28 April 2009

Eungella National Park

Had my first adventure bushwalking!

Eungella is about a 1.5 hour drive west from Mackay & atop one of the many hill. Everything there -- and en route -- was lush & bright green. Sugar cane is everywhere in this part of Queensland.  The view of Pioneer Valley was unsurpassed!

love seeing all the foreign wildlife here in Australia.... and I've seen a lot in the past 13 days!  For example, turkeys live across the street, kookaburras wake me up every morning with their distinct call, and the a curious mini-lizard frequents my bedroom. As we arrived at Eungella National Park the first sight that caught my attention was a pair of vibrantly colored Ulysses Butterflies.  They were black with a stunning, reflective blue that mirrored Fiji's waters. 
As us girls walked one of Eungella's many trails (I was leading) I noticed some small rocks falling onto the path, no more than 10 feet ahead. I had no clue what prompted their slide and then I saw it... at first I thought it was a snake because it's neck was sooo long & it kept sticking its black, Y-shaped tongue out. Frozen in fear, the 3 of us watched as a four foot long lizard (called a "goana") clumsily crossed the path & headed down toward the river.
I was relieved but also excited that I was able to see local fauna. But that was nothing compared to seeing Eungella's most prized and advertised animal: the platypus.

They were not at the usual viewing area as it was the wrong time of day; they're out around dawn/dusk and it was midday. After a tip from the boys, we trekked to a more shaded pool & I saw two platypi in the water. They wouldn't hold still long enough for me to get a clear photo, but it made me feel so insignificant to see them in real life! The only surviving species of monotremes are indiginous to Australia & New Guinea. You cannot see these creatures anywhere else on the planet. Forgetting physical barriers, there are time constraints too. I may never see a monotreme (echidnas & platypi) again since they're endangered animals!
They were Mallard Duck-sized but not round -- flat. And platypi just skim the water so you're advised to look for their ripples/distrubances in the water as opposed to actually trying to spot them amidst the shaded pools.

The animals in Eungella -- heck everywhere -- are awesome and timeless, and I hope we can save them from extinction.

22 April 2009

Why do people live in northern U.S.A.?

The 10-day forecast for Mackay, QLD (in Fahrenheit for backwards Americans -- like me -- who don't know metric & don't know how to convert to Celsius)

April 22: Clear
Current: 68°

April 23: Sunny
High: 78° Low: 67°

April 24: Sunny
High: 78° Low: 68°

April 25: Sunny
High: 80° Low: 67°

April 26: Sunny
High: 80° Low: 68°

April 27: Mostly Sunny
High: 80° Low: 68°

April 28: Sunny
High: 80° Low: 67°

April 29: Mostly Sunny
High: 78° Low: 67°

April 30: Partly Cloudy
High: 76° Low: 68°

May 1: Partly Cloudy
High: 75° Low: 66°

I know where I'm going to be the next couple of days!

17 April 2009

Rip Van Winkle


That's right, April 15, 2009, did not exist! How many people can actually say that? Just those on the plane with me...

I'm still amazed that the human race even flies. When I saw the MASSIVE metal bird sitting on the tarmac I was sure it wasn't getting an inch (actually a millimeter -- gotta start talking metric!) off the ground.
Fiji -- even from the aerial/airport -- is heavenly; azure sky and sea; volcanoes; baby islands popping up everywhere.
Mackay, Australia (pronounced "muh-kye") is not what I expected. It's lush and green, and all the shops/houses are bungalows which reminds me of a jungle town. There were even wild turkeys in the middle of the street -- which is apparently normal! The weather is muggy and borderline too hot... and we're getting into the DRY season; wet is significantly more miserable. Basically, I'm a sticky, oily mess. Brief showers are common but due to all the sun everyone hangs their clothes on the line to dry, which I'm a big fan of!

The climate, metric system & the British lingo will take some getting used to on my part. The most difficult: driving. Just to illustrate my point...

...I emerged from the Brisbane (pronounced "briz-bin") terminal excited to be done with 15 hours of flying and enjoy the gorgeous weather. I looked left, no cars in sight, and bolted across the street, then screeched to a halt as a taxi zipped by from the right! My first moment in Australia & I almost myself killed because the U.S. drives opposite of the world!!!!

07 April 2009

Quote to live by

"Look to this day, for it is life... in its brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence, the joy of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty... Today, well-lived, makes every yesterday a memory of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day."
 -- Sanskrit proverb

Just wanted to finish this profound quote which could easily sum up my journey overseas. I would love to elaborate but am disciplining myself to NOT start blogging until I have moved out of the country. More details & hopefully photos to come.

4/13/09 AM leave Canton-Akron, OH. for Los Angeles, CA.
4/14/09 PM leave the U.S.A. for Fiji
4/16/09 AM leave Fiji for Brisbane, Australia
4/16/09 PM leave Brisbane for Mackay -- my destination!

Michelle a.k.a. Hollywood