Tuesday, October 31, 2006
You'll probably remember that I was experiencing a bit of a culture shock to learn how little Halloween is celebrated here in the springtime of the Southern Hemisphere. Fortunately, I have a family for whom Halloween is second only to Christmas- and that's only if it is Christmas with no cold or snow. So, my Auntie and my Mom bought a boat load of decorations from such holiday establishments as "The Dollar Store", then spent three times that amount to ship the box to Brisbane. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. With their help and a little midwest ingenuity we fashioned our own celebration and invited the cast and crew of GWAN and Sunday GWAN (that being, Gamers without a Name). We were VERY impressed by the enthusiasm that our new countrymen mustered. Even the one that stole our jack o'lantern on the eve of the 31st! All it takes here are the pictures!
Zelda meditating under Kevin's vampire cape- in watercolor.
Our window cemetary- tombstones provided by our new refrigerator.
Entry to the house- These bats are petite by Australian standards.
Our party "Jacks" the day after. Peppers (Capsicum), I discovered, make great lanterns with a fabulous glow. Easy to carve- but quick to wither. Our beautiful green lantern found a new home in which to spread the joy of the season- nabbed from sitting atop our mailbox!
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
There is something about Australia which results in some people, mainly women, I think, to get two birthdays per year. Yesterday, for example, was the Queen's birthday in Western Australia. The Queen has another birthday here in Queensland and for all I know a third birthday that she celebrates with friends and family... not that Ozzies aren't friendly. Me. I had one birthday in May (in the US) and a second this weekend. What concerns me about these birthdays isn't the extra cake: its that I'm not sure if one ages faster as a result.
Anyway, for my birthday Kevin took me to The Australia Zoo. It wasn't the celebrity rub that he'd planned as unfortunately Steve Irwin was killed while K and I were in the US last month. Within the last few months the Australia Zoo also lost their other famous resident, Harriot, a Galopogus tortoise who "sailed" with Charles Darwin himself! Harriot has a very simple memorial. Her yard and sign remain while inside a silly faced ceramic turtle pot sits waiting. Steve has memorials at the gate, outside the crococellium, and an AV production prior to the big croc show. I was touched by both responses and wished I could have had only one birthday this year- I could have seen them both.
The Australia Zoo (as it should) has a fabulous collection of Australian wildlife. I saw my first Tasmanian devil (pictured above). Yards of wombat- including one very full pouched female. Oodles of koalas- virtually all asleep and most with babies. Birds, snakes, and plenty of crocs. For a little spice- there are very attractive Tiger and Asian elephant exhibits and a posse of "naughty" American alligators. ??? I can't say I understand any of this- though it interested me that the AZ has taken a page from Dreamworld and keeps the tigers "caged up" with their keepers. The tigers sleep and the keepers trade jokes about Siegfrid and Roy.
I really enjoyed the Snake, Bird, and Croc show at the crococellium (it was the only show we saw. I might have enjoyed more shows had I seen more!) The snakes were OK- but the bird show was fully flighted! Soaring through the stadium: cockatoos, lorries, a wedgetail eagle, a kookaburra, and a magpie! (No photos.) The croc show was appropriately cautionary- you know, "never smile". The croc man did a fine job, though he was bit more weenie about the breeze on his fingers than I'd have expected. I'm sure Steve never sweated out loud before the audiance.
I had a great time. We finished the day with cake and candles as required...and did it all again the next day for ole Queenie.