Monday, May 1, 2017

Flat Stanley's visit to Melbourne, Australia

Stanley's Trip Report.

Date: 1 May, 2017
City and State: Melbourne, Victoria

Dear Diary,

I, Flat Stanley, have been having a lovely visit to Melbourne, Australia. I left Oregon where the weather was cold and rainy, and spring was just beginning to arrive, and then spent a very very long time in an envelope making my way across the Pacific Ocean to the Southern Hemisphere. Because of the long journey, I'm getting back to Oregon later than all my friends. But believe me, it was worth the trip.

When I arrived in Australia, I noticed that many leaves were falling to the ground. I had forgotten: when it is spring in Oregon, it is autumn in Australia. In June and July when it is warm in Oregon, it will be dark and cold and winter in Australia. Upside down seasons!

Here is a picture of me with some cool looking mushrooms, standing in fallen autumn leaves.

The first thing we did when I arrived was head to the market. There is a lot of shopping in the Central Business District of Melbourne. We went into the Central Station to shop. Here is a picture of me with the big clock in the station. This clock opens up and plays Waltzing Matilda once every hour. (In case you didn't know, Waltzing Matilda is an Australian song.)

There's an old historic tower near the central station, too. When they built the shopping around it, they just put it inside a huge glass ceiling. Now you can look at the building without getting wet.

Ok. Shopping is kind of boring. What I really wanted to see were Australian animals. They have all kinds of weird animals in Australia. So our next stop was the Melbourne zoo.

We took the tram to get there. Melbourne is famous for its trams. Here is a picture of me on the tram heading to the zoo.

At the zoo, the first thing we saw were the koalas. Here is a picture of me with a koala. Koalas live in eucalyptus trees. They pretty much just sleep in trees all day, and eat leaves and poop otherwise. Sounds like a good life to me. Except the part about eating leaves. Yuck.

Here's a better picture of the koala, sleeping.

Australia has lots of really big and pretty birds, too, like these red-tailed black cockatoos. These big black parrots live about as long as humans do. They make their nests in burned out eucalyptus trees.

Did you notice how both koalas and cockatoos live in eucalyptus trees? Eucalyptus trees grow wild in Australia. But sometimes people cut them down to make a lot of toilet paper. The zoo doesn't think it's a good idea to turn koala and cockatoo houses into toilet paper. Would you like it if someone turned your house into toilet paper? To remind people not to buy toilet paper made out of animal houses, the zoo had funny signs all over. Like this one:

And they had a giant toilet paper roll. I bet none of the other Flat Stanleys got their pictures taken with a giant toilet paper roll.

Next stop: kangaroos and emus. Kangaroos are big jumping mammals that carry their babies, called joeys, in pouches. They live all over Australia. You can see them out in the fields outside the city at dusk.

Emus are the second largest birds in the world (after ostriches). They also live wild in Australia, although my host family tells me they haven't seen as many wild emus as wild kangaroos. In the zoo, the emus and kangaroos were hanging out together. Here we all are together.

And a little closer shot of just the animals:

Next, I really really wanted to see a platypus. A platypus lives in the water. It has the body like an otter, flippers, a tail like a beaver, and a beak like a duck. And it is a mammal, but it lays eggs. What!? Oh, and the male platypus even has a poisonous spur on its back foot. When the English people first arrived in Australia, they told everybody back home about the crazy platypus, and their friends and family didn't believe such an animal really existed! They thought there could be no such thing as an otter with a duck bill. Surely it was just a joke!

Anyway, I saw a platypus, and it is not a joke. I did get a picture with a platypus, but the platypus was swimming pretty fast, and it was dark inside the platypus home. In this picture, you can just see me and the platypus's beak. It really is a duck bill, I promise.

Final stop at the zoo: the butterfly house. In the butterfly house, butterflies from all over Australia flutter around and even land on people.

After seeing all the Australian animals in the zoo, we were pretty tired. We headed home on a tram again, passing the Queen Victoria Market, where people buy and sell all kinds of stuff. But remember how shopping is kind of boring? We decided not to get off the tram to check out the market. I did take a picture of the outside, though.

Do you see that sign with a 60 in a circle? That's what a speed limit sign looks like in Melbourne. And be careful! The 60 means you can only go 60 kilometers per hour. That's about 40 miles per hour. If you go 60 miles per hour on the road next to the market, you will have to pay a lot of money for a speeding ticket!

We stopped next on the south bank of the Yarra River. The Yarra River is the river that runs through Melbourne. There were a lot of people out walking along the river, because it was such a lovely autumn day. There were also non-people out, I guess kind of like me.
We could see the city skyline from the river. Melbourne is such a beautiful city. In this picture you can see the orange coloured Flinders street train station, and the spires of St Peter's cathedral, and other buildings. Notice that I spelled coloured with a "u" in the middle. They do that here.

We stopped very briefly at Federation Square, which is the central square near the river and just across the street from Flinders Street Station. There wasn't anything big going on, but they sometimes have shows and things in the square. The buildings you see include the Australian Centre of the Moving Image (a museum all about movies), an art museum, and a cafe. It's a lovely square. And did you notice how I spelled Centre? They spell it that way here.

Final stop: One of the most famous buildings in Melbourne: The Shrine of Remembrance. During World War I, over 100 years ago, many Australians left Australia to fight, and many many young people were killed far away from home in places like Turkey. Their families were so sad that they built a beautiful building, called the Shrine of Remembrance, to help them remember how much they loved their families, and how sad it was to fight wars. This is a picture of me at the Shrine at sunset.
And looking back at the city from the Shrine:

I had such a lovely time in Australia. I hope I can come back soon, next time with my good pal Jake and his family. There are a lot more things to see and do!


Anonymous said...

This is great Jess! Stanley obviously had a marvelous time.
Thanks for doing the Stanley adventure. It was much more exciting than a Utah
adventure would have been - especially with the old folks!

Love, KP

Anonymous said...

This is amazing, Jess. Thank you so much. Jacob is one happy little boy right now.