The conditions were perfect - nice and warm, lots of snow and very few people. We were surprised that folks weren't taking advantage of the holiday weekend, but more than likely, they were wrapping up some last minute Christmas shopping. I tell ya - secret Santa is the way to go. Here are some pictures of myself, Eric and our friend, Erica ripping up the slopes.
I am wondering if I should train for a Half Ironman this year. If I did one, it would be Wildflower in May or Arizona in November. When I pulled the training schedules from the SD Tri Club website (http://www.triclubsandiego.org/) it seems that it is doable. With my upcoming trips, I wonder if I can keep up the same training pace. Last weekend we went on a 60 mile bike ride through Camp Pendleton with the tri club. I really liked the ride because there was minimal traffic and little wind. On Sunday, I went for a long run in Mission Beach with some of my tri club friends. I think I could potentially do a half Ironman. I wonder if I want until after Vegas to see how the longer courses go for me if it would be too late to sign up?
It has been a whirlwind of holiday parties and finishing up work projects before we enjoy Christmas break. Just found out that I am off to Singapore for two weeks in January for work. I love going there - the people are great, food is exceptional, it's nice and warm, and shopping is a national pasttime. This time, I hope to visit a friend of mine who lives in Malaysia for the weekend. Last time I was in Singapore was in 2004 and it was Chinese New Year. That was a great experience - it was the year of the monkey. Here is a picture from the inside of a shopping mall.
How cute is that? A trip to Singapore for me is long overdue. I have some really good friends there and we are planning to go out and check out some new restaurants and wine bars. Also, one of my friends, Edwin, is a runner. We are going to run and train too so that I can keep up my training for Irongirl Triathlon in April. I have a training plan now that I am trying to follow to make sure I am ready for Vegas. I'll be taking my trusty Sony GPS and camera to record the trip.
During my last trip to Singapore, my sister joined me and we decided to go to Bali for the weekend. What an experience that was!! It was just an incredible country with tons of history and culture, gracious people (except the ladies on the beaches trying to "braid your hair"), and killer food! Here we are watching a Balinese dance.
Every year we have a Kensington Progressive Party for the holidays. A progressive is where people start the party at one house and progress from house to house until the wee hours. It is a super fun and rowdy event which has been accompanied by rain the past couple years, and this year was no exception. Lucy was delighted - personally greeting every person at the door and then making her rounds the entire time the party was at our house. She loves a good party! Having a shindig at your house a week after getting back from vacation called for serious action to get ready and decorate for Xmas.
Lucy loves to help. Her favorite in the world is to hold anything that is soft in her mouth. Here she is with Eric snuggling after a hard night of tree decorating, with Santa's hat in her mouth.
Awwww....isn't she adorable? My snuggly boy is pretty cute too!
Alas, all good trips must come to an end. We had a great time touring around Down Under. Here is a fun shot of everyone on the trip showing our nuttiness. There were really some great memories and friendships developed on this trip.
Tasmania, affectionately called "Tassie" by the locals, was an amazing island south of Australia. The east side of the island was filled with amazing bays and bright blue waters. We hiked in Freycinet to a place called Wineglass Bay - rated as one of the top ten most beautiful bays in the world. I'll let you decided that for yourself.
As we drove through to the northern part of the island, the scenery changed to rolling hills. It reminded me a lot of Ireland. Lush green hills, dotted with sheep and an occasional farmhouse. Then suddenly we were greeted with high mountains and dramatic landscapes. The day after we arrived we went to Cradle Mountain for a day hike. Eric decided to summit Cradle Mountain itself in his "mountain flops". We couldn't believe he actually made it to the top and back down. That's my crazy mountain climbing boy!
Each location we visited had it's own highlight. Diving was amazing - the octopus, puffer fish, stingrays and sharks were great to see.
For us, holding a soft little koala was a highlight as well. It was East's dream to hold a koala and here she is! Look at how cute the little koala is. He was amazingly soft and just sat there in her arms. I wonder what it would take to have one as a pet?
Another highlight, while not for everyone, would be our proud moment when Marie won the cane toad race in Port Douglas. That's right - a cane toad race. To give the toad good luck she had to pucker up and give it a kiss beforehand. Whatever she did, worked - her toad bounced off the table as fast as he could. That's right, we hang out with winners, baby!!
Marie won all kinds of fun stuff - dive trip, croc farm entry, bottle of champagne, gift certificate and the grand prize, which is the gift that will keep on giving for a while I have a feeling - a dried cane toad leg. Come on, you know you want one of these!
The devils in Tasmania were a highlight. My hubby, Eric and Vicki went to the feeding and took some great shots. How cute are these little guys?
Last, but not least, the we fell in love with the wallabies. They were so adorable and cuddly and didn't mind us coming up to them.
There were so many highlights of this amazing country - these are just a sampling. Hope you enjoyed them.
After diving we were ready for a change of scenery and Port Douglas provided that. It lies next to an amazing rainforest area called Daintree Rainforest in a section in the north called Cape Tribulation. This was wild country at it's finest. Lush wetlands, vines that grow forever, different rainforest animals and lots of exploring to do. We drove up there, crossed over on a car ferry and went for a day hike through the forests. We saw lots of cassowary warning signs, but not a single bird.
Here are my friends hiking through through the forest. At one point we came to a fresh water river and took a refreshing dip.
From Day 2 on, we had more fun. The winds and seas had died down and we saw some amazing fish and life under water. There were so many highlights, but for us one highlight was seeing a huge octopus changing colors as it moved away in an effort to hide. Lots of white tipped reef sharks, grouper, giant cod, tube worms, giant sea slugs, turtles, incredible lion fish, tons of brightly colored fish and amazing coral - it's a whole other world under there. I just love it!!
Check out this little guy: !DSC05610_r1.JPG!
And these lion fish - gorgeous. Can you see them both?
Here is the infamous octopus:
Lastly, this blog wouldn't be complete without a picture of the cod feeding. These suckers were HUGE! Some of them came really close to us. Here are come pictures of the cod and also one checking out my friend, Vicki, who quickly backed up. It gives you some perspective on how big they are.
We stayed in Cairns just one day, as Cyclone Guba came through, and woke up the next morning to cloudy skies and a concern about our diving trip. Needless to say, we packed up and soon we were off to the "Spirit of Freedom" for four days of diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Guba had other ideas as it followed us out there for the first day, tossing and turning our boat and helping several in our group lose their lunch (and breakfast). The only thing we could do to escape was to go under water where it was calm. Here is a picture of our first dive site on Norman Reef - check out the size of this shark! COOL!
After 20 hours of traveling, we have finally made it to Cairns, Australia - woooo hooo! We were on the last row of the plane for both flights, but managed to get seats together. It's myself, Jen and Marie traveling together and the other three are coming on a separate flight.
Cairns is gorgeous - lush, green, tropical and warm - very humid with a light rain, as I write this. Our rooms aren't ready yet so we are having a beer "Cascade Lager" in the business center waiting for our room and for the others to arrive. We are on a traveling high right now - can't wait to go out and explore this amazing city.
I got so excited about my upcoming trip to Australia that I forgot to mention my next big triathlon challenge. Today I signed up for the International Distance Triathlon in Las Vegas in April 2008. It's an all-women's race and I am going there with some of my triathlon friends (see the Halloween pictures - they are as crazy as I am).
In less than 48 hours I leave for two weeks in Australia!! There are 6 of us going - myself, Eric, my husband and four other women. That's right, Eric and 5 women. Stay tuned for those reports!
I will be taking my trusty Sony toys and testing out how the GPS works down under, mate! I even got an underwater case for the camera so that I can take pictures while diving the Great Barrier Reef. We are starting in Cairns and hopping on a live-aboard dive boat for four days - check out this beauty!
I currently write this from the western part of Puerto Rico. When I get back, I have 2 weeks before I leave for Australia - I'll be taking the new Sony GPS unit with me to track where I go and the fun places I'll be hiking and diving. Can't wait!