Saturday, February 14, 2009
They call me Weathermaker. Wherever I tread, droughts break, the skies open and the good rain falls upon the earth.
Good for the crops, crap for photography.
After a long morning walking Sydney’s sodden streets, dodging umbrellas and puddles, I retreat to the Aquarium. It was on my list anyway, and six inches of acrylic separate me from the deluge. Standing in the winding queue, I sense I wasn’t the only one with this idea.
After coughing up my $30, I wandered past endless tanks of critters grand and small, saltwater and fresh. Sometimes, if I waited long enough for the screaming toddlers, field-tripping school kids, sullen adolescents, impatient parents and doddering pensioners to clear, I could even see them.
They save the best for last of course, but I eventually fight my way to the shark tanks. In a crowded, airless tunnel, a throng stands shoulder to shoulder, stroller to shin, staring up and taking snapshots. I join in the scrum, but my heart really isn’t in it.
The Aquarium reminds me of all the reasons I love scuba diving. They share a vast array of marine life and pleasing aqua-themed colors. But with scuba, there’s all that cool gear, an absence of small children, and above all, quiet.
Underwater, no one can hear your annoying cellphone ring tone.
Still, the variety of life astounds. And the fish are cool too. After some hours of this, I emerge blinking into daylight. Or at least the gift shop. In the interests of economizing, I make my way to the cafeteria, and think about lunch.
What’s on special? I hear the fish and chips are nice.