11 November 2008

i made it! sydney, australia

We arrived here in Sydney yesterday at 9am (that's 5pm ET, the day prior). A few hours after our arrival, and after a much-needed shower, my travel companions and I took a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens. After a 23 hour trip, it was safe to say we were jet lagged. So it would be easy to understand why we would be confused by the joggers running past us and towards us at 1pm on a Monday afternoon. I'd never seen so many people running about, especially in the middle of a workday. It quickly became clear, Sydney is a seriously health conscious city.

We were headed in the direction of the Sydney Opera House, then on to the ferries at Circle Quay, and ultimately, the Taronga Zoo. We'd heard there was a baby hippo there, born only 3 days ago. A very exciting prospect. Plus, I'd read there were wombats and koalas, and other native Australian species.

After marveling at the Opera House structure, we made our way to the ferry. It's a nice 12 minute ride to the other side of the harbor where the zoo is located. Once we disembarked, my boyfriend asked a woman at the entrance about the baby pygmy hippo. He received some disappointing news. Baby hippo, "Monifa," was not ready for her debut.

Little Monifa

Despite the sad news and our flight-induced delirium, we immediately got on the Sky Safari. From that conveyance we saw Asian elephants, a binturong (Asian bearcat), and an orangutan!

Binturong (Asian bearcat)

The zoo had a lot of construction going on and quite a few of the attractions were not up and running. We did not see the platypus. We only saw the backside of a wombat. We managed to observe an echidna -- a curiously cute little creature. Many of the other animals eluded us. By the time we reached the orangutan habitat, he was hiding on a high perch under a potato sack. All we could see of him were his dangling dreads of hair and a bit of his protruding face.


As we were heading out, we got to see giraffes, a tapir, and a closer look of the Asian elephants. Exhausted, we headed back to the ferry, dreaming of a nap before dinnertime.



Asian elephants

By the time I went to bed at 10:30pm (6:30am ET), I hadn't had a decent sleep in about 48 hours. Needless to say, I slept like a baby... hippo.