THE CORIOLIS EFFECT
Chapter Two: Kangaroo Kincaid
by Paul Kincaid
(First published in GUFFaw 4, May 2000, edited
by Paul Kincaid.)
John Foyster is big and shaggy and dishevelled and in constant motion. He barely has time to say 'Hello. Welcome to Australia,' before he's off, marching determinedly across the arrivals lounge with a bemused Dave Langford trailing in his wake. We turn to examine Damien Warman and Juliette Woods, and I suspect one of us is on the point of saying something to the other when John hoves into sight once more. 'No luck!' he proclaims, then mutters something abusive but otherwise incomprehensible about the Australian telephone system. Dave puffs up behind him and manages to explain that he wanted to phone Hazel to let her know he'd arrived safely and so he was looking for a phone that took credit cards. 'Ah ha!' John declares at this point - honestly, if you were going to feature him in a film he would have to be played by someone larger than life like Robert Newton - and heads off boldly in another direction. Dave winces slightly and follows more slowly.
We consider Damien and Juliette once more. 'Hello,' one of us says to the other. 'Hello,' the other says back. They seem somehow insubstantial in comparison, but I suppose it's a relief to know that not every Australian is like John. Damien has the look of a startled rabbit about him, but that's only to be expected. In the run-up to this trip he came up with the wonderful idea of holding a Relaxacon in Adelaide for the foreign visitors to the Worldcon. Then he found he had to organise the thing. Now he is contemplating the actual, honest-to-god Brits he's supposed to entertain. It must be a shock to the system.
John returns. Still no luck. When he finally catches up, Dave shrugs. 'Oh well…'
All of a sudden we realise we're standing around an airport with mountains of baggage spilling around our feet, and it's time to move on. Smoothly, we split into two groups. Damien and Juliette will be taking Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer to their hotel, while John escorts Dave and Maureen and I home. We lumber our bags outside and find a taxi. We were spoiled by our visit to America, clearly not all foreign cars are that big. One thing is obvious, our excess of luggage is not going to fit into this minuscule saloon, not and allow room for the four of us plus the driver. The driver is unfazed, he produces as if by magic a tangled web of bungee straps, crams the bags into the boot with supreme insouciance, then swiftly weaves the straps so that somehow they manage to hold the bags in place and keep the lid of the boot almost closed. As Dave and Maureen and I squeeze into the back seat I wonder if he has more bungee straps to keep us in place.
John climbs into the front and proceeds to give detailed directions. Thereupon the driver gets out the Adelaide equivalent of the A-Z. It turns out that this is standard operating procedure for every Australian taxi driver we are to encounter, but right now it is a little disturbing. At length he starts the engine, and as he drives away John leans back, spreads an arm expansively across the back of the seat, and proceeds to regale us with his patented tourist spiel. I think I learn more about what is wrong with Australia, how Adelaide is falling to bits in comparison to the rest of South Australia, how South Australia is falling to bits in comparison to the rest of Australia, in the half-hour or so of that taxi journey than in all of what remains of my GUFF trip. Meanwhile, through slightly bleary eyes, I stare out of the window and try to get some impression of this place I've come to. Not so many minutes ago we had been in a plane turning around the city, peering down on a grid of streets that seemed to have been tucked into every nook and cranny between a ring of brown hills. It looks like America, had been our first thought. Now, on the ground, it's not so clear cut. There are features that look almost like America, but not quite; features that look almost like Europe, but not quite. It's this 'not quite' that is disconcerting. I'm tired, I'm not taking it all in. What was John saying about the concrete telephone posts with the iron frames? Something to do with the way drivers kept smashing into them? And there - an airily imprecise wave of the arm - was the synagogue they found for Janice Gelb while she was staying with them. Looks more like a rather dubious bar to me, or am I looking in the wrong direction?
At last we are turning into a side street, then another, then we're pulling up beside a tangled, unkempt hedge that bears a curious resemblance to John's beard. And there is Yvonne, with an incredibly big, wide grin. And the bungee straps have miraculously worked. And our bags are now somehow on the pavement. And we're manoeuvring them across the uneven stepping stones that are placed in the unfeasibly red earth. And we're inside. And the journey is over.
Now every private house in Australia is long and narrow and all on one floor (except for Perry Middlemiss's, which is longer and narrow and not all on one floor, but that comes later) but that doesn't necessarily mean they have a straightforward floor plan. Not a bit of it. I suspect the architect of Yvonne and John's house got his plans twisted at some point, because the place seems to fold in ways that don't quite make sense. Two seconds after entering I think I am lost. Let's see, the corridor goes straight for a pace or two with the lounge on the left, then it turns sharp right and runs into a dead end except that's where our rooms are - Yvonne has pinned labels on the doors, 'Auld Lang Fund' on one, 'GUFF and TAFF' on the other - only before you actually gets to the dead end it shoots off at another right angle, and down there's the bathroom and the kitchen, and through the kitchen you come back to the lounge, but somehow there's another couple of rooms tucked away in there. Well, there'll be time to get it all sorted out later, I confidently predict, and we trundle our bags into 'GUFF and TAFF' and contemplate unpacking. We decide against it. Instead we make our way - more by luck than good judgement - to the kitchen, where Dave hands over the fruits of his smuggling operation, and Yvonne prepares tea. Endless cups of tea, which at last have the effect of restoring some semblance of humanity.
At which point I decide it's time to fall over. Maureen has her own theories about jet-lag which basically consist of ignoring it. It's all in the mind, she'll declare; behave as if your body's always existed in this time zone, and the jet-lag just won't happen. I can see the intellectual attraction of this stance, but I have yet to convince the rest of me. I put down a half-finished cup of tea and announce that I can't stay awake any longer. Somehow I do, but only long enough to get back to the room.
A moment later, Maureen wakes me. Do I want to come out for lunch?
By brute force I manage to open my eyes while I try to make sense of this question. I have been asleep, it appears, for a couple of hours - but it's still only morning. Damned tricky things, these time zones. Now someone has suggested going out for lunch. Intellectually, this seems like a good idea, so I nod. I still haven't quite managed to get my eyes open, but I'm sure that will come in due course.
I have a shower, or rather, I attempt a shower. I am blasted fully awake by a jet of ice-cold water before I work out how to get warm water (turn the controls, stupid!), but at least it has served its purpose. At some point I remember to check the water going down the plughole, but I don't honestly notice any difference. I'm awake now, at least, and changing into clean clothes after all that time on the plane makes me feel better. I join Maureen, Yvonne and John in the kitchen where I discover that by staying awake Maureen has managed to get completely up to date with every imaginable scrap of Australian gossip, and since no-one is about to repeat it all just for me, I'll just have to try to pick it up as we go along. Dave, meanwhile, has decided that he too must sleep (he did, after all, spend the flight reading Peter Hamilton's The Naked God, not the most lightweight choice for a journey) so it's just the four of us who set out.
There's a line on the most recent album by New Zealand group The Mutton Birds: 'The trees are all tangled up, and they're the wrong shade of green'. Now, as we stand at the bus stop and look out across the parkland that weaves away towards the city, we realise that the trees really are the wrong shade of green. And the magpies are still black and white, but the proportions of black to white are all wrong. Their size isn't quite the same, either. It is this, far more than water going the wrong way down the plug, that really brings it home that we're on the other side of the world.
Yvonne solemnly hands us our bus tickets. These come in handy little paper wallets and have curious slogans or quotations printed on the back, like a sort of travelling fortune cookie. Mine tells me: 'Speech is the gift of all, but the thought of few', 'Those who talk much, say nothing' and 'Responsibility walks hand in hand with capacity and power'; Maureen gets: 'Behind every good woman … is herself' and 'Some people exist but never really live'. We wonder what the Adelaide public transport system is trying to tell us. The bus route seems to skirt the edge of Adelaide, so we don't actually get to see the city, but we become yet more aware of differences. The propensity for brush fences, for instance, which look impressive and rural until you notice how many of them are sagging, revealing the concrete behind. At the same time, the fact that everything is on the one level, including shops and manufactories, gives the streets a vaguely American air, as if we are caught midway between two cultures.
At our stop I wake Maureen, who has fallen asleep on my shoulder. We are in the heart of what was once, probably, a little township in its own right before it was swallowed by the city: a busy main road with a mixture of domestic and commercial streets leading off it. John, typically, ignores the traffic and walks straight across the road. We realise he has spotted a little rack of books outside one of the shops and is even now examining them while Maureen and I, a bit more nervous, dither interminably on the wrong side of the road. When we finally make it across, John has dismissed the books and we start down one of the side streets. A zig-zag route brings us to a bijou little shopping mall full of clothing boutiques, up-market food shops and a café that advertises 'doorstops'. These turn out to be open sandwiches in which a variety of fillings are piled upon slices of bread at least one inch thick. Is this a typical introduction to Australian culture - or even an introduction to typical Australian culture? Who knows, but it certainly sets us up for the next item on the agenda: the inevitable secondhand bookshop.
This, we are told, one of John and Yvonne's favourite places, and I can understand why. It is a long room with shelves running floor to ceiling down either side, and a clutter of free-standing shelves and tables along the middle of the room all piled with books. The visit goes as all such visits invariably do, lots of exclamations and 'You must read this' and 'Christ, is this a Thomas McMahon novel we've never heard of? Oh, damn, no, it's just a retitling of his first book' and 'Hey, look what they've got' and 'What have you found?' and 'You're not getting all those, are you?' and 'How exactly are we supposed to get this lot home?' and we probably miss loads of bargains, but that's the way of things and the bulging bag with which we emerge from the shop is eminently satisfactory. Then it's back on the bus, and Maureen falls asleep again, and back at John and Yvonne's we give in to the inevitable and snooze away the afternoon.
That evening we get into the centre of Adelaide, though it's hard to get our bearings after dark and the thing we really notice is how empty the city feels. John forges ahead as usual, Dave and Maureen and I struggle to keep up and trust that either John or Yvonne or both of them actually knows where we're going. This turns out to be slightly over-confident, they have a rough idea where the restaurant is, but no more. And since we seem to be passing roughly half the world's entire collection of restaurants, some of which appear to be offering cuisines I've never even heard of, it's not surprising that it's hard to remember the precise location of just one of them. I'm starting to get hungry, and having slept so much I'm a little fuzzy about exactly what is supposed to be happening, so I'm gazing in at warmly lit windows and tempting menus and wondering why we can't just stop here, or here, or here, when Yvonne says, 'There it is,' as if she's known all along. We pass under a sign proclaiming 'Volga', up some stairs, and into a large dark room that seems at first to be entirely deserted. Then, clustering forlornly at one end of a long table in the middle of the room, we spot Mark, Claire, and Eileen Costello, who would appear to be staying in the same guest house as them. The waiters greet John like a long-lost friend and we settle down to the serious business of drooling over the menu. Damien and Juliette turn up fashionably late, and to judge from the comments and Damien's sheepish grin I gather that his time-keeping is legendary. A little later still, former GUFF winner Roman Orszanski arrives; small, sharp-featured with a manic grin that rarely seems to fade, I keep feeling that I should know him, but rack my memory as I might I can't recall ever running into him on his GUFF trip.
The Volga is a Russian restaurant, which is a first for me, and I wouldn't attempt to name, spell or pronounce any of the dishes we sampled that night. I remember spicy kebab-thingies, and lovely pastry whatsits, and a delicious pancake dessert, oh and rather a lot of excellent Australian wine and such good conversation. I laugh a lot and drink a silent toast of welcome to Australia, and at some point we start talking about tomorrow's visit to the botanical gardens. 'It's easy to find your way around Adelaide,' Damien explains without the trace of a smile. 'Everything's in a big square bounded by four streets: North Terrace, East Terrace, South Terrace … and King William Street.' By this time of the evening, even this peculiarity of Adelaide's geography is hilarious.
Maureen falls asleep on the bus back home.
* * * * * * * * *
I again fail to spot the water going the wrong way down the plughole, but at least this time I get the temperature of my shower right.
In the kitchen, John is splendidly accoutred in an apron and wielding a particularly vicious-looking frying pan. 'I can do you an egg with crisp white flecked with black bits and a raw yolk.' 'Can I have a leathery yolk with uncooked white,' I specify. John obliges. I master the kettle and the toaster, and there is an orange fresh from the tree in their garden. This is supposed to be winter, I have to remind myself, looking out at the cloudless blue sky. Hmm, I suppose I could force myself to get used to this life, if I had to.
John has to stay home today, but Yvonne comes with us to the botanical gardens. This time we travel by the O-bahn, an odd hybrid which uses the streets just like any other bus in the city centre, but out here travels at high speed along narrow concrete strips like rails. The city centre is a very different experience from last night, brighter, brasher, busier. There is excitement when we encounter the light-controlled pedestrian crossings for the first time. With the light on red there is a slow, patient, 'bop … bop … bop …', but as the light changes it becomes frenetic: 'Weeeahhh,' it cries, then, 'dakadakadaka', like Noel Collyer imitating a warplane on a straffing run. But you are barely half way across the carriageway when the spitfire climbs away into the sun and you get that worrying 'bop … bop … bop …' Adelaide's pedestrian crossings, it seems, are not designed for pedestrians.
The approach to the gardens along North Terrace takes us past a succession of impressive stately buildings, the Royal Society of Arts, Library, Museum, Art Gallery, University - 'Damien's stamping ground,' Yvonne informs us - and hospital. Just as we arrive at the black, wrought iron gates of the gardens we see Claire, Eileen and Mark coming from across the road. Damien is supposed to meet us here. We mill around telling each other all the things that have happened since we saw each other last night. That doesn't take long. We admire the hotel across the road, one of those archetypally Australian buildings with a roofed terrace running around the first floor, decorated with elaborately curved iron railings and posts. Still no sign of Damien. Yvonne takes our photograph, then, for good measure, takes it again. The entrance to the botanical gardens is at the point where North Terrace turns into Botanic Road, with East Terrace directly opposite. We take turns gazing off in each of the three possible directions in the hope that we might thus conjure Damien into existence. Still no sign. At length, Dave waves his hands in the air and lo a pad of post-it notes appears from nowhere. 'Damien,' he writes, 'driven mad by boredom from waiting we have wandered away into the gardens. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to seek us out one by one.' Somehow we manage to get the post-it note to stick to the plaque that gives the garden opening times, then we enter. For a short distance the path leads straight between lush, high, sub-tropical trees, then it reaches a little circle where three roads come together. At this point Damien puffs up one of the other roads. We wonder, briefly, who is going to find Dave's note, and Damien hares off towards the main gate to retrieve his Dave Langford original.
This is winter. Remember that as we sling jackets over shoulders and wander among lush sub-tropical plants, though perhaps the planting is somewhat sparser than it might otherwise be. It's still pretty impressive - and then we come to the conservatory. This proudly claims to be the 'largest and most spectacular glasshouse in the southern hemisphere', which seems to undersell it rather. From the outside it is an immense glass fan, but like the tardis it is bigger on the inside with a raised boardwalk swooping in elegant curves through steamy air and deep green leaves the size of houses. The place is still quite new, but already vines as thick as my wrist have curled themselves inextricably around the supports of the boardwalk. There is a constant noise of squawks and chirps and mysterious rustlings, though only rarely do you catch a glimpse of one of the birds living here, usually as it flutters high into the spine of the fan. There's a tropical pool, and vividly coloured flowers, and a sense of being closed in by the foliage even when up on the boardwalk and above most of it. We keep disappearing along the different walkways then coming together unexpectedly, like explorers happening upon each other in limitless jungles - 'Dr Livingstone, I presume?' - and we spend a lot longer in there than I think any of us expected. The next part of the garden reminds us that it really is winter, beds of turned earth and plants cut hard back to their woody spines, but suddenly there is a harsh cry and something brightly-coloured flickers above my head. It takes me a moment to realise it was a parrot. It takes me another moment to realise that I'm seeing a parrot in the wild. It takes yet another moment for it to sink in that this is really very strange. Then I look up and see that the trees are full of vividly coloured green and yellow birds all squawking away happily to themselves. We're not in Kansas any more, Toto.
Yvonne suggests that we have lunch just along the street at the Art Gallery. Claire, who has clearly spent far too long at the Department of the Environment, has obviously decided that the hole in the ozone layer has settled directly overhead as a deliberate and malicious attack upon her personally. She clings to every scrap of shade, like a soldier scurrying from shelter to shelter under enemy fire, and looks askance when I insist on walking out in the open and enjoying the light and warmth. I think she is secretly disappointed when I do not suffer any immediate and obvious sign of heaven's displeasure. The gallery is light and airy and I think we're all a little sorry that we don't have time to explore it, but head down into its bowels to discover the café. This turns out to be a sterile little domain of glass and metal with a would-be impressive menu, though my sugar steamed chicken with herbs and mango turns out to consist mostly of carrot.
We scour the gallery's shop for a while, then it's into a taxi. Cleland Wildlife Park is in the hills to the south-east of Adelaide, on the slopes of Mount Lofty. This is to be our introduction to the delights of Australia's native wildlife, and it couldn't have been better chosen. The park is dedicated to allowing the visitor to touch and feed the animals - Dave buys a large bag of kangaroo food at the entrance. Just inside the entrance is a pen labelled 'wombats', but there are none to be seen so the first thing we do is queue up to take each other's photographs stroking a koala - 'it's like stroking a deep pile carpet,' Claire says, which is about the best description I know - which stoically chews on its eucalyptus leaves and turns its head away from the camera. After that, we seem to miss the goannas and the dingoes, but as we arrive at the lake a black swan finds us. 'Thus I refute Aristotle!' I proclaim as I take a photograph of it examining Dave's shoes, then I have to spend ages explaining that when I studied philosophy the classic example of an Aristotelian syllogism always began: 'all swans are white'. The 18th century discovery of Australia and its weird animals certainly threw a spanner into the workings of traditional philosophy.
Then we meet the kangaroos. Since Dave is the one with the kangaroo food, he is the first one dispatched to make friends. He doesn't seem too pleased at the prospect, holding a small palmful of kangaroo food as far away from the rest of him as it is possible to get, he edges warily across the grass. The big grey kangaroo sunning itself watches the approach without any great show of interest. When Dave gets close enough it deigns to lift its muzzle to Dave's palm, without otherwise bestirring itself. Dave seems quite relieved to retreat. Maureen is sent next, though if anything she is even more reluctant than Dave. 'Kangaroos can kick,' she protests, though the ones stretched out on the grass seem too indolent to even blink. Her approach is remarkable for its circuitousness and its hesitation, though she does eventually get to where she can just about reach out her arm to an outstretched kangaroo, which slowly turns to look at her, look at the food in her hand, then goes back to its sunbathing. It's my turn next. I walk straight up to the kangaroo so it can watch me all the way, which seems like the most sensible option to me. The kangaroo half rises so it can nibble at the food in my hand, its soft lips brushing against my palm is a wonderful sensation. But it doesn't eat much. One particularly large grey heaves itself to its feet and hops slowly away to avoid being fed any more. It's already late afternoon, the shadows are long across the field, and we reckon a day's worth of visitors have already fed them more than enough and they can't face another morsel.
Our rather haphazard route now takes us back to visit a small aviary of exotic (and often invisible) birds, peer through a fence at emus, and spot some other kangaroos, then someone says there are Tasmanian devils in a small pen on a low rise. By now my bad knee is getting tired and I can't move so readily over uneven ground, and by the time I lean over the stone wall there's nothing to be seen. Everyone else, of course, swears they've seen one. We're starting to get tired by now, but on a whim decide to follow one last trail. This turns out to lead into one of the less visited corners of the park, because all of a sudden we are mugged by Kangaroo Island kangaroos. I seem to be the focus of their attention, one terminally cute little creature hooking both its paws over my hand to pull it down to a level where it can more comfortably dine on what I hold. When it has finished what I have to offer, I grab another handful and it does the same trick over again. Mark takes to calling me 'Kangaroo Kincaid'.
Back at the entrance, the wombats have emerged. I have a picture of Mark not quite daring to push his fingers through the wire where one of the little tanks on legs is nuzzling. Somehow, 'Wombat Plummer' doesn't seem to have the same ring to it; besides, I have it on good authority that wombats are no longer deemed funny animals.
Yvonne calls for a ten-seater taxi, and we disport ourselves gracelessly over a mound of stones in the woodland just outside the entrance to the park. It is still light, but the afternoon is wearing on and it is starting to get chilly. After a while a similarly large group of German tourists appears, and from their conversation we realise they are also waiting for a ten-seater taxi. It seems a long time before the taxi does appear, chugging slowly up the steep mountain roads. We climb aboard and set off for a spectacular late afternoon drive along narrow roads through dark mountain forests. Talking to the driver, we discover there is only this one ten-seater taxi, so it seems the Germans we left behind are going to have a very long wait indeed.
Our final destination for the day is Warrawong Sanctuary, which occupies another exposed mountain slope in what are euphemistically called the Adelaide Hills. This is one of a number of sanctuaries operated by an outfit called the Earth Sanctuaries Project which has a way of financing their work that instinctively feels wrong - as if it were a commercial venture, including stock market flotation - but which nevertheless seems to be working. They are devoted to preserving native Australian wildlife, and use methods that have been controversial, including a complex of fencing that completely encloses the project not to keep any animals in but to keep non-native species out. They have pursued this policy so vigorously that one of the proud displays on the wall of their visitors centre is an animal skin which turns out to be a domestic cat shot by the founder when it tried to get into Warrawong. Such activities, coupled with doubts about their funding methods, left me with doubts about the whole Earth Sanctuaries venture which resurfaced some time after our return from Australia when we saw a television documentary about them. Yet at the time, there on the ground, when you see all they are trying to do and, more to the point, all they are achieving, it is easy to be won over to the positive side of what they are doing. Certainly, having been there, I recognise that I am far more pro the Project than I might have been had I only heard about it.
For now, we are here for a sunset tour followed by dinner, so we have a little while to wait until the sun actually goes down. Time to contemplate the skin of the cat, wander round the wood-panelled restaurant-cum-visitors centre (I assume that this highly polished yellowish wood that forms the floor and walls is a native, but it looks like pine to me), and enjoy the menu. If the actual food is only half as good as the thoughts this menu inspires, dinner is going to be delicious. As shadows gather into the short Australian dusk we drift out onto the deck. The restaurant is built at the highest point of the sanctuary, and from the deck there are stupendous views across woodlands to the misty lines of hills beyond. Here I start to realise I have made a great mistake. It is already cold and going to get colder, and the light jacket I'm wearing is doing nothing to keep me warm. Somewhere back in Adelaide there is a jumper that would have been nothing but an inconvenience during the day, but right now I need it. All right, I know, we came out from the British summer into the Australian winter, so what did we expect? But this is the most May-like winter I've ever known, and anyway our luggage was already so overstuffed that I didn't have room for anything heavier. None of which alters the fact that I am cold. No, let me get this right, I am freezing, I can feel every last bit of warmth being leeched out of me. I pull my jacket as close around me as it will go, I thrust my hands deep into my pockets, I hunch my shoulders, and it makes not one scrap of difference.
At least the tour distracts me from how Arctic it has become. We begin just below the deck in the last remaining shreds of light as our guide feeds the kangaroos. I see Mark and Claire looking at me strangely at this point, but I stoutly resist the temptation to go and help the guide, stroke the kangaroos, and find out how easy it would be to slip one into the pocket of my jacket. On second thoughts, a kangaroo stuffed under my shirt might help keep me warm. But no, I don't give in, and moments later we are heading down to the lake. By now the last of the light has fled the day, and as we stand around the water in pitch black we wonder how much colder it could possibly get. We're here quite some time as the guide plays his powerful flashlight across the dark and secretive waters, all the while insisting there is a platypus in there somewhere and we'll probably see it. Eventually, a dark square shape moves across the dark water, and he insists that is it. Claire suggests that we should get Dave to leave a note for it: 'Driven mad by cold we have wandered away into the grounds. Your mission, should you choose to accept it…' And we do wander away into the grounds, where the rest of the tour is much more successful. The onset of dark is when most of Australia's small and improbably named creatures emerge, and as we roam up slope and down, in and out of the woodland, the guide's darting light will suddenly arrest whole secretive clusters of possum and potoroo, bandicoot and bettong and bilbee. Each group seems larger than the last, and as the light hits them they freeze for a moment then realise it is only another bunch of tourists and go on with what they are doing. They are astonishing creatures, like kangaroos that have been abruptly shrunk to the size of rats or rabbits or squirrels. At last our convoluted route debouches us back at the restaurant, and we hurry inside to defrost and have dinner.
There's a big open fire, and a long table where a bunch of other Adelaide fans whose names I never do catch have appeared, and the food is every bit as good as the menu promised, and the wine is even better, and the evening draws to its lingering end in a wonderfully convivial glow. My own choice of main course is something fairly conventional like lamb, but Maureen has been daring and has chosen kangaroo. I have a chance to try some and it is delicious, a rich and gamey meat rather like venison. I ponder for a moment the ethics of eating the animals I'd so enjoyed meeting and feeding during the course of the day. Then I have another bite.
Later, much later, we pile into a taxi which negotiates the dark precipitous roads back down to the city, while Maureen lays her head on my shoulder and falls asleep.