Sunday, August 08, 2010

Crab Sangas?

Aug. 7th Saturday. If your wondering why we haven’t been killed yet, well you’re not alone, we wonder the same thing on an almost hourly basis. Australia is so far the wildest and awesomest place I’ve been in my travels and what a great way to end my trip before coming home. The odds are certainly against us. The worlds top 10 deadly snakes, poisonous spiders, salt water crocs, driving on the wrong side of the road, highway roundabouts, kangaroo strikes, and nothing but our tiny car to get us across hundreds of miles of scorched grassland and dried out floodways.

Our current hypothesis is that it is our combined experience and skills that have given us an above average “survivability rating” here in Australia’s unforgiving outback. Will is one of the most easily distracted and forgetful people I have ever met. However, with his I-phone (when he isn’t looking for it) he is nearly invincible in most normal places and combined with his friendly nature, he has been successful in communicating with the locals who have been very helpful and sociable. With my outdoor skills and mechanical know how I have been successful in keeping our old car running (knock on wood) and keeping Will on the right, that is…correct side of the road. Having been cooped up in a tiny boat for days on end with nothing to see but water we have had no trouble adapting to living out of our “Land Boat” for a couple of weeks. Driving down the road in Australia with new towns popping up in front of us every couple of hours is still a great novelty.

We passed through Mackay and continued along a coastal road to "The Caves" and a sign on the side of the road advertising Crab Sangas. Well, we had to figure out what that was and check out the caves if possible so we stopped. While Will went to unlock the crabby mystery I stood in awe at the worlds largest crab pot...until proven otherwise. It turns out that a Crab Sanga (pronounced Zanga, with an Aussy accent) is a crab sandwich with about a full kilo of fresh crab meat with just enough bread to keep it from falling apart. Delicious. While the pictures of the Capricorn Caves looked interesting, we decided we saw enough of them in the excellent cave history section and got back on the road headed for Rockhampton.

The town of Rockhampton or "Rocky" as it is called had tons to do. Luckily we stopped at an information office. There was an electric tram museum, a free zoo and botanical gardens, various historical sites, shopping malls, a huge swap meet going on at the fairgrounds, and OH YEAH the Tropic of Capricorn! We headed for the swap meet first. I thought we might find a cheap car stereo (which we were lacking) and Will was looking for possibly a flashlight. At the gate we learned that it was 4 dollars a person and I was ready to say forget it. We decided to flip a coin. Heads we go in. Heads it was. In we went. It was a good experience and we left with a FREE radio and...a boogy board. Yes thats right we have a boogy board now. Must be fate.

Afterward, we hit up the free zoo and managed to arrive in time to watch a trainer feed two chimpanzees (aged 38 and 40) a bowl of yogurt, which they ate with their spoons, and a juice box (which they call poppers here) which they drank WITH THE STRAW! very impressive. We saw kangaroos, an Emu, Dingos, Lorakeets, Alligators and Koalas. We even got to pet a Koala. Over the Bruce Highway they have installed what they call Fauna Bridges over the road that connect sections of forest specifically designed for tree dwelling animals to be able to cross the road without coming down from the trees! Now that's cool. There are rumors of large snakes hiding in the rope bridges waiting for an easy meal but we suspect cars do a lot more damage.

On our way out of town we stopped at the monument indicating the location of the intersection of the Tropic of Capricorn for a photo. Back on the road, we saw a sign for camping and pulled off at what looked like a regular gas station. To our surprise however, there was an RV camping area behind the building with toilets and shower facilities to boot. We went inside and got a key to the showers and paid 12 dollars for a place to set up the tent for the night. Is this the answer to the camping problem, seems like a pretty good deal...the saga continues. We cooked up some pasta for dinner and got some sleep.

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