Saturday, December 24, 2005
mr. right's haiku
people really shouldn't feed the wild animals here in the daintree:
up thru the leg of my bathing suit
popped the inquisitive nose of a bandicoot --
"is there, my friend,
a slice of lamb you can lend?"
but all i had left was some passionfruit.
between the semi-tame bandicoots and half-wild bush turkeys you are haunted everywhere you go if you carry any food at all. since the weather's improved tomorrow i'm heading out to the great barrier reef.
happy holidaze. . .
attack of the bandicoots & cane beetles
there's no doubt that silky oaks is one of the world's great hotels -- in many ways i think it's as fine as le sireneuse and the famous ventana. while it resembles the ventana more closely, of course it has some interesting aspects the others lack, being in the middle of the daintree.
the great abundance of wildlife and its open-to-the-mossman-river architecture means you can meet all sorts of critters -- one night i was charged by bandicoots, who apparently were expecting a hand-out. tonite i was surprised by a giant cane beetle who flew in to check out my duck confit with citrus glaze.
luckily i had previously fortified myself with the best chocolate object in all queensland -- a torta bestia nera, that famed italian flourless chocolate cake, at 2 fish in port douglas. since today is mr. right's birthday, we had to make sure he could find a most excellent slice of something.
tomorrow i'll be having an x-mas picnic of fresh grilled aussie seafood and a local wine on the beach -- probably the beautiful thornton (scroll down thru here), where alas you cannot swim due to the deadly box jellyfish, irukandji, and of course the dainty saltwater crocodiles. . .
Thursday, December 22, 2005
in which i see a cassowary
true! i did manage to take a little tour of the ylang-ylang scented air over the daintree river, and while driving thru the rainforest caught a glimpse of the famed rare cassowary as it fled thru the bush. live they rather resemble a large irridiscent black mop.
by large i mean -- larger than i, with that beautiful blue head. pix don't do them justice, as it doesn't capture the flash of the feathers even in the dim and dappled light of the forest.
i've spent the day sampling local coffees from jaques and the melaleuca plantation from mareeba. in many ways these arabicas resemble the average kona. . .
finally, on the daintree river, i did also see a large female crocodile and quite a few birds -- azure kingfishers, cockatoos, australian darters, wompoo pigeons, among others. the amount of wildlife up here is incredible, actually.
the gorgeous irridiscent blue ulysses butterfly seems nearly as common as a sparrow in nyc. . .
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
on the banks of the mossman river
due to that delay in tasmania, i had to flee from hobart right thru cairns up past port douglas to the mossman river/daintree rainforest. it's indescribably beautiful here on the shores of the coral sea.
all of the espresso equipment seems to be rancilio epoca machines for some reason. more on this later. . .
but i am alive! i did not perish in the derwent valley!
in fact, i'm headed for the mossman gorge today; tomorrow, the great barrier reef!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
trapped in tassie?
currently i'm in the far mountains of queenstown, tasmania, where the weather has been unseasonably poor. i'm stuck in the devil's end of nowhere huddled in a half-heated, ramshackle winnebago waiting for the rain and hail to end.
i'm trying to get transport to hobart, which is a lovely town, but the tasmanian public bus doesn't run today and the only "taxi" in queenstown has engine trouble! hobart is 5 hours away through the most gorgeous virgin forest where there's no communication -- it seems as if much of western tasmania works on little satellite phones.
i just can't chance being stuck overnite by the macintosh dam in a dead ute (this is what they call these kind of mad max flat-bed vehicles that everyone uses around here) while a tow truck comes down from strahan to rescue me as packs of tasmanian devils circle and howl. . . tho' apparently the extremely poisonous tiger snakes are more of a problem. . .
there is probably no place left in the u.s.a. outside of farthest alaska as wild as western tasmania!
i could take a helicopter down to hobart, but the weather's so bad -- headline: "new york woman lost in helicopter crash over the pieman catchment." maybe i should hire a captain and attempt to flee the clashing tides thru hell's gate at cape sorrell?
will i ever escape the beautiful the northwest forest of tasmania? oh, to see the great western tiers again!
indiana jones has nothing on me. . .i'm subsisting on dead leaves and strawberry pavlova. . .
thus i amuse myself by reading the so-called great australian novel, patrick white's riders in the chariot. this novel, combining elements of joyce and faulkner but finally transcending them into a unique style, metaphorically considers australia ("god's own country") as the former garden of eden.
half-blasted into desert and half-verdant with twisted menacing trees, its iron gates rusted, the lock broken and hanging, the guardian angel sleeping, 4 eccentric but archetypal aussies -- a half-mad aristocratic spinster, a holocaust survivor, an aborigine, and an immigrant washerwoman -- slip into sydney's landscape and find it offers the first step up into the kabbalistic chariot, the vehicle of grace.
they themselves unknowingly become the tetramoulon or 4 angels who direct the merkabah, whose platform serves as the holy infrastructure of the world.
thus white appears to consider a special spiritual and redemptive path in the struggles of the australian identity and the australians' relationship to their vast continent.