Married on the third day of December in our backyard, Canberra, Australia.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pacific Science Center - Butterflies

The real reason we went to the Science Center was to see the butterfly house.

Riding the Pendulum Bike

At the Pacific Science Center they have a bike that you can ride around a thin track about 4 metres above a pool.

Noisy video:

There is a safety net, but if you bail on the far side of the ring they will probably have trouble retrieving the bike since it is self powered. I guess they have a stick or something.

Even though you can't fall off the track (the weights below you keep you in place) it is suprisingly scary. I had to do it three times before we got the video right! See if you can spot where I wave.

Pacific Science Center

After riding the Ducks (a tour we went on), we decided to check out the Pacific Science Center. Once in line, they told us that if we waited another 15 mins. we could get in for $5 instead of the usual fee of $15. Why? Well, they were closing in an hour and we weren't able to see everything. So we caught some snaps of interesting things and then headed straight for the butterflies!!!!
Outside of the science center there are a few small statues. Here are are school of 4 fish with grumpy faces.
The science center has a large water area. There are water cannons, human powered water wheels and an elevated bike that you can ride around a track.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


After leaving Santa Monica I visited Seattle, Washington. Louise joined me for the last few days and we had a look around.

Seattle is a beautiful place. There is an abundance of trees and greenery. The city isn't packed with traffic or pedestrians. With the exception of the archaic method of payment they use at a lot of public parking, it is a great city to visit.

One of our first tourist stops was the Seattle Underground Tour. Between this and the Ride the Ducks tour we learnt a lot about the city.

On the Underground Tour, which actually does go under the sidewalk, we learnt about how the city is built on mud flats. After it burnt down in 1889 they decided to raise the ground level. This was to address the problems of living at sea level, such as tides causing sewers to flow back out through toilets and giant sink holes forming in the roads. The unusual thing about this is that the street level was raised after the city was rebuilt, so you actually enter on the second or third floor of most buildings. Also, because the side walk is owned by building owners the city council did not have it raised.

Eventually sidewalks were built between the streets and buildings. The Seattle Underground Tour shows you the original sidewalks that are like tunnels under the new sidewalks. It covers a lot of the early history of the city, such as the introduction of the Crapper.

Walking around town we saw a lot of unusual art. We saw a statue of Lenin that was rescued from Russia, a parade of pigs and a giant bridge troll.

A tour guide filled us in. One percent of the cost of non residential buildings in Seattle has to be used to buy art for public places. This "One Percent for Art" concept apparently started in Seattle in 1983 and has spread to 300 other cities. As a result, Seattle has both a lot of art and a lot of character.

We sought out the giant yeti and giant squid in Pike Place Market. While we were looking at a map, a passer by stopped and offered directions. That has never happened to us before!

There was a boat race on Lake Washington the weekend after we left. While we were there we missed an annual parade. Seattle also has the first drive through ATM that we have seen.

Washington borders Canada. You can actually hire a seaplane and fly up to Victoria in British Columbia.

We'll definately be visiting Washington again. Next time we will have to visit Mount Rainier.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Peach Picking

Sean missed out on this activity too! :( I went peach picking with Dina to a little place called Brentwood. We had soooo much fun and walked away with a bucket of yellow peaches and a bucket of white peaches. All up, we spent $36 on peaches. Not bad. But they tasted heavenly!! Mind you, I gave most of mine away as I can't eat all of them by myself! But the best part of the day after posing in the peach orchard, was finding this little cafe and discovering that they have the "best" apricot pie I have ever tasted!!!!!!! It melted in my mouth and I just had to take home an apricot pie for Sean to enjoy too. So, it sat in the freezer until he came home. Which thankfully, I didn't have to wait too long. :)

Lavender Picking

While Sean was away in Santa Monica, I was invited by Karen to come lavender picking at her friend's place in San Jose. This is the view from the lavender fields.

Me, bending over and picking the lavender. It's best to pick lavender in the early mornings as the sun dries the oil out if picked later. We weren't super early, like 6am but managed to pick the lavender at a much more reasonable hour, like 9am!!! :)
This is Karen, who's very happy with her efforts! :)

Our stash!!!! I'm planning to use my lavender in a hydrosol - just need to buy the equipment first...... (a double-boiler basically). :)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Santa Monica and Hollywood

I recently visited Santa Monica, which is near Los Angeles. It was during a heat wave, so the weather might have been more spectacular than usual. Whilst I was there I got a CVS disposable digital camera (well, I got two, one to hack and one to use) since Louise was using our normal camera.
Santa Monica is a 30 minute bus ride from Hollywood. I went there to check out French General for Louise, but they were overseas so I couldn't. I decided to try out a Hollywood tour, which was pretty good. They don't take you up near the sign, but they take you through Hollywood Land (the older part of Hollywood with nice (expensive) houses.) I didn't see any real celebrities.
Hollywood itself is a bit disappointing, there is really nothing to see and it's got a bit of a dodgy character to it. The wax museum demonstrated how difficult it must be to make was models with realistic colouring and dimensions. I found a good pizza shop.
Whilst in Santa Monica I got some $2 notes. They are perceived to be rare, and they don't work in some machines (the Santa Monica bus ticket machines don't accept them). It is a shame that tipping is expected here, but if I must tip $2 notes are definitely good tipping currency.