Monday, July 11, 2005

Healesville and Nicole!

Yesterday was a blast. We went to Healesville Sanctuary in the morning, which is a more naturalistic zoo outside of Melbourne. It's a really cool place because it specializes in Australian wildlife. I got to see my first Tasmanian devil, wedge-tailed eagle (Australia's largest bird of prey), and lyrebird. They had a great bird of prey show, as well as a really cool flying fox aviary.

Then we got on the bus and drove to the Moonlit Sanctuary. It was freezing cold when we got off the bus and I had not brought enough clothing for the trip! It was dark by the time we got there (around 6 pm, but the sun sets really early here because it's winter), so we started our tour right away. The enclosures there were huge and we were allowed to walk through them. It was so amazing because right as we stepped onto the property, a grey kangaroo named Amelia bounded up to us. We got to pet her and feed her pellets, which was really cool. We proceeded to see Cape Barren geese, powerful owls, and brush-tailed wallabies up close. Then we went inside a thicket and fed brush-tailed bettongs (coolest animals ever), tawny frogmouths, and brush-tailed possums. It was so fun and I can't even remember it all (and don't feel like going into outlandish hyperboles again) so I'm just going to leave Sunday short and sweet.

Today after class we went to the Melbourne Museum. Eric called it the Victoria Museum, which I assumed was a different facility than the Melbourne Museum, where Nicole works (Nicole was a former ZooTeen supervisor that I contacted before I came over here). I was very surprised when I got to the Melbourne Museum, and immediately began searching around for her. We toured Bunjilaka, the Aboriginal section of the museum, where we got to see Aboriginal art work and artifacts. After the tour, Derek, Ryan, Jamie, Marie, and I went around to see this huge aviary they have with tawny frogmouths and a variety of fish and huge trees. We then went to see the Natural History section with a bunch of taxidermied animals (not that impressive after you've hand-fed a bettong) and the Mind and Body section.

Afterwards, we were kind of sitting around, bored, deciding where to go next. I was dismayed that I hadn't found Nicole, and on a whim I went to ask an employee nearby. She knew Nicole and directed me toward Nicole's department. It was really exciting to see Nicole again, though I think we didn't really recognize each other at first glance...it's been awhile. Anyway, we talked awhile and decided to meet up tomorrow for lunch, so I'm really excited. I definitely think I surprised her since I didn't phone ahead or anything, I just kind of appeared out of nowhere...

After that, we went down to Lygon Street where there are a bunch of cool cafes and shops. We stopped in Brunetti, a famous Melbourne bakery. And bakery is definitely an understatement. The cakes there are amazing, beautiful concotions with lots and lots of chocolate. We ended up buying small cakes to eat ourselves; mine was called Passione and was made up of chocolate, raspberries, strawberries, and whipped cream. It was awesome.

Anyway, the very late nights have really taken it out of me and I think I'm coming down with a cold. I also have an essay to write for tomorrow, and I've only done half of the reading. G'day.

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