Sky High

Dear Friends,

Look at this skyscraper! At 322.5 metres, it’s one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.

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Can you guess where it is?

The beautiful blue sky should give you a clue. It’s at the Gold Coast in the Sunshine State of Queensland; the Q1 building sits right on the beach at Surfers Paradise.

You know me – I love being up high! I had to visit SkyPoint, the observation deck on the 76th and 77th floors of the tower.

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On my way into the building, the word ‘adventure’ caught my eye.

Then I spotted a very adventurous looking man outside the shop.

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He was all kitted out for a SkyPoint Climb – 298 stairs on the outside of the tower to an elevation of 270 metres! When Adventure Man heard I was an alpine beaver and used to heights, he invited me to go with him. I was so excited…until I found out there wasn’t a Climb Suit or a safety harness in my size.

Oh, the devastation I felt.

Instead of joining Adventure Man, I had to sit inside, watching and waiting, as he ventured out into the open air and began the long upwards climb.

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Lucky the views were worth the wait.

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Justin.

Bite Me

Dear Friends,

I never thought the time would come when I wanted to do some work experience but didn’t get the job. It’s my own fault though. I’m just too debonair for my own good!

Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant on the Gold Coast was advertising for cast members and I decided to audition. With my yodeling skills and my flashy dress sense, I thought I would complement the cast perfectly.

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I must admit I saw the signs early on. The dancing skeletons, creepy chandeliers and chocolate coffins should have rung warning bells,

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but my pride got the better of me and I persevered.

I tried on a glitzy costume.

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I posed with the cast members.

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I even thought about growing a beard.

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Finally I came to the sad conclusion it was something I just couldn’t get my teeth into!

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It would have been fun though.

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Fun

Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant

Love (and Ice Cream) On Top

Dear Friends,

 With one quick glance at this photo you might think I’m sitting on a snow clad mountain back in the Bavarian Alps.

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But when I add more detail you can see that what you thought was snow is actually ice cream. Yes, those are giant scoops of vanilla ice cream, topped off with a huge red cherry.

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And the mountain I’m perched on top of is not of the hard rocky kind. It’s a mountain of pancakes, drenched in warm caramel sauce!

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It’s only when you have all the details that you can fully appreciate this amazing spectacle. Imagine going into a pancake parlour, placing your order and having a stack like this arrive on your plate!

Would you be able to eat it all?

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Details

Opposites Attract

Dear Friends,

Last week I went on a cruise with my personal assistant Mrs ET. While she was gallivanting around the ship, I spent my time watching the world go by and making new friends.

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Meet Mr Penguin and Mr Elephant.

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We had plenty in common: a love for travel and a keen sense of adventure. But at the same time there were some interesting differences. Mr Penguin is a snappy dresser like myself, but he wore the bare minimum. Mr Elephant didn’t enjoy the ocean views and always sat with his back to the window. (I think he had a delicate constitution.)

Mr Penguin and Mr Elephant had their own personal assistant, James. He was responsible for making sure they always looked their very best.

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He certainly did a wonderful job.

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Opposites

Take The Long Way Home

Dear Friends,

Mr ET has a new favourite saying: When an Aussie says “Just down the road” they could mean anything from a block to a kilometre to a three day drive.

He’s not wrong. When he decided to go down the road, we ended up driving more than 14 000 km right around Australia!

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After cruising on the highway through western Queensland for four days, we arrived at Mount Isa, a mining town 900 kilometres from the east coast of Australia. This signpost was a timely reminder of how far we’d travelled and how much further we could go.

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Another 190 kilometres west, just up the road, is the outback town of Camooweal. It’s in the middle of nowhere and a long way from anywhere.

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After this, we had another eight weeks to go before we were home again.

So if an Aussie asks if you want to go out for a drive, be careful. You might be gone for a very long time!

Justin.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Numbers

Dressed For Success

Dear Friends,

There’s no doubt about it – Hawaiians are snappy dressers.

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Some Hawaiians don’t even need to be dressed to impress,

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while others accessorize to perfection.

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Even my best buddy Manny got into the spirit with his beautiful shell lei.

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I was filled with admiration for the relaxed Hawaiian style and I really wanted to fit in, so I went shirt shopping.

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I couldn’t choose, so I bought them both.

Which shirt do you like best?

Justin

Weekly Photo Challenge –  Admiration

All My Friends

Dear Friends,

Did you know that Hawaii is the shrimp capital of the world?

I didn’t, until I went there. I met so many different shrimp, each with their own laid back outlook on island life.

There was Surfer Shrimp, who took me on a wild ride over on the North Shore.

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Hula Shrimp gave me free dancing lessons.

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I even visited the biggest shrimp in the world, at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co.

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Chef Shrimp gave me a personal tour of his van at Waimanalo Beach,

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and it was here I met the best shrimp of all – Coconut shrimp!

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Delicious and nutritious!

Justin.

Watching and Waiting

Dear Friends,

 I’ve been whale watching with my old buddy Manny. We sailed on the Ocean Spirit, a sleek catamaran, out into the Auau Channel off the island of Maui.

Manny and I were given the job of Official Whale Spotters.

We watched

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and watched

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and watched

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until far away in the distance we spotted a telltale water spout.

Whale up ahead!

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The boat isn’t allowed to go closer than 100 metres, but this whale was very friendly and he came up to us. Isn’t he a beauty!

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Instead of watching whales on the way back to the boat harbour at Lahaina, Manny and I watched the captain.

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We learned how to steer the boat and read the instruments. It’s very complicated.

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When we got the boat safely back to shore, we received the Captain’s seal of approval – Whale Watchers Extraordinaire.

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We made a new friend who wanted to come home with us.

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But he wouldn’t fit into our bag!

Justin.

PS My Personal Assistant Mrs ET and Marsha Lee came whale watching with us.

Crocodile Rock Part 2

Dear Friends,

After visiting Walkabout Creek Hotel, I was inspired to take up a new career as a crocodile hunter. Mick Dundee makes it look so easy in the movie.

First I had to find some crocodiles.

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Even though there were plenty of warning signs, I didn’t spot a single croc until I got to Windjana Gorge in the Kimberleys; and then I got more than I bargained for!

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There were crocs everywhere.

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That scaly skin, those prehistoric tails and those teeth…I just couldn’t bring myself to go too close.

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I’m certain this one was sizing me up as a potential meal and I wasn’t sure I would be able to run fast enough if he decided it was dinner time. I didn’t stay long enough to find out!

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I felt like a failure until I met this friendly fellow in Broome a few days later.

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He just wanted to show off his amazing smile and he assured me he wasn’t hungry.

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Maybe he didn’t want to pick fur out of his teeth!

Justin.

Crocodile Rock Part 1

Dear Friends,

Have you seen the movie “Crocodile Dundee”? It’s one of my all time favourites.

That man is so cool, calm and collected – a lot like me actually.

 I wanted to walk in the footsteps of Mick Dundee, so I called into the Walkabout Creek Hotel at McKinlay in outback Queensland.

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Just like Mick, I sat at the bar with a long cold beer.

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I was a bit worried when Kelly the barmaid pulled out a knife, until I realised it wasn’t just any old knife.

It was Mick’s famous knife.

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I wouldn’t like to be on the wrong side of Mick. That knife could do some serious damage.

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I waited for some time on the shady veranda but Mick didn’t come by.

He must have been too busy chasing crocs.

Justin.