Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A little Australian street art

I was pretty excited when I saw this road sign and I made Jim pull off at the exit. It is not everyday that you see your last name on a road sign--twice! Unfortunately Mooney Mooney was little more than a wide spot in the road, not some charming little village.
In no particular order, I have a few of my favorite bits of street art found mostly in one alley on Hosier street in Melbourne. This city is a great promoter of the arts in public places and we saw many examples of great public art. I especially liked that there are "laneways" where graffiti is allowed, and even encouraged. If we had more time I would have found the map of the laneways available through the visitor information bureau. These places are treasure troves of information, including all kinds of maps and brochures.Very helpful.
This Ganesh was one of my favorites along the alley. Notice the mouse in the left hand corner.
This artist was having a show of his art somewhere in the city, so often the art is done by well known artists, and they have to request a space on the wall as it becomes available.
How did these get in there?? Not street art , and not from Australia. Oh well...Pretty colors.
These vans were camper vans, available to rent. I think it is cool that this company, Wicked Vans, had all of their vans decorated by different artists. These are the vans that I would want to rent to camp in AU! Imagine the hard time you would have choosing which van to rent...
This is the rear end of the same van. Three young men trooped out of it to watch the wind surfers on the beach below.
This is probably my favorite mural, seen on a wall in a small town outside of Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road. Did I already say how much we loved that drive?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tales from Oz

If you are not interested in wildlife, or cute, fuzzy animals, stop reading now, as this is what this post is all about! We love cities as much as the next person, but I find them a bit fatiguing at times, and realized that we have really enjoyed our experiences in the nature.We had a most excellent day driving a short way out of Melbourne, on the Great Ocean Road, and saw the most varied amount of wildlife of the whole trip,all in one day.
As I was taking a photo of the bird above, two parrots flew down and one landed on the shoulder of the man two feet in front of me, then another one landed on my shoulder! I was so unnerved and excited that I hardly knew what to do. That may have been the highlight of the day. Of the trip, even.
A little way up the road, the koalas love to hang out and sleep in the trees. We saw many along this road, most of them curled up in the branch of a tree. Also very exciting.
We saw a mob(?) of kangaroo later in the day, and although we saw a few earlier in the trip, this was the biggest grouping that we saw. It was very cool and I felt like I was on safari, except that there were no large animals that might attack .
As we we drove through another rain forest, we came even closer to the koalas, and one was eating up in a tree, totally oblivious to the fellow with a camera, not more than 4 feet from him! Jim said it is amazing that they are not extinct. I had seen these fellows at a wildlife center on a previous trip, but it was nothing compared to seeing them in the wild.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Off to Oz

And now for something completely different....we are in Australia, after a 10 hour flight from Hawaii! Whew. I hinope I am not getting too old for these long flights, but they are sort of daunting to think about. We arrived late, but typical of me, I grabbed some brochures at the airport and read about a Chinese market in Sydney that only went for another hour, so we dropped our bags and trekked onto the streets of Sydney in search of it. Good thing Jim is such a good sport! The market was for Chinese New Year, and it was mostly torn down by the time we arrived, but I did see this wonderful lantern for the Year of the Rabbit. It was worth the walk!
I'm sorry we didn't get there sooner, as there would have been more photo ops like this one of a midway clown. This is for all you clown lovers out there. Dayna, this one's for you!
.On the drive north from Sydney, we had our first wildlife encounter with an actual live lizard. He was rooting in the garbage and was quite oblivious to us. We did see some kangaroo, but they were not of the living variety, sad to say. I guess one of the best places to see kangaroo is on golf courses, but still no sightings for us.
We are visiting friends in Queensland, in the lovely area of Noosa, and our first day we went to the large market at Eumundi. I especially liked seeing the produce and fruit, and since I am a passion fruit lover, was happy to sample these passion fruit(bottom) and see dragon fruit again. I bought a bag of passion fruit since that is something we rarely see in Portland.It is lovely mixed into a fruit salad.
We went for breakfast to Bistro C the day cyclone Yasi struck the Queensland coast. It is all anyone could think about for several days. Luckily we were far south of the storm, but many many people had their houses "deroofed" or worse. After we had breakfast, and my 'cyclone" coffee, we walked the boardwalk in Noosa, one of the hippest beach towns along this coast. The waves were a bit higher than normal, but the surfers were happy.
It has been too hot and humid here to do a lot of outdoor sketching, but I was determined to paint at least one of Marg, our host's beautiful garden plants before we leave here. Our stay in Noosa has been wonderful, but too short, so we really must visit again.