Well it seems some of you feel the need for more information regarding my random facts…. so to fill you in with the background to them, here goes:
1. I once got out of a plane at 12,000 feet, without a parachute, and survived. And that was because I stepped out of the plane ………..and onto tarmac! The plane landed in Cusco in Peru, which is one of the highest airports in the world at 12,000 feet (or perhaps more?) above sea level. So, I was perfectly safe, but the altitude sickness was another story altogether!!
2. I’ve been in the same room as a black maned lion with no bars between us, and it was an awesome experience! He was a magnificent creature and was brought into the room as part of an evening show I attended in Florida. All the animals were used in the entertainment industry and this beautiful beast was the original lion that the Lion King film was based on. He sat there on a stool, quite quietly in the smallish room, being fed large chunks of red meat by his keeper, who I noticed had various scratches on his arms and legs. So long as he kept feeding the lion, I was happy!
3. I’ve seen the sun rise over an eerily silent and deserted Machu Picchu, which was all the more poignant because I had been there the day before and it was heaving with tourists of all nationalities. Seeing it empty of humanity, with the sun rising over the mountains, much as the ancient Incas had seen it, was an awesome experience.
4. I’ve been to the exact point where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Point in South Africa. Wonderful to see the two great oceans merge, two different colours – deep blue and veridian green, and two different temperatures, warm and cold, so swirling mists surrounded the whole area, with the great bulk of the African continent behind that point of land.
5. I’ve waltzed across Tiannamen Square in Beijing with a guy I’d only met a few days before. And that was good fun, although I’m not so sure the Chinese authorities thought so!
6. I’ve eaten a silver service dinner in the open desert at Ayers Rock, by starlight. And anyone else who has attended the Sounds of Silence dinner, will know what a truly wonderful experience it is! The floor is sand, there are no walls, and the ceiling is a million stars, the Milky Way clearly visible above. The dinner is traditional Aussie fare, served with traditional Aussie flair – crocodile, emu, barramundi etc. and after the meal, all lights are extinguished, while an astronomer describes the stars and their constellations above, to a hushed and awed audience.
7. I’ve had three tarantulas crawling over my shoulders and breasts and was more interested by my companions reactions than the spiders themselves. This was the same event as the one described above with the lion. To start the show, a tarantula was brought around the audience (of about 60 people) and a lot of people flinched, turned away, gasped, looked in stunned horror, screamed, and did all the usual things that people do with large hairy spiders. I was probably the only person who leant forward towards it with great interest and was happy to stroke it. So when the guy running the show took the tarantula to the front of the room and wanted a volunteer, he immediately volunteered me for the job! I went to the front and he put a large hairy black tarantula on my left shoulder. Was I happy with that? Yes, perfectly. So they brought another tarantula out and put it on my right shoulder. Was I happy with that? Yes, no problem. So then they brought a third one out and put it with the one on my left shoulder where it started to move very very slowly down to my left breast……. And at that point I was more amused by my companions reactions, the clicking cameras, along with the stunned and incredulous reactions from the audience infront of me than I was bothered by the spiders themselves. It was only after they had been scooped off me and returned to their containers that I wondered if they bite, and if their venom had been removed………………….