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29, March 2013

It is Good Friday and the family gets a long weekend. It is rather odd to be on the otherside of the world and the otherside of the seasons. As I was putting out some Easter decorations and it struck me as strange that I was putting out all the usual pagen symbols that go with spring but it is fall here. I have the usual chickens and bunnies and spring colors while here it is getting colder and the leaves are starting to fall not bud out. The weather is lovely so we went on a sea kayaking trip to Penguin Island

Sea kayakingAt Penguin IslandLittle Penguins

This is the largest colony of the Little Blue or Fairy Penguins. The second picture is standing on the island looking toward the mainland. It is about a one hour drive south of Perth. There is a little building where they have about 10 penguins to show the tourist since you don't see many penguins while walking around the island. They close the island during nesting season and the birds spend 80% of their time at sea. The birds on display are birds that cannot be returned to the wild for various reasons. They get fed fish 3 times a day for the tourists. Apparently they tried to introduce live fish to the tank so the the penguins could catch their own dinner but the birds were all afaid of the little fish. The only 2 penguins brave enough to enter the tank with the live fish were chased by the fish. That experiment ended. The island has all types of other sea birds including pelican, various turns and of course sea gulls.


21, March 2013

Thought I would try some photos and see if I can get them to display. We will start with the birds. We have lorikeets, and Cockatoos in big flocks. You see both black like in this picture and the white like you see in pet stores. They are big birds very interesting to watch. The other little guy here is a fairy penguin. They are also know as Little Penguins. They nest just south of Perth on Penguin Island. They are nocternal and they burrow in the ground. Very funny, cute little blue birds.

Cockatoo Western Australia little fairy penguin


16, March 2013

So last weekend was the state elections. Australia has a Parlimentary system, which I must concede I only vaguely understand. You vote for the parties but also the individules and thus their party. It gets very complicated after that. If I ever start to understand it I will share.

There are a number of parties but the 2 main ones are Labor (think Democrates if you are an American), Liberal (think Rebublican) I know that is confusing for those of us from the US but Liberal means conservative for the rest of the world, go figure. They were electing the state premier and the represtentatives, rather like the governor and the state reps. In addition to the two main parties there are a good number of other parties but of those the Greens and the Nationals got the most votes. For now I will just make these observations. The whole election cycle part of it only took a few months. The main parties made specific promises like a laundry list of things they would do. I must say I rather liked that part you could compare lists and see which one you liked better. Amoung the main issues were a stadium do you put it one place or another. A rail line built here or there....check the map to see which one you like. One party will add so many new police officers. Investment in one project or another. It was really very specific and most of it centered on things in Perth which is why the National party won in the country where they were speaking to farmer and miners issues. Finally voter turn out is very high. The Australians were surprised that so few Americans vote until we both learned that in American you have the right to vote in Australia you vote or you get fined some amount of money. No one we have met knows how much the fine is because even people who don't like the canidates show up to vote.

13, March 2013

My blogging efforts are hampered by my lack to web building skills. I need to go back and read the websites for dumbies and figure it out. But, wait, I did not bring that book with us. It is frustrating and enlightening to leave a good portion of your belongings behind. Mind you most of what we packed and left was really just junk. Gerchard and I have both vowed when we return that no box will enter the house until we have pawed through it and and it passes the "why on earth do we keep this?" test.

When we first arrived we waited 3 months for what we had shipped in one large container to arrive. You find that with just enough stuff to get by you can get by with out much. We had one chair, one bed, one night stand, one lamp, one plate and one set of flatware each. There was a loveseat and a sofa and kitchen table. We had the cloths we had carried with us and our air shipment which contained our computers and DVDs. We might have too many of those....perhaps I should explain why the DVDs rated air shipment. We have gone through a progression of giving up TV. It started innocently enough. We moved back from Canada and our house had both a satelite dish and cable. We could not decide which we wanted and frankly the kids were little and watched too much TV so we picked neither. We put an antenna in the attic and learned to live with 3 channels. So as to be fair this is not a great noble jesture to rid ourselves of the ills of our society...but it kind of worked out that way. When you don't really have much to watch you don't watch it. Houston suddenly became a much less scary place when I did not watch the death toll on the news each day. We do however buy movies or old TV series we like and we watch it on the DVD player. We find it costs us less to just get what we want and keeps us from watching much TV. When we moved here the company rented a TV for us and for those first 3 months and we had an antenna on the roof which gave us about 20 channels.We watched a bit but we did not find Australian TV to be anymore compelling then US TV...actually it is mostly the same stuff with an occassional Oz ascent. When our stuff arrived we just never hooked a TV up to the antenna. We do have a TV we bought here. US TVs don't work. It is hooked to .....yes....a computer, a DVD player a Wii and a playstation. So there is no lack of electronics but we are sadly ignorant of what the latest popular show is or who the people and actors or real people acting poorly that seem to be alot of TV. We can stream stuff on the internet but the Australians give you a limited amount of data you can download so we are still rather behind the times

March 11 2013 or as they say it down under

11 March 2013

We have been living here in Perth for 6 months now. Sometimes I think I am getting the hang of it and other times I think I am lost. Althougth the locals complain that this is one of the hottest summers they can remember, I must say, coming from Houston this all seems very mild to me. Yes it is hot during the day with a kind'of dry burning heat but it cools off at night til I feel very guilty if we are running the AC generally referred to as reticulated air here. We are on the coast so each afternoon the Fremantle Doctor rolls in. This is the off-shore sea breeze that comes in as the land heats up and the hot air rises then the cooler air off the water is sucked ashore.....I just love science in action. This cool breeze tends to bring the temperature down to around 65 F or 70F by the mid night and it seems a crime to use the electicity. I will revisit that particular crime later. It is generally very pleasant in the morning and by dusk rather nice again and honestly I can't say I think it is that hot. In Houston we would turn the AC on in late April maybe early May and it would stay on 24/7 until late September. OK maybe I am a notherner and the heat kills me but we would not even turn off the AC if we went on vacation. We just turn it to 85 degrees or so and let it run otherwise the fleas get too bad.

There are fleas here and ticks and other bugs here in Perth but the spiders are the best,. You may have heard that Australia has the most deadly snakes and spiders in the world. I have not really met alot of snakes and snakes don't honestly bother me so much. I grew up in the high desert and mountains of the west and rattle snakes were the worst thing we delt with otherwise harmless snakes we would catch.....but spiders ...not so good. If it has 8 legs and crawls and is in my house it dies, usually in some spectacular way that involves body parts flying and dents to walls. I have squeeshed a few in the house so far but......

So far I met a spider by our mailbox that was easily 5 inches accross at the legs. He was tan with brown spots and furry. I have to admit he was so large and furry it did not seem as frightening to me as I would have thought, rather dog like. My only regret is I did not get a picture and no one else saw this guy so the bad news is I can't prove I saw this monster...the good news is he grows with the telling. Gerchard points this out to we everytime the "spider" comes up. He will be 10 inches accross by the time we come back to the states..