Harold Reiter's Trip to Australia

I spent the first week, August 4 to 11 in Melbourne at the bienniel conference of the World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions. World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions. There are some (fairly unexciting) photos of the meeting.
My self-guided tour of Daintree National Park had it moments. As game a tourist as I am, having an idiot as a guide is sure to lead to problems. DNP protects the oldest tropical rainforest in the world (100 million years old vs. the Amazon's infant of 10 million). 70 animals and 700 plants are endemic. First stop, Mossman Gorge for a 2.4 km hike to see the largest Strangler Fig Tree in captivity. Itís an epiphyte, which means it does not need roots (although SFT has them). It needs a host tree but itís not a parasite like mistletoe. However, it eventually strangles its host (not a thoughtful thing to do). Then the darndest thing happened: it rained! With no warning from my guide, I was drenched. Imagine that, hard rain in the Tropical RAIN Forrest. On top of that, I made the trek exciting by getting lost, so the 2.4K stroll became a 5K struggle.
The rental car had the nasty inclination to pull to the right side of the highway, which is not a good idea down under. But I managed to avoid oncoming cars and being done in by any of the 145 Australian poisonous species of bugs and snakes that lurk under rocks and on tree branches.
The next day (Tuesday) I fulfilled a longtime dream of diving the GBR. In fact, I registered for two dives but smartly only paid for the first in case I fell victim to the sting of the infamous Box Jelly Fish or had a heart attack. I had to give up on the hot air balloon ride to get to fish (angle?) for Barramundi, an Australian delicacy on Wednesday.
The food is different- crawfish-like creatures called Moreton Bugs, crocodile, and kangaroo. Yes, I ate some of those adorable creatures. They are delicious! Grilled on the Barby, as they say, texture like beef, looks like beef, low in fat, not wild tasting like venison. And crocs are better than alligators any day. In case you want to explore Queensland, here are a few commercial websites to start. The Great Barrier Reef
Touring Queensland
Diving GBR