Hello again,

Today was definitely not a lazy day.

Day 9

I opened my eyes to the sun streaming in the windows this morning and I just knew it was going to be a great day. I got up, made coffee and had some breakfast. After getting ready for the day we decided to check out the Australia version of Best Buy, called “Good Guys”. JD and I both make a game out of being frugal. It’s fun to stretch the dollar even though we aren’t in a position to have to worry about money. Hey, why pay more than you have to? People who know JD have inevitably heard about he IS CheapBastard.com. Unfortunately someone else took the domain name but he likes to announce it anyhow (see photo).

We originally just went in to look around, but quickly found they had some great deals. We needed a printer and scanner badly since in order to get all our expenditures reimbursed we have to deal with a guy in Hawaii. Plus as we approach the age of paperless-ness everyone should have a scanner. They had one at a good price and with a $10 mail-in rebate. We were automatically sold there and moved on around the store. A few days ago we had spotted a rice cooker in a thrift shop and we found one brand new but for only $2 more. As we looked around even further we found one that was a previous display. Brand new and the exact price of the one in the thrift store. Success!

We purchased our items and scurried home. It was only noon and the city beckons. We decided that today was the day to explore the Australian Museum, so off we went. The Town Hall Subway Station is attached to the Queen Victoria Building that everyone refers to as the QVB. Out front of the building is a statue of the Queen and even better is a fountain and statue of her most famous dog (see photo). His name is Islay and he is a Skye terrier. When you approach the fountain a booming voice says :”Hello, my name is Islay. I was once the companion of the great Queen Victoria. Because of the many good deeds I have done for deaf and blind children, I have been given the power of speech.” He then says that if you throw a coin into the fountain that he will say thank you and then barks afterwards. He says it anyhow, as I found out after I threw one in and he repeated his act. At any rate I expect that he will grant my wish and the large check will be arriving in the mail soon. I will keep you all updated.

We walked to the museum and went inside. As soon as you pay your admission you walk down a short hallway that empties into an atrium with an information lady surrounded by several animals, stuffed and on display. You can touch them and get up really close to them. So yeah I took my picture with them (see photos)!

Once we got into the exhibits I couldn’t take pictures but it was a lot like the Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian in DC. I did take a few notes of stuff I found particularly interesting:

– Did you know that we have penguins around here? They apparently live on the beach and tunnel into the sand! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Penguin

– A good reason to stay out of the water is called the Hairy Mary. It’s a type of giant sea worm. I couldn’t find any links to show you on the internet so you will just have to take my word for it. Not poisonous but yucky!

–  Lionfish are from around Northern Australian waters. They are very poisonous but since I am refusing to get in the water because of the Hairy Marys I figure I’m covered. This also goes for the sharks. I’m good as long as I keep my toes on land.

– Cone Shell Snails have really pretty shells that are tempting to pick up. Don’t do it! They have a stinger that will reach right around and get you and THERE IS NO ANTIVENOM. Ok so no wading, swimming, or picking up shells. Got it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cone_shell

– The Blue-ringed Octopus is famous for its appearance in the James Bond Film, “Octopussy”. They generally live in tide pools and this is another one with no antivenom. My life insurance agent is probably having fits right now (www.ninaambrose.com) so maybe I should quit with the no-cure-for-being-stung/bitten talk. Ok so no wading, swimming, picking up pretty shells, or sticking my appendages into tide pools. Got it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_ring_octopus

– I was warned about the Box Jellyfish before I moved here and it’s another good reason to stay out of the water. They are mostly in the northern part of Sydney but I’m not taking any chances.  Apparently vinegar is useful in disabling the box jelly’s nematocysts that have not yet discharged into the bloodstream (though it will not alleviate the pain). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_jellyfish

– We saw a guy feeding a cuttlefish and he was really cute (the cuttlefish, not the guy)! We watched him change colors as he moved over the rock and then over sand and they have this long spear in their mouths that they use to grab their food. Once he had his prize he moved under a ledge and started to much away. You could almost see his glee.

– A correction from the day of the birds in the back yard. They are Magpies as we saw almost every bird native to Australia in stuffed form. I found myself quoting Ace Ventura, “What a lovely room of death you have here…” They are pretty famous for being obnoxious loud birds and now we know they are very aggressive during mating season. If JD gets attacked, he knows he has been warned.

 – The Southern Marsupial Mole is really cute and I’m disappointed I can’t find a good picture of his hands. They are like shovels that have been cut in half and used as two fingers on each hand. Bizarre looking!

– We learned that Wombats have cube shaped poop and plural is called a Wisdom.

– JD got all excited that we were going to get to see Boobys until he found out they were the avian kind…

– Another correction on the birds. I got to see a White Ibis up close at the bird exhibit and I think thats more what I saw and photographed that first day, rather than the Black Headed Ibis. They look very similar but the White Ibis is closer.

– The Great Crested Grebe is another cutie! He has tons of feathers that stick out around his face and neck so he has a jester look to him. Kinda hard to tell in these pictures but they will have to do. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Crested_Grebe

– We went thru a wonderful collection of stones and crystals as the last leg. I learned that some meteorites have materials you can’t find on earth like Triolite. I did manage to sneak a picture of one of the big ones.

– We saw every type of spider that we had learned about the day before and they didn’t look so bad. Hey I’m not saying that I want to let them in my house or that I don’t have a healthy respect for them but they aren’t as big as JD made them out to be. Kind of like fish stories (he was THIS big!). All the spiders were small enough to be killed by a flying shoe or heavy book. So thats worked out and we will take the proper precautions.

– They had some children’s jokes typed up here and there thru out the museum. Our favorite one was “What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t return?

Answer: A stick!

We felt like after birds, insects, dinosaurs, rocks and indigenous peoples, we had gotten our $12 worth it was time to get to the butcher and produce markets. On our walk back to the subway station JD noticed a bit of grey and black fur sticking out of a hole in a tree! He had been reading earlier in the day about the Bushy Tailed Opossums and how they are very common in the parks in Sydney. He seemed like he was content and getting some Zzzzs so we just took a picture and pressed on. We decided to do some beef curry over rice for dinner and got all the fixings. JD got some dangerous little red peppers to mix in his batch (see photo). He tried one when we got home and he said he could feel the burn from his mouth, all down his esophagus, and in his stomach. That’s pretty hot!

After we ate, we rested a bit and then went out for a walk with visions of spiders dancing in our heads. I know we didn’t dare land a toe near the grass the whole way. We saw the giant bats again but since their noise they make isn’t that twittering shriek that bats do, maybe they are those Grey-headed Flying Foxes like the one I got pictured with earlier in the day. Who knows. We went down to the oceanfront and the heat of the day is still heavy in the air. When we got home I decided it was time to treat ourselves to some AC. At least until tomorrow when perhaps the morning will be cool once again.

Sorry if we freaked out anyone with the poisonous creatures that we have to successfully co-habitate with but like GI Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle”…

Stay classy America.

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