Sitting in Manly Library, watching the workers and the students. I’d finished what I needed to do and while I was packing up, I received two text messages. The first was “Do you want a lift home from the library?” The second, timed ten minutes later was “Never mind, we’ve passed the library”. So I walked back to the flat, the long way, via the beach and the back streets of Manly.
There is a mural on a wall in Market Lane comprised of several headlines from the local newspaper, The Manly Daily. Some are obvious but some are intriguing. Someone must have read decades of old papers just to find the good ones!
I love the big tree in the middle of The Corso, the main street. It provides a lot of shade when you jaywalk across the road. Which I would never do.
Adam got up while it was still dark and went for a run before going to work, as usual. I didn’t wake up in time to walk down to watch the sunrise on this occasion. Helen was singing the song “Daddy’s taking me to the zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow”, and so it came to pass. Helen drove us this time although we’d previously gone by ferry. Taronga Zoo in Sydney is one of our favourites, the inmates seem to be well looked after and the view across the harbour of the city is well worth the trip.
I told myself I wouldn’t take many pictures this time, we’ve all seen the animals before and everyone knows what they look like. Huh. I very nearly ran out of digital film.
We had planned to meet up with Jyoti at the zoo, with her family, but insomnia had conspired against her. So she missed out on seeing the Sumatran rhinoceros.
There was a sign telling me that because this is a model, I wasn’t allowed to climb on it. The implication being, if it were a real rhino, I could jump on board for the full rodeo experience.
The baby chimpanzee was adorable, as babies often are. We won’t ask what this little chap was drinking, but it was a hot day and it hasn’t rained properly for ages.
This cassowary wasn’t behind a fence, like the one at the koala place was a couple of weeks ago. With no obstruction, he looks even more prehistoric than usual, and proud of it.
We didn’t see a platypus out in the wild, we didn’t really expect to, so it was good to see this one in the dark, having a jolly good, satisfying scratch.
We saw some koalas too. Neville was on the move, walking along branches, heading for a lady koala. We even watched him walk backwards and then jump up to the next branch. The volunteer told us that Neville was missing a golden opportunity. He was ignoring the other female, the one that’s in season, ready to rock and roll. Don’t be like Neville. Choose the correct female for hanky-panky on pancake day.
Two of the meerkats were having a play fight, but they and the others were making the best of a very small patch of shadow in their enclosure. It was too hot even for meerkats.
When someone is being tenacious, not giving up with a problem, we used to say they’re like a dog with a bone. No longer. The expression now is, like a baby elephant with a bamboo stick.
It was a long stick, and he walked up and down with it several times, trying to bend it, breae it, pull it fully through the fence. Fabulous entertainment.
We took the opportunity of making a quick side trip to Sumatra to see some tigers.
It was a short flight, and I stood all the way. But it was worth it. Weather conditions remarkably similar to those in Sydney and yes, we saw some Sumatran tigers, of which there are only about 350-400 left in the wild.
There are three cubs, just a couple of months old, and they should be out and about at the end of March, ready for the public to see. Right now, they’re behind the scenes, seen only via CCTV.
We walked down via all the gift shops so that we could ride the gondola up to the top, where the car was parked.
Looking across the harbour towards Sydney, just along the road from the ferry terminal. The drive home was good and we stopped off to buy our evening meal. Home-made pizza. A great idea of Helen’s to use pita bread as a thin base. Prawns and pineapple were two toppings that I avoided but we all had great, unique, customised pizzas. And a bottle of wine
This was our final evening with Helen and Adam in Manly. Our departure tomorrow has crept up on us like those Weeping Angels in Doctor Who. Australia’s been fantastic as it always is and I am really pleased that we’ll be coming back after a few weeks away elsewhere.
Anticipation of a big journey never leads to a good night’s sleep. Oh, never mind, we say, we’ll sleep on the plane. That rarely happens, either.
After packing and showering, Helen, Liesel and I walked down to Manly Beach for breakfast. Any plans we had for a quick last minute swim were thwarted. (We had no such plans.)
The alarm must have only just been sounded as there were a lot of people on the beach and on the promenade, still dripping. If the shark sighting didn’t put you off, then maybe the signs warning of dangerous currents would. Our plan though was to visit The Pantry where the breakfast was brilliant and the view of the beach breathtaking. Helen showed me how to make an Instagram story, probably a vital skill in the 21st century, but what a palaver for something that self-destructs after 24 hours!
Helen kindly dropped us off at the airport again and while driving there, we watched the clouds building up, wondering whether it would rain on the clothes currently out drying on the balcony.
Liesel and I rendezvoused with Jyoti who had spent the last few days with her family elsewhere in Sydney. We checked in (there’s a whole story there), got through security (there’s a whole story there, too), I ate my apple, we bought snacks and waited to board the plane.
I only wish we were in the Canaries again. Then, I could say, the rain on the plane falls mainly in Spain. But we’re not. We’re off to sunny Singapore instead. This venue wasn’t originally on our list, but Jyoti used to live there, so Liesel and I are going with her for three weeks and spending another couple of weeks in Malaysia on our own. Exciting but I’m a bit trepidatious, those being two countries I’d never seriously thought I’d ever go to. An unexpected adventure.
Somewhere in the northern expanse of Australia, we caught our final glimpse of the desert for now.