Saturday, December 1, 2012

Family Time in Oz

We went to work with our bags in the car, and then drove straight to the Kuala Terengganu airport for an afternoon flight to Kuala Lumpur. Then we had a 6 hour wait in the airport for our red-eye special to Sydney.

8 hours of sitting up in an airplane seat ... ergggh.

We went to pick up our rental car in Sydney airport, and they offered us a free upgrade to a Falcon XR6 - nice car! And brand new - only 7km on the clock!

So we had a pleasant drive down to Shoalhaven, south of Wollongong. (We had to put the bags on the back seat because it took us a while to work out how to open the boot!)

 We stayed at the Shoalhaven Heads Motel, just around the corner from my (Ruth's) mother's home, and right on the banks of the Shoalhaven River where it opens into the sea.

Then we drove further south to Bega to spend time with my brother and his wife. I had time to enjoy some pleasant walks with Jean, walking the dogs by (in) the river.

We stopped in at this delightful little restaurant on the top of the hill (with great views) for a delicious lunch.

Peter and my brother, Mark, had a couple of fishing trips, coming home with a good supply of Flathead.

 They are not the most beautiful fish in the river - but very edible!

Jean and I bonded over her new iPad 4, comparing with what I have on my (older) iPad 2.

Back in Shoalhaven,  we enjoyed Mum's very pleasant little garden with its fresh vegetables.

 There were a couple of little tasks which Peter was glad to be able to help out with.

We took a trip to Bunnings which of course was just so much fun. (If only there was a Bunnings in Kuala Terengganu!)

And Mum and I shared some times solving problems on the computer.

Finally it was time to drive up to Sydney to fly across to Perth. Virgin (airline) had inexplicably changed our plane booking a few hours earlier than the booking we originally made, which meant that we had to wake up very early and drive through thick fog in the mountains and then creep through peak hour traffic in the outskirts of the city in time to return our beautiful green car and catch the plane to Perth.

The flight across the country takes about 5 hours, and Virgin nowadays provides a meal and inflight entertainment for a couple of its routes (Melbourne to Perth, and Sydney to Perth) which made it much more bearable. But as we got close to Perth we were warned to return to our seats and tighten our seat belts in preparation for a rough ride. We had to circle the airport 8 times, making us over 20 minutes late, because other planes were having difficulty landing. We heard on the news later that one plane had 4 attempts before landing successfully, and others had given up and gone elsewhere.

Many of the passengers were very panicky, and there were a lot of frightened voices and some people grabbed the sick bags as the plane bounced around in the air, swinging side to side as it approached the runway. Even once we were on the ground the plane kept rocking around in the strong winds.

We picked up our rental car (blue this time) and set off for our accommodation. But soon we found many blocked streets with fallen trees and branches. We had to drive a long way around and work our way back to reach the apartment which would be our home for the next few days.

That's the apartment block, right on the freeway - of course the freeway wouldn't have been here when they built it back then. This handy footbridge gets us into the city centre in about five minutes.

(The freeway - looking south.)

We have a little glass-enclosed balcony, with double-glazed windows which do a good job of keeping out freeway noises.

Across the footbridge, very close by in the city centre, is Dome - a great place for a delicious breakfast.

Of course, the best treat is a chance to spend time with at least some of my kids ...

Daughter, Jo, lives not far away with husband and sons:

 Taj - definitely a child of the modern era!

And Thomas, just one year old and full of cuteness. Daughter Bea was there too, multiplying the pleasure!

Three days left - and tomorrow is a visit to the dentist - bleh! The dentist in Kuala Terengganu is ok in an emergency, but it's worth taking the time to check with the dentist here who knows me.

I still have a daughter and a brother to catch up with, hopefully. Then back to Malaysia for a few days before we fly off to

Kathmandu (in Nepal) ... because it's there and it has an interesting name, and because we can. :)

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