The Gold Coast, warm and sunny
28.08.2010 - 06.09.2010 23 °C
I know I just posted another blog entry but it wasn't very entertaining so I hope to succeed better with this one.
We have just come home to cold Melbourne from a week up in Queensland. We stayed just south of Brisbane, at the Gold Coast. On the other side of Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast but it could just as well have been the name of where we were; the weather was sunny and beautiful but not too humid to be by the rainforest. I loved it! We were staying with Dana's grandmother and aunt and uncle who were all really sweet but confusingly called dinner "tea". Tea, on the other hand, was simply called "a hot drink".
Up there we mostly went hiking and saw animals when we didn't eat and sleep. We went to Brunswick Heads, where Dana's grandmother used to live, and to Byron Bay, a tourist trap and surfer's paradise. We hiked up Mount Warning, a rather steep mountain and the last bit you scuffle over stones holding on to a metal chain. It's almost more of a climb than a hike but the view was gorgeous. We had a picnic at the top and made a scrubturkey very happy as it dove at the pieces of bread and hummos that fell from our sandwiches. Carrots or candy on the other hand was after empirical experiments found not be a part of its diet.
During the hike we saw loads of birds, a small wonder considering that we didn't try to be quiet at all most of the time. Dana's hiking boots must have been heard eons away, and I wasn't very quiet either. Still, we saw all kinds of birds, and most noteably lyrebirds! Lyrebirds are those strange and shy creatures who generally live far in the forests and who mimic everything else. Therefore they are really hard to identify unless you get a good look. They have been known to sound like other birds, like chainsaws, and flutes, all depending on their earlier encounters. The first one we saw was a male; he lookeds a lot like a pheasant, but with two long, white, and dotted feathers at the back. We apparently disturbed him by going suddenly quiet so he hid behind a bush. From the bush came all kinds of bird songs the one after the others, juxtaposed, and among them the sound of a dog! We looked at each other in amazement as dogs are forbidden in the area and anyhow, there was definitely no dog in that bush. Oh, I wish that I was an ornithologist!
Another day, during a short hike we saw a brown snake: the most dangerous snake in Australia. Dana and his uncle got rather jumpy, and justly so, while I was the foreigner and just thought it was really cool to see a snake in the wild. I would not want to meet one again in the wild though, they are really aggressive and hard to see against leaves.
Since I have such a passion for big crocodiles we went to Curumbin Sanctuary, like a zoo. The day started and ended with us feeding birds again. We had them all over ourselves. They say on our shoulders, our arms, and our heads. Dana even had to break two of them apart when they started bickering at each other while sitting on his arm. As they got irritated they did like humans and tensed up their muscles, wich included them diging their claws further into Dana's arm. Dana asked me to add that it hurts!
We got kangaroos to eat out of our hands, had fun watching the echidnas (porcupines), held snakes, and learned loads about all kinds of animals. In one talk they had gigantic eagles flying so low over our heads that one brushed against Dana's shoulder. The keepers also urged all parrents to hold all kids under 3 years since the eagles have been known to fly of with little kids. We also saw a big saltwater crocodile, about five meters long. He was monstrous. We were all excited at the prospect of seing him getting fed, but it turned out that they don't eat when their body temperature is lower than 25 degrees and so Holy (the croc) had not eaten since April!!!
The beginning of the day however was the most intimidating, at least for me. The sanctuary has forest obstacle courses in the trees and we started by doing them. We went first for the easy one, and got to balance rope bridges, wires, and climb rope ladders. Not too exciting but still fun. At the middle level it got a little mor exciting, we were higher up in the trees and we saw a peacock lying on a roof as we balanded on another wire. It was fun until we came to a Tarzan rope (att svinga sig i lian). Dana went on but I was stuck. In spite of wearing a harness and all kinds of safety equipment I didn't dare to jump (but I dare to climb walls much higher up...). Not untill I figured out that there was no other way down did it give it a go. It was a revoltingly poor try. Do I have to tell you that the last cource scared me so that I was all shaky after doing it? I still can't understand why I went up, knowing that it would probably be worse that the one before, but I'm glad I did. There are enough wimpish girls in the world without me adding to the numbers. It was not an elegant show however. Dana on the other hand looked like Tarzan. I guess I'd be a perfect Jane, seing how he always takes her in his arms on the vines.
Coming back to Melbourne we learned that the weather here had been completely awful. It had been raining all week and been so wet that there had been floodings in the surrounding areas. Or rather, there are floodings in the surrounding areas. I felt sorry for the displaced people and being from a wet and cold country I know how it is to get wet and cold. Here however, they seem to worry more about getting it too hot, even at the face of a flooding, and I was rather amused at the news report laconicly concluding that "at least the fire season this year will be shorter" as Victoria needs to dry up before there can be any risk of fires.
This past Saturday I went to the Swedish church to help teaching Swedish and get a cinnamon bun. The kids in the class that I assisted are all 6-8 years old and not very good at Swedish so we were practicing animals with them. The teacher is Finish-Swedish and maybe that's why, but she actually taught them wrong a few times (det heter igelkott, inte igelkotte; gryt, inte gryte). Anyhow, it was fun to walk around helping the kids to understand their assignments and making them figuring out the answers of questions like "I am grey, I live in a barn, I am not a horse, Who am I?" When bending over the girls table (a lot of pink!) and trying to make them sit down and work quietly one asked me: "Are you... are you rich or something?" I was of course amazed and wondered what had made her think that I would be rich, especially since I was wearing nothing but bright plastic jewlery (and clothes of course). It turned out that it was simply the colorfullness of my appearance that had made her think that there must be something different, and so I must be rich... I don't see the logic but I found it very funny.
Observation of the week: Being back in Melbourne during the first days of spring feels great! it's still cold but some days are getting milder and nicer and yesterday I was out in the middle of the day for a long while without a coat. At the same time it's a little tragic. Not that it's getting warmer but that when I check the temperatures in Sweden and Cph I get almost the same temperatures. It's but the very first days of spring here (think 7th of march) and our temperatures are almost the same as those during the first day of autumn at home. So I ask myself: Why would anyone (I) ever want to move back there? (but don't worry, I do)
PS: There is a photo of a kangaroo with a baby in its pouch in the gallery. Just filter for Gold Coast. DS