Sunday, March 16, 2008
The Melbourne Museum
While taking the City Circle Trolley around the city (a good way to see most of Melbourne for free in one big loop), I decided I would stop by the new museum and check it out. I visit museums and art galleries more because I feel like I should when visiting a new country and also because it's probably wise to try to do a little more than sleep in late and drink throughout the night (I can do that at home). So, I figure absorbing a little culture and some nice air-conditioning couldn't hurt now and then. So, I follow my little map and find the museum. I mean, look at that picture above....doesn't the building just feel like it's saying "I'm a fancy museum...Bring thy tired, sweaty buttocks into my cavernous bosom and immerse yourself into the history and culture that lives within my stone carved walls."?
Well, maybe it's not saying that EXACTLY...but it does look like a building that should be a museum, right?
Not so much...after trying a few locked doors, then walking around to the front of the building to an empty parking lot and more locked doors ("Great...I've just walked half a mile in 100 degree heat, while the last remnants of sunscreen slither down from my forehead and drip, like burning acid, into my eyes...and the damn thing is closed?!") I notice, around the corner...the real museum.
Hmmm...it's very modern and sleek and the only thing I'm hearing it say is: "I'm the real museum, you stupid tourist. I "can't wait" for you to drag your burning bloodshot eyes and sweaty body into my clean, environmentally-green, air-conditioned vessel of vast wonders and knowledge, most of which you'll never begin to fully understand."
Thankfully, I can deal with attitude as long as there is air-conditioning. So, I squinted my way into the WONDERFULLY cool (as in, not 100 degrees) new museum.
There were lots of skeletons of beasts of yore....
A family of Kangaroos and other local animals who were able to, remarkably, hold the same pose for the entire time I was in the museum (and I snuck back a few times to surprise them too)...
Hey boys and girls, look up there...naked people art....
Then, I found the Insect Museum....
That, my friends, is some kind of live Buffallo Tarantula from the tropics. You know what makes this one especially cute and cuddly? It hisses and screaches a bit and is very poisonous. The reason I know this is that, while taking this particular picture, I accidently hit the "sounds" button with my elbow and was greeted with a unexpected burst of loud hissing and screaching into my right ear.....which of course, startled the crap out of me and instinctively sent me into the "Sweet Lord, what the ass was that?" flailing-arm-dance. Thankfully, no other visitors witnessed that....just me, the hissing spider and, I'm sure, a small team of security guards eating Cinnebon while watching my every move on the video surveillance monitors hidden throughout this modern building of fantastical horrors.
So, I left the spider area...at least I thought I did. On the wall, as I'm walking "casually" away, I notice this sign...
My first thought was that is was just one of those cute signs you could buy in the gift shop, like "Baby on Board" or "I'm with Stupid" or "Carrot Top for President". Then, I turned to my right and noticed that I was leaning one hand on the edge of a half-wall that opened up midway into a very dimly lit room. As I peeked carefully into the OPEN room...a room with NO glass barrier between the wall, the visitors, and the contents inside, I notice that it is covered in spider webs, floor to ceiling, with spiders, BIG ones, hanging casually in the air towards the top of the ceiling in their designer woven homes.
I know you can't really see them very well, but they're up there. And, because it was a big, dark, open room filled with spiders that I could have easily passed out INTO, I took that picture quickly and twitched my way into the next area....BIG BUGS.
These bugs are common in many areas of Australia, generally the outback, but...sometimes you find them "around".
That was enough nightmare nourishment for me in the insect room. Thankfully, the rest of the museum was really interesting and fun to walk through. I spent the next hour exploring a variety of really nice, educational, bug-free-themed exhibits and then headed back to the hotel for a series of hot showers and calming balms.
Did I mention I'm heading to New Zealand on Tuesday? You know what they don't have?
Big bugs and spiders.
I'm kinda lookin' forward to it....