A Tale of the Unexpected

For months I had ventured along rough tracks, narrow boardwalks and solitary beaches. I had picked my way over mangrove roots that reminded me of childhood nightmares. But now the the rainforest beckoned. Turquoise and gold butterflies the size of my hand fluttered as I disturbed them, and gangs of bright, cheeky, squawking rainbow lorikeets rose towards the sky. I revelled in luxurious greens, sensuously thick creepers, the damp of my warm skin and a symphony of exotic sounds, and felt slightly guilty for enjoying such an orgy of sensations.
It grew dark as I penetrated further; the sun peppered the mossy forest bed, highlighting in vertical ribbons the strong creeper vines enveloping their dying hosts. Above the canopy of giant ferns the white light was dazzling, but down here was the secret abode of pythons and spiders, of lichen and awkward giant insects.
When I emerged from the darkness half an hour or so later, I rubbed my eyes to check I wasn’t dreaming. A twenty-metre-high Ferris wheel, complete with carts hanging like broken limbs, and adorned with multi-coloured light bulbs, stood abandoned in a sunlit clearing. It was like a sentinel at the gates of another reality, challenging me to accept both its incongruity and the impossibility of its provenance.
I felt chastened for disturbing its isolation, as if I had interrupted a private moment of grief at the loss of laughter in life. I turned back and set off home. This was my last -and most astonishing – outing in Australia.

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