OMG I saw Steve Irwin! Wow!
I warned ristin not to expect to see Steve Irwin when we visited Australia Zoo (I never had before) but, well, it was during the Easter break so there were a lot of people and there was a TV camera there, so I suppose he couldn't resist. As Ristin pointed out, the build up they did for him was straight out of World Wrestling, including the sonorous music. The techniques for warming up a crowd are universal. He and his wife Terri put on a good show for us, with each making fun of the other and Steve even leaping into the water with the crocodile.
I know there's a lot of cultural cringe in this country over the Crocodile Hunter, but I believe he's fair dinkum about his passion for conserving the natural environment. His love for animals really shines through. He's also done more than any other celebrity in recent history in terms of pushing the Australian culture and a sense of Australian identity in the world. One more thing about him: The way he talks with his "crikey"s and over the top delivery is not an act. My IT administrator at work had met him when they were designing a billboard for him and he really does talk like that.
And even more exciting than Steve Irwin was getting to meet Harriet the Galapagos Island Tortoise. What's so exciting about Harriet? Well, she's 173 years old (174 this November) and she was picked up from the Galapagos Islands by Charles Darwin. She originally lived in the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and was named Harry after the curator. It was later found that Harriet was a "she" so they changed her name. After they closed down the animal display part of the gardens, she was left to wander free and welcome the visitors because they couldn't bear to part with her. Unfortunately, some visitors would abuse her and so they eventually gave her to Fleahy's Wildlife Sanctuary in 1952. She now lives in peaceful repose in Australia Zoo. In spite of her age and her sometimes cruel life, she still has a wonderful cheeky personality. They're not sure how long she'll live but they hope it will be to 200 or 230 years old so hopefully she will be enchanting visitors for many more years to come. You can see some older photos I took of her here. I hope to put up some fresh photos of her from my latest trip soon.
Ristin and I have been almost inseperable during his visit up here. I'm still amazed at my good fortune at having found him and to have earned his love. We do have disagreements about politics but that's such a small thing compared to the love we share.