Thursday, January 6

Winter Holidays 2010

I left a really snowy Amsterdam
and was one of a very few flights to get out of Schipol, but I got out because I was headed to Asia. There were so many people stranded that weekend though. While I was there, they shut down all the transfer desks, telling people to check the monitors and if their flight was leaving to go to the gate, otherwise they were to call or check the internet. Friendly, right?

First stop, Kuala Lumpur and the Sheraton Imperial. It was fancy pants, and you all know how much I love fancy pants hotels. Here's the view from my window:
View from KL Sheraton

Then I headed off to Brisbane to meet up with my Moscow friend Lydia. She's living inland from there in a town called Toowoomba (emphasis on the "woom"). It's set up in the hills and for summer, it was a bit cool.
Lydia and I

We also toured a bit and I got to see some chickens with furry feet:
Furry foot chickens!

And we also went to look at Christmas lights:
Australian Christmas Lights

In the second photo, those are Lydia's clothes I'm wearing. Turns out that when leaving Amsterdam it was too icy to unload the luggage and hence there was no space to load any new luggage. Yet somehow it was not icy enough to take off... I got my bag 4 days into the trip.

And just in time for us to head off to Rainbow Beach where you find the Carlo Sandblow. Named after one of Captain James Cooks's ship mates. It's a huge expanse of sand that is spreading. It's also part of the Great Cooloola Walk, which is a 5 day, 90 km walk that would be awesome to do sometime.

Carlo Sand Blow

We spent the 2 sunny days on the beach:
Rainbow Beach

Turns out it's very common to drive your 4wd on the beach, park and sit by it all day. While I prefer my beaches without cars, we did it one day and it sure was nice to have a bit of shade. Australian sun is hot!

I spent a lot of time knitting (perfect rainy vacation activity) and hanging out with this little guy, the grandson of some of Lydia's fiance's friends:
Blue Cowl

I made two skull snowflake hats:
Deathflake hat

Once the rain stopped, I was actually glad we had the rain. Because when it wasn't raining, it was hot and humid. I've said it before, but I'm a terrible southerner as I hate the heat. But, on the nicer days though, we were out and about. And I got to see some wildlife in the wild:

A cockatoo:

A dingo (sorry it's blurry, it's taken from the car) (also, don't joke about them taking babies, apparently it's still a touchy subject and there are still people who don't believe the story!)

A wild turkey:
Wild Turkey

And best yet, a koala just hanging out in a tree in Noosa:

I'd like to spend more time in Noosa, hiking and on the rocky beaches, but it was crowded, so I'm glad most time was spent at Rainbow.

Returning, I had an overnight flight back to KL. Landed at 6 am and departed at midnight for another overnight to Amsterdam. However, the layover at KLIA was not bad at all. For just 60 USD, I was able to get a hotel room for 9 hours with access to a sauna and steam room. To lay down flat and sleep for 7 hours, it was totally worth it. They also have a street food restaurant that's cheap (for airport food) and an affordable spa where I spent an hour having a facial. Plus upon checking in, I was able to pay a totally reasonable amount to upgrade to business class. For a 13 hour flight, that was the best decision I've made.

And now I'm back in rainy Amsterdam. However, given the choice, I'll take 31 F over 31 C any day!


Mickey said...

Whoa- a backpost-alanche! So much catching up to do!

Cool pictures. Why exactly do people find koalas cute? What with the beady eyes and the claws, I'd say they're downright frightening. And I agree with you on that temperature thing.

courtney said...

Very cool! I want to know more about what you did in Kuala Lumpur.

bostezo said...

There you are. You've been quiet for a while. Good to see you!

You certainly know how to live it up, even your layovers are kick ass!