No worries! I haven’t been eaten by a great white – I’ve just been a lazy blogger.
Since my last post, I’ve adventured in New Zealand and started my study abroad program in AUS. Let’s just say while in NZ I tried hard living in the now rather than focusing on real-time chronicling.
I’ll try my best to designate a future blog post to describe my stay in NZ – which was, in fact, amazing. This post, rather, highlights my first 48ish hours in AUS, esp my visit to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
As the oldest & largest koala sanctuary in the world, Lone Pine is a great attraction and seems to be a reputable haven for koalas and other Australian wildlife.
Sanctuary vs Zoo
The word sanctuary is a bit more humanitarian-sounding than zoo. Although Lone Pine is hardly your typical zoo, boasting open animal enclosures – letting some roam among guests, there’s still that lingering feeling that makes you question how well the animals are really treated. With the sanctuary’s supposed reputation in mind, overall I had a generally good feeling about its practice caring for its inhabitants.
My three-and-a-half hours spent at Lone Pine were mostly self-paced. The sanctuary seemed small but I think that’s because of its somewhat natural environment – The towering trees and low, water-filled ravines make you feel you’re really in a forest, not a zoo…or sanctuary…or whatever.
One of my favorite parts of the visit to Lone Pine was walking in an open enclosure (I know, paradox) with kangaroos, wallabies and emus.
My first impression of this enclosure was will this gigantic bird attack me – As soon as I entered I saw a beast of a bird – perhaps almost as tall as me, walking about 20 ft away (nothing standing between it & me, hence open enclosure).
As soon as I got over the initial fear of being terrorized by emus (there were a handful), I got a glimpse of some of the enclosure’s more cuddly animals – kangaroos & wallabies. Within 5 minutes of encountering these marsupials, we were petting them/in very close proximity trying to take selfies (hehehhh).
The second most memorable part of the visit was holding a koala. Her name was Vinny (or some spelling variation of that name). I was on the rocks of partaking at first – mostly due to cost. It was 16 Australian dollars (AUD) to hold her/get a photo taken. It’s super lame but I hate feeling like a tourist; so I started second guessing if paying extra to hold a koala for a minute and a half while I pose for a picture was an authentic experience.
I caved and have no regrets. The caretaker had to remove Vinny once during our initial encounter because she started to climb up on my shoulders. This, of course, was totally my fault – my hands, acting as a base for Vinny’s bottom, naturally shifted upwards, encouraging her to keep climbing.
What can I say? I’m a natural father.
*4 June 2014: Update – Feeding a Kanga @ Lone Pine
First Impressions of AUS
Here I’m supposed to reflect on peculiar things/instances I’ve noticed/experienced in relation to living in a foreign place (AUS).
NZ definitely prepared me for living/traveling in AUS – Don’t think I’ve had much culture shock since I’ve arrived in Brizzy.
Cars & money are obvious differences I’ve witnessed.
I haven’t had too much experience on the road in AUS because most of our transportation is pre-arranged. In NZ though, I had behind-the-wheel experience every day – which was a fun challenge for me. Over here, pretty much everything in relation to cars/traffic is opposite than it is back in the States – Driving on the left (sharp left turns, wide right turns), blinker on right side, etc.
Beside the bills/coins being cooler, mostly just because they’re foreign, speaking on money: things are just more expensive here. I cringed when I noticed what I was about to order for brekkie at a café – basically, an egg scramble, was 22 NZD. The exchange rate between the US/NZ/AUS is somewhat similar.