How I Spent My Birthday

September 23 was a memorable day. It was of course my birthday; I turned 66. But on this day, two friends showed up which made my day complete.

The tropical forest in Hat Head National Park

The day started off joyfully. I woke up in the tropical forest that was Hat Head National Park. I enjoyed that spot because of all the verdant lushness that surrounded me. A far contrast from the desert of the Outback, I know. Still, I enjoyed the dampness and greenery immensely, and was very glad I had the chance to sleep there while kangaroos loitered around the tent.

After packing up, I started biking south along river banks and more forests. A casual ride with no hurry to be anywhere. I stopped in the town of Gladstone for breakfast- an egg and bacon roll.

After biking some more, I settled, around lunch time, near a clearing that opened out to the beach somewhere near Crescent Head, New South Wales. I stayed on the beach for about an hour and had my lunch there.

After I while I started heading back to the bike. As I was walking, a creature appeared about fifteen feet in front of me. It was a six-foot Australian eastern brown snake, a poisonous snake. I stopped and it stopped. After a pause of about a minute, it turned around and slid back into the grass.

People have asked if I’ve seen any snakes in Australia. I’ve seen small ones, but I had not seen a large snake until today. I was born, in the Chinese calendar, in the year of the snake. How charming to have met this friend on this day.

Later, I set up camp nearby in the woods. I would stay there that night.

Sometimes nature calls, so I went into the brush to take a poo. While my pants were down, a new creature appeared out of the brush about twenty feet away. It was a goanna, about four foot long. Its tongue was slithering in and out.

All I could think of was, ” Where’s my camera?” It was back at the tent and, of course, I couldn’t go get it right away. The goanna stopped in its track, apparently sensing something was amiss. After a few minutes, it turned around and disappeared back into the brush. Alas, a good chance to take a picture of a goanna, and I couldn’t do it because I was incapacitated.

(Internet file– picture not taken by me. I didn’t have my camera ready before it walked away)

But the sighting rounded off the list of wildlife to see while in Australia. I was done. All on my birthday. And in the Chinese horoscope, the dragon meeting a snake promises to bring good things in the coming year. How nice to see this friend also on this day.

Eating birthday dinner: Curry Rice with Chicken

Later that evening, I had a dinner of chicken curry and dessert of fruit. I went to bed happy.

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