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Day 11 “Zoo” (Sunday 17th March 2013)

As I woke up round Mick’s at about 10:30am and we weren’t going to be working today, the plan had always been to go to the Zoo, not only for me to check out the cool variety of animals but also so that Hannah could see them on her holiday and before she returned to the UK. Mick was also having problems with his laptop so I had a quick look at that for him and tried to speed it up, in the end I could only see that to many programs were running in the background and when I shut them all down Mick seemed to think it was better. For breakfast I had toasted hot cross buns with honey, although Easter was a while off, the supermarket are full of the 3 main types, normal, chocolate and fruitless and I love cot cross buns all year round anyway. We then all got ready and Mick started the long and confusing drive to the Zoo, the city can become a bit of a maze in some places there were two lanes going the same way separated by trees so you felt like you were always in the wrong lane and due to the Grandprix being on today certain roads were shut, also at some intersections (crossroads!)they having signs such as not left turn, not right turn and no U turn… Why not just put one way?! The other odd thing about Melbourne is the amount of trams they use to get around in the city, in fact some of the roads have tram lines on and while driving you have to be aware of trams as well as cars, bicycles and motorbikes! On the way I noticed the amount of graffiti around the city, but not like the scribbles I see back home, these are full blown works of art and I later found out some are commissioned to stop others putting bad pieces on a blank wall, Mick said if we have time later he’ll take me to a famous part where the road is shut to view all of the different graffiti art .

We finally arrived about midday and the weather looked a little overcast but we headed to the zoo entrance, it was $26.10 (£17.50 ish) to get in which wasn’t to bad and then when we looked at the map there were loads of different animals to see, but by the time we released where we were on the map we had walked past the first entrance to the gorillas so decided to go round them backwards! They looked just like blokes in suit and it took a while to realise we were looking real animals, they were so cool and almost played up to the watching people. The next section around the backwards gorilla enclosure was tree top monkey and mandrills but with Mick’s foot still playing up even in its strapping,  he was walking past so many enclosures because it hurt to stand, I was trying to see and take photos of everything but found myself rushing at times to catch back up but luckily he never got to far because of the limp. As we walked passed a few potentially empty enclosures, (they may have been empty or the monkeys were hiding but I didn’t really get a chance to have a proper stare) we came to the hippopotamus section and I managed to snap a couple of great pictures of one drinking. That was the end of the first section of the zoo and because we had headed the wrong way around the enclosures it brought us out by the zoo entrance, this was actually convenient because Mick’s foot was giving him serious grief so joke he wanted a wheelchair. I thought this would be a funny idea and may stop him moaning so I went and asked the information desk for one and they directed me just round the corner where mick had to had over his driving licence as a deposit but got the wheelchair free for the day! I couldn’t stop laughing as I wheeled Mick out of the building and back to Hannah who was waiting outside, she took a few photos of us but at points I couldn’t breathe with the amount I was laughing. With Mick all comfortable I began to push him around and we headed for the tiger and elephant section.

As we headed down the next pathway we came to the otters but there were such fast movers that I didn’t get chance to snap a photo, they were so agile in the water it was like watching a fish! I left Mick for a second while I watched the otters but when I turned round he had gone. Hannah was now wheeling him around and obviously Mick gets bored at each enclosure quicker than me, the only problem now is a wheelchair isn’t as easy to catch up with as a limping lad. The next part was the Tigers but there was only one on display but the instructor was giving a talk about it so I took a load of pictures  We stayed and listen to the trainer, then moved on to the elephants but I again lost Mick and Hannah, this meant I went round to the large elephant section of the zoo on my own while I looked for Mick and Hannah. I was quite nice being on my own because I could snap pictures but at the same time I thought I should catch up with the others so was rushing round each comer  Some of the photos I took of the elephant were hard to see on the phone because it was so bright outside (another good day for weather) but I did my best to point and click and managed to get some pretty good pictures including one of an elephant that had used the fence enclosure to reach up and eat a tree. On from the elephants and still alone, were some birds but with only a few pelicans and one damaged peacock (it only had one tail feather left) I took a photo or two and rushed off in my search for the others. I came next to the orangutans that were so playful and even acted up to the spectators who were watching, this was fascinating and I did take quite a few photos. With that part of the zoo viewed and that fact I hadn’t found the others I began composing a text to Mick when he rang my phone, this was my first call on my new number which at least we know works, he asked where I was and said they they had stopped for lunch! I explained I had seen the next part so I went and got lunch while I wait for them to go around the elephant and orangutans. That said just before I bought my chips for lunch I snuck up behind Mick and Hannah who were looking at the elephants (Mick was even out of the wheelchair to get a good look) and stole the wheelchair. However Mick had put the break on and I didn’t know how to take them off, so I dragged it away leaving marks in the dirt path and smiling as I did. I then took up a basic hiding spot so I could still see them and giggled at Hannah’s reaction at first as she realised it had gone and them Micks as he cracked up laughing… They worked out it must be me and then found me hiding, it did make us all laugh though and Mick loved the fact I couldn’t get the break off and had left evidence of pulling the wheelchair away.

When I had finished eating I made my way to the end of the enclosure to wait for Mick and Hannah, after a couple of texts messages (again the first sent from my phone) I discovered that they were viewing the next section… I should have never got that wheelchair they seemed to be zipping round! Feeling rushed I took off my cardigan in the hot weather and gently jogged to the Giraffes, but with the sun glaring on my screen I relied on pointing and clicking again to take photos. I did manage to get some ok photos of the giraffes and really enjoyed seeing them, it may even have been the first time I’d seen one and with all the stick I’ve had about my neck in the past it was good to see the animal I’d been called. Still not reunited with Mick and Hannah I moved on to look at the Zebra’s and got the same feeling of wow these animals are cool, so I took a few photos and but they were all quite far away but I did at least capture some photos. I then stood there waiting and texting Mick who claimed he would find me and after about 10 minutes he turned up and said he had finished the whole next section, which annoyed me a bit. I could have looked at things in the 10 minutes but instead I waited and got a couple of pictures of sleeping and hard to make out koalas. However so that I could catch up Mick and Hannah agreed to let me see the Kangaroos and Emus while they waited for me. The battery on my phone was now running out so I had to lower the brightness which made seeing the screen even harder but I wanted it too last the day while I took photos of animals I’d never seen before. At the kangaroo enclosure was a big open area with an extra ringed fence where you weren’t allowed, most of the kangaroo’s seemed to be lying in the shade out the way of the sun and behind the extra fence but were close enough to get a couple of great shots so finally I had seen a kangaroo close up, how very Aussy. In the same enclosure were the emus, that like the kangaroos were allowed in both the area I was in and behind its extra fence, I guess for safety, this meant an emu actually walked across my path and was almost within touch distance, that made me feel pretty special. After these animals I moved onwards and saw what I think were wombats sleeping in a dark underground area, then the next part was the Tasmanian devils but I could see any of them so I headed back to Mick and Hannah, as I dint want to leave them too long.

Now reunited as a group and with time running out in the zoo, Hannah continued to push Mick around as we went to look for the baboons but came across the peccaries instead, I had never even heard of this animal let alone seen it but got a couple of great photos of them. Next we all headed on to leopards and lions and I took a turn pushing Mick (as fast as I could would again cracked me up laughing) but both big cats seemed to be lying in the sun rather than up and moving which was a little disappointing. On from there were the lemurs with their raccoon like tail and then some small cats, but with the rush we were in I didn’t manage to see their species name- one of the small cats looked like a fox, with lovely browny/ ginger fur, white inner ears and black paws and tip of the tail. Luckily I took photos of them all, so maybe one day someone will tell me what they are but getting the photos slowed me up a bit and I Hannah had taken back Mick in the wheelchair so I’d lost them again! (Mick being in this wheelchair was funny at first… and actually still is because he only had a sore toe but the speed it has given him means I struggle to keep up!) When I did see the other two I realised they had been to meerkats which I really wanted to see (you can thank CompareTheMeerkat.com for that)so again they waited while I went and got some fantastic pictures of the meerkats… This was probably the highlight of my day because they even climbed the rocks to do there trademark head up and look around!

CompareTheMeerkat.com The famous Meerkat look

CompareTheMeerkat.com         The famous Meerkat upwards look

The three of us then headed to a water section and first of all saw the platypus, which was nigh on impossible to get a photo of as it gracefully swam around but as I tried the other two walked off, I did briefly see them again at the second lot of pelicans we had seen today, before I lost them round the seals and penguins. (turns out I went backwards around the enclosure so it was my own fault) This meant I saw the penguins first but being very small, standing at the back of the enclosure and with the bight sun they were quite hard to see let alone take pictures of. (none of them really moved either so I didn’t get to see the funny waddle) After the penguins, I saw a small rock pool like area with fish and potentially stingrays that all seemed to blend in with the sand below them, I then went to the underground water part that I had missed by going the wrong way and this gave me a chance to see the seals swimming below the water which I really enjoyed. Next there was a few small aquariums where I saw some nice looking fish and even seahorses which are brilliant to watch. Once I exited the underground water area and still on my own I saw a handler that was about to feed a seal so I stayed and watched, managing it get a good picture of it before it re-entered the water. By chance I meet back up with the other two after a quick look around outside the water section, the three of us agreed we had probably seen enough (well the two of them and I agreed- plus the zoo would be shutting soon anyway) so we started to head out but I asked if we could quickly see the giant tortoises and Mick and Hannah agreed. When we went to the section they should be at there were instead some kind of money there so confused I took a few photos and carried on down the path thinking the giant tortoises would be there but they weren’t. (oh well that’s something to see another time then) As we headed back to the entrance to return the wheelchair and leave, I had one final push of Mick back there while Hannah went to the souvenir shop, Mick then posed for some more photos while I laughed at the fact he had needed a wheelchair all day, (but he said he couldn’t have done it without it) but really Hannah deserved all the credit as she had pretty much pushed Mick all day.

Overall I had loved my time at the zoo, I would have liked to have spent longer at each animal/ get more photos but I still got loads of photos and it had been a long day, my two main highlights were seeing the famous Aussy Kangaroo pretty close up and the meerkat doing what meerkats do best both of which I had great photos of. Mick headed out the Zoo but couldn’t find Hannah out there so I went back to the gift shop and said we were going now, however in the shop was a massive stuffed giraffe so I asked Hannah to take a picture of me next to it. (my phone had now died so she took this picture on her photo so I could be sent it later) When outside I said to Hannah  I wouldn’t mind a couple of pictures of the views around the zoo and the actual entrance itself because it would make a great photo album cover. Catching back up with Mick at the car we all agreed an nice drink was in order, they were talking about going to a bar in Melbourne, but I had some water in the car so drank that!

Mick drove us to Brunswick street (while my phone was on charge using Micks in car changer) where there were a good few bars along a strip, so we went to one that had a rooftop terrace so that Hannah could smoke while we were there. (It also meant we would get some great views across Melbourne) Hannah bought some cigarettes from the convenience stop right next door to the pub, then we headed for ‘Satan in the Sky’. (the name of the rooftop in ‘Naked for Satan’ bar) As we entered the pub though and went to walk in a couple was just coming out who didn’t say thanks for us waiting. (this was a sign of things to come) Up the lift we went (that’s pretty cool to do in a bar!) and I got the drinks in even though I didn’t want one but I felt I owed it to Mick for driving us around today. Looking around, I remembered it was St Patrick’s day and some people really had gone to town with what they were wearing… Silly green hats and clothing everywhere and where there wasn’t it was full of yuppys (people who thought they were trendy, pretty boys with quiffs) not mind idea of fun especially when coming in 3/4 lengths and a T-shirt. Hannah felt even more underdressed because she was wearing joggers and a wooly jumper… We all agreed it would probably be better in the evenings if we were dress up for it, so Hannah mentioned maybe going back there for her Birthday this coming Wednesday. While we were up there though I did take a few photos (using my part charged phone) of the great views across the city. As we walked out we did get some strange looks for how we were dresses and the atmosphere felt really strange, I was glad to be leaving. On the way out I did notice the cool lights and took a photo of them but the choice is wallpaper was odd- semi naked men and women posing on magazine covers.

Now back in the car, Mick said he’d take us to the graffiti that he’d spoken about at the start of the day, so we went for a drive around the city. While driving around it became obvious that we couldn’t get to where we wanted due to certain roads being shut (because of the F1 on today) and the maze of other confusing city streets, we did go past one restaurant, with what I guess was Bollywood style dancers outside which was an interesting sight. After a couple of detours and dead ends Mick decided we’d go home instead and look at the graffiti another day, all being fairly tied we agreed.

Back home to Avril and Peter’s who were there along with Hollie and Harry still being there, so Mick and Hannah decided to stay for a drink. This was really nice and we all had a bit of a catch up with Hollie trying to find out if Hannah was Micks girlfriend. After we’d finished our drinks Mick and Hannah decided to get back to Micks place and a short while later Harry was put to bed. Hollie, Avril, Peter and I then started to watch Midsomer Murders (which reminded me of home because its an English murder mystery programme that I used to love watching back in the UK and have seen loads of) plus it was one I hadn’t seen before. After just one murder one of the characters talked about a death in one of the opening scenes and looked pretty shifty so I said she’s the murderer. It was only about 10 minutes in and believe it or not it turns out I was right. Considering I watch loads of these episodes I’d never actually got one right let alone that early before, it must be a record. The person Hollie suspected turned out to be the one you always think it is but a twist at the end gets you. During the programme Peter was feeling tired so went to bed and after if finished Avril, Hollie and I also went to bed. It was about 10:30pm, and because I had an early start again from work tomorrow morning, I needed to get plenty of sleep. However I started to message a few friends back in England and didn’t actually turn my light out until 11:30pm… Oops, that’s gonna make for a long day tomorrow being tired on top of hard manual work! On the upside though, it would be more sleep than I had last time I worked… But the downside is I’ve been busier today (making you more tired) and although I didn’t feel it, I must still ache a little from the shock/ hard work my body had working Friday and partly Saturday.

Wow what a massive entry! If your getting bored of the diary… Stop reading it! :-p What I mean to say is sorry I waffle, this blog is also for me to look back on in years to come which means I often write extra details to help me remember things. I do eventually plan to cut down on what I’m writing (as they take a long time to type) but I’m finding that difficult at the moment and end up getting carried away with every finer point. 🙂

 
drive to bar afterward, bit under dressed cos full of Yuppys (quiffs and pretty boys)
After a quick drink Hannah said she would like to go back for her birthday (Wednesday) but a bit more dressed up
Quick look around Melbourne for the famous walkway of graffiti but due to the F1 a lot of roads were shut so we agreed to go there another day
All back to Avrils and have a drink, Hollie still there with Harry which was nice to all chat – then Mick and Hannah left and shortly after Harry went to bed
Watched midsomer murders which I love and it reminded me of back home (got the murderer after just one murder… Must be a record only about 10 mins in – never done that before and I’ve watched loads.)
Then off to bed about 10:30 ready for work tomorrow, but I sent a few messages back to England and ended up with the light out at 11:30. Gonna be a long day tomorrow!

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