The following is Wendy's brief account of her travels to Oz and other exotic places such as Phuket (No, pronounced "Fooket"!):
"Just catching up with y'all and let you know that Leif and I have returned safely to Sydney. We had an amazing adventure across Asia and wish that we could travel all the time (guess we'll have to win the lotto eh!).
"We spent our first 5 days in Legion, Bali and what beautiful countryside that is! The beach was different (to be polite), not as beautiful as Cuba or Thailand. Our cultural immersion to these countries was an experience that I will never forget. The food was fabulous in Bali and Phuket, our second stopover for another five days. We had the opportunity to see the entire island of Phuket and the beaches are truly incredible there! We stayed at a relatively new beach known as Kamala that is not hugely developed to date.
"On to Bangkok from Phuket and what a shock! The city is so badly polluted, most people that live there wear masks outside. We had the opportunity to go up the highest building in Bangkok to view the entire city - you could see the layer of smog covering and hovering the entire city from the tower. Yikes!
"On to Tokyo and a fabulous visit with Jun. Leif and I had a bit of a battle getting through customs in Tokyo. They started to search our luggage, as the Officer thought we were carrying too much for such a trip. We tried to explain to him.....but...the search starts...really quite hilarious watching the Customs Officer as he asked us what various items were in our bags. For instance, he picked up a package of Imodium and gestured to his nose thinking they were some sort of nasal relief pills. Leif and I started to dance around pointing at our bottoms to show him what they were! He had good chuckle over that one and shortly after, he told us to go ahead!
"Tokyo seemed so clean to us coming from Bangkok. We enjoyed fabulous site seeing and traditional Japanese meals thanks to Jun. I have to say that the train system is incredible in Japan, you can get anywhere (as long as you know where you're going!). Interesting to note that we saw very little grass and open space while in Japan, but still a very wonderful city. We travelled to a small town outside of Japan to visit some hot springs, another great adventure with Jun and his girlfriend, Kyoko!
"Unfortunately, on our last day, Leif injured his thumb playing some baseball with Jun. He's doing well, but I think still in a lot of pain. This was the start of our bad luck streak , just small things......but..... bothersome nevertheless!
"Thank you Jun for a fab visit and we hope that we can return the favour someday. We could have never done it without you!
"From Tokyo, we flew to Auckland via Christ church. After spending the entire night on the flight and getting about three hours sleep (maybe) we had mechanical difficulties and had to wait in the Christ church Airport for hours. Not much fun.... They transferred us to a domestic flight and we finally arrived in Auckland around 9:00pm that evening. We had planned to do some site seeing in the city that afternoon....but instead caught a bite to eat and packed our bags for our trip the next morning to Paihia, Bay of Islands.
was truly beautiful, so many open spaces, rolling green hills and
beautiful countryside. We travelled in the "Magic Bus" from
Auckland to Paihia. We spent the day site seeing between the
city and Paihia. Leif had the opportunity to
snorkel at Goat Island with the famous "blue fish", incredibly beautiful, I think. We managed to stop at the most amazing and beautiful private beach for a swim the in afternoon (I could have stayed there forever!) finally arriving in Paihia after 7:00pm that evening. We unfortunately had to listen to the bus driver and a passenger exchange words most of the day and deal with a leaking radiator that made the bus trip quite exciting. I wasn't sure we were going to make it that afternoon.
"Paihia was equally beautiful to all of the wonderful beaches
we've visited to date. Another beautiful town.... we spent most
of our time kayaking in the bay going from island to island
checking out the reefs. We took a ferry across the Bay to
for dinner one evening and hiked to a small waterfall just outside the town. We treated ourselves to a Bed and Breakfast on Friday night as we were unable to find a double room at any hostel in the town!
"We caught a bus back to Auckland on Saturday and spent the night at a downtown hostel. Auckland is a city that awakens at night. It reminds me very much of a small town as the guys toured the main drag in their "macho-machines" going round and round! It was hilarious to watch, all these Holdens, Hondas, etc... race up and down the main street!
"Sunday, we had a chance to see the city and again, climb the highest building to get a good view of the city. The harbour is great and the"America's Cup Village" is fab!
"We were fortunate enough to get an upgrade to Business Class from Auckland to Sydney (due to our problems in Christ church) and enjoyed the lounge and flight back Sydney. Unfortunately, our flight was again delayed due to some problems with a smoke alarm in the lavatory!
Back 'home' in Sydney; Leif is at work today ... so I
think I'll hit the beach!"
Note: Ah yes, life can be beautiful, especially when it is deserved!!!! (Dad's comments)