|The galah parrot sitting in a tree ten feet above me. Steve's collection of good lenses would have been useful here|
The National Aquarium's claim to fame in part is its huge Australian exhibit chock full of Australian avian and water creature life. The only mammals displayed are its huge fruit bats hanging around 4 stories up. No photos of them. A guide followed me around especially proud of the bats. All the animals exhibited are male as the Australian Government was mindful that anything here could be an invasive species if it escaped (nice of their government to care but I suspect it was our government). So lots of pretty birds, many I have become familiar with as part of EC's feeder photos (and all I have are hummingbirds). The sulfur crested cockatoo was represented too. More on those later.
Batman continued to regale me with Australian creature facts. Cool turtles especially the snake necked one. Then on to the rays skimming the faux lakes, which were freshwater. Didn't know of fresh water rays. He went off topic on to Stingray City in the Caymans and said he kissed a stingray there that was male. Now I know Batman was blowing smoke (call me Precious Ramotswe) as I have been there myself with the stingrays. Any sting ray that would have been within reach would have been female. The males are there, tiny creatures the tenth the size but the aggressive females keep them from surfacing to get at the squid the tourists were feeding them with. I went there before Steve Irwin's demise (also an Aussie, cause of death: sting ray barb to the heart). Batman, macho as he is, went after. It would have given me pause to be in a swarm of sting rays with barbs at heart level. We were told, just don't step on them and keep your thumbs in your fist (no teeth but the rays have powerful suction cups for mouths).
While I was away, I was free to read papers in detail that I have no time to do here (so much for all that extra time I was going to have..spent it reading all about septic fields). One interesting article was opium farming for the drug industry. Where do they get all that raw material for Vicodin and Percocet and its ilk? Tasmania! Plusses for the Tasmanians. They can keep secrets, never travel, never talk, perfect weather for poppies. Only Icelanders travel and emigrate less (though I have run into a few Icelanders who have fled the motherland). Minuses: all their eggs are in one basket. Only one kind of poppy is used leaving it vulnerable to perhaps a rare poppy fungus in the future and a bad growing season could leave us all with no Vicodin. Plus the sulfur crested cockatoos like to eat the drying pods before they are ready for harvest. Solution: genetically modified species that produce more of the drug precursor and give more variety. Also, let's bring these poppies to Australian's mainland. Lots of resistance all around.
Back to the problems at home. Aside from the massive fix up job our house needs to put it on the market (baby steps are underway), various rental neighbors make the neighborhood look undesirable. I was going to have to get the city inspectors after them. Problem house right next door has a pool that hasn't been cleaned in 2 years so it is black and slimy and full of insect life. Very disgusting and a health hazard. I never got around to photographing it to post so you all will feel sorry for me and also to show the inspectors. We didn't complain because it was so disgusting, it kept the residents inside and thus quiet (loud pool parties all night were NOT fun to listen to) You pick your poison. But the residents are vacating and the pool needs to be clean to entice new renters so that's in progress. Problem house two is right across the street. For the past few years, it has had grass and weeds up to ones hips. Indeed, my friend and neighbor had trouble selling her house as that disgusting yard down the street stopped some potential sales and lowered her price. Of course having 3 foot weeds is illegal but needs to be reported.
Yesterday I was out supervising the 4 grandbabies on all the riding toys I accumulated. I noted that not only was the jungle cleared, the house was For Sale!!!! Yay! So it will no longer be a rental property. The realtor came over to apologize for the years of neglect the house had (now I have a contact number to complain to if the house doesn't sell) and told me the string of renters who were professional people who potentially were capable of keeping things clean and manicured but in fact lived like animals and I should have seen the inside if I wanted to be totally disgusted. The owners want to recoup their purchase price so the house has an unmarketable high price tag associated with it so the realtor has her work cut out. I did share with her my attempt to escape this neighborhood (and thus I am especially hopeful she will be successful) with my septic field problems. Here she was useful again. Before any house can be built, a septic field feasibility test is performed and is a matter of public record as are all those past reports that my realtor and their realtor were unable to come up with. She told me where this treasure trove can be found so this is Steve's new job. Now if the other house next door would just get sold, that would be great. More doubts rise about my realtor. He should have known this (as she repeated several times).
|The aquarium in the background. Crab restaurant in the foreground|
|More Inner Harbor|
|My friend and me|
|4 story waterfalls|
|Australian snake necked turtle. Bad photo as it doesn't show full length of neck|
|ray and unknown sea monster|
|I love sea horses|
|turtle that looks like an armadillo|
|2 story jelly fish sculpture|
|the real things|
|On our way to Little Italy|
|My dinner: not sure how Italian it was but it did taste good|