Dr. Atkin’s Letters Home: Australian Life is a Beach

Faculty Member Bob Atkin

Faculty Member Bob Atkin

Out of homesickness, I just checked the November weather for the ‘Burgh.  Amazing coincidence: the temp on this day in Pittsburgh should hit 22 degrees and here in Sydney, at this very moment it’s 22 degrees!

Celsius that is.

Y’all learned how to do °C à °F in school, right?  But in case you forgot, here in Sydney it’s 72 bright, sunny, warm, U.S. degrees. No cloud to be seen either. The sun enrobes you like gossamer cashmere.  Perhaps a bit chilly for some, but if you were here, you just might be tempted to go to the beach.

And Sydney has beaches. Take your choice: Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, Coogee, Marouba — and that’s just on the south of town accessible by bus from the city center.  Continue reading

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Dr. Atkin’s Letters Home: Animals!

Faculty Member Bob Atkin

Faculty Member Bob Atkin

OK, boys and girls, it’s quiz time.

I say “Australian animal” and you say…uh…

  • platypus” (That works but c’mon, you didn’t say that)
  • “ostrich” (wrong, but a similar thing called an emu)
  • “…that cute little furry teddy-bear-like thing?” (maybe you mean koala, which is right, or maybe panda, which is wrong)

Nah…you probably said kangaroo!!!

kangarooMy wife keeps asking me, “Have you seen any…kangaroos?”  No, can’t say I have. Sydney is a city and these guys generally aren’t urban critters, although try telling that to one spotted recently in the Adelaide suburbs patiently awaiting his/her train.

However, on my third time to the Night Noodle Market (on a CAPA field visit), I did see something at a distance that I thought was a weird squirrel with a scrawny tail (it was in the same park as the Market, but far from the noodle action).

“No,” said Dana the CAPA lady leading our little band. “It’s just a ‘possum, a baby.”  A brush-tailed type, no doubt, as I learned later with some Internet time. Continue reading

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