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Mom, Dad and I finished packing, then spent the morning across the street from our hotel, at the Royal Botanic Gardens. It rained a bit, but we found some trees to stand under and it passed by in a few minutes. We saw lots of pretty sub-tropical plants and flowers. Then we noticed – that racket? It was hundreds of fruit bats in the trees. EVERYWHERE. It was CRAZY. We also saw an eel following a duck around a pond (sorry, that duck won’t fit in your mouth) and found out that they drain the pond every once in awhile but the eels repopulate themselves—rangers have seen baby eels crawling over the lawn from Sydney Harbour!

Dad went back to the hotel and Mom and I went across the other street and looked around the Museum of Sydney’s forecourt. There is an archaeological site under the flagstones, and metal markers in the stones showed the boundaries of several buildings that used to stand in that spot. There was even a little window down to the dig so one could glimpse the old walls and foundations.

We watched a little of the Olympics, then went to the airport. We said our goodbyes to Aunt Pat and Uncle Denny, then promptly found out our flight had been pushed back seven hours. We hung out in the airport and used our meal vouchers. Finally our plane came, and we settled in for our 13 hour flight. I slept a little, but not well; I watched a couple movies to pass the time. We got popsicles as treats! More airlines should do this; it was completely delightful.

Once we got into LAX, Mom and Dad got standby for the next morning’s flights to Chicago, and when I left them they were heading back to the Qantas desk to get a hotel. I couldn’t believe I was back in LA—it didn’t feel quite real and I kept expecting to blink and find myself back down under.