November 12th, 2019

Phoenix

Hobart through Nov 12

Toughed out the paint smell. Decided not to linger, heading on to Melbourne tomorrow.

Nov 9, a Saturday: went to the Salamanca Market, a big market every Saturday. Part farmer's market, part food stalls, part art and craft stalls. I'd eaten breakfast before going but still tried a sausage and an egg roll, and bought some fudge I haven't opened yet. Also got some Merino wool socks, for me and as gifts. Mine could be better.

Then checked out the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), for 1.5 hours before closing, enough time to eyeball it, then spend time in the coin/money room and a few minutes in the Antarctic room. Money room had stuff on small change shortages, the change to decimal (with an educational cartoon starring Dollar Bill on loop), money boxes (including a ceramic one from the 1500s.)




Nov 10: Went back to TMAG, spending an afternoon exhausting it. Went through the Antarctic room, which is probably their biggest anyway. Southern Ocean, currents, seamount biodiversity, various forlorn islands and their climates, Macquarie being unique in being entirely ocean crust folded up into an island, a stereoscopic video constructed from photos of a 1911-1914 expedition, various stuffed animals, a room on exploration (equipment, base culture).

An Australian design room, largely ceramics, I wasn't that engaged. Cabinets of transfer printed blue and white ceramics, *too* engaging, I took high-res photos to look at later. A painting room, some nice landscapes, some lame portraits. A sad room about the Tasmanian tiger aka thylacine. A Tasmanian natural history room; apparently the tallest flowering plants are some eucalyptus trees, and the most dangerous animal in Australia is one I haven't heard of, the jack jumper ant, which jumps and has nasty venom, killing one Tasmanian every four years. Giant freshwater lobster, the largest non-marine invertebrate. I hadn't realized some placentals are considered native: swamp rat and broad-toothed mouse.

Room on aboriginal culture, and what happened to the Tasmanians. I hadn't realized Tasmania was probably settled by foot from the 'mainland', later isolated by sea level rise. But they had stringybark canoes, which looked unusably shallow to me. They also made water carriers from kelp, didn't know you could do that; not sure if the carriers were used as is or as lining of woven grass baskets.

The central room is bizarre, surreal even, just random unlabeled collections. Bird, antlers, and suit of armor in one glass cage. Stairs in mid air.




Nov 11: the Royal Botanic Garden. I took Ubert; buses would have meant a 25 minute walk from the nearest bus stop. The front gate guy seemed to know his stuff: he asked where I was from, then connected 'Boston' to the sub-Antarctic room. I didn't guess how, despite having seen the answer in the museum the day before: Boston -> whalers -> scurvy -> cabbage and 'cabbage' from Heard Island or so.

Chinese garden was just plants from Yunnan. Fernery small. Japanese garden was cute. Sub-Antarctic room was different, air conditioned way down to simulate the weather, close to a unique collection.

I decided to walk home, 40 minutes supposedly. Do not recommend, would not walk again. Walk is across Queen's Domain, a big park, but dull, mostly dry eucalyptus savannah. Oh right, a sign by the xerophyte collection had said Hobart is the second driest Australian capital. This is incredible to me: Hobart was mist and mine trees, vs. the LA of Brisbane and Sydney. But I think another sign said the Domain is close to the original ecosystem.

Anyway I trudged through that, and then hit a freeway that was hard to get across. Google Maps thought it was easy but it's nuts, there was no crossing where it claimed, unless you want to play chicken with freeway traffic. I found an overpass instead.




Today! Stayed in and did laundry. No dryer here, so I took the wet clothes to a laundrette. $1/5 minutes, eep! But 10 minutes on hot sufficed to dry my week's worth of clothes.

No ibises or fruit bats here. I am sad.

Hobart very hilly beyond the core. Going for a walk certainly good exercise.

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