

Ocean III

Ocean III

Ocean IV

Ocean IV

There was some driftwood and a huge chuck of timber that I pretended to be part of some shipreck that really did occur in this area in the late 1800’s. I found a little stick and, but of course, I had to write something in the sand!

With Love from Susan & Dahni on the beach in OZ-tralia :)

With Love from Susan & Dahni on the beach in OZ-tralia , 4/28/14 🙂

As our outing ended, I came back another way, up some stairs to a play area for kids, picnic area and public restrooms. They even had showers that I took advantage of and washed the sand from my feet, before putting my Keen sandals back on (And yes, brother Richard, my Keen’s stood up to sand, shore and salt-ocean-water. Our outing at the beach was short-lived, but WE LIVED! It was an appropriate one ending to our stay in Australia. Why did I use the words, “one ending?” Why, because, the very next morning, those 100 or so cockatoos from the Blue Mountains seemed to show up in Camden, (as if they followed us) and right in front of our house, JUST FOR YOU!!!! 🙂

But before this post ends and you see the little videos, we would like to take this time to thank all the wonderful Aussies, family and all our new friends that made this such a wonderful and memorable experience! Thank you one and all! We will never forget you! Missing you already! Guhday Mates and Maties or Sheilas! 🙂

Dahni in Susan

A Cockatoo Good Morning to You – Youutube video 1

If possible, watch this full screen and crank up the volume! 🙂

A Cockatoo Good Morning to You II – Youutube video 2

If possible, watch this full screen and crank up the volume! 🙂

Categories: Aussie, Australia, Australian Life, Beauty, Birds of Australia, cockatoos, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Japan, Missing You, Ocean, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Visual Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Pretty & Cool II

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Pretty & Cool or Pretty Cool Part II

By 10:00 AM in NY (eastern standard time) today,April 28, 2014 it is midnight of the next day here in Australia (April 29th. Hopefully, I am asleep, for when we arise, it’s packing day, for tomorrow morning we will be leaving the ‘Land Down Under,’ for Japan, and our trip home.

So I, like Tooter Turtle  will call upon Mr. Wizard the Lizard to get us safely home.

Tooter Turtle (sometimes spelled Tudor or Tutor) was a cartoon about a turtle that first appeared on TV in 1960, as a segment, along with The Hunter a detective dog, as part of the King Leonardo and His Short Subjects program. “Tooter Turtle” debuted on NBC, on Saturday, October 15, 1960, and ran for 39 original episodes through July 22, 1961. These episodes were later rerun as backups on other cartoon shows,[1] but no more original episodes were made.

The plots followed the same general format. Tooter (voiced by Allen Swift) calls on his friend Mr. Wizard the Lizard (voiced by Sandy Becker), an anthropomorphic lizard wearing wizard cone hat, robe, and pince-nez eyeglasses. Mr. Wizard lived in a tiny cardboard box at the base of a tall tree. The introductory segment had Tooter knocking on the cardboard box, having “another favor to ask.” From inside the box, Mr. Wizard would shrink Tooter small enough to enter through the box’s front door, and invite him in. Mr. Wizard has the magic to change Tooter’s life to some other destiny, usually sending him back in time and to various locales.

Mr. Wizard sending Tooter Turtle somewhere in the past, present or future

Mr. Wizard sending Tooter Turtle somewhere in the past, present or future

Tooter Turtle being brought back

Tooter Turtle being brought back

As Tooter is doing his destiny, Mr. Wizard narrates about it. When Tooter’s trip finally became a catastrophe, Tooter would request help with a cry of “Help me Mr. Wizard, I don’t want to be X any more!” where X was whatever destiny Tooter had entered. Mr. Wizard would then rescue Tooter with the incantation, “Twizzle, Twazzle, Twozzle, Twome; time for this one to come home.” Then, Mr. Wizard would always give Tooter the same advice:

“Be just what you is, not what you is not. Those that do this are the happiest lot.” 

Source, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tooter_Turtle

Anyway, back to your present and ‘Pretty & Cool’ or Pretty Cool Part II

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A Pretty ibis in an habitat reserve nearby

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Bee & Lavender flower

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Butterfly and Lavendar

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Another Pretty, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Pretty Cool flowers, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Closeup of prety cool flower, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Pretty Pink, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia

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This pretty white flower looks like the tips of its petal were airbrushed pink., Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Lime Tree, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Closeup of Limes, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Pretty Ducks, Habitat & Reserve in park, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Pretty Cool Window Display, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Pretty Cool Advice, on street outside store, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Pretty Cool Display and sculpture made out of wood, inside store, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Beautiful delicate little fragrant flower, Katoomba, NSW, Australia

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Bee and Yellow Flower, Katoomba, NSW, Australia

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Closeup of Yellow Flower, Katoomba, NSW, Australia

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Pretty Pink Flowers on Fence Line, Katoomba, NSW, Australia

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Closeup of Pretty Pink Flowers, Katoomba, NSW, Australia

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Beautiful, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australia

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Closeup of Beautiful, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australia

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Another Beautiful, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Belgenny Farm, Birds of Australia, Birds of Paradise, Blue Mountains, Camden, Darling Harbor, Family & Friends, Flowers, Harbor Bridge, Homeward Bound, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, Plants & Cool Stuff from Australia, Sydney, Taronga Zoo, The Chinese Friendship Garden, The Gathering Place, Travel, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Pretty & Cool

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Pretty & Cool or Pretty Cool Part I

As you are waxing on your Sunday, our is waning in Australia. Soon it will be Monday here. We have only two days left until we leave early Wednesday for our flight to Tokyo, Japan on April 30th. After an overnight night there, we will take a flight to Chicago, IL, U.S.A. on May 1st, fly through yesterday and still arrive on May 1st, catch another plane and be in Rochester, NY around 2:15 PM est, on May 1st. Then it is about a 45 minute drive and we will be home!

This has been an incredible trip to Japan & Australia! There is so much from both countries I still want to share with you.

While still in Australia there was so much more I wanted to share, but the time fails me. I have taken thousands of pictures and many of them are acceptable to my very critical eye. But with the laptop I  have been using, problems with my camera, lack of software and other issues, I have been severely limited.

But there are places we went and things we did that I want to share and will, somehow in the future. Here is just a partial list of content I have not posted yet:

• Belgenny Farm (the birthplace of Australian agriculture)
• Out N’ About Sydney, Australia
• Beautiful sunrises and sunset
• Paddy’s Market (downtown Sydney shopping district
• More about Camden, Australia
• Our ferry boat ride in Darling Harbor, past the Sydney Opera House and underneath Harbor Bridge
• Susan’s & Caitlin’s High Tea
Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
• Taronga Zoo (truly a world class zoo in Sydney. I have so many pictures of animals and we proabably only saw 1/3 of the zoo)
• And so much more!

So, I have loaded over 60 pictures of just what I call in the post, Pretty & Cool or you could also just think of these as pretty cool! 🙂 But these are pictures taken over the month that we have been in Australia. The are pictures of flowers and plants mostly found here. Most of these I do not not know their names are really much about them other than, there are just to me, Pretty & Cool! 🙂

So I will pre-schedule 3 posts for the next three days (including today) and post about 20 or so pictures for each day with some simple captions with descriptions.

If I get an opportunity to post anymore before we get home to The Gathering Place, I may? I will try and continue posting about our trip when we get home ASAP. But, we have much to do when we get home for the month of may and June, but I will do the best that I can, when I can.

Thank You for your patience and understanding.

Dahni

A neighbor's tree on Little St., Camden, NSW, Australia

A neighbor’s tree on Little St., Camden, NSW, Australia

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A rose of many The Rose Cottage, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Camden, NSW, Australia

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Camden, NSW, Australia

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Bottle Brush Tree, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Closeup of Bottle Brush Tree, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Even after the colors fade, the Bottle Brush Tree is still interesting, Belgenny Farm, Camden Park Estate, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Closeup of faded Bottle Brush Tree, Belgenny Farm, Camden Park Estate, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Just another ‘Pretty,’ in Camden, NSW, Australia

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Gorgeous Rose, Somewhere in Australia

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Another ‘Pretty’ Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia

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Bird of Paradise, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia

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Interesting hangy-downy-thingies somewhere on an Australian tree 🙂

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A pretty lorikeet eating pretty red petals, right outside our living room window on Little Street, Camden, NSW, Australia

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Closeup of pretty lorikeet eating pretty red petals, right outside our living room window on Little Street, Camden, NSW, Australia

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This cactus at the end of the street, budded shortly after we got here. There must have been over a 100 buds. Only 1-2 blooms

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Closeup of bloom and buds

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The blooms only bloom once and only two buds blossomed and as of 4/26/14 this is how the cactus now looks

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All the buds and 2 blooms disappeared. This little red I saw the morning of 4/26/14

Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Beauty, Belgenny Farm, Birds of Australia, Birds of Paradise, Blue Mountains, Camden, Family & Friends, Harbor Bridge, Homeward Bound, Japan, Katoomba, Missing You, Plants & Cool Stuff from Australia, Sydney, Taronga Zoo, The Chinese Friendship Garden, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: A Cockatoo Good Morning to You

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

On Friday April 11, 2014, after we checked in at our cottage in Katoomba, NSW, Australia in the Blue Mountains, Susan and Jonathan and I went to town to find some food for super. Caitlin, baby Felix and Fritz the dog stayed behind at the cottage.

The cottage had a large open space for the living, dining and breakfast area, with a high cathedral ceiling. The west wall was all glass and outside was a large wooden deck. Two large cedar trees were on each side of the deck.

The view of the Blue Mountains towards the frot of the deck or due west was incredible! It was the perfect place to view the sunrise, sunset, moon-rise,  moon-fall and the many coolabah (eucalyptus or gum) trees rising mysteriously in the distance. These trees hosted many cockatoos and other birds. Throughout our weekend, we could see them fly over and sunset and sunrise and perch in the trees. And, outside on the deck was a wonderful place to hear the cacophony of sounds and breathe the fresh clean mountain air and reflect on life, chill or just be at peace.

But as we three, on our first evening here, crossed the street from our cottage, at least 100 cockatoos flew overhead, just around sunset. We we brought food home for Caitlin and told her about this, she let us know that she saw the same group of birds fly overhead and land in the trees, in front of the deck of our cottage!

Personally, I’ve only ever seen any of these beautiful birds in zoos and as pets back home in the United States, but and never so many and flying-living free in Australia!!! 🙂

Although I was not able to capture this extraordinary sight with my camera, four cockatoos showed up the morning we left for home. One in particular, seemed more than willing to pose just for you! So I share this ‘Cockatoo Good Morning with You!’

Good Morning from our cottage deck in the Blue Mountains

Good Morning from our cottage deck in the Blue Mountains

Four Cockatoos

Four Cockatoos

Curious Cockatoos

Curious Cockatoos

Strutting Stuff

Strutting Stuff

Got any food?

Got any food?

Sure I'll pose for you!

Sure I’ll pose for you!

Look at me!

Look at me!

Are you looking at me?

Are you looking at me?

It is a beautiful morning!

It is a beautiful morning!

See how high I can sit in the tree!

See how high I can sit in the tree!

I'm so pretty! Thanks for looking! HAVE A NICE DAY! :)

I’m so pretty! Thanks for looking! HAVE A NICE DAY! 🙂

Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Beauty, Birds of Australia, Blue Mountains, cockatoos, Eucalyptus Trees, Family & Friends, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, Photography, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Katoomba, NSW, Australia

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates, from Dahni your Aussie Katoomba travel guide

Guhday Mates, from Donnie your Aussie Katoomba travel guide

On April 11 through the morning of April 14th, 2014, we went to The Blue Mountains and rented a cottage (see last post) in Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia.

Today, I want to share with you some of the flavor of Katoomba. It was a quaint, charming and eclectic community – MY KIND OF PLACE! Besides the fact that it is located in The Blue Mountains and is quite hilly to walk the streets, it reminded me of Telluride, Colorado in the United States. Telluride is a community in the Rocky Mountains where people come to ski in the winter and it is also a hub to get to Aspen or Vale when those areas are closed to airports or other transportation, due to the weather. Although Telluride and Katoomba do not share the same type of weather conditions, it’s their common flavor that is similar to me. Telluride basically started as a ‘hippie communue’ back in the sixities. I suppose as many of them grew up and decided to get jobs and start a ski resort? 🙂

In Katoomba, there are many young people, arts and crafts, just like in Telluride. Our pictorial journey below, begins with an example of some local artwork, a mural painted on a brick wall of an abandoned garage across the road from our cottage. We saw this as we were heading into town.

Mural on wall of abandoned garage

Mural on wall of abandoned garage

In Katoomba, we noted many wonderful and fashionable hats on the heads of many people, young and old, male and female. ‘The Hattery,’ where I found and purchased my Akubra hat you see me wearing in the picture above, is from Katoomba. For more information about my hat in a previous post on this blog see: Hats

But Kotoomba is more than just a young/artistic/eclectic community, it is a travel destination! Katoomba is the city host or gateway to The Blue Mountains and both attract many people from around the world, every year. We noted many differnet people, accents and languages being spoken while we were here. There are several popular and international establishments and connections here. A friend from the United States informed me that soon after we returned from our trip to this area, Prince William & Kate of England were planning on visiting the following week. The English and Australian connection is just one example of many international connections.

Our first night here as we were walking to downtown for some food, some one-hundred (at least) sulfur crested cockatoos flew over our heads. Caitlin stayed at the cottage with baby Felix and she saw them fly right over our deck and into the eucalyptus trees of the Blue Mountains, right around sunset. Even though I did not get a picture of this amazing sight, in a future post, I will share pictures of four of these beautiful birds and sppecifically one that certainly seemed to want to pose for me, from the huge evergreen near the deck of our cottage.

But this night, on recommendation of a local librarian, we went to dinner at an authentic Korean restaurant. Susan and Jonathan ordered each a different entree and I chose one that is supposed to be one of the most popular among street people in Korea. Dduk Bok-ki was so incredible, both Susan and Jonathan wished they had ordered it! It was a sweet rice, shaped like tube pasta, but not hollow. It was made from rice flour and steamed. It was included in this huge plate of steamed vegetables. You could have it mild, medium or hot. I chose medium. It was inexpensive, delicious and so filling and yet, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing, even sharing a lot with Susan and Jonathan, I was stuffed with delight!

Other foods include the best coffee I have either ever had or it’s been so long, I cannot recall any better. This we purchased from a little, almost a hole in the wall, cafe from the Elephant Bean Coffee. Then there was the most incredible fresh-baked croissant from a cute little bakery, I’ve ever eaten and shared the crumbs with a local pigeon. 🙂

In another post in the future, I will share about some Australian beverages, including the chili wine we tasted and bought in Katoomba. Yes, you read that correctly, Chili wine made entirely out of 100% chili. It was sweet and hot. We intended to bring it home, but we opened it as soon as we got back to the cottage and finished it off the next day when we got back home to Camden. It was fantastic with cheese and now that I’ve come to appreciate oysters (at least Australian and Apalachicola, Florida oysters in the US), DEFINITELY WITH OYSTERS!!! I’m almost sorry we drank it with out purchasing another bottle to bring home, but “no worries,” this Australian exclusive product, has a website and this wine can be ordered online and shipped to your door!!!! 🙂

We had dinner and some chocolate at the Paragon restaurant. This place could have a post and then some, all its own. It was a mixture of Greek/Romanesque architecture and art-deco and hand carved reliefs on the walls. It does make me wonder if the garden area behind our cottage might actually be owned by the owners of this restaurant or some related family members?  The food was fabulous and but of course, WE HAD TO TRY THEIR CHOCOLATE! According to their interior signage, it’s the chocolate that made Katoomba famous. I have no way to prove or disprove that statement, but this place has been here since 1921 I believe, has a US connection (the wife of the owner was from the United States), and there are many pictures throughout the place of famous people that have signed their names and have eaten here. So what does that say to you?! Some of the pictures I recognized and some I did not. Art Acord (silent film western star), Clark Gable and Peter O’Toole. So, that’s pretty telling. You can search for the Paragon Cafe online and find many interesting things. They also have a page on Facebook.

There were many unusual and wonderful things to experience in Katoomba, but time and words fail me. The best that I can offer you are some humble pictures. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂

As stated previously, Katoomba is quite hilly and it exercises your heart, lungs and legs to walk here, but well worth the effort! The air was crisp, cool and clear at this time of the year during Australia’s late fall or early winter. Days were nicely pleasant with a couple of layers of long sleeve shirts and the nights build-a-fire cool. The downtown district is home to many cafes, shops and stores from the unusual, the bizarre and the, just lovely. There are examples of fine architecture in beautifully restored or well-maintained hotels and other buildings.

There were many unusual and wonderful things to experience in Katoomba, but time and words fail me. As I said, the best that I can offer you are some humble pictures, my personal recommendation to COME HERE if you ever have the opportunity and a link to some Irish music I recorded live, on my way back to the cottage one day. I hope you enjoy all that follows here! 🙂

Mural on Wall

Mural on wall of the Three  Sisters and etc., of The Blue Mountains at Echo Point

Downtown Katoomba

Downtown Katoomba – sure why not espresso and waffles! 🙂

The Elephant Bean Cafe

The Elephant Bean Cafe (notice anyone familiar?)

The Elephant Bean Cafe (Awesome coffee)

The Elephant Bean Cafe
(awesome coffee)

Bakery with fresh baked almond croissants. YAY! :)

Bakery with fresh baked almond croissants. YAY! 🙂

If you must eat croissants, why not artistically!

If you must eat croissants, why not artistically!

Closeup of our table

Closeup of our table

And the pigeons enjoyed your crumbs :)

And the pigeons enjoyed your crumbs 🙂

My first ever female street performer. She was actually very good.

My first ever female street performer. She was actually very good.

Little Aussie squirrels picture, for  my sister Carol Lee

Little Aussie squirrels picture, for my sister Carol Lee

Ducks or Kiwi birds in boots? I dunno, but they were cute, so I had to take this! :)

Ducks or Kiwi birds in boots? I dunno, but they were cute, so I had to take this! 🙂

Clock bridge over street

Clock bridge over street

Old-time informative bill

Old-time informative bill

Mural of Katoomba Falls I

Mural of Katoomba Falls I

Mural II

Mural of Katoomba Falls II

Hotel Carrington Entrance

Carrington Place (hotel) Entrance

Hand carved wall, Carrington Place Entrance

Hand carved wall, Carrington Place Entrance

Irish connection

Irish connection

Irish connection II

Irish connection II

Want to Wassail me for some mulled wine? :)

Want to Wassail me for some Mulled Wine? 🙂

The circus in town? :)

The circus in town? 🙂

Paragon I

Paragon I

Paragon II

Paragon II

Paragon III

Paragon III

Paragon Chocolate "The chocolate that made Katoomba famous"

Paragon Chocolate
“The chocolate that made Katoomba famous”

Chocolates I

Chocolates I

Chocolates II

Chocolates II

Chocolates III

Chocolates III

Lost Bear Gallery

Lost Bear Gallery (art gallery)

Whale out of wooden sticks

Whale out of wooden sticks in window of Lost Bear Gallery

Oh, there the lost bear is! :)

Oh, there the lost bear is! 🙂

Closeup of found lost bear art

Closeup of found lost bear art

Nice wall

Nice wall

Interesting walk I

Interesting walk I

Interesting Walk II  (same walk, different view)

Interesting Walk II
(same walk, different view)

Can you see the heart shape?

Can you see the heart shape?

Last stop before back to cottage and look what I saw and heard! :

Last stop before  heading back to our cottage and look what you saw and heard! :

Locals, quite possibly of Irish roots, gathered in this pub for grub, beers and cheers and playing some really nice Irish jigs. There were children present and other watchers/listeners like me. Flutes, violins, guitar, banjo, a concertina (similar to an accordion) and one gent (laddie) played the Uilleann pipes. The bar was open and run by another international connection. She was anice lady from Vietnam. It was a gorgeous day and the windows were open in the pub.

Several falutists

Several flutists and violinists and concertina far left

Flute player closest to me

Flute player closest to me

Uilleann Pipe Player

Uilleann Pipe Player

The uilleann pipes are the characteristic national bagpipe of Ireland. Earlier known in English as “union pipes”, their current name is a partial translation of the Irish-language term píobaí uilleann (literally, “pipes of the elbow”), from their method of inflation.There is no historical record of the name or use of the term ‘uilleann pipes’ before the twentieth century. It was an invention of Grattan Flood and the name stuck. People mistook the term ‘union’ to refer to the 1800 Act of Union; this is incorrect as Breandán Breathnach points out that a poem published in 1796 uses the term ‘union.’

The bag of the uilleann pipes is inflated by means of a small set of bellows strapped around the waist and the right arm (in the case of a right-handed player; in the case of a left-handed player the location and orientation of all components are reversed). The bellows not only relieve the player from the effort needed to blow into a bag to maintain pressure, they also allow relatively dry air to power the reeds, reducing the adverse effects of moisture on tuning and longevity. Some pipers can converse or sing while playing.

Source: Wikipedia

And a good time was had be all! :)

And a good time was had by all! 🙂

Please click on the following link to a recording I made of these musicians. It’s only about a minute clip, but I think you will enjoy it.

https://soundcloud.com/dahni-4/irish-music

Categories: Art, Aussie, Australia, Australian Life, Blue Mountains, Chocolate, Coffee, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Food, Fun, Irish, Irish Music, Japan, Katoomba, Music, Photography, The Gathering Place, The Global Village, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized, Walkabout | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: The Blue Mountains

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates, from Dahni your Blue Mountain guide

Guhday Mates, from Donnie The Blue Mountains guide (yours). 🙂

Australian late Fall – April 12th, 2014

Today, we journey into and through the Blue Mountains near Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia. It is an awe inspiring journey into some of the finest, picturesque and photographic adventures, I have ever experienced. But our adventure is for more than just the area’s calling card which is, The Three Sisters Rock formations. For more on the Three Sisters, their lengends, The Three Exploers and etc. from this blog, click The Three Somethings

Our trip begins at Echo Point and The Three Sisters, then we will hike around the mountains and through the forest to Katoomba Falls. The trek is quite rigorous, but I am sixty years old and if I can do it, so can you! My Keene sandals are more than up to the task. Wear warm clothing (long pants, a nice wool shirt and an undershirt, a hat and some sunglasses if you like, but we will be passing through the forest floor of shade and shadows). Grab some water and a camera and prepare yourself to transcend into an incredible state of mind as we ascend the mountains and descend towards the falls. The air is crisp and clear. The sun is full and the clouds are gorgeous. We may even see some bird of prey, soar the thermals above the mountains.

Caution: There will be times that you feel as if you are all alone. You may be able to hear yourself think? You may at times be so at peace within the quiet that the only sound you may hear if you stop moving is, the sound of your own heartbeat. That my friends and companions, is the sound of exuberant joy! 🙂

Glad not alone, for you are not alone. We are all pilgrims here, just passing through. It is a gift to us and to all. The Blue Mountains was made for all to enjoy. For joy, get en (in) to it, all of it and all of your all – en-joy!

Our trip below Echo Point along the mountain side to the falls, will take about 2 hours in and back another way. It is a well made path, but there may be some water from many small mountain streams that may trickle over it sometimes. This will be some good exercise, but well worth it. I do highly recommend this trip to most anyone of fair to good health. Take it slowly if you must, as they say here down under, “No worries!” Catch every breath from every moment that leaves you breathless from such breathtaking views! 🙂

Immerse yourself in this, perhaps a once in a lifetime experience. So, this ends and your vicarious adventure begins with photographs and captions. Enjoy!

Dahni

The Boomerang Bench at Echo Point

The Boomerang Bench at Echo Point

The Three Sisters at Echo Point

The Three Sisters at Echo Point

Bird of Prey Over The Blue Mountains

Bird of Prey Over The Blue Mountains

Note: The Haze over the mountains from which it derives its name is from the oils released from the thousands of many varieties of eucalyptus trees that cover the mountains.

Another View

Another View

The Sunlit Bluffs

The Sunlit Bluffs

Blues, Greens and Purples

Blues, Greens and Purples

Another View II

Another View II

One of My Favorite Views

One of My Favorite Views

Subdued & Blued

Subdued & Blued

My Favorite View

My Favorite View

At Cliff's Edge

At Cliff’s Edge

The Three Sisters from another point of view

The Three Sisters from another point of view

Moving through the forest

Moving through the forest

Majestic

Majestic

Sunlight on The Cliffs II

Sunlight on The Cliffs II

Inside the Living Forest

Inside the Living Forest

The Mysterious Eucalyptus

The Mysterious Eucalyptus

Katoomba Falls

Katoomba Falls

Our journey ends here as close to the falls as we could reach as the lower path was closed. We will just have to return for more views and closer views sometime in the future or in our dreams. My sincerest thanks for allowing me to be with you in this place of beauty. You are beautiful and Donnie Luvs Yah!

Donnie

P.S. WE THANK YOU AUSTRALIA, FOR SHARING YOUR TREASURE!!! 🙂

D.

All Photography by Dahni
© 2014 by Dahni & I-Magine, all rights reserved
any photos you would like either as enlarged  prints  to purchase or to share for FREE, by purchase or permission ONLY
contact me for more information: Dahni1@gmail.com
Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Blue Mountains, Family & Friends, Harmony, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, Missing You, Perfection, Photography, Spiritual, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry, Walkabout | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: The Three Somethings

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates from Dahni, your Aussie Blue Mountains guide

Guhday Mates from Donnie, your Aussie Blue Mountains guide

Yes, tis’ me! I am no longer wearing shades, eating eucalyptus leaves and looking like a Koala Bear! 🙂 A brand new, Akubra hat, exclusive to this one hat store (The Hattery) and this area and actually dark navy blue and appropriately named, Blue Mountains,will do that to you! 🙂

I am standing at a rail at Echo Point in front of The Three Sisters/Explorers/Rock Formations/Somethings, immediately behind me to your right.

Last weekend (April 11-14), we had the breathtaking, perhaps a-once-in–lifetime experience of the Blue Mountains around Katoomba, N.S.W. (New South Wales or NSW), Australia. NSW is a province or like a state in the US. It is a large area and includes: Sydney, Katoomba, The Blue Mountains and Camden (where we are staying), among others cities, towns and areas. I wrote “perhaps a-once-in-a-lifetime experience,” as we never know where the roads we travel or may one day travel lead, until we take them or find ourselves upon them.

But the road we traveled this weekend, was only about an hour’s drive from Camden to Katoomba. Traveling by car, we noticed large parcels of land and large beautiful homes as if estates or ranches. And there was an enormous amount of construction going on. We were told a brand new International airport has been approved to be built soon and that there are estimates which suggest that over 1,000 people are moving to this area every month. But for us, soon, in the distance, we could see our destination, The Blue Mountains and the gradual, soon-to-be, ear pooping ascension up into them.

With all due respect and credit to Jimmy Buffet, the change in altitude, definitely inspired a change in attitude. The temperatures were cooler, the air seemed to be more pure and with much less humidity. All these factors were a much needed and appreciated relief. We checked into our cottage, unpacked and set out to explore Katoomba and find some grub (food). At another time I will share more about Katoomba, our cottage, the hundred or so sulfur crested cockatoos that flew over our heads, more about my hat and perhaps other things, but today, this is about, The Blue Mountains and more specifically, The Three Somethings. 🙂

The Three Sisters or the Three Explorers

The Three Sisters, The Three Somethings or The Three Explorers?

The Three Sisters is the Blue Mountains’ most spectacular landmark, equated by numbers of people that visit and their comments. Located at Echo Point in the town of Katoomba, around 1.6 miles or 2.5 kilometers from the Great Western Highway. This spectacular view and destination is experienced by millions of people each year.

The picture above was taken in the early morning when we were about the only ones there. The smaller picture above with me in it, was taken the same day, hours later, but it was then crowded with people. I was asked to take a picture for a lady and her friend and she in kind, took a couple of me.

Road Sign

Road Sign

But, The Three Sisters/Three Explorers/Three Somethings is essentially an unusual rock formation. The character of these formations change throughout the day and throughout the seasons as the sunlight brings out the magnificent colors.  These rocks are also floodlit until around 11 pm each evening looking simply spectacular, set against the black background of the night sky.

Each stand at 922, 918 & 906 meters or 3,025, 3,012, & 2,972 feet tall, respectively.

That’s over 3000 feet above sea level! It has come to represent three sisters, who according to Aboriginal legend were turned to stone or to represent three actual explorers to the region in 1813. The legends are two, so lets start with those.

The Three Sisters

Legend I

The Aboriginal dream-time legend has it that three sisters, ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’ lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe.

These beautiful young ladies had fallen in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, yet tribal law forbade them to marry.

The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters, causing a major tribal battle.

As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witch doctor from the Katoomba tribe, decided to turn the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. While he had intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witch doctor himself was killed. As only he could reverse the spell to return the ladies to their former beauty, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation as a reminder of this battle for generations to come.

The Three Sisters

Legend II

 Three sisters, Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo had a father who was a witch doctor. His name was Tyawan.

Long ago there was a Bunyip who lived in a deep hole who was feared by all. The bunyip, or kianpraty, is a large mythical creature from Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. A Billabong is a Wiradjuri word (essentially a dead language that efforts to revise are in progress) that is used for an isolated pond that is left behind after a river changes course. Billabongs are usually formed when the path of a creek or river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end.

Passing the hole was considered very dangerous, therefore whenever Tyawan had to pass the hole in search for food, he would leave his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall.

One fateful day, Tyawan waved goodbye to his daughters and descended down the cliff steps into the valley.

Meanwhile, at the top of the cliff, Meenhi was frightened by a large centipede which suddenly appeared before her. Meenhi took a stone and threw it at the centipede. The stone continued on its journey and rolled over the cliff, crashing into the valley below which angered the Bunyip.

The rocky wall behind Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo, then began to split open and the three sisters were left stranded on a thin ledge at the top of the cliff. All the birds, animals and fairies stopped still as the Bunyip emerged to see the terrified girls.

As the Bunyip began to approach the girls, to protect them from harm, their father Tyawan used his magic bone to turn them into stone.

Angered by this, the Bunyip then began to chase Tyawan. Becoming trapped, in order to flee from the Bunyip, Tyawan changed into a magnificent Lyre Bird, yet in the process dropped his magic bone. Tyawan and his three daughters were now safe from the Bunyip.

Once the Bunyip had disappeared, Tyawan returned in search of his magic bone, yet this was never to be found.

The Lyre Bird has been searching for this magic bone ever since. Remaining in rock formation, The Three Sisters stand silently overlooking the valley, hoping that one day he’ll find the bone and turn them back to their former selves.

When visiting The Three Sisters, if you listen carefully you may be able to hear the Lyre Bird, Tyawan, as he continues his quest for his lost magic bone.

The Three Explorers

Not legend 🙂

“In May 1813, Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth, set off on the first successful European crossing of the Blue Mountains. Tracing what is now the Great Western Highway route between Glenbrook and Mount Victoria, the explorers reached Mount York, before descending into the Kanimbla (now Hartley) Valley and then ascending Mount Blaxland, arriving back at the colony, a month later in June. 

Gregory Blaxland (17 June 1778-1 January 1853) was an English pioneer farmer and one of the three explorers to cross the Blue Mountains in 1813. The Blaxlands were friends of Sir Joseph Banks. Gregory sailed in the William Pitt on September 1805 with his wife, 3 children, 2 servants, an overseer, a few sheep, seed, bees, tools, groceries and clothing. He bought 80 head of cattle on arrival in the Sydney colony and entered the meat trade. 

William Lawson (2 June 1774-16 June 1850) was educated in London and became a qualified surveyor. In June 1799 he paid 300 hundred pounds for a commission in the NSW Corps, arriving in 1800. After a post on Norfolk Island, he returned with Sarah Leadbeater and their children to NSW, eventually settling in Prospect. In 1813 he set out from Prospect to meet Gregory Blaxland and William Charles Wentworth at Blaxland’s South Creek farm, from which the three of them left for the expedition which discovered the first satisfactory route over the Blue Mountains. In 1814, Governor Macquarie offered each of the three explorers 1000 acres west of the Blue Mountains. Lawson accepted the offer and in July 1815, he crossed the Nepean and set out to drive 100 head of cattle to Bathurst to take up his property, which he named Macquarie. In 1819 Lawson was appointed Commandant of Bathurst and during this period, he led a further three major explorations to open up the Mudgee district, where he became the first and largest landholder. Lawson went on to play an important part in the horse breeding and racing industry of early Australia and became a member of our first partly-elective Legislative Council from 1 July 1843 until 20 June 1848. William Lawson, known as ‘Old Ironbark’, often walked to Sydney on business, returning the next day. William Lawson died on 16 June 1850 and was interred in a family vault at St Bartholomew’s Anglican Cemetery, Prospect. 

William Charles Wentworth (13 August 1790-20 March 1872) was an Australian poet, journalist and politician as well as one of the three explorers to cross the Blue Mountains in 1813. W. C. Wentworth was one of the leading figures in early colonial New South Wales. He was the first native-born Australian to achieve a reputation overseas, and was a leading advocate for self-government for the Australian colonies.”

Source: Historical notes collected by Robert Brown
Old Ironbark, William Beard
Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788-1900), K.R. Binney
Australian Dictionary of Biography
http://www.prospectheritagetrust.org.au/page5.html

So how these three explorers were associated with these three rock formations, I have no clue other than the number three (3). I made the comment that if you look to the right of the ‘The Three Sisters,’ in the picture above, it looks like  to me, one or all of them may have had little rock formations or children? 🙂 So, I suppose which of the legends or historical journals you choose to accept or believe, depends on the level of your romantic or imaginative nature. If this helps, there was only one place I found that mentioned the The Three Explorers, and it was a local motel bearing this name, close to Echo Point and the otherwise known as, The Three Sisters. Well, here is another theory, it’s the Three Amigos or The Three Stooges?! 🙂

Three Sisters & Three Amigos or Three Stooges :) Dahni, Susan & Jonathan

Three Sisters & Three Amigos or Three Stooges 🙂
Donnie, Susan & Jonathan

Categories: Akubra, Aussie, Australia, Australian busman's hat, Australian Life, Blue Mountains, Family & Friends, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Three Sisters, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Stuff

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates, from Dahni your Aussie Tour Guide

Guhday Mates, from Donnie your Aussie Tour Guide

We just recently returned from the Blue Mountains where we rented a rustic cottage with a gorgeous overlook in Katoomba, NSW, (New South Wales), Australia. While I’m picking and choosing the pictures, I’ll give you an update and background information.

The day before we left, baby Felix came down with the croup. Mom, Papa and Grandma took him to the emergency room about 5:00 am – 7:30. I held down the fort with the three cats, one dog and the three chickens (Chooks).

Felix received some medicine and was given instructions that he should definitely go to the Blue Mountains and that all should enjoy the weekend! We followed those instructions to the letter! 🙂

Today, Tuesday 4/15, he went to the doctor and we received a good report. He is a happy boy again and Mom, Papa and Felix just returned from a walk to the supermarket, for stuff to put into the chicken soup, son Jonathan and Mom Susan are making for dinner. We had a lot of chicken left over from last night. Last night? Yes, last night. After we all got back from the Blue Mountains, Jonathan, Susan and I drove to Sydney for dinner. It was NOT an ordinary dinner, to say the least!

We were invited to this dinner and shared it with 16 other people, in a Jewish home. It was part of the Jewish Festival of Passover and called the seder.

The seder, the ceremonial feast held on the first two nights of Passover, is one of the most intricate rituals in the Jewish calendar, kicking off an eight-day stretch of complicated and demanding dietary restrictions. The initial meal, which ranges from eating bitter herbs to reciting Talmudic passages in a foreign language, usually lasts for several hours—and dinner isn’t served until more than halfway through.

The festival commemorates the exodus from Egypt, a key step in the formation of the Jewish people. The seder is not just a retelling of the story, like the weekly Torah readings in synagogue; it’s an invitation for Jews to relive the liberation from slavery as if they had actually been there in Egypt, to teach the narrative to the next generation, and to claim the history of their people as part of their own individual identities. But even in orthodox Judaism, families have long been accustomed to inviting non-Jews to share in this meal, alongside of them. I suppose this is because the desire for freedom and any exodus we may experience from bondage, is common to all.

But this particular seder was somewhat orthodox with some other unorthodox stuff, all thrown in together.

Guests included those from Poland, China, Sri Lanka, Australia and of course, we from the United States, but those are all the countries I can recall. Give me a break please, there were 18 people there besides me! 🙂

Just the guests themselves made an international and unusual impression. I am not quite sure, but I think all the major religions were represented at this dinner. I do know that Judaism, Muslim, Hindi, Christian and Roman Catholics were present.

Parts of the service were read by our host in Hebrew and most was in English and read by whomever desired to read and from the text re-written with a more modern update, by one of the three daughters of our hosts. The reading was done from 2 iPads we passed around the room. 🙂

It was at least to me, quite humorous to hear the readings by those Jewish with an Australian accent.

Part of the service includes the necessity of having “new” plates and utensils for each part. By “new” I mean that the same plates, bowls and utensils had to be changed during the several courses of the service. But in our case, the “new” was plenty of plastic ware. I can’t recall how many plates, small plates, bowls and utensils we used, but it was a lot! Our hosts were very giving in buying all this stuff that was thrown away as we went through each part. Once the ware or utensil was used, it was immediately thrown into a large plastic trash bag. You would eat or drink one thing and then toss the plate or bowls or glass or whatever, as these were now the “old” and had to make way for the “new.” If that seems like a lot of effort, you should have seen all the food! No one left hungry and I would imagine it took 1-2 days of chopping, dicing, cooking and so forth, to prepare this meal! And there was no bread, only Matzo.

Matzo is a flat cracker like food made with flour and water that is baked without yeast or “leavening.” I actually liked it, especially with the pickled (vinegar) beet-horseradish used as part of their “bitter herbs” requirement for the service. I sat right next to our host Lindsay and across from his wife Cheryl. I think they liked me because, I loved the beet-horseradish so much and told them about my tearing eyes and purple thumbs from making this at home. 🙂

The conversations around the room were about Jewish meanings/symbolism, history, WWII history, veterinarian medicine, teaching, psychology, sports food, differences of food between the United States and Australia and other topics! There was so much going on that I was nearly speechless and just did a lot of listening. I know, to those of you that know me best, it’s about next to impossible, for me to keep my mouth shut! 🙂

The whole event from start to finish, took hours. Sometimes, OK, most of the time, it was just loud and raucous. I loved it! And especially among the three Jewish daughters and their mother and father, the banter back in forth was hysterical! I even told Lindsay that I couldn’t believe that from across the room in the midst of all this volume, any of his daughters could still hear if their names were mentioned in conversation with others, but they did!

There were two dogs hoping for scraps that made the rounds. There were a couple of cats, one that is 18 years old that did make the rounds. I think that cat must have sat in every person’s lap that attended this meal. They liked the cat and the cat sure seemed to love the attention and the stroking. I even petted Tibet, the cat. Lindsay confessed that he loves the two dogs, but hates the two cats. But he is still the one that feeds them and they know this, but just keep their distance the rest of the time. I really don’t think he hates them though! 🙂

I enjoyed all the food and even the sweet red wine with grapes from Israel, grown in California, and blessed by some Rabbi in Hoboken New Jersey before, being exported to Australia!  🙂

That was real, but also a joke as there were several like these from the host family including what they call the Jewish chicken soup, ‘Jewish Penicillin Soup’ (good for what ails you and sickness prevention) or simply, ‘Jew Soup.’ That might sound racist and not funny to some, but I’m not the one that said these things. Well, it’s what Susan & Jonathan made for tonight’s supper from the massive quantity of chicken our hosts sent us home with, for Caitlin, as she and Felix did not attend, to everyone’s disappointment, I might add. But all seemed satiated with not just the meal, but from pictures and videos shared by Papa, with Felix as the main attraction! 🙂

The reason we are having soup tonight is because, everyone here was not feeling too well, except for me, I HAD THE CHICKEN SOUP LAST NIGHT, (while Susan & Jonathan had the orange soup)! 🙂

It was so very nice of our hosts to open their home and their hearts and share the costs and time required to prepare their food with, so many non-Jewish people and even with strangers like me that they had never met. I mean come on, can you get any stranger than me? 🙂

I thought it not polite to take pictures, so there are none. but there are 18 other witnesses (not including the two dogs and two cats that it happened and that I was there! 🙂

But this experience is one I will never forget! It was informative, historical, delicious and hilarious with some really good conversation, all thrown in together. And I would like to think that there, just a for a few hours, it seemed the world people in all their many differences and separations, were all ‘In Common, for this meal!

OK, so that’s a lot of content, where’s the pictures? They are coming! It has been difficult for me to get these posts done on a regular basis. For one thing, we are doing a lot of stuff. For another, I have been having problems with my camera, which needs to be addressed when we get back home to the United States. Another problem I am having is with my laptop. It is good to have it, but it does not perform like or have all the programs I use on my desk top at home to edit and quickly reduce the size of pictures to post. I cannot just use full size pictures in these posts, as I will quickly go over my maximum allowance through my WordPress (free blog). The resolution on my laptop is not as good as my desktop at home. But there is much visually, I do want to share with you and I will just have to work it out when we return.

It has also been difficult for me to adjust here. Last night and while in the Blue Mountains, I was layered, including a wool shirt. This morning, I was wearing a short sleeve shirt, sandals with no socks and I would have had shorts on, but they were all in the laundry. This is how it is here, in Australia. It is fall or early winter here, while it is nearly spring 🙂 in New York where we live. In New York, we ‘fell back’ last fall, when daylight savings time ended. Daylight savings time just recently started here. When you are sleeping there, I am awake here. When I should be sleeping here, you are probably awake there. Sometimes here, it’s tomorrow there and sometimes your today is already yesterday here. Then there is the up and down thing. You are up there and we’re down under here. Please don’t ask about which direction the water swirls here as supposed to there, I have not seen it nor can I tell. And when we leave here in a couple of weeks, we leave on the morning of the 30th, spend the night in Tokyo on the 30th, wake up on the 30th, fly home and by the time we get home there, its already tomorrow here and yesterday there! Everything is really messed up, but people that live here, just like you there, are all probably doing fine. It must be just me that’s messed up! 🙂

Oh, about the hat. Yes, I found my Akubra hat, not the one I was looking for, but one better and $30 cheaper and at size 58 not 57, it fits great! More about that later. Closing for now until again. OK, one picture then! 🙂

Blue Mountains from Echo Point, Katoomba, NSW, Austrailia

Blue Mountains from Echo Point, Katoomba, NSW, Austrailia

Categories: Aussie, Australia, Australian Life, Beauty, Blue Mountains, Entertainment, Food, Fun, Holidays, Inspiration, Japan, Passover, Photography, Religion, Spiritual, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Sydney Opera House

by Donnie Hayden © 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates

Guhday Mates

Well, not even a year ago if you would have told me I would be in Australia, I would have been just as surprised then as I am now! Once the reality set in (whenever that was), one thing for sure I wanted to see here (besides grand baby Felix, his Mom & Dad and the animals of Australia) was the Sydney Opera House. I would have been glad, just to see it from the outside and with a further glad, to seeing it inside. I spent several hours on line at http://theoperahouseproject.com/ looking at a timeline of the making of this beautiful architecture. I invite you to click on the link above, do yourself a favor and do the same thing! It is interesting, informative and awe inspiring!!

Harbor Bridge

Harbor Bridge

Darling Harbor

Darling Harbor

Sydney Opera House sails

Sydney Opera House sails

WOW, were we in for a surprise! Surprise and excitement is really an understatement!!! Why? Well not only would we see outside and inside of ‘The House’ we were treated to a whole day downtown Sydney, a fabulous dinner of fresh oysters and on-and-on, and tickets to a live performance of the world-class Sydney Orchestra and choir! Did I mention or emphasize enough the word, “LIVE’?!”

SSO 2014 - Gladiator Image

DESCRIPTION:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Powerful, spine chilling and epic. Ridley Scott’s blockbuster, Gladiator, comes to Sydney for its world premiere, and the film score will be performed live in concert by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Lisa Gerrard.

The Sydney Opera House will transform into the Roman Coliseum as Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard’s sweeping and dramatic score, among the all-time favorites, is brought to life by a full symphony orchestra while the movie is played in high definition live on the giant screen above.

Gladiator, winner of five Academy Awards, and a Golden Globe for Best Original Score – Motion Picture follows loyal Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe – born in New Zealand, but now an Australian citizen), who is betrayed when the emperor’s ambitious son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), murders his father and seizes the throne. His family dead, and reduced to slavery, Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murder of his family and his emperor.

excerpt from: http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/whatson/gladiator_with_sso.aspx

soundtrack to: ‘Gladiator’

Now I have seen this movie a couple of times previously, but NEVER like this! There was an intermission where you could move about, get something to drink, go outside and etc., but OMG, by the start of the rest of the movie, I kind of got lost into the music itself and the vocals from the choir and the lead vocals from Lisa Gerrad that actually performed on the original soundtrack for the movie. The timing and the volume and the acoustics of the opera house were incredible!

Inside Sydney Opera House

Inside Sydney Opera House

The performance received and was much-well-deserved of a long, standing ovation! And by the way, the people of Australia generally and genuinely love to dress up when they go out. It was nice to see this!

Many years ago and even before my time, 🙂 the first movies were black and white and before the “talkies” (movies with sound), background music was performed by a sole pianist, some other musician, musicians or a small orchestra. Our experience at the Sydney Opera House was like a trip back in time. By this I mean, the old becoming new again. Obviously we cannot go to the movie, rent one or buy one and expect like “fries come with that,” to count on a live symphony and chorus to show up. But WOW, wouldn’t it be great if this was the common thing!

For me, I have never appreciated the importance of music in a film as much as I now do! And it was just beyond words to express my gratitude for this experience, for the incredible seats and to not only hear this music “live,” but to see the musicians as they played and the vocals as they were sung by such a world-class orchestra, choir and the vocalist that sung on the original soundtrack. All together, this was perhaps a lifetime experience being first in Australia, 2nd in this theater, 3rd to experience the movie/live music/visual display acoustics and to share this with my best friend and the love of my life! And I am thankful that Jonathan and Caitlin our ‘gifters,’ were here to join us and that they had some much needed time together. A big shout out to Wendy that took care of baby Felix, so they could enjoy date night! 🙂

I do apologize for some of the pictures above as they are not to my satisfaction. I have been having some difficulty with my camera recently. Also, the favorite digital media card for many professionals and me is compact flash. Unfortunately, it is a terrible design for downloading via a card reader to my computer. Before I left for our trip, I bought a new card reader so I could download my pictures to our laptop. Yesterday, the pins got bent and I had to get a new reader today. Today was raining so I spent it recouping my energy, and catching up with pictures and posts. I will need to address my camera with perhaps something new after we get home and I find some money or knock out all my teeth so the tooth fairy can visit me big time! 🙂

Sydney Opera House is a marvel of vision and construction. I believe I am correct in saying that each year, Sydney and Australia celebrate this icon in what is called, ‘The Lighting of the Sails.’  This year, the event starts on May 23 through June 9th, 2014. I would love to be here for this, but we will already be home. Each year it is different. I will close with a beautiful picture from http://vividlive.sydneyoperahouse.com/lighting-the-sails/?gclid=CO-Ph9Pixr0CFQUJvAodA7IAIg and two (2) YouTube videos, highlights from 2013 and 2012. If possible, crank up the volume and watch these FULL SCREEN! Enjoy! 🙂

Lighting the Sails

Lighting the Sails

‘Lighting the Sails’ 2013

‘Lighting the Sails’ 2012

Categories: Australia, Beauty, Darling Harbor, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fun, Harbor Bridge, Inspiration, Japan, Music, Sydney Opera House, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Bell Birds

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

I only thought we were in the country until we actually went into the country. It was a nice ride from Camden to Picton,  New South Wales, Australia about 16 miles. We saw rolling hills and cows and sheep much like anyplace I have ever seen. If not for driving on the right side of the car and on the left side of the road, it all looked similar to anything I’ve ever seen. On occasion there would be a sign that read, “Stay in line unless overtaking,” meaning the center lane was for passing ONLY. Somehow, before we leave, I will snap a picture  of the road sign for Kangaroo Crossing. But again, everything seemed quite the same. WOW, was I about to be surprised!

Our destination was the Razorback Inn, a quaint out-of-the-way place to eat that was established in 1849.

The Razorback Inn

The Razorback Inn

Menu from 'Common Gound'

Menu from ‘Common Gound’

The eatery is now run by a Christian Commune called, ‘Common Ground.’ They make their own clothes, live in the area, and run the restaurant including making all the food from scratch and natural and wholesome ingredients. A s delicious as the food was and as charming as the place was, this was not the most memorable experience, of this experience to me. It was in fact, the Bell Birds. Yes, that is what you read, what I wrote and what was meant! And as the name implies, the birds have some association with bells because, however they make this sound, they sound exactly like bells!!!!!!

The Bell Bird or the Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys), commonly known as the Bellbird, is a colonial honeyeater found in southeastern Australia. The common name refers to their bell-like call. “Miner” is an old alternative spelling of the word “myna” and is shared with other members of the genus Manerina. The birds feed almost exclusively on the dome-like coverings of certain psyllid bugs, referred to as “bell lerps,” that feed on ucalyptus sap from the leaves. The “bell lerps” make these domes from their own honeydew secretions in order to protect themselves from predators and the environment.

Bell miners live in large, complex social groups. Within each group there are subgroups consisting of several breeding pairs, but also including a number of birds who are not currently breeding. The non-breeders help in providing food for the young in all the nests in the subgroup,  even though they are not necessarily closely related to them. The birds defend their colony area communally aggressively, excluding most other passerine species. They do this in order to protect their territory from other insect-eating birds that would eat the bell lerps on which they feed. Whenever the local forests die back due to increased lerp psyllid infestations, bell miners undergo a population boom.

The sound is beautiful and quite enchanting. It is difficult to believe that you are hearing  these sounds and that they are made by birds. Adding to this difficulty is their size. They are so small and so fast, it is almost next to impossible to see them in the trees and capture them with a camera. The following pictures of the Bellbird are not mine. I was able to capture their unimaginable and unbelievable sound, but I found a wonderful video on Youtube, so I will use this to share with you.

Gum Tree (a species of eucalyptus) where the Bellbirds feed

Gum Tree (a species of eucalyptus) where the Bellbirds love to feed

 

Leaf size Bell Bird

Leaf size Bellbird

 

 

Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Bellbirds, Birds of Australia, Family & Friends, Food, Japan, The Gathering Place, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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