Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rottnest Island

(PICTURE: Lily, me and Raul -- our tandem bike -- at sunset)

Rottnest Island got its name because according to Lily, "the Dutch or English or someone who first discovered it saw all the quokkas on the island and thought they were giant rats. They thought it was the rats nest." Basically quokkas are little kangaroo-rodents that only live on this island. They are literally everywhere. The other thing that is everywhere are signs that say, "Do Not Feed The Quokkas." Apparently Lily who wants to work in publishing is illiterate. She fed a quokka avocado and pineapples. 

The trip to the island was wonderful. In fact, I think the saying, "save the best for last" is appropriate here. It was my single favorite place in all of Australia. There were no cars on the island so we rented a tandem bike and rode from beach to beach finding new snorkel spots. We saw tons of fish, a small shark, an octopus and lots of beautiful coral. I've only got five minutes before my flight boards to let me run off some highlights and lowlights:

1. The worst mistake in my life was getting a tandem bike with Lily. She doesn't know how to ride a bike which would seem like the biggest reason this was a silly decision. However, there was something that made it even stupider: Lily is the laziest person in the world. Literally nine time out of ten that I'd turn around her feet weren't even on the peddles. On uphills I'd tell her to push but she'd just make some gross noises and say, "I'm trying Ben I'm trying." Then I'd take the pressure off the peddles and they wouldn't move. She wasn't even pushing. Once we had to start on an uphill and it was impossible. So I told her to get off and to meet me at the top of the hill. I was in the hardest gear and flew up the slope. It hit me that I was basically towing Lily all day long since the same slope was beyond my limit on the easiest gear moments earlier. I could go on and on about this but can some it up best by what Anna said to me upon arriving back in Perth: "You actually got a tandem bike? Nobody in our family would do anything with Lily. She's the laziest." 

2. A local told us of a beach to go snorkel at where there was a sunken ship. We headed to the beach first thing in the morning and strapped on our gear. Right as we were about to get in the water Lily screamed out, "Fins!". About forty feet in front of us was a school of something with medium sized grey fins. They definitely were not dolphins and Lily swore they were sharks. We decided to skip the sunken ship. 

3. The most gorgeous sunset I've seen in a long time. (I'm trying to upload the photo but the Hong Kong wireless isn't agreeing with me). 

4. I woke up the morning before Rottnest and realized that I fly out last night and not tonight. We had planned to stay in Rottnest for two nights. Luckily I'm a wiser man while unconscious and didn't miss my flight. 

5. While riding I saw my first venomous snake. It was a dugite--the kind that the Vet sister told me takes five minutes to kill you. Naturally I tried to run it over with my bike just to show it who was boss. 

Well, my plane is boarding so I've got to sign off. My Australia adventure has come to an end. Zev, luckily I didn't bust any deals and didn't have to face the wheel. However, I arrived in Australia with another man and only one of us is leaving. Mad Max has nothing on me. 

Goodbye, Australia. You've treated me well. 

Hello, China. Please be nice to me.