Saturday, March 31, 2012

Get some culture in ya!

I attended a musical high school so I think I appreciate the skill of young musicians.  My school prided themselves for their marching bands and musical theatre productions.  It was compulsary to participate in the musical program in the first year of high school whether that be via choir or learning an instrument.  In reflection my musical achievements for the 7 years prior had only resulted in a screeching note on my recorder that reflected a flock of seagulls surrounding a tourist with hot chips at Bondi Beach.  Therefore, I opted for the choir and also attempted to be a flag girl.  Unsuccessful.  I got kicked out of choir for giggling at the breathing and warm up exercises, and it turns out, if you have not mastered tossing your flag in the air, you can harm yourself, (and others).  My musical career was short lived, unless you count holding a great tune in the shower by myself.  But you will have to take my word for it, because as they say, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

My children have been introduced to classical music from birth as it was always played for them at rest times.  And truth be told they probably heard it in my womb also.  Do not be thinking I have Bach's Greatest Hits playing on road trips, this music has purely entered my life as relaxation or sleep assistance.  And truth be told it probably achieved this for me in a few school assemblies.  I think it is important for children to be exposed to experiences and cultures, in order to educate and allow them to make their own decisions.  My aim of taking the children to see the orchestra?  An appreciation of music, and an understanding that a double bass will not fit in the back of our car and would be awkward on public transport. 

Learning the basics...
 The Babies Prom is aimed to introduce children to the excitement of the orchestra and the joy of music.  The Western Australia Youth Orchestra (WAYO), performed tunes themed around movies.  These were perhaps aimed more at parents, as the presenter had children trying to guess tunes from Titanic, Superman, Jaws, 007 and Mission Impossible, all perhaps a little before my 4 year old's time.  Although to please all in attendance, the children (and parents) were encouraged to be interactive with marching, swaying and keeping rhythm with conducting, (it is now evident to me that majority of 'Perth parents', have no rhythm, must be something in the water)?  Children were introduced with a brief description and demonstration of instruments.  Apparently my daughters favourite was the 'Violino'.  I presume that this is a mixture between the piano and the violin?  Good to see my money for the tickets is not going to waste on her education.
First conducted by Maestro....

Then conducted by an 8 year old volunteer!

Making a quick get away!
A couple of children were selected to conduct the orchestra, and at the end the children were asked to stand with their favourite instrument while they played their final song.  I think the crowds overwhelmed my children slightly and they retreated, (quickly) before harmonies began.  But confidence aroused as the crowds dispersed, and they tried the double bass and drums, (2 instruments I would not encourage while we are in apartment living), but they seemed to enjoy themselves.

This was a great experience for us, and I have nothing but admiration for these young students dedication, talent and tolerance while the toddlers are plucking their well tuned strings!

Drum 1, 2, 3, left symbol, right symbol, then repeat 3 times!  Pretty good rhythm for a 2 year old.... unfortunately drums do not fit in the boot of my car, and are awkward to carry on public transport!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Photos say it all...

Byron Bay is a trip looked forward to each year; I now hope this will be an annual event.  So far it has been a chance to reconnect with friends, family and to meet some amazing people.  Children wander from parent to parent and we all quite happily swap and choose them as we please.  Conversation flows.  Life seems easy.  Cares are melted away with early morning yoga but happily awakened with your own children playing in the park behind you. Subconscious or real?  It all seems to melt into one.  This seems to be my one time of year that I reflect on the past and predict the future. Like a car, I need to be serviced.  Byron Bay is my yearly service. 
Time to wax the board....

And hook the line...

Parents try to escape...
Children try to escape

Play 'Bay Watch' theme in background

surfing with cousins

Still trying to escape at night time, points for persistence.......

Faster, faster!!!!

Time for family and time for me; a time for understanding...

Faster Pa!
Faster Nana?!?


Practice on dry land....

Beauty is serene...

Attack aunt as instructed!  Now!  Woo Haa!!!!!

Corny, cheesy, beefy, fishy, chickeney.... what ever you want to call it.. "My Byron Family",
(No matter how far I roam...")


Monday, March 5, 2012

Shoo fly, don't bother me

After a good nights sleep, we were prepared for a day of exploring Hyden.  Our first stop is Wave Rock.  This was our 'draw card' in the first place, as it is Hyden's major destination. This is evident by their merchandise of t-towels, key rings, thermometers and stubbie coolers.  Wave Rock is a granite cliff that stands 15 metres high and 110 metres long.  The wave-like shape was caused by weathering and water erosion, which has undercut the base and left a rounded overhang.

In 1960, crystals from Hyden Rock were dated as being 2700 million years old, amongst the oldest in Australia.

After surfing the rock, we all climbed to the top to explore various rock formations, to view the damn, and enjoy the 360 degree view, (while spotting some lizards).  Warnings are given to wear appropriate footwear, and in hindsight thongs and crocs were probably not the best foot attire for steep and slippery rock climbing.  They had a picture of high heels on the sign, so I figured thongs would not be so bad.

Hippos Yawn consists of an unusually shaped granite top that was formerly part of the larger outcrop.  It is next to Wave Rock, and yep, you guessed it, was shaped like a hippo yawning.  You could climb into the cave and the children particularly enjoyed being passed from rock to rock like a swinging monkey, needless to say, a good workout for the parents!
Hippos yawn

Little explorers

There was a salt pool on offer, (every Resort has a swimming pool), only this one is a little different.  First warnings were from the receptionist at check in, "Good fun, really harsh on your skin".  Okay....  We spoke to some other swimmers yesterday, "Don't put your head under, it burns your eyes."  Okay...  Written warning next to pool "Enter with caution."  Okay...  So for some strange reason I was a little dubious to take the children in .  But surely this is where the magic happens, or was that just the Lake Magic? I am encouraged to go first, (I've always been hopeless with peer group pressure), and 'apparently' I volunteered to be lab rat for this particular experience.  The crowd sits on the edge telling me to "get on with it", I have a funny feeling if I scream it burns, I will be the only one swimming today.  The water was actually refreshing, and guess what else?  Magical!  I could not sink.  I was as buoyant as a rubber ducky!  On my back I could of quite easily floated reading a book and balanced a cocktail on my belly, I was not going under.  On my belly, my bottom bobbed above the water like J-Lo and it was near impossible to do a breastroke kick without my calves waving around like a beginner synchronised swimmer.  Due to the lack of co-ordination my children possess, (no idea what side of the family that comes from), they had both acquired many grazes after the morning's climbing adventures.  I am presuming by the volume of their screams on the waters entry, that this would indicate the burning of salt water on open flesh wounds.  Perhaps not my most proud parenting moment, but I satisfy myself that salt water will clean the wounds.  Keep in mind this satisfaction does not arrive until well after the screaming ceases.  Despite my judgement in parenting, the salt pool was worth the floating experience.

The last stop for our busy day of exploring Hyden was at Mulka's cave.  I had mentioned earlier the rumour of the cabins being haunted.  This is regarding the Aboriginal Legend of Mulka. Mulka was the illegal son of woman who fell in love with a man with whom marriage was forbidden according to their law.  It is believed that a result of breaking these rules, she bore a son with crossed eyes. Even though he grew to be an outstandingly strong man of colossal height, his crossed eyes prevented him from aiming a spear accurately and becoming a successful hunter. Out of frustration it is said Mulka turned to catching and eating human children and he became the terror of the district. He lived in Mulka's Cave, where the imprints of his hands can still be seen, much larger and higher than that of an ordinary man.
Fish and half moon

Hand prints

The cave was fascinating to explore. It was hard to see the hand prints, so I found myself going snappy happy with the camera, and viewing them after the photo was taken. Hidden images seemed to appear from nowhere. Maybe it was just my paranoia working overtime, or just the spiritual feel after being educated about Mulka, but I think I got an image of a face. Could it of been Mulka?
Do you see a face?
Mulka's Cave

The Humps are a large granite rock formation that is used as a water catchment.  After climbing through Mulka's cave, we trekked over rocks, through bush (stumble, trip, stumble trip), to be greeted by lovely views and more steep climbing.  We kept trekking until all 3 of our little explorers literally fell apart, I think the adults were in denial for a little while.  Fatigue, clumsiness and hunger set in so we cancelled our expedition and tried to successfully find our way back to the car.  I must admit, I am glad that I shared this experience with the children... but... if they were not in tow, and we were wearing better shoes, and had more sunscreen, and had more water, and I had a hat with corks hanging off it, then hubby and I could of trekked for a few more hours.  Regarding the hats with the corks; the flies were like an artillery of insect warriors.  I spent the majority of my time outdoors waving my arms like a ninja with invisible num-chucs trying to swat flies.
Nanas talking about the view

Shoo fly, don't bother me!

Wanted to trek some more!

Apart from the flies, it was a wonderful holiday, and I would recommend the area of Hyden to anyone wanting to explore inland Western Australia.  I would love to say we will be back, but probably not, as there is so much more of Western Australia to explore.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

This is like Blair witch project

Wanting to make the most of the Perth long weekend, (Labour day, Monday the 5th of March) we (I)decided to head east to Wave Rock, Hyden,  for a long weekend vacation.  This is when realisation set in that we were still a little naive concerning Western Australia's 'hotspots' as husband questioned one week before holidays, "Soooo, Wave Rock, is the beach nearby?"  I responded, "Not too close", but true to its name, we would be seeing a rock, looking like a wave, hence the name, who would of thought?

Google maps estimated 4 1/2 hours travel, GPS had us at 3 1/2 hours, so we arrived at an impressive 5 1/2 hours! We were travelling to destination with a double car convoy with 3 children included so several stops including emergency wetting of red soil on the side of the road was imminent. "I just can't wait" echoing from the rear of the car to solve issues of release, feeding and anticipation of destination.... "I just can't wait!"

I made a fabulous executive decision as leader driver of the convoy to follow a 't' (tourist destination) sign, for an opportunity to stretch my legs.  After all, how often are we going to head this far east into this beautiful land, make the most of it right?  Needless to say.... I am not too sure if you will find this as a tourist destination in the Lonely Planet guide to the Great Western Australia Outback.  But if you do decide to follow the all trustworthy 't'  sign, you will find 'Christmas tree well' / a swamp with a leather lounge half immersed and a few pine trees on the side / a pit filled in with concrete and covered in wire (presume this is the well?) / more random pieces of mould furnishings that obviously did not belong in a bush setting / and a large mound of sand that looks as though it has been randomly dumped by a concrete truck that has obviously over ordered on the sand.  "Wow a really big sandpit!" comment the kids.  Looks like the children will be easy to please on this particular vacation.  Personally I think I should contact local council and have this local 't' attraction removed, but I guess it is all part of discovering Australia.  I give them praise for trying to furnish a swamp i guess. With mutters in my ear from hubby "This is like Blair Witch Project, can we go now?", we head off before the sun sets for a spooky setting.
Christmas tree well

We arrived at Wave Rock Resort, Hyden, (and I use the word Resort loosely). Brick self-contained cabins in the middle of the outback, that are protected buy a rusty old armour tank; I should of known there was to be no pool bar or Wi Fi Internet... what was i thinking? The rusty armour tank to protect me from the rumoured spirits, (oops, did I forget to tell my fellow travellers about the ghost,) I'll get to that later.  I just know, no, I am certain, that I am going to have an awesome holiday!  Do you know how I knew?  I think it was the numerous amounts of laminated signs littering the brick walls informing me about the dangers of the rat raps, and the importance of keeping doors closed to keep the insects, critters, (spirits) out!
Well protected

We were 340 km east from Perth, so I can confidently say, for me, this is pretty remote country.  No Ikea.  No MacDonald's.  The land is dry, the land is flat, everything seems to be red like it is covered in rust, and the cloudless skies and 35 degrees seemed to give an even wider impression of open spaces and barren terrain.  Okay, so now I sound like I am quoting from an A B Patterson poem. And I sound as though I am criticizing, I do not mean to, this is beautiful country.  The roads are lined with red dirt, you can spot only an occasional sheep, I am sure there are more, but they blend with the rocks and the pale fields; the only movement seemed to come from the occasional windmill trying to pump water from dried out damns for the non-existent cattle.  In all honesty, my husband and I spent most of our travel time trying to guess what all the land was used for.  We narrowed it down to either salt from the salt lakes or sales of ground melons????  I have a feeling we would both be wrong, therefore we both tie first place!

Our 'resort' style cabins were situated next to Lake Magic, (more words that should probably be used loosely). I did not see anyone pull a rabbit out of their hat, nor did someone pull a coin from behind my ear. I did however see people slipping on the clay surrounds and sinking knee deep in random parts of the waters edge. There were a few 'Funniest Home Video' moments, but true to form, I was too busy giggling to film. The water in the lake is clear but salty and the lakes base is made of gypsum. There were two catamarans on offer without sails and a canoe without paddles, so intellectual tuition told me perhaps water sports are out?
Lake Magic
Lake Magic swallowing thongs and people
Beautiful sun set

Cancelled on the water sports

I have joked about the accommodation, but in hindsight,  as long as we have a bed, working shower and toilet, I am happy.  We even had an outdoor amphitheatre, (which we later found out was an outdoor karaokee stage), that the children used to perform their own concerts, play games of freeze, chase, spot lights and some star gazing.  We felt welcome in Hyden.
Private concert