The Frenchies and Kangaroo Island

Great Ocean RoadI’ve been moving around Oz a lot lately; finally checking out some areas I’ve neglected. On a trip to Melbourne to visit my distributor, I decided to drive the Great Ocean Road from Adelaide with the two French backpackers staying with us, Quentin and Marion.
Marion and Quentin with Nicole
These weren’t just any backpackers, however. Marion is the step daughter of one of my favorite people on Earth, Simon John. You may remember Mr. John in my last Paris post about Pierre Gagnaire (scroll down). I first met Marion when she was 10, and would say hello on subsequent visits to Simon in Paris, but there was no real connection. I was merely passing thru. It wasn’t until she arrived here at my doorstep in McLaren Vale this February that I ever REALLY spoke to her. Much to my surprise she spoke English well, albeit with a British accent. Satan von QuentinHer and Quentin’s arrival in McLaren Vale was of some consequence and I wanted it to go well. In retrospect I think it did, especially considering that they were stranded without a driver’s license in the middle of a wine region that had no work due to an extreme heatwave. Q & M at the 12 Apostles Besides putting them to work in the Thorpe Vineyard and Gardens, which was tremendously effective in shattering any romanticism attached to the notion that hard physical labor is uplifting, they read books, cooked, ate with me and Nicole once in awhile, and watched dvds. I think she once spent a few days trying to catch mice, as well. I tried to show them a little bit of South Australia along the way in an attempt to make their great journey all the way down here feel worthwhile. I may be a slave driver, but I’m a fair and humane one at least. Quiet, Mr. Lincoln, they were being paid well, and at the end of the day, I had a bit of fun myself.
Work gloves drying
The Great Ocean Road was peppered with interesting rock formations, and we took a few days to see it all. But it was on Kangaroo Island, an island 90 km from my house on the Fleurieu Peninsula featuring a Galapagos-like marine biology, that Mother Nature and the animals really stole the show. It is the mother lode. Not only was the coast magnificent with steep cliffs and crushing surf, but it was littered along the way with natural, unmolested colonies of seals, kangaroos, sea lions, and koalas. Seal colonyMarion @ Remarkable RocksIt was the kind of place where if you stopped for a second and looked closely at your surroundings, you would see something spectacular:Disturbing millipede perhaps a seal swirling through a curling wave, a lizard/dragon the size of Tennessee!, or a giant, polka-dotted wild boar ripping into a kangaroo carcass with a Wedge-tailed eagle watching closely nearby. I don’t have a picture of that last one, fortunately, but I did witness it. Frightening.Kangaroo Island
I think the kids loved it. It was the perfect send off for the Frenchies after 3 months of hard work on Thorpe Ranch. They went off to Cairns (the Great Barrier Reef) and to NZ afterwards. I wish them well and the possibility of a full blown Kerouac-like adventure. On the road with Q & M is a good place to be. Not a wild aniaml on KI