Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Awesome Aussie Thanksgiving -- Thurs., Nov. 22

Happy Thanksgiving! I want to say thank you to all the people who subscribe to my blog. Today I reached 100 subscribers. Wow! That doesn't include the people who subscribe by email. So I'm really not sure how many people are currently reading. I appreciate every single one of you. You validate my writing style and hopefully enjoy the thoughts, feelings and travels I write about. As they say in Australia, "Jolly good!" 

We were up early, but not to cook turkey. Our goal was to trade in our banged up rental car for a different one. It was not to be...Coffs Harbour Hertz was completely booked, all cars spoken for. Our customer service lady tried calling around to other locations south of us in the direction we would be heading tomorrow with no luck. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. In the meantime, the car is driveable.

John and Lib, Australian readers of our blog who traveled the U.S. in a rented Winnebago for six weeks in 2010, invited us to their farm in Macksville, New South Wales for dinner today. We were delighted with the invite and happy to meet some locals.

We planned to meet them at 1:30 p.m. so we had the whole morning to meander on side roads and see beach towns on our 50 km drive south. Sawtell was the first town we drove through--very beautiful small town with big Moreton fig trees.

A little farther down the coast we stopped by the Surf Club in the tiny village of Mylestrom and walked on their boardwalk/viewing platform for a view up and down the coastline.

You can click to enlarge the following picture.
Local fish...you'll probably recognize a few.
On our way out of Mylestrom we drove along the scenic Bellinger river, replete with picnic tables.

Continuing our jaunt south, we drove through Urunga, stopped at Hungry Head area to view the coast and went past their Surf Club.

View south from Hungry Head.

Bob at Hungry Head.
The town we really liked was Nambucca Heads. We stopped in town, had treats at the bakery and walked along the street. Near the police station on Bowra Street was a block-long mosaic artwork made from tiles, broken china, and old mugs. It was fun to view.

From Bowra Street we went to Captain Cook Lookout and Lions Lookout where we overlooked the entrance to the Nambucca River.

Nambucca Heads--entrance to the Nambucca River.
Continuing south, we made it to Macksville 1-1/2 hours before our scheduled meeting time with John and Lib. We had meat pies, then decided to drive out toward the Pub with No Beer. Partway there, we decided we didn't have time to go there and back so we turned around and headed back into Macksville.

As we stopped at a traffic light to allow one-way traffic around some road work, we heard a horn honk behind us. I asked Bob why the people were honking at us. He said, "I don't know but someone is coming to talk to us." I rolled down my window and was asked, "Are you Bob and Susan? I'm Lib." What a surprise that we were on the road to their place and they just happened to be driving into town to go to "Woolys" (Woolworths) before they met us at 1:30 p.m. Kismet? Serendipity? Coincidence?

They had been reading the blog and said the smashed in bumper gave it away. Plus when we turned the car around at someone's driveway, we were on the wrong side of the road for a few seconds. They saw it all. Of course, John was a police officer for 35 years so his powers of observation are pretty sharp.

We followed them into town and talked to Lib in the parking lot while John picked up a few groceries. Then we tailed them out to their macadamia nut hobby farm. We took a tour of their house, met Hooch the fox terrier, and sat on their deck to talk and watch the Australian king parrots who came up to eat at a feeder.

Here is camera shy Hooch, a rescued dog.

Male Australian king parrot.
The wallabies started showing up in late afternoon. Lib called the wallabie. Rosie (with joey in pouch) and the dad wallaby came up to eat some bread.
Pretty-faced wallabies--the Mom's name is Rosie.

Male pretty-faced wallaby--the dad.

How adorable are they?
A short while later, two mixed breed (part Muscovy) ducks came up to the house and Lib gave them their supper. She named these two Piddle and Paddle.

Piddle and Paddle
We learned a lot about Australian culture and how they view Americans. In school, Australian children learn British and American history, but no Austalian history. Australians are fascinated by American culture and patriotism. There's a TV show in Australia called "America Revealed" in which topics about American life are revealed, such as chicken farming and the power grid.

Other topics we talked about were Australia's snakes, birds, animals, sports, camping in Australia (John showed us photos of places they've been), kids, politics, hobbies, work, travel and their future plans.

John used to play rugby league which is a different game with different rules than rugby union. Bob and John talked sports for a good while.

Lib loves quilting and currently has a number of quilts in the works. She also was able to take a batik class in Bali. She has two beautiful batik wall hangings that she made in her quilting room. One is of a seahorse and the other is of a sea turtle.

Lib with her seahorse batik art.
John cooked a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner in honor of us being there on our American Thanksgiving Day. He made turkey with cranberry-macadamia nut stuffing, cranberry sauce, ham, boiled potatoes, and a green salad. For dessert we had strawberry cheesecake. Thank you, John and Lib, for a delicious meal. You made us feel right at home.

John and Lib invited their friends from down the road, Chris and Warren, to join us for dinner. Here are some pics of all of us. What would Thanksgiving dinner be without photos to document the occasion?

Bob, Susan, Lib and John--Thanksgiving 2012 in Australia.
John, Warren, Chris, Bob and Susan
After dinner we all sat around the table and chattered about this and that. Outside, frogs were providing quite a chorus of background noise. Around 9:00 p.m. the four of us invited guests headed for home. Out on the deck were a couple of vivid green frogs eating the Christmas beetles (what we call June bugs). There were so many beetles that all the frogs had to do was sit there and the bugs practically jumped into their mouths. LOL.

As we headed out, John and Lib warned us to watch out for wallabies on the road back to town. We certainly didn't want to hit any of them! For one thing, they're cute and the females have joeys in their pouches. For another, according to Lib and Chris, they can do some major damage to your car. We certainly don't need that.

Sure enough, as soon as we left their driveway, a wallaby jumped right in front of Warren and Chris's car. Farther back toward town, a young red fox ran out in front of our car. It just kept running in the middle of the road in front of us like it couldn't figure out where to go. It ran off on one side of the road, only to dart back into the road, cross the road and finally ran up someone's driveway.

Bob made a great comment as we were driving back from dinner. He said, "We've learned about the geology, geography, national parks, history and landscape of Australia, but it really enriches the experience to learn about the people."

New Australian terms or pronunciations we learned tonight:
tragic = fanatic, fan, aficioado. "Lib's an Elvis tragic. John's a rugby league tragic."
chooks = chickens
jumper = knitted sweater
serviette = napkin
Australia pronounced 'stralia
Melbourne pronounced Melbin
goanna (a monitor lizard) pronounced goenna

We are truly thankful for the warm, fun, wonderful people we got to know tonight.

Travel Bug saying goodnight.

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