Slice Of Life

Slice Of Life, is a Weblog (BLOG) that I write, in which I try to tell some sort of story about something, or someone in my life. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes not, sometimes informative, sometimes...... HA, gotcha, did ya think that I was going to say not? Don't know me very well, do ya? :=) I will try to update the BLOG from time to time, whenever I can.

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Location: Chandler, Arizona, United States

My personality is outgoing, I use to be a wallflower, until I realized that it was all the outgoing people that were having the most fun. It was a tough conversion, but nobody I know today would even remotely consider me to be a wallflower. Basically, when I was young, my parents taught me that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. I haven't quite found the "anything" part to be always true, but it has inspired me to always try to do, and be, my best.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Australia Day 2 – Melbourne

So, dinner on the first night was uneventful, since I was so tired after that long flight, that after the welcome cocktail party, I had dinner with a nice couple John and Peggy, in the Hotel’s restaurant. It was an excellent steak, and potato dish. I went to bed shortly after dinner, after I wrote my Flight to Melbourne BLOG.

Monday October 30, there was a free Buffet breakfast in the Hotel restaurant, that was excellent. After breakfast, there was a prearranged tour of Melbourne, where they loaded us up on a bus, and we went around the city touring the sights, and stopping at locations including Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Parliament House, The Shrine Of Remembrance to Australia’s Soldiers who died in wars, as well as The Botanical gardens, and Fitzroy Gardens where we walked around the Conservatory and just hung out in the Park, so to speak.

The great thing, was that they gave us a city map, so I was able to get my bearings for later free time on my own. During the City Tour, they showed us the Financial district, as well as Melbourne’s China Town, and the Shopping District. One thing that they have well developed, is the mass Transit System. They have street level Light Rail, which most people call “Trams”, and they go all over the city, so there’s no need to have a car. Parking would be difficult and expensive anyway.

The tour was ½ day, so I had several hours of free time. It turns out the shopping district was only ~ a 10 minute walk from the Hotel, so I went down there, and had a nice café lunch at tables set up on the sidewalk, and I spent awhile people watching the lunchtime crowd. I purchased a couple of souvenirs, and did the typical picture taking tourist thing. I made my way back to the Hotel to clean up before Monday night’s main even…… The Parade Of The Penguins.

This was an optional side trip I signed up for. It turns out, that the Southern side of Australia is the mating grounds for the worlds smallest Penguins, and this is their mating season. Early in the morning, they leave their boroughs dug in the sand around Phillip Island, and head out to sea to feed. Well just after sundown, they come back to shore in groups, and march up the beach all laden with partially digested fish, which they regurgitate for their young. The Government has set up a Park ranger station, and built viewing platforms on the beach, and so you can sit on the edge of the beach, and watch hundreds of penguins come out of the water and march up the beach to their “homes”.

They showed us a DVD video on the way to the island, so we would have some pre-information. The average “Small Penguin” (that’s actually their official name) is ~ 33cm tall, and weighs 1 Kilo. By the way, do you notice how I’m becoming acclimated to Australian metric measurements? No Inches and Pounds for me while I’m here :-) Anyway, the penguins also march along the boardwalk that I walked down to get to the beach, and while I was standing on the rail, this one penguin stopped, stared into the bushes, then he folded his flippers back and started calling out. How did I know it was a “he” and not a “she”? I’m glad you asked. A minute later, a slightly smaller penguin came out of the bushes and started calling back! Oh, but there’s more….. Just then another slightly smaller penguin came around the corner, and started yelling at the first penguin. I figured it was yelling, because that penguin and the first one suddenly rushed at each other and they started fighting with each other!!!

The first penguin was a little larger, and very shortly chased the second penguin away, then HE, and the SHE who came out of the bushes…… Ummmmm….. Well, there’s no other way to put it….. they mated….. right in front of me. How did I know? Did I mention they showed us Penguin video on the way to the island? Now, I’m no Penguin expert, but it sure looked like it did on the video. Then they sat there for a minute, walked a little way, and did it again! There were a few people standing near me, and I don’t know what it is, but I seem to attract comedians, because one of the people said “Damn, at least he could get a private room or something”, and I couldn’t help myself, and so I said….. “Yeah, or at least he could have given her some fish first” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, everyone burst out laughing, and it was a great moment. I’ll never forget it. They don’t allow picture taking, even without flash, because it stresses out the birds, but I purchased 3 professionally taken pictures they had for sale at the visitors center, which I’ll scan into digital when I get home.

Great first day in Australia, Eh Mate?


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