Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Great Ocean Road Trip

Tom finally got to meet Andy, the “educational” koala at the Jirrahlinga Koala Reserve.  He said Andy was fluffier than he’d expected and you'll notice that Tom’s actually smiling here.  Tom likes to keep those kind of emotional outbursts to a minimum, so I think he must have really enjoyed meeting Andy.   We also got to watch this little lady, in the hospital, get some koala Gatorade:
And a kangaroo dining debacle:

The next day, along the Great Ocean Road, we saw two wild koalas. It was thrilling!  That night, to lessen the chances of death via spider bites from spending too much (any?) time in our motel room (see two blogs down), we decided to go on a late night hike.  We’d read that you can see glow worms about a half mile down into a gully lined with giant fern trees.  I didn’t think to pack a flashlight for the weekend, so we tried hiking in guided by our cell phone set on a game, I think it was Tetras (the brightest screen).  

If you’ve ever seen Avenue Q, the Broadway musical, you’ll know what the Bad Idea Bears are.  When characters (Tom or me) are debating if they should do really idiotic things like spend their rent money on beer (hike into a gully by the light of a cell phone), these two Care-Bear-looking puppets emerge and wind them up on in these creepy falsetto voices.  We’ve taken to speaking in our own Bad Idea Bear voices when we come up with implicitly insane plans like this.  Anyway, some other tourists came along and offered to let us tag along with their lights. 

The glow worms were fun - little neon green dots along mossy walls.  The adventure of hiking under tree ferns at night was exhilarating!  When we got back to the car park, I bragged that we had seen not one but TWO koalas today.  Knowing what I know now, the other tourists were extremely kind in just pointing out that it’s possible to see even more than that.  Clearly I sounded like Stewart from Mad TV saying “Look what I can do!” as he performs a painfully underwhelming stunt like jumping three inches into the air.

So the next day, after cheating death-by-daddy-long-leg-venom at the Psycho motel, we saw shipwreck sites and cliffs, monoliths and beaches and, hello, FORTY TWO KOALAS!  There are only a few things I’m better at than Tom. Really the short list is like: 1) driving and 2) color coordinating outfits. But it turns out I have this hugely unmarketable skill in spotting wild koalas. I can even combine it with my driving.  

Tom loves swimming in the ocean. I’m still psychologically recovering from the Great St. Maarten's Hobie Cat Sting Ray attack over Christmas, so I set up my beach tent, enjoyed the view and read a novel.  He said he had a poignant moment as he came around a peninsula from swimming in the sea, thinking how good it feels to be one with nature.  Then he sees me, huddled in my orange and blue shelter. I’m wearing a hat, two scarves and a blanket over my head and buried my feet in the sand to keep the horseflies from touching any exposed millimeter of my skin.  He says some people are in love with nature and that I’m probably just more in like with it.

To paraphrase Mahatma Ghandi...well..."Be the koala you want to see in the world." 

- Christine 

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