Monday, 3 March 2008

I can’t believe how early I get up each morning since we’ve been on Queensland time! I was up again before six, wide awake, and figured I’d go for a run. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the day had begun. I started off on a great jogging trail that went right along the ocean, though I couldn’t see the water most of the time I could hear it just on the other side of the dunes. I ran through a pretty park, past a pond, and on into a residential neighborhood. My goal was to find the town center, see how close we were to a grocery store, and find out if there were any bookstores around. I ran and ran and ran. I found myself running past homes just like I would see back home, and as I looked up one of these streets I saw a kangaroo looking back at me.

I stopped in my tracks and slowly approached my first wild kangaroo. We regarded each other. She looked a little dopey, sitting on her haunches, her giant feet underneath her, and her two useless-looking arms dangling in front of her. She did not look regal or majestic like deer sometimes do when I encounter them back home. I finally tired of just staring at her, she hadn’t moved a muscle and I wanted to see her hop. I started approaching, and sure enough she turned around and hopped, bounding high and fast. I followed her, and as I rounded a corner I saw an entire empty lot filled with kangaroos. I couldn’t believe I was seeing all of them, just standing there munching grass and staring at me.

I watched them for awhile, then turned around and continued my run and search for town central. Just one street over, I encountered another empty lot full of kangaroos, but no town center. I ran on. And on. And on. I finally turned back around and retraced my steps, never finding the grocery store or bookstore. I didn’t have a watch on, but I knew I’d been gone long enough.

I got back an hour after I left, everyone was just tucking into breakfast and I told them all about my kangaroo encounter. We did some school that morning, and after lunch we all headed to the beach. Our first stop was a “creek”, actually an inlet of the ocean that becomes a series of little and big pools when the tide goes out. We had learned that low tide would occur at 1 in the afternoon. We arrived to find some black rocks just teeming with little pools with mud skippers and crabs darting around. Alayna and Benji caught a teeny little crab, the size of my pinkie nail. It had one mutant big claw. Benji carried him around like a little pet for a long time. Nate caught himself a scuttling black crab, and Clay poked a huge crab with blue claws that ambled around as if he’d seen better days. The boys jumped on their boogie boards to paddle themselves around a large salt water pond, while Clay and Alayna caught more crabs.

When they finally got tired of it, we rounded a spit of sand to find the beach. A man was kite surfing, a sport where you hang onto a kite that looks like a parachute and your feet are strapped on a small surf board. The kite drags you all over the place, and when you hit a wave you go sailing in the air, hanging there for several seconds before dropping again. It looks like a lot of fun. It also looks like you could be killed pretty easily. Speaking of being killed, we had read, and were warned by nearby signs, that this water had dangerous jellies (the kind that can kill you with their stings) and crocodiles. I had consulted the owner of the campervan park, and she assured me it would be safe to get in the water in front of the Surf Life Saving Club, so we located it and sent the kids into the water.

The boogie boarding wasn’t that great, and the wind was so strong it kept pelting us with little bits of sand that felt like Lilliputians were nailing us with their arrows. We didn’t stay long. Benji and Alayna wanted to go back to the crab place, while Nate and Clay decided to head home. I accompanied Alayna and Benji, we fiddled around for thirty minutes or so, and then headed back to the camper. As we approached, Nate came running out to us yelling, “Dad locked us out of the campervan and now Benji has to climb through a window to get the keys.” Our camper has the unfortunate feature of automatically locking itself after twenty seconds, unless you unlock the passenger door and manually open it.

Clay had checked all the windows, and they were all locked up tight, except for one small window up in the loft of the van. It was a really small window, I seriously doubted if even Benji could fit in. Clay stood on a chair, and hoisted Benji up head first, and Benji just wriggled his little body right into that window and saved the day. He was very proud of himself as he located the big ring of keys and found the right button to unlock the doors.

After all the excitement, we were ready to settle down for a while. I commenced packing our backpacks for our travels the next day, we’re only allowed 15 kilograms per person, so we won’t bring the duffels, just the backpacks. We made a quick trip to the grocery store for a few things, picked up a pizza and some Subways for dinner, and even rented a movie from Blockbuster (all from the town center, I would never have found it on my run, I wasn’t going the right way). We grooved to Kronk’s New Groove, ate our dinner, and everyone fell into bed. I should probably not tell people this, but we all are asleep by around 9 these days. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been getting up before 6 . . .