Saturday, March 27, 2010

Snakes , Chocolate, and Convicts

So about the snakes: Maybe you have heard that 20 of the 23 most poisonous snakes in the world are here in our adopted country. This fact occurred to me the other day as I was traipsing through this most gorgeous National Park called Kondalilla Falls. When in the presence of lush rainforest one does not always stare at the path so I gasped a little as a lovely brown snake slithered by in front of me.(For the rest of my hike I did considerably more staring at the ground ahead.)When I got home Google and I had an informative one-sided relationship and I was able to bring up a species list for the park,which did not mention THE brown snake, which is in fact venomous.The list was also is preceded by a disclaimer of course about this list not being necessarily complete. Further research about snakes in our area came up with the name of our local "snake catcher" should a deadly one turn up in your laundry room. Melissa saw a venomous snake on the sidewalk at school last week and apparently quite a commotion was raised. Goannas the size of infants are regularly seen as school as well. Most recently a Goanna attempted drag away a student's school bag but in the end just chewed the corner off.

Several National Parks are nearby and I have to hand in to the Australians these parks are a delight to visit. Each graffiti-less one is outfitted with a picnic area complete with flush toilets in good repair, non-potable running water, maps and information. And the walking tracks!!!(or in U.S.A. speak, trails) So lovely and well constructed and visitor friendly. Many of the beaches are patrolled, have showers and are accessible with well marked paths. And the library!! The library is open 54 hours every week!!! Yeah! Another noticeable difference is the Australians believe in public restrooms. They are just about everyplace you might think you want one. Don't get me wrong,I love America, but I'm just saying.........

Chocolate: I have recently discovered my favorite chocolate bar right here in Coloom! Here it is in a reclining pose pre-consumption. This is very exciting as far too many people around here prefer that plastic-y stuff called milk chocolate. I will refrain from further derogatory comments in case anyone out there actually likes it. Heaps of dairy milk Cadburry bars everywhere, and now in many shapes like eggs and bunnies as well. I haven't come across any egg-dying kits but in many other ways the holiday seems to be celebrated here in much the same fashion. Posted signs indicate the fish n' chips place nearby is planning a big day next Friday. We are planning to celebrate by making the short trip to the Australia Zoo to visit the ghost of Steve Irwin, the crocs, and more poisonous snakes.

Convicts: No, I haven't met any but I am reading "The Fatal Shore" the story of the founding of Australia by Robert Hughes. If you are in the mood for a brutal tale of deprivation replete with leg irons and flogging then by all means rush out immediately to get this book in your hands. For almost 100 years England *transported* more than 160,000 criminals to the distant southern continent because America wouldn't take them anymore. The First Fleet set ground in Botany Bay in 1788 with hundreds of passengers wholly unskilled to begin a colony. No doubt colonists throughout time endured enormous hardships but I believe in most other cases at least the majority of them chose to be colonists........

That's it for now. We have family arriving tomorrow, School holidays begin Thursday, and Tom will land back in Oz Friday. Thanks for staying tuned!


  1. Love it, Steph! So why can't America be more like Australia? (I mean chocolate and public bathrooms, not snakes . . . ). Hope that Tom returned safely and that you are enjoying the family visit. Will look forward to the next posting! More photos too, please!
    Lots of love, Hilary

  2. Can't decide which of your three stories made me laugh more! The snakes and convicts might keep me away, but the chocolate and your family being in ozland would win that contest hands down.

    Great to talk with you recently. Let's connect again when you have a chance.

  3. hi stephanie -- thanks for the new blog entry. glad to see you are in the dark chocolate camp with me!
    eli sure looks different! david says he looks slim. i am happy you all are doing well.
    snakes sound intimidating, and just when you think you have life figured out -- sort of.
    i have a chance to go to china in november, possibly vietnam too. it would be with my mom and the international council on museums. i think it is an opportunity i cannot pass up! i might email with visa questions ...

    love to you -- vickie

  4. "just read your blog. sounds absolutely amazing, i hope your having fun with grandma and grandpa as well ask kenz. life here is good enjoy your time."

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