One of the missions Sam and I have for this trip is to see all of the animals and on our first weekend we got to check a bunch off the list. We went to Lamington National Park on Sunday. Most Australians have never heard of the place but I had somehow gotten into my head that I needed to go hike there. There was a rainforest and waterfalls so it was an easy sell. We packed our peanut butter sandwiches and headed up the mountain and stopped to feed some Alpacas on the way (Alpaca food, not peanut butter sandwiches).
When we got there we found trees you could climb to the top of, and into, and hang from. It was like being six again and playing in the backyard where I grew up. When you’re six half an acre feels like a forest and apparently the cuisine hasn’t changed much either.
In addition to climbing everything and of course doing our yoga poses we spotted a bunch of animals, leveling up consistently as the day progressed. First we saw the most beautiful birds with red bodies and purple wings who wouldn’t hold still long enough for a decent photo, then we saw a water dragon which Sam wasn’t too pleased about, and then we saw kangaroos! We were thrilled if a little disappointed by their appearances, they’re smaller and stouter than we expected with thick scaly tails. They essentially look like giant rats, which as a resident of New York City, is a horrifying thought. But we were SO excited to have seen kangaroos and it wasn’t until a couple of days later that we were relieved to find out those weren’t actually kangaroos but wallabies.
We spent the next few days in Byron Bay, a hippie beach town where we slept in a teepee. There were yoga classes, homemade vegan food and bus trips to Nimbin, Australia’s seedy strip of herb shops where you can supposedly buy psychedelic lollipops.
Nimbin sounded tempting, strictly for sociological curiosity, but we opted for a chilled out beach day instead despite cooler weather and clouds.
And it was lucky we did because WE. SAW. DOLPHINS. Bunches of them, jumping around in the water and it was amazing.
I wanted to cry and THEN there was the biggest, most perfect rainbow going across the sky.
Mind you, these visuals were present *without* a trip to Nimbin. It was like Lisa Frank drank too much, wandered onto the beach and puked everywhere. And, true story, when Sam and I were kids we were the founders and most likely only members of The Dolphin Club. I was the President because I was a control freak and Sam was the Vice President because she was the best friend of a control freak, our first lesson in nepotism. The dolphin spotting reminded us of the ridiculous club and other childhood antics, a nostalgic end to a super relaxing day.
But then there was “the incident” because that’s how the universe works, my universe anyway. I picked a good VP though. We got through it and we went back to the hippie hostel and, to commemorate the experience, I bought us matching bracelets in the manner that we used to make as kids.
The rest of the evening was spent classily downing yet another bottle of wine wrapped in a paper bag while sitting in a hammock swing in front of a lake and chatting with an Aussie who adorably name dropped Emile Durkheim when I mentioned I was a sociologist. So the universe anyway, it works out.