17 July 2008


Yesterday morning we took things rather slowly and celebrated Mass at 11:30 a.m. After Mass, we split up into various groups for the afternoon.

Two of the chaperones and I made our way to the Sydney Aquarium, after a brief lunch.

Nearly the first exhibit in the Aquarium featured - to my great delight - the platypus far better than the zoo. At the Aquarium, the platypus tank was well-lit, but not enought to hurt the platypus' eyes.

Happily, the platypus was not only awake but moving around. It is a strange looking creature and almost rather ugly. They're also very swift, at least in the water. I was able to take several pictures and even a couple of videos.

The rest of the exhibits at the aquarium were pretty standard (we saw a barramundi which I had for dinner a few nights ago) save two: the seals and the oceanarium.

Each of these exhibits were made up of two glass underwater tunnels through which you could see the sea creatures swimming to your left and right and even above you! The seals talked with each other and looked at you as they swam around you, playing with each other and with you. Up above the seal tunnels you could watch the seals playing on the rocks. One of them - clearly an entertainer - climbed up a ramp and went down it like a slide.

The tunnels of the Oceanarium were breath-taking. Fish of all colors and sizes, sharks and stingrays swam all over. You could look them in the face and even see their undersides. It was simply amazing!

As I journeyed through the two tunnels I couldn't help but recite of the propther Daniel: "Seas and rivers, bless the Lord. You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord."

Half-way through the aquarium we bumped into two of the boys who somehow bypassed the seal tunnel. The other two chaperones continued onward while the boys and I went back to the seal tunnel. We never found the ladies again near the aquarium (but they made their way safely back to the hotel).

After the aquarium we returned to the hotel to drop off a few things and so I could don my cassock to go in search of a picture with a koala.

To do so we went to Wildlife World. It is filled with native Australian creatures of every kind, from insects to reptiles to marsupials. On the roof were the koalas.

In New South Wales it is illegal to hold a koala, both for the animal's safety and for the human's. We were, though, able to pet a koala; they're very soft.

The Australians are very nice people and are perhaps not the shrewd businessmen that many Americans are. A picture with a koala cost $20 and you could buy additional pictures for $5 each. The boys and I - at the photographer's suggestion - took one group photo and three individual photos. When choosing the pictures that we wanted, we chose only the three individual photos and paid for them all at once, for a grand total of $30 (only $10 each). That's a deal I don't think we could have found back home.

Everywhere I've gone with the kids I haven't failed to give them food. Yesterday was no exception.

As we were leaving Wildlife World we stumbled upon something that none of us had seen before but that we each loved: a french fry vending machine.

With our curiosity peaked, we simply had to give it a try. In just 100 seconds, the machine cooked your fries and gave them to you in a nice plastic bowl. You could even get ketchup or BBQ sauce with them. When we tried them we decided that they needed salt, which happily came with the ketchup. We just might try to get some in Effingham.

Somehow after dinner we had several meals left over so one of the boys decided that we should look for homeless people to give them to. We'd seen a few when we arrived in Sydney but were unable to find any last night.

We then went to the Vocations Expo to look for rosaries and spent quite a while at the U.S. Vocations booth where we ran into Bishop Silva of Honolulu. We thanked him for the wonderful stay we had at the St. Stephen Diocesan Center and he kindly took a picture with us.

After buying a few rosaries, we called it a day.

No comments:

Post a Comment