Thursday, February 10, 2011

No Worries!

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Welcome to Part II of my Australian adventure! I was just getting warmed up last week. This week I launch into full tourist mode. There is nothing better than seeing a country with people who live there and know what to see and the best way to see it!
The whole group had a good night's sleep and awoke rarin’ to go. We had a hearty breakfast of every kind of breakfast food you could imagine! Willy must have been up all night cooking to be able to feed this hungry mob! We all ate our fill (and then some) and got ready to head out to see the beautiful port city of Fremantle.
Willy had many activities planned. Not everyone was interested in doing everything, so Willy ran down his list of possibilities and we raised our paws if we were interested. Not surprisingly, I raised my paw for every single activity. It all sounded like fun to me! When Willy reached the bottom of the list, he announced that the last activity offered was….cleaning out the litter boxes from the night!! Everyone turned and looked at me. I giggled and sat on my paws. Well, after all, I use the toilet! Willy said he was just kidding, but we all got a good laugh out of it!
Willy decided the best idea would be for all of us to climb aboard a sightseeing tram and get a general overview of the city. We could make mental notes as to where we wanted to go after the tour was over. We must have looked the sight – a tram full of assorted animals.

Photo credit: Jack Niven ~Yow~

We were more than just cats and dogs - I do believe that’s an owl laughing next to me! And George our resident tortoise was quite the adventurous guy and up for anything.
We had a lovely ride on the tram, and when we returned it was pretty much unanimous where we wanted to go next. ..the Fremantle Markets. It was established in 1897! If it’s still around after all those years, you know it must be special. We got back on the tram and headed for the Markets.
There was so much wonderful fresh produce and fish and places to eat, we were in critter heaven! We were scurrying here and there. Someone would find something they wanted to show the others and we’d all run over there. Then someone else would call and we’d run over there. We were spread all over the place!

Photo credit: Jack Niven ~Yow~

Can you see us among all the colorful food? Can you find me? You may have to look close, but there are a lot of critters in the picture. I like where George Tort is sitting!
I bought everyone a snack with my Mom’s magic plastic card – she’ll be so excited to see a charge from Australia on her magic plastic card statement! We walked around for quite a while, but then realized we had many other things to see and we needed to get going.
I was in the mood to go to the port, the Fishing Boat Harbor to be exact. I knew we would be able to get some delicious fresh fish there. We climbed aboard the tram again and headed off.
The harbor was buzzing with activity. There were fishing boats coming and going and so many people walking around looking at the really old buildings! I saw a fisherman with a big basket of what I assumed was fish. As I walked toward him, I called to him to ask if I might sample one of his fish. He didn’t answer, so I assumed he wouldn’t care. I jumped into the huge basket he was holding and was shocked. There was nothing in there. Suddenly, I noticed that the man wasn’t moving at all. Boomer, Tuppy, Jack, Willy and Edward came over and burst into laughter.
I sat in the basket as if I had meant to do that and was just enjoying the view from the basket.

Photo assist: Jack Niven ~Yow~

I had to sit there for a minute to make it believable and then I announced I was hungry and heading to find some fish and chips. As I strutted away I could hear the toms trying to suppress their laughter. They didn’t do a very good job!
Willy asked if anyone would like to go on a sightseeing boat ride. I immediately raised my hand much to the amusement of the others. Several of us wanted to try out our sea legs, and we looked for a boat that we could go on. I saw a sign for Catamaran tours and suggested that would be appropriate for us.
We climbed aboard a bright yellow catamaran and set sail. It was beautiful!! I loved the feel of the ocean breeze blowing through my fur and tickling my ears. It was very relaxing. The captain stopped for a little while so we could take a dip in the water if we wanted to. Guess who was the first one in?

Photo assist:Jack Niven ~Yow~

I convinced Rocky to come in also, but the rest of the crew decided to pass on the opportunity. While I usually don’t like to get wet around others – no cat can look distinguished when they’re wet – I floated around in the life preserver so only the bottom half of me would look funny!
All too soon it was time to head back to port. That sea air sure helped me work up an appetite. While some of the others wanted to head back to Willy’s for a nap, I wanted to find a restaurant in which to dine.
Willy couldn’t let me go off on my own in a strange country, so he and his lovely wife Winky, as well as handsome toms, Matthew and Jack, accompanied me on rented scooters to Cappucino strip.

Photo assist: Jack Niven ~Yow~

Cappucino strip is internationally known for fine dining and socializing. I don’t know how fine I wanted to dine, but there were so many places to choose from, we had no trouble finding a nice little place to have a snack.
When we were finished we headed back to Willey’s house to meet up with the others. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we passed a familiar object. Does every city in the world have a giant guitar?!?!?!??! I HAD to stop and have someone snap a picture of me!

Back at Willy’s house, some of our fellow tourists we still napping so we gathered in the backyard and had a beverage or two. The kangaroo that was at the previous evening’s barbeque appeared again and I made a point to talk to her. Her name was Roody and she lived nearby. Willy was kind enough to let her come over from time to time. She didn’t have many friends and she appreciated Willy’s kindness. We chatted for a while, and I politely laughed at her kangaroo jokes (though I didn’t get most of them). She told me he liked my southern accent and thought I was very pretty. We had a lovely time, but then it was time to head out for the evening’s activities. Roody scooped me up and stuffed me in her pouch. It was not comfortable!!!

She wanted me to stay, but I told her I had to go. Since she didn’t want me to go she wouldn’t help me out of the pouch! It took a couple of the toms to extract me. Yikes! We headed on our way as quickly as possible!
We went to this cool place called Phillip Island Nature Park for the penguin parade. The park has a viewing area set up for visitors so they can view the penguins…well….being penguins! It wasn’t long before the penguin parade began. The first group of penguins came by and it was so cute, but something wasn’t quite right. I slipped away from the group and went to find the park human who was head of the penguin parade.
I made everything right for the next pack of penguin paraders (don’t you love alliteration?) Now they look appropriate for parading in front of a very large crowd!

After the last penguin paraded by, our group of sleepy critters agreed it was time to find beds in which to curl up. I hadn’t had my beauty nap – but then again, there was so much to do. Who had time for sleep? I was tired now though, and would welcome the feel of a soft bed.
The following days involved a tour of Melbourne and a quick stop in Sydney, but I’m afraid I must close here. Perhaps on a week when there is not much to talk about I will resume the tale of my Australian holiday.
The trip home was sad as we had to say goodbye to our Australian friends. We all thanked Willy for his hospitality and thanked the other Australian friends for their time and attention. We invited them to visit us in the U.S .some time.
I managed to stuff all my souvenirs into bags, though I did have to use Mom’s magic plastic card in order for me to get it all on the plane. I had a box with one particularly fragile souvenir that I needed to keep with me. It was okay on our charter flight from Australia to Los Angeles, but when boarding for Charlotte, I had to use Mom’s magic plastic card to buy a seat for the box because it wouldn’t fit in the overhead and I didn’t want it in the cargo hold. I had the same problem in the little plane from Charlotte to Fayetteville. It was a relief to finally get to Fayetteville with all my goodies. I can’t wait to show Mom and Dad my special souvenir. I bet they’ll never guess what it is!

Mom was not as happy to see me as I thought she would be. She gave me a big hug and said something about her plastic card exploding – I don’t know what she meant by that, but I got the feeling it wasn’t a good thing. Mom and Dad helped me with my bags – they barely fit in my Dad’s big car. It felt good to get home and sleep in my own bed again.
Does anyway know why the customs official in NY became upset with me when he asked me if I had anything to declare and I replied “I have nothing to declare except my genius?”

Love & licks,

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