Seychelles

We spent two days in the Seychelles docked next to a tuna factory, which is as lovely as it sounds.  I don’t think anyone visited any of the outdoor restaurants or bars on our ship during that stay.

We escaped to the other side of the island where we got a day pass at a gorgeous Hilton property.

Drank ridiculous cocktails.

Visited a spice plantation where there were giant fruit bats circling overhead.

Nutmeg grows on trees inside something that looks like a peach.

We got to snorkel for a bit.

In some really crazy weather.

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Cooking School in Thailand

One of the things I was most looking forward to on our trip was attending the Blue Elephant cooking school in Phuket.  It did not disappoint.  The day started with a visit to a huge bustling market where we purchased some of the ingredients for the four course meal we learned to prepare.  The restaurant was beautiful, and housed a culinary classroom where we watched their chef make green papaya salad, green curry chicken, spicy tom yum soup and shrimp pad thai.  After each course was demonstrated, we relocated to a hands-on classroom fitted with a cooking station for each person to recreate what we had just learned to make.  When everything was done, we joined the other diners in their restaurant to enjoy what we had just made ourselves.  I’ve already made this entire meal again since we got home.  I was thrilled to find Blue Elephant curry mixes in the international section of our tiny little rural WalMart!

Visitors

Jane Doe, our babysitting deer is back in the pasture hanging with our sheep and lambs.  She has been joined by someone new, a skunk.  We do smell skunks around the farm on occasion but this is the first time we’ve seen one out and about.  It seems to like our place and has found a spot out by the barn to settle in, dang it.  I chased five deer from our back yard this morning and our garbage can was raided by raccoons last night.  Bears have been spotted in our neighborhood.  It must be that time of year.

Malaysia

It takes a lot to get us on a nine hour excursion, but the idea of visiting Borobudur temple got us on the bus.  It’s the world’s largest Buddhist temple, built in the 9th century and abandoned in the 14th.  It was rediscovered in 1814 and has since been restored and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The temple is a few hours drive from the port of Semarang with heavy traffic so we had a police escort with lights and sirens the entire way there and back.  They drive on the opposite side of the road than the U.S. there (and most every other place in the world we visited).  We drove most of the trip head on into traffic on their side of the road.   The temple was massive and impressive.  We climbed to the top, the views were incredible.  The grounds around the temple were gorgeous and they fed us lunch before putting us back on the bus.  It was a good use of our day in Semarang!

 

Komodo Island

Brian took the excursion on Komodo Island to see these guys running around in the wild.  Komodo dragons are venomous and can grow up to 10 feet long.  They are pretty magnificent, he got some great shots!  Pretty much everyone who goes ashore to see them agrees once is enough.  The excursion is pricey and they kind of hang around a watering hole at the end of a long hot trek through the jungle.

 

 

 

 

Chick Days

We picked up 15 cornish rock chicks at Tractor supply this morning.  They had baby ducks, too (I wish!)  The chicks are in our little barn under a warming light for now.  When they get all of their feathers, we’ll take them out of their warming box and let them loose in the barn.

Australia

Now here’s a place we definitely had enough time in.  We spent 33 days total circumnavigating it, from Cairns to Darwin.   Here are some highlights.

We loved Tasmania. Who knew we’d find french pastries in a gorgeous seaside town?

We sailed into Sydney right past the opera house and underneath the Sydney Harbor Bridge and were greeted by Luna Park. Made me wish we’d sailed in at night time.

We visited Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville. The kangaroos were free to roam inside the park.

We even got to feed them kangaroo chow, the best $2 I’ve ever spent.

We got to pet this wombat, a chunky little fella.

Got to pet a koala, too! They are super soft.

Snorkeling again, this time with sea lions. The water was 62 degrees (!) Despite the wet suits, we were frozen.

We also visited one of the world’s largest seal colonies. They were everywhere and quite stinky.

We had a short visit to the Port Arthur penal colony in Tasmania. This is where, in 1996, a gun massacre in the gift shop resulted in transformed gun control legislation.

Even the dolphins are friendly in Australia! These guys enjoyed bow riding on one of our excursions.

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