...pure religion travel blog

Sydney in the back, The Opera House, an oceanliner and a kayaker,...

Cool... I spent the afternoon on that little jut of land under...

3.5 ton 4x4 standard safari jeep and me at the wheel, on...

Frazier Island ... that beach is the highway and the runway for...

Oooh! Which will he eat? It's a shark and three sting rays...

Home sweet home ... Like pirates we explored the Whitsunday Islands that...

:) The calm before the storm.

That's my bed, but I never slept there. My hamoc tied up...

It's sally writing :) and apart from what Josh has told you, I am still alive and thoroughly enjoying a bit of rest. well, relaxation may be a better word as sleep seems to have been giving way lately to the adventures themselves. Just doing a bit of exploring, as much of it OFF the coast as possible, away from all development and the 'backpacker world' to the best of my ability since untouched nature is where the most beauty and adventure is found. so sad for all those who're spending their nights in the pubs and mornings in bed. they oughtta be out on a sailboat or in a safari jeep chasing sharks where the real adventure is. sorry. it's getting tough, now that I'm back on the mainland, to be patient with the backpacker society. you've gotta be quite grounded to be out here and to continue swimming upstream all by yourself.

So, I've been making my way up here to the North Eastern Coast of Australia and had quite a bit of fun and quite a few hours of travel along the way. After an overnight bus to Sydney, I spent a few days doing pretty much exactly what Josh did there. It was beautiful and everything cost about 5 times as much as in Asia. ouch! I had to cut down on water and treats. ugh! It was worth it tho to sit and look out over the Sydney Harbor at the famous bridge and the Opera House. As I was walking home I even passed a small chapel and was able to attend a church service with about 100 other Aussies who were mostly all my age. That was so great and ... very encouraging!

Then I took a flight up to Hervey Bay and a ferry out to an uninhabited island, Frazier Island, where I drove a 4x4 safari jeep filled up with 10 foreign friends all around. Only two of us had a license so we were nominated to drive. Ha, like driving down

HWY. 43 is anything like driving a 3.5 ton 4x4 around in sand dunes... right, but we survived and had a great time camping out next to the shark infested waves. :) My group consisted of 7 Irish girls and 3 guys from England. Oh yeah, and the Irish love to drink. Thankfully I made a couple of friends with whom I was able to visit while the 'partying' was going on. Thanks Amy and Tom. :)

At one lake on the island, an enourmous sand dune like what I imagine in Egypt, poured into a lake at the bottom and the guys had a great time flinging themselves down it in very awkward looking ways. It was quite fun. :)

Swimming at the beach was prohibited, but we did do a bit of shark watching which was way cool from cliffs far above. We saw huge sharks, ones big enough to eat me for a snack, and dolphins and sting rays from a bird's eye point of view. We visited Lake McKenzie which is one of two beaches I've gotten to visit in the last couple weeks that have been named among the top 10 beaches in the world! :) We did get to swim there and did we ever, it was clear as bath water.

And Finding Nemo amongst what I consider to be God's most beautiful creation work ... I caught another overnight bus up to Airlie Beach where I got on a 3 day sailing trip out to the Great Barrier Reef. :) WOW! That's one of the most fascinating things I have ever laid eyes on in my entire life. It is absolutely brilliant! We had to cover up from head to toe to protect ourselves from the microscopical jellyfish so we looked a bit like we'd fallen down from Pluto, but we all looked like that so it didn't matter. Only, I couldn't tell who anyone was so I had trouble finding my friends. :) The Reef... for hours we floated just a few feet over the Great Barrier Reef, close enough to touch it, although that's prohibited. It's the only life form visible from outer space and the most enchanting thing I've ever laid eyes on. It was like discovering colors I've never seen before, all of them brightly illuminated by the sun, like looking at a bowl of lucky charms thru a microscope and finding out that they were all alive and totally unique and full of life, literally, there were tropical rainbow fish in every direction, all totally unique like butterflies, and at some points they completely surrounded me as if I were a mermaid and belonged there. All I could hear was my own breathing and a sound that resembles rice crispies when you pour the milk on. I discovered that that was coming from the rainbow fish who were eating the coral down below. Cindy asked if I was afraid... just a little bit. Last time we went snorkeling, we really did see a shark and it was at least 5 feet long and 1 foot wide so I knew that there could be one there. I just found my friend Amy and tried not to think about sharks. What did we eat, you guys always want to know that... Aussies BBQ like every night so that's what we ate, meat. It was really good and more healthy than I've been able to eat in quite some time. We even got apple pie, home made by Captain Dan himself. :) From my bed I could see out the windows in every direction, I thought that was cool until it started raining... on me. My bed was soaked so as soon as the rain stopped I hung my hamoc out on the deck and watched the sun come up. None of us got much sleep on that trip but sometimes that's ok. :)

In my group were people from France, Canada, England, Tasmania and me, the Texan, who has now heard what the world thinks of America and President Bush, ouch! I've determined that I think most have very little reason behind what they 'think' and that most of the time they don't care to hear any other perspective than the one they've somehow come up with. 2 times have I heard him campared to Hussein, seriously. People think that he is trying to take over the world and I'm not kidding. I actually read that in a newspaper. Have they ever considered or even tried to imagine what life for Iraqi people might be like and that some people there do actually want a democracy and applaud Bush for fighting for it? I don't like war either, but what about when people are living in situation far worse than war itself? I just feel that the Americans are at least 'trying' to do something to help them, whether this is the best way I'm not sure but I do like that we are trying to help. Read Mayada if you yourself are one of those who've never taken a look into the life of an Iraqi citizen who supports what we're doing. The above has been a huge aspect of our journey, hearing what others think, so I wanted to share just a bit. I'm sure it will stir up a few responses and I'll be glad to hear them as thru all of this, I'm more aware also of my ignorance concerning these issues.

Tomorrow I begin my journey back to Sydney to meet Josh and from there we head on to Hong Kong, San Fransisco and Dallas. :) And yes, we are still friends, good friends, only friends for the HUNDREDS of you who are wondering. :) It's been quite a journey and somewhat keeping in touch with all of you has been quite interesting as well. It's made us think thru many things enough to put them down into our own words and that has really been a great challenge. Love you guys and see most of you soon. Sally.

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