Dr Maude took Friday off work to play explorer with the kid. Three cameras and us in the Roma Street Parklands. At some point I\’ll flicker the pictures. Some are okay. Crowning point of the evening was dinner at the Alliance; oh, I do dig that place.
Yesterday we finally got down to Lone Pine. I think I was a koala in a past life. All they do is hang out on their branches, huddled in little balls and looking like yoda; when they\’re hungry they wake up, stretch and yawn and chow down, then go back to sleep. Every now and then the inner beast takes over and they fuck like rabbits. Their major defense is tasting awful from eating nothing but eucalyptus. Unlike the sloth, they don\’t even climb down to eat their poo. They just sit there on their branch and chill. Good life, that. I want to be a koala.
Instead, I had three slightly amusing and out of the ordinary things happen while at the sanctuary. The first was the establishment of the concept of me as a child of an urban area with no real concept of wildlife. At one point, something riled up a lot of the animals, and there weren\’t any humans around, and I got a bit freaked. I started to be afraid that one of the wild turkeys would go bezerk and have a go at me with its pecker. I blame the attacking seagulls of Edinburgh for this fear. Shortly thereafter, I spied a very strange beast in one of the koala boxes and became convinced that the creature was sufficiently scary enough to warrant alerting someone, as it might eat the koalas. It had scary eyes and scary fangs and scary claws. Fortunately for my own dignity, the first person I came across was Dr Maude and not a staff worker. He said I looked positively terrified. Upon showing him the devil creature, he bursted out laughing; apparently, that\’s what living a living possum looks like. I\’ve only ever seen them squashed on the side of the road. (Note: the Aussie variant also looks very different from the North American variant.)
Second amusing wild life enounter of the day found me directly next to an eclectus parrot display when suddenly one decided to let loose a roaring cawing sound or whatever it is those things do. Having been pooped upon by a bird the day before (good luck, or so the Sprog told me) and then nearly attacked by a Legion of Hitchcockian like Birds who were after my Magnum, I wasn\’t amused. The birds in this country are vicious and are even more pesty than the pigeons, squirrels, and street rats in DC. The birds here (and birds of all sorts, I might add — big, little, and rainbow-hued) will attempt to land on your table and peck on your hands to get your food from you. Violent, nasty things. But I digress. The eclectus was sounding out, I think, due to the dingo that was passing by. I felt really quite bad for the dingos as they were as calm and well trained as any domesticated dogs, but they had such small spaces. I hope that when the tourists go home, they are given a large space to play in. Most of the other animals, such as the kangaroos and wallabies, seemed to have somewhat adequate space, though it\’s hard to tell as I don\’t know enough about most Australian species to make that sort of judgement. The Tasmanian devil space also seemed to be way too small, from what I remember reading about them. But anyway. I have only five minutes left.
The third amusing wild life story comes after I forced the family to join me in watching the sheep dog show, where I started to cry over one of the dogs, Bex, who reminds me of the collie-mix I grew up with. The family deserted me and the lovely Aussie dogs (note: Aussie kelpies are keepers) to go look at the hoppers who were on the other side of the pond. And this next moment is brought to you by the committee for excellence in family naughtiness:
Dr. Maude, with lit cigarette dangling from corner of mouth, squatting down on all fours and petting the back of a wallaby: \”Oh, yeah, look at you, buddy, you\’ve got a fine bit of wallaby rump steak right there for my dinner tonight, haven\’t you?\”
Harold: \”Stop playing with your dinner!\”
Sprog: \”Have you guys fed me wallaby?!?! Daaaaad!\”
While this was happening there was a small boy of about six approaching another wally, thumping him on the back with his two fists like Ali and asking him if he wanted to box. When the wallaby bounced a few feet away, the kid didn\’t take too well to that, so he ran up to the wally and grabbed its tail and started to pull. The wally just ignored the kid, pulled its weight further forward than usual so that the kid fell over, and hopped away up a hill. The kid took off after it, and the kid\’s father just sort of looked on. Those poor wallys. I imagine they get that sort of abuse on a daily basis. I wonder if they are so domesticated at this point that they like it, the way dogs see rough play as affectionate, or if they just put up with it because it is a fact of life when you get to live on an animal sanctuary.
My time is up. Pictures at another time.