Monday, September 27, 2010

Australia Facts

In advance of our trip, I've been reading In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. It's a recollection of Bryson's travels all throughout Australia, with lots of history and humor woven throughout.

I thought I'd share some of the fun Australia facts I've learned so far:
  • Australia is the world's sixth largest country and its largest island. It is the only island that is also a continent, and the only continent that is also a country.
  • It is the only nation that began as a prison.
  • Australia is home to the largest living thing on earth, the Great Barrier Reef.
  • It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world's ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures -- the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish -- are the most lethal of their type in the world.
  • Eighty percent of all that lives in Australia, plant and animal, exists nowhere else.

And here are some interesting facts about our trip:
  • Total hours in flight: 50.5. Are we crazy? This doesn't even include time spent waiting around in airports. (This is where my Kindle hopefully comes in handy.)
  • We are flying to four different cities within Australia. This is the same number of US cities I have flown to in my lifetime (aside from layovers). (If you're interested, those four cities are Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York and New Orleans.)
  • When we fly from Los Angeles to Australia, we cross the International Date Line. Australia is a day ahead of the U.S., so this means that we essentially lose an entire day of our lives. Not to worry though, we gain it back on the return flight. We leave Australia at 11:00am on a Tuesday morning and arrive in LA (after a 14 hour flight) at 7:00am on that same Tuesday morning. Confusing much?
  • We're spending three days on a small private island called Heron Island, located on the Great Barrier Reef and only accessible via boat and helicopter. I'm extremely excited about this part of the trip, but the catch is that it's not called Heron Island for nothing -- it is known for its abundance of bird life. If you know me, you know that I have an irrational fear of birds. Anyone have any suggestions of how I can get over this phobia, and quick? Lee made me go to Petsmart and visit the birds in order to try and get used to them. It was not fun, but I think it helped a little.
Now that I'm writing this I'm thinking, "so why in the world are we going there?" Just kidding. We're super excited and can't wait for what is sure to be an adventure!

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