Sunday, July 17, 2011

Monothings, Disclaimers, Flora Brown, and Rio

1. Wanted to plan our pretend trip to Western Australia. The internet is slow though; so I might not get too far. I might start it; then finish later.

2. Wondered if we should drive or fly from Darwin to Broome?  Western Australia is SO big. We're going to have to fly at some point.

3. Went outside in the very hot weather to rescue a runaway ball. While on the mission, I decided we'll probably drive to Broome. Then we'll fly to Perth and drive around that area.

4. Looked at the drive from Darwin to Broome.  I'll have to see if there are any nice towns where we can stop.

5. Planned out part 1 of our Western Australia journey. Here it is on Google Maps

We'll start in Darwin. Then we'll drive to Broome, stopping at these places in between....

Timber Creek
Halls Creek
Fitzroy Crossing

I think we'll do two nights in those places, and four nights in Broome. That, added to the stuff I've already planned, brings us to 114 nights.  

2. Watched another communitychannel video because Tim recommended it.  

It's a great response to blatant racism.

3. Saw article about shark attack in Texas.  The victim happens to be the son of my parent's plumber.   My family was talking about it, and I went to look it up online.  I knew that any shark attack would be international news.

I was surprised that the article says there's been 16 shark attacks in Texas from 2000-2010.   I always associate Australia with shark attacks.  Well guess what....Lord Wiki says America has the most attacks. Australia and South Africa come in second.

4. Decided to start planning the Perth part of our pretend trip.  We'll fly from Broome to Perth.   Then where will we go?  I shall play with the map to find out.

5. Finished my map games for Western Australia. Here's my map.  

We'll do four nights in Perth.

Then we'll do two nights in the following places:

Monkey Mia

Well, and then we'll have to drive back to Perth.   It's a long drive so I added Kalbarri and Cervantes as stop off places.  We'll do 2 nights in each of those places.

Maybe we should do four nights in Monkey Mia.  We'll need a rest.  I'm getting tired just thinking of all the moving around.

So how many nights total?  I'm going to say 27.  I added a night for Perth. We'll stay one night before taking the flight to Queensland.  Add that to 114 nights and we have 141 nights.

6. Went to bed and dreamed about Australia.  My family starts watching some movie about Australia.  Watching it makes me have huge uncontrollable I-want-to-be-there-in-Australia desires. I can't help but move closer to the screen.   I want to get closer and closer.   Then I'm sucked up by some magical force and I find myself in Australia.  The only thing is I have somehow brought my family with me.   Well, they're not with me.  But they've crossed over too.   I can't see them.  But I can hear them.    

I end up getting together with them.   Then I get this idea that we've gone back in time, despite the fact that there are modern buildings all around.  I ask someone what year it is.  They say 16 hundred something (because my subconscious is worse at history than my conscious self).  I look around at the skyscrapers with confusion.  My family and I come up with a theory.  We're not seeing what's really there.   We're seeing some type of illusion.   As soon as we say this, the skyscrapers vanish.    Then there's some kind of man who owns a food stand.  For some reason, we're scared of him.

That's all I remember.

7. Decided that Sheridan Hay, the author of The Secret of Lost Things looks like Lili Taylor— at least in her photo on the book.

8. Read Fruitcake's fun post about Alice Springs.  It contains a lot of good traveling advice.  I'll have to remember it when planning my fake trip to Australia.

Hopefully, I'll also be able to use it for a real trip one day.  

Fruitcake recommends using for booking accommodations.  I think I've heard of the site, but I don't think I've ever used it. Except for a few holiday parks, Tim's the one who usually deals with making the accommodation bookings.   I'm not sure if he's used  Lately, he's been into staying at apartments.  Although when we stayed in New Jersey, we stayed a hotel.

Well, anyway...I'll ask him if he ever used Wotif.  If he hasn't yet, maybe we'll try it.   I don't know when our next REAL trip is going to be.  We're going to Disney World in November, but we use our vacation points for that.  

9. Read another blog post by Fruitcake.  This one is about Uluru.   She says it's not the world's biggest monolith.  The biggest is Mount Augustus in Western Australia.   Wow.  I don't think I knew that.  I wonder why Uluru gets more attention.  Is it because of the spiritual significance?    

10. Confused by Lord Wiki.   He says that tourism literature makes claims of Mount Augustus being the world's largest Monolith, but also says this is not proven by any scholarly studies.   Lord Wiki sounds very skeptical of Mount Augustus here.  But then further down he says it's twice the size of Uluru.

Oh....I get it.  Maybe. Lord Wiki might think that there's a bigger monolith somewhere else. 

11. Looked at this website which lists the ten largest monoliths.  There's some really nice photos here.

Uluru is listed as the biggest.  Mount Augustus is not even on there.   Do people just not know about Mount Augustus?  Or maybe it's disqualified for some reason?  Maybe it cheated.

12. Figured it out.  I consulted Lord Wiki again, and did a better job listening to him. Mount Augustus is a monocline rather than a monolith. 

13. Went back to reading Fruitcake's blog post.   She compares the tourism set up of the Yulara resort with Disney World.   There are themed hotel clusters, with a regular shuttle bus service connecting each. Each cluster has its own selection of eating places, with a range of prices to suit all budgets. 

Her post is really fantastic.  Fruitcake would be great at writing travel advice books.

It's really awesome though that you can get travel-book quality reading on the internet.   

14. Wanted to remind people (just in case anyone is confused) that the Australia trip I'm planning is completely fictional.  We don't have enough money for a 6 month trip to Australia.  And I wouldn't, and couldn't, leave our cats for that long.  I'm just doing this for fun; and to sooth my disappointment because we're probably not going to being able to go to Australia at all for a few years. We were planning to go in 2012, but that is likely canceled because of how expensive Australia has become.

I do dream of taking a 6 month trip to Australia in ten years or so.  I'm doubting I'll follow the same plans though.  By then I'll have different desires. And even if I don't, I'll probably want to re-plan simply for the fact that planning is so much fun.

The other thing is, there are things I'm very willing to do in my imagination, but less willing to do in real life—like drive around areas with tons of mountains.

Also if we are able to go in ten years, I'm sure we'll still have some major financial restraints.    In real life, money IS going to be an issue. With my fantasy trip, it's not.

15. Went to Tallygarunga.  I'm going to read a story thread called Reality.

It takes place in the graveyard.   Cool.  This graveyard is in the town of Narragyambie, in the area called Koonyah. 

Koonyah is described as The slightly poorer area of Narragyambie, Koonyah is made up mostly of housing. It is not a place to be walking around at night? but the prices are cheap and affordable. Just make sure you lock your doors and windows.

Starring in this story thread is Leanna the witch who recently learned her uncle is really her father and her father is really her uncle.  She's just come back from living in China.    Then Leanna's co-star for this thread is Flora Brown. She's a four-year old...child?  Maybe a ghost? I shall read and find out.

16. Started reading.  

Leanna prefers the winter over the summer; so she's enjoying the graveyard in the cold.

She comes to the graveyard on a regular basis. It's her place of solace. When she lived with her abusive uncle (believing he was her father), she'd go to the graveyard to find some peace.

That reminds me of a post my friend wrote recently, about needing a place to go to get away from it all.  

17. Read Flora's post. I think she's a ghost.

OR maybe it's one of those tricky stories where they make you think it's a ghost; but then it's not a ghost.

18. Started to read Flora Brown's biography.  

Her date of birth is unknown and her species is unknown.  I'm taking that to mean she's a ghost.

I'll keep reading.

19. Loved reading the descriptions of Flora.   Her features are tiny, but perfectly balanced in a completely (and almost creepily) unchildlike way. Rather than looking like the toddler that she is, Flora looks more like a miniature adult.   And further down. She is frequently seen playing, but rarely seen dirty. 

That's a brilliant way of describing a ghost.  If I was the writer, I'd probably be pathetic and just blurt out, Flora is a ghost.    

20. Excited about Flora because she seems very adorable, and interesting.  I want to quote from the biography, but there's too much I like about it.  I love the mystery of it though.

21. Decided to quote a little bit more of the biography.  It's hard to choose something, but I'll pick this one.   She wanders about town, appearing in different places at random - meeting up with new people to make friends with. She gives the name Flora Brown, though no one really recalls ever meeting a Mr or Ms Brown. Though it is often at the top of one's mind to check up on the girl's family whilst talking to her, the minute the conversation ends - the task seems to lose all importance.

22. Asked Tim if he's heard of Wotif.  He hadn't. He's looking at it now.

23. Amazed and grateful because my sister all of a sudden started asking me about Australia; how many times we've gone there, whether I knew much about it before we went, and why I became interested in it.

24. Learned that my Australian of the day is Andrew Canning Anderson.  He was a publisher and journalist.  

Andrew was born in Scotland.  When he was a tween, his family moved to Maryborough Queensland.  I think that's where P.L Travers was from. Well, she was from Mary-something.

25. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says that yes, P.L Travers was born in Maryborough.

26. Went back to reading about Andrew Anderson. He became an apprentice for the printing trade when he was fourteen.

Anderson started a paper in Rockhampton called The Critic. It ran from the early 1900's to 1931.   Then it died.

27. Saw a website for City Printing Works in Rockhampton.  They say they were originally a newspaper started by Andrew Anderson.  I guess their building was used for that?    Now they offer printing services, like wedding invitations.

28. Delighted to hear that when Jack suggesting to his cousin Darcy that they listen to. "I Go To Rio".   But I think they're listening to the Pablo Cruise version instead of the Peter Allen one.

I don't know how they got into the song.  My mom brought it up to me this weekend. She hates the song and was annoyed that the radio keeps playing it.

I like the song. I think it's fun.    

29. Remembered that the First Fleet went to Rio on their way to Australia. If there's a musical about the First Fleet, they could play this song.

30. Consulted Lord Wiki about the First Fleet in Rio de Janeiro.   He says the convicts and other folks arrived on August 5, and stayed for a month.  

31. Saw that this website has a list of all the convicts of the First Fleet.    Then I thought about how I don't think I've come across any convicts yet when reading about my Australians of the day.    I might have in the beginning, when I was reading multiple entries a day.  That was a mistake.  I read too much at once, and probably skimmed more than I read. There might have been convicts and I didn't notice.  Or I forgot.

32. Talked to Tim about the drought here. It's sad, but since we're not farmers we don't notice it as much.  I mean if you're living off the land, you're REALLY going to notice a drought.

When we're at the lake house, many members of my family are a bit wasteful about water bottles.  They take a bottle, drink a little, then leave it hanging around.  Although my niece was very pleased at lunch to point out that she was using a glass for her water instead of a water bottle.  I was very pleased too. I take the half-used water bottles and water the plants with them.   I went to water the grass near a tree, and also sprayed the tree a bit.  I accidentally watered a lizard.  I apologized to him, but then I saw him lapping up the water.  So I went and got more water in case he wanted more.   It made me think about all the animals out there desperate for water.   Then I remembered something on McLeod's Daughters about taking the thirsty cattle, and walking them long distances to get food and waster.  I thought there was a term for it, but couldn't remember.

Tim helped me remember that it was drover.  He learned that from the movie Australia. And I remembered that it was the name of the McLeod's Daughters property (Drover's Run).  But we didn't know if drover was the name of an occupation; or if you could use it as a verb.  The cows are hungry.  Let's go drovering!

33. Consulted Lord Wiki about the drover thing.  It's an Australian term.  It refers to the person who moves the livestock.  There's also a verb; not drovering though. It's droving.

34. Lord Wiki reminded me that there's a Christmas song.  "The Three Drovers". 

35. Decided to plan our trip to Queensland while Jack plays with his early birthday present. He got a Kinect from my parents, Tim, and me.

Should we fly to Cairns or Brisbane?

Well, I looked at Qantas.  There seems to be more direct flights to Brisbane, so we'll go that route.  

36. Realized I forgot Byron Bay when I did New South Wales. We might include it in our Queensland time because it's really close. 

37. Realized there's more that I want to see in Queensland than I imagined. We might not have time for New Zealand after all. 

38. Figured out my Queensland plans.  Here it is on Google Maps.   Like with all the maps, some of the towns are places I want to go.  Other places are there because we need somewhere to stop and rest.   Even in fantasy, I can't stomach the idea of driving more than six hours in a day. 

So here's how it goes. 

We'll fly to Brisbane from Perth.   We'll spend two nights in Brisbane.   Then we'll go to

The Gold Coast
Byron Bay
Flinders Island
Whitsunday Islands
Charter Towers
Mt. Isa

Then we'll fly from Cairns to Sydney; and go home. 

39. Decided to do three nights in The Gold Coast, Whitsunday Islands, Mt. Isa, and Cairns.   Then we'll do two nights in the other places.  That's thirty nights total. 

We have ten more nights.   I'll add one night Brisbane, two nights to Cairns, and then we'll spend seven nights in New Zealand. 

40. Loved my plans, but am open to suggestions.   If you think I've missed an important place...please leave me a message on my Facebook Page.    There's some places we're going to miss because they're totally out of the way.  The main one that comes to my mind is Broken Hill.   Well, since this is a fantasy trip, I can imagine that one evening a spaceship comes and brings us to Broken Hill.  We'll hang out with the aliens, get our anuses probed, and then we'll be returned to our hotel elsewhere. 

41. Decided it might be helpful to summarize the whole trip.   So here it is.....

Wagga Wagga
Coffs Harbour
Lakes Entrance
Wilson's Promotory
Port Fairy

42. Realized I made a mistake.   I forgot to add extra nights for Melbourne.   So maybe we'll skip New Zealand.  Or we'll just make our trip a little longer.   Oh yeah.   What the heck.   It's a pretend trip.  Who cares if it ends up being seven months instead of six. 

Anyway...I shall continue listing places

Gunns Plains (F)
Cradle Mountain
Bruny Island
Port Arthur
Coles Bay
Adelaide (P)
Kangaroo Island (F)
Roxy Downs
Cooper Pedy
Barossa Valley
Mt. Gambier
Alice Springs (P)
Darwin (P)

Timber Creek
Halls Creek
Fitzroy Crossing
Perth (P)

Monkey Mia
Brisbane (P)
The Gold Coast
Byron Bay
Flinders Island
Whitsunday Islands
Charter Towers
Mt. Isa
Sydney (P)

(P)=airplane  (F)=ferry/boat   Everything else is by car.