I wasted away Sunday with naps and YouTube videos, including one of a guy with a riot shield warding off a cassowary’s attacks. (More on that later.) I compensated for yesterday’s laziness today, starting at 8 am with a 1.5-hour session at the bouldering gym. Then, I decided to head to the seaside for a sprint on the bike, except I left the house with too much skin exposed. It was only 11° C, but it’s June*: I was almost more insulted than I was cold.
I drew a small success out of that failed ride with a QOM on Strava. I figured I’d do a celebratory strut downtown to drop off some homemade baked goods for the bike shop. (Snacking is their #2 passion after bikes). I continued my quest downtown, making quick stops for goods such as a bottle of titanium white paint to replace the one I wasted when I turned my bedside table into an eyesore. I also decided to liven up my place with some life with the purchase of two new plants.
Before 3pm, I’d gone climbing, walked a total of 14.5km, and cycled 4km. I could have stopped and declared it a productive day, but no! I also did laundry and made hummus! I had an important email I’d been putting off that got sent! Then, I decided to take a 24km spin around London on Zwift and got a QOM on that too! And broke 800 watts for the first time! Then I wrote this post! Next, I might bake and decorate a three-tiered cake tonight!
Maybe I’ll never sleep again.
Ah, the ups and downs of being Bipolar. It’s not just feeling intensely sad or happy: it’s often about feeling devoid of motivation one week and bursting with energy the next. I find it easier to accept that it is how my brain operates than to fight it, but sometimes I have commitments to meet; other people’s expectations to meet; laundry to do, and hummus to make. It’s inconvenient.
Now, let’s go back to that cassowary video, which I can’t find because the Reddit post I saw it under has since been deleted. Still, this leads to what I am about to reveal.
I’ve been to Australia!
When this comes up in a conversation in person, 4 out of 5 people (who haven’t been anywhere in Oceania) responds with variations of this:
“OH, COOL. I’D RATHER GO TO NEW ZEALAND, THOUGH.”
And it is so strange.
The assumption that New Zealand is superior to Australia. Why? Because of LOTR?
Because Australia is full of animals that can kill you? I don’t mean to be a downer, but: the world is full of people who can kill you. In New Zealand, even. I’d rather die at the tentacles of an adorable blue-ringed octopus. Besides, I’m from the land of cougars and grizzlies.
Also, this comparison is sillier than, “Oh, you want to go to the US? Why not Canada?” Why even lump the two countries together? The closest point from Australia to New Zealand is more than 2000km.
Fine. My advice is: go to New Zealand. THEN go to Australia: it’s worth it, especially if you’re from Canada. In seaside towns, people go grocery shopping barefoot and in their swimsuits. Schoolchildren wear boater hats as part of their uniforms. Mangoes are the apples of Australia: all grocery stores had at least five varieties on hand. Instead of pigeons, cockatiels chill around fountains in Sydney, and instead of squirrels, 2m-long iguanas hang out in parks around Brisbane. Like North America, Australia is not.
One of the most awesome–if not the most awesome–things I’ve ever witnessed in my life happened in Australia. One day, at sunset, I was floating on my back alone in the hostel pool in Cairns when hundreds of bats suddenly appeared in the dimming sky. Not just any bats, but MEGABATS. Hundreds of flying foxes en route to snack on some MEGABUGS. Like this. Nobody told me this would happen. I was not prepared for this. I was not anywhere near my camera, so I fully absorbed that moment. And, because it was clear that this was their sunset routine, I spent the next two nights at that hostel bat-watching from their lagoon-shaped pool.
Then, a few days later, I headed north to Cape Tribulation, where I’d booked a few nights in a shared room only to find that they’d overbooked the room. Fuck. So, they upgraded me to a private cabin.
Here I am, in front of my private cabin in the middle of the jungle. A massive storm passed through, visibly rattling the walls. I could feel the rain drum on the rooftop. The following morning, on my way to the cafeteria, I was stopped short by two juvenile cassowaries on the path.
I don’t have a picture of this encounter as I was just going to the cafeteria and didn’t have my camera on me. Anyway, I wasn’t interested in being ripped apart by their mom’s toes, so I hightailed it. You’ll have to take my word for it.
I also saw a school of bioluminescent cuttlefish feeding off the side of the tall ship I stayed on around Hook Island. No big deal. New Zealand is cooler, remember?!
So, thanks to that dreary, low-energy Sunday, I was reminded of the adventures I’d once had that I can look forward to having again when COVID becomes less of a threat than the blue-necked terror turkeys of Australia.
*It was Victoria’s coldest June 7th since records began!