It was on Kangaroo Island – Australias third biggest island, situated in the Indian Ocean not too far from Adelaide. Why did I swing by there? To be honest I don’t know. That trip to Australia was a very strange journey alltogether. Being a food and wine editor, I was invited to take part in the Adelaide Food Festival. But funnily enough I was flown in just for the last two days which turned out to be just the last one day since my flight was delayed for 14 hours.
Later I learned that was due to the Rugby World Championship and the surprisingly connected fact, that all the hotels were booked out… Anyway nobody wanted me disappointed so I was offered to see some typical wildlife: Sea lions, koalas, kangaroos… No, no worries, as they say Down Under, that was not nicely arranged on a plate – but happily alive.
At the little airport I was met by Alf who drove me around. Quite a humorous character. He explained the crucial difference between Rugby and Aussie Football to me: “I never play Rugby, that is for sissies.” We went to a wonderful beach packed with seals just in front of us, walked trough a meadow full of kangaroos just looking at us somehow bored. The sights were magnificent and I could have cruised around for days … But then Alf said: “Lets have lunch.” Why not. It took us another hour or so to drive through several gates of sheep-runs when we finally arrived at a really remote barbecue site. Beautiful place though. Alf jumped out of the car, connected the gasbottle to the barbie, took a huge container out of the car and immediately was busy preparing our meal. I followed him around, interested what we would have. To get rid of me he mumbled: “You better stroll down there alongside the trees and find yourself a koala to look at.”
I was not enthusiastic, I had read Bryson’s Down Under to prepare myself for the fifth continent and therefore knew of the deadly dangers there. I stopped on the spot when he added cheerily: “Just tell me when a black snake has bitten you.” I asked frightfully: “What happens then?” He didn’t even look up from the BBQ saying: “Then I wrap you up and rush you down to hospital.” I froze instantly, seeing all these sheep and gates in front of me, what could he mean by “rush”? To cut a long story short, it took him a while to convince me to start out into the wild at least eight meters. There were bones and skulls of smaller animals lying around everywhere. I just turned and insisted to help him with the lunch.