Slice Of Life

Slice Of Life, is a Weblog (BLOG) that I write, in which I try to tell some sort of story about something, or someone in my life. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes not, sometimes informative, sometimes...... HA, gotcha, did ya think that I was going to say not? Don't know me very well, do ya? :=) I will try to update the BLOG from time to time, whenever I can.

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Location: Chandler, Arizona, United States

My personality is outgoing, I use to be a wallflower, until I realized that it was all the outgoing people that were having the most fun. It was a tough conversion, but nobody I know today would even remotely consider me to be a wallflower. Basically, when I was young, my parents taught me that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. I haven't quite found the "anything" part to be always true, but it has inspired me to always try to do, and be, my best.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Australia Day 9 - Cairns - Kurandu

Today, we took a trip into the mountains above Cairns, to a village called Kurandu. There is a rain forest preserve up there, and the rumour mill had it that it was a place to go. They have this old narrow gauge railroad that was built up into the mountain, way back when gold was discovered in the area. They have restored the railway, and now they run an old time train up there to the rainforest preserve.

We gathered at the station, and took the train into the mountains. Along the way, they tell you the story of how the entire railway was built by hand way back in the early 1800's using pick axe and shovel. It was pretty amazing, because not only were there multiple bridges spanning deep gullies, but there were also 18 tunnels that were dug out of the granite mountain. Try doing that with a pick axe.

When we got to the town,there was a short walk up to the shopping area, where most of the people hung out, but I decided to take my little tourist information map, and go do "The Conservatory Nature Walk", "The Jungle Nature Walk", and "The River Nature Walk". During the walk, I was sort of glad that I did it by myself, since I was able to be really quiet, and saw animals and birds that I most likely would not have seen with a large noisy group.

One of the nice things, was that to get back down the mountain, they had what they called "The Skyrail" It was an overhead cable car system, sort of like those 4 person pods that you see at the ski resorts? Doing it that way, allowed me to get a birds eye view of the mountain rain forest from above the trees,it was VERY cool.

At the bottom, we visited the Aboriginal cultural center for the tribes in the area, The local people put on a dance demonstration of aboriginal dances that was fabulous. Then there were demonstrations of Aboriginal Medicine, and a lesson on how to throw Aboriginal Spears, and Boomerangs.

I said a lesson, because the spear actually has a separate hooked throwing stick device, that hooks into the back end of the spear, then we throwing the spear, you lay the spear across your last three fingers, and grip the spear between your thumb and index finger, and use an overhand throwing motion much like a baseball, snapping your wrist at the point of release, and following through.

After they showed us how to do it, and they threw a couple of spears at the 3 hay bale targets, with the kangaroo paper targets on it, they said "OK, who wants to go first". ARE YOU KIDDING? I jumped up, along with 3 other guys, and we all lined up on the firing line. I was paying real close attention, so I got the throwing stick and the spear set up the way they showed, and aimed t the closest bale, which was about 20 meters away. All I was thinking was.... "Please Please at least just let the spear fly a little ways in the right direction, and also don't let me lose my grip on the throwing stick, hit somebody with it, and embarrass myself". I tried to think about throwing a baseball, with the only difference being the arm follow through goes across your body, and so I whipped my arm overhand, and snapped my wrist on the release and followed through the way they showed. The spear flew through the air, and HIT THE CLOSEST KANGAROO TARGET DEAD CENTER!!! Wow, I couldn't believe it!! Everyone watching behind me from the tour group cheered and clapped, and the rest of the day, the folks were calling me "Spear Chucker Tom", and suggesting that I should hunt for that night's dinner. Oh, but that's not all....

They then took us over to the boomerang throwing, and taught us how to do that, then they gathered us inside this chain link screened in hut, and one by one, we stepped out in front of the shed to throw. For a right handed, you hold the boomerang like a number 7, angle it at about 1:00, and throw across the wind. Again, snapping your wrist at the moment of release. The wind was coming from the North, so the throw direction was east. The first guy tried, but he held his boomerang at 12:00, so it want straight down into the ground. I was up second, and when I lined up and threw, the boomerang flew in a large circular arc, sailed around to my left, and HIT THE SHED RIGHT BEHIND ME with all the other people in it. One of them said, "Hey Tom, what, were you trying to aim at us"? I said..... ummmmmm, yeah, right, that's EXACTLY where I was aiming


Anyway, after we got back to Cairns, we went out to dinner along the Esplanade, which is the main waterfront drag. They have these fig trees along the promenade, and these giant fruit bats live in the trees, they have wing spans of ~ 1 meter (~3 feet), and they are kind of cool to watch soaring around in the sky with the sun setting behind them, since they stay high in the trees, and don't want to have anything to do with people. I had Filet Mignon Steak, and "Mash" (mashed potatoes) and I drank way too many "VB" (Victoria Bitters) beers......

Man, I'm having a GREAT TIME :-)


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