Saturday, December 31, 2005

Holiday-ing up north

My holiday hiatus is coming to a close, and I could pretty much just fill this post with the all the pics I took on my new super slim, red Sony digital camera that Haydn gave me for Christmas. I gave him one of the Jamie Oliver cookbooks, so that and the camera are complimentary gifts true to the spirit of this blog.

We took off for Brisbane last Wednesday and I procured some very Australian, very soft, no-sodium licorice. Aussie licoriceSuch good car food, nearly like taffy. We made it a two-day trek north to Brisbane, with the first night's stop in small-ish town Taree, where the only place serving food after 9:30pm was Jin-Hong's Chinese, which didn't give us utensils, so we sat in the hotel eating off of the teacup saucers with spoons. We were definitely on the road.

The next day was Byron Bay, maybe a kindred spirit to Santa Cruz, ie a beach town where you can mellow out and cater to your chakras. We made a major upgrade from the Taree accommodations and stayed at the Byron at Byron, where Haydn stayed with Interpol last year. Very "adult" resort in a very quiet, serene way: no running or diving at the pool, facials and hot stone massage services and very breezy feng shui rooms. We had a great breakfast the next day at Succulent in town, I didn't take pics but I think "chorizo and grilled mushrooms with greens over sourdough toast" pretty much explains it. We did some sight-seeing at the Lighthouse there (most easterly mainland point in Australia) and very nearly melted in the late morning sun.

It was then onto Brisbane for the Official Scorcher Christmas 2005 with temps in mid to upper 30s Celsius and 90s F. It was hot. Very hot, but great to be around Haydn's parents who take such good care of us. Four grandkids between ages 7-3 make for lots of excitement, too. And check out the pic of the totally festival city bus.

The last 5 days were spent at the Johnston family compound at Stradbroke Island, with Haydn's parents, his brother Nick, wife Tash, and their kids Jack, age 5, and Ella, age 3. Stradbroke is an island about a 20-minute ferry ride from Brisbane. Haydn dubbed it Rancho Relaxo -- even with kids who wake up at the crack of dawn!

The days are breakfast, coffee, reading, beaching, reading, eating, playing, happy hour on the veranda, dinner, bed before 10. Island life, with lots of Christmas ham -- it was even used in the fried rice Haydn and Nick made one night. And featured pictorially is the Won Ton soup Nick made, so delicious and flavorful.

We had Joeley over for a night and the three of us made a couple of afternoon appearances at the island pub for "pots" of Carlton beer after a swim. There are varying sizes of beer glasses, and in Queensland a pot is 10 oz, the same size is a Midi in New South Wales. Very important to make note of, culturally, esp if you go to Queensland in summer -- smaller glasses of beer don't last long enough to get too warm.

And then all of a sudden it is Saturday and New Year's Eve and we had our goodbye fry-up breakfast this morning and made the journey back to Sydney via ferry-cab-airplane-cab. Here's to 2006...


Lucy said...

Hooray! You are back to blogging, phew. I miss you more when I don't know what you eating and doing. A happy, healthy new year to you Our Carts and Haydn.

greggums said...

Ditto to Ms. Garcia's words. So good to have you back and to know you're eating well!

Even though I've got my own niece over whom to gush, the Johnston chillen are pretty damn cute. A sun-filled New Year's that includes a stop at the spa where Interpol stayed sounds a close second to a night with the Lips and 'co at MSG. And now it looks like we're having a white New Year's in NYC with snow streaming down in waves. Not like the waves you're enjoying, but pretty(ish) nonetheless. Happy 2006!

sam said...

Happy New Year, T! glad to see you back in blogging action. it looks absolutely gorgeous at H's parents house. did you do OK in the big waves? please post more pix! xoxo

melissa said...

Those are some cute kids! And I like the sound of Rancho Relaxo very much.

TC & Gregg, I missed you very much on NYE. I couldn't get smashed without knowing you'd be there to hold me up, Gregg. So sad...

Happy 2006!