Thursday, August 01, 2002

Billabong Bob





On our drive up the Pacific Highway in Australia, we stopped at the Billabong Koala Park. In general, I lobbied for pushing on to our destination, and Christina lobbied for stopping to see the sights. We ended up doing a fair bit of compromising. We got where we were going, albeit a bit late some times, and we saw a number of sights along the way, albeit not all the ones we were interested in.

The Billabong Koala Park was one sight we did see. It appeared to be some sort of private nature preserve with a bunch of native Australian animals, including koalas, kangaroos and wallabies. It was neat to be able to see those animals up close, especially on our first day there. On the other hand, we felt kind of bad to see these animals cooped up like that.

While waiting for Christina to freshen up, I read a bulletin board with articles about the park and testimonials from visitors. I discovered that the proprietor, "Billabong Bob," was a fashion designer who had won Australian Gown of the Year in the 1960s. I thought this was an interesting, if specialized, piece of information, but was suprised to read about the 2002 competition in the next day's paper.

I also read a testimonial from a couple in New Jersey. As I said, it was really cool seeing these animals. But this couple described the visit to Billabong Koala Park as the best part of their trip to Australia. Unfortunately, this colored my impression of the whole place. I mean, the best part of their trip? What else did they see, the Big Banana? Australia is really an amazing place to visit, and I feel bad for them if seeing a koala was the highlight of the whole trip for them. I mean, it was in the top 10 or 20 things I saw.

Anyway, we stuck around until feeding time, which was a good thing, because we were able to pet the koala and the baby koala. I mean, when I think about it, it is pretty amazing. And a trip where that was the best part could still be a pretty good trip. This one was even better, though.
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