Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jan. 12: exploring the Cape

Woke up to find that Nick had done my laundry for me! AND he'd planned a fun day out! How very nice.

We took the convertible & drove out to Cape Hillsborough, a nature (naahture, as he & I like to say it, ha ha) reserve. Once again, we drove through those beautiful cane fields bordered by tree-covered mountains, and passed from sunny skys to rain to sun again.

At the cape, we hiked up to the lookouts through dense forest. It was damp & humid, and the mozzies were out in force; I am now covered in bites. Oh well. Nick pointed out little lizards, dangerous vines, and the trees that aboriginals used to make boomerangs. There was absolutely no one else around; it was quiet & still, and the views were beautiful. Bright & deep shades of blue water with the shadows of clouds passing over & the white caps of waves intermittent.

the view from Cape Hillsborough of Alexander Point Island & the rocky sandbar we crossed

We hiked back down to the beach & since it was low tide, we walked the rocky sandbar out to Alexander Point Island. It was hot, we couldn't get in the water bc of jellyfish, and the island was just sand & trees, so we sat on the rocks for a bit, admiring the view, and then headed back.

Picking our way over the ankle-twisting rocks, we took our time & peered into tidal pools, looking for little creatures & fun shells.

We walked back along the beach instead of venturing back into the mozzie-infested trees. Dug our toes in the soft sand & let the surf wash over our feet. There were really cool huge rocks along the beach crawling with little red-claw crabs and lizards darting up every which-way & into every crevice. Ocean or rain water had created little pools in the rocks & we noticed barnacles, anenomes, and other creatures poking their heads out of various shapes of shells. The rocks were like little universes of their own & the 5 year old in me wanted to shrink down & explore them.

All along the beach were tiny balls of sand; Nick explained that the sand crabs roll them up & eat the nutrients out of them. Obviously, they were placed randomly but we kept seeing pictures in them, like staring at clouds. Nick was really on a roll, seeing something in each cluster we passed; I called him the crab ball whisperer.

the crab balls!

On the way back, we tried to stop at a cute little, very Aussie tea house, but it was closed - everything seems to be closed on Tuesdays! - so we stopped in a nothing-much town & had takeaway burgers from a convenience shop.  They were classic Aussie burgers - beef patty (called mince), lettuce, beetroot, pineapple, bacon (not like our bacon, really a slab of ham), mayo & cheese.  I could not keep that burger together to save my life; it spilled all over my pants and smeared across my face & hands.  Nick, to whom these burgers are nothing new, ate the entire thing without any more than a bit of sauce on the side of his mouth, and watched me, laughing.  I whinged, "I'm a mess!" and he said "yup" and pulled me close for a hug anyway.

The little park (& signpost of the town, apparently) where we ate our sloppy burgers

Got back to the hostel, read for a bit, overheard some girls classifying types of backpackers (the "boardshort bachelor" the "wet t-shirt bikini babe" the "daddy's credit card packer"), then showered & dressed for dinner.

Nick's parents are taking a couple weeks off of alcohol so they planned a big blowout dinner party with their best friends & invited me too. The food was amazing (my first time eating oysters - the adults were very childish, giggling at what effects they might have) and the company was enjoyable.  One of the couples are multi-millionaires, I learned later, but you would never guess it.  Very down-to-earth people, most of their conversation was around the cattle station they own in the northern territory.  One of the other men, when he found out I'm American, surprised me by extolling the virtues of America & how much he loves my country.  Travelling, I'm used to encountering the opposite, but I've noticed that the few people who've seen more than just America's big cities tend to have really good things to say about it.  It's mostly the people who've never been & who get their information from movies & TV & the news that have the worst things to say about us.  Interesting. 

All in all, it was a beautiful day & a lovely evening.

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ day trips from Airlie & the weather being good
~ convertible tops
~ learning new things every day

xo! n.

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