Captain Matty Barefoot

Today, we went into the woods. Our tour was led by one Captain Matty. Matty runs a tight ship of 20 passengers in a 20-person van. The captain is a cute Kiwi with blond dreadlocks and bare feet. His domain is decked out with plastic flowers and Christmas lights. Every newcomer to his hippie van gets a bear hug. Matty took us on a tour of the wonders of the Australian rain forest. This flower child is a born comedian, and he entertained us while we climbed a twisted road into the mountains. Everybody on the van had to state their names, where they came from, and whether they crunch or fold their toilet paper before use. The passengers were overwhelmingly folders. We passed through magnificent scenery: beautiful vistas, meadows between rolling hills, and mountains on the horizon.
We went to see a giant of an ancient fig tree, its trunk composed of a zillion smaller trunks, listened to song bird screaming in the forest, saw a crater filled with mossy rainwater, watched a colony of caterpillars stuck together and moving as a caterpillar train, walked around a lake, and visited several waterfalls. Most everybody went to swim in the waterfalls, but not me! The thought of that American girl snatched by a crocodile by a waterfall kept me ashore. That, and the cold water.
For lunch we stopped at a one-street Australian town, Millaa Millaa. We had one of the typical Australian lunches – tasteless, colorless, sad-looking, and went to explore the main street where, in addition to the eatery we had just left, we saw a general store called “supermarket”, a crude and massive sculpture of the explorer who discovered this area, and his friend, an Aboriginal boy named Pompo, and last but not least, a historical museum! In the window of this museum we saw a display entitled “If you need to drink before you drive, drink milk.” The display featured a supine mannequin, all wrapped up in bandages and hooked to some kind of a plastic medical device. The impression was indelible.
When we got to the last waterfall, another monsoon fell upon us. We treaded water en route to the viewing platform, and, huge umbrellas notwithstanding, returned to the hotel soaked to the last thread!
Back in Cairns, the afternoon monsoon took a break, and we headed to the restaurant serving new Australian cuisine, Ochre. We had all the usual: kangaroo mousse, crocodile dumplings, and wattle seed Pavlova. Dunno, it’s exotic all right, but really, the only good food we had here was Asian. British influence is still lingering in the culinary department
Tomorrow – diving.


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