Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Gold Coast Sunrise

Orlando and I are safely home after a month in Australia, which was fantastic. Well, it was fantastic after we both recovered from a four-day bug which laid Orlando low in Surfers Paradise, and me in Melbourne. Not sure whether to blame the change in climate or the damned air-conditioning on airplanes, but is really is irritating to be sick on vacation!

The Gold Coast was lovely (although with Orlando ill we didn't get to do any diving). On my first morning I woke up and realised the sun was about to rise, and I was metres from the Pacific Ocean. I ran down to the beach and sat for hour watching the spectacular scene as the sea and sky changed colour every moment. It was so peaceful just sitting there watching as the ocean slowly came to life and the sky brightened to an impossibly azure blue. What a great way to start a holiday!

Melbourne was great as usual, we had a really relaxing time with Mena my sister and nieces Lee and Amy. As Melbourne is the gourmet capital of Australia, our bellies are certainly a lot bigger now then when we left though!

Check out the Melbourne Restaurants section in the coming days for a new section on my favourite places to eat and drink in Melbourne.

Christmas Day was pretty hot - it was in the low thirties most of the day. Otherwise the day was a traditional one, with some people going to High Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in the morning, while others stayed at home to prepare the platters of food for the present-opening. Delicious tiger prawns and other seafood, lots of different pates and cheeses, dips and veggies, all washed down with plenty of Australian sparkling wine (nobody here drinks champagne when the Australian equivalent is so fantastic).

Opening the gifts took about two hours in the end, between photos, refilling the wine glasses and general distractions.

Of course we had the traditional dinner with all the trimmings before spending the evening chatting.When it got a bit cooler, Orlando and I went out for a stroll before it got too dark (around 9pm folks - don't you love a long hot summer's Christmas Day!), wandering through the empty streets where all the houses have Christmas lights outside and a big tree in the window.

Whilst most houses have a discreet string or two of white lights or icicle lights along the veranda, which looks lovely, one house had gone all National Lampoon - it was visible from the other side of the park, with no end to the flashing lights on the palm trees, Santas on the roof, lit-up reindeer in the garden and god knows what else!

But now we are home again to cold wet London. At least we left the house reasonably tidy before we went! Our baggage is lost somewhere between Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore, Dubai and London, and we are hoping maybe it will turn up today.

Of course, I am writing this at 3 in the morning while the jet lag messe swith my body clock. Tomorrow we will have a Lord of the Rings fest (it only came out in Aus on Boxing Day) right after the laundry fest!!!Oh, it's great to be home....