Notes from a Big Island, Part Two

On a much lighter note… the second half of our trip. for your viewing pleasure, another image gallery, please click to embiggen. Also shown are some photos from the beginning of our trip and our trip to Blackhead Beach with Sandra, Joel and Stuart (a great many were taken by our budding photographer, Liam).

Highlights from the second half of our trip:
– Dinner at the Forster Bowling Club (lawn bowling, that is) with the Donkins (Joel, Sandra and Jacob)
– Visiting with Aunt Monica and Uncle Jack (Monica is Simon’s dad’s 90+year-old sister – they are both amazing)
– Feeding the kookaburra family with Aunt Monica
– Going out for a double date with Sandra and Joel for Sandi’s birthday – scrumptious, authentic Thai food
– Seeing three dolphins (in the wild) jumping out of the water while driving over the bridge between Forster and Tuncurry
– Visits to the hospital to see Dorothy – the kids thought it was cool and loved playing in the family room
– Spending the morning walking around Forster, exploring the shops, jumping on the trampolines one last time and soaking up the sun
– Spending an afternoon at the beach by Dorothy’s house
– Celebrating Dorothy’s birthday with her and singing the quietest rendition of “Happy Birthday” ever sung
– Spending a great deal of our last day with Dorothy sans children thanks to a gracious Joel and Jacob keeping them entertained
– Dinner at Sandra and Joel’s house with Chinese food brought up from Sydney
– The boys would also include playing with waterguns and bubble wands and eating Paddle Pops outside at Grandma Dorothy’s house
– Borrowing Sandi’s new car to drive down to Sydney for the last three days in our trip – we didn’t even crash it, though I can tell you now that the carpark at the hotel was the tiniest underground parking structure I have ever been in – it was laughably small and we had to do multi-point turns to go up the ramps between levels (thankfully never meeting a car was coming the other direction)
– Visiting with Rod and his kids in Wollongong – great company + more good food + weather that turned out sunny rather than windy and rainy = fun times (not so fun was the sunburn I acquired that day – after nearly three weeks of carefully applying sunscreen, I did not bring any that day)
– Visiting with Kylie, Bobby, Julie, Jen and Mark in Campbelltown + all their kids (sadly no photos were taken by me) but we had a great evening catching up and Liam attempted to learn to play cricket (it is not his forte)
– Spending the day touring Sydney and seeing the sites by train, foot and ferry including: Manly Beach, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, Royal Botanical Gardens
– Walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens and seeing a gigantic fig tree
– Taking the ferry to Manly for lunch (sushi and ice cream, though not at the same time)
– Not a highlight: Liam’s epic meltdown on the way back to the hotel after our day in the city. It was the worst one I have ever witnessed by my son and I applaud his vigor (that was, until his 6-hour cry fest at the end of our day of traveling – but I’m trying to block that out).
– Paddy’s Market – always a fun detour to check out the wares all the vendors are selling
– Brekkie at Macca’s with a saintly Joel, Jacob and Elena (who got up at an ungodly hour to drive down to Sydney and meet us) prior to our flight home

There were so many highlights, no list could do them justice, but this gives you a little sampling of our trip. We are especially grateful to Sandra, Joel and Jacob for all they did to make everything go smoothly.

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