Wind in my face on the Brisbane River. Owl wing brushing my hair. Walking amongst kangaroos and wallabies. Hearing the wild laugh of kookaburras. Smiling at koalas snoozing in the crook of a tree. Marveling at the imaginary-looking cassowary.
That was just some of today. A 90-minute cruise on the Miramar took us to Lone Pine Sanctuary, certainly one of the few places where you can see so many of Australia’s creatures in one visit.
Here in the state of Queensland, the law still allows people to hold Koalas. In was annoying, though, that at Lone Pine, you can only have a picture of the moment if you pay for a ticket. I’m too cheap for that. I suppose that’s one way of protecting the animals from too much handling. There’s also a strict rotation, so that no koala is held more than a total of 30 minutes in one day, with every 4th day off. Kate held one and reported that it is very soft, but smells. (Kate and Josh Etter of Desiring God are traveling with us.)
Perhaps the most amazing animal was the cassowary. I don’t believe I’d ever seen one and certainly couldn’t have told you it looks like a child’s colorful drawing of a cross between an emu and a dinosaur. An armor-plate crest on its head. A beak that could swipe off a finger in a single blow. Wrinkled-leather toes ending in dinosaur claw toes. And taller than a tall man when it stands. I can see why it has the reputation of being the most dangerous bird to humans–a far cry from the chickadees on my bird feeder at home.
And owl wings brushing my hair? That was during the Birds of Prey program. One owl swoops low over the audience, back and forth, very close. Very close.
Oh yes, another thing I hadn’t known. Apparently joeys rest quite comfortably head first in their mothers’ pouches–feet, tail, and ear hanging out.
Miscellany . . .
Since one of you recommended ordering coffee wherever possible, Kate and I got right on that, even before we left the Sydney airport. We discovered it’s a different language here–and me still not knowing how to speak coffee in America.
Flat white is coffee with milk in it. You ask for a long black when you want a cup of plain black coffee. Long has nothing to do with the size of the container. You still have to know about grande and whatever. I think long means there’s a longer pouring of coffee, since it’s all coffee and no room for milk.
“Flat white. Is that like a latte?” Kate asked. “Yeah, probably,” our language consultant replied, “But hey! I’m a bloke. I don’t want latte,” he sneered. ”My order is a skinny flat white.” That’s flat white with skim milk. Why flat? I don’t know.
Another travel lesson learned:
Make sure the camera battery charger I pack is the one for my battery, not Johnny’s.
Mystery prize update:
Now you can throw your name in the pot for the mystery prize another time, IF you comment at this post and tell me how you’ve let someone else know about Tell Me When to Pack. You can do it via Facebook, Twitter, Email, phone, face to face, or whatever.