Every year in Australia men, at least those that are manly enough to be able to do so, are encouraged to grow a mustache during the month of November. The purpose is to raise awareness of men's health issues (e.g. prostrate cancer, male pattern baldness, ED, etc.) Money is raised through sponsorship and is donated to organizations that provide free prostrate cancer screenings, colonoscopies, Propecia, etc. As you can see below, John was manly enough to participate this year!
The Evolution of a Stache
As a wise man once said, "you do not choose the mustache, the mustache chooses you."
We ended our trip to New South Wales going to the Blue Mountains. The rock edifice is called the Three Sisters and is surrounded by mountains covered in trees. The moisture from the Eucalyptus trees in the valley evaporates to form a cloud cover that makes the mountains appear blue. It was nice to go up, one more check on our list of things to do in Australia.
We hiked down to this waterfall.
We set off on the "900 steps walk" to the valley floor and I found it necessary to take this picture of Jared, John and Bella in matching shirts. The rest of us didn't get the memo. It was so hot this day and when we got to the top of the steps part of the "900 steps walk" we were told that it was closed because of bush fire fears, I wasn't too disappointed.
And finally, here is another picture of John looking like a bloke. This is a cork hat, one of the few effective remedies to combat the obscene amount of flies that are attracted to your mouth, nose and eyes.
We visited the Sydney Aquarium this trip, which is touted to be one of the best in the world. It was a very hot day so we were pleased to spend a bit of time in the air conditioned building.
The aquarium has two very significant viewing areas where the animals swim over and around you. They are very keen on their Dugongs down here (a.k.a. Manatees), which were fun to watch. The amazing thing about the viewing areas is that the animals behind the glass actually appear 25% smaller than they really are, which means this turtle is humongous. Did you know that turtles will wedge themselves under rocks to sleep, they may appear to be stuck, but they are really just sleeping. The underbelly of a sting ray is really neat, but only because you don't get to see it very often. The children loved seeing Nemo and Dori. It seems like someone in Sydney caught them after all. The platypus is by far one of the most fascinating animals in all of Australia (which is saying a lot, because the country has a lot of amazing animals!) Our children loved the Aquarium. It was truly awesome.
If any of you have watched Bondi Rescue you know that Bondi Beach is one of the most popular beaches in all of Australia. We didn't really believe that it would live up to the hype, but we were pleasantly surprised. The sand was soft, the setting gorgeous and the water was clear and cold, but the sheer number of people are what set this beach apart from other beaches around Sydney.
John works in Sydney a couple of times a month and when he can, he goes for a walk in the Botanic Gardens which are not far from his building. He was excited for us to come visit Sydney with him again so that he could show us the thousands of bats that live there.
If you clap your hands really loud, the thousands of bats take off in flight! It was awesome.
From the gardens you get some great views of the Sydney central business district. You also get nice views of the Harbour with the Opera House and Bridge in the background. (note: this was in November, so John still had the funky facial hair thing going) And by far, the best picture of the day. The sculptures around the garden are awesome and rather lifelike.
We had an opportunity to travel with John up to Sydney for a weekend in November. We ended up staying in 3 different hotels during our stay because Britney Spears was in town performing and everything was sold out. While John worked, the kids and I took the opportunity to walk around the city being careful to follow the signs that were painted on the road at every intersection.
We found this tree, made of Sprite bottles, which hinted of the Christmas season about to come. We walked around "The Rocks", which had no rocks to speak of, but did have a tree that was a lot of fun to climb on. We then walked to the Harbour Bridge and enjoyed views of the Sydney Opera House and the harbour.
The day was very hot and the highlight for the kids was getting Slurpees (after walking for ten hours, according to Colin)!
Almost every morning we see hot air balloons from our windows. Depending on the wind patterns the balloons can end up in very different locations around the city. It's always a contest in the morning among the kids to be the first to spot the balloons.
No - this is not a post telling you that we ran in the actual marathon. Both the marathon and half marathon passed by our apartment. The highlight of the race for us turned out to be watching many of the "overhydrated" male runners veer off the course to use the bushes directly across the road from our apartment. When we spotted the first guy we weren't quite sure what was going on, but when more and more blokes followed suit, it became evident what they were doing. The funniest bit was when there were 6 guys lined up at the same bush. At that point we just had to take a picture, unfortunately we only caught one guy. Keep in mind that there was a toilet not more than 50 yards down the road.