Monday, August 23, 2004

23 August 2004

Not sure how to summarize the whirlwhind of the last nine days, except to say that the conference was lots of fun and that some interesting things may transpire over the next few days as well. In the meantime, I've met lots of cool Australian ants (ask me about Rhytidoponera and Oecophylla! I do however, have to say a few words about the birds.

Australian birds, of course, come in gazillions of sizes and colors, but the characteristics that stand out from the perspective of a temperate-U.S. tourist are two: BIG and LOUD. If you are sleeping in a room with an open window (or, Zarquon help us, in a tent), you will hear them. For people my age: Think of a cross between Maria Callas and Charlie Callas (who were probably not related in real life, but that's the way things go.) For people not my age: BIG and LOUD will probably do just fine.

Oh, and one more thing: If you happen to be hanging clothes out on a clothesline in, say, a suburb of Brisbane, and there are lots of big birds in evidence, do NOT hang your clothes under a tree. Furthermore, if an American tourist tells you to NOT hang your clothes under a tree in an Australian backyard, you should not press this person for details. He or she is probably already traumatized enough.


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