October 2004

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Lorikeet having breakfast

Wake-up times. Peter is always complaining: On weekdays he may stay in bed until 7am, but on the weekend, we may quote, "ouhhh, the alarm clock is set at 5.30am, it must be yet another Saturday!" Since summer began in September, the weekends are packed with activities. But besides our active life style there is another reason to get up early, and Peter hardly can argue about this phenomenon: At 4.30am in the morning a flock of Rainbow Lorikeets invades the blossoming tree in front of our bedroom for a super-noisy breakfast. At 6am they finish their brekky, thus finally we could turn around in bed again. But well, now it's time to get up...

Keiko and Yutaka preparing Sushi

Keiko and Yutaka in Sydney. Keiko is a former colleague from Tokyo who had worked on a couple of projects with Peter. Last year, she and her spouse Yutaka started their journey around the world. After a bit more than nine months of travelling through Asia they finally arrive in Darwin in Australia's far north. The first email talks about "driving through the Red Centre and along the East Coast, hence we should arrive in Sydney in approximately three weeks." After visiting all the rather small countries in Southeast Asia an obvious misjudgement. Distances are so huge, and there is so much to discover and to do along the road: Walking around Uluru, diving at the Great Barrier Reef, driving a 4WD along Fraser Island's beaches etc. Many, many weeks later they finally arrive in Sydney and stay at our place. Some highlights of their visit are a hiking tour in the Blue Mountains and home-made Sushi that is prepared for Claudia and Peter. Keiko, Yutaka, enjoy New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, South America, ...

Looking down (to where we have come from)

Grand Canyon in the Blue Mountains. We rediscover the Blue Mountains. October and November are the perfect months for hiking in the mountains. Still not too hot, and the bushfire risk is rather small. Since 2001 Australia's East Coast suffers from a drought, and in principle a fire could start every minute. That's why in late November, when the heat and wind increase the danger, some tracks get closed for hikers because it is almost impossible to rescue yourself from a burning canyon.

Since we moved to Sydney some 2.5 years ago, one of our favourite hiking tracks had been closed due to damages by bushfire: The Grand Canyon track off Blackheath. But now it has been reopened again. We meet Kevin and Sue in Blackheath for an 8.30 brekky (once again one of these early Saturdays...) and begin our decent of 600 metres down into the valley. The Grand Canyon starts as a narrow and damp cut into the rocks. We follow the creek. Gradually, the gorge widens into the valley. In the valley itself we don't see anyone else. Until the very moment when the four of us go skinny-dipping in the creek... Kevin has just shouted "ouhhh, cold!", when all of the sudden two blond bushwalkers with Northern European accent enquire whether the water is warm. The whole day we had not seen a single soul, and don't see anyone on our way back, only in these very 20 seconds! The cold bath is quickly forgotten on the accent: 600 metres altitude get the pump going! Finally on top it is 4.30pm, 90 minutes until sunset. We meet another group of bushwalkers who lost one of their group members down in the valley. The lost girl does not have spare clothes, water, food, or map. Her three friends had looked for her everywhere before finally climbing up to check whether she was waiting at the car. Nothing. 90 minutes until sunset, a valley of wilderness below, and somewhere a girl. Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to help without endangering ourselves. Thoughtfully, we leave the mountains hoping that everything turned out fine.

Maya and Irina

Maya's Birthday. How do Sydneysiders celebrate their second birthday? Of course — confer last year — with a fancy BBQ at the waterfront. This time in Garigal Nationa Park at Middle Harbour, giving Claudia the opportunity to paddle to the party. It's only a whimpy 22 kilometres each way... Peter refers to the Squash match the night before, and happily takes the car :-) But regardless of the burnt calories, Irina and Matthias pamper us with delicacies like steaks, sausages, salads, and cake. Even the non-invited guests, a duck family and lots of Kookaburras, get their share. All of us look forward to episode 3 next year.

This season's fashion: arm sling

Something about shoulders. The month has almost elapsed, and we are still looking for a story for our monthly report to meet the standard of an average five episodes. On 31. October Peter is once again the official photographer at the Balmain Regatta. This is not worth mentioning after 2002 and 2003. But we still have Claudia, and she goes kayaking. This time together with Kevin into the surf at Umina to improve her kayak-surfing skills. Does that sound familiar to you? No, because we never mentioned her accident in November last year when she dislocated her right shoulder at a similar exercise. But this time we want to be honest: After her sailing accident in May 2003 (when she broke her left shoulder), above mentioned posterior dislocation in November 2003, and shoulder surgery in January 2004, the score finally is 2 draw between the shoulders. Anterior dislocation of the right shoulder, something new... The patient is recovering, and yet again Peter is improving his hair plating skills.