Saturday, August 1, 2009

April-July 2009 — A Gringa Goes Down Under

From mid-April until mid-July of 2009, Lena will be in eastern Australia, mostly at the Cape Tribulation Tropical Research Station.

Image courtesy NASA. Clic to enlarge.

Here below she will be reporting on her adventures, in "blog order" (most recent entry first).

Please do ask questions and request pix in the comments, and she will do her best to oblige!

[Quick update -- yes, I am back, and I had a wonderful and productive time and took tons of pix. I am very preoccupied here, in the States, but I am certainly going to make time to publish here -- I'm just not sure when... 'Lena]

Galena Alyson Canada 5 April 2009 Vashon Island, Washington, USA
Updated 29 August 2009 Vashon Island, Washington, USA

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

T minus 1 day — Tuesday — Vashon Island, Washington

"Bon Voyage and Welcome Home and Happy Birthday"

Well, it's past midnight and I am utterly knackered. 

Tomorrow (today?)  is the Big Day, Day Zero, the Big Blast Off. Laurie is taking me over to Seattle-Tacoma airport; we're meeting Denise (who is just returned from Hawaii) for a Bon Voyage, Welcome Home, Happy Birthday (it's Laurie's birthday, not to mention USA Tax Day, just to top it all off) luncheon, and then it's off to the Big Adventure.

22 hours in-flight plus two major layovers for a total of 30 or so hours in-transit from Seattle to Cairns, Australia.  I leave on Wednesday, cross the International Dateline, and arrive on Friday morning.  For me, Thursday 16 April 2009 will never happen.

The next time you hear from me, I will be on the other side of Planet Earth.  See you then.

Galena Alyson Canada 14 April 2009 Vashon Island, Washington, USA

Sunday, April 5, 2009

T minus 10 days — Sunday — Vashon Island, Washington

Dr. Hugh Spencer by Toby Kubler
"What the fuck am I thinking?!"

It all began on Friday the 13th.

Had you asked me a mere three weeks ago what I thought of heading down to Australia in the immediate future, I'd've said something brilliant like


To be honest, the "Remote Continette" was never, ever on my list of likely destinations. But then, just a a few weeks ago, on that fateful Friday, Dr. Hugh Spencer made me an offer I couldn't refuse: three months on tropical Cape Tribulation, Far North Queensland, Australia; where the rainforest slides down off the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range, to meet the sea as it rolls in from the Great Barrier Reef.

For only the price of a round-trip ticket which, it just so happened, Air New Zealand had on sale for a lousy USD $750 (unheard-of). So I blame them. And Dr. Hugh, of course.

So, once again, I am packing.

And, per usual, I've got my preperatory reading. A good thing, since until now all I've known about the Remote Continette is koala bears, kangaroos, and "crikey!" So now I've got a new reading list: the 14th edition (2007) Lonely Planet guide to Australia; the 1st edition (2008) Rough Guide to East Coast Australia; Rusty Geller, Americans' Survival Guide to Australia and Australian-American Dictionary; Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country; Cynthia Clampitt, Waltzing Australia; and the Robert Hughs classic, The Fatal Shore, The Epic of Australia's Founding.

Not really knowing much of anything about where I'm headed, I was delighted to open the Lonely Planet guide to their Cape Trib entry; which commences with:
Some places take your breath away — Cape Tribulation, one of the few places in the world where the tropical rainforest meets the sea, is one of them. Coming here across the cable ferry, you'll feel like you're entering the set of Jurassic Park with impenetrable rainforest, swollen river banks and layers of mountains.

Galena Alyson Canada 5 April 2009 Vashon Island, Washington, USA