First day in Sydney.
After some luggage adventures and >30 hours of travel we arrive at our hotel at 10:00 am but our room isn't ready until 3:00 pm. So cruel - but we take this opportunity to avoid sleep and explore the city a bit. They say that staying in the sun helps your body adjust to time changes so it is probably good for us to wander around. It won't surprise you that we, well-documented city-non-appreciators (see trend in earlier blog entries), ended up spending the day in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Michele: The gardens are awesome! Until today, the Hampstead Heath in London was my favorite city gardens. You feel like you are far from the city in the Heath's meandering paths and undulating topography. The Hampstead Heath is now officially demoted. In the Royal Botanical gardens, the skyscrapers poke above the trees so you still feel close to the city BUT the Royal Botanical Gardens has something Hampstead Heath will never have.... crazy Australian birds.
There are many signs declaring not to feed the birds. The ibises have found work arounds for this by poking through picnic baskets and the remains of peoples lunches. The sulphur-crested cockatoos however, use their charm to solicit food. Some rule-breakers brought peanuts for the cockies and became quite popular. While we didn't have any food for them, the cockies needed to check us out to be quite certain. I'm amazed that the birds are able to stand securely on people's heads without digging their claws too much.
We also saw curlews of the famous tortured children call. Fortunately, they weren't calling today. The park also houses loads of fruit bats. I know that fruit bats are mammals but they fly so I'm including them in this blog on birds. I was surprised to see so many bats in Sydney in mid-winter because I think of them as a feature of tropical Queensland. Many trees are bare. The weather reminds me of Palo Alto's winter. Chilly in the morning (45 degrees) but warm at mid-day in the sunshine.