August 7th, 2016

First day of school

Australia Day 2 (I think? No idea what day it is....)

Written by Mom:

We took the heralded "unique rail journey through a world heritage listed Rainforest [cap theirs]." Pleasant, but not unique, most unique, or even sorta unique. In fact, it was extremely similar to the unique rail journey in Alaska. This one was about 90 minutes, and we schmoozed with a really nice couple from North Carolina, so I could ignore most of the commentary. The story is actually interesting-- struggling town builds railroad by hand to save the town by enabling people to mine gold and tin (the latter of which I didn't think was mined, but what do I know?)-- but I'd already read all the literature, as I absorb material better when it appears in print.

We detrained in Kuranda, a perfect town for us, as it's Tourism Central, again like the Alaskan towns, with fluttery wind socks, "my-parent-went-to-Australia-and-all-I-got- was a t-shirts" t shirts, sorta genuine opals, homemade soap (who ever thought of that? What's the matter with Irish Spring or Ivory?), kangaroo jerky (I thought of getting some for you, Chuck, but chickened out. Get it?), and such. We ate lunch with our new buddies, and then visited the Kuranda Koala Gardens. This I really liked.

A modest place, on the scale of Takapusha, it features adorable marsupials that actually came out to play, unlike the farm animals hiding at Starkie's when we took Alex there. Here, Sammi fed some grateful kangaroos, and we gazed on the alligators, arrayed like a Seurat painting on the bank of the river. At first, we assumed they were Disney props-- until one deigned to waddle back into the water. The koalas are especially photogenic and every creature is up close, no barriers. Very nice.

And then we visited another food store, this one an Australian version of Whole Foods. Hey, we were there.

We took the cable cars down, sailing over the rainforest canopy. Extremely thrilling.

We had about 5 minutes of energy left, so we figured we'd get the bus to drop us off in the city, about a 10-15 drive from our hotel. There, we visited the souvenir stores (yes, we are that shallow), another food store (called Woolworth's!), and the Night Market. We loved the Night Markets in Thailand, as they are loaded with all the cool stuff I like to buy because it's actually borderline useful: pashima and silk scarves, bolts of real silk, key chains (everyone always needs another key chain), and such. Not here: this Night Market offered a lot of massages, mall food court "treats," and over-priced honey and yes, more soap. Australians must like sweets and bathing, or they think tourists do. Speaking of tourists, they're all Asian. Most of Bejing is here.

There's more, but my brain hurts.

G'day, mates!