October 24, 2007

Florida: part 2

Halloween has arrived, along with Fall festivities!! Having missed the whole point last year, being newbies to the US, we took the chance to grab a picture at the Lakeside Pumpkin Patch this time-round.
And then we headed home to eat our first ever slice of pumpkin pie!

After several weeks of beautiful sunshine, we've come to experience the flip-side of Floridian weather! It can rain.. A LOT!! Since all of our travel around the State has been driving we've watched, and sat through, the storms of Florida.

Up around the Panhandle of Florida are several little towns very popular with vacationers & we stopped in on our way through. The biggest pull-factor was learning that the "Truman Show" was filmed in Seaside, FL. So we grabbed some lunch, took a sneaky drive through one of the gated communities and snapped some quick pics!
Driving through did make us thankful for public beaches in Australia, where the best is not fenced-off for fancy homes! It's free-of-charge. :)

And that's about it from Florida, from a non-work perspective! We spent a lot of time in churches and were so thankful for the opportunity to share music and stories with them. If you're interested, more gig-related news will be posted on Nath's website.

Love C & Nt.

October 16, 2007

Florida: Part 1

We were a little nervous as we headed south to Florida, the state of retirees (scary-bad drivers with leathery-tanned skin). But we've come to learn that there's more to this bright state than the northern "snow birds" that arrive each winter to sun themselves! :)

We've been in Florida for a week and a half now, mainly on the west coast, playing at churches and youth events. It's been a busy time, with lots of playing at both day and evening things. But it's also been a great time and a real blessing to be out visiting with lots of different people.

A great young couple hosted us for a week in Port Charlotte and the wife is an Elementary School teacher. So, for fun we went along to her class and filled-in a few US young-ins on Australia. I think we were more interested and into it than anyone else! We had pictures of Sydney, Bondi Beach, Ayers Rock, Kangaroo's, Koala's, a meat pie, Pavlova, fish & chips - all the good stuff!

It was quite cute when the kids realized Vegemite was made by Kraft and a little girl called out "oohh, like Macaroni and Cheese!". The best part was definitely hearing them sing "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree", which they learn in music class - made us very proud.

Nathan played 12 gigs during the Port Charlotte visit (eck!). He powered through really well, and was even good enough to let me sneak-up for a bit of singing! We lead worship together during a cafe night, which was fun...

After the busy week we took some local advice and headed to Siesta Keys, and it was gorgeous!! Siesta is a long, pristine beach of pure white sand and blue ocean, the perfect spot to unwind. Thankfully there was not a speedo-clad grandpa in sight!

From Port Charlotte we headed North to St Petersburg & Venice for a weekend of playing, crossing this roller-coaster-styled bridge...

And we arrived on the other side to visit with some great church groups and one particularly keen youth event that had made us a cool banner! We had a great time sharing some tunes with them and hanging-out - plus they sponsored a number of Compassion kids, which made our weekend.

A major highlight for the trip happened the following day. Driving along the freeway we saw the hard-to-miss Newsboys touring truck parked at the local arena. So I pointed and screamed (not because I'm a Newsboy fan) and Nath jumped on the phone to Paul Colman who plays guitar for the NB (but I am a fan of seeing friends while we travel!). We knew Paul was touring FL but didn't realize he would be so close. It was an great coincidence that we were playing just 15mins from where they were playing that night. So Paul got as all sorted with passes and we stood and cheered him-on - by far the coolest member of the band!! :)

That's Paul on the end

The NB Truck!

It was cool to see a show of that size from the sidelines & see Paul do his thing - he is a truly great friend and we were pumped to watch him in his new job with the band. After seeing them pack-up at the end, into all the trucks and buses, we laughed jumping into our "little" van to continue on our way. But we don't complain - give us the Hampton Inn King beds anyday over a shared bunk-bed bus experience!! :)

To end off this part of our FL travels we headed for another gorgeous beach, Barefoot Beach. It's an even more remote stretch of white sand & calm blue waters, which we soaked-up for a brief hour. It was enough to keep us going!

We are here for another 2 weeks, heading further toward Orlando and the middle of the state, hence this being part 1 - we're bound to have a few more stories and pics after this post!

Although, this could be the last of our beach jaunts - apparently the East coast has the highest number of shark attacks in America! No thank you, don't need that at all! We'll see, could be time to hang at the Mall for a bit...

Love Nathan & Cassie.