Tasmania, Day 4, 09/03/08
The story of the fourth day of our Tasmanian holiday is firmly rooted in the story of the third night of our Tasmanian holiday, which has been so far the story of the holiday in general. We're both feeling a bit offline, but Dylan has made quite an effort last night to make things even worse by waking us up and getting us up on multiple occasions during the night.
It's not like I'm blaming him or anything. Regardless of him not yet getting to the stage where he stages such acts, he is sick. I'm actually quite worried, because he's been sick for 10 days now and although there has been some gradual improvement as days went by it is still taking him way too long to get out of what seems to be a regular cold, even with the aid of antibiotics (if you can refer to them as an aid in the first place). Our main worry, other than the sickness, is that the sabotaged routine due to our travels will now become the routine itself once we get back home.
The result of the night is that come morning time we were all devestated. After Dylan had his morning feed we all went back to sleep instead of trying to make the most of our day, and even after that we were tired. Then, in a demonstration of the condition we were all in, I bashed my head on the low doorframe. If there is one thing to enforce my line of thinking that Tasmania iss some sort of a replica of England it is the low doorframe of our room: back in England, where people seem to hang on to traditions no matter how silly or irrelevant they are (check out the monarchy), I've bumped my head left and right on doorframes, and one of them was a pretty bad knock. At least here the excuse is that the hotel is an old building and at the time people were significantly shorter than they are now; in England I've bashed my head on modern doorframes, too (and for the record, English people are amongst the tallest in the world, national height average wise).
Eventually we set of towards Mount Field National Park, located somewhere near the middle of Tasmania, about an hour's drive from Hobart. We had to justify the purchase of that rip off Tasmanian National Park Pass. The drive was nice, going along this river which at parts was quite wide – wider than any river I've seen before – and in other parts was just nice. Shortly after leaving Hobart the road turns from a nice and fast one into a piece of shit one that in Israel would have people dying on it on a daily basis but in Tasmania they can get away with it because of the very low pupulation density. Indeed, the few towns on the way to our destination, if you can call them towns, were pretty desolate. The population of Tasmania must be full of country bumpkins, a statement which forces me to add that in no way do I consider myself superior; I do consider myself lucky to have been born into different circumstances that allow me to live my life the way I do. And for the record, those country bumpkins had a few rare displays of curtous driving in store for us, appearing at a much more frequent a frequency than anywhere else I remember.
The last comment I would like to make on today's drive is a repeat of a comment I have made before: for a place that sells itself as a world power in gourmet food, Tasmania (or at least the bits of it we have been to so far) seems to be very poor in what it has to offer and in the variety of what is on offer. There's not much of it, and the things that are on offer are far from inspiring unless you consider cheap pub food to be Michelin Guide material.
At the park we took the ten minute walk to Russell Falls. The walk passes through a very nice rain forest which was nice and tranquil other than the ongoing sound of a baby crying in between sessions of sucking his thumb that seemed to have followed us wherever we went. Eventually Dylan won and we carried him by hand, which meant I couldn't take half as many photos as I wanted to.
The falls were pretty marvelous and so was the setting. Even Dylan was fascinated by the water and the sounds, and on several occasions he seemed to answer the calls of the laughing kookabaras. I was trying to find the best settings with which to take forest photos, given the dark settings and the lack of wind which allowed me to utilize long exposures. I took most photos three times, using the camera's bracketing facilities, and I'm curious to watch the photos at home and see what works best.
Other than the falls the park offers other easy walks, but they're mostly unpaved and we left our Baby Bjorn carrier at home. That was actually the reason we were almost late for our flight to Tasmania: we remembered we didn't pack it just before leaving home, and then we couldn't find it. So we asked for suggestions at the park's info center, and they told us of this drive that takes up to a location where some of the world's tallest trees can be seen and where the park's full diversity can be witnessed.
We set the car on course and headed of to see some talls trees first. We saw them, but only from a distance: stepping out of the car we noticed we were surrounded by swarms of oil tanker size bees, more than enough to send us rushing back to the car and drive on. The road then became very narrow and unsealed, which was pretty tricky given that it was a two way road that was only one lane wide with no margin for errors. We've made it through more than half of it before we were able to locate a place where we could make a u-turn, and I have to say that diversity wise everything looked pretty much the same. On its own what we saw was not bad at all, so why the abuse of the word “diversity” on behalf of the park's staff?
So we drove back home. We detoured through the center of Hobart looking for takeaway meat as we were craving some nice juicy meat, but eventually between everything being closed and Dylan starting to whine we had to settle for KFC. And I'm only mentioning it because they forgot to give us the can of Pepsi we paid for, and it wasn't even a drive through (where, according to Lethal Weapon 2, they fuck you every time). Even though they've actually improved our health a bit by not giving us the poison drink, Tasmania, or at least Hobart, seems to be truly bad at serving its guests with fast food. Or food in general.