Taronga Zoo, Cogee beach
21.08.2007 - 05.09.2007 17 °C
We took a trip to Taronga Zoo on Saturday with James. Fresh air on the ferry on the way across was the order of the day having had a pretty heavy night the night before. We ended up in a bar drunkenly debating whether pheasant is a red or white meat, as you do of an evening.
Taronga zoo sits right on the opposite shore to Sydney, so great views. Yet another zoo though. It's beginning to feel like we're doing a world tour of zoos. We're already planning the next one, Steve Irwin's, in about a months time. Woohoo. Taronga was pretty good as zoos go. There were quite a few impressive exhibits, most notably the biggest crocodile I've ever seen, about 4/5m long. They also had a little section where you could chase wallabies and Kangaroos about and molest them. They didn't seem to care much. They have the same kind of laid back attitude that the people have.
This one was quite happy lying flat on it's back watching tourists go by. Jenny gets scarily excited about being at the zoo, but she was in good company with James as he likes to run about with taking pictures through the glass of everything and anything too. He was even over the safety barrier at the snow leopards cage basically trying to get in with them.
The highlight of the zoo was a talk on spiders where we sat with a bunch of 5 year olds being shown funnel webs and red backs, which are both apparently really common and in every back garden in Sydney....which is nice. The star of the talk was the little boy sitting next to us who when asked "Do you know what the most venomous spider in the world is?", answered "Yes. Spiderman." Good answer.
The Oran-utan was pretty amazing as well. It had climbed right to the top of it's post and was giving disapproving looks at all the tourists. Really weird looking creature. So weird that it kind of looked like it might be a guy in a costume. If it is then that makes my job seem not so bad.
After gawking at the animals for a good couple of hours we went back to James's, via the butcher, for a BBQ. Australians are absolutely mad for BBQ's, indeed so far as food goes over here if it can't be mashed up into sausage or burger form for the grill, then I don't think they consider it edible. There are so many different types of sausage it's unreal. We got a selection of fish snags - shrimp and chilli, swordfish and feta etc. Probably the saltiest things I've ever eaten and wouldn't be rushing to get them again. The meat out here is all really good though, and very cheap. We had Kangaroo the other night which was pretty good - tastes like steak and I'd recommend it if you can see past the fact that you're essentially eating a giant rat.
All last week the weather was really good, and the temperature got up to 27 degrees on a couple of days, so on Sunday we took a trip to Cogee beach, a couple of bays south of Bondi. There was a guy with a message from God flying about above the beach in his little plane.
Cogee basically just a scaled down version of Bondi, but nice. Was so busy. Was sunny but windy so the T-shirt wasn't off for very long. In fact we got sucked into a beer garden not long after arriving. We were pretty warm when we left there though, a few hours later.
This week's been pretty chaotic in Sydney as the George Bush circus rolled into town last night for an APEC summit (which I think is kind of like G8 for Asia Pacific Countries). They're holding the summit in Sydney's CBD, so there's a public holiday on Friday which is a bonus. The whole CBD is being shut down and they've erected a 15 foot fence to keep everyone out, which is causing quite a lot of resentment amongst the locals. They're also closing Bondi beach on the Saturday so that the WAGs can have lunch safely, which is causing some resentment amongst me, because I want to go to the beach at the weekend.
We've both totally fallen in love with Sydney over the 2 months we've been here, and that's saying really something given the circumstances - ie we both have dead-end boring jobs on minimum wage; we're eating almost exclusively own brand supermarket products and reduced-to-clear kangaroo; we're living with cockroaches and selfish, nocturnal, drum and electric guitar playing twats; we're both completely sleep deprived; and up to now we've been wearing clothes and sleeping in a bed that stinks of piss because someone at some point clearly decided that they would use their own urine as a fabric softner in the communal washing machine. We are now handwashing all our clothes. However the point is that in the face of all that we're both having an amazing time and love living here, so it's become a real possibility to come back with a more permanent plan.....maybe. Sydney's got it all, although actually living in Bondi has dispelled the stereotypical image that I had of it before coming here. I envisaged it being a haven for bronzed, good looking surfer chicks and blokes with girly hair wandering about carrying surfboards. The reality is that it is full of pasty, chicken-skinned, Guiness guzzlers. There have to be more Irish folk here than in the whole of Ireland. Bondi is pretty cool though, (the woman at my work said it's "daggie" - but she's a "flaming galla") and although the beach is nothing like I expected it is great for a beach in the city, really clean and the water is crystal clear, unlike other city beaches I've been to.........Joppa.
We're both a bit fed up with work. It's ok although spiritcrushinly boring. The people I'm working with are real friendly however I've managed to create a potentially embarrasing situation for myself. Despite trying very very very hard to ensure that people are not confused about my name - enunciating it very clearly to everyone that I meet for the first time as if they are elderly and hard of hearing - I have failed spectacularly at work. The woman downstairs calls me Karl and there's another woman in the same room as me who calls me either Kaylum or Cayleb. For some reason I didn't correct either of them on the first occasion they got it wrong, and now 4 weeks on, there's no going back, as to do so would be more embarrassing than "simply" responding to my new various names. So I'm trying to avoid them both and the situation where the one who calls me Karl, calls me that in front of someone who knows me by my given name.....or worse still she calls me Karl in front of the one who calls me Kaylum. Not sure how I would explain myself. Anywho, I'm only there for another week so the odds are in my favour given how long I've kept up the charade so far.
We're currently planning our itinerary for travelling the East Coast of Australia which starts in 6 weeks, and also are planning an excursion to dive with sharks in the interim which should be pretty exciting.....