ARRC '09

Well, we went. And we had a wonderful time. The Australian Readers made us very welcome and on top of that we got to visit a very beautiful country. We also managed to do a little bit of research while were were there too.

But this blog is show and tell about the conference and our visit to Australia.

We arrived in Sydney first to discover that the 45 degree weather had been replaced by rain. And after the first shark attack in 80 years along with a cool rainy day, this was Bondi Beach. Two surfers and empty sand. My daughter couldn't quite believe it as the previous weekend some 40,000 people were cooling off on the beach. But we got to see itau naturelle.

This was our view from our hotel window. Circle Key and a wee bit of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, if we leaned far out and squinted. Actually not true. You can see the start of the bridge against the skyline. And from our hotel it was only a short walk to a wonderful view of the Sydney Opera House and the Bridge.

Needless to say we took that walk and we took a tour of the Opera House too. A wonderful building and surprising inside.

The conference itself was in Melbourne, and so it wasn't long before we wended our way to the Jasper Hotel right next to the Victoria Markets, which turned out to be one of the most amazing markets I have ever seen in my life. You name it, they had it. We bought a Crocodile Dundee hat and Ugg boots. Now we felt like real Australians. And everyone was so friendly. We were very lucky to meet Sue Webb and her husband Graham. Here we are at the market. Ugg boots in hand, Dundee hat on head!

But then it was down to business. The conference was well attended, the rooms well appointed and everyone was determined to have an excellent conference.

These are some of the booksellers attending the conference.

This was our gala dinner where I was lucky to sit with some wonderful readers and other great writers. We talked a blue streak all evening.

The stalwart ladies of the Registration desk. They couldn't do enough to help and were always smiling and helpful.

We visited lots of other places on our trip, and one of them will be an article for this blog, but the rest, well they are happy memories of Koalas, kangaroos and penguins, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, and driving the Great Ocean Road, meeting old friends and making new ones.

On Monday we will look at fashion for March and next Thursday take a look at Australia in our era.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.