Australian Vacation

Log Entry Location: East Timor

February, 2006

We started the trip out with a brief layover in Sydney, where we managed to get together with our good friends from Tonga, Pesi and Ma'afu (plus baby boy #2). It was fun and funny to see them out of the Tongan context. Afterwards, it was a crazy 12 days of vacation in Western Australia. As usual, we tried to do too much (and did!)....including bike riding, a canoe trip, hiking, wine tasting, croquet playing, and so on. We had a great time with our good friends, Mark and Ruth Walkup (who joined us from their temporary home in Zimbabwe. We even instituted a new policy of designating a "tui tonga" for the somebody could be the key decision-maker. What a great idea! Dean even managed to pick some grapes at an actual vineyard early one morning (even making a few Australian dollars in the process). He said it was very hard work....and the white wine grapes are VERY small. Other highlights included a day-long bike expedition that started on a rails-to-trails path and ended up off-road along the hiking trails along the Margaret River. Along the way, we encountered the biggest male kangaroo we have ever seen (he MUST have been 7 feet tall) and also had morning tea and scones with a lovely Australian lady. And we really enjoyed a variety of hikes and scenic drives through several national parks and forests south of Perth. The native Karri trees (pronounced like Carrie), are apparently the 3rd largest tree on earth. Dean climbed to the top of one (via a scary, non-OSHA approved climbing staircase) and got a great view from the top. Our last night in Perth, we got dressed up (as much as we could) and headed out to a fancy place along the Swan River. It was a fitting way to spend our last night together for 3-4 months. Check out Dean's shoes! Next update ------ TIMOR


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