Today we were finally able to go somewhere with Shaunee. She has been meaning to accompany us to some of our tourist destinations, but has been rather busy at work. In the morning we went to Parklea Markets, a ton of shops inside of a fairground-type warehouse every Saturday and Sunday. It is chock full of produce, souvenir shops, candy shops, and really anything else you can think of. Our first stop was at this little cracker jack looking cart with an old lady behind it making fresh mini doughnuts with this little machine—a terrific breakfast. We then got started on the shops.

Tyler already brought home a slew of Aussie things for his family when he returned from his mission, but I was determined to get something for my family members. We bought an authentic Aussie hat for my dad, which took me forever to select because there were so many choices. We bought an Aussie license plate for my mom to put in the family game room and a decorative boomerang. We then bought real throw-around boomerangs for my dad and brothers-in-law, and little boomerangs for the nieces and nephews. We bought a shirt that says "I (heart) Sydney" for my friend Sydney because she was and will be our airport chauffeur. Soon Shaunee had to leave for work-related reasons and her brother came to pick her up. Next, we then bought Aussie playing cards and kangaroo tie tacks for us and little clip-able koalas for my co-workers.

We came across a shop selling workman's clothes. In Australia, all workmen wear these neon yellow/neon orange and navy blue tops, whether it be hoodies, polos, v-necks, or coats. In the States, neon is all the rage, so of course we had to buy some, but Shaunee just laughed at us when we showed her in the evening, as it's a sort of janitorial/construction worker uniform here. We scoured the fruit stands looking for mangos, but couldn't find any. Fortunately, a produce man directed us to a different Asian fruit stand, the only one in the whole warehouse that had mangos. Tyler was ecstatic; we bought five! We then had lunch—kebabs. They are sort of like gyros, but Australian. We also got an order of chicken chippies (french fries with chicken salt on them… so. good.) and ginger beer—a very Aussie meal.

Our plan for the evening was to drive up to Newcastle to ride camels along the beach. We found that we had plenty of time, so we hit up some thrift shops and stopped for a couple of Golden Gaytimes (honeycomb-biscuit covered ice cream bars made with toffee ice cream—honeycomb!). We soon were on the road to Stockton Beach for the camel riding at sunset. At first the GPS took us to the wrong end of the beach, unbeknownst to us until we asked a lady walking her dog. She said that we needed to go to Anna Bay for the camels; we thought we had plenty of time, so we frolicked in the water a bit. We jumped in the car and put in Anna Bay and saw that it took another hour to get there. Who knew Stockton Beach was so massive?

We raced the sun to get there in time. We parked the car and walked down to the camel trailer, waiting for the camels to come back. It never said on their website when they stopped giving rides, they just said sunset. We waited and waited until it was basically dark. Tyler was gutted that we weren't going to be able to ride them. He rode them on his mission, but really wanted me to be able to ride them too. When they finally came back, he asked if we could just have a quick ride, but they were all done. I told him it was fine and that we should get on the road. We stopped at a gas station on the way back to buy drinks for our Sunday dinner with the Baileys. Once back in Dural, we bought a pizza from Eagle Boys, because pizza cheers up even the bluest of Tylers.

Even though it was the wrong end of Stockton Beach, it was a lovely stop. The weather was absolutely perfect.

Tyler was so excited to get in the water, which was surprisingly warm considering it was winter. He was running and splashing like a little schoolboy.

Meanwhile, down the beach a ways, some unashamed, naked young lads were also having the time of their lives.

Even though camel rides were a bust, waiting around at Anna Bay while the sun set through the mist made for some pretty sweet photos.

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