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While travelling north on our way to Brisbane, I finally found the contact number for Gena, one of Allegra's friends that she met on Bowen Island and who is now living in Port MacQuarie.  We were about a day away from Port MacQuarie and I stop to call Gena's family.  Ray, Gena's Dad, answers and I say, "Do you remember me?" (we only met and visited once while they were on Bowen) and Ray kindly says that he does.  With very short notice Ray and I arrange a time to drop in on his family the next day.  When we arrived . . .

the girls were very excited to see eachother.   Ray and Stacie (Gena's Mom) were totally welcoming and we all had a great visit.  It is a wonderful thing when friends can slow down and adjust their schedule to accomodate friends passing through.  Stacie prepared an excellent meal of oysters, prawns, lamb, sausage and salad, WOW.  We had a great dinner; the adults caught up on each others lives, Gena and Allegra busily connected again and Birch, Orion (Gena's older brother)  and Taron (Gena's younger brother) got to know each other.  Stacie then offered if we would like to visit the follwing day and I only agreed on the grounds that I would make dinner. 
   
     

Gena got to stay home from school the next day and I took Birch, Allegra and Gena to a nearby National Park, while Ray, Stacie, Orion and Taron continued on with their day.  The park was magnificent, the trail switch backed through an old growth forest that ended at a beautiful waterfall.  As we walked along the trail we read small information boards that would describe the different types of trees, vegetation and creatures that lived in the forest, along with our vivid imaginations of deadly snakes and spiders we had a lively walk.  The trail ended at the base of the waterfall and our mezmerized gazes and thoughts were then interrupted with the yells and screams of Allegra and Gena  yelling at the top of their combined lungs "Leach", "Leach", "Leach"!!!
I would like to report that we all made it back to the car safely and we then had a picnic lunch. 
After lunch we we went to drop in on Ray who was busy making cheese at his "new" cheese making facility.  We said a quick hello and then went to the local coffee shop to reward ourselves with milkshakes and coffee.   Getting back to Gena's home we "recharged" before heading out to their local beach so all the kids could do some boogie boarding.  The day ended with another great meal prepared by yours truly, a huge pasta with meat sauce.  Considering the only leftover was a half pound of cooked pasta (I tend to over estimate portion size) I think the meal was a success.
The next day we said our goodbyes and made our way to Byron Bay which is about 4 hours north of Port MacQuarie and 2 hours south of Brisbane.  Birch, Allegra and I had a fantastic visit thanks to Gena's family who opened up their homes and hearts and made us feel completely welcome.
Thank you
John
Angela Tantalo
11/28/2011 07:30:42 am

Wow, I think that is great to reconnect with friends from back home. I hope you are taking lots of pictures your adventure gets more and more exciting. I am so happy that you are all having an unforgetable and awesome experience. Keep enjoying yourselves and make more memories.
Hugs and love from Canada
Angela, Leo , Gianni and Cristina
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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