Queensland,

 Indeed !


 

 


 

                   After Cook "discovered " this land in the 1770's (along with scores of other Pacific places) it began to take on a British feel with all those "jolly old English" sounding names. And then when the colonization of North America took a bad turn - the notion of using this huge piece of land as a place for people to escape the then poor state of the British economy, seemed like a grand plan - not to mention the possibility of reducing the costs of  prisons (many of the clients were debtors, anyway) .

I am not saying all of the locals here are Brit evolved, but more than a few have the look. This congenial gent was happy to talk about his days as a child here when the Japanese were bombing a bit north of town and how they stretched a submarine net across the harbor. Then he proceeded to show me how he threw his own round net to catch baitfish and prawns. He remembered that once he filled his bucket with them on one throw. The sign next to him warning of crocodiles didn't seem to faze him. He appeared to have arrived at a point of  a wonderful mix of an enterprising "Limy" and relaxed native. Even the flock of resting preening pelican were at ease with all this activity .

Despite the comfortable and familiar feelings that language and civility can promote - it is easy to see reminders that this is indeed, not a strange, but truly an unusual place. The HUGE insect on the fellows arm was designed by evolution to emulate a dried leaf and if that isn't impressive enough - a touch to his body inspires him to go into his second guise of a scorpion - coiled tail posture and all. Very Impressive this insect !

Flowers abound here, as you might expect of a tropical place, but we never stop being impressed by the astounding variety of the shapes and colors these flowers take to attract the pollinators and gardeners.

We met a man at the market who was selling his own vanilla beans - he reminded me they are from an orchid vine that he propagates himself and because the specialized ant required to pollinate the flower, is missing from this continent, he must pollinate all the blossoms by hand with his paintbrush. A vine provided about a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of beans. He insists we take one to put in our suitcase for the wonderful aroma.

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