Monday, February 14, 2011

Picutre-tastic Post

I made my first friend-like person today! I went to the kitchen today to make myself breakfast (first real meal in too long), and another older guy was in there too. We chatted a bit, and he made fun of my having ramen for breakfast, but let me borrow the classified sections of his WA Sunday newspaper (to check for rental notices). He laughed at me when I said “I really appreciate it” (a phrase I use rather a lot) and said it must be an American phrase (which I don't think it is; I think it's JUST me who says that). So I asked him what would be the “Australian” thing to say, and he looked me straight in the eye and said “Thank you very much?” and then laughed at me some more. We much later exchanged names, and when I told him the origin of my name (comes from the Latin for honey), he seemed to think that was hilarious; he told me that Glen (his name) came from the Irish for valley, and went away still giggling at me.

Since I ended up sleeping for about 16 hours on Saturday (!) forced myself to get up and stay for a while today. I walked to the real CBD, an area of about 2 blocks square that is essentially a big mall area. I found the Woolsworth (local big shopping market, a tad like Smiths), Crazy Clark’s (kinda like a dollar store), Salvos (Salvation Army store, sadly closed on Sundays), as well as all the souvenir shops (one place had “Mexican Austalian hats only $10!”, which were straw sombreros painted with the Australian flag; that made me smile ^^). I randomly decided to walk across an overhead walkway into what seemed like another mall area, but fortuitously discovered the railway station instead! Since I very much hope to live near a train line, I’d better get to know how the system works…. I intend to test it out tomorrow and figure out the best way to get to UWA before I have to be there Tuesday morning. I ended up walking through the train station, and on the other side discovered a lovely urban garden project were I sat to eat my lunch (almonds and water).
A food garden in the middle of downtown.

 I continued on, and found the Museum of Western Australia! Which has free admission! Yay! I went into the “Peoples of Western Australia” exhibit first, which starts off with a cave painted by an Indigenous Australian with a recording of his voice telling his peoples origin stories. Just opposite are signs which explain the “scientific” origin story. Once you walk through this little hallway of competing lore, A BIG ASS SCARY RAPTOR IS STARING YOU DOWN ABOUT TO EAT YOU. D: Once I had determined that it wasn’t moving, I inched my way past this model to go check out the other life-size animals, including a huge (extinct) super-furry echidna and this funny snouted bear-thing (also extinct). I was about to move on when a nice older museum tour guy came up to me and said, “wait, you want to stick around! The Carnitaurus is about to roar. :D” So I had to obligingly stay and chat and listen to the rather terrifying recording of the Big Ass Scary Raptor (Carni = carnivore, of course, and Taurus for its horn things above its eyes) stomp up and roar. Nice Museum Guy proceeded to give me a personal explanation/tour of the area I had just been through, mostly telling me things I already knew (like about Gondwana, the semi-super continent that consisted of todays Australia, Antarctica, South America and Africa) but it was very nice of him to be basically giving me a personal tour. I was sad he had to go after a little bit, as it was rather nice to really be talking to someone after spending a lot of time in my own thoughts. 

The museum really had an incredible amount of history all packed into it, though my overall impression was of a truly stunning number of stuffed and mounted birds and animals, which is a little creepy if I stop to think about it. No really, they had every Australian animal you know of, plus just about every other animal in the world you could think of, all taxidermy-ed next to neat placards explaining what they are. I should’ve taken more pictures to give you a better idea of just how many dead animals there were in this building, but until I get a chance to go back (whoo free admission and within walking distance whoo!), here are these oddballs I got: 
Big Ass Crab- this thing wouldn't fit on your dinner plate.
Over 9ft (!) tall Moa skeleton; it reminded me of the movie Up and Kevin ^_^
This was on the "Touch Me!" wall.... So I got to pet a dead echidna.... which was right next to the kangaroo and bush wallaby pelts...... D:

My favorite, however, was the exhibit way up on the third floor, entitled “Diamonds to Dinosaurs.” This room was big and dark, and had absolutely no creepy animals or depressing recounts of Aboriginal history/slaughter. This was the ROCK room! :D They had mineral displays! CATEGORIZED BY CRYSTAL GROUP AND COMPOSITION. I just about squealed out loud.

There was even a fluorescent room! And lots of other geology stuff. They had an entire display on stromatolites! :D
Stromatolites are the coolest ever, for those that don't know. What are they, you may ask?

THEY'RE LIVING ROCKS OMG. *and* they're the reason we are here breathin' that sweet O2 today.

AND they are carbonates, the kinds of rocks I study for my professors!

And a giant periodic table with vials of the elements (where the element exists in solid form in atmospheric temperatures and pressures and is non-radioactive, of course)!

I also rather loved this:
First picture of me in Australia!

After returning to my hostel (exhausted) and eating a late lunch (more ramen), I made myself go back out, as I hadn’t yet seen the water. My hostel is literally one block away from the Swan River, so a two minute walk takes me to these views:
Swan River! But it has some waves, so it's a bit like the Chesapeake. :D

Those are cockatoos/cockatiels/not-parrot-but-close birds on the ground!! So much cooler than pigeons, if a lot louder o.O
Might be hard to spot, but in the middle of the pic there's a brightly colored parrot thing! Man, these guys were SCREECHING the whole time.

 And one last picture I took of a magazine I found in the hostel that made me laugh:
This is especially for Stephiekins :P
Loves to all! I need to get some sleep now.... I keep falling asleep in the late afternoon, sleeping for 5 or 6 hours, then waking up at 11pm or midnight (when it is 8 or 9 am back in Albuquerque), doing stuff for an hour or two, then sleeping soundly again until the next morning. This is probably not a routine I'll be able to keep up for long....

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you're enjoying yourself. I'm admittedly kind of jealous of you for that museum trip - it sounds like fun. Fossil (and not-fossil) animals = cool. And after listening to my Microbio and Intro Oranismal Bio profs spend a week each on Stromatolites and the oxygen crisis last year, I kind of want to see one face-to-...well...rock instead of in pictures. Also, after a semester spent running around a foreign country dependent on public transport: trains rock.

    On a side note, I'm bitterly jealous about your weather. It's freakin' cold out here, and the ice is just annoying.