Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Big Mistake

Tasmania, Day 2, 07/03/08

I can't think of anything that went according to plan on our second day in Tasmania.
The night time sleep before the second day would be a good place to start if only I could have said we had what passes for night time sleep. Our room is described as a “studio apartment”, but it's actually what we humans call “a hotel room”; it's just that the Quest chain we're staying with is a chain of serviced apartments, so in order to keep the faith with their marketing slogans they describe everything in terms of apartments. A car park is probably sold as a mobile apartment or something.
While at it, curse on all hotel beds! I imagine they probably got someone like me to come and do a cost benefit analysis, and that moron has recommended using a layered sheet – quilt – bed cover implementation. Since then all hotel guests had to suffer with waking up in the middle of the night and having the sheet stuck up their nose while their legs are exposed. The hotel that comes out with a normal quilt inside a quiltcover implementation should rule the market!
Anyway, the point of the story is to say that sleeping in the same room as Dylan is not the most pleasant experience ever if one wants to sleep. We knew that already from Xmess. However, sleeping in the same room as Dylan when he's sick is much worse; the poor fellow kept waking up every half an hour or so for a brief (or not so brief) crying session, which is a good way to ruin our sleep. When he's in another room I can usually sleep through all but the stormiest of cries, but when he's in the same room his blocked nose breathing is enough to keep me awake in the first place.
Despite sleeping late Dylan decided the new day has started at seven. After having cereal with soy milk I felt fresh enough for the day's adventure: driving all the way up to Wine Glass Bay and doing some touring of the place. We even managed to drive away by nine thirthy.
Being that we needed a Tasmanian park pass of the type we couldn't get yesterday at the friendly and helpful Hobart Information Centre (yes, I'm cynical), we set our GPS on Triabunna first – some third of the way towards our final destination. The Tribunna info center was the way an info center should be, helpful and all. They advised us to delay the purchase of the pass and pointed us to a nice place to eat and a supermarket. The eating place was this “Devonshire Tea” establishment, i.e. a place that serves English oriented food. There's not much of a choice in middle of nowhere Tasmania, so Jo has had a ploughman's lunch and I've had my daily dose of mercury in the form of flathead fish and chips. As a bonus for meal eaters the place allows its visitors to have a free tour of their garden (it's $2 per person otherwise!), so we took the opportunity to check out why someone charges an entry fee for a house's garden; maybe we should do the same with ours, the whole world can come and watch our weeds, and I can retire. It was quite a well looked after garden, although it was just a garden to my eyes. It had roses and I held Dylan close to one so he could smell it; he just whacked it instead and caused it to shed all of its petals to the ground, which pretty much summarizes his attitude towards us having lunch there in the first place: it was one long torture for us and the surrounding diners, starting with the high chair that caused him to constantly slip to the side and moving to Dylan's abstinence with eating and especially with drinking when he's sick. I really don't know what keeps the boy alive. On the positive side, the garden had chickens and roosters that did rooster sounds which even made Dylan perk up.
Eventually, at about 13:00, we moved towards our destination, now firmly aware that we won't have much time there given that we had to head “home” to Hobart by 16:00 if we wanted to have any shred left out of Dylan's routine. Bear in mind, we are talking here about more than 400 kilometers worth of a trip on roads that are not exactly autobahns.
That said, the drive was pretty spectacular. There's no doubt Tasmania is quite beautiful, even though the glimpse of it I've had is equivalent to me saying someone looks good based on having had a look up their nostril. We did cross this bridge over this inlet that was just a tiny bit over the water height, making us feel like we're sailing; there was this part of the drive where we drove next to a proper river laying in a proper valley between proper mountains, reminding me of certain scenes from Two Towers and of many a Western where rivers that look pretty similar play a key role; there were long stretches by the beach, featuring some beautiful scenery; and of course, there was the drive through Break-Me-Neck Hill, where we should have stopped to take a photo of the road sign to prove we were there. And don't get me started about the fresh air! Coming from Tel Aviv I always thought of Melbourne as the place to be for fresh air, but it's obvious Tasmania is way ahead.
The drive was quite a fancy one, with twisty roads all over. I can hardly think of roads more entertaining to drive, and I have to admit the auto/manual Tiptronic gearbox on our rental Mitsubishi Lancer made things quite entertaining. It was so nice to be able to have total control over the 6 gear gearbox when overtaking or when tackling some particularly steep turns!
We got to the park's information center to find there's no avoiding us paying $56 for a park pass. It's valid for two months, which is the excuse for the major daylight robbery taking place there; just how many tourists can afford two months of Tasmania?
By now Dylan was in major upset mode and nothing seemed to please him. We took him for a five minute walk to this viewpoint of the bay: it was quite spectacular, with mounty mountains, clean sand, and clear blue water. Indeed, it was only the crying baby that detracted from the scene. He cried and cried, but he wouldn't eat or drink anything.
We drove to this easy 15 mintue walk by a lighthouse they have there, which was supposed to be boardwalked according to the info center, which meant we could carry Dylan in his pram. I'll say this: the Tasmanian definition of a boardwalk is significantly different to mine and we just ended up wasting time before heading back to Hobart.
To summarize my basic impression of Wine Glass Bay, I have to say that while it is spectacular as many people say, it is not out of this world spectacular; in fact, it reminds me a lot of Wilsons Prom, with the same type of scenery and same type of activities.
A bit more than two and a half hours later we were back in our hotel room, tired, hungry, and worried about Dylan. He slept for most of the day in the car, which is good given that we spent virtually all day in the car; but he just wouldn't eat to stop his eternal moaning whenever we stopped. It was clear that weve tried to cram too much to the day, and it was clearly my fault: whenever we travel I try to cram as much as I can to get the most of the day, and I obviously failed to realize that with Dylan our circumstances are so different that it's time for old habits to die hard.
To add insult to injury, the parking lot at the park's info center had these bars of wood that I went over, which scrapped the bottom of the Lancer's front spoiler. I shouldn't have gone over them, I should have known better, and it was probably my CR-V habits that made me totally ignore them. It does, however, seem as if the Mitsubishi's are too low for a normal road car. It further emphasizes the sportier than thou image Mitsubishi has tried to establish with its Lancer, often at the price of practicality. I just wonder how much Avis will want for the damages... As I've said, lovely day. Our credit card covers for rental car companies' stupidly high excess fees, but our out of pocket will still be up to $300.
Back at the hotel we tried a new tactic with Dylan's bathing time. I sat down at the shower's floor and adjusted the shower head so that I can have total control over which bits of Dylan get wet. Jo gave him to me, and for a second he laughed at the tickling effect of the water; but then he started cryign and it was just horrible. I hate it when I try to do something nice for him and he doesn't appreciate it; guess tomorrow he will be sponge bathed.
Given today's lessons, tomorrow will probably be spent in Hobart from start to finish.

P.S. Note the photo is a montage created out of six (!) separate photos by Photoshop. Check it out in its full glory as well as the six photos that made it up here.

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