On Monday, our ‘adventure’ took us to the Tjabuki Aboriginal Culture Park. Located about 20 minutes from our hotel, this bus ride did not include any warnings about how we were likely going to die, but I think that’s only because the ride there was too short.
Again, like everything else Disney has done on this trip, our experience here was a bit more unique than the general public would experience. Our group was taken in before the park opened to the general public and we were got to experience all the demonstrations privately. First, we had our faces painted in traditional aboriginal warrior style. When I looked in a mirror and saw my face all painted up I thought I looked like a psychotic aboriginal drag queen. From there we were treated to a demonstration of traditional Aboriginal dance and music – and several members of our group (including Walter) got up on stage and danced with the performers. Let me repeat that – Walter – a man with not one ounce of rhythm got on stage with a painted face and danced. I have video and I’m not afraid to use it .
Also during this demonstration, they showed us how Aboriginals start a fire using sticks and brush. For some odd reason though, they had trouble getting the fire to start and after about 5 minutes of no success, I offered them the use of my lighter. Again, why do we have to complicate this – we’ve mastered the use of fire. 69 cents will buy you a perfectly good Bic lighter, but I’m guessing that has less dramatic effect.
We then were shown how to throw spears and boomerangs. This is where I learned that I do, in fact, throw like a little girl. The only thing missing from my limp-wristed attempt at throwing a boomerang was a girly- like squeal as the boomerang left my hand . It managed to travel about 5 feet – all in all, it was pretty embarrassing considering the aforementioned Aboriginal drag paint that I was wearing. Thank God no one was taping that.
Our next event at the Center was where we all got to paint our own boomerangs. I don’t mind confessing that I’m not anyone’s definition of an artist and while mine came out okay, others in the group had done a much more creative job. This event definitely had undertones of ‘psychiatric hospital craft therapy’. The only thing missing was our noon meds.
We were then taken to a buffet lunch at the Center where we had a choice of boiled fish or lamb curry. Not exactly what I call a good buffet. I barely ate any of the food and was a little disappointed that the buffet was not more extensive. This just exacerbated my growing desire for a decent cheeseburger. According to our guides, the scaled down nature of the buffet came as a surprise, as it normally is much more extensive. Be that as it may, this was my 5th day in Australia and with the sole exception of our Italian dinner on day 2, I’d yet to have a decent meal.
Just outside the cultural center was the Skyrail – which takes you high above the rain forest and gives you stunning views of the surrounding area. Please keep in mind that I can’t get on a ladder without feeling like I’m going to pass out so exactly what it was that possessed me to get on this thing is beyond me. Well, that’s not entirely true, I thought the video would be hard to beat and I was right – but I had to let Walter do most of the taping. There were a total of 6 members of our group who decided to do this, and they all really seemed to enjoy the fact that I was crapping my pants right in front of them as this thing ascended over the rain forest, swung from side to side, and just to make sure my bowels were completely empty, they would stop it from time to time and leave us hanging there like David Carradine in a pair of fishnets (too soon?)
Throughout the ride above the rain forest, you stop a various stations and are able to get out and look around – which was really beautiful. They had guides at each station that would explain various aspects of the rain forest (including all the things that will kill you when nature attacks). At the very end of the ride, you are in the town of Kuranda, where I was just plain happy to be back on solid ground, vowing to never do anything like that again, no matter how good the video would be.
At Kuranda, we boarded a train for a 1 ½ hour ride thru the rainforest back to Cairns. Of course we did not have a chance to wash the paint off our faces before doing any of this, so the picture below I like to call “Fat Aboriginal Plantation Pimp”.
We had all upgraded our tickets to sit in the ‘gold’ car, where they served appetizers, cheese and soft drinks during the trip. It was really lovely and the views as we went through the rainforest were really spectacular. All kidding aside, this was truly one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen – that was until we went to the Great Barrier Reef – but that’s for the next installment.
Category: Adventures by Disney