Saturday, May 5, 2012

Between Two Oceans, a Masterful Parody

After our two days in the bush country around Northam, Western Australia, we returned to Perth and, after picking up our second hostess, headed south to the area around Margaret River, and the southwestern-most point in Australia. On the way, we refused to eat lunch at one roadside tourist shop and cafe because they were selling ostrich eggs labelled as emu eggs. How to tell the difference? Emu eggs are smaller than ostrich eggs. They're also a dark blue-black as opposed to the beige-white of an ostrich one. Truth in advertising, we said, and drove on to the next such establishment. We arrived in Dunsborough in the late afternoon, a bit too late for actually getting inside the lighthouse there.
The scenery around the lightbouse was worth walking through, though.
After that, we had time to fit in a quick stop at a vineyard that seemed more than ready to accommodate the children of their adult customers. Or perhaps the staff just likes to colour (Australian spelling used intentionally).

The next morning, we headed further south, to Cape Leeuwin, the southwestern-most point, another lighthouse, and one of those cultural differences that made me smile. Cape Leeuwin is named for the Dutch ship that was the first to arrive here. It cost more than we wanted to pay to tour the lighthouse, plus we had other places to go and see, so this was as close as we got to it.
As for the cultural difference, they aren't called "lollipops" or "suckers" in Australia, so it appears that someone isn't too enamored of a certain US brand of candy.
The husband and I along with Charlie the stuffed koala all put our feet into the Southern Ocean.

We then started visiting vineyards, the first time I'd ever done a "real" wine tasting. (Yes, I've drunk my share of wine, but never in the presence of someone who could describe things to me and help me know what all those high-falutin' wine adjectives mean.) Besides learning a bit of wine lingo, I learned what's going on here.
There's a rose bush at the end of each row of grapes because any blight that would harm the grape vines will appear first on the roses. I was also quite tempted to engage in some grand theft auto when we encountered this beauty in the parking lot.
One of the vineyards was flying an amazingly large Australian flag.
The flag features the Union Jack along with the Southern Cross (which we saw, along with the Milky Way, during our stay in Northam). Another vineyard had several impressive sculptures outdoors and in.
We also saw some Aussie wildlife in the wild, a kookaburra and some kangaroos.
That evening, we put our feet in the Indian Ocean under an amazing sunset.

Our adventures the next day began with watching some surfers
and the water in which they were while we waited for the the Swooping Magpie Vineyard to open for the day.
We had arrived there just after closing the day before and expressed out displeasure thusly.
Why was this vineyard so special? I met our Aussie hostesses in Perth (and Melbourne) in an online quilting group called ... yes, the Magpies, so a stop at the Swooping Magpie became something not to be missed. We particularly liked their slogan "drink slow ... pedal fast," and I have the t-shirt to prove it. After morning tea at the Swooping Magpie, we started our trip back to Perth. Along the way, we stopped at the Busselton jetty, which juts some 1800 meters (that's more than a mile) out into the ocean. There were even dolphins to wish us well on our walk.
Near the midpoint of the jetty was a series of plaques commemorating those whose ashes had been scattered from the jetty. Some of them seemed more poignant than others to me, including this one.
There were also plaques on the benches along the jetty.
There were a number of people fishing for points all along the jetty. The only fish I saw being pulled in, though, were so small that I wondered if they might be the bait still left on the hook. At the end of the jetty there is an underwater viewing gallery that we did not visit. Here's the view looking back from the far end.
And here's the view from the shore looking out to the end of the jetty.
After we came off the jetty, we ate lunch outside beside the water. The weather turned so cold that everyone else outside retreated indoors, but with Charlie the stuffed koala setting an example, we persevered and finished our meal before heading back to Perth.

The parody mentioned in the title of this post? Well, the Laurence Vineyard put up a sculpture that perhaps was intended to invoke the memory of Winged Victory.
Instead, it became known, in what we were told was true Aussie fashion, as the "chick on a stick." Just as many US cities have done with their decorated statues of lobsters or buffalo or other animals, this region of Australia has done the same with cow statues created by local artists. Needless to say, we stopped quite quickly when we passed this "cow on a stick" parody.
Humour! It's a good thing. Coming next will be a post on some of the amazing animals and birds we encountered, some more up close and personal than others.

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