Wednesday, March 26, 2008

DAY 154: Day 1 off on Magnetic Island

Weds 26th March 2008
Distance to date 9322 km (5826 miles)
Hot and sunny

The Possums drove me mad last night - it was my own fault though since I’d tossed a bit of bread to the one-eyed one at the dinner table, and it appeared to have followed me and the food pannier back to the tent. Every 10 minutes from 9 to 1 AM it was scratching at the bag, which is well sealed but which I usually leave outside the inner tent in the ‘vestibule’. I couldn’t sleep since I was worried about the pannier being damaged. Even though the bag is well sealed the critter probably has an acute sense of smell and can tell the magic bread is on the inside. At 1 I took the food pannier and stuck it inside a tumble drier in the laundry, and tonight I left it in the camper’s kitchen (which closes at 2130). So I was a little tired this morning but still got up before 7, and anticipating the bush breakfast.
At 0830 myself and some 20 others trooped through to the little wildlife park attached to the resort, and were given a glass of ice-cold guava champagne for starters, which went down a treat, then shown the self-service (i.e. all you can eat) buffet. There was everything delicious that you might imagine - fresh fruit salad, natural yoghurt, fruit juices; and bacon, sausage, tomato, egg fried on a piece of bread (which they called toad in the hole which is usually sausage methinks), lamp chops cooked in bush spices, pancakes, myrtle syrup, local honey in the comb etc. etc....I was in heaven! We were still eating an hour later and the food just kept on coming - good value for $25. We were also concurrently entertained by one of the staff who brought in a succession of animals for us to see and discuss - baby Saltwater Crococdile, Koala, Python; and there were tame Black Cockatoos and Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos too, the latter being in mischevous mood nipping everyone’s toes. Lots off oohs and aahs from the punters. It was quite an exciting start to the day, only tempered by the heat and humidity, which was high and high respectively. We desperately sought the shade whenever possible.
I was ready for some R&R after all that so rode the 3 minute ride to Horseshoe Bay ‘village’ and chilled out in the shade with an iced coffee, finally summoning the strength for a swim in the stinger-netted area - very soothing to the soul. In fact I did little else that was adventurous, just enjoyed doing little for once. I did the internet stuff on the resort’s high-speed broadband despite Blogger playing up by rearranging the posts so that the days were not consecutive.
After this it was back to the beach for a ride down the sand (for the first km where it was solid enough to ride on) and a walk for the last km where it was soft. The other end of the 2km beach was deserted and perfectly, breathtakingly beautiful; the red-brown sand complementing the bright blue sky and greeny-blue sea - paradise can’t be much better than this for me. Weird pieces of coral littered the beach, presumably washed off the Great Barrier Reef several km out to sea. The backdrop to this scene is cliff and mountain shaped with huge randomly-scattered rounded boulders and covered with tree and shrub.
So passed the day, and as I hadn’t had lunch I had dinner early - (my) omelettes that weren’t very good......I think I overcooked them as they were quite dry. I had another good chat with the German couple who have been here for 2 of the last 4 years, just travelling - they can’t get enough of Australia and have been around twice.
I went into the village later on to make a phone call and decided to pop in the pub for a pint - and they sold draught Guinness - or so I thought judging by the prominent ‘tap’ on the bar. In fact the barman reached for a can, whereupon I expressed my opinion that a can wasn’t as good as the draught stuff, whereupon he explained that although it was in a can the ‘tap’ on the bar was actually a ‘surger’ and would make it 'draught'! “What’s a surger?” I asked. It puts sound waves through the can and makes it appear like draught beer was the answer. And he was right, it was good, even though the beer comes out of the can into the glass as flat as a fluke, it energises when he sticks the glass on the surger. I was forced to express my approval to Even beer is so high-tech these days.
While I was sat outside drinking my Guinness and eating my crisps I watched the Bush Stone Curlews running around hoping for food scraps. They are big birds, some 20” long maybe with very long legs, and look quite comical when they walk. One of them wandered into the bar for 10 minutes, had a look around, nothing doing and walked out surreptitiously again unchallenged. The creatures in Oz are always so entertaining; there’s never a dull moment!

the barman.

No comments: