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Australia #4

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 29 December 2012 | Views [155]

Hi Everybody:
    Hope Christmas was great and all is going well!
    We’re just putting an end to Saturday, December 29th in Brisbane, where our Australian adventure began.
    Concluded our visit to Melbourne.  A nice city of four million, but we’d rate it #3 of the big three Australian cities.  Still, really nice.  It’s a city of rails --- more trams (street cars) than any city in the world.  We got to the beach via a tram (essentially just like the Max).  Kids hit an amusement park at the beach (the wooden roller coaster was built 100 years ago, by the guys who built the roller coaster at Coney Island).  We gave Marz her movie fix in Melbourne, going to see Parental Guidance.  Nice movie, but not great (Billy Crystal and Bette Midler).  Cinema was in a downtown shopping mall that was built around an old building with a clock tower.  Fascinating how they (like the Europeans) preserve the old.  Theatre was very nice by our standards, with all seats reserved.  No butter on the popcorn, so Marz had to make an adjustment.  Movie had lots of baseball in it, and any number of references that could not have meant a thing to the Aussies.  It’s fascinating how movies, tv shows, and music are essentially all from the U.S.  The U.S. is in your face all the time.
    Flew from Melbourne to Sydney on Thursday.  Sydney has great geography and is a great city.  We took a tour of the Sydney Opera House.  Terrific. 
    Took the train (Friday – yesterday afternoon) from Sydney back to Brisbane.  Fourteen hours of pure overnight comfort.  Well, that’s not quite true.  Train actually arrived early, at 5:30 this morning, so we rushed to the hotel and took a quick nap.  Took a bike trip along the Brisbane River and some of us got hot, with temperatures in the 80s.  Took a swim in the hotel pool and went to a baseball game, just to see what the Australian Baseball League looked like.  I was especially interested to go to the venue, which was built in the 1920s, and was the cricket stadium in Brisbane for many years.  In 1952, Queen Elizabeth made her first visit to Australia and her first appearance was in this facility.  Off to a neighborhood pizza restaurant afterwards, and now back at the hotel.
    On the City Cat (river mass transit) tomorrow to take the kids to the beach.  Then catching a 6:30 pm Sunday (tomorrow) flight to Honolulu.  After a 7-hour layover there, it’s back to Portland, arriving tomorrow (Sunday) evening at 11:00 pm.
    Talk to you soon.
Ken, Marlene, Sophia & Keaka

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