I can’t believe I am finally here!
A long time ago, way back in grade 4, my teacher was a woman on exchange from Australia. One of her lessons I remember the most was the day she showed us slides from her homeland. Since that day, I have wanted to visit Down Under.
Then, years after that, one of my university roommates and her husband (whom I shall call M&T respectively) moved to Australia’s Gold Coast. Another good reason to travel to the Land of Thunder!
Now we are all here. Isn’t it amazing how some good friends can get together after years and it is like no time has passed? We did the math, it has been almost 25 years since we saw each other in person. Thanks to annual Christmas letters and emails we have kept in touch to a small degree but you’d never know it had been so long. She still knew the first thing I’d want when we walked in the house was a cuppa tea.
As a tour guide, M was superlative. She knew just what a Canadian in the land of Aus would like to see. More importantly, she gave us a crash lesson on Aussie-isms. They shorten everything! For example, “Brisbane” becomes “Brissy,” “Hooligans” becomes “Hoons,” and “Spaghetti Bolognese” becomes “Spag Bol.” That last one sounds really appitizing, doesn’t it?
First stop was Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. We were there bright an early for the 8 am lorikeet feeding. There weren’t as many as usual, apparently. The bird like their natural food better than the ready-made nectar made of milk by-products and juice and, at the moment, the forests are full of blooming flowers and yummy fruits. However, there were still quite enough lorikeets about who were either junk food junkies or attention seeking junkies!
Then, yes! Bucket list ticked! We got to hold a koala! Woohoo!
Queensland is the only state where holding a koala is actually legal. Thank you M&T for choosing to move here! You know, koalas are just as cute in real life as they look in pictures. They move with such comfy slowness when not in a hurry and latch on to anything as they would a euclyptus branch. Your heart melts when one hugs you like a long lost friend. However, what people don’t tell you is that koalas have very sharp claws and when they hold on to you, they hug you as tight as if they were in the tossing branches of a tree many metres above the ground. Also, they stink. Their scent is a combination of musk, eucalyptus, and urine. Rather like a much beloved older aunt who wears weird perfume, sucks cough candies, and has become a wee bit incontennent. (But you still love her.)
The rest of the wildlife sanctuary was also amazing. I’d have difficulty saying what was the hightlight.
What it the kangaroo area where you can actually get right close to the boomers? Like a sun soaking dog, they love the extra attention of a good scritching. I had always seen kangaroos with joeys sticking their heads out of the pouch but I had never seen one turnnnn around inside the pouch and stretch an incredibly long skinny leg out. It looked like a birth going wrong. A very difficult birth!
Was my favourite the amazing number of birds floating about? We saw many kookaurras and heard them laughing too! (Did you learn that song in elementary school too?
About the kookaburra in the old gum tree? If you did, you will probably have that running around in your head now, just like I have for days!) Did you know that ibis, those regal looking white birds with the curves beaks are garbage birds here? I certainly didn’t! And then there was the emu who just wondered about the whole park as if he own it and everything in it too.
I loved the number of lizards that race from sunny spot to sunny spot and then freeze into camouflaged splendour. And, oh, we saw a Tasmanian devil! They are nothing like the Bug Bunny cartoon devils. M tell us that when that
Tassie gets a chicken to eat, the sound of the bones snapping is quite frightful. However, today he was as lazy as lazy could be. In fact, he looked like roadkill until he twitched a fly off his whiskers.
Goodness! So much to see! Australia really is a land of wonders!