I went to the Taronga Zoo yesterday morning. I made it a point to do the crazy touristy thing of getting your picture taken with a koala, which they call a "Koala Encounter." There were two koalas, Archer and Huxley. This is Huxley:
Huxley was very nice and let me have my picture taken with him and let me take his picture. He is a young koala, I think the zoo keeper said that he was only 3 years old. The zoo photographer mentioned that there is a noticeable difference between the adults and the younger koalas as they seem so much more active the curious when they are young. This was true since they both nimbly hopped over to check me out. The keeper said it probably is because of my shampoo.
When I walked into the enclosure, Archer checked me out right away and smelled my head. Then he pet my face. Yes. That's right. I was petted by a koala. This is interesting because really I wanted to pet HIM, but I wasn't allowed to. The zoo keeper kind of flipped out because she thought he was going to hurt me because koalas have really really sharp nails for climbing trees. But he just really gently reached out and touched my face. It was more cute than vicious or aggressive. They look REALLY furry though. I want.
Luckily I got there really early and it was probably the smartest thing I've ever done because about two hours later the place was swarming with kids and parents. It was such an awesome zoo because you got to get really close to the animals. I think I was wearing some kind of animal chemoattractant because when I went into the "Australian Walkabout" enclosure this wallaby came right up to my face to say hi. Obviously I took a picture of him. Yay for weirdo pouch animals! Love the marsupials.
Also, I took this really cool video of a platypus swimming around which I will have to try to upload when I get back, since the internet here is a little crappy today. Monotremes are cool.
I had to take a ferry from Circular Quay to get to Bradleys Head in Mosman where the zoo is (just north of Sydney). I got some great pictures of the harbor from the ferry, which was surprisingly quick.
All in all, a cool idea. Quick, cheap, easy. Of course, I think the whole reason sushi is cut up is because sometimes it is difficult to bite off the raw fish. Maybe Sydneyites have really sharp incisors.
I had to finish off with dessert from passionflower, which is this really intriguing dessert place that I have been eyeing on my walks. I tried sesame see flavored ice cream, but it wasn't as mind blowingly good as the lychee rose petal, so I got that one instead.
I had to really discipline myself to not inhale it because it was so delicious. Afterwards, I saw men dressed as penguins dancing to techno.
They were promoting some cell phone company here called Optus. It was highly amusing and they looked like they really liked doing it, actually.
I made my way back to the hotel and took a much needed break from all that walking. Then I geared up to find a place where I could try barramundi which is this legendary Australia only fancy fish. I walked to the Sydney fish market in Pyrmont and found a restaurant over there called Luxor. I had Moroccan style fried barramundi with couscous and an olive and pesto bread starter with a glass of sparkling white wine. It was pretty good! I only say pretty good because I think the chef was suffering from what I like to call salt Parkinson's or muscle tic because everything was slightly too salty for my tastes, but the bread was freaking incredible and the fish really was delicious. The meal was insanely expensive just for one person, but I know barramundi is expensive so I was expecting that. Too bad the exchange rate sucks so much.
I walked back to the hotel via Darling Harbor and Cockle Bay Wharf with was alive and teeming with nightlife. I even stopped to watch this insane fire performer. He was pretty bad, but amusing. I have such a great video of it, I hope I'll be able to upload all these cool videos soon.
This morning I'm off to either Manly or Bondi Beach before the conference commences this afternoon. Yikes!!