It’s a beautiful first day in Sydney! The sun is out, the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom. Their purple flowers spread out along each city street like confetti.
We walk through the Botanical Gardens and listen to the screams of the cockatoos nesting high up in the trees. As the sun begins to set, we arrive at the water and look out at the Sydney Opera House. Today is the Opera House’s 40th Birthday… She looks pretty good for her age.
And then it happens…
The sky turns black…. At first I’m not sure why. It’s not a solid black mass descending over the city. It’s a fast, erratic, swarming cloud of little black specks over head. But wait, they are not so tiny… as the darkness moves closer I can make out individual shapes. At first they look like giant birds. Then they begin to look like flying monkeys. I finally become privy to what these creatures are when one lands heavily on a branch in front of me. The branch dips and bounces under its weight. It folds its giant wings in to its side and stares at me with an upside down grin.
NO BODY TOLD ME ABOUT THE GIANT BATS!
Sure, I have heard volumes about the koalas, wallabys, kangaroos… etc… but never any talk about the bats. Perhaps there was a slight reference to them in The Wizard Of Oz, with the flying monkeys… but, I never actually believed that anything like this existed in the real world… and, particularly not in a busy city. Nature is totally freaking me out today!
I find refuge under the glowing lanterns that decorate Hyde Park. There is a Chinese festival going on and I head straight the beer tent. The locals act shockingly cavalier about the city’s bat occupation. Apparently they are fruit bats. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of the neighbourhood cats go missing from time to time. Well, I guess as the Aussies say, “It’s time to tuck in!”