Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kangaroos in the the City---Elisabeth Rose

There are a couple of things foreigners inevitably ask Australians overseas:

1. My brother/ sister/friend lives in Australia do you know them?
Maybe someone has been able to answer yes but I doubt it. The closest we got was in Greece in 1975. The restaurant we walked into was packed but the owner wasn't going to let potential customers slip through his fingers. "You are Australians? Aha. They are Australians, you sit with them." He pointed to an unfortunate couple enjoying a quiet meal. No-one was able to dissuade him so we sat with them. Turned out they were from Canberra in a relatively close suburb to ours, and we did know some of the same people.

2. Do kangaroos hop down the main street?
Well I can say yes to that one! In Canberra they do. Natural bushland surrounds our city and intrudes into the suburbs. It's not called 'the bush capital' for nothing. My suburb of Campbell and the adjacent ones of Ainslie and Hackett back on to Mount Ainslie and kangaroos live there in vast numbers. In the evenings they come down to eat the fresh green lawns of the local High School and the picnic areas behind the National War Memorial. Twice a week I come home at about 9pm and every time I have to be very, very careful driving along that stretch of road. This is duplicated all around the city and everyone has stories of near misses.

Roos are notoriously silly. Instead of staying safely put on the grassy verge they'll most likely wait until the car is abreast of them and suddenly have an urgent need to cross the road. My daughter was driving very slowly past a mob a few years ago and one came from nowhere and crashed into the passenger side door. Fortunately he wasn't hurt and bounded away leaving a big dent and a shaken girl.

In Ainslie I was coming along a through road in the middle of the suburb one night when three greys charged along a cross street from the left, round the little roundabout and disappeared towards the shops. One night on my weekly trek home from a Tai Chi class across town I counted a total of 24 kangaroos in different sections of my route.


Sarita Leone said...

Great post! Makes our driving with deer sound tame. :)

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Instersting to learn what kind of questions you're asked. I've run into similar ones in the states: Oh, you live in exas. Do you know . . ."

I love to hear about Australia--please teach us more!

Carolyn Hughey said...

Thanks Elisabeth. I had no idea kangaroos made their way to the roads just like deer do here in America. I guess I never thought about it.

I have a funny story regarding people asking if you know so and so. While I was working on a customer when I was still actively a hairdresser, the woman looked vaguely familiar. I kept telling her she reminded me of a very good friend who lived in Pennsylvania. She told me she didn't know anyone in Pennsylvania. This went on for about five minutes. Finally,when I turned the chair to work on a different part of her hair, I blurted out, "I'm sorry, but you could pass for my friend, Marilyn." To which she replied, "Marilyn? I have a sister Marilyn. LOL It turned out the two were estranged from one another, but this is one time the person actually knew who I was talking about.

Beate Boeker said...

Hi Lis,

Great post! I always thought kangaroos were shy and only in the desert. Thank you so much for those details! You should have your heroine have a kangaroo-accident in your next book!

Elisabeth Rose said...

It depends where you live of course. I don't think you'd see a kangaroo in the middle of Sydney. :) Canberra has a lot of natural bush close to the suburbs.

Beate, I do have a car versus roo encounter in The Tangled Web--June 2010. Country road driving can be dangerous especially in the evening and at night.

Elisabeth Rose said...

Carolyn, what an extraordinary coincidence! Did she tell you why they were estranged? I sat next to an elderly woman on a long bus ride once who told me all about the family squabbles over the inheritance after her mother died.

Carol Hutchens said...

Sounds so similiar to 'deer tales' in the states, Lis. I have twin fawns and doe visiting my garden regularly...but can't imagine Roos in towns...Drive safely!