(a wombat's tale)
No doubt you have heard of the wombat. If not, you certainly should have by now and I feel that this particular adventure may contain material too fascinating for your young years and you should look away now. One of our nights on our great local adventure was spent cavorting about in a mini-bus with a dozen other tourists, shining lights at the local wildlife. Also known officially as a spot-light tour. I should, at this juncture, point out that this is done without guns. This is eco-tourism at its best and weaponry features nowhere. Many wallabies and a possum or two were spotted by our over-excited crowd. There was even a Mexican stand-off between two possums, half-way up a tree, with one possum upside down. Apparently, it was a particularly fine tree. The animals most likely to get our little crowd cheering, however, were the wombats. I don't know why, though I suspect, for myself, it has something to do with our much loved Fatso the Wombat. Not as dexterous and multi-talented as Skippy, perhaps, but much loved nonetheless. Why did the people from the other countries love the wombat so much? Who can say. Your guess would be as good as mine. Our driver even took the time to tell us about the amazing tunnel blocking and foe-crushing abilities of the wombat's bottom. Amazing stuff. Not a bum you'd want to mess with, I can tell you. Even if it is the tallest tale I've heard spun in quite a while, it was done well and it was done by cover of night. Let the tale live, I say. Beware the wombat bottom! In a particularly hair-raising moment, one wombat we spotted - Wombat on the right! Wombat on the right!! - was particularly close to the side of the road. Not a problem in itself. Unless your wombat thinks the bus looks like a great place to go under for a midnight stroll.
"No! No! Not under the bus. Not under the bus!"
At this point, all the passengers were crowding at windows trying to find the waddling rascal. He's here! He's safe. The bus driver was most relieved. He hadn't been looking forward to explaining to his boss how half of his passengers had become injured by late night traffic while trying to protect/look for a foolish wombat. Most fun I've had in ages. No photos, sad to say. It was pitch black, lined with ghostly gum trees and a soft spotlight gently highlighted each animal. The next day, however, is where I got my bum. Driving around Australia, you will occasionally, if you're lucky, spot a wombat or two. Only for a moment, mind you, before they waddle remarkably quickly back into the bush. This time, however, we spotted a wombat right by the edge of the road. We pulled up and he sat about nibbling on various tid-bits of fauna. He was in the distance at first, really only a speck, but it's amazing what your eyes can bring close. Not wanting to upset him, I walked slowly closer and closer. Then suddenly he dashed, in a waddling way, across the road. Not into the bush! So, there I was playing traffic warden for the wombat. As you can see above, he did make it safely to the other side of the road. Wombat bottom and all.