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Through a Tattered Lens – South Pacific

Once we left Brisbane, we headed off to the South Pacific and the islands of Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Bora Bora and Tahiti.

Our original itinerary called for going to the 2 Samoas, and not to Tonga, but there was a nasty weather front that made the change necessary. It was really impressive how Regent was able to pivot and set up tours on Tonga without missing a beat!

I wouldn’t go so far as to say if you’ve seen one island, you’ve seen them all. They all have their own charm. But they are similar enough that for each to have its own post would be a bit redundant. So, I’m just going to show you a bunch of random photos from the area so you can see how beautiful it is (just in case you didn’t already know!)

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We’ve now been to the South Pacific twice, and it is probable that we won’t be back for a long time, so we will be holding these memories close to our hearts…

It’s Not All About the Food

Although if you look at my iPhoto library, you might come to the conclusion it was! But, I guess, truth be told, it WAS a pretty important part. We certainly didn’t miss any meals!

I consider us to be foodies…we love a good meal, and love trying new ingredients. And as vegetarians, it is a little harder to find REALLY good food. Way too many chefs just don’t know how to combine flavors to make vegetables taste incredible.

The meals on this trip mostly knocked our socks off! There was a loser here and there, but they were few and far between. And presentation? Some of the dishes were like little works of art.

So, make sure you’re not hungry, sit back and enjoy a few visuals…

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Sticky Toffee Pudding w/ Ginger Ice Cream and Poached Pears

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Appetizers at La Veranda

shipfood13-wRoasted Elephant Garlic – Mr. Tattered was in Heaven!

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Our Nightly “Pre-Dessert” Petit Four Tray

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Creme Brûlée

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I don’t even remember what this little chocolate number was called (other than DELISH!)

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Curried Veggies w/ Basmanti Rice

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Stuffed Mushroom

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Lobster and Scallop Salad (Mr. Tattered is a “vegequarium!”

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Goat Cheese Tart

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Chocolate Mousse Cake w/ Chocolate Ganache, Vanilla Cream, and Homemade Ice Cream

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I do need to admit that even plain old veggie tacos taste extraordinary in this setting!

Now that we’re home, I really DO need to up my game. But then again, if I do that, maybe Mr. Tattered will want to stay home, and THAT would be unacceptable!

Believe it or not, I only gained two ounces! The secret? I only took a few bites of each thing. All the servers were afraid I didn’t like the food, and I had to keep assuring them that I LOVED it – just couldn’t eat very much of it!

Oh, and I walked a minimum of 10,000 steps every day. More on THAT later!

I LOVE Sea Days

Some people find sea days annoying, a necessary evil. But not me. I love them. Sometimes more than port days, although I guess stopping at different ports is the whole point of cruising. I just love the laziness of being out on the open sea.

You might think one sea day might blend into the next, but they are surprisingly different – different colors of sea, and sky, different cloud formations. I could just sit and watch over the rail for hours.

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It would probably get boring after awhile. I wonder how many days (months, years) it would take.

I’d kinda like to find out!

Best of Brisbane

Our last stop in Australia was in Brisbane.

It is another city full of old and new. The architecture was wonderful – lots to keep my camera clicking away.

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But as much as I loved the architecture, I love the animals of Australia even more. We made a stop at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where they rescue and care for many different animals in addition to  Koalas.

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Kookabura

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Platypus

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Emu

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Dingo

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Wombat

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I think it’s time this mama kicks her joey out!

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I had no idea they let them stay so long! Looks painful!

But the best part was getting to actually HOLD a koala.

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They are so soft and snuggly! One of the best days ever…

Lovin’ On Sydney

I just LOVED Sydney.

From my first view of the Sydney Opera House coming into the harbor, to the last peek at it heading out, it was a great day.

We took a bus tour of the city, which gave us a pretty good overview, then a tour of the Opera House followed by a walk-about in and around “the rocks.” We crammed a lot into one day.

The story of the Opera House was pretty amazing – from the winning design being little more than a drawing on the back of a napkin (a BIT of an exaggeration, but not much!) to all the drama involved in getting the drawing translated into reality when the technology to do it just didn’t exist.

 

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Through the haze of dawn…

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The incredible part of the building is how different it looks from every angle…a real work of art.

Bondi Beach is pretty unique in that it is located just outside of one of the biggest cities in Australia. We happened to hit it on a quiet day, but it sounds like normally it is crowded…like, Waikiki crowded.

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The old downtown area is called “the Rocks.” It is a crazy cute area.

We started our wandering with a pint at Phillip’s Foote:

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From there we went down the street to Appetito for an authentic Italian style pizza…

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Then we wandered around the neighborhood…

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Way too soon it was time to leave and say goodbye.

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God willing’ and the creek don’t rise, we’ll be back.

Royal Botanic Gardens – Melbourne, Australia

As is often the case with seeing the world from a cruise ship, we just don’t have enough time at each stop, and Melbourne was no exception. We didn’t get to see much of the city, but of what we did, my favorite was the Royal Botanic Garden. I can’t help it…I’m just a sucker for flowers and plants.

Join me for a quick tour, won’t you, and see what I found to be the most interesting parts of the gardens?

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Can you see why I was so impressed? Seriously, I could have stayed all day…

Ignite! It May Be Backfiring…

You may recall that my One Little Word for 2015 is IGNITE. I selected it because it resonated with me better than “complete” or “finish” which were the ultimate goals I wanted to achieve – completing many of the projects I’ve started and left unfinished. I thought if I were to ignite, I could target that energy to actually FINISH stuff for a change.

Well, I’ve ignited alright, but not in the way I had hoped.

Rather than working on existing unfinished projects, I’m adding new ones at an alarming rate. I mean REALLY alarming. As in “What the hell are you thinking, girl????” alarming.

I need a way of storing my costume jewelry (which is threatening to take over the world) and opted for a large metal mannequin, but it doesn’t have enough places to hang things from, so I’m going to need to add some metal fru-fru. I’m thinking maybe adding wings, and scallops of wire along the bottom. In my head it looks really cute.

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I bought a couple of really cute Mary Frances purses on our last trip, and when Bea saw them her face lit up like a Christmas tree, so obviously she needs one. Although I acknowledge I am certifiable, I refuse to spend that much on a purse for a child, so the obvious answer was to make one. Well, after all the supplies I bought for it, I probably should have just sucked it up and bought her one…

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…and having the supplies is no guarantee it will ever get actually made. Although I AM trying to elevate the things I’m supposed to do for the kids to the top of the list. She says.

Then there are all the earrings I have designed in my head and have been accumulating supplies for. I suddenly need a pair for every conceivable combination of colors I might be wearing.

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I wish I could say this is all, but it barely scratches the surface…

I’ve picked up several projects to do with girls, I’m searching for a class to take in doing mosaics so I could turn my backyard into the next “Giant’s House,” and I have more new projects set up for the garden than you can shake a sick at.

On a positive note, I was ready to add another project – making a bunch of rolled fabric hair barrettes, similar to ones I bought a number of years ago, and just love. But before I bought the materials, I looked to see if I could find them on Etsy, and lo and behold there they were! Instead of adding them to my project list (and in spite of the fact that I could have made them much more cheaply!) I ordered four of them. I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself. It’s a small step, but it’s a step.

I have gone off track with all the new projects I’ve added. But I’ve shown a small glimmer of hope that I MIGHT be able to get myself under control. I’ll feel better when I get finishing an old project under my belt. But at least if I can avoid adding any more…

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