Thursday, 1 March 2012

Leaving Hobart

Today started off with a wonderfully vibrant pear, green as could be, just outside of our kitchen window in Hobart. I had noticed it the day before, but it hadn't registered how significant it was for a pear of that magnitude to be growing so high off of the ground. So, I took a few pictures of this fortuitous pear, wondering if it was actually a pear, or some other fruit that just looked like a pear. I am, after all, on a new continent, with new and exotic flora. Perhaps I will never know.
    After some standard morning routines, we all left for the local grocery store Woolworths, which turned into quite an interesting trip of Tasmanian safety measures. We made it to the store without any complications, but about five minutes into our shopping spree, as I was taking some exquisite photos of kangaroo meat, we were asked very abrasively to leave the store by an automated computer voice, electronically rehearsing the phrase, “EMERGENCY. PLEASE EVACUATE THE STORE NOW.” 

This was a surprise, as I have never had this happen in a grocery store before. It was kind of funny at first, until the reality sunk in that there really could be a problem, or someone could be hurt... this made me feel a little guilty for thinking it amusing.
    Once my fleeting moment of juvenile amusement subsided, I turned my camera off and looked around for any sign of what had occurred. I found/saw nothing of any significance... not to me anyway. This was about the time where the alarm was turned off, and we were able to finish our shopping mission. Then, once we completed the quick walk back to the hotel, we loaded everyone into the van and headed off for Cradle Mountain. This would prove to be the beginning of a long and splendid day.
    There were a few of us who had to get some gear from the “Apple Store” before they could proceed northward. So, the rest of us headed north, out of Hobart, and then got some excellent coffee and tea from this peaceful little bakery in a town I can't remember the name of. I'm sure I'll see it again before I leave.
    After some grueling hours on the highways of Tasmania we finally made it to the beautiful Cradle Mountain, and guess who was there to greet us as we entered the park... a cute and cuddly little echidna, one of the only two monotremes left on the planet. This blew me away. I knew they lived here, but I didn't expect to see one on the very first day! I was equally astounded by the diverse variety of micro-climates on the way up from Hobart. In less than an hour we traversed open grasslands, through a dense temperate rainforest, and super-dry stands of schlerophyll eucalypt forests. Once we entered the Eucalyptus stands, I was in love.
    I realized that these wonderful trees are the equivalent of cedar trees, with concerns to tinder material anyway. This was a nice revelation for me, as I'm always looking for new ways to survive, wherever I'm at. I can't wait until we get out hiking.
 Later that evening we all had a nice dinner together, consisting of lamb stew (poor little lambs), and a colorful salad of greens, peppers, and onions. It was delicious! And that was about it for the first day out of Hobart. Well, there was a bunch more stuff, but I don't feel like sharing all of the intimate details of this journey, only the semi-intimate ones for now.

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