New Windsor couple's taste of Australia


August 19, 1999|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FLIGHTLESS BIRDS, Blue Mountains, flat white coffee and other wonders of a world down under made a lasting impression on Mary Jo and John Winter during their recent two-week stay in Australia.

The New Windsor residents are basking in the glow of the sights and people they encountered on the other side of the world.

"The trip was absolutely fantastic," said Mary Jo. "And it was so cool -- literally. It was their winter, and the daytime temperature was 62 degrees, with an occasional shower. We stayed in the Sydney area, which is extremely diverse."

The Winters enjoyed using public transportation, which features a much-used, fast water-taxi system.

"We didn't need to deal with driving.

"There's an excellent light rail system, a complete ferry and boat system -- all run by the government -- and we could get all-day or week passes for the bus."

The couple packed in activities and sightseeing around John's conference schedule during the first week of their stay. He was attending the ninth annual Symposium for Nondestructive Characterization of Materials, a conference for scientists and engineers. John is a scientist at the Johns Hopkins University.

Even though the language was the same, ordering food, especially coffee, meant hurdling some cultural barriers.

"You can order coffee `short black, long black, flat white' and a lot of other ways. Once we caught on, we realized that we could get an individually prepared cup of coffee every morning," said Mary Jo.

The couple took side trips, and a favorite was a tour of the Blue Mountains, so called because of the vapor of eucalyptus trees that rises against them. At Featherdale Wildlife Park, the home of birds and other wildlife native to Australia, they saw a cassowary, a large flightless bird, and got to eat breakfast in the presence of kangaroos.

"You could walk up to them and take their picture," said Mary Jo. "If I ever get back there again, I want to see more of the country."

Teen pool parties

It's the countdown to the end of summer, and Taneytown is offering kids a chance to get together and party at the municipal pool before school starts.

A party for middle-schoolers, open to kids entering the sixth through eighth grades, takes place from 9 p.m. to midnight tomorrow. The high school party will be held from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

Both parties will be held at Taneytown Community Swimming Pool, and will feature a disc jockey, food and drinks.

No admission is charged, but partygoers should bring a recent report card or student identification to get in -- and arrive at the pool by 9: 30 p.m.

Information: 410-756-2677.

Show your colors

Celebrate Taneytown Day is on the horizon, scheduled for Aug. 28, and it's a chance to spruce up and show off the charms of the town for visitors.

To encourage this show of pride, red, white and blue buntings, designed to hang from a front porch, are available through the Taneytown Heritage Committee or at Diane's Hallmark Shoppe in Taneytown Shopping Center. Buntings are $15 each.

The committee is also selling commemorative pewter medallions depicting City Hall. Cost is $15 each, two for $27.50 or four for $50. Anna Motter, heritage committee member, is selling these from her home.

Information: 410-756-2257.

Bluegrass in the park

CB Pickers, a bluegrass group, will perform a free concert at 6 p.m. Sunday at Taneytown Memorial Park. Concertgoers should take a picnic and lawn chairs.

Taneytown offers concerts every other Sunday during the summer.

"People really enjoy them, and they're very well-attended," said Linda Hess of Taneytown's city office.

Information: 410-756-2677.

Celuis Riddick turns 102

Happy birthday to Celuis Riddick, a Union Bridge resident who marked his 102nd birthday this week. Riddick celebrated with 30 family members -- children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren -- at the home he shares with daughters Charlotte and Marie Riddick.

Nature's pictures

One of the rewards of living here is the chance to observe incredible displays of nature. Thousands of birds fill our neighbor's tree every spring, screeching and filling every branch during mating season.

On a recent morning walk around the track at Francis Scott Key High School, while young athletes whizzed around me, I noticed a black hawk slowly circling the field before it landed on top of a pole of stadium lights. Its wings spanned half the width of the fixture.

Judy Reilly's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 8/19/99

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