Monday, September 10, 2012

Fairy (Penguin) Tales that are Mostly Ghostly.

The last week of Alyssa’s visit was jam packed with goodness.  We had posh high tea at the Windsor,  she and Shawn went to Parliament, we ate yummy thai food, sampled the wineries in Yarra valley andddddd….we went on a ghost tour. 

For all you non-believers out there, be forewarned, I do completely believe in ghosts.  I’ve had several experiences that I can’t explain.  Or more likely that I CAN explain if that explanation involved “it was a ghost”.  In her pre-planning, Alyssa found Lantern Ghost Tours, and we decided to book a night time tour through Melbourne.  The tour took us through the alleyways of Melbourne, and for those who aren’t interested in ghosts, was very historically interesting.  For instance I learned that the English settlers liked to blow stuff up with cannons.  (I also learned that Jack the ripper may have moved here.  Awkward.) 

The first stop on our tour was the only alleyway in Melbourne where it’s ‘legal’ to spray paint.  There’s an agreement from the government here that there won’t ever be video cameras put up here, so urban artists can decorate the alley.  It’s neat in the fact that the art is always updated and oh yeah, it’s also HAUNTED.  Right.  The unfortunate part of this situation is that Shawn (ghost hunter noob and general non-believer) didn’t bring my digital SLR.  But Alyssa had her little point and shoot and loaned it to me for the evening.  I took a shot in the alley and was thrilled to get on camera 3 orbs.  That’s neat enough right?

Take a closer look at the photo. 

Right now I’m not going to point out what I saw when I zoomed in on the photo, and I do apologize for this not being the best quality.  I want to see if you can see what I saw without me pointing it out.  And no, it’s not the guy in black in the background, he was on our tour.  (Flip to the end of the post, and I’ve circled what I saw.)

We moved on to some other alleyways, but then we approached an alley formerly known as Gun Alley.  Back in the 1920’s a little girl was murdered here.  Initially when our guide was telling us the story, I sort of just thought, that’s really sad.  They never caught her killer and it’s tragic. 

Then I walked into the alley.

Anyone who’s ever been affected by paranormal happenings will know what I am talking about.  First, I was overcome by a wave of nausea and dizziness, then I burst into tears.  I immediately turned to Shawn and said “Nope.” and walked out of the alley.  The overwhelming sense of grief and terror I got when I was at the edge of the alley was astounding.  The tour guide says that happens frequently in the alley, but I was mostly very embarrassed.  However, upon leaving the alley, I immediately felt about a million times better.  Both Alyssa and Shawn said they alley ‘didn’t feel right’ which makes me feel a little better about my volatile reaction.  The alley is right down the road from where I currently work, but I’m hesitant to go back there.  It’s certainly one of the more intense reactions I’ve had and a part of me is interested to see if it can be recreated in the daylight or if I was just caught up in the moment.  Another part of me is terrified that I will start crying again, and not very interested in recreating that sick, awful, pulling feeling I had when I was near the entrance. 

The tour ended in the alley by my work, (not really thrilled about all the paranormal around my job) and overall, it was very interesting apart from the crying in the alley bit.

To end her time here, I took a day off from work and the three of us went down to Philip Island to see tiny penguins.  Fun fact: penguins aren’t all cold weather birds.  And one particular breed of tiny adorable penguins lives here in Victoria.  These are the fairy penguins (re: little penguins, don’t get me started on that stupid name change) and they are the tiniest more adorable creatures that you’ve ever set eyes on.  I’m sure you’d all love to see pictures of how cute they were, and video of how adorable they are waddling out of the surf, but to protect the little buggers, no photography or video is allowed on the island.  Please enjoy this youtube clip of adorable penguins in lieu of my actual photo/video-ography.  

Though that's not the best video in the world, it’s fairly accurate.  They come out in a little group and if they get scared, they run back into the ocean.  Since they’re just little itty bitty things, (ahhhh pocket sized penguins!) they are nervous that some giant bird is going to eat them.  So under the cover of darkness, they make their way back to their burrows.  And with their little tiny penguin feet, some of them walk 2km.  UPHILL.  These penguins have the heart of a champion.  Once they get to their burrows they make all sorts of squeaky penguin noises and continue to be adorable.  Sadly, sometimes there are oil spills and the fairy penguins get affected.  And when they're covered in oil, they can't regulate their body temperature.  I want you to all think back to your childhoods.  When you were so cold in the winter, and your dad wouldn't let you turn up the thermostat, and what did he tell you to do?  That's right....
I do literally think my head would explode from cuteness if I ever saw this in real life, tragedy of oil spills aside.   

We also stopped at a Koala park (where Alyssa got in her requisite Koala pats) and went to the Nobbies (where I got in my requisite take pictures of scenery and play with my camera settings). 

Lens Flare, FTW!
Alyssa left that weekend, and I think was a very successful guinea pig first guest.  She was able to provide some good tips for how we should do things.  And we learned what things to skip (i.e. Dracula’s cabaret, only good if you’re not paying full price, which we didn’t.)

I will admit, it made me a little home sick, but it was good to see her and I hope she had a nice time.

Now Shawn and I gear up for our next adventure:  Three guests in a row.  Shawn’s parents arrive on the 20th of September, and leave October 10th, his friend Cindy arrives October 11th and leaves the 26th, we are on vacation in the Sunshine Coast (beaches and Steve Irwin zoo here we come!) from the 27th until the 31st and then Barry and Jesalyn are here Nov 1st through November 11th.  PHEW.  I’m sure it will be an intense and rewarding few months for us and I’ll do my very best to update.  

No big deal.

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