Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We Made It! We're Here!

We are officially "down under," literally half-way around the world! After a 4 hour plane ride, followed by a day stopover in San Diego, a few tears saying goodbye to Kevin, a 2 hour car ride to LA, a 1 hour delay, a 14 1/2 hour flight to Sydney, and a harrowing 1 hour car ride on the wrong side of the road with Robert at the wheel, we have arrived at my parent's home in Springwood, New South Wales, Australia!

At dinner tonight we figured out it's been almost 48 hours since we last had a full-night's sleep in a bed. We did sleep on the plane, but only in a couple of few hour bursts. We all napped this afternoon, and Mom really had to rouse us for our first official Australian outing: seeing kangaroos in the wild!

We visited the Blue Mountain National Park, which is about a 15 minute car ride from my parents' home. We drove through a few miles of winding, alternating paved and dirt roads, then finally came to a clearing where we saw 7 kangaroos happily grazing on some grass. We even saw a "joey" sitting in his mommy's pouch! She was bent over eating grass, and he popped his head out and ate, too! So cute, and so completely Australian! I also loved seeing the beautiful birds flying around...lorikeets, cockatoos, and even kookaburras! So many eucalyptus trees...just lush, verdant, and loud, with so many birds calling. This place is truly amazing. I can't wait for our adventure tomorrow...but I must get some sleep (my posting right now is helping me stay awake a few more hours in an attempt to adjust to Australia time!). Here are a few shots:

The first leg of our trip:
waiting for the shuttle to the MSP airport

A tearful good-bye to Kevin
(more like my tears, his desire to just get down and play!)

After 14 1/2 hours on a plane!

This is what a very happy grandma looks like!
(She ran ahead of my dad to hug us all)

Grandpa finally caught up.

Mom and Dad's place
(with Robert's American parking job...the car should be facing the other way!)

The boys trying to catch a few zzzz.
(It was very hard to wake up Trevor from his nap!)

Trevor and Ethan with a kangaroo in the background.
(Can you tell Trevor is feeling his jet lag acutely?!)

The kangaroos let us get fairly close!
(apparently a group of kangaroos is called a "mob")

This is the mommy kangaroo with her joey...
Can you see his little face sticking out?

Here's a kookburra sitting in an old gum tree...
We didn't get to hear him laugh.
(It was getting dark!)

I'll try to post again in a few days!