September 13, 2006

Cairns - Friday

Today we had breakfast with birds.

I woke up this morning - early - to the pain of a cold and a slight sinus infection. My head felt like a bowling ball, as if I hadn't slept all night, and my sinuses were swollen and mostly clogged. With Liz's encouragement, I managed to drag myself out of bed and shower. When we left, the sun was at just such an angle as to provide the maximum number of its rays into my face as it could. The drive was an hour long, through tight, winding highway along the coast between Cairns and Port Douglass (not unlike the drive to Kuranda).

Having set up my initial misery, I have this to say: I'm glad Liz dragged me out of bed to go to this place. I think that everybody should go to have breakfast with birds sometime.

It works like this: you go in, pay your entrance fee, and are sent to the breafast tent, where a young woman in khaki outback gear cheerfully greets you and shows you to your table (after pouring you your choice of a glass of champaigne or OJ). After advising you to leave your choice beverege covered with a napkin, she points you off towards a large buffet of breakfast food. Then you pig out.

The eggs were cooked right in front of me, as was the toast they went on. There were more varieties of fruit than I know the names for, and a nice selection of decent pastries to choose from. Then came the sausages, baked beans, and hash browns. But my favorite part was the freshly squeezed pineapple juice.

Apparently, the birds like the juice too, because no sooner had we sat down to eat our first round, than a number of parakeets with shiny blue heads hopped up onto the table and began slurping away from my cup (and so I had to go get a new one). A large white bird with rather long beak noticed Liz's bacon, and began helping herself. A small bird with what looked like dreadlocks hanging from his head lurked in the background, no doubt hoping something scrumtuous might get thrown his way.

To summarize: there was no shortage of entertainment. Birds could be seen in every direction, and if the birds weren't entertaining enough, occasionally a small child would provide additional amusing commentary. I think I only ate about half of the food that I picked up; the rest was consumed by the birds who not-so-quietly appeared at the edge of the table.

After breakfast, we made our way to see the koalas. They were very cute, but they didn't move that much.

Then we discovered the kangaroo pen. The whole park is interactive (with the possible exception of the crocodile pen and the snake tank), and so walking from the koala pen to the kangaroo pen, we encountered an emu, a large flightless bird that was more interested in the bowl of fruit than in our approach.

The kangaroo pen is a large circle with a stream running through the middle and a path meandering in between patches of trees. Several varieties of kangaroo make their home amongst these trees, including wallabees (a sort of tiny, fuzzy kangaroo) and the usual kangaroo you'd see on postcards in every giftshop in Australia. The roos spend their whole time in what I'd imagine is the American dream: eating, drinking, sleeping, and having sex. I know that they eat: I fed them. I know that they drink: they're still alive and have a large pond from which to lap water. I know they sleep: half the roos were lounging around the entire hour we were in the pen, especially a large male who preferred the warmth of the sun and the soft grass by the pond than the food Liz repeatedly offered him. I know they must have sex: I saw several kangaroo females carrying joeys in their pouches and drew the obvious conclusion.

As I said, we got to feed them. Liz bought a small pouch of roo food, and spent the next hour in constant amusement. One roo in particular seemed to take a special liking to her, as he started following Liz for short distances until she'd return back to feed him again. At one point, he began holding her hand with his little paws so she wouldn't leave. Eventually, of course, he made his way through the entire bag of food, at which point he started eating the bag.

After we exhausted ourselves with the roos (and made our way through a rainforest exhibit full of more birds), we made our way to the beach and had lunch at a little mom and pop burger joint we ran across. Then we made our way up the hill to the overlook.

The view from the overlook was worth the long trudge up the stairs (and the ensuing headache from sinus congestion) to get there. Deep blues and brilliant turquoise mingled in the ocean as it lapped upon a golden tan beach spotted with tourists (and one naked baby). Palm trees swayed in the light breeze as a radiant sun shone down from the nearly cloudless sky.

It was that cool.

At this point, after taking many pictures, we moseyed our way down to the car and began the long trek home, where I crashed for a nap to recover.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

AWWW! I wanna feed a wallaby! Why can't we have stuff like that zoo here in the US? I'd go there in a heartbeat!