13 months
Jan 31:
the big tease
Feb 1:
big snake!
big snake!
Feb 9:
yertle the turtle
Feb 10:
reef walking
Feb 28:
the low down
all galleries
next location
(new zealand)

the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House at dawn
Sydney, Australia; Feb 19, 2005

snowball on a red hot barbie

We froze in Tokyo. Like 2 big snowballs. Packing to travel for over a year simply doesn’t allow a person to pack everything, especially heavy (and bulky) winter gear and still keep the luggage weight to a reasonable limit. We’re spending the majority of our travel time in warm places so we opted to leave that heavy stuff at home and figure it out on the road. In Tokyo it rained, it snowed, there was sleet and there were days when it was even too cold to snow. Luckily, my parents insisted on getting us some cheap and effective winter gear before we left Taiwan. We wore it all everyday in Japan as you can probably tell from our japan gallery.

Before heading to Australia, we needed to get rid of our bulk so when Grace saw a homeless man on the street with only a light jacket and shorts he urged the man to accept his jacket, gloves and knit cap. In the airport we met and chatted with some very nice British people and one of the women agreed to take my coat, mittens and hat. Surely they’ll be put to good use in the winter when she gets back home.

driving up the coast from Cairns to Cape Tribulation

On the overnight flight to Australia we were both freezing (despite the piles of airline blankets) and wondering if we had made the right decision to give away our gear. We wrapped up in what we had left – light jackets and wool scarves – and huddled close to stay warm. When we deplaned at 5:30am in Cairns, we kept everything on trying hard to defrost. The Australian immigration officer (wearing shorts and a t-shirt) took one look at Grace and with a big smile said, “You won’t be needing that scarf here, mate.” Boy was he right; as soon as we stepped out of the air-conditioned airport, even though it was still early in the morning, we were blasted by 80 degree heat. Our bodies were confused. Our minds were confused. We started to overheat and drip with sweat. A LOT of sweat. We peeled off our layers, grabbed our rental car and drove into town. A few hours later in the midday sun I felt like a flame-broiled burger. My feet screamed bloody murder in my wool socks and tennis shoes as we clomped around town shopping for a pair of flip-flops (I had chucked my old worn out pair in Taiwan). After driving 10 minutes out of town we turned back to trade in our rental car for one with better air-conditioning. It was ridiculous. We felt like we were literally melting. We laughed at the irony of having had our jackets on and the hotel heater on HIGH only 24 hours earlier, then cranked our A/C to full blast and headed for the beach.

© 2004-2012 susan & grace, all rights reserved

-- comments from readers --


Found your site on Lonely Planet and I have enjoyed checking in on your travels from time to time. Your entries on Aussie are what finally prompted me to send a comment. They brought back happy memories of my honeymoon spent there; just the pick-me-up I needed on a long, boring, cube-bound work day in July. Thanks and happy travels!

--Megan (Michigan, USA); Jun 14, 2005