Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oh you little devil.

And now that we’ve enjoyed that little interlude, back to episodes in patting animals.  (seriously it really is all we do here.)

Alyssa wanted to take a trip to a ‘different’ part of Australia and we decided on heading to Tasmania.  (<--wishing it was really like that) Mostly there was this sweet Tasmanian devil conservation park we wanted to check out. 

There is just one tiny issue with Tassie that was going to become apparent.  We were going to have to drive.  Since we’ve come here, I’ve tried to avoid it.  I mean, driving on the opposite (note: not wrong) side of the road messes with your head a little bit. The public transport in Victoria pretty much gets us anywhere we want to go (even if the schedule takes some getting used to) so, I haven’t had to try it.  But since Tasmania is quaint, and has like…a bus….we thought we’ll just rent a car! 

I’m going to give a shout out to Tasmania right now for the fact that it’s like driving in farmland Connecticut.  Basically no one else is on the road, and it’s a good introduction into driving on the opposite side of the road.  Even though I had to constantly remind myself at stop lights “STAY TO THE LEFT!”  

"To the left, to the left..."

"Everybody drive your cars on the left" ~Beyonce

I will give the Devil Sanctuary credit, for what it lacked in ambiance, it made up for in awesome experience.  First of all, we got to feed (terrifying) kangaroos.  I think something I should confess at this point, is even though I really like cuddling animals, I am pretty much terrified of everything.  Here’s something they don’t teach you in the states, kangaroos have CLAWS.

Big.  Effing.  Claws.
One time I went to Japan.  In Japan, I went to Nara.  At Nara there is the worlds biggest buddah located inside a deer park.  But this story is not about the worlds biggest buddah and best spiritual experience of my life.  No, this story is about the deer.  In Nara Deer Park, you can feed the adorable little deer some deer crackers.  Then you have this conversation:

Oh joy!  They are eating out of my hands.  I am communing with nature!  (Is it due to my indian princess name of Leaping Deer?  PROBABLY!)  Oh wait, that deer is getting a little bit frisky.  Sorry, deer, I don’t have any more crackers for you, silly!  Oh god, why isnt’ that stopping you??  WHY ARE YOU BITING ME?  Enter in me punching a deer in the face until it let go of my body.

So really, it’s a story of how I punched a deer in the face.

Why isn't this at the entrance...?

I surrender.

Japan, so helpful about other things, neglected to put the ‘dangerous deer’ signs until AFTER the deer section of the park.  I am still completely traumatized by hoof-stock.  

So while feeding the kangaroos, I was having ptsd style flashbacks about getting bitten by a deer in Japan.  You will notice that I am making a fist.  Ready to punch a kangaroo?  Who knows.  Thankfully, the deer were mostly nice and I didn’t have to resort to punching animals out of pure unadulterated terror.  

I may punch this kangaroo at any moment.

Next, (and much less frightening for me) we got to see devils eating.  And for those of you who don’t know much about them, they are scavengers.  But unlike some scavengers you might think of in the states (like a vulture) they eat everything.  I mean ev-er-y-thing.  Bones, meat, hair, cartilage, the whole enchilada.  (or wallaby if you’d prefer because that’s what they’re eating). 

Just in case you don’t believe me, here’s a video.  And if you’re squeamish or anything, don’t watch. 

Yeah.  Those are BONES crunching you hear.  Epic.

As you can hear the guy (craig, as we would later come to learn) explaining, these little guys have a very sad epidemic in the wild, a face cancer that’s contagious.  And since these little guys come together to eat and often get in scraps while trying to devour dead animals, they cancer spreads devil to devil.  Anyway, if you’re looking for a good cause to get behind, keep that one in mind.

Digression over.

Although the video above demonstrates how awesome they are at eating, it doesn’t really give you the noises that earn them their name.  Here you go.  You’re welcome.

More disturbing than a devil eating (you look at them and say okay, that's a carnivore) is watching the quolls eat.  Here’s a picture of a quoll.

Oh, goodness! You sure can little one!
 Awww, it’s like an Australian squirrel!  It’s so cute and fuzzy!  Look at your little face.

NOOOOOOO!!!!!  WHAT THE WHAT?  That’s like if you had a baby and it was a cannibal.  (well, maybe not....)  But something that innocent looking should not seeking out meat and crunching on bones.

Since Craig was pretty much running the show here today, he also was in charge of the bird show.  The birds were all rescues, which was cool, and mostly they were all raptors, which makes me less scared than those of the seed eating variety.  (I have no idea why, don’t try to figure out how my brain works…..)  We also met Kermit.

 Kermit is a frog mouth. 

Hi Kermit.

Kermit lives in a tree in the sanctuary.  Kermit can’t fly so he literally just hangs out on his branch in the sanctuary all day long.  And you can totally pat him because Kermit does not care.  Kermit likes a nice pat.

Imagine if you will, the softest thing you have ever touched.  Multiply that by a cloud and add in a unicorn for good measure.  That’s how soft Kermit is.

I want to make him my new, living hat. 
I am literally saying in this picture, OHMYGOD SO SOFT.  I could have sat there and patted him forever.  Or put him in my backpack and taken him home.  He’s like an owl but better.  There, I said it.

After the sanctuary, we decided to check out the sites in Tasmania.  Since it was stormy, it was hard to go on a walk, so we just stopped at the sites that we could get to with a 5 minute return, if not shorter.  Tasmiania is breath taking.  Pictures don’t do it justice, but here’s a few anyway.

The Southern Ocean

Pirates Cove, not just for Mini Golf

The Blowhole

Devil's Kitchen

The Tasman Arch

Aight Rain, you're not so bad. 

We headed back to the hotel, actually found a restaurant that Alyssa could eat at, and then called it a night.

The next day we had all the greatest intentions of heading to Mount Wellington to survey Hobart.  But the GPS decided to send us up a private mountain road, (that read ‘no access to mount wellington’, thanks stupid gps) and after like an hour of driving around the hills of the Hobart surrounds, we just headed to the Cadbury factory.

The Cadbury factory does not do tours.  It does a video.  This is completely okay by me because when you enter they give you a giant candy bar and I also like sitting down. Then they give you MORE free candy while you’re watching the movie.  And if you say you like white chocolate (like me) you get more still.  (oh, I hear you out there, stop hating on white chocolate, it’s good.)  After that, they let you in the factory store where you can buy candy for ½ price.  So we ended up with a bag full of candy.  No big deal.  I will have candy for all eternity!

I ate them in the wrappers.
Since this was ‘indulgent day’ we hit up a cheese factory, and then some wineries.  Things I have learned about Alyssa:  Alyssa does not drink wine like I drink wine.  I drink mostly all wines.  Alyssa like sweet whites.  Things I should pay attention to.  So basically I went wine tasting.  It’s cool.  I did buy some wine for the trip home.  This to be important later.

We tried to find something to eat, got a snack and then headed back to the airport.  The adorable airport in the CAPTIAL city of Tasmania has you all walking out on the tarmac, and being a cute little airport (TINIER than TF Green in Lil Rhody)  

Uh, thank you?
Now, think back to like…the early 90’s.  And you’re taking a flight, or meeting someone at the airport.  And you could go to the gate.  Or sit with them until their flight comes.  That’s pretty much interstate travel here in Australia.  Now at the vineyard, they told me I could bring the wine as my carryon.  Read it again:  Carry.  On.  So naturally, as a US citizen who has done most of her traveling post new flight laws, this is baffling.  You cannot bring anything over 3 oz of liquid on a US flight.  So of course I had to check this once we went to the airport at the check in counter as well.  Again, the employee from Jetstar confirmed that yes, traveling interstate I can bring wine as a carry on.

So from here we head over to ‘security’.  Alyssa goes through first (and you get to leave your shoes and coat on and EVERYTHING) and I’m next.  The security officer looks in my bag and sees the wine.

Officer:  What’s this?
Me: (nervously) It’s a few bottles of wine….
Officer:  You can’t bring this on the plane.
Me: (Stammering)  B-b-but, the woman at the Jetstar desk said I could….
Officer: Well I’m telling you, you can’t.

I am in such a state of panic now that I’m not even paying attention.  I am thinking, is it too late to get our checked bags back to put the wine in?  Can I get another bag to check?  Will the bottles break, they’re just in a bag…?  Shawn, who is behind me, notices the officer and says

Shawn: Not unless we share it with you, right?
Officer: BINGO! 

I start laughing, and I’m like mister, you almost gave me a heart attack!!  (and truthfully my heart is pounding in my chest at this point.)  I had to explain to him, there’s no joking with airport security in the states. 

I like that it’s like a different world down here, where traveling within the country is so relaxed and calm.  It’s quite a change, but a pleasant one, so for anyone who visits us and does any traveling through Australia, know you can leave your little quart sized baggies at home, at least while you’re with us.

Even though it was only a quick two day trip, I cannot wait to go back to Tassie.  It’s quite and peaceful there, and the people are so very laid back.  There’s a penal colony there I’d like to take my dad to, which now sounds like I want to imprison him.  Well…it’s true he DID just spend several weeks in Antigua without me, so maybe I do afterall….

Next episode:  wrapping up with Alyssa, penguins and tour guides, and oh yeah, that ghost I saw.


  1. Epic...and yes those Roo claws are terrifying! Koalas are also way less cuddly than they look on TV...

    1. you'll notice no pictures of me getting near koalas yet....

  2. Even the cute things in Australia want to kill you... Except echidnas. They just want to kill bugs, which is a-ok by me.

    1. i'm sure somehow an echidna is trying to kill me. you really have to be constantly on your guard here