Wednesday 25th April
Journal entry brought to you by (a thoroughly jungled) Tami
Woohoo! Coming to you from the oldest rainforest in the world. We left this morning for Cape Tribulation, our driver picked us up at 7.15am as arranged, and we headed off to the great and glorious jungle. Met two friends called Freya and Stef (who, if they are reading this, are probably screaming at the screen to mention that they are not a couple).
We stopped about half way to Cape Trib to go on a boat to look for crocodiles, which was pretty cool. We saw quite a few, there was one massive one rating in at about 4 metres, who was apparently called 'Scarface'. He was also very old and was missing all his teeth, however our guide told us that even without teeth, a crocodile has enough strength and pressure in his/her jaws to crush a car. I would like to know how they found this out. We were also reminded of the differences between crocodiles and alligators, although Sophie and I remembered this from Sydney Aquarium, because we are cleverly retaining facts from our trip to avoid our minds degenerating (as the human mind is so prone to do when it is not being fed regularly). The main difference is that a crocodile's teeth are visible when its mouth is closed because the jaws have a different structure. However when an alligator has its mouth closed, no teeth are visible. This is also, as I so smartly pointed out, probably where the lines 'You can't be friendly with a crocodile, Don't be taken in by his welcome grin' (from the nursery rhyme) come from.
Anyhoo. We got off the boat and right next to the mooring decks for all the crocodile spotting boats, was a large sign that warned us of the danger, that crocodiles had in fact been spotted in this area. It was really funny. Picture has been uploaded.
We then went for a quick boardwalk through the rainforest, and were given the opportunity to lick a green ant's bum, which is apparently used by many aboriginal tribes to flavour food as it gives off a delightfully tangy citrus flavour. We were encouraged to try this, and after Chris braved it, I decided I would also have a go. When they said tangy, they weren't kidding. I felt like I'd stuck a 9 Volt battery on my tongue, it was fizzing for ages. Apparently this reaction is completely normal, but I had a slightly raised white patch on my tongue, which did lead me to believe that I had had an allergic reaction to the ant bottom but then it stopped tingling and I stopped overreacting. Sophie was disgusted and decided NOT to try the ant. I would also like to point out here that none of the ants were hurt, I would obviously not have joined in this exercise had the ants been injured or killed. I checked over Chris' ant carefully to make sure it had suffered no damage before I licked one. Apparently it is one of the top two things to do in Australia, the other being skinny-dipping. Which, I hasten to add, we have not managed to do yet. And we're running out of time, which does make me think that we're not quite going to tick off both boxes. However we did in South Africa so I guess that counts for something. BUT I'm getting sidetracked. The board walk, after the ants, did not get any less interesting. We saw some wicked trees, like the strangler fig which starts from a seed dropped by a bird into the top of the tree canopy and grows downwards, a bit like a vine. It circles the tree trunk, and eventually grows so thick and strong around it, that the inner, original tree will die and rot away. Then when the original tree has gone completely, you are left with a tree shaped hollow criss-cross of branches that form the stranger fig tree. It is so totally cool, I mean completely murderous in Tree-World, but generally the tree that is created is awesome. There are pictures in the Cape Tribulation photo album, so have a look if you have time, it's really cool. We also saw a Golden Orb spider, which was absolutely massive. Seriously big. As you may remember from previous entries, Chris HATES insects and spiders, so the rest of the day was filled with stroking his head lightly and yelling 'Chris! There's a Golden Orb on you!' (because, yes, we are the most immature of people at times. Ha.)
When we got to our hostel, something crazy happened. We were getting off the bus, and someone yells 'TAMI' and before I have chance to register there is a mop of dark red hair in my face, and I realise that it is Natalie from Habibi!! It was soooo good to see her, we never really got a proper goodbye after all the malarkey with the bouncer on our big night out in Airlie Beach, so it was awesome to see her again. Anyway we only had a couple of minutes (and in that time we also registered that she was now travelling with Celine who we'd shared a room with in Surfers Paradise! Small world) and then she had to catch the bus, and Sophie, Chris and I had to check in. And then something else great happened. It turned out we were in a 5 bed dorm, and guess who was occupying the other two beds? Stef and Freya! Very cool news. We were all given a prep talk about what to do if we bumped into Elvis (a giant Cassowary who roams the hostel area). Apparently the correct procedure is to make lots of noise and movements and head towards her so she gets scared and backs away. Chris decided that the most obvious way to do this, is of course with Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' dance, so the next hour was spent perfecting our monster-style technique of dancing on the way to the cafÃ©. Very cool.
When we got to the cafÃ©, we played Uno for a bit, and started chatting to a couple called Sam and Charlotte, who were both really really nice. Sophie and Sam had a bit of a disagreement because Sam was convinved that TimTams and Penguins were the same thing. Which Sophie was OUTRAGED by, because (in her mind) clearly TimTams are better. I don't really care. I'm not a massive fan of either.
A bit later on I was chatting to Stef and Freya about how much I wanted to go on a night bush walk, but how Sophie and Chris didn't want to, and as luck would have it, they were planning to go on one that very evening so they booked me into it as well, and we arranged to meet when Sophie, Chris and I had returned from our Jungle Canopy Surfing that was booked for the afternoon.
At about 3 ish we went to the reception to be picked up by the jungle team. They were half an hour late, but eventually we were on our way. When we got there we met Ali and Ian who were going to be taking us up to the canopy, and we put on our safety harnesses, then ascended into the heavens. It was wicked fun, there were 4 main swings and one practice one, and the views were spectacular. When we got to platform 4, a conversation began about licking ants bums and Sophie, realising she had missed out on a cultural phenomenon, decided to give it a go. The final jungle canopy swing was to be done upside down (take a look at the photos), and was sooo much fun!!!! The entire experience was actually really good fun, although I'm not sure it was worth the money. I did have a laugh though, and the guides were really cool. Like me, Ian was really into Richard Dawkins and we had a mini conversation on evolution which was cool.
When we'd been dropped back at the hostel, we went to have dinner together before I was due to get picked up for the night bush walk. I had pasta with spinach and tomato which was really nice, and Chris had fish and chips. Sophie decided to cook, although later on I found out she never got round to it.
Shortly before my pickup, the most important occurrence of my entire time in Australia happened: Chris and I devised the Cassowary Dance. This dance is an incredibly special dance that Chris inspired and we co-developed. Sophie wouldn't even try it. Lame-o. It's so cool, I will be performing on set dates upon my arrival back in the UK for those who want to see it. I showed some people in the hostel in Auckland (yes, we're here, just very behind on the blog) and they were all suitably impressed. One of them even had a go but he wasn't in the right league really, just not putting enough into it.
Anyhoo, again, I got sidetracked. It's possibly because this is the longest blog entry EVER. Stef, Freya and I went on the night bush walk, and it was pretty cool. Being in the rainforest at night is a really surreal experience, not only are the noises almost deafening, but there is so much to see. We saw loads and loads of insects, like a white legged cricket, a giant brown cricket, two stick insects who had been mating for almost 19 days (some stamina there I tell you), a rat, a snake, a prawn, lots of spiders: the list goes on. Moths and butterflies as well. Apparently, when they are both asleep, a butterfly closes its wings, whereas a moth will keep them spread open. I thought that was really interesting. We also saw a cane toad who was sooo cute but these rude people in the group kept saying how ugly it was, and how great they were to play golf with ? how harsh is that? The sad thing is, they weren't even joking, apparently cane toads are a pest over here and people have turned finding new ways to kill them into a sport. Golf is the most popular, but apparently baseball is coming up close second. This poor toad looked so small and tired, I felt really sorry for it.
Anyway. On a plus note, when we got back to the van there was a massive grasshopper on the roof of the car. This was exciting.
Got back to the hostel at about 10.30pm ish and the three of us wrote our journals outside. After a bit, Sophie and Chris came out (they had been asleep when we'd got back). Apparently they had both lain down on their beds because they thought they'd heard us come back and they were going to pretend to be asleep (why? I don't know) but they'd both fallen asleep, which I thought was really funny! They then went to bed properly and I stayed out to finish my journal with the other two. Went to bed at about 1, having had an amazing day in the rainforest, and having met some really awesome people. Tomorrow should be a wicked day as well. Woop!