Sunday, March 13, 2011

Under the Land Down Under

All the commotion, (laundry, packing, emails, phone calls, house sitters, doggie day care and a last minute trip to buy travel sized toothpaste that won’t pose a threat to national security) settles into a darkened drone for 15 hours over the Pacific and opens into the brilliant sun of Sydney, Australia. Landing at 5AM, it takes another 12 hours and two more stops to get to the island state of Tasmania, south off the mainland of Australia. I mention this for all my friends, who as I am, are geographically challenged. Tasmania is waaaaaay down there.

While our ride over the Pacific was smooth, when we touch down we learn the tragedy of what was shaking beneath us. So much devastation. Heartbreaking images coming out of Japan. Sad sad sad.

Here the sun is brilliant, the mountains are dark and rolling, and the people, wallabies, and wombats are very friendly. The famed Tasmania devils? Not so much. And just to put the endangered devils in an even better mood, the female population is in heat leading to overall agitation and grumpiness.

The wallabies have gentle mouths and are polite in taking turns being fed. They are gently curious about what other food you might have and nose around in purses and pockets. This herd is universally friendly with visitors (although they may not be in the wild and those back legs look like they definitely pack a mean kick) even the mother with a baby on board.

Looking for a metaphor for lazy? Sleepy? Lack of get-up-and-go? Here you have it, your branched out curl-up-and-sleep koala.

And here's animal I never even heard of before. A spotted quoll. I mentioned to a bus mate that quoll would make a good Scrabble word. She assured me others would challenge.

The wombat has a blankie. Seriously. It is an orphan (mother hit by a car, baby survived in a manmade pouch.) When it was reluctant to come out and take a look at the tourists, the keeper lured him out with (what else?) his blankie.

And Emus growl. They rumble, a group of them sounding like far away thunder. These we were encouraged to NOT handfeed.

Today, more to see. More to visit.

Tomorrow, school.