Monday, August 22, 2005


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Tasmania, Part V

These are the last of the pictures from Tasmania. Coming soon: Pictures from Sydney!

Another Tasmanian Devil.

Two Devils, eating the carrion they had just been fed by the people who worked at the Wildlife Refuge.

Port Arthur: a complex where prisoners were processed and held upon their first entry to Australia in the 1800s.

Another view of the grounds at Port Arthur.

More of Port Arthur. We were standing in the parking lot at the entrance to the prison colony (actually, we walked over to a "lookout point") to take these pictures. We decided not to walk around the grounds because they wanted $24/person and we'd just paid $16 each to see the Tasmanian Devils. We were surprised at how much it cost. Also, it was getting dark and appeared that it would probably close soon.

Right as it was getting dark, we stopped at "Remarkable Cave" (but didn't get over to the cave itself because it was getting dark and seemed dangerous to go hiking) and walked on a boardwalk to this view of the ocean and cliffs. The second cliff off in the distance is possible to hike to (I believe the sign said 2.5 hours). John and I would like to go back there and do this hike some day and see the cave.

Just a few minutes later. It was getting dark very quickly at this time. It was about 5 p.m. This was a view towards the other side of the boardwalk. I love how deep the blues are in this picture.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Tasmania, Part IV

John, driving on "the wrong side" of the car and road.

Between Hobart and Port Arthur, we stopped to look at this inlet, and I took a picture of where we were. Notice that Hobart is in parentheses on the sign. We didn't find out the reason for this, but our suspicion is that if you must change roads, the destination appears in parentheses. Since we had to take a couple of highways to get back to Hobart, it was in parentheses... once we got on the highway that took us directly to Hobart, the city name stopped being in parentheses.

This is a view of the inlet. Very pretty!

John & me in front of the inlet...

Mama Tasmanian Devil with Baby Tasmanian Devil clinging to her back. When we first got to her enclosure (at the Tasmanian Devil Wildlife Refuge), we saw only the mom. A moment later, there was a grunting and squeaking noise, and then the baby jumped out of her pouch and onto her back. Tasmanian Devils are marsupials, so they have pouches like kangaroos, koalas, and all other marsupials.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tasmania, part III

A Tasmanian Tiger (thylacine). This is a stencil that was spray painted as graffiti on a wall on the side of a building in Hobart. Tasmanian Tigers are extinct. While in Hobart, we went to a museum that had video of the last known Tasmanian Tiger, from 1936. The video was shot at the Hobart Zoo. The thylacine was exposed to severe weather conditions and died. =(

Here is another picture from Salamanca Market, where we were on Saturday.

Near the Salamanca Market: a fountain commemorating the Dutch ships and sailors who sailed around the Tasman Straight years ago.

Here are some purple flowers we saw at the park on Saturday in Battery Point.

A Tasmanian license plate.

John with the hot chocolates we had with breakfast Saturday morning. We got a good deal: french toast and hot chocolate for AUS$9 per person.

Originally, though, they gave us mochas by accident.

Which John was perfectly happy with, before we discovered they were mochas.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tasmania, Part II

Here is a view from the top of Mt Wellington. We drove up there on Sunday. The drive took about an hour from Hobart and it was a beautiful drive. The beginning part of the drive took us through tree-lined roads through countryside; further up the mountain, the vegetation became sparser and smaller. There was snow at the top.
The water you see at the bottom is the Pacific Ocean (specifically, the straight of Tasman, I believe); the city is Hobart.

Another view from the top of the mountain. The river is the Derwent.

It was very, very cold and windy at the top of the mountain.

It wasn't actually snowing, but there was a fair bit of snow on the ground. When we first arrived in Tasmania, we were told that the road up the mountain was closed due to the snow. It was closed Saturday, as well, and fortunately for us, opened on Sunday. We didn't see any snow or ice on the road at all, but there was a lot along the side in some places.

I don't know why they were doing this, but several of the Tasmanians were stacking snow on the windsheilds of their cars and then driving down the mountain with a large obstruction to their vision. I saw some cars with mini-snowmen on the windsheild. This (above) was a small amount of snow compared to some of the cars we saw. We saw dozens of people doing this, and on the way up the mountain, saw many cars coming towards us down the mountain with the snow already in place. I did not ask why they were doing it, I just asked this family if it was alright to take a picture as they were in process of putting the snow on. The daughter didn't mind at all. The mother said to me, "Oh, you're from California. You won't have seen snow before, will you?" Her husband said, "No, they get snow up in the mountains there." I wondered how they knew I was from California (besides my accent when I first asked if I could take their picture) and then I remembered that the back of my jacket said "Palo Alto, CA" and realized that must have given it away. Actually, if I'd come to Tasmania before moving to Colorado when I was 18, I might have seen snow only for the second time in my life, but moving to Colorado took all the mystery out of snow for me. =)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tasmania, Part I

Salamanca Market, a famous Saturday market in Hobart. I bought two stuffed animals: a dingo and a Tasmanian Devil. As you can see, it was quite overcast. It sprinkled a few times. It was very, very cold. We were wearing 4 layers on top and still were cold. The wind made it feel much cooler.

A view from Battery Point in Hobart.

A park in Battery Point called Princes Park. This was a very attractive park and the playground looks like a lot of fun. If it wasn't so cold, I might have gone down the slide (I was worried the metal would be freezing!)

The symbol of Australia: the kangaroo & emu and the state seal. This was outside a courthouse.

(John, and) A display of wombats inside a museum by the waterfront (the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery). Isn't it amazing how huge wombats are?!

More photos to come!

Full Tassie update coming soon! Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 12, 2005

Sydney casino

Star City

The casino with the largest area devoted to gaming of any in the world* is in Sydney, and it's across the street from where I work. This is a view of it from my route home.

* Source: Upcoming book The Ultimate Casino Guide: 1000 Great Casinos from America, Canada and Around the World by Michael Wiesenberg, to be published around September 30, 2005, by Sourcebooks, Inc. It can be pre-ordered here if you're interested.

For Colleen!

This is what mailboxes look like in Sydney.

Multi-lingual bus stop signs

Bus stops in Sydney all have signs that look like this. It's practical; anyone would know it was a bus stop based on the sign. I like the picture.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Terrace houses

Above: two terrace houses. I'd never seen them before moving to Sydney, and I think of them as "very Australian." I really wish we'd have been able to live in one while we're here, but so far it's been impossible because they don't tend to be rented furnished, and that's what we need right now. Maybe some day!

Before it all went pear-shaped*

Darling Harbour

Please excuse the image quality; I took the photo with a PDA. It's actually pretty good considering the source, I think.

Anyway, I took this photo at Darling Harbour, which is about a 5 minute walk from where I work. At lunch, I walked over to get something to eat and shop for a new purse** and I took this photo at the time I did because you can just see the monorail entering the station there. The location is the end of a large pedestrian bridge that crosses the harbour (which you can't see from this picture, unfortunately). The buildings you see in the background towards the left are across the harbour in the Sydney CBD (Central Business District; maybe what you'd call "downtown"?) It's also the area of Sydney that's called "city" and it's the only part of the Sydney metro area that you'd write "Sydney" for the address to mail something to. (I "live in Sydney," but my address says "Ultimo").

The archway in the middle right is where I went inside to eat and look for a new purse. There is a little mall hidden in there (I say hidden, because it's not obvious from the outside from any direction).

* When things "go pear-shaped" in Australia, they become all messed up. No one can explain to me where the expression comes from. Nothing actually went wrong for me, I just like using the expression because I think it's hilarious.

** I confused my Aussie workmates by saying "purse." I had a chocolate croissant and they noticed I wasn't holding it any more, and asked where I put it. I said I had put it in my purse, and they gave me funny looks. I was in the process of putting my wallet back inside my purse, and they informed me that I was holding my "purse" and I was about to put it inside my "handbag."

Me in Sydney

Now that I've been here nearly a year, it made sense to create a blog about my experiences here. I intend to post a lot of pictures, as well, so look forward to that. I'll update more soon! For now, here are two pictures of some birds that I saw on the way to work recently. They are rainbow lorikeets, and I think they're very pretty.