Daron, Melanie, Stephen, Kassie, and Kenny

Monday, March 25, 2013

Australia Day 2 - Blue Mountains!

Daron wearing a python around his neck. 

Feeding a live koala! So amazing – koalas were originally hunted almost to extinction because their fur is the warmest, strongest, softest and most water-proof of all Australian animals.


Today was so much fun!  We had an AWESOME tour guide David who’s been at it for 20 years giving tours all over Australia, so he was funny and had amazing stories! Taught us about blokes and sheilas, and how to speak Aussie in general – you just talk lazily and abbreviate your words – g’day mate!   96% of roads in Australia are unpaved, but the paved roads carry 96% of the people. Crazy!  David once went fishing/camping with a mate for 3 days and only saw 1 car pass them on the road in that time. Australian govt paved the 2nd main road out of Sydney in 1942 after it became likely that the Japs would attack Sydney and they’d need a way to evac the people. We passed a county records building that recorded births, marriages, and deaths, or the ‘hatch, match, and dispatch’
house. Funny. Our tour into Bush Country to see The Blue Mountains was amazing – they aren’t really blue, just the vapors which rise from the eucalyptus trees covering the mnts give the blue look – depending on the time of day and sunlight angles, etc.   First stop was this cool Animal Preserve – “Featherdale Wildlife Park - where we saw, fed, and played with kangaroos, koalas, tazmanian devils, pythons, and wombats! Roos can grow up to 6ft and can disembowel you with their sharp middle claw like a raptor.  Cute baby joeys in the pouches, and Daron became a snake whisperer and wore it around his neck. I about died, and was proud of him at the same time.  Next stop a lovely Botanical Garden with all kinds of unique flora and fauna – you can imagine I was in heaven and bought 2 seed packets to bring some Australian love to my Texan garden!  Rather fast circle of life for Australian greenery b/c the growing season is so long – 3 months after a forest fire, there’s already new growth, and a few years after, you can hardly tell there was a fire. Cool. Aboriginal info was fun to learn – they had no written history at all – just songs and stories passed down. So when they wanted to tell how far a journey would be, they’d say it was just really really long… and they repeat names for things to designate many or alot, like Woola Woola or Cooge Cooge.  So David said although Booggee Booggee means ‘deep water’, he didn’t know which Booggee meant deep, and which meant water. Funny.  We off-roaded then hiked up to Anvil Rock and looked all around – got the crotch pain when I peeked over the edge b/c it was so high – like a green version of the Grand Canyon.  David played a Derigidoo for us – a long narrow eucalyptus tree branch hollowed out by termites that aboriginals play for music.  Since I had already played the Swiss alpenhorn in Geneva I went ahead and passed on this one, especially since every other bloke and sheila put their saliva-filled lips on it.  Daron and I are standing in front of the “Three Sisters”, which in aboriginal folklore, were 3 beautiful sisters turned to stone by a witch doctor to save them from an evil spirit who they accidentally awakened when they rolled a boulder down into the huge canyon. I say the story is malarkey, but you can see the breathtaking vista behind us, which is part of the Blue Mountains.
As our ship finally pulled out of the harbor tonight, we had first class dinner seats by the window, watching the Sydney Opera House as we floated by it. If I may humbly say, this is a pretty dreamy cruise.

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