Wine Country

November 22nd, 2012 § Comments Off on Wine Country § permalink

We’re in the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s wine producing regions. I am not used to the sound of parrots in wine country!

Now we have to figure out how to get the wine we’ve purchased home. Wish we had one of these: http://www.thewinecheck.com/

Reminiscense

November 15th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Today we leave Palm Cove and our view of the ocean and the sound of lapping waves and the sparkling, staccato sight of sunlight hitting moving water.

As I sit here eating a breakfast of tropical fruit, I fall into a state of reminiscence (as happens when things come to a conclusion). I’m thinking about time spent on Gili Air (Indonesia) and in Thailand – long, languorous beach stays during our year-long Asia trip, where nothing waited for us; there was no reason or plan to come back to anything. We were totally free, with an unwritten and open-ended future.

It’s a rare thing to be so truly living in the moment. I think maybe that feeling is one people try to reach through mediation. At various points in recent years I’ve tried to remember that feeling I obtained during that trip, but it’s a hard one to catch.

Now I know the sight and sound of the ocean, combined with a contemplative mood, will get me there.

Success is a blacked out sun!

November 13th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

AMAZING! The eclipse was beautiful. I had a tear in my eye when it was all over: the result of a primal emotional spot deep within that the sight of a blacked out sun is able to reach. It’s hypnotic and when the eclipse is all over, it’s hard to grasp a clear memory. Standing in the shadow, it’s as if time stops and all awareness around you melts away.

This eclipse was suspenseful all the way to totality. Massive clouds filled the sky all throughout first contact, but a clearing arrived just in time. While some whispy clouds did travel in front of the eclipse during totality, it wasn’t enough to obstruct the view.

I have chosen to not worry too much about photography during the event, since it’s only a few minutes long (this one was 2 minutes and 3 seconds). So, my snapshot doesn’t do the eclipse justice – there are amazing images of eclipses out there. Google one!

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What We’ve Been Up To…

November 13th, 2012 § Comments Off on What We’ve Been Up To… § permalink

Mossman Gorge and rainforest

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Great Barrier Reef

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Making Friends with Kangaroos and Wallabies

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A Visual Road Trip on Captain Cook Highway

November 13th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

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Cloudy skies

November 12th, 2012 § Comments Off on Cloudy skies § permalink

So far, only 1 of the 4 mornings we’ve been here would have been good TSE conditions. Today the sky is again clouded over, gray, and impenetrable.

All we need us 2 minutes of clear skies tomorrow!

Met up with some people last night who have been on 8 eclipse trips, and have been successful each time. Hopefully they are good luck.

They’re predicting 60,000 visitors to the area (that’s right: sixty thousand) to witness the event.

Not a bad spot to watch an eclipse…

November 10th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Today would have been a great day for the eclipse, weather-wise. It’s our Morning #2, but given all the travel time to get here, it feels like we’ve been away from home much longer.

Morning #1 brought us gray, rain-bloated clouds and opaque sky — bad conditions for the TSE… but not quite the worst (that would be a full-fledged violent storm, which we experienced at sea during the “eclipse of the century” in 2009).

It’s Sunday now, and the eclipse is on Wednesday morning just after sunrise. The picture attached to this post was taken during the relative time period of totality.

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A Quick Tour of Barranco ~ Lima, Peru

June 8th, 2012 § Comments Off on A Quick Tour of Barranco ~ Lima, Peru § permalink

Flight Over the Nazca Lines

June 6th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

This was a major highlight of the trip!!!

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So Long, Sacred Valley…Hello, Nazca

June 5th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

After a few interesting days in the small town with the giant market known as Pisac, we headed back to Cuzco yesterday for our 13-hour overnight bus ride to our current locale, Nazca.

In Pisac, we stayed in a more remote guesthouse, situated amidst farmland in a protected area at the base of a soaring mountain with steep Inca terraces and ruins. No cars are allowed there, but it was only a 10-minute walk to the town plaza. Here we are on our way into town to catch a “collectivo” (vans that serve as small busses) to Cuzco. Having a cart for transport instead of a taxi (or even a motorbike or tuk tuk) is a new one for us!

We had a pretty deluxe bus to Nazca, so the ride was not pure torture as we have experienced with long bus rides in the past. We had spacious seats that nearly reclined all the way back into a pretty comfy sleeping position. Most of the 13 hours were zigzagging along mountain switchbacks, up and down, up and down… the bus swaying continually as we climbed and descended the curvy passes. I imagine those who get car sick would have a problem with this route. It’s the only way to get from Cuzco to Nazca directly. For trip planners: take the Cruz del Sur line.

There was a full moon shining in the sky, but not powerful enough to illuminate anything on the ground; the landscape was pitch black until I awoke this am to find a mountainous desert with more rounded mountain tops than the jagged peaks around Cuzco. It’s rocky, wrinkled, barren, and vast. Somewhere out there are the Nazca Lines, the only reason to come here. We’re flying over them tomorrow.

My view from the bus window this am: