Friday, February 13, 2015

Summer in Australia

February 14, 2014

Summer is in full bloom.  Summers in southern Queensland is in the 80s and 90s with high humidity.  Summer is also the rainy season.  The storms move really fast.  One minute it is perfectly clear and the next the thunder clouds have come rolling in with thunder, lightning, and rain.  It is not the rain of the northwest (misty); it is like the mid west and east where it comes down in buckets.  You want to have a big umbrella if you need to venture out in the rain.  It is nice when it comes because it cools things off.

I think flowers bloom here year round.  Here is a picture of the seed pods formed by the Poinscea tree that had the beautiful large cluster of blooms in December.  They really grew fast.

The plumera trees are now in full bloom.  There a several colors, white, pink and yellow.  I am accustomed to the white with the yellow center from Hawaii with a beautiful fragrance.  The ones here don’t seem to have much fragrance.  They are still beautiful.

Next came the crepe myrtle with there pink or lavender blooms.

I do not know what this tree is but I love it’s spiky blooms.  The Lorikeet Parrots love the blooms as well.  If you look really close you can see one eating the blooms or whatever it is they like.  They are a very loud bird when they are feeding in the trees.  They are easy to spot if you recognize the sound.

On the 24th of January Sister Parsons and I took the train down to the central station and walked over to the City Hall.  It has a beautiful clock tower that at one time was the highest point in Brisbane.  It is now overpowered by many other buildings.  The highest being the Meriton building.

 This church is next to the City Hall.  It was built in 1929.
View of the Presbyterian Church from the City Hall Clock Tower and street level. 

We took the elevator to the top of the clock tower to a viewing platform where we had a 360 degree view of the city.  Could not see much of the river because of all the buildings.

 There is a museum on the 2nd floor of the city hall which we visited.  It has an amazing display on the Brisbane River.  It relates the history of the river.  First it was the mode of  transporting timber to the coast by floating the logs down river.  Later sugar cane was transported to the sugar mill and wool to the wool mill.  As time passed the city of Brisbane grew up along the river.  The Customs House is also located on the banks of the river.   There is an exhibit of “Costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood”.  It was an amazing exhibit with costumes from the 1930s through the 1960s which included Lucille Ball - The Long Long Trailer, Elizabeth Taylor - Cleopatra & Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Debbie Reynolds - Tammy, Ester Williams, Cyd Charise, Marlan Brando and many others.  The best part was the film clips from each of the films that were being projected on the wall as you walked through the exhibit.   

Brisbane from clock tower
After our tour of the museum we walked down Queen Street which is a pedestrian mall close by.  Amazing wall of building on Queen Street.

We visited a couple of shops and then on our way back to the train station we stumbled upon the Memorial to WWI.  Part of it is being renovated but it is a beautiful memorial which has not incorporated WWII. 

This is a barrel tree.  They retain water in the lower trunk.

The train station is a block from our flat so is very convenient for travel downtown with no worries about parking.  “No worries” is an Australia saying that is used extensively as we would use “no problem”. 

This month all the senior missionaries are helping with flat inspections to determine a baseline for the mission.  We have over 100 flats in the mission and missionaries from 23 different countries some who have never had the convenience they have here.  Some of the missionaries have never had anything but a dirt floor so have no idea how to clean.  Some of the flats have not been maintained by the missionaries and we are trying to remedy this within the mission. 

On January 29, Sister Parsons and I did half of our flat inspections.  Our first inspection was in Stanthorpe, Queensland which is about 331 kilometers south west of Brisbane.  We left at 6:15 to make it there by 11AM Funny thing happened on the way......Our GPS did not recognize the address but did recognize another one so I chose it.  As it turned out it was at the opposite end of Texas road which was over 80 kilometers to the west.  We drove over 200 kilometers farther than we needed to.  We should have gone straight south out of Warwick but instead went the round about way.  We traveled A to B to C to D when we should have gone A to D. 


  It was beautiful country that we drove through.  We had hoped to see some wildlife but did not except for a couple of kangaroo laying alongside the road.   Here is a picture of the road we drove .....  We had a 12 hour day.      Saw parts of Australia we normally would not see. 

On 4th we went to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre to see a production “Chin Yan”  by a Chinese dance group.  The group is made up of Chinese from America who are based in New York City.   There are nine companies and they perform all over the world except are prohibited from performing in China.  They do traditional Chinese dance and perform the legends of China.  They were amazing.  Beautiful costumes, incredible jumps, and choreography.  They are all very accomplished dancers.  It was well worth the time and I would go again.  If you get a chance to see them I would recommend the show. 

 This is the Story Bridge at night from the City Cat ferry that runs up and down the Brisbane River.  You can climb to the top so I intend to climb it before I leave.  It is 1 in 3 bridges in the world you can climb. 

Saturday we went to Nudgee Beach with our lawn chairs, sat in the shade of a tree, watched the ships coming into Moreton Bay and listed to the tide as it went out.  We then took a walk through the mangroves on the boardwalk through the estuary.  Saw a few birds and some crabs....pictured here.

High Tide at Nudgee Beach

The tide was in when we arrived at Nudgee Beach as you can see by the water level on the trees.  Just behind the trees is Moreton Bay which is a very large bay.  The Brisbane river runs into Moreton Bay. 
Mangrove trees at Nudgee Beach

This is a small river or slough that runs into the ocean.  It is lined with mangrove trees.  It is a bird refuge for many birds during the summer.  Some of them fly from as far as Alaska and Russia to feed and store up fat for the long journey back north to nest. 

This is a White Ibis.  He has a very long beak which you can't really see in this picture.  He was sitting on this limb watching the mud flats as the tide went out looking for his dinner.  The mud was full of crab hole and I am sure other critters which we did not see. 

Mud flats & Boardwalk Nudgee Beach

Sister Parsons on Boardwalk
The crab came out of his hole while I was very still waiting to get his picture.  He was after the leaf.  After I got the picture he took it into his hole for dinner.  Love his red claws. 
So today is Valentines Day here in Australia.  May you all have a Happy Valentines Day.  I hope your winter is soon to be gone and a beautiful spring will come.  I am looking forward to fall with a little cooler weather.  I love the warmth but the humidity is hard to deal with.  The Mission is wonderful and I am loving my responsibilities.  I feel I will have done some good by the time I return home.  May the Lord bless each of you everyday. 

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