Friday, July 11, 2008

Animal Confusion

Not that I want to brag or anything (cause bragging is not embraced by traditional Aussie culture--the whole Tall Poppy Syndrome) but I'm going to do it anyway.

I know a lot about Australia. I've done my studying. Well, at least I know more than the average American. Although that's not saying much. Most Americans know very little about Australia.

Well, at least they know less than the typical Australian knows about America.

There are a few things I can't quite grasp though. For example, the previously mentioned states vs. territory. And it did take me awhile to understand the term "Oppositional Leader"--although I think I got it now. Well, actually I don't. But that's okay.

I don't know much about sports. Although I don't care, so I'm really not going to try. (sorry!)

But the thing I want to understand and can't grasp is the whole animal thing. I've been wondering about it for years--even before I had this obsession/passion for Australia.

What I want to know is how common is it to see a kangaroo and koala. I now know they're not like squirrels in NYC. You don't see kangaroos rushing across the street in Sydney. Although maybe it's different in the other cities?

Where I live (Texas) I divide animals into two groups

a) See them everyday. No big deal. At most, I might point it out to my son. "Look! A squirrel!"

b) Rare animals that we get excited about. We point it out excitedly to everyone....other adults, strangers, etc. An example of this would be the fox we saw in a park one day.

In Port Stephens, a small coastal town in New South Wales, a koala was spotted near the pool. A little girl walked around the pool area and told everyone that there was a koala. People got off their butts and walked over to see the koala--which you could barely see by the way. It was way up in the tree.

Now most of the people at this holiday park were from New South Wales. So, I came to the conclusion that seeing a koala is a rare treat. It's NOT like our squirrels. There was a few more koala sightings that week and each one attracted a group of excited children and adults.

We saw no wild kangaroos or wallabies on our trip/holiday. I also don't remember seeing any kangaroo warning signs on the roads; and we did see koala signs. So maybe Port Stephens is just not a kangaroo hangout.

But what about other places? I've seen pictures with a whole team of kangaroos hanging out at a golf course. Are scenes like this common? I know they cause enough nasty car accidents that people have "roo bars" on their cars. And I know kangaroos are not endangered......

So does that mean there are places in Australia, where kangaroos are like squirrels. Everywhere, all around, and not so exciting anymore?

Although squirrels and lizards are all around here and I still find them absolutely adorable. Especially the lizards!

The lizard we see a lot outside. I completely adore them. See? I do love SOME American things.