Published: October 28th 2007October 28th 2007
So I figured I could write my blog on word and then post it on the internet and save time.
Today I went down to Manly Beach. It is known as a surfer’s paradise and to locals is better than Bondhi. You have to take a 30 min. ferry to get there. The ferry docks on one side of the island and the beach is on the other side. As I was walking there I noticed a giant penguin standing with a bunch of kids and a crowd around. Turns out there was a penguin conservation meeting going on for the penguins of Manly beach. The last penguin colony on New South Wales main land.
The event was led by kids and focused on thing you can not do to help the penguins. Don’t take flash photos, don’t touch them, don’t eat them, don’t let your dog eat them, don’t drive your car on the beach and run them over.
All very good advice and everyone was encouraged to sign a pledge that you would not do these things and then more penguins will live.
Now I had no idea there were penguins in Sydney. I didn’t think they could live that far north but sure enough there is a colony here in manly, and after dark I got to see a couple little guys climbing up the rocks. But as the pledge stated I refrained from photographs.
A surprise guest was announced and it nearly shocked me. Warren (I don’t know his last name and can’t google it) the guy who wrote Happy Feet! I couldn’t believe it! He gave a 15 min. speech about penguin conservation to about 25 kids and a few parents. A true legend just casually talking about penguins. Turns out Warren lives here in Sydney and gives some insight as to why he takes special interest in penguins.
After his speech I saw him talking to this lady just off stage. I thought surely he wouldn’t hang out very long but he was chatting away so I moseyed on over. By that time another old man had joined the conversation and they were talking about different cultural interpretations on the film and all movies in general. They hinted at taking a few stabs at Americans but mostly refrained. I remained quiet just to see what they might say not knowing I was American. The old man talked a lot about random stuff. Telling stupid jokes. He at one point asked Warren if he thought the attack on Pearl Harbor was planned by an ally to get the Americans in the war. Warren refrained to comment stating he hadn’t studied the issue enough to form an opinion. Then the old man asked if 911 was just an excuse for America to go to war. Trying to change the subject, Warren asked me were I was from. We talked about Nashville, which he had been to while directing a series of re done Brady Bunch episodes, and then how directors are starting to get more credit due to the popularity of DVDs.
We also talked about Happy Feet and the old man eventually buzzed off. I had a few questions about the film, like did he have something against zoos? No, he didn’t, he just wanted the audience to try to understand how different a zoo is to the natural environment of an animal. I also asked why Mumbles kept his child fur for the whole movie. He said he originally had him change when he jumped off the cliff, but it was difficult to have the audience relate to a “new lead character”. But this also helped him carry out the point of his movie, which is not a political act to save penguins. The main point is to say you don’t have to change yourself in order to change the world. Mumbles tried really hard to fit in to be normal, for other penguins to like him but in the end he realized he just has to be himself, and follow his heart. Most kid movies have a similar plot, which I think is very healthy and encourages diversity and acceptance at an early age. But I think we as adults, who are constantly attempting to impress our friends so we think they’ll like us, need to hear this message too (if not more).
Warren’s statement really hit me and I thought about it as I walked down the beach with my pants rolled up carrying my chacos (like in the an ad). I’m always trying to change things about myself, and recently come to the conclusion that people generally don’t change. I think our personality is revealed by age 6 and there’s not much we can do that will fix it. However, I also believe that our life is different everyday we wake up. We carry experiences with us that allow us to see the world differently or relate to people in a new way. I thought this trip would change my life and in a way it has but I’ll always be the same person I don’t think there’s ever gonna be an epiphany moment where you instantly become a new person and everything makes since. The point is to know yourself, if you are comfortable in your own skin then life will be good.
Okay, I know this is all kinda cliché but just stuff that was going through my head and wanted to share.
I wish I could post pictures on here but unfortunately can not. I promise to share with you once I return.
The winner of "Name Mason's Penguin" was Melville (combination of Melbourne and Nashville)