Australian Adventures

A description of my many Australian encounters ensues.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Okay. So, this is a few days late. Sorry, we've been really busy.

Firstly, I shall say this:

Currently, it is summer in Australia. That being said, know that it is supposed to be in the 80s to the 100s right now.

This Christmas was the coldest one in Australia's recorded history :) There was snow on the mountains, and it has rained so much the past few days that the fires have pretty much fizzled out. We've all been wearing sweaters and scarves over here! Today's high was 18 degrees, which translates to about 64 degrees F. That's the HIGH.

AND, we were lucky; the rain landed in just the right areas, so that it was captured. There's still a drought, don't get me wrong--it's just really good news that it's rained. It's been fantastic.

On to Christmas...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We were super busy!

Saturday, Christmas Eve Eve (haha), we all went over to Cheryl's brother Ross' house. He and his wife Judy have two kids, Ellie and James, and we just had a bunch of fun. I don't have my pictures ready right now, but I'll post a couple of Christmas soon :)

Sunday, Christmas Eve, I went to church in the morning. A little while after I came back, Melissa and I went to Matt's house to have dinner and celebrate Christmas with them a little bit. Matt dressed up like Santa, because Melissa and I had said that we hadn't been able to get our pictures taken with Santa Clause. So, we took pictures with Matt Santa instead :)

Afterwards, Matt came back home with Melissa and I, and we had a small get-together with one of Cheryl's friends.

Sunday night, Matt and I went with Melissa and Cheryl to their church for midnight mass. It was a nice service, and we didn't get home until around 1:30 in the morning (after dropping Matt off, of course). Haha. We were exhausted.

Monday morning, my mom called at 8 o'clock!!! ,_, It was nice to talk to my family, but it was sooooo early. Melissa tried to wake me up, and Cheryl eventually came into our room and turned on the lights, then jumped on Melissa's bed and handed me the phone. I must've sounded funny :P

Anyway, I'd better get going. I'll post something before New Year's, and I'll see about getting some pictures up :) But, before I go...


Friday, December 22, 2006

Bush Fires

I thought I'd take this time to post and talk a little bit about the fires going on over here.

Firstly, they're not near Melbourne. The fires are north of us. Yes, a lot of Victoria is currently on fire, but Melbourne isn't close to them. However, on days when the wind comes from the north, we will wake up with a lot of smoke in the air. I've had maybe 6 or 7 days when you could see and smell the smoke in the air. It dries out your throat, and I can't wear my contacts on those days because they stick to my eyes. Today isn't one of those days.

The wind is blowing really badly, which can't be good for the fires. There isn't any rain, which is also not a good thing. Melbourne is going to go into stage 3 water restrictions starting January 1st; that means that you can't wash your car (except your windows and mirrors with a wet rag), and you can't water your garden even with a bucket (among other restrictions). We've all been taking less than 4 minute showers, and Cheryl even puts a bucket in the shower with her, to catch whatever extra water may fall into it. She uses that to water her garden.

Last fast sunday, all of the LDS members across Australia fasted and prayed for rain. Please help us down here. We need the rain terribly. Experts are saying that this is the worst drought in history, and we're hoping that this summer won't turn into Australia's worst bush fire season as well. So far only one person has died from the fires, which is something to be incredibly grateful for.

This weekend is supposed to be cool; Christmas is actually predicted to be 18 degrees, so about 64 degrees F. We're praying and hoping for rain. Please pray with us. The people over here not only need it, but so do the animals.

If you'd like to read more about the fires, I've got a couple of links:

Written December 16th:

Written December 18th:

I'm sorry that this post isn't very kid friendly. I just wanted to say that I'm not so close to the fires that you have to worry about me. Melbourne is down at the bottom of Australia, and it would be difficult for the fires to get to us. You don't need to worry about us; we'll be alright.

Please pray for rain for Australia, though. Who knows? It could happen. 3 Nephi 27:28-29. I love you all, and I'll see you in just over one month! :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cake Decorating and School

So, at Lynne's second school, she helps a boy named Mitch. This is a picture of him... and he's decorating a cake.

Mitch is a sweet boy :) He's very clever, and it was interesting to hear him speak with an American accent! He's not American, and neither is his family; in fact, he's never left Australia. Lynne said that she asked him about it once, and he replied with, "I just watch too much TV, Mrs. Harris." :D I played chess with him after he finished his cake. He's a very cool kid.

Did I mention that Mitch's class was decorating cakes? Well, they were. They turned out really well, too :) It was fun. My job, even though I don't really do the whole "decorating of cakes" thing, was to make sure that the kids were holding their bags right. So the next couple of pictures are of me, showing the kids how to hold their frosting bags without the back ends of the bags "exploding" and making a mess. (Because I can do that much, at least.)

Here is a picture of almost all of the cakes that the students made. They look pretty good, don't they? The kids brought their own decorations; the only thing that was given to them was white icing. Some of the kids brought Santas or marshmallows or candy canes or colored icing, etc. It was fun to see them getting so creative and having a blast :)

By the way, the cakes were actually fruitcake. They were covered with marzapan, I think, and then the kids decorated on top of the marzapan (which was as hard as a rock). Fruitcakes coated in marzapan can last for years.

Amy and the Python

So I'm going to go back into the past for a while here. Hehe.

The Monday before last (so the Monday before the Zoo trip), I went to school with Melissa's cousins Laura and Christopher. The reason it took me so long to talk about this, is because I wanted to post pictures, and Lynne (Melissa's aunt) is the one who took the pictures with her camera. She ended up e-mailing them to Cheryl, and so now I have school pictures to share! :D

The first classroom I went into was Laura's. Oh, did I mention that I was show-and-tell? Hahaha. This picture is of me, Laura, and a few of her classmates. The boy in the left of the picture is one of Lynne's students. Lynne works at two schools; at the first one, she helps students learn to read if they're having difficulty in their classes (so they have more attention, because there's only a few kids in the room at the same time). At the second school, she works as a teacher's aide with a boy named Mitch.

Anyway, this is us:

I went to Christopher's class after Laura's, and I was show-and-tell there, as well :P Heh. It is very strange to be the subject of show-and-tell. But, it was pretty fun! In both classes, kids asked me if I'd been to Disneyland or Disneyworld, if I'd been to Las Vegas, and if it was cold in Oregon. Haha. In Laura's class, I found out that Santa comes to Australia on Christmas day, just before everyone wakes up. He comes on Christmas Eve for us, doesn't he? ;) Dude, that guy is pretty awesome.

This is Chris, presenting me to his class (and posing for the camera):

I went with Lynne to her second school, and some of the kids decided to come and wish us off. Laura is on the far left, and Chris is on the far right. When children go outside, it's a school rule for them to wear a hat (so that they don't get sunburned). I brought a hat too, because it's a school rule, but I didn't end up wearing it until lunch break at Lynne's other school when we were outside, watching the kids and making sure they didn't get hurt and whatnot.

At Lynne's second school, she showed me around a little bit. One of the science teachers has a python in her classroom, and this is a picture of it.

And now here I am, holding the python. Bwahahaha.

I should mention that this was a children's python that has been handled very often, so it wasn't as though it was going to bite me or anything. Haha. Lynne said that the science teacher tends to hide the snake in her sleeves and just lets it slither around her arms (while she teaches, sometimes). When I held it, it wanted to go into the front pocket of my sweater. That was fun.

All the same, I still think it sounds cool to say, "Amy held a python!" Hahaha.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Technical Difficulties

Hey, all.

I have to get going, so I'm going to make this quick.

The computer at the Taylor's has decided to die as of yesterday, so it might be a while before I'm able to post anything. I do have stuff to post, though; I just don't want anyone to think that I've forgotten about this blog or that I don't love you guys anymore :P Hahaha.

I'm at the library right now and my session's just about up (Melissa and I split 45 minutes), and I still have a few things to do. I'll post as soon as I can!

Talk to you soon,


Thursday, December 14, 2006

A wise monkey, a couple of Zebras, and a Memory

Okay, so I debated about taking a picture of this monkey, because my camera was absolutely miserable and dying, but I'm glad that I did. He looks infinitely wise, don't you think?

A zebra! Only if you live here, you say "zeh-brah" instead of "zee-brah." I do believe that if you click these pictures, they get bigger. I wanted you to be able to see the stripes really well on the zebras.

There's a second zebra in this picture, though you can't see it very well. The one that you can see, however, seems like it's looking right at me! Cool!

Here's both of the zebras. I do believe that there was food in this area, and that's why their heads are bowed. I think they're gorgeous. And who could forget the giraffes in the background again? ;)

A memory of the past. Cheryl said that she remembers going to the zoo as a child, and seeing all of the animals in cages like this one. She also said that she remembered feeding some of the animals peanuts.

It's definitely better that the animals have actual grass and such to walk on, and actual nature to live among. I can't imagine a poor animal being locked in something like this for its entire life.

So, there we have it... our trip to the Royal Melbourne Zoo! It was fantastic. I loved it :)

Seals, a Tiger, Tree Kangaroos, and some Turtles :)

Yeah, yeah. We have seals in the ocean. Blah, blah, blah.

They were being fed, and were therefore doing tricks in order to get food. So I took some great pictures of them.

Haha. It's a slide!

A tiger! She was pacing, because her mate was taken out of the habitat momentarily for one reason or another. This picture gets bigger if you click on it, so you can see the cool stripes on the tiger.

Tree Kangaroos! I think their faces look like kangaroos, but Cheryl thinks their faces look kind of like koalas. I guess it would work both ways, because I can see the koala resemblance as well. Interesting, no? Check out their long tails!

Just because this is a cool picture...


Red Pandas and Rock Wallabies

So, technically, this was the first animal that I saw. Hehe. A red panda! They kind of look like raccoons.

You can see the stripes on this red panda's tail. That made me think that it resembled a raccoon even more.

Awww... isn't it cute?? Asleep...

Rock Wallabies! This was about as close as I could get to them. Aren't they cute?

An Ostrich!!

It looks different than an emu, and it does really funny things with its head. It's an Ostrich! An ostrich! There was an ostrich at the zoo!

Hahaha. I was a little excited to take pictures. And it helped that I unintentionally happened to be standing right in front of a small water pool, so the ostrich walked right towards me!

Back to what I said about doing funny things with its neck... look at this big bird!

It's drinking out of the water pool, which is why you can't really see its head currently.

The last picture of the ostrich. It was definitely awesome to see this animal! Oh, and I forgot... you can see giraffes in the background :) Those animals are really, really TALL!! (That's a "Thank you, Captain Obvious" moment.)


I know that we have orangutans at our zoo also, but I decided to post them here anyway.

I think they're fascinating animals. They're very, very intelligent.

This orangutan walked right up to this child, and smiled. I don't know if orangutans know what it means to smile, but it looked like it smiled anyway :)

The same orangutan walked over to the opposite side, where a young woman was taking pictures of it with a professional camera. He went right over to her and looked straight into the lens. Then he decided that he would stay over there for a while and look at the people, because he reached over into a basket and grabbed a bunch of hay, then sat on it.

I know that's not the best quality picture, but it was amazing to watch him walk around. They're awesome animals!


Meerkats are cool and I'd never seen one before, aside from on the television. They're very smart!

Here's the first one. It's keeping a lookout for potential enemies.

Here's a couple of them. The one in the first picture is still standing on the log, so these are two different ones.

It looks like they decided to sleep, doesn't it? ;)

Finally, here's a picture of the three meerkats. The other two are at the bottom of the photo; I know that I didn't do a very good job of centering it, but it was unintentional to get all three in the same photo.

Meerkats are cool, no?

Kangaroos, and nameless lizards

Woohoo! I was able to walk up to this kangaroo, without it fleeing. Don't touch them, though. They wouldn't like that. I was happy that I finally was able to get a good picture of a kangaroo... and there's another one in the background, too!

Okay, so it was a cool day this time. And yet, this kangaroo still felt that it was necessary to be lazy. Haha. Oh well.

Here's a lizard! Because lizards are cool!

This picture turned out kinda dark, but you can see the lizard better if you click on the picture. This one'll get bigger... in fact, I think all of these pictures in this post will get bigger.

I had to post this, just because it's a good picture :) You can see the scaliness of this lizard.

An Emu and a Giant Tortoise

I'm posting this picture, because this emu was pretty close to me. In fact, it was making me nervous, because it looked kind of agitated, so I snapped the picture and then Cheryl, Melissa and I walked away :P None of us felt like getting chased by an emu.

Here's an animal that I'd never seen before, aside from on television. A Giant Tortoise! This one is around 200 years old, can you believe it?? There were three others with him that I saw, but he was the only one that was walking around. These pictures will get bigger if you click on them.

I think it's cool to see how leathery their skin looks. And yes, he is eating grass in this picture.

Apparently, that grass didn't taste very good. Either that, or he just didn't feel like eating anymore :) He walked away, and yes, he still has a piece of grass hanging out of his mouth.

It's amazing how old they get isn't it? I mean, he's 200 and he's still walking around!

Elephants! Yes, I know that they are at our zoo, too.

Okay, okay. I took pictures of elephants. I took them, because they are SO AWESOME! I mean, they were walking around! And playing! And they are cute!

Here's a couple of them. They're both young ones :) They came from Asia. Cheryl said that they were rescued from bad living conditions, where they were kept just for people to do whatever they wanted with them :( Poor things. They looked really happy here, though.

And then, one of them decided to take a bath! I like the curve of its trunk. I saw another elephant up close, and its trunk looked so powerful. It was pretty amazing!

The elephant's friend decided to join it in the bath.

Another elephant came up (there were four in the same place, you can see them all in this picture). This new elephant sucked up water into its trunk, then squirted the two in the bath. He did it repeatedly, it was fun to watch :)

Then one of the trainers had this brilliant idea. He took one of the elephants and got it to suck up water into its trunk, then he led it over to the audience, AKA me and a bunch of other people, and got the elephant to try and squirt us with the water. Hahaha. It didn't reach, though... which I'm happy about :) It was really fun to watch them!

Crocodile, Dusky Moorhen, and an Echidna :)

A crocodile! Possibly a better photo than the ones that I posted last time, possibly not. At any rate, this one was a lot bigger than the last ones. They look cool, but I wouldn't want to hug it.

AHA. So, the official name of this bird is a "Dusky Moorhen." It's cocking its head at me :)

Echidnas are cute. This one is a better picture than the others that I posted; you can see its head and face a little bit better. I think they're cute.