Monday, April 05, 2010

Australia!! Part Five

Before I continue with my journey, I just want to take a moment to thank all of you who have taken the time to read my blog and leave comments on my entries. They are greatly appreciated!! I am so glad to hear from all of you in Oz – I miss you all so much!!

Eva and I wake early (but not TOO early) to get a start on what is our last day of sightseeing, to be spent at the Healesville Sanctuary. I have been told this is a “must see” for anyone that would like a closer look at the native birds and animals and I am excited to go. We fill up with some gas/petrol and start off down the road to Healesville, a small town not too far from wine country. My first stop is at the pharmacy/drug store to buy “itch” cream for my mosquito bites. The pharmacist (chemist) recommends a brand that is made in Australia and is the best anti-itch cream I’ve found and just in time as by now, I have about 20 of the pesky little bites on my arms and feet. After finding blessed relief, I am anxious to explore the town.

Here, there are several “opportunity” shops, what we call thrift stores here in the states. What a perfect name for a type of store I’ve spent many hours in, searching for “stuff” to use in my art. As I enter the first store, I tell myself “look but don’t buy” – after all, my suitcases barely made the weight cut-off coming over and the object was to lighten my load going back. But once in the stores, there is a wealth of collage material everywhere I look and suddenly I find my arms heavy with books and music that just have to go home with me.
After purchasing my treasures, we decide to grab a quick bite to eat and head off to the local bakery so I can have another meat pie (and yes, over the weekend I did find a local source for these delicious pastries – yummmmm!!!) We sit at a sidewalk table and watch the people going by when I hear someone on a loud speaker talking about a 20% off sale at one of the stores followed by those magic words… supplies! Well I could not leave the country without experiencing a sale on art supplies, could I??? And Eva is such a good sport while I pull her hither and yon to this place and that. Really, I hit the jackpot with her as my hostess!!

Then we are off to the Sanctuary and what a treat that was. From a Koala that looked hung-over, to the birds of prey show, to the kangaroo pen that you could actually enter and get close to the animals, to the platypus exhibit where I finally got to see a platypus that was alive and kicking, this was simply the most amazing place. There were birds everywhere and for a bird watcher in a new country, that is akin to paradise.
Too much the night before?

A small wren hiding in the tree.
Eva assures me these ants mean business and are fond of a food source!
See the lizard in his mouth?
A lyre bird in all its finery.
A Dingo peering out from behind a bush.
A wallaby cooling off in the shade.
But we are hot and tired and after a trip to the souvenir store, we head off to meet Eva’s parents and tour their farm.
I am greeted warmly by her parents and shown around the farm where sheep graze in the pasture and chickens flock to handfuls of seed thrown out to the yard. Peppers are being harvested and a row of potted tomatoes hang heavy with ripe fruit. There are oranges on the tree and I peel one and taste the unique goodness you only get when eating an orange ripe from the tree and as we leave, they generously give me a bag of fresh fruit for the road.

We say our goodbyes, as we head off for a drive through the Yarra Valley, hoping to catch a winery before closing, but we are too late and decide it is finally time to head for home. Tomorrow the retreat begins and there is much to be done in the way of packing before I'll be ready to go.

And for the first time I feel the butterflies in my stomach....tomorrow I will face my students and see if I can make good on my intent to teach four Judy Wise classes as well as she would have had she been able to make it to the retreat. I am scared and excited both, because I am at my happiest when making or teaching art. And then there is the vendor fair to look forward to, as well, and the opportunity to see the fabulous work the Australian artists have to offer...tick tock, tick tock...


Queen Of Toys said...

Oh Jan you were a wonderful teacher and friend, I miss you. Eva is the best hostess you could have a real treasure she is. Can't wait for the next installment of your journey.

Hugs Elizabeth

Jen Crossley said...

Oh Jan come back to us your pictures and words are just beautiful.We all miss you

Dawnie said...

I can see you coming for more than a few weeks on your next visit Jan...sound like a plan ? You look at our home with such loving eyes...just wonderful.I'm enjoying your journey as much as you with all you are sharing, thank you.

Tory Brokenshire said...

I feel like I got to take the trip with you now,thanks for the wonderful words and photos.

Eva said...

Jan ... put on your comfy shoes for your next visit ... there's still LOTS you have seen/done! Just to name a few ... got to visit those penguins - take a trip to country Ballarat to visit Jen Crossley, do the Great Ocean Road drive (and visit a few friends of mine along the way - who you would love also!), etc, etc, etc ... the list is endless! BUT - you may have to walk there - if you keep putting horrid pics of me on your Blog ... lol!
Eva :-)

Nic Hohn said...

Well Jan it looks like you've truly been 'Aussied', meat pies, kangaroos and koalas, mozzies and chooks. Thats a real experience...

CarolCot said...

Jan thank you so much for doing such a wonderful job of sharing your trip both in images and text. I feel like I've gotten a little taste of Australia just by reading/seeing your posts!

Cindi V. Walton said...

Oh, Jan! What an incredible adventure. Thank you letting me live it with you. I love your photos and reading about everything you're seeing. The next best thing to being there. Can't wait for the next installment!

Paula McNamee said...

Jan, I just read your blog posts about your Australia trip and am so happy that you got to see so much of the culture, landscape, birds and other things that you love. It sounds like a trip of a lifetime. I'm sure your art retreat classes went really well. It will be fun to hear about them, too. I can't wait to see you and catch up. Paula

Ro Bruhn said...

The Sanctuary is a great place to get a birds eye view of some of our more unusual inhabitants. I'll have to ask Eva where the art shop was, I thought I knew where they were all situated.
I really hope you get the chance to come and visit us again, you'd make a great travel guide.