Sunday, February 8, 2009

Back in the hiber-nation

I'm back, and I'm alive, as promised! Some of you have worried about the silence in this blog. Since it's common knowledge that most visitors to Australia end up in hospital or as some kind of animal fodder, I clearly should have announced my safe return before now. I'm sorry!

Incidentally, I DID end up in a hospital. Fortunately I was just visiting, and the reason I visited was that it was a koala hospital, where I was hoping to cheer up the poor, fluffy critters. Which I did, possibly. It's hard to tell whether a sleepy koala is satisfied or not. Anyway, I know for sure that one of them did not enjoy my visit too much, as I for all practical purposes pretty much killed it.

Before I went to the koala hospital, I took a walk in the forest nearby, in Port Macquarie, well north of Sydney. I had come there just to see koalas, and I wanted to see them in the wild. I found one, and I photographed it with much enthusiasm. Later on, I went to the koala hospital in town, and since I was quite proud to have found a wild koala (well, that's an oxymoron, obviously, but you know what I mean, one that lives in the forest on its own), I showed the photos I had taken of it to a koala doctor.

She had a good look at the photos, and then she declared that this was one sick koala I had found! I had thought that a runny bottom just might be a feature of koalas, not a bug, but apparently it is caused by koalic syphilis! I don't know where they find the energy to do anything that might cause sexually transmitted diseases to actually move from koala to koala, but they seem to do it somehow.

So what happened was that the animal was collected from its tree, and, per my directions, brought back to the hospital so that it couldn't infect any other sexy koalas. It was so sick that they were unable to cure it, so they would simply have to end its life. I'm sure they gave it a nice meal, and maybe a cigar, before they cuddled it to death. Still, I feel kinda bad for it. If not for me, it would have continued its forestial fornication, and I'm sure it would have enjoyed that very much. My only comfort is that what happened was certainly for the greater good.

That was just about the last thing I did in Australia. Before that I spent some days hiking in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, after some good, but cool days in and near Hobart, Tasmania. On my last day there I hiked up Mount Wellington, 1200 metres of impressive mountain with a view of the city.

It was right in the middle of the summer, but the weather was reluctant to accept the fact. It got colder as I ascended the mountain, and with about 200 vertical metres to go, it started snowing. I kept on walking, and the snow kept on getting more intense. As I arrived at the top, it was pretty much a blizzard going on around me.

I don't mind a bit of snow. What was much worse was the fact that when I finally came up there, I discovered that there is actually a road leading up there, and there were several cars parked next to a roofed viewing platform. From which there was absolutely nothing to see, apart from the usual white wall of a blizzard.

To cheer myself up while I waited for the weather to clear, I decided to build a snowman. Now, even with this being Tasmania, rough and cold weather like that is unusual. So a team from the local TV station came up there to report on the weird phenomenon of midsummer snow. And what could possibly be more intriguing than a story about a good-looking backpacker from the other side of the world building a snowman on the top of their mountain? Well, I'll tell you: A story about a local, cute little girl with blonde hair and wearing a pink dress building a snowman on the top of their mountain. She saw what I was doing, and copied the idea! She stole my thunder, or my blizzard, as it were!

Such is life, I guess.

Anyway, I had a good time the last couple of weeks in Australia, and eventually I will be able to prove it through my photos. When I copied them onto my computer at home, I learnt that there are 4443 photos I need to choose a few from to show you. I'll be working on that for a while...

As an appetizer, please have a look at the photos from my stop in Singapore on my way to Australia.

Bjørn, non-syphilitic