Some observations from travels

Australia

Atop: A Point of View

This week’s Photo Challenge is the point of view: Atop.  My interpretation of the word is what’s on top of us.  When I take photos I like taking those on top of me and when I look at them later on I’m surprised at what we actually see when we just look up.

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Coconut palms in the tropics

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Sun shines through Norfolk Pines

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Ferns on trees in the rainforest

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Bird cages along the alleyway

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Jelly fish growing on trees

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How about artwork hanging on trees?

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Colourful festival decorations

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And one of the classic ceilings of the Palace of Versailles 

Wherever you go and whatever you might be doing, look up! There’s so much to see atop of our heads!

Visit the Photo Challenge page for more contributions and versions to this week’s theme.

 

 


Shadow

It’s been a while.  It’s great to be back and catching up on my long abandoned reader.

Life sometimes caught up with us and other days they seem to run us over.  But, here I am and it surely is great to be back.

This week’s photo challenge, Shadow, can conjure many different meanings.  For me, shadow means a literal dark reflection of the objects on the photo I took on a recent walk along Cairns’ marina.

On the other hand these structure on the marina are also shadows of their past life: the old   wharf.  In the 1900s these timber wharves served as berths for ships and the entry to the Great Barrier Reef.  The old timber wharves were replaced with sturdy reinforced concrete ports to accomodate all the larger ships bringing in tourists and commerce to Cairns.fullsizeoutput_210efullsizeoutput_210ffullsizeoutput_2110

The Trinity Wharf boardwalk is a shadow of its past.  It stands proud and beautiful.  On the old poles there are Aboriginal Australian stories and peepholes that you can look through and see key areas along the harbour beyond.

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Most shadows may be dark but they can have many meanings.


Travel Theme: Stone

Having been back home meant back to the usual grind of life – work, friends, coffees, food, sights, sounds, smells and of course the beach.  Ailsa’s Travel Theme last week was Stone.  A couple of the beaches I enjoy visiting on the Gold Coast has a good collection of stones, both big and small.

A bird's view of Burleigh Heads and Surfer's Paradise

A bird’s view of Burleigh Heads and Surfer’s Paradise

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Fishing and boating on the Spit

Fishing and boating on the Spit

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Don’t forget to visit Where’s My Backpack for more Travel Theme.  Have a great week everyone.


Travel Theme: Beaches

I love beaches and I love that Where’s My Backpack chose this for this week’s Travel Theme.

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A Word a Week Challenge: Zoom

This is an interesting challenge as I love zoomed in photos, but do not take the most excellent ones myself.  Still, scanning through my photos, I found some beautiful ones that I feel are worth sharing.  One of my favourite subjects are people – random and candid.  It is quite a challenge zooming in on people without invading their privacy or intruding on whatever they’re doing.  So I thought for this challenge I will share some photos of people I have zoomed in enough, hopefully, so as not to offend them.

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Don’t forget to visit A Word a Week Challenge over at A Word in Your Ear.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

One of the things I love to do is go for a walk.  I explore places, both old and new, by walking.  My favourite place to walk through is a rainforest – it’s just magical!  Here are some photos for this week’s photo challenge – Beyond.

Lamington National Park, Gold Coast Australia

Lamington National Park, Gold Coast Australia

Mossy lake water, Great Falls, Virginia, USA

Mossy lake water, Great Falls, Virginia, USA

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Koh Samui, Thailand

Koh Samui, Thailand

From the hallway of Lincoln Memorial looking beyond is the Washington Memorial and the Capitol, Washington, DC

From the hallway of Lincoln Memorial looking beyond is the Washington Memorial and the Capitol, Washington, DC

Arlington National Cemetery, VA, USA

Arlington National Cemetery, VA, USA


Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

Here is my take on this week’s photo challenge – Near and Far.  On a recent holiday to the Gold Coast (Australia) I took a quick photo of the rocks along Burleigh Heads beach.  Only recently have I had a closer look at the details it included.  These boys must have been on a break from surfing and playing here.  And the amazing background of Burleigh and Surfer’s Paradise.


What we see in our backyards

Since returning back to our all too familiar Gold Coast backyard I couldn’t help but take some snaps of the stuff we might (or mightn’t) see in a typical backyard.  When in Australia, there is the requisite barbie, that comes in many forms and sizes.  Aside from the barbie there are other man-made items found such as the swimming pool, outdoor dining, the popular Balinese huts and comfy lounge chairs.  Australian backyards are known for the local inhabitants sharing your space as well.  Here are some photos taken from our friend’s backyard.

You might see Kangaroos everyday, but a one where a mummy Kangaroo shares a tender moment with her Joey is priceless.

Everyday I watch the Kangaroo families hanging around the golf course areas keeping themselves busy with nibbling on the grasses, lifting their heads only when they felt there was a threat around them and then they’re off jumping in groups.  I have been trying to capture the noisy Cockatoos and Lorikeets that frequent the backyard but never had the opportunity. Until this morning, whilst I was having my breakfast, I noticed there were a few Cockatoos flying towards the house and seemed to hang around the fences.

My first reaction was…grab the camera and shoot!  Despite the drizzle I was too happy to go out and enjoy their company.  Before the dog came out to shoo them off, I wondered why they were suddenly standing on the fences, when normally they never came down this low.  My hubby got a piece of bread to lure them back and noticed there was a dead bird on the ground close to where these Cockatoos were standing.  These birds were mourning their friend or kin…

Animals mourning their kin are well documented – Elephants travel for miles to pay their respects to member of their clan; mother Orcas carry their dead young over their head for hours; Monkeys quietly observe their dead mates and mother monkeys suckling on themselves when an infant dies.  This shows how humans are so closely related to other members of the animal kingdom.  It was a heart warming experience for me to witness those Cockatoos this morning.

It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new strange disguise. Jesus is not dead; he is very well alive; nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet, nor Aristotle; at times we believe we have seen them all, and could easily tell the names under which they go.  Emerson


Byron Bay, Australia

Byron Bay is in the Northeastern end of New South Wales, Australia.  Know for many things such as the beautiful beaches, Cape Byron Lighthouse, funky shops, cafes and restaurants.  When you visit Byron Bay you will experience a relaxed atmosphere and people who seemed too cool to worry about issues or dramas everywhere else.

We’ve visited Byron Bay many times.  Before I remembered the place to have more people who preferred the ‘alternative’ lifestyle.  On our recent visit the place still had most of the familiar places to visit, except it felt more upgraded.  Some buildings were upgraded to modern accommodations and new retail outlets.  The beach, I’m glad to report, was still pristine.  Sadly I didn’t get to visit the lighthouse this time and missed the chance to (hopefully) catch a glimpse of visiting whales.

Here are some snaps of this gorgeous, funky town…

We arrived around midmorning in time for a late breakfast at my favourite cafe – Twisted Sista.  This cafe has some twistedly looking food.  I had to have the big breakfast!

I’m warning you, this breakfast is not for the faint of hearts, it was massive! and I was struggling.  The good news is we can burn all those calories by walking through the town centre and enjoy more sight.  And the beach… another little piece of heaven in Australia.

After a bit of walk around the town centre we needed to head down to the beach and chill.  This was the first time I saw this beach a little bit crowded with little young things clearly enjoying their schoolies break.

These boys looked like they were ready to tackle a major challenge, good luck!

And after all the walking and soaking the warm sun it was time for a late lunch…next to Mary Ryan’s we noticed a new cafe – Dip, so we had a look inside.

After consuming that hearty chicken salad we bid farewell, once again, and promise to visit another fine sunny day.  Maybe next time when the whales are there blowing their air holes across the Cape Byron lighthouse.


To Market, To Market

Being back home affords us to enjoy the routine we used to have.  Going to the shops, sitting by the beach, eating favourite meals and enjoying coffee with friends.  One thing I like about being back on the Gold Coast is the chance to visit the farmers’ markets.  It’s not so much what we can buy or eat whilst we’re there, it’s more the communing with people – the sort of people who also enjoys being with market people.  In our modern age of shopping malls and large groceries, we are robbed of the wonderful experiences such as talking to the farmers and other shoppers.   At the markets we get the stories behind where the unusual looking products came from, what condition they were grown, the name of cow who produced the milk and how the soaps were formed.

At one of the local markets we visited recently I was saddened to observe and learn that many stalls were gone… many farmers and stall owners simply found it hard to survive.  All around the coast several of these small markets have sprung in the last few years, but shoppers were sometimes too busy to be bothered on their weekends to drive up and buy their fruits and veggies at the market, when they can easily go up to the nearest Woolies or Coles!

I, on the other hand, when I can, prefer to visit the markets on the weekend to have my breakfast of Belgian waffles, coffee and healthy fruit smoothies.  Last Sunday I had Almond Croissant from french sounding gentlefarmers.

Here some photos of the rest of that day.

I really enjoy farmers markets and for those who have not done so…maybe have a look around your neighbourhood to find where they are.  They are great for meeting people, chatting with locals and making new friends.