Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Cat Down Under

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! G’day mates! Greetings from Australia! Yes, I am coming to you from the Land Down Under! The club I belong to, The CoolCatz & HotDogz Club, organized a trip to Australia to visit all the club members who live there. Critters from all over the world belong to the club and keep in touch on Facebook. I have met many special cats and dogs through this organization. I especially like that it promotes goodwill between cats and dogs! Why can’t we all just get along?
Mom and Dad took me to the airport and of course, Mom cried when we said goodbye. She was especially sad because I had just returned from Colombia, and here I was leaving again for a loooong time. She gave me her laptop so we could video chat, and also so I could write my blog during my travels. I had to catch a flight from Fayetteville to Atlanta to Los Angeles to meet up with the club members so we could all fly on a special chartered Qantas flight to Australia.
Since most of us had never met before, the club members had a great time getting acquainted. We were leaving from a special gate and our plane was sitting just outside so we could see it. It was huge!! I guess if critters are going to fly for 15 hours they need some room to move around!
Our Captain was next to the plane looking very handsome. I asked an airline gate worker if it was okay it I went to talk to the Captain. They said it was fine and I trotted out to say hello and introduce my single self.

Photo assist: Jack Niven ~Yow~

He was very gracious and told me about what to expect on the flight. He also informed me that he was one of the club members. Why of course, it was Edward Coolkat - I didn’t recognize him with the uniform on. His lovely wife BeeCee is also a club member. I wished him a good flight and rejoined the others so he could do his pre-flight check.
The party was already getting started at the gate and soon it was time to take it onto the airplane. It was quite a long line to board, but we all behaved and just chatted among ourselves. There were plenty of first class seats, so most of us chose those. Others with larger groups chose coach so they could sit together.
We strapped ourselves in and waited to see how in the world this huge plane with all of us in it, was possibly going to get off the ground. We charged down the runway and then whoooooosh!!! Off we went into the wild blue yonder. It was amazing!

I settled in to a lovely 1st class area and took out my laptop to start tippy tapping about my trip so far. When I looked up from the computer I found that the flight attendant had served me milk and bread with a spread I had never seen before. It was something called Vegemite. Since this looked like it needed my immediate attention, I closed up the computer and focused on the meal at hand.

I took a little lick – oooh, it was good, but very strong. I took little bites figuring I would just eat some as to not insult the nice folks who had provided it. Well, when I drank my last gulp of milk and reached for more it was gone! At least I knew I wouldn’t starve in Australia – I could always eat a Vegemite sandwich!
It was soon movie time, so most of us moved to coach – it’s always more fun to watch a movie in a big group. There was a wonderful Australian film shown - Danny Deckchair. It had a happy, romantic ending which I loved. Popcorn was distributed to those who wanted some and predictably some of the more rambunctious critters ended up throwing popcorn at each other….okay, we ALL ended up throwing popcorn at each other!! I must admit it was a lot of fun. We were considerate of the flight attendants though and cleaned up our mess when the fun was over. After all that, it was time for a nap so I headed back to my first class seat.
When I woke up I was hungry again as were the others. Since everything on the plane was Australian, the next treats we were to try were Cheezels – these cheesy (of course!) crunchy rings that are popular in Australia. I helped distribute the Cheezels to the other passengers before I settled down to eat my own bag.

Photo assist: Jack Niven ~Yow~

Oh, they were delicious. I stacked them on my paw and ate them one by one. There were also these sinfully good Australian snacks called Tim Tams – chocolate biscuits with cream filling – they were to die for!! I stuffed my belly full of Cheezels and Tim Tams and then decided I needed to catch up on some sleep.
Since it was such a long flight, we still hadn’t arrived when I awoke much later. I thought it would be funny to start asking others if we were there yet. I’ve seen on TV where kids do that to their parents, so I thought I might ask my fellow passengers incessantly, “Are we there yet?” to amuse myself. It’s amazing how quickly others get tired of hearing that question….especially after 10 hours on a plane!!! We all had a good laugh about it, and you can be sure that when we arrived every single passenger made a point to come up to me and say “Josie, we’re there!!”
We were going to make a stop in New Zealand to pick up some of our fellow club members, so some of us were going to take the opportunity to visit the duty free shops. As soon as we were safely at the gate I was out of the plane and making a bee line to the shops. Mom had given me her magic plastic card – won’t she be surprised when she sees that her card had been used in New Zealand!

As I exited the store I heard an announcement calling for all passengers to return to the CoolCatz and HotDogz aircraft. I hurried back to the gate and found I was the last one back. Of course, I was also the one with the most shopping bags! I had a Great Dane help me put my packages in the overhead compartment and settled in for the last leg of the trip.
The rest of the flight went by quickly and we soon landed in Australia! Our host Willy Wilde had invited us all for dinner and to spend the night – what brave humans he must live with!! When we arrived at his house he already had the barby fired up and was cooking away!
He invited us to take a dip in his pool and I took him up on it. There were some lovely rafts to choose from and I settled myself down for a relaxing float. I tried to get some of the others to join me, and Tuppy was kind enough to keep me company. We drifted around the pool gently bumping into each other from time to time.

Someone called that the food was ready. Tuppy and I paddled quickly back to the side and carefully eased ourselves onto the edge of the pool. Neither one of us wanted to get all wet in front of so many others. We were both successful and headed over to where Willy was taking goodies off the barby.
The meal was wonderful and we all had our fill of shrimp, all sorts of fish and steaks and all the milk we could drink. Some of the felines drank their milk straight out of the bottle, while some of us preferred to pour ours into pretty glasses.
It had been a long day, and before we all headed to find a place to curl up, I asked if I could get one of Willy’s humans to take a group shot of us. Wasn’t it sweet that the whole gang behatted themselves for me? Check out all these great looking specimens of the dog and cat worlds:

Photo credit: Jack Niven ~Yow~

Willy is the handsome tom sitting to the left of the front barby. You might also recognize Matthew and Georgie – she has the sunglasses on – from the wedding blog I did a few weeks back. Now that I look - is it me or is there a kangaroo mixed in there?
Our group had done a couple of activities together, but the next few days of sightseeing were going to be quite the adventure! Come back again next week to read more of my exciting time in Australia.

Love & licks,

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