Real Australia Part I

Sorry for the lull in my blog posts, I’ve just been having so much fun here in REAL Australia! Also the internet available hasn’t been working too well lately.

I’ve been staying with mom’s friends Karen and Cliff, and I have to say that they give all Australians a terrific name. They have been so friendly and have gone out of their way to show me around and take me places. It’s been wonderful and I’ve had a lot of fun! They have a couple of daughters, though I’ve only met one of them so far. Alissa is 10 and she’s such a great kid, very entertaining and dramatic and always singing and dancing. She reminds me of my little sister Stacy when she was that age! They also have three dogs which are really sweet and lovable.

I’ve been staying about an hour outside of Melbourne since Sunday. We had a barbecue on Sunday with a few other Aussies (and a South African) and it was so yummy! Meats, potato salads, you name it, the works! But I’m sure you don’t want to hear about the food so I’ll just tell you about the deadly creatures I’ve seen.

First of all, I’ve seen quite a few redback spiders. I learned that besides hiding under toilet seats, these spiders like to hang around anything metal. It seems like all you have to do is look underneath a metal lawn chair or in the corner of a metal shed and you’ll see one. Here is a picture of one of them:

We also saw an even bigger one underneath the lawn chair I was about to sit on, but I didn’t get the picture of that one. I was too busy running away. Not only are these spiders everywhere, but there are also their egg sacs everywhere. I mean everywhere. To let you know how dangerous these little guys can be – one of them bit Cliff a few years ago, and he was in the hospital for three days. A big one’s bite can kill a man in hours if he doesn’t seek medical attention, so they are bad little buggers. Pretty neat!

I’ve now seen tons of wild kangaroos, fairly close up! They remind me of deer. They too will run (bounce) in front of moving cars, and will stop and stare at your oncoming car the same way deer do. Australian’s don’t worry about hitting deer on the road, they worry about kangaroos.

Usually kangaroos groups will have one dominant male that is very large (up to 7 feet tall) and when you get too close it will stand up straight and stare you down while all the other kangaroos run off. It will run off too when all of its mates are safe, but if you are too much of a threat to them, they can be dangerous. They could give you quite a damaging kick with their powerful legs if they are cornered. Yes, even kangaroos can be deadly!


And now for the birds. I’ve seen so many beautiful birds here, but the most amazing to see in the wild have been the cockatoos and the galah (rose breasted cockatoo). How cool it is to see birds in the wild that before I’ve only seen in pet stores! And they too are deadly… well, they are deadly to bugs at least.

They’ve also taken me around the Bush to see the stunning views. It is just gorgeous around here. It’s been incredibly hot and dry, but it has been beautiful.

I’ve done a few more things that I want to talk about, including visiting the public school and seeing a crystal warehouse, but I’ll save that for my next post.