Home again, Home again
01.01.2011 - 12.01.2011
This is a tiny cheat as many of you will know that we are now home and trying to adjust to staying in one place. However I did want to say a few words about Port Douglas and Singapore, since we spent almost 10 days there overall.
Port Douglas is in North Queensland and is really a holiday resort town nestled at the foot of the Queensland Rainforest. It was probably the strangest place on our trip. It really is tropical, the town sits on a narrow strip of land between the sea and the mountains and the mountains are covered in dense rainforest. Each evening, at the sun set, hundreds of large fruit bats would make their way from the trees around the town up to the mountains, like a bombing raid. It is the rainy season there (as if you didn't know!) and a couple of times the boys played in the pool at our apartments while rain poured down on them.
At this time of year the sea is a no go area on the Queensland coastline because of the box jellyfish, which are truly deadly, but you don't want to swim in the rivers either because of the estuarine crocodiles. The photos below were taken at a crocodile farm, apart from the last one, which was taken from a boat trip. Crocodiles are completely ruthless predators, I cannot imagine what it takes to do the stunts which the presenter pulled at the farm, without a doubt if that croc could have got near enough it would have taken a piece out of him.
We took a guided walk with an aboriginal lady in the forest, which was eyeopening as she explained some of the local knowledge used by aboriginees to live in the environment. She brought us to this "strangler fig", a parasitic plant which is estimated to be over 1000 years old.
Port Douglas is a jumping off point for the Barrier Reef and we duly went snorkelling at a coral cay island (Low Island). It was wonderful, like the Jaques Cousteau films of my childhood. It really teamed with tropical fish of every description and the corals and anemones were enchanting. The outer reef is apparently even more spectacular, but we didn't go out that far... we'll just have to go back. We do have photographs but they are on another disc which has not yet emerged from the packing.
We sadly left Australia and headed to Singapore on Saturday for three nights at Sentosa Island resort. Like Hong Kong this is an amazing city, not as picturesque perhaps, but just as vibrant. It is becoming increasingly a leisure destination, the photograph is of the Sands resort Hotel due to open next year, which will, controversially, include a large casino, the second one on the island. I hope it will not be swamped by the giant hotel and casino chains, it does have a wonderful multicultural personality, and if you like food and shopping it is heaven!
So now we are home, we survived the flight and the boys are back in school. Though we avoided the floods we have still been swept away, and I have been reminded how big the world is and that I only live in a tiny fragment of it.
But what is the greatest revelation I will take from my trip? The abundant wildlife? The epic unspoilt landscape? The booming Asian economies? No. It is the poetry in the soul of every Australian that had us chuckling so many times. The following is a tiny sample.
And I have to add the ones that got away; "Dogs Business" pet grooming services in Hobart; and the charming tour guide at Port Arthur who described a slightly depraved cleric as having "a couple of kangaroos loose in the top paddock". The Australian command of the English Language is second to none.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon!
P, C, J and S x