Miscellaneous Australia thoughts and photos, pt 2

As I was taking photos off my point-n-shoot, I discovered that I had (uncharacteristically) used my proper camera to take a couple of photos from the resort balcony. It’s too late to use them in the post, so I’m sticking them here:

Both of these incorporate nigh-microscopic birds, which will become relevant in a moment.

I do quite like the above one.

At one point during my childhood I decided I was going to be a bird photographer. Armed with a positively ancient 35mm camera I found at my grandma’s house and absolutely no subtlety whatsoever, I went around the wooded areas of our neighborhood taking photos that, when examined with a magnifying glass (or possibly an electron microscope) contained a small blur which could conceivably be a bird.

Eventually, paying for the archaic type of film the camera required got to be too much for my fragile adolescent budget and my brother’s (entirely justifiable) mockery of the terrible photos got to be too much for my fragile adolescent ego, so I stopped. But inside my soul, lurking like the lamest Call of the Wild to ever touch the heart of man or beast, is still the desire to photograph me some birds.

This is, as near as I can tell, a rather large Bush Stone-Curlew. They make a rather weird warble, and when annoyed will also make a strange, raspy half-hiss half-growl. I typed “hissing Queensland bird” into Google and that’s what I got, which is about as much ornithological research as I am willing to do.

This is an Australian Bush Turkey, and sadly the quality of this photo is reminiscent of my previous efforts. I note that the Australian Turkey is just as ugly as the common variety.

Perhaps related to my rubbish nature photography, I am also terrible at spotting speed cameras. I would occasionally see signs warning of a speed camera ahead, but I never actually saw the cameras themselves! I’m half convinced there weren’t any and just like a homeowner who puts the sticker of a security system in the window without installing the system itself, the Queensland government is hoping the signs alone will be effective deterrents.

(What would be a more effective deterrent is mandated cruise control. I’ve had four different cars in Australia and New Zealand, three of them rentals and one that I bought, and none of them have had cruise control. The motorways in both countries are clogged by drivers accelerating and then quickly braking once they realized they’re going too fast. But that’s none of my business…)

This would probably be a bad idea even if it wasn’t right outside the shower…

Pretty much every EFTPOS system in Australia (the card-processing point of sale system) supports Paywave, which is super convenient. Very, very few of them in New Zealand do. I believe it’s because Australia only started using EFTPOS a few years ago, while New Zealand has much more legacy hardware from before Paywave was a thing.

Flying domestically is a much more pleasant experience in nearly every non-USA country. Flying internationally tends to be a bit stricter, and unfortunately I think a lot of that is our fault. But I will say that even though the policies are strict, the people are still a lot nicer. Not that I haven’t met a few nice TSA folks, but everywhere other than the US it seems like they don’t actually expect everyone traveling overseas to be a terrorist.

And with that bit of wisdom (?), we’re almost done with Australia. Just one more post to go!


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