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WELL, THERE YA GO...

13 October 2003

Caversham Park may well be my favorite place in the Perth area.

Today the school kids are back in school, the weather report predicted showers, "clearing" by mid-morning, and warm temps. We figured it would be the perfect day to return to Caversham and complete our tour of the park.

It's not a large park, but we ran out of batteries for the cameras the last time we were there and rather than go on with no cameras, we had enjoyed our time with the birds and the kangaroos that we decided it warranted a second trip. Time is growing short, and we weren't sure if we would have time to fit it in, but today seemed perfect.

You may recall that we got to Caversham because we went looking for camels to ride. We never found the camels, but we found this marvelous wonderland of animals to admire, photograph, and pet.

My one fear was that the day wouldn't go well. Someone told me once that there is a Chinese proverb which says that you can't put your toe in the same place in the river twice. If we returned to Caversham, would it hold the same magic? I hated to think of going back to that already special place and coming home sorry that we had gone.

But we went anyway. The skies weren't looking like they would clear any time soon, but we figured that it would probably keep away mothers with small children and that we'd have a chance to have the park to ourselves again.

This time I'd brought the better camera. Last time, expecting to be sitting on a camel, I left the Olympus at home and just brought the Casio, which fits in my pocket. The Casio, while a good snapshot camera, had been a bit of a disappointment last time and I was hoping for better results with the Olympus.

We started off, again, at the bird enclosure and when we got home and I looked at the photos, I was thrilled. The results were significantly better than with my other camera, and exceeded what I thought I was getting.

From the birds, we passed a koala enclosure. Several animals were there, but only one was awake, but she had a teeny baby hiding behind her who finally, after we'd waited a long time, came round to her pouch and began to nurse, so we could get some photos.

While we waited for the koala, a couple of groups of people passed by. I kind of felt sorry for them that they were doing the park so rapidly. The real magic of this place is taking your time, doing it slowly, going at the animals' pace and just watching to see what they do. You can easily see Caversham, which is a relatively small place, in an hour, if you just rush from enclosure to encosure. We were there 3-1/2 hrs and I would like to go back again. Maybe on another trip.

After the koalas, it was the roos again. The roos had occupied us for fully an hour last time; would we find the same fun again? There had been rain off and on throughout the morning and so all the moms were gathered together in the back, many of them lying down. We picked up pocketsful of roo food on our way back there and were immediately greeted by lots of eager kangaroos, all waiting for a snack. Though they were very gentle, they were as insistent as goats in a petting zoo. Fun, though, to have a kangaroo almost nose to nose with you as it begs for food!

We spent a long time there taking pictures and movies. Peggy's commentary usually includes several uses of the expression "there ya go...," hence the titleof this entry. At one point I glanced off to the back of the pen and saw a sign on the next enclosure down: "Camel Rides." We finaly found our camels. We had gone looking for camels a few weeks ago and instead found Caversham. Today we went to Caversham and found camels. Naturally we had to go see about a ride.

The camel rides are designed for little kids, so what were these two old broads doing on a camel ride. My camera was getting in the way of trying to figure out how to mount the damn thing, so I never did get any pictures, but Peggy kept hers and managed to suitably embarrass me, not only with still photos, but with movies of my attempts to get on the animal and stay on as it lurched to its feet.

I was upset that I had no camera when Peggy got on, but we started out, feeling rather foolish, this guy walking ahead of us, holding one camel lead in each hand...like he were leading a couple of 5 year olds on this walk. It began to rain a bit and he asked us if we wanted to go back, but brave, hardy souls that we are, we said no, we'd continue on.

Then the skies opened up and it rained buckets. We were, unfortunately, at about the halfway point, so there was no way to cut the ride short. We were absolutely drenched, the camels were unhappy (I had visions of winding up upside down under the beast, as the saddle slipped off--what a great shot that would have made for Peggy!). The poor guy leading them was one soggy wet, unhappy bloke.

When we got off, all three of us (and the two camels) were dripping wet, and the children waiting in line for their turn were suitably entertained...also, the rain stopped and the sky turned blue about that time.

After we had dried out and stopped laughing, we continued on. It was getting late and we were hungry and the cafe was off in the distance.

"We don't need to go down that way," Peggy said, but I had spied a sign that said "koalas," so I said that I thought we would get to go in a koala enclosure. "Nope," she said, but I continued walking.

We came across a guy putting eucalyptus leaves in a locked enclosure with a few koalas in it and started to take pictures. "If you go down to that end enclosure," he said, "you can go in and pet a koala." Hooray--just what I hoped!

We went into the enclosure and there were 9 koalas, most of whom were doing what koalas do best: sleep. But we were able to stay as long as we liked, take lots and lots of photos, and yes, even pet a koala. Must be time to leave: I've now done it all in Australia, save for learning how to blow a didgeridoo, which I doubt I even want to try.

(Incidentally, for some much better shots of the koalas, check fotolog (assuming I can get into it to upload) -- I had just too many and didn't want to overload this already overloaded entry with yet more photos.)


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