Saturday, March 12, 2011
Woke up this morning… legs burning… feet aching… head throbbing… and no voice. Will I blame it on the alcohol? Nope. Instead, I’ll blame it on the mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-microphone!!! hehehe…
But moving on, a few of our friends from the Gold Coast came to visit so we all hopped on a few buses and traveled to the one and only Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Lone Pine is of course famous for the many different koala habitats on its premises and more than anything for the pictures they take of visitors cuddling and canoodling with their koalas. Of course there are more things to do at Lone Pine including hopping with the kangaroos, seeing the birds of prey, visiting many exhibits with other indigenous Australian fauna, and also holding a bird and reptile.
We came for the koalas.
I was intimidated at first when we walked in because the first thing we passed was a cage filled with huge, sleeping bats. And we all know I have a dark, hot, sticky, running down my arm type relationship with bats… But afterwards we went right to the good stuff… koala heaven.
There were koalas everywhere! They were sectioned off into different open habitats. There was a kindergarten section for young koalas, a retirement section for old koalas, a bachelor pad for this one manly koala… there were koalas galore! We took a short break from the koalas to go into the snake room to get a look at the animals we were told could kill us at any moment in the night. It’d be quite embarrassing to go to the hospital saying you have less than a minute to live because you got bitten by the terrible Brown Snake only to find out you got sniffed by an earthworm… Yeah, that made no sense. The point I just want to make is ‘know your enemies!’
But the time had finally come. We all stood in line, ready to take our professional pictures of hugging a koala like there was no tomorrow. As I neared the front of the line, I could see the innocent, cute, cuddly ball of fuzz that I just knew I would be snuggling with. I would be like the Pillsbury Doughboy and he would be like the Downy Bear, our meeting would be magical filled with love, rainbows, and giggles…
But just as I stepped up, arms outreached to hold him, his caretaker walked away with him and another woman appeared with a much bigger, brawnier koala bear with patches of hair missing on his bum as if he had just been in a bar fight. Oh well, I thought to myself. More to love! Yay!
I was instructed to hold my hands a certain way to receive the bear, and just as the woman reached the bear towards me, I felt two pads hit me square in the chest accompanied by the stinging sensation of claws, before I was forcefully pushed backwards by the koala’s hind legs.
“Ryan! No…” the woman holding him scolded as I tried to let it register that I had practically been drop kicked by a koala bear. The woman made a few croaking noises to calm Ryan down, then tried again.
And so we tried again… This time Ryan had no problems with latching on to me. Not at all. Especially when he flipped out and went all Freddy Kreuger on my right arm. The woman once again took Ryan back and croaked those little Koala wooo-sahh’s with him a bit more. The photographer walked away and said she’d come back to us when we were ready.
So once again, a minute later, when Ryan… oh dear, sweet, Ryan, was ready, I tried holding him. At this point I wasn’t even in the mood for cuddling. I kind of wanted to drop Ryan than kick him like a fuzzy little football, but that would be mean. And hey, I guess it’s a rough life when all you want to do is get high on eucalyptus and lounge and you’ve got all these strange people wanting to hug and touch you. Ryan is basically getting pimped by the system… but I was instructed to turn to the opposite side because my right arms looked kind of nasty and wasn’t picture worthy, forced a smile, and then handed Ryan back. Before noticing the thick, brown line of crap he left on the front of my shirt. What is with Australian mammals feeling the need to defecate on me?!?!
When I walked back to my friends, everyone immediately pulled out their cameras to take photos of my arm. It didn’t matter. They were battle scars. No, not only were they battle scars. They were scars of understanding the struggle! They were scars of a koala at unrest! they were scars of the resistan-wait, what the hell? Is Ryan cuddling and nuzzling up to the girl who went up right behind me??? Ryan… you f***ing suck.
We went inside to where our pictures were being developed, and the walls were lined with photos of celebrity’s holding koalas. Mine was soon placed out there and I grabbed it with pride. The professional photo, unlike the one my friend took that I posted above, is much more brighter and clearer. Bright enough to make my smile shine and eyes sparkle. Clear enough to see the look of intense loathing and annoyance on Ryan’s face. But I’m kind of glad that my picture has a story behind it! That photo is truly worth a thousand words! And about four band aids…
Next we went to see the kangaroos. The kangaroos… were so chillaxed. I hopped with them, fed them, watched the clouds pass overhead with them, and even spooned with one for a little bit. The kangaroos definitely know the secret to life, man…
We also walked around to see some dingos, a wombat, a platypus, and other amazing creatures… but the one animal who will forever be on my mind from Lone Pine is Ryan, the crazy as hell koala.
“Well, Kat, at least you got to spend a lot of time with your koala.”