We had an un-
eventful flight from Auckland to Perth, another long one though. I forget that Australia is as large as the US and that flying from one side to another will take over 6 hours. Jacky (1/2 of the Art Journey Retreat) met us at the airport shortly after 6 pm, whisked us to the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, where we settled in and then met up with Jo, Michael Demeng and a few of the students at a little Mexican restaurant for a late dinner. I knew I wasn't in the US when the waitress brought me a Corona beer with a lemon wedge on top. It is always hard arriving at a location the night before teaching - so much to do to get oriented and prepared for class, but even more so after our carefree days in New Zealand. We skipped the $21 hotel breakfast buffet and took a short walk to the corner where we found Angel's Cafe for brekkie. Then it was back to the hotel for a day of teaching. We had lovely large classrooms with balcony access and a view of the harbour beyond, but there was no time for gazing. Students are wonderful everywhere, but particularly so in Australia. Of course there is the delightful accent that makes every conversation a joy, but they were also grateful for the chance to spend time with American teachers. So many said they were so thankful that we had come all that way. We were thankful that they would have us! I am not sure who benefited more, but I know everyone had a blast. It was so successful that Jo has already made plans for another Art Journey Retreat, next year in Melbourne, with more wonderful American teachers. Lucky gals (teachers and students)!
Here's a photo of us holding court in the hotel lobby on Saturday night. We were all kept very well entertained watching guests arrive for 3 different weddings taking place in the hotel.
The downside of teaching is that the 3 days of classes and activities did not allow for the leisurely pace to enjoy our surroundings the way we had in New Zealand. Photos were snapped in a hurry or not at all. We didn't have the same kind of time to absorb and explore our surroundings that we did in New Zealand.....except for one magic night when two lovely women wisked us off for a glimpse of Perth and the Indian Ocean. Robyn and Nina became friends when Nina taught in Italy. Jaslyn is a good and beautiful friend of Robyn's. That evening, we all became fast friends. They drove us out of downtown Fremantle up the coast to Cottesloe Beach. Little did they know how like children we would be, dipping our toes into the Indian Ocean, simply amazed that we were indeed, standing in the Indian Ocean.
I'll spare you another feet photo, but rest assure that we took them. The beach was very, very clean but we managed to find a few shells and sea glass. Kite-surfers were enjoying the end of the day's wind. The water was so clear and sparkled blue and green in the light. It's just not that color here on the east coast. Is it the latitude and longitude that creates the color, or is our water just not as clean and clear? The beach is located along a shipping route and we saw large vessels along the horizon making their way into the Fremantle harbour. The weather was perfect and we could have spent the night there digesting the fact that we were at the Indian Ocean. But there was dinner to be had.
Marie Otero, a teacher who splits her time between Australia and the US, had recommended a restaurant to us where we could watch the sun set over the ocean, the Blue Duck, table 105 on the deck, to be exact. I was able to capture the sunset from our prime location, but once it was over, we moved inside to dine where it was a bit warmer.
So I'll leave you with this view of the setting sun for now. It's the first day of Spring and here in DC it is chilly (only a high of 49 today), and cloudy. Tomorrow promises sunshine and warmth...and more tales from Down Under.