Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day which I remember I don't like museums that much

On Monday morning, some very loud birds woke me up. I have no idea how Tim and Jack slept through it. Well, actually I do. They're deep sleepers. I'm not.

I threw on some clothes and went outside for a little walk. I found out that the loud birds were cockatoos. That was exciting for me, because I love parrots. I'd probably move to Australia for the parrots alone.

There were a lot of Cockatoos. They were all partying in this field near our cabin. I saw some Magpies and rabbits too.

I watched them for awhile and then continued on my walk.

I came across a kangaroo! And it was a fairly big one.

I had heard from the caretaker that there was a kangaroo who frequented the park. I had imagined the kangaroo would be hanging out in one of the fields, away from people. But this girl was in the actual holiday park; standing right next to a car.

I was standing pretty far away from her. I wish I could tell you how far away, but I'm bad at measurements. I'll try. What the hell? I'd say maybe it was thirty feet away. And that would be about nine meters.

I wanted to get closer to the kangaroo, but I didn't want to scare her away. So, what I did is slowly take steps closer. I didn't want to press my luck though, so I probably didn't get that close. All the while, the kangaroo just stood there watching me. I then started to walk away back towards our cabin. She watched me and from my new angle, I could see that she had been nursing her joey the whole time. Public breastfeeding and no Barbara Walters around to complain about it.

Tim and Jack woke up. We ate breakfast in the room. Then we headed to Questacon. I had heard great praises about this museum, and since Jack loves science museums, I had guessed we'd spend the whole day there.

Well, we might have if the highlighted exhibit wasn't closed down. The thing that Jack and I had been most looking forward to was SideShow. It's a whole exhibit based on the science of carnival sideshows.

The rest of the museum was okay. I'm not a huge fan of science museums. I mean I think they're awesome for children and people who are into science. But I personally get bored by then. Jack loves them, but he's been to many. He had fun at Questacon, but we all agreed it was nothing special. At least not for us. I think one of the problems is we recently went to an awesome science museum in Portland Oregon. And as a child and teen, my parents often took us to the amazing Science and Industry Museum in Chicago and the The Magic House in St. Louis.

In most areas, I prefer Australia to America. But when it comes to science and children's museums, I think America beats Australia. Although, I haven't been all around Australia. Maybe there are amazing science museums in places we haven't gone to yet. We shall see.

It wasn't great, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves.

We didn't spend the whole day there. In fact, I think we were done with the museum before lunchtime. We stopped in the gift shop so Jack could find some junk to waste his allowance on.

He had wanted a Star Wars voice-changer back at home and I had told him he had to save his allowance for it. He found a generic voice-changer for a lower price at the shop. He bought it. And that thing turned out being much more annoying than I could ever imagine.

I forbid him using it while Tim was driving. I feared it would distract Tim. Jack was pretty good about following that rule.

We had a bit of a problem trying to figure out what to do for the rest of the day. I really had nothing planned. We considered going to The National Museum of Australia. That was on the agenda for tomorrow. But I figured we'd go today and if it was as amazing as I imagined, we'd return the next day.

I ended up not liking it. And I PROMISE it has nothing to do with the quality of the museum. It's an excellent museum about Australia. It's a GREAT history museum. I just don't do well in museums. I think I like them in theory...especially if they're about something I'm totally obsessed with. But I think they end up being too overwhelming for me. It's hard for me to go back and forth between reading and looking at things. I get very tired....very fast. I have the same problem with coffee table books. It's easier for me to just read something straight through. And if they have a little collection of photos in the middle of the book, that's great. But when I'm faced with a book that has photographs and captions on each page, my brain gets a bit jumbled.

Tim and I had an agreement about this museum though. Since it was all about Australia, I wanted some time alone to look around. He'd be in charge of watching Jack. I have to make this type of rule because if I don't, I end up being the one who chases Jack around. Tim slowly looks at the exhibits. I rush around following Jack. Tim will try to deny this. But trust me. I'm right. He's wrong. It's as simple as that. I will say that Tim is reliable and awesome in long as I specifically tell him he's the designated babysitter.

I looked at stuff alone. I don't remember much and I didn't take many notes. I think the one thing I learned was that the Bali bombings happened on October 12, 2002. I'm assuming the bombers picked that date on purpose. One month, one day, and one year after September 11. I never noticed that before.

While I was reading about rather tragic stuff, Tim and Jack were having fun at this really awesome children's exhibit. They later invited me to see it. I have to say. This exhibit is much more awesome than anything they had at Questacon (although I might feel differently if SideShow was open). You go on computers and design your own little future vehicle or building. Then they take a group of you and you go into a theater. You see this 3D movie featuring all the stuff you, and everyone else, made. It's one of the best exhibits I've seen in my life. I was very impressed.

Let me back up a bit. Before we went to the second museum, we went to the Dickson shopping center for lunch. Someone had recommended that we eat at a Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Phu Quoc. Unfortunately, it was closed for lunch. We were surrounded by ethnic eateries of all types. Jack had a taste for pizza. I didn't mind the thought so we went to this pizza restaurant. Zeffirerlli. We had some problems with deciding what to order. It's hard for us to find things to share since I'm Vegetarian. Tim often ends up sharing with Jack and that's not always fair because then he's usually the one who has to compromise. Sometimes, he lets Jack get his own meal which I feel is a waste of food. If there's a children's menu, that's really great for us. Zeffirelli has a children's menu, but strangely there's no pizza on it. I got a very boring cheese and tomato type thing. Jack wanted something. I forgot what it was. Tim fought to convince him to accept getting this pizza that was made up of four different types of pizza. It was a sampler type thing. Jack was resistant at first, but then he agreed to it.

After all that though, we ended up not liking the pizza. Oh well.

We ate outside and while we had waited for the food to arrive, we took turns looking at various restaurants that we might eat at for dinner. Many of them were closed because it was Monday. I don't know why restaurants close on Monday. I guess it's just a thing I never knew about. Tim didn't seem surprised by it so maybe it happens in America too.

I was very attracted to this vegetarian Asian restaurant. Tim agreed that we could go for dinner. I wanted some fake meat. I miss meat sometimes.

All right. Now fast-forward past lunch and past the second museum. We went back to our cabin and relaxed.

Jack played with the camera. Well, at least I think he took this picture. Notice Tim's lovely foot.

I think at this point I did laundry. And I used the clothes pegs! When I was getting out my clothes, I talked to a woman doing her laundry. We talked about the fires. I told her I was concerned because one of my best friends lives in Ballarat. She said something that made me even more concerned. I forgot what. Maybe she gave me the idea that Ballarat was in danger. I don't know.

I hung up our clothes. Okay, I actually made a mess out of that. I dropped Tim's shorts into the mud. I had to rewash them. And then I dropped his other shorts into the mud. I had to rewash those too.

Speaking of mud, have I ever said how much I love the red mud of Australia? Okay, well if not....there you go. But it's not so great when it's on your husband's shorts.

 I got most of it out.

I sent Suzanne (my Ballarat friend) a text asking her if she was okay.

She wrote back saying she was fine--just waiting for her X-Ray results.

What the hell?

Let me add that Suzanne and I had grown incredibly close in the past several months. She had become the best friend I never had and always dreamed about. She's the person who helped me through my traumas and dramas during the summer. We emailed each other every single day. We talked to each other about everything.

The ironic problem is once I came to the country she lived in we wouldn't be able to communicate so easily. I didn't have frequent access to email (at least not until we returned to Sydney) and the whole SMS thing is just not the same. We were physically closer, but in many ways much farther apart.

I had no idea about her getting X-rays. Here I am worried about her house burning down and she's talking about X-rays.

I went to the front office later to email her. Or maybe I sent her a text? I don't know. Eventually, I got things cleared up though. She was having issues because of her asthma...and yeah, I'm sure the fire and heat aggravated things. Her house was fine though.

We finished the laundry.

We went back to Dickson and ate at the Vegetarian restaurant.

We ordered this combination special that came with all kinds of fake meat. Pretend Chicken. Pretend Beef. Yum. Okay, not really. All of it disappointed me. I told Tim I was way over the whole meat thing. I had my fill. He told me that all that fake meat really didn't taste like real meat. I guess I've been a vegetarian long enough that I can't tell the difference anymore.

I did love this bean drink I ordered. I have no idea what's in it--probably beans? It was sweet and delicious.

We went back to the cabin and went to bed. I worried about what we'd do the next day. I had plans for Wednesday and Thursday. I had nothing for Tuesday. On top of that, our zoo tour didn't begin until 4:00. So, we had all day Wednesday empty as well.

Before we arrived in Canberra, I had assumed we could just spend downtime in the holiday park. I pictured it being like the one we had been in at Port Stephens. Active and fun. Well, I knew since it wasn't a school holiday, it would be less crowded. But the Carotel was almost empty. It often felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. There was not much chance of Jack finding friends. There wasn't much chance of any of us finding friends.

They had a pool, but it was cold outside. I haven't mentioned this fact yet. I had been so worried about the heatwave in Australia. And the week before we got to Canberra, it had been incredibly hot. But when we got there, it turned cold! I mean cold enough that we were often shivering. And we really hadn't packed for cold weather. I think we had to actually turn the heat on at night. And here Tim had been worrying about the place having air-conditioning!


  1. With all due respect to Canberrians, it is hardly the best place to visit in Australia. We went there once. Not sure I would bother again.

  2. Andrew,

    I had heard some bad stuff about Canberra--mostly from Bill Bryson.

    We ended up liking it a lot. When we were there, I did say we could have probably been fine cutting a day out. But now I'm glad we had all those days there.

  3. Was the main exhibit closed down for good or just temporarily? How annoying!

    We want to go to Canberra for a few days. I want to take Molly to see ADFA so she can make her mind up whether she wants to go there or not. I doubt we will get there this year though unless that money tree I planted starts growing rapidly!!!

  4. Tracey,

    It was temporary. I think maybe it was going to open again while we were still in Australia. I kind of remember worrying that Jack would ask to go back. Fortunately, he didn't.

    I had to google ADFA : )

    When would she go there? I hope you're able to visit sometime. Keep planting the money tree!!!!

  5. Can't say I've been lured into spending more than a couple of days in Canberra.
    You do know it was known as the p0rn capital of Oz for decades? lol

  6. Jayne,

    I didn't know that! So, who holds that honor now? Or is it still Canberra?

    It's funny though. I do associate porno with politicians.

  7. That picture of you and Jack in the mirror is really great!

  8. Questacon without the Sideshow would be quite a let-down but even with the Sideshow open I reckon half a day is plenty there.

    There's a fabulous Science Museum in Melbourne - Scienceworks - we've been there once and I definitely want to go back some time.

    We had roos grazing all around our tent when we were camping in January, and leaving little presents on the grass under our awning. They get very complacent about people in holiday parks and will often let you come right up to them - the kids were patting them one evening.

  9. Mim,

    Did you see SideShow? How was it?

    Awesome about the Melbourne museum. We're planning to go to Victoria for our next Aussie holiday.

    That's so neat about the kangaroos. Maybe the one I saw would have let me approach her. I didn't want to press my luck. But now I'm thinking she probably thought I was rude. "Hey, why isn't that human coming over to pat me? Do I smell or something?" She probably thought the breastfeeding made me uncomfortable.

  10. We've been quite a few times when Sideshow's been open, the kids love it and it sure beats forking out huge sums of money to play the games at an actual Sideshow Alley - and you don't have to take home more crappy stuffed toy or plastic junk prizes :)

    Most roos in camping areas won't let you pat them but they'll usually let you get within a few meters before they decide you're too close.

  11. Mim,

    I'm with you on the carnival game thing! That's why I had looked forward to going to it. I bet Jack would have loved it. I wonder if it's a traveling exhibit. Maybe it will be somewhere else someday.

  12. Pity pho phu quoc was shut. Hope it picks up tomorrow.

  13. Abefrellman,

    Thanks! Things did get much better. I think that was our only not-so-great day in Canberra.