I don’t know how many things in Australia can kill you, but I know it’s a lot. In a move counter to my usual planning self, I have steadfastly avoided reading the “Survive: Deadly & Dangerous” chapter of my guidebook; instead I’ve been enjoying the anecdotes in my real Australia guidebook: Bill Bryson’s “In a Sunburned Country.” I know there are big things that could kill me like spiders, snakes, sharks, and the sun. But, there are also small things here that appear innocuous but could probably kill me.
For example, today I walked over the hill to Picnic Bay to lay in the sun after an early morning meeting. On my way back, I tried to wander up to a lookout point to see both Nelly and Picnic Bay. As I headed up the trail, I saw that part of the trail was lined with this tall, lush, inviting grass.
But, as with most natural things in Australia, the grass was neither soft nor friendly. Walking through it felt like walking between a row of porcupines. I even had to pick tiny pieces of grass out of my legs. After wincing through six patches of this stuff, I decided this trail wasn’t designed for people wearing shorts, or ones with legs, and promptly turned around. As my calves got redder and redder, I hurried back to my hostel to wash off whatever noxious chemical Australia was trying to throw at me. I’m happy to report that I am neither infected or in pain, but I have developed a healthy respect for Australian grass.