Since my mother has been complaining about the lack of posts and it’s taking me a while to write my other blog, I figured I should do a post here. Plus, as usual, I’m procrastinating 😉    (I can hear my mom now, ‘I’m spending all that money for you to do the exact same thing you could do here?!’  Except my mom hardly ever yells at me. Benefit of being youngest, I guess :)) (I’ll stop with the emoticons, and the digressions, and the parentheses now).

So I’ve been playing tourist again.  Cupcake brought a stray back from his trip to the US, except it’s a Canadian stray.  So I, feeling a bit homesick and needing an understandable accent, offered to take Derek (working on a nickname but easily-offended hairboy is too long) around Melbourne while somebody finishes his papers that he was supposed to have finished 3 weeks ago.

(quick side note- had an unofficial public health night out when I met up with my friends for dinner and drinks.  I was the only quantative research person in a group of social health students…always have to be the minority.)

Anyways, I took Derek to the Melbourne Aquarium, vastly improved with the addition of penguins!  Not the little ones (formerly known as fairy penguins, I guess it wasn’t PC to call them that) but King and Gentoos from the Antarctic.  Gentoos are basic black and white but the Kings have yellow shading at the top of their ‘shirts’.  Various fishes later, we discovered that there were little domes in the tanks that allowed little kids to crawl underneath to get a different perspective of aquatic life.  Of course I crawled in.  I once did a similar thing at the wombat exhibit at the Melbourne Zoo.  Would you expect anything less of me?

At Ocean Park in Hong Kong, the jellyfish exhibit was blacklit, with various tanks flashing neon colours.  It finally made sense to me why they do that (previously thought it was for the cheap disco effect).  Most jellies are translucent to escape ocean predators, the colour in the aquariums make them visible to visitors.  Although, I would think the stinging effect would be enough to scare off hunters, (plus if something can hurt/kill, I’d like to be able to see it).  A passage from Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’ – In 1992, a young man in Cairns, ignoring all the warning signs, went swimming in the Pacific waters at a place called Holloways Beach. He swam and dived, taunting his friends on the beach for their prudent cowardice, and then began to scream with an inhuman sound. It is said that there is no pain to compare with it. The young man staggered from the water, covered in livid whip-like stripes wherever the jellyfish’s tentacles had brushed across him, and collapsed in quivering shock. Soon afterwards emergency crews arrived, inflated him with morphine, and took him away for treatment. And here’s the thing. Even unconscious and sedated he was still screaming.

At the Sharks Alive tank, it was feeding time.  A couple of divers were in the reef with buckets of food that had wire screens on top, to prevent hungry sea turtles from sticking their heads in.  Didn’t stop the turtles from trying, or attempting to chew on the diver’s fingers.  An easy solution? Wrap your hand around the back of the turtle (away from back claws, a good place is the anterior shell) and do a quick turtle launch.  Somehow, I don’t think we could try this with Speedy.

Walking through Southbank afterwards, we encountered mindless hordes of zombies, shuffling through the streets.  They had smeared hot-pink gooey stuff all over the place.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t brains more of a gray colour?  Inaccurate zombies.

Other tourist crap.

Docklands- they had added it to the tourist shuttle route this year.  Complete waste of time except to laugh at the Southern Star Observation Wheel, shut down because the engineers forgot to account for heat stress.

Shrine/Royal Botanic Gardens- pretty, solemn as usual.  Couldn’t convince Derek to go into the Children’s Garden, plus that probably would have been kind of creepy.

Gave up on the tourist shuttle by this point- Free = slow

Pellegrini’s- Italian food for lunch, although the diner-like ambience and mouthy waiter probably overwhelmed him a little.

Melbourne Museum- Avoided the schoolkids.  Forest Gallery- someone attempted to flick dirty swamp water at me.  Pygmy blue whale skeleton = awesome, even if 40tonnes = pygmy.  Got to touch a couple of ribs, a tooth and baleen.  Reminded of why I heart mammalogy (with an ‘a’, not an ‘o’).  Dinosaurs rock; the bug exhibit, on the other hand, did not.  Managed to upset Carrie Bickmore’s (local tv personality) film crew on the way out.  Laughed at the Scientology mention in the Mind Gallery.

Ended the day at Brunetti’s.  As the way life should.  Except he had already been there.