Slowing down in Cairns

Paddling on our kayaks off Palm Cove, Luke, our young kayak guide glides effortlessly beside us.  He tells me he’s just been to Sagada, and says Filipinos are the friendliest and most generous people he’s met.  I smile and nod.

We’ve been kayaking since seven in the morning, and paddle close to a deserted island where, according to Luke, a luxury resort used to stand.  A lone dog gazes at us.  Earlier we had paddled out, trying to get into the rhythm while enjoying the natural beauty around us. The ocean stretched endlessly ahead, and behind us, the palm trees lined the coast against the green mountains. It looked just like any island in the Philippines. We were in Cairns, a tropical paradise in the northeast coast of Australia.   Continue reading

Starting the Year Easy in Sydney

Welcoming the New Year in one of the first countries in the world to ring in 2017 seemed like a crazy plan but panned out to be a relaxed, memorable long weekend. The city of Sydney was brimming with revelers from all over on New Year’s weekend. The beaches were packed–Coogee, Bondi and Manly, and so were tourist strips, Darling Harbour and the Circular Quay. With the summer weather, everyone was happy to be out in the sun.

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