Friday, July 22, 2011

Cairns Holiday: Part 2 Kuranda Rail and Skyway

After a relaxing day hanging around the resort enjoying the pool and the beach (oh, did I mention our 3 bedroom apartment was right on the beach?) and delicious food, we took to the railway and headed into the rainforest.  A beautiful 90 minute train ride took us up into a quaint village called Kuranda.  We took a nice walk through the rainforest to stretch our legs and work up an appetite for lunch. 

Following lunch, we visited three sanctuaries in Kuranda including butterflies, koalas and birds.  Another check mark off of my list of things to do while in Australia: hold a koala.

Holden, the Koala.  This is the closest Uri is going to get to having a son.

Maiya and Holden the Koala

Maiya and I saw fish that had this same color scheme at the GBR

a nice fuzzy spot

The animals sure do like Uri

Uncle Tom's new hobby
 We ended our evening with a birthday celebration for my beautiful daughter, Anabella.

LB made chocolate balls for the party.

And, Uncle Tom made party hats!

Chloe's true feelings about chocolate!

Cairns Holiday: Part 1 Great Barrier Reef

After 6 months of planning, the time had finally come for our family’s visit and our trip to Cairns, Queensland.  Uri, Anabella, Chloe and I took the bus to Sydney’s airport where we met up with our niece, Maiya, our former brother in-law, Tom, and his girlfriend, LB.   It’s been a long 10 months since we left Connecticut and to have family visiting was so exciting!  From Sydney we took the plane up to the northeastern part of Queensland for a holiday in the tropics.  We stayed together in a three bedroom apartment at the Coral Sands Resort in Trinity Beach which was a 20 minute drive from the city of Cairns. 
Our first big adventure: the Great Barrier Reef
It was a sunny, but cool day.  The temperature was about 23 degrees Celsius and the water temperature was about the same.  The boat ride out was uneventful up until the last 10 minutes when Chloe got sick.  I tried getting her downstairs and outside before “it” happened, but we didn’t make it.  The poor girl went green right before my eyes so quickly. 

The boat docked out at a large pontoon where they offered snorkelling, scuba-diving and boat and helicopter rides.  Unfortunately, the week before Anabella fractured her elbow and was in a plaster cast so no swimming for her.  While Uri took the girls out on the semi-submergible boat, Maiya, Tom, LB and I went snorkelling.  Maiya and I decided to stay close to each other.  It was so much fun to swim with her.  She and I got so excited over seeing the large colourful fish in the most brilliant colours - turquoise, green, blue and black with silvery blue dots.  We also saw beautiful coral – pinks, yellows and purple. It was all that I imagined it to be.  The coral went on forever – layers and layers of it – some reaching within inches of the surface. 
When Uri and the girls got back from their boat ride, I suited Chloe up in her snorkelling gear to have a go at it.  She was quite nervous about going in the water as it was deep.  We tried several times to coax her in then decided to have lunch together on the sundeck.  Uri and Maiya went in after lunch and after awhile Chloe joined them too.  I stayed with Anabella in the afternoon because at this point she was feeling upset about not getting to go in.  We watched Finding Nemo on the boat while the snorkelling continued. 

Of all the places I want to go and the things I want to see while here in Australia the Great Barrier Reef was at the top of my lsit. It really was an amazing experience.   I am happy to check it off my list.  We may have to make another trip up since Anabella had to sit this one out.   
A few interesting facts about the Great Barrier Reef:
·         One of the seven wonders of the natural world
·         It is larger than the Great Wall of China
·         It’s the only living thing on earth visible from space
·         The reef stretches over 3,000 km (1,800 miles) along the Queensland coastline
·         It’s the world’s largest collection of corals (in fact, more than 400 different kinds of coral) and over 1,500 species of tropical fish live in and around the reef.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Going to the "Theater"

Anabella and I went to the theater, but not the kind of theater most people think about.  After a nasty fall on the playground and a long 24 hours, we found ourselves in the operating "theater".  Anabella, while playing on the swings, fell on her elbow and fractured the radial head (at the elbow).  At first, I'll admit, my hubby and I didn't think it was that serious.  She had been "acting out" at the playground (it may have had something to do with the cute blonde boy around) and we thought this drama was just another one of these shows.  She was complaining about pain in her wrist and as there was no swelling or bruising we felt justified in just having her lay low.  However, several hours later (I'm too embarrassed to admit just how long) while helping her get changed for bed I noticed that she could not straighten her arm so off we went to the emergency room.  After confirming the fracture, they sent us home in a soft cast for the night with instructions to report back in the morning for the inevitable surgery.

It's here that I first heard the reference to the operating room as the theater.  The doctor informed me that the surgery needed to take place that day and they were just waiting for a theater to open up.  It actually sounds pleasant, doesn't it? Well, it did to this guilt-ridden, stressed-out, and exhausted mother!

Seven hours later we were brought to the theater.  This was my second experience of watching my child drift off to la-la land.  As I stared into her eyes and whispered softly to her I could see her drifting farther and farther away until the shine left her eyes and all I could see was solid black.  It was heart-wrenching.  The doctors and nurses were so kind and understanding.  Then, off to the halls I was sent to wait.  As I waited, I had another cuppa (at this point, I'd lost count of just how many cuppas I'd had at that point) and amused myself on Facebook.  Unfortunately, most of my friends are in the states and as it was 1:30 in the morning back home there wasn't much to read about. 

About 45 minutes later, I was brought into recovery to see Anabella.  I expected her to be groggy and out of sorts, but what I saw made me laugh.  There she was already propped up on her pillow taking a huge lick of the icy pole popsicle the nurse promised her in recovery.  When she saw me she said, "Oh, Hi Mom".  She cracked me up.  Then she pronounced that this hospital was the "best hospital in the world", which stopped the nurses in their tracks.  They just stared and then sarcastically laughed.

Another 3 hours later, we were finally discharged.