Kookaburras in Sydney!
Trip Start Mar 18, 2011
8Trip End May 15, 2011
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We arrived early morning in the pouring rain but needed to stay awake so headed on the subway toward 'downtown', hoping to find a phone store that would unlock my iphone. After many stops along the way, we learned they couldn't do that cuz my phone is too up to date. So I guess it will be two months without my favourite device - I am in withdrawal...
Along the way though we stopped in Hyde Park, a lovely oasis of green in downtown Sydney and lo and behold there were two 'laughing kookaburras' sitting on the grass, not laughing and looking decidedly wet from the rain. However, we were thrilled because they were the first birds we identified and seemed to symbolize Australia. Next up were flocks of rainbow lorikeets - it was like someone had opened the doors to a pet shop but we were the only people in awe - the Aussies are used to these crazy flocks of gorgeous birds, even in the heart of the city
We managed to stay awake long enough for a great meal in a local restaurant and finally hit the hay about 8 PM for a great 12 hour sleep. We are staying in the Darlinghurst area of Sydney, what they call an inner city suburb. It is trendy and casual and gay-friendly (we figured that out from the magazines in our lobby!) The people are all very friendly and in the restaurants everyone seems to know everyone else - it sort of like an episode of Cheers!
Yesterday we explored the Royal Botanical Gardens, another huge urban park that starts at the Harbour and stretches for a couple of kilometres. We are learning about the urban birds of Sydney but the bird of the day was the 'sulphur crested cockatoo' - a spectacular white bird with a lovely yellow crest that it spreads to show off. They were everywhere and quite tame. Also in the park was a colony of grey headed flying foxes - about 5000 of them hanging from trees and making a huge racket. They are also known as fruit bats, with a wing span of about 3 feet! Thankfully they did not seem interested in swooping down to check us out but certainly would make the list of 'things that can scare you' in Australia!
Today we toured the Sydney Jewish Museum, just a couple of blocks from our hotel. They have a lovely exibit of the origins of the Jewish community in Australia. One of the first Lt. Governors was a Jewish convict from England who married a pregnant 16 year old on the boat trip over!
Tomorrow we are off to Adelaide and then Kangaroo Island, so we will touch base again in about a week and let you know how we are doing driving on the 'wrong side of the road'!