Post-relationship poo

Trip Start Nov 07, 2005
Trip End Nov 04, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Saturday, June 17, 2006

To take my mind off the break-up with Simon, I'd arranged to do a couple of weeks volunteer work at an endangered wallaby project in Queensland, thinking that spending my days picking up poo would take my mind off things.

Arriving back in Australia at Brisbane airport I got stopped at immigration. I had no idea why. I thought maybe my visa had run out but they said not. So after endless questioning on why I was back in Australia, where I was going, who I was seeing, exactly how much money I had and showing proof of all my plane tickets not just in and out of Australia, but all my journeys through Africa and on my way home, they eventually let me go. I'm assuming I just looked scruffy and penniless.

Rockhampton was like a ghost town the next morning and I couldn't figure out where everyone was and why the shops weren't open. I thought maybe it was a public holiday but who has a public holiday on a Wednesday?! They do here. It was their annual show, so the whole town and surrounding areas get a day off just to go to their local fair to spend the day on rollercoasters and eat fast food.

It seems most countries I've been to get a lot more public holidays than we do in the UK. Australia, New Zealand and Fiji get a day off for the Queen's birthday. Yes the Queen of England. But do we get a day off in England? No!

My days at the wallaby project have mostly been the same - mornings have been spent wading through tall grass (reminiscent of the scene at the end of Gladiator, but with more poo), and afternoons spent peeling and chopping up bucket loads of sweet potato, which I used to love but don't think I could bear to eat anymore.
It's been good to do some manual work again, and getting up at 6am isn't so bad when work is on your doorstep and you can just put on yesterday's poo-covered clothes and go.

There's a couple of joeys to bottle feed, as well as a baby wombat called Wiggles who occasionally throws tantrums when she's not getting enough attention. It's cute until she plows into your foot with the strength of a bulldozer. There's a resident little sugar glider who reminds me of Simon. Apart from sharing the same name, he also loves milk. But the furry Simon also loves to pee on you, which, to my knowledge, the human Simon doesn't.

So, as requested by Simon (not the sugar glider), here's 10 facts about Bridled Nailtail Wallabies you probably never knew:

1. The bridled nailtail wallaby is an endangered species - there are believed to be less than 500 left in the wild
2. They get their name from the white 'bridle' on their back, and the nail in the end of their tail
3. They are also known as "flashjacks".
4. They are one of 45 existing species of kangaroo in Australia.
5. Their Latin name is Onychogalea fraenata.
6. When they race away at high speeds, the nailtail wallabies rotate their forearms in a characteristic manner that has earned them the nickname of 'organ grinder'.
7. They feed at night and shelters on the edges of brigalow scrub during the day.
8. When frightened its first reaction is to freeze.
9. When they scratch or bite you it hurts.
10. They love sweet potato.

Oh, and I swallowed a moth. Accidentally. It's not a nice experience.
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