August 8th, 2016

First day of school

Australia: Mokie, alligators, and saving the world

Brought to you by the famous Laurie Rozakis:

The lede:
1. Crocodiles are not your friends, especially not in Australia.
2. You can survive in the rain forest if you have a spear, fire, water -- and Mokie-the-Aboriginal-guide's DVD about surviving in the rainforest. Unfortunately, he won't have it completed until next year.

The details:

Jellyfish are as nasty as crocodiles
Today was the Daintree Walkabout, a nine hour tour of the rainforest. The reef and the rainforest apparently duked it out, and the rainforest won. 0n the way to Daintree, our superb guide Ross described jellyfish the size of Buicks, with venom so effective that the beaches along the Coral Sea are closed during any month that begins with an R (I am not being funny). The beaches must install nets during those months as well. From this I concluded that chlorinated pools are the way to go.

Sugarcane is a major crop in Queensland
How major? Five million tons of raw sugar are refined each year, 80 percent of which is exported.

The Rainforest is to the Aboriginals as Windex is to the Greeks
The Australian rainforest is important to rational people because it is the oldest rainforest in the world, beating out the Amazon. The Australian rainforest is important to Mokie the Guide because its plants can cure cancer, autism, ms, cystic fibrosis, and can bring about world peace. I kid you not, as he made all these claims multiple times while simultaneously warning us that these blue egg-like berries would kill you, but those identical egg-like blue berries make a great nosh. So we trudged through the rainforest with this idiot for an hour as he pointed out how
we could use this big stick to relieve warts and that big stick to stun fish into submission. And he was going to marry a German woman. And his DVD was almost done. The only saving grace was the prefatory British tea, with serviceable scones but real whipped cream. Stunned into carb overload (these scones were as big as the terrifying jellyfish of lore), we trudged through the rainforest, figuring the guy had to make a living and so our presence was both a mitzvah and a chance to work off some calories.

Lunch a gorgeous restaurant/spa was spectacular, top notch gourmet food. Sammi had baramundi, so fresh that I'd be tempted to think that Mokie the Guide had speared it had he not been busy putting the finishing touches on that DVD. Gorgeous chicken, lovely pasta primavera, fresh bread, salad, sides. Truly fabulous.

The Daintree River Cruise
We had a good 45 minute lesson on Crocodiles and The Importance of Leaving Them Alone If You Have Any Sense At All as we drove to Daintree. This admittedly fascinating lecture (the guide really was good) consisted of stories of bad boys and girls who got eaten by crocs because they were just plain stupid. We learned that Crocs can not fly (who knew?) nor can they rear up on their tails. They can, however, eat you up if you invade their territory, and all the territory they want is theirs. We chugged down the river for an hour, spotting somnolent crocs, which was fun the first few crocs, but gets old fast, as they don't do anything. A roar or even just a snap of the jaw would have added a frisson of relief, but it was not to be. Snakes hanging off branches are just as boring.