A visit to the zoo

October 10, 2007 at 4:41 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Environment, Queensland, Travel | Leave a comment

Working around Shane’s hockey sked, the week-long Queensland trip saw us going to places around Sunshine Coast. First off was the Australia Zoo, home of The Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin. We got there by taking the courtesy bus which the zoo operates around the coast. This 72-acre wildlife sanctuary is huge enough that a whole day is not enough to be able to check out everything. We walked and walked and walked around and caught the afternoon show in the Crocoseum. Later, I joined a very long queue of children lining up to feed the elephants. 🙂 Cool, hey. No Bindi there though or any of the Irwins.

Below are some of the photos we took.

Health woes and Queensland holidays

October 9, 2007 at 1:44 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Environment, Health, Sports/Outdoor Activities, Travel | 3 Comments

Apologies to all who have visited this site, both intentionally and unintentionally, for the last few weeks and kept seeing the same old entry. Thank you fellas for giving me a minute of your web time.

Pardon my being a slack-ass. I have not been really feeling good health-wise.

A couple of weeks before leaving for Queensland I had been racked with dental problems. The gums around my lower wisdom teeth were swelling like some pregnant bull frog. At first, I can’t be fagged but finally had a gutful of the annoying pain and forced myself to see a gum digger, that is a dentist for non-Aussies. Turned out, my wisdom teeth are impacted and still pushing their way out of my already infected gums. I was prescribed some antibiotics and had to have a full mouth x-ray and come back for some more tests. After several out-of-pocket dollars, I was told I needed two tooth fillings but before that the teeth that needed fillings need to be x-rayed first. That is another two rounds of x-ray at $40 each. The fillings cost $130 each. I’d be spending just under $500 for cleaning and fillings. Bloody hell, dental care in Australia is way too expensive. Made me sicker! No wonder, a lot of people go to the Philippines (and other SE Asian countries) for major dental works. Dental pain is a royal pain in the ass pocket for those who do not have private health insurance with dental coverage.

The pain, the pain. How on earth these teeth have come to be called wisdom teeth when one loses whatever wisdom one has when they grow?

And that’s just the start. I have also been suffering from prolonged period. It just wouldn’t stop. Not until I went to the quack and have been prescribed Primolut-N to fully stop it. I couldn’t care less if this drug made me wobbly in the first 24 hours.It did its job, that’s what matters.

From antibiotics to hormonal drugs. Ha! I have never been so dependent on drugs in my life. Yeah, I’m a druggie now. Give me that ice!

This bout of prolonged period may have been the effect of stopping the BC pills. I was on the pills for years that when I decided to stop it, my monthly visits went haywire. So those claims that the pills has no side effects are NOT true at all. Beware.

Notwithstanding these health woes, we still pushed through with the holidays in Queensland. We have to anyway, because Shane has to be there for his hockey tournament. The trip was fruitful for Shane and the Victorian Hockey Team as a whole. Victoria dominated and won in 9 out of 10 divisions.

Victoria have asserted their dominance with wins in nine of the ten divisions 11’s, 13’s, 15’s,18’s, 21’s, Senior Mens, Masters & Senior Womens Division. Only the new Veterans division deprived them of a rare clean sweep, which they lost in the final to Queensland.

More about the trip in the next entry. Will post photos too.

Blood Moon Eclipse

August 29, 2007 at 11:01 am | Posted in All, Australia, Environment, news | 3 Comments

Blood Moon Eclipse - screenshot from the live video streaming at Springbrook Research Laboratory in Queensland

It was spectacular looking at a moon with the red coppery glow. Last night’s lunar eclipse was the first time I have ever sighted the phenomenon. It was awesome looking at it in binoculars. You can actually see a bit of details of the moon’s surface. Although the viewing was a bit intermittent owing to the extremely overcast skies, we were still able to have good glimpses of this rare occurence.

The eclipse started at about 7:50 pm when the moon started to move slowly into the earth’s shadow. The clouds obscured the view so I didn’t really appreciate it at first. But the skies cleared at about 9 pm. We had good views since then. Just as the moon disappeared into the shadow, it slowly turned reddish. The glow was more of a red-orange than a bright red.

Later as the moon moved out of the shadow of the earth, we saw a bluish glow in the top most half of the moon while the bottom half was still red.

We were also following a live video streaming of the eclipse from the Springbrook Research Laboratory in Queensland at the Discovery Channel Australia website. The website was streaming live videos from two other sites, Talbot Observatory in Victoria and Southern Cross Observatory in Tasmania but Queensland offered the clearest views.

Our camera was not powerful enough to be able for us to take good photos but I was able to take screenshots of the video streaming from Queensland.

The next total lunar eclipse that can be seen from beginning to end after this one will be in 2011.

One fine weekend

August 20, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Environment, Life et al, Travel, Weather | 2 Comments

Dark clouds enveloped the skies to the west while the sun is bright and white clouds hugged the skies in the east. Melbourne was not its normal miserable winter morning but it was still awfully cold as we drove out of the city going to Euroa. It’s Saturday, the 17th of August.

Billy, mum’s big ball of fluff.The two-hour trip became more enjoyable with Billy, (a 5 month old Bichon Maltese dog) restless in the back seat with mum, trying to move to the front seat to co-pilot the car. Such a gorgeous, lovely ball of fluff.

Views of green and live trees and bushes abound. Although the state is still officially in drought, the surrounding mountains and bushes have somehow recovered. Winter temperature and rains have helped re-surrect the ailing flora.

It was a beautiful day in the country town. Skies are blue with just a few patches of white cotton-like clouds. The motel was going to be quiet for the whole weekend with only 3 reservations for the night. After an hour or so of rest, we took to the creek and stroll along the walking path. It is a bit of a relief for the townsfolk to see water flowing into the creek now. A few months back, the creek was as dry as an autumn leaf. The bank has cracks all over.

Billy enjoyed the walk the most. New surroundings. New smell. He was all over the place, running in all directions. So restless. So much energy for a puppy.

Dinner was a belated (second) celebration of my birthday. A three course meal starting with a heartwarming tomato soup. Main course was a medium grilled eye-fillet steak with black pepper in cream sauce in a bed of mashed potatoes served with steamed fresh pumpkin and green beans. Mouth watering. A generous slice of pavlova at the end was hard to resist.

The saying about Queensland “Beautiful one day, perfect the next” was an apt description for the weekend. Saturday was beautiful. Sunday was perfect. Temperature was in low twenties, no wind, no clouds, fresh country air, just one lovely day. Another opportunity to go out for a walk.

One highlight for the day was my first sighting of alpacas (some spell it alpackers) . At firstAlpacas in our midst! I called them sheep with long necks. shane called them giraffe – sheep owing to their long necks and sheep looking features. The wool of these domesticated animals are apparently expensive.

All in all the weekend was very relaxing. The sun aided to relieve some muscle aches from the cold weather and the fresh air recharged tired bodies of us city slickers.

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