We begin the month in the Daintree National Park of Far North Queensland, situated within the Daintree Rainforest, at 100 million years old Earth’s oldest rainforest (the Amazon a mere youngster, at age 10 million years).
To visit the Daintree fly to Cairns, then drive a couple of hours north. While there, take a boat out to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, and gawk at the coral, the rays, and the truly surreal giant clams. I can suggest Ocean Safari, out near Cape Tribulation:
When rainy out, take in the Daintree Insect Museum, the collection of one man whose artwork beautifies the inside of the museum’s building and whose stonework enhances the beauty of the river outside:
You might stay at the Epiphyte, where you will likely spot cassowaries wandering about as you enjoy your breakfast:
Not to be missed: the Daintree Discovery Center
where you will learn about the forest’s flora & fauna as you wander about under the trees. You can also watch a hilarious video clip of a man with a garden rake being chased by an irate cassowary, and a lengthy re-creation of how the Aboriginals learned to use fire to engineer their environment:
For an inspirational story of a man who plants trees, watch Forest Man of India:
and then take in Doing Time, Doing Vipassana:
While at YouTube take a gander at two new short films made by Darius Devas, who spent many of his formative years in Goa, leading him later to do a documentary on the Goa Hippie Tribe:
Other movies that I watched this month & can recommend include (in alphabetical order) Her, The Matchmaker, Mandela, Short Term 12, A Tale of Samurai Cooking, and Tulpan.
The month’s most moving cinematic experience was however a double bill at Murwillumbah’s Regent Cinema, back down in NSW. Un Buda, a 2005 Argentine film about two brothers who end up (one temporarily, one for good) in a Zen monastery, was quirky and enjoyable; Brilliant Moon, a 2010 documentary on Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, brought me back to the days when I was blessed with the presence of that extraordinary saint during the January 1974 Bodh Gaya Kala Chakra. A physically impressive man who stood a head taller than any of his fellow lamas, Dilgo Khyentse impressed me even more with the effusive awareness and shakti that haloed him. The impression that this great being made on me pushed me strongly in the direction of remaining in India to try to learn how to achieve some fraction of what he had achieved. Less than a month thereafter I enrolled in Pune’s Tilak Ayurveda College, and eighteen months later I met Vimalananda. Thu je che Rinpoche!