354km Perth to Busselton
Here a kangaroo, there a kangaroo. Everywhere in our path, there are kangaroos!
We can’t get over how many of these bouncing creatures are roaming the fields and forests of Australia. Just five days into our ‘down under’ adventure, the Kangaroo Count is well into the dozens and we still aren’t tired of seeing them jump across our path.
It’s actually quite hard not to giggle like children when one goes bounding by. And unlike most things used to draw tourists into a place, we can assure you that kangaroos are just as cool in real life as they appear on TV!
“Do you think one will bounce on the tent tonight?” Friedel asked as we found a quiet forest to sleep in one evening. A kangaroo had wandered past while we were setting up and we wondered if our home was blocking a marsupial motorway. The kangaroos must have good night vision, because none jumped on our roof.
More than kangaroos have been keeping us amused. There are also the many-coloured cockatoos, dozens of other birds, possums, fields full of elegant horses and burly angus cows. Yes, if there’s one thing Australia does well, it’s animal life.
Australia is also pretty good at regulations and recommendations.
“Is this an Australian Approved Filling Container, sir?” the gas attendant asked as we stopped to get petrol for our campstove. “I’m just looking for a sticker. You can’t use any old plastic bottle, you know.” Well, actually…..
We kept our lips sealed as we thought about the many times a humble plastic bottle full of petrol got us through remote stretches in the Middle East and Central Asia. After some scrutiny, our campstove gas bottle was approved and filled.
Later that day, in a national park, we were happily filling our bottles with rainwater from big tanks when a fellow camper saw us and became quite alarmed. “You must boil that!” she said. Maybe she had a point but the last year has conditioned us to see rainwater as some of the safest around to drink.
Next up was the signalman, directing traffic around some road repairs. We could use the sidewalk, he said, but not before outlining our exact intended path through the construction. Well, that was a bit of a challenge without a map of the town. Eventually he made a plan for us and let us through with strict instructions not to stray away from our prescribed route.
It was the first time we’d seen anyone directing traffic around roadworks in months. In country after country, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, cars, trucks, bicycles and donkeys pulling carts were all left to figure it out for themselves. It’s amazing they ever managed but they did and surprisingly easily too, without a signalman in sight.
And then there was the campground, which absolved itself of no less than 40 potential injuries in its laundromat on a big sign on the side of the building. They bore no responsibility for death or harm by chemicals, hard floors, sharp corners, scalding by hot water, poisoning, contact with furniture or with other users, to name a few of the many hazards we never imagined existed when washing clothes.
And here we thought bicycle touring was dangerous!
Happily, we made it in and back out again alive but perhaps it’s just safer to do the washing by hand from now on.
Yes, we’re definitely back in the developed world and it’s going to take some getting used to.
10th December 2008 at 7:43 pm #
Are you afraid of any poison insects or snakes? I think that is the only think that would make me nervous (and dingos) camping in Australia …
BTW, we head to Syria the day after tomorrow :).
13th December 2008 at 4:31 pm #
Thanks for sharing your impressions as you re-enter the developed world. Certainly some nice things – a conversation with a shopkeeper in fluent English, certainly a novelty!
I’m especially enjoying the rules and regulations stories, please keep on looking with your new eyes, and share what you see.