To those of you who had let out a huge sigh of relief when I declared that my holiday posts are done, there is some bad news! You have one more post to tolerate. Why you may ask? I still seem to have a few things to talk to about the holidays. You know, random this and that of the trip that I missed out writing in the previous posts. Ok, ok, this would be the last of the holiday series, I promise!
- Do you remember the Koala Hospital tour that I was talking about? Our guide was a lady with a cute sense of humour. She declared in a mischevious tone “All you ladies out there would now turn green with envy if I tell you that Koala pregnancy lasts only 35 days”. There were unanimous oohs and aahs from the crowd. She continued “Hold on, there is more to be jealous about. A koala joey learns to live independently once it turns 18 months. Lucky koalas, don’t you think?”
- We learned that the koala patients are named in such a way that the area where they were found becomes their first name. The second name is chosen by the person who brought or reported the koala to the hospital so that they get a sense of connection to the koala. But then we saw a statue of koala that stood as a commemoration to the longest living koala patient of the hospital. Her name was Birthday Girl and she lived for 25 years. Now we were curious why she was named differently. Our guide explained that this koala was ill and ran into a little girls’ birthday and caused a lot of hullaballoo, hence there were no second thoughts in coming up with the name
- We were amazed at the number of things we could do in Port Macquarie free of cost. The koala hospital tour, chocolate factory tour, Roto house tour, boat museum entry, strawberry farm entry – to name a few were free of cost. One could voluntarily donate as per their own wish in the boxes kept aside.
- The volunteers at all of these free entry facilities were unbelievably friendly in their demeanor and took it upon them to make the guests feel comfortable and go back feeling happy. These were the volunteers who chose to do their jobs out of their own will and interest.
- The locals were also kind-hearted people. We would always be greeted with a smile when we saw random strangers, even when they would pass by within a fleeting second. They would even stop by to say Hello or ask about how we were at times. It felt so amazing as this is completely opposite to how people are in Sydney. You can’t blame them as everyone seems to be in a rat race in cities.
- On one of the afternoons, we bought ice cream from an outlet to cool down under the raging sun. Abbas was trying to click our picture. All of a sudden, a passerby approached us and politely asked with a vibrant smile on her face “Would you like me to click a picture of the four of you together?” Abbas and I looked at each other dumbstruck! I mumbled a yes and she clicked our pictures, then gave the phone back to us and said “Have a look and tell me if you would like me to take some more” We thanked her profusely, she greeted us and left. Who does that in today’s world when people don’t have time to do things for themselves?!
- I had started thinking to myself about how we must settle in a small town after retirement. I was amused when Abbas told me later that he had already started seeing the property prices and job opportunities there. This man amazes me to no end sometimes!
- A bit more about our hosts Axel, Sue, and Max. They left a city life and moved from Canberra to Thone Cottage 2 years ago to lead a simple life close to nature. We were in awe of their parenting skills. Axel and Sue are both hands on parents and spend quality time with their son. They volunteer at his school to teach, read or help other students in the class. Axel is certainly one of the most versatile multi-faceted personalities I have ever seen. He plays guitar, goes for mountain bike rides, makes articles out of wood, is an amazing cook, a professional photographer, volunteers at firefighters’ association and is available on call for any fire emergency and so on and so forth. He can talk to anyone at length on any topic, he is very knowledgeable.
- Sue, on the other hand, was a professional chef but working in public sector now. We got to know very little about her but what I really liked was her idea to ask Max if he would like to sell the chicken eggs to make extra money. Max looks after those chicken, keeps aside eggs required for the house and sells the extra ones to neighbours, folks at school. Max, therefore, knows the value of hard earned money. When he showed us his XBOX Abbas asked if he had Kinect sensor in it. But he sweetly replied “Kinect would have cost more money. That’s why we didn’t go for it”.
So there goes, this will be the final holiday post of this series.