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    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review – Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Book Review

    Book Review Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    Winner of numerous awards, Ward (Salvage the Bones 2011) puts the reader in her latest novel deep in rural Gulf Coast USA. Here you find JoJo, a young-boy, nearly a man, trying to find where he fits in the world.

    His black mother Leonie, drug abuser and selfish women with no maternal instincts, is no help to him. His white father, in jail with demons of his own  can’t be a role model.

    JoJo looks to his grandparents Pop and Mam, each with their own mysteries, but both who love him.

    Unusual family, unusual boy, JoJo struggles to love and be loved and understand the mysteries that surround and plague him. A story of coming of age, race, family, ghosts and magical beliefs in the mystical Deep South- Sing Unburied Sing is a lyrical story that will capture your heart.

    Four stars for Sing Unburied Sing.

    This blog contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you purchase a book.  Any money earned goes back to maintaining this blog.

    Read our review from last week of Willa Cather’s My Antonia 

    Fab Oceania Travel

    Six Amazing Things Not to Miss in Sydney Australia

    My New Favorite City

    Location: Sydney Australia

    I usually prefer our more rural destinations more than our city destinations.  And yet – Suddenly Sydney.  I’m gobsmacked.  I wish I had the time to stay longer, but we used our time well, and discovered six amazing things not to miss in Sydney Australia.

    The Sydney Opera House – When visiting Sydney the Opera House will always top any list, as it does in our six Amazing Things not to miss in Sydney Australia.  At first glance I thought, “Huh – it’s not as white as I was expecting.”  At second blush I was enamored.  Wow.  When you are inside, you realize what a marvel of architecture and engineering is.  You don’t need to know anything about architecture or engineering to see clearly what an impressive

    Sydney Australia

    Sydney Opera House

    specimen it is.

    We booked a tour ahead on line, although we could have walked up that day and got on a tour.  We are here in the “shoulder” season, so at other times of

    Sydney Australia

    Interior of the Opera House

    the year these two-hour tours fill fast.  Our tour guide Lyn was incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the history, construction and current state of one of the most iconic buildings in the world.  I loved the tour and would do it again in a heart beat.

    We learned that the multiple theaters within the building are home to several resident companies, as well as an ever revolving schedule of visiting shows and artists.  While in Sydney we actually saw an outdoor opera, just across the bay looking back at the Opera House.  This seasonal show happens each March and April and it was a beautiful location to watch La Boheme outdoors with the lights of Sydney in the background.

    Sydney Australia

    The view from the outdoor opera

    We also got tickets to attend a dance/circus performance (think Cirque de Soleil on a small-scale) inside one of the theaters.  The multiple theaters in the opera house can seat anywhere from 200 to 2000 people, depending on the theatre, the show and the configuration.

    The Sydney Harbour Bridge – built in 1932 this bridge towers over the harbour with it’s beautiful

    Sydney Australia

    Sydney Harbour Bridge

    arched structure.  The bridge is the worlds largest (but not longest) steel arch bridge with 6 million hand driven rivets.  You can drive across, walk across, cycle across or take a boat and look at it from underneath.  There is also a museum in the top of one of the Pylons.  Although there is no lift, it’s worth the 200 steps and the $8.50 to see the view.

    But – the most amazing thing about the Sydney

    Sydney Australia

    On top of the bridge

    Harbour Bridge is you can walk to the top as part of the Sydney Bridge Clilmb.

    First let me tell you, it’s very EXPENSIVE.  Choke.  But I talked my husband into it, even though this is the kind of tourist activity he despises.  But, in hindsight, he loved it.  And once you spend the

    Sydney Australia

    Our tour group

    nearly four hours it takes from start to finish doing the bridge climb, the price no longer seems so high.  You are completely outfitted (remove all your clothing and wear the gear they provide), you are connected at all times to the bridge with a tether guide cable, you have a radio and headset that you use to listen to your guide.  You learn about construction, history, people – but most of all, you have the most amazing view you will ever see.  Particularly if you are lucky enough to enjoy the climb on a sunny and calm day like the day we went.  They climb rain or shine, and only stop the tours if the wind is 80km per hour.  You also get one heck of a work out.

    It’s difficult to describe this experience, but I sure am glad we did it.  Once in a lifetime.

    The Rocks and Circular Quay – the hub of

    Sydney Australia

    The view from Circular Quay

    Sydney’s tourism activity is The Rocks and Circular Quay.  Here is where you find the Sydney Opera House, the Cruise Ship Terminal, The Ferry Terminals, the Harbor Tour Boat Terminal, the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as many restaurants, bars and shops.  It’s a very hopping place with outdoor seating, views that go for miles and a happening vibe.

    Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk – we had exceptional weather the day we did this four mile one way walk along the Pacific Coast, but honestly it would be spectacular no matter the weather.  We

    Sydney Australia

    Coogee to Bondi

    took an Uber from our condo in Rushcutter’s Bay to Coogee (mid-day $17) and after a lovely cappuccino at Little Jack Horner we started the walk.  This meandering, paved and well-marked path is very popular with locals and visitors alike.  It is often touted as one of the most beautiful shoreline walks in the world.  And I have to agree.  I took so many photos – the turquoise blue water, the crashing waves, the cliffs and sandstone outcroppings.  Beautiful.  Easy.  A must do.

    Manly Ferry and Manly Beach – on our last day in Sydney we rode one of the many Sydney City Ferry boats to the popular destination of Manly – a small suburb of Sydney.  Manly now is a tourist destination with many shops and restaurants, but we headed straight to Manly Beach for a bit of

    Sydney Australia

    Sydney City Ferry

    R&R.  Manly is a surfer’s beach and much of the beach is off-limits to swimming due to high surf and strong undertow.  But areas on both ends of the beach are safe for swimming and lifeguards are on duty making sure everyone has a good time. A beautiful spot and a great place to work on your tan, watch the surfers and enjoy the Pacific views.

    Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney – Last but not least in our list of six Amazing Things not to miss in SYdney Australia. During our time in Sydney we were staying in an Airbnb in Rushcutter’s Bay, about two miles from Circular

    Sydney Australia

    Royal Botanic Gardens

    Quay.  There is metro and bus service, Uber and cabs, but since we really enjoy walking, we walked into town each day.  And each day we took a different path through Sydney’s stunning Botanical Gardens.  First let me say, this city is awash in green space.  Lovely pocket parks and grand expansive parks seem to be around every corner. But the 200-year-old Royal Botanic Gardens was my favorite.  We have visited many botanical gardens around the world.  I don’t believe we have visited any that were both FREE and so well manicured and presented.  Clearly a favorite for locals for the beautiful lawns to play and relax, the forested hills, the blooming flowers, the abundant bird life and

    Sydney Australia

    Royal Botanic Gardens

    the waterfront views.  All of this, a public park, free for the taking.  One of my most favorite things we discovered in Sydney.

    So there are my six amazing things not to miss in Sydney Australia.  I know I will need to return to this beautiful place, and find six, 12 or a hundred more amazing things.  And hopefully, it won’t be too long until I do.

    This blog contains affiliate links if you purchase an item I will receive compensation.  Any money earned goes back to help pay the cost of maintaining this blog.

    Want to read more of our blogs about Australia?  Click here for more.

     

     

     

    Fab South America Travel

    Wild Whitewater Memories

    Location: Chile

    If you follow my blog closely, you are aware of the overriding theme of adventure; particularly my desire in My Fabulous Fifties to never be afraid to try things.

    And the day we rafted the whitewater of the gorgeous Rio Petrohue outside of Puerto Vasa in central Chile was a testament to that mantra.

    From Puerto Mont we traveled by van about an hour to the lakeside town of Puerto Varas, a beautiful town settled in 1854 by German immigrants on the shores of the huge (338 square miles) Lake Llanquihue. Though the day was overcast it was warmish and comfortable.

    I have river-rafted before, but it’s been about 15 years. I was younger and thinner and, well, younger. Yesterday in the van on the way to the river trip I said to my husband, “I don’t plan on getting wet”. He smiled at me. He knew. The river had its own plans.

    Whitewater rafting

    In the washing machine

    Our guides were fantastic, funny and well informed (www.kokayak.cl). http://kokayak.clWe dressed in skin tight and less than flattering wet-suites. As I pulled on my neoprene garment that presented me as a large black and red sausage I took note of the other guests in our group. My husband and I were definitely the oldest (important note for future reference), with another couple from England closely behind us in age. There was a single woman, from the U.S., probably in her mid-forties and a bit larger than I am, and then the rest of the group of 16 was made up by twenty and thirty-something’s from China, Germany, France, and various other countries.

    Whitewater rafting

    Good advice

    After a brief safety instruction we settled into our two rafts along the beautiful river that flows out of a high lake in the Andes behind the active volcano of Mount Osorno (a perfect Mount Fuji looking cone) and the dormant Mount Tronador at more than 11,000 feet it resembled Mount Rainier and is a hikers paradise. The terrain of the area is covered in black volcanic ash and the river is lined with a variety of deciduous trees ranging from bamboo to beech as well as gigantic gunera.
    Stunning.

    We maneuvered the raft out into the river and within the first three minutes we were completely soaked from the first set of rapids. Exciting and exhilarating and as I said, the river had other ideas about my staying dry. It wasn’t cold, thanks to the sausage suit, and we were all laughing and trying to catch our breath after the first rapid.

    I was stationed in the back of the boat and on the second set of rapids I popped off my seat and went flying into the woman in front of me, but managed to stay in the boat. As we maneuvered through the river it became easier to read the rapids and be more prepared for what was coming. At a couple of really mean looking areas of whitewater our guide had us all get down on the floor of the boat and hang on – and luckily for that, as we were completely engulfed in the washing machine of the river. We came up sputtering and laughing and disoriented; but still in the raft.

    Whitewater rafting

    Still smiling!

    We slowed and pulled the rafts into a calm area and we all got out and hiked up to a rocky outcropping, where the guides announced we were going to all jump off the cliff and into the river one by one so they could take our photo. Guests younger and fitter than I declined. Not me. Fabulously Fifty went flying off the cliff in her red and black sausage suite, hitting the water with a big splash and a big smile. Fabulous.

    Back in the boat, switching positions, we flowed down the river. We continued to be beat-up by the rapids, but always coming out soaked and happy. In the calmer spots our guide gave us some history and talked about the geography, flora and fauna. He talked about Chile, the food, the wine and much more. It was wonderful.

    Approaching the final set of smaller rapids he announced that anyone who wanted to jump over board and ride the rapids feet first down in the water was welcome to do it here. Everyone looked around at each other – who would volunteer? Guess who?

    Myself and my husband and two of the twenty-somethings jumped in and were swept up in the whirlpool. Perhaps because I have a high body fat content (nice way of saying it) I was quickly carried off ahead of the others. I was pounded in the face over and over by the rapids and had a moment of panic, as I was unable to get a breath between poundings.

    Whitewater rafting

    Fashion Statement

    It was over quickly and I hadn’t even had a chance to see what any of the other guests had done as I was swept down stream. Next thing I knew I was the only one left in the water and the raft was heading to pick me up. My darling husband somehow hoisted me up and into the raft where I lay panting and gasping. I announced to everyone in the boat “I sure hope someone got a picture because that was never going to happen again.” Everyone laughed at my expense and it was fabulous.

    These are the experiences that make life memorable. Those who didn’t get out of the boat to ride the rapids will have the memory of watching me do it. But I will have the experience of it. Worth a thousand times more.

    Put me in the middle of the action until they cart me away. Let me set an example. Let me never be afraid to look silly, have fun, and come up sputtering on the other side. There is no other way to live in My Fabulous Fifties.

    Go. Be. Fabulous.

    This blog contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission if you purchase these books.  Any money earned goes back to help improve this blog.  Thank you.

     

     

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review – My Antonia by Willa Cather

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Book Review

    Book Review My Antonia by Willa Cather⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    An American Classic, amongst Willa Cather’s many American Classics.  My Antonia tells the compelling and sentimental story of immigrant life in rural Nebraska, in the untamed prairie in the 19th century.

    A beautifully written story of childhood and friendship and the directions lives will take – depending on upbringing and background, gender and economics.

    Told from the perspective of orphan Jim Burden, who goes west to live with his grandparents after his parents die.  Jim’s friendship with the neighboring Bohemian family, and specifically the oldest daughter Antonia, forms the basis of the story that chronicles the hard immigrant life in the prairie and the often dashed hopes and dreams of the immigrants themselves.

    Published in 1918 this Willa Cather masterpiece is a timeless tale, with beautiful imagery, masterful prose and a heartfelt story you will find difficult to put down.

    Five Stars for My Antonia.

    See last week’s review on Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

    This blog contains affiliate links of which I may receive a commission if you purchase these books.  Any money earned goes back to making this blog awesome.  Thanks.

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Best and Worst Airports of the World

    The Blur of Airports in my Head

    Location: Best and Worst Airports

    It’s already late March.  Where does the time go?  The grand adventure has been underway for 16 months now and the flights and airports all blur together in my head.  But there are a few memorable ones, for both good and bad reasons, so we thought it was time to write about the Best and Worst Airports of the World – according to My Fab Fifties Life.

    Best and Worst Airports

    Seattle on the day we left the USA

    My favorite airport used to be Schiphol in Amsterdam.  And I still love it.  It’s like a small city and can keep you entertained for days (hopefully you don’t spend days there).  On our world tour we have encountered some similar airports, mainly the hub airports that are so spectacular in Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Qatar.  In these beautifully designed airports you can enjoy

    Best and Worst airports

    Napping

    fantastic works of art, delicious dining, designer and convenience shopping as well as usually a fine hotel.  You can also find spas and salons, quiet zones, kids zones, smoking zones, charging zones and sleeping zones and often showers.

    Almost all the comforts of home.

    The Dubai Airport, a giant megatropolis is about to be closed because another even bigger one is

    Best and Worst Airports

    Coming in to Praslin

    slated to open very soon.  From a distance it looks like something from the future.  Huge, artistic and from another world. When finished it will be largest airport in the world. Can’t wait to see it.  I was told they will just tear down the other one…weird.

    We have had some good experiences in some small airports too.  Cape Town, South Africa was the quickest and easiest airport we ever went through.  Dhaka, Bangladesh, though rundown and old, was one of the friendliest airports with helpful police who escorted us around the passport control so we could get some local currency to pay for our visa on entry.

    Best and Worst airports

    Sunrise flight out of Perth

    Small airports have a big advantage in that you can be off the plane and in your taxi in 15 or 20 minutes.  No long lines, no walking miles to get to baggage claim.  Arrival in Alice Springs and Cairns Australia was so quick.  Maldives airport was beautiful and easy to maneuver.  The teeny Praslin Island airport in the Seychelles was more like a bus station.  Off the plane and on our way. Just botta bing botta bang and you are out the door.  Nice.

    Best and Worst Airports

    Boarding in Marrakesh

    In Koh Samui Thailand the tiny airport had a beautiful area for waiting for departure and it included free popcorn, chips, coffee and juice.  I’ve never seen that anywhere else. However the approach by car to Koh Samui was poor – winding in a van through one lane residential streets weaving in and out of kids and dogs and bikes.  Yikes.

    In Praslin Seychelles there are so few flights a day there is a traffic light to hold traffic when a plane is landing.  The plane’s approach is over the road.  But usually it doesn’t matter.  There is very little car traffic either.

    Many smaller and medium size airports look very much the same.  It’s difficult to distinguish

    Best and Worst Airports

    On board we always try to have aisle seats across from each other

    between them.  Dubrovnik, Madrid, Santiago, Cape Town – all the same.

    We landed in Guam at 3:40 in the morning.  In a daze we maneuvered to the car rental area, happy to find them open and waiting for us.  Hallelujah!

    Less impressive experiences were in Manila, where the waiting area on the concourse was so tiny and crowded we had to sit on the floor.  There was no ATM machine and the unimpressive food kiosks only took local currency.  In Casablanca, the airport was fine but the baggage handling with Air Maroc was the worst.  Our bags on our short flight from Marrakesh disappeared and no one could find them.  When they were found, it was because I went and searched every luggage carousel in the airport and found them myself.

    Passport control was horrible in Tunisia and Siem Reap, Cambodia where we stood in line for more than hour for no reason other than one passport control guy wanting to be an ass and seem important.

    In Sofia Bulgaria, the small but new and nice

    Best and Worst Airports

    On the tarmac

    airport was marred by the unfriendly and unhelpful tourist information desk and the fact that there was not a single ATM at the airport.

    In Ho Chi Minh City the airport was okay but it was the dishonest taxi driver who put a bad taste in our mouth.  Trying to trick us and drive us in circles and tell us a 100 bill was a 10.

    On departing Delhi India the service at the check in counter was so slow that even though we allowed three hours we barely made our flight.  And we went through security intending to find a cash

    Best and Worst Airports

    Seychelles

    machine on the concourse only to be told ATM’s were only in the check-in area. What?

    Best and Worst Airports

    Our beautiful hotel in the Singapore airport

    Sometimes when we have really long-haul flights we will break the up with overnight (and sometimes a day) at an airport hotel.  SInce we aren’t pressed for time we find this a great way to avoid jet-lag.  We have done this in Dubai, Qatar, Bangkok and Singapore.

    We only have a few flights left before we board a cruise ship for our final leg back to the USA.  We have learned a lot – how to pack and plan, prepare and endure all these flights.  We’ve also learned to just relax because most of the time it’s all out of our hands.

    Flight # 52 today to Sydney Australia! Away!

     

    Fab Oceania Travel

    The Great Barrier Reef Australia

    Just Keep Swimming

    Location: The Great Barrier Reef Australia

    “Hey, Mr. Grumpy Gills… When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.” – Dory the Fish from Disney’s Finding Nemo

    The Great Barriee Reef

    Nemo

    Finding Nemo is one of my favorite Disney/Pixar movies, and this past week I have had endless Finding Nemo moments and quotes running through my head.  Being

    in Australia and finally snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, my thoughts have wandered to the

    The Great Barriee Reef

    Reef and fish

    adventures of that movie and I have smiled to myself underwater and thought “Just keep swimming.”

    Although going out on a snorkel trip on The Great Barrier Reef took us way over our Grand Adventure daily budget (actually everything in Australia is

    The Great Barrier Reef

    Birdseye view

    taking us over budget), we could not come here to beautiful Cairns and not see the reef.  It’s another one of those “I don’t have a bucket list” bucket list items.  I love snorkeling and I wanted to have that once in a lifetime opportunity.

    The weather on the day we went wasn’t great – grey and overcast and we even saw some rain.  I am in constant worry about my motion sickness

    The Great Barriee Reef

    Colorful

    problem, so I stood outside and watched the horizon the entire hour and half boat trip out to the reef, even when the rain started to come down.  Hey I was gonna get wet anyway right?  Luckily, thanks to massive amounts of drugs, my sea sickness problem did not materialize while on the boat.  That was a good sign!

    “You got a problem, buddy? Huh? Huh? Do ya, do ya, do ya?” Dory

    We booked our reef tour with Reef Magic out of

    The Great Barrier Reef

    Marine World of Reef Magic

    Cairns which took us to the outer reef and a pontoon platform stationed there called Marine World.  We disembarked the boat to the pontoon and here we were outfitted with our snorkels, fins, masks and Lycra “stinger” suits to protect us from

    Great Barriee Reef

    Jellyfish

    jellyfish.

    “I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy.” Dory

    Reef Magic offers many options from the pontoon, all at an additional charge including snorkel safari, snuba, scuba, glass bottom boat, semi-submersible boat and helicopter rides.  But since

    Great Barriee Reef

    That’s us!

    we had already exceeded our budget (for two of us we paid $426 Australian about $330 US), we were just interested in snorkeling.  We were dressed and ready to go pretty quickly and one of the first people in the water.

    Great Barrier Reef

    Us with Wally

    We immediately encountered “Wally”, one of the biggest fish on the reef.  Luckily Reef Magic’s professional photographer was on hand as we entered the water and she got some amazing shots of us with Wally.  All the photos in this blog are from Reef Magic’s professional photographer.  Since we don’t have an underwater camera we have never gotten underwater photos on any of our snorkel trips on the Grand Adventure.  So, despite the fact my husband almost wet his pants when I told him the price, we bit the bullet and bought the photos for an additional $75 (about

    Great Barrier Reef

    Hey Wally

    $60 US).

    “Ahh you guys made me ink.” Pearl

    Wally is a resident fish of this part of the reef.  He is an amazing species called Maori Wrasse.  This fish is a female for the first eight years of its life.  And then poof.  It’s a male.  I know – what the heck?  Isn’t that nuts?  Some times I think Mother Nature is menopausal!

    Great Barrier Reef

    Coral

    After our encounter with Wally we began to explore the reef.  Marine World has a cordoned off section of the reef for its guests to enjoy.  Within this area there was a huge variety of corals; big, small, blue, green, orange, white.  Some are soft and rounded, others spikey and dangerous looking.  In all the

    Great Barriee Reef

    Coral

    snorkeling I have done, I had never seen coral that waved in the current like it did here.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.  Most of the coral we see in our lives is dead.  And while its pretty even when it is dead and dry, the beauty of live coral is spectacular.  Yes this is an incredible living

    Great Barriee Reef

    Coral

    creature and we surely must protect it.

    “Righteous! Righteous! ” Crush

    So I loved the corals and kept going back for more of that but of course there were the fish. Many, many fish.  I don’t know all their names, but they really are beautiful to watch.  Some of the fish are very solitary, just going along and doing their

    Great Barrier Reef

    Fish!

    business, feeding and swimming and doing what fish do.  Other fish keep in groups, large schools that move together almost as one, weaving above and around the coral mountains.  There are some fish that are so tiny you don’t even see them until you are swimming right through them, while others

    Great Barrier Reef

    Giant Clam

    are so big that they freak you out a bit.  Many fish are shy and you need to look inside the coral to find them.  There are also beautiful giant clams, sea slugs, squid, eels and rays.  And no we did not see any sharks.

    Great Barrier Reef

    Ray

    From this moment on, you shall now be known as Sharkbait.” Gill

    We swam to the outer edge of the roped off area and we were alone in this section just as a beautiful turtle swam by on the surface.  We

    Great Barrier Reef

    Turtle

    almost missed him because we were looking down and he was swimming right next to us on the surface.  But then he dived and we watched him swim to the bottom looking for a snack.  I believe this was a loggerhead turtle.  We had seen this kind in Sri Lanka. Beautiful brown bodies and not too large.  We watched him swim away beyond the area we were confined to and into the great wide ocean.

    “Saw the whole thing, dude. First you were all like “whoa”, and we were like “whoa”, and you were like “whoa…” Crush

    After about an hour we went back to the pontoon to have a rest.  Reef Magic served a buffet lunch

    Great Barrier Reef

    Pontoon

    that included salads and fruit, bread, chicken, sushi, lasagna, curry and roast beef.  But I only ate a little cause I continued to worry about my motion sickness.  Arne ate my share.  It all looked good.  Great Barrier ReefCoffee, tea and water was also available and a bar on the boat was open when we weren’t underway.  Clearly they have had motion sensitive passengers before and they were well stocked with ginger beer (like ginger ale, non-alcoholic). My beverage of choice.

    “I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine.” Bruce the Great White Shark

    The Great Barriee Reef

    Fish in all sizes

    We headed back out to snorkel more after lunch.  The water seemed a bit calmer but it was also more cloudy so not as easy to see – but that was okay.  We tried to swim to all the areas and to the far-reaching parts of the swimming area.  We noticed most snorkelers stayed very close to the boat.  Understandably if you are an inexperienced snorkeler or not comfortable in the water.  Reef Magic had life jackets as well as float noodles and other devices for anyone looking for a little more reassurance.

    Great Barrier Reef

    Some are shy

    We snorkeled for about 30 minutes and then decided to call it a day.  We went back on the pontoon and stretched out on a lounge chair for the next hour and a half.  Surprisingly, despite the overcast sky, it was warm and we both got a bit of a sunburn.

    Great Barrier Reef

    My Fab Fifties Life!

    Finally it was time to turn in our gear and make our way off the pontoon and back to the vessel for the hour and half ride back.  Once again I stood and watched the horizon the entire way, including during a deluge about half way home.

    But I did it.  I did not get sick.  I snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef.  I can check that off the “I don’t have a bucket list”

    Great Barrier Reef

    Dory

    bucket list.  And remembered to just keep swimming.

    “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.” Dory

    Thanks goes to the wonderful photography of Reef Magic!

    Read more of our Australia adventure here

     

     

    This post includes affiliate links and I may receive a commission if you buy any of these products.  Any money earned goes to help support the cost of the blog.

     

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Book Review

    This blog contains Affiliate Links and I may receive a commission if you purchase this book

    Book Review – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman

    As I read this book I kept thinking “this will definitely be a movie”.  So as I started to write this review I googled it, and sure enough it will.  One of Reese Wetherspoons upcoming movies with her new production company.  And in fact she may even play the title character.

    Whaky and quirky and lacking most social skills, Eleanor Oliphant leads an overly structured life with no friends, no family and very little interaction with anyone.  Except her co-workers at her office where she has worked for nine years.  But her co-workers find her really strange, and Eleanor has no idea why.

    Except for the large burn scar on her face – Eleanor thinks she’s normal.  Well, maybe except for the three bottles of vodka she drinks on the weekend, Eleanor thinks she’s normal.  Maybe the fact that she wears only black pants and white blouse everyday, or she eats the exact same thing everyday – or she speaks to her mother every Wednesday night even though she doesn’t know where her mother is.  Eleanor realizes that probably isn’t normal.  Eleanor’s obsession with a local rock star seems normal to her – in fact she is so sure the rocker will fall in love with her, if they could only meet.  Not normal.

    Eleanor’s life changes the day she coincidentally meets the new I.T. guy at her office and coincidentally is walking out of the building at the same time as he is and they coincidentally see an old man have a heart attack on the sidewalk right in front of them.

    And so begins Eleanor’s life lessons in learning to have a conversation, break from her routine, speak the truth about her past, her sister, her mother and all that took place in her abused and horrible childhood.  Eleanor’s introduction to reality begins right there.

    Sometimes laugh out loud, sometimes get your tissue, Eleanor’s story and those who rescue her is endearing and emotional, hysterical and sobering.  Watch for this one on the big screen.

    Five stars for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

    Check out last week’s review of “The Snow Child”