Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tourist in Australia - Day 20

Melbourne, Past and Present
Tuesday, 8 Nov 2016

After breakfast, we walked down Swanston St. a few blocks to the Queen Victoria Market, which my cousins highly recommend we visit. 

It was fascinating to see the old and the new along with different kinds of food and items from all over the world in one location. 

I found this fascinating Self Guided History Tour of the market. Check it out. 

The market is still going through upgrades in the next four years. 

We entered in the fresh fruit and vegetables section.

Eileen  points out the cut fresh pineapple.
I find a line at the popular American Doughnut Kitchen.

  Coconuts from Thailand.
We walk into the meat market where meat and world dishes are prepared.

We strolled into the next area of eateries. 
Herbs and Spice Mercantile 
Coffee shop
As we exited this giant market…Flowers on Therry St.

We walk out across the street to find another giant area of variety of sellers. Eileen found a nice wool lined jacket & I found a lovely pull over sweater cape. We were both freezing here as we were furthest south. “Melbourne has all four seasons in one day!” we were told. 

I find this map of the market wth future plans of upgrading this historical site by 2021. 

Interesting and much needed cap when you are out in the Outback! Keeps those flies away.

Had lunch in the food court. Signs of Christmas outside!

We walked down Elizabeth St. back to our hotel area to the free tram zone on La Troube St. that surrounds the city centre part of Melbourne.

We sit and enjoy the view of the city riding on the tram. One 10 minute stop was in front of the historical Parliament building. We stayed on back to our hotel area. 

We get off and walk back down Elizabeth St. to check out this London and American Supply Store that caught my eye earlier walking to the market. What was in here that they do not have in Oz?

It mostly had cookery items.

We walk back to hotel. See construction zone on our block. The entire south side was being torn down.  We rested for a bit and freshened up to go out again for dinner. Where to? 

We decided to go the opposite direction down Swanston St. There we are in front of a mall entrance. In we go to a several level mall right above the Central Melbourne train station.  

We walked around to the eatery for dinner at McDonalds. I was craving some American junk food. Ha ha. After I gave my order to the clerk, she asked my where I was from because of my “strange” accent. It through me off for just a bit then remembering where I was. I told her from the U.S. She was young & so cute.

Afterwards, we walked around and saw this wonder.

Inside this historical building was - along with a Men’s clothing store, R.M. Williams - a small museum giving the story of the Coop’s Shot Tower.

The local community fought in tearing this historical site down so they just built around it. 

Eileen found a free hug! 

Mary, Dermott, Eileen

We  walked back to our hotel & found Dermott in the lobby. We talked about our discoveries and asked for a photo with him. Eileen & I are both modeling our finds from Queen Victoria Market.

In the room, we packed to get everything ready for our departure back to Los Angeles the next day. Rested and found Australia’s version of Who Do You Think You Are? covering actor Jeremy Rush. 

We had a much smoother flight home on a less crowded Airbus A380. I  had a window seat with Eileen on the aisle. We took off at 11AM and landed into Los Angeles 6AM same day thanks to the International Date Line.  

Good to be back home.  
G’ Day, Australia! 
What a fantastic visit! I plan to return. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Family Christmas Letters

A Great Family Tradition

I was raised as a "Military Brat" seeing the world. Growing up, I was not able to see my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on a regular basis. Yet, I have fantastic memories of traveling across the United States and seeing the world.

For the the last 15 years, I have been interested in my family history. I have been also focusing on my story and writing my memories down. Recently, I found a box of extra copies of the annual Christmas letters my parents would send to family and friends. Hallelujah! There were only a few years in the file. After my father's death, my mother continued the family tradition until about ten years ago. 

I love receiving the annual Christmas cards and letters from family and friends. Now with the popularity of family photo cards, there are some with no letter filling me in with the family history from that year. As a family historian that is what I miss the most. Remember cousins, I have files on your family's histories also. I also think of our future family trees.

The loss of letter writing and the print out of negatives into hand held photographs are two results of the computer and internet that forces my generation to make sure our and our children's stories are not forgotten. I am guilty of the same.
I have some cousins who are into scrapbooking and printing out photo books. Keep it up! This has inspired me to look into online photo book printing for 2017 for my "lost" photos that have never been printed out. May this encourage you to do the same. These are also reasons I wanted to start this blog: to keep our family history and stories alive to as many generations as possible. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Tourist in Australia - Day 19

Monday, 7 November 2016

On To Melbourne

We were all up early as the family got ready for work and school along with Eileen and me getting ready for the airport. I took a family photo before we hugged each other farewell.         
Tim dropped us off at the airport. We had a larger airplane this time and not a full one. I had a window seat and Eileen and aisle seat with an empty seat between us. This flight had iPads in every seat. That was a first one for us. 

It was only an hour flight to Melbourne. We got a taxi quickly as the system was well organized with a man moving us to numbered sections at the curb to catch a cab as they drove up. I felt like I was at Disneyland.  

Our driver found our hotel quickly. We checked in The Brady Hotel by Dermott. He was from Northern Ireland as I recognized his accent and he was very helpful.  Our room was very small with twin comfortable beds, which was fine with me. The bathroom there threw us off. It had an open shower with no bathtub, shower curtains, nor a place to sit like an oriental style bathroom. Interesting! 

View from our window…what is that cone shaped building? I will later find out.
There was construction all over the city (the same in Sydney). I was surprised to see graffiti all over the place, but maybe not as we were staying in the area of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. This was the first time I witnessed graffiti in Australia. I later find out that Melbourne is proud of this modern art attraction and highly welcomes street art placed on walls with the permission of property owners. I now wish I took photos with my camera of this art.

After a quick walk around a few blocks, we had dinner in our hotel. Eileen had pizza and I enjoyed lasagna with veggies. We check out the local newspaper along with pamphlets from the concierge and planned our visits for the next day.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Family Reunion in Australia - Day 18

Money, Money, Money - The Royal Australian Mint

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Woke up early and enjoyed a family breakfast with the family. Nate and Tim went off to play cricket while we three ladies  chatted on for hours getting to know one another.

Later in the afternoon, we drove to visit the Royal Australian Mint. I found it fascinating with their history on moving from the English pounds system to the Australian dollar/cents decimal system in 1966.  They started with 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar and 2 dollars coins. They eventually disbanded the one, two and five cent coins. Here you see 5 cent coins that were collected and displayed in this staircase. One and two cent coins are no longer being pressed.

The history museum is built right above the coinage factory where the coins are pressed and inspected.

As we were visiting during the weekend, there was no action down below where the coins are processed into their final glory. Here are my photos of the pressing machines along with "Titan," the huge robot used to lift a heavy container of blanks into the presses.

I purchased this postcard and a memorial one dollar 2016 uncirculated coin watching it being pressed, processed and placed in a protective card. I also bought a Tracy a memorial coin for her (the year she was born).


Australian bills are printed in a different location in Melbourne.

One aspect I truly appreciated was the color and size differences of the coins along with the bank notes or bills to quickly see their value difference. I wish the United States would turn to this color system for our bills. 

Also, my cousin, Michelle, pointed out the new $5 bill with the new “window image” and braille mark (which two of these bills crossed my hands during my visit and, yes, I spent them).

Braille mark circled in red. See also other mark on top of the note.

Enjoy this short video on the preparation for the change of the Australian money system. 

We left the mint at closing time. Tracy drove us around the historical political section of town surrounding the Old and New Parliament Houses. We were hunting down the Prime Ministers Lodge, but ended up lost in the Embassy Houses sections of the city. It was fascinating to see all of the different countries represented here in the capital Canberra. We finally found the Prime Ministers Lodge. We were happy and drove home.

Tim and Nate were home, Tim cooking our dinner and Nate sharing his cricket awards. We were so proud of Nate.

Tim had a delicious chicken, carrots, peas and potatoes in the oven. The dish smelled so good!

After dinner, at the table, we sat and watched the national cricket games on the tellie as they tried to explain the rules of the game to Eileen and me.

Their family pets were two dogs and a cat, Felix. Earlier in the week, Felix was not well and was diagnosed with cancer. Almost 15 year old Felix had been shaved for tests. 

Sad to report that dear Felix died a month after we returned home to the U.S. 😢

I love this photo that Tracy took for me of Felix lying on the quilt I made for her son, Nate, a few years ago. Nate and his father, Tim, share the hobby of astronomy. 

I also made arrangements online for a room in Melbourne, our last stop in Australia.   

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Family Reunion in Australia - Day 17

 Saturday, 5 November 2016

 After breakfast, Eileen and I connected with cousin Tracy who lived in Canberra. Tracy along with her son, Nate, picked us up in front of the hotel.

We drove up to the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain, the highest point, for a great view of the capital city. 

We even went to the uppermost outer balcony where we were almost blown away! Beautiful views! 

My brother called from home in the U.S. to wish me a H.B. via FaceTime. Glad to fill in family about the wonderful time I was experiencing down under. 

We came home for a lunch of sandwiches. 

We were out again to see more of the city parks and lakes.

 We drove about the Red Hill Nature Reserve up to the Red Hill Lookout. More great views of the area.

We went out to Tuggeranong Town Park next to the lovely Lake Tuggeranong. Here is some of the action and nature we came across.

Looks like someone was having a party/game with

these giant body bumper balls. How fun!

I loved the area with the trees in blossom. We came home for take away Chinese dinner. Tracy and I are Jane Austen fans. We watched Emma and then Sense and Sensibility back to back.