Thursday, March 23, 2006

Australian Adventure

Australia! The dream vacation of a lifetime was ours for our 45th anniversary. I can hear the groaning now....Why waste a trip like that on two old coots? Well, these old coots rode horseback through the rain forest and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef with the sting rays on the very day of our 45th. The horse back instructors had asked who were considered expert riders and which losers were novices. Since I fall into the novice class (but hopefully not off the horse) I raised my hand and was sent to the group on the left. Now, I happen to know that left means sinister in Latin, so I was looking for some sort of plot. Alas! It came from my expert rider husband. Off he galloped with my asthma rescue inhaler in his pocket (because I am not to be trusted with important things) and I dutifully followed the group into the humidity laden rain forest sans inhaler. Nobody had mentioned that this trail ride would include riding through a river with moss covered stones lining the bottom. We had to lift our feet with our hands behind our shanks to keep our shoes dry....which is no easy feat when you have accumulated an extra 30 pounds over the years! Having come through with flying colors (okay, dragging colors), I was pleased to make the husband proud of my tenacity. Next, we headed for a luncheon ship that opened in the forward deck to allow people to descend stairs right to the floor of the ocean .... the sting rays were delighted to see us. I really think it must have been the buckets of fish pieces that the crew dumped overboard to assure compliance of these giant creatures. The countryside is beautiful and the ocean is a color not known to me before this adventure. Azure blue with aqua patches.... Sumptuous.
The evening dinner at a kangaroo and koala farm was not to be missed. We were given handfuls of grain for the roos. I held out my hand and a kangaroo "reached out and touched someone"! She firmly grabbed my forearm with claws that appeared to be about six inches long, but I am known to exaggerate.... just a wee bit. About this time, a Joey popped his head out of her pouch and started munching on the grass below. Did you know that a roo can have two different babies in her pouch at one time with two different gestational ages? One can be similar to "Failure to Launch" and one can be very young and tiny. My first thought was that perhaps her different formulas were not just for early and late pregnancy, but instead vanilla and chocolate. The guide quickly relieved me of my happy thought. Well, I had thought it made lovely sense.
While in Cairn, we stayed at a five star hotel (way too good for our hearty peasant stock) which we enjoyed immensely, and they held a genuine Aboriginal dinner with entertainment....I didn't understand it, but it was different (as long as they don't eat white people). We were all given didgeridoos and I can blow it, since I played a euphonium in my high school band. (I don't want to hear any mutterings about how many years ago that was ... you never lose your pucker! ) The company who had paid for our trip, also paid for really great souvenirs and shipped them directly to us. Who am I to complain? The didgeridoo resides in our den and is quite a conversation piece. Our four days in Sydney were also at a five star hotel and I reveled in the great service.... that is never going to come my way again. We toured the opal factory and the opera house, but did not climb the bridge over the harbor. (This is the point, at which, old age puts in a good word for avoiding any such complaints as a heart attack or stroke.) We did go on a catamaran for an evening dinner cruise, but I had not used any
ScopeDerm Patches and could not eat due to motion sickness --- but I was a great sport and didn't barf on anyone.
We were given three seats on Quantas Airlines for the fourteen hour trip home, so we could take turns curling up for naps and that was a Godsend! The highlight of the trip was when boarding the plane for LA, one of the side evacuation doors refused to lock shut. The ground crew came aboard, took the innards out of the door, screwed it shut and taped it with duct tape for the whole fourteen hour ride home. For those of you who have ever had misgivings.... duct tape is truly the handyman's secret weapon!
My picture shows me on one of our harbor cruises in a genuine Australian woolen sweater (they confiscate your MasterCard until you fork over the money for a sweater).
So, if you get the opportunity ... go to Australia, because as my darling husband said of our 50th anniversary... "I cannot top that" and he didn't even try.

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