As I sit in the open air café perched in the treetops, all the shades of green wash over me as the sunshine streams down through the tree canopy and glistens on the leaves. I stare out through the trees towards the lake beyond, and without realising it, time stands still. I am drifting. My mind is wonderfully blank and peaceful. My daily life has disappeared somewhere into the back of my mind. I feel instantly relaxed. I have always preferred trees to the sea. Add in a lake and I am in Shangrila.
It certainly feels like a secret hideaway here, like it has risen up from somewhere underground bringing with it a treasure trove of wood, stone and moss. It is captivating, completely enchanting and certainly unique. Completely surrounded by nature and natural elements, I feel entirely removed from everything that resembles the outside world. Everywhere I look there is something interesting to peak my interest. Little frogs carved into the gnarled, wooden hand railings, beautifully hand carved wooden doors, an enormous burl table and burl lounge, wooden walkways that go from treetop to treetop. I am expecting a hobbit to appear at any moment from behind one of the trees beckoning me to follow it into the rainforest.
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George, the owner wanders over towards me with a handful of spectacular roses. He is clearly enjoying handing every lady in the cafe one of his roses. I don’t so much take in what he says to me, more how he says it. Warm, genuine and overwhelmingly happy to share his artisan hideaway with me and the other patrons, I gush like a teenager as I accept a beautiful mauve bloom. It is such a nice gesture. It makes me feel welcome and a little bit special. “Why not order a glass of bubbly!”, I think.
As I sip away, somewhere in my mind’s haze I tune in and out of the chatting that drifts over to me from the neighbouring table. A woman is taking great delight in describing her meal to her girlfriend. It is something about her enthusiasm for her lunch that tunes me in rather than her actual words. She is savouring every bite, and making a declaration after every forkful. It makes me smile as I liken her reaction to that infamous movie line “I’ll have what she’s having”, but it is the local birdlife that is eyeing off what she is having.
So engrossed in their meals, the couple doesn’t notice the enormous kookaburra strategically perched next to them on the timber hand rail, steelily eyeing off her salmon fillet. Its concentration is so intense that there is no question it is going to have what she is having. A part of me really wants to see that kookaburra snatch that fillet right off her plate, I almost feel it deserves to have it if it can actually get away with it. Must be that peaceful, happy haze my mind is in.
Before I have a chance to come to my senses a voice bellows out, “Watch out! You’re going to lose your salmon. Here use this.” The waiter hands her the yellow water pistol laying on the table next to them. A collective “Ahh!” rings out around the café as the penny drops amongst the various other café patrons. Water pistols on tables – birds – food. That’s what the water pistols are for! “Mmm, I don’t think I’ll order the salmon.”
Author: Sondra Todd