Continuing south, we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. A relatively small, white sign marked the crossing, sticking up out of a sea of dry, red dirt. It did seem as though one could almost see the curve of the Earth, there, however—probably because the vista was so broad and so open.
In another few hours, we reached Carnarvon, a small town perched on the banks of the Gascoyne River. The area has deep underground reservoirs of water, so even though the river looked dry, the town has enough water not only to survive, but to farm. Our first stop in Carnarvon was at a banana plantation.
The cool lushness of the groves of banana plants was certainly a sharp contrast to the arid rockiness of the land to which we’d grown accustomed. I loved the sight of all the bananas growing in great, hanging bundles. When I wrote a history of bananas a while back for Hungry Magazine, I mentioned this plantation, because it was here I first learned that bananas are not trees—they’re the world’s tallest herbs. There is no wood in them, and they die after one bunch of bananas.
If you’re interested in the banana history, you can find it here: http://worldsfare.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/have-a-banana/
Of course, we enjoyed a snack while there. The frozen, chocolate-dipped bananas on offer were familiar to me, but I was amused to discover that neither the Brits nor the Aussies in the group had ever seen them before.