Monday, January 31, 2011

Restaurant Review - Sato

131 Melbourne Street
North Adelaide SA 5006
(08) 8267 3381

View Larger

Well today was supposed to be a night out eating Mexican, however, we ended up at an old haunt instead... Sato Japanese Restaurant on Melbourne Street, in North Adelaide. This is a small restaurant that's been around for a few years now (it was previously known as Shibata a few years ago), and we've been here quite a few times before. As I may have mentioned previously, it's not that easy to find good Japanese restaurants in Adelaide. This has been one of the better ones in the past...

One of the good things about the restaurant is that even though it's small, they have both Western and traditional Japanese sunken tables... the tables are on a raised platform and it's shoes off and tuck your legs down in the cavity provided. L-kun loves sitting at these tables as he can always play underneath (which is like a mini-adventure for him). Unfortunately as this was a "on opportunity" visit, we hadn't booked and could get only the western style table. L-kun was very disappointed.

Drinks are reasonably priced, and a modest selection. T-chan always goes for her favourite "lemon, lime and bitters". Unfortunately they only have a small choice of Japanese beers: Asahi Super Dry, Kirin and Sapporo. Still, the focus isn't on the drinks here.

Now T-chan and I had ordered the sushi and sashimi banquets, with some extra food for L-kun. First off there's some appetisers...

Then that's followed up shortly by some marinaded fish tsukudani, mussels and broccoli. Small, but tasty.

Meanwhile, someone was getting a little impatient. Chopsticks (hashi) make for convenient drumsticks. Not a good look overall, and just a little rude. L-kun stop it! Still, L-kun was for the most part was on his best behaviour. Speaking of children, Sato is pretty good with kids, and we've always felt welcomed there with our son.

The next thing up was a Wafu Sashimi Salad. Overall it was quite nice - however, T-chan found that the Tuna sashimi slices were just a little dodgey (not bad, just not very nice). For myself, I thought it was ok, and overall complemented the meal well. The salad is not included in the banquet.

Now the banquet also includes 2 gyouza and 2 yakitori each. The yakitori (grilled skewered marinated chicken) was a bit of a disappointment. The taste was quite nice, but the pieces of chicken were actually too large for me... no, that doesn't mean that I was full, just that because the meat was thick, it felt more like it was braised rather than grilled. The gyouza were ok, and L-kun loved them (in fact we ordered another serving just for him).

Now the sashimi plate was reasonable (noting that T-chan was not so keen again with the tuna selection).. though I have to say some of the meat slices were on the small side. The thing about sashimi is that it's ALL about the freshness and selection of fish. As the fish is raw, extra care needs to be taken to ensure freshness - and hence anything less than excellent quality detracts fairly quickly. I personally thought presentation could have been improved, but was ok.

The sushi was better in terms of taste, and there was sufficient variety there to keep us happy. Noting that each of these plates are meant for one person, you'll perhaps find that for a big meal you do need to order something else as well.

The one thing that we were wary about (from previous experience) was how promptly the last dish was going to be brought out. In the past, we've found that they can be a little slow in preparing the ice cream. L-kun was also starting to get a little concerned as well, asking where the ice cream was...

The ice cream arrived shortly after (but still too slow for us... after all, there's not much to prepare). Sorry - the photo is after we'd already got stuck into it. The ice cream is part of the banquet meal, however they charge a $1.50 surcharge if you want Green Tea flavoured ice cream instead of vanilla.

The 2 banquets, plus salad, extra gyouza, plus drinks (including, I hate to admit it, three beers) all came to about $110, but we used our entertainment card which saved us an extra $25. We came out from the meal feeling relatively full and satisfied (with reservations).  My overall impression was that it was a nice night out (ok the three beers could have helped that), however for the money, we were expecting better quality and service.

The one other annoying note was that we actually didn't get one dish that we had ordered... though I can't remember if we ended up paying for it or not. Still - it's not a good sign if orders are not fulfilled. Shame we didn't realise until after we had left.

Location : ****
Atmosphere : ****
Staff : **(*) [note - overall ok, but missing orders is a big no-no in my book]
Flavour : ***
Value : ***
Overall : ***

Location : ****(*)
Atmosphere : ****
Staff : **(*)
Flavour : **(*) [note - tuna sashimi a definite negative]
Value : ***
Overall : ***

Now I started out by saying that Sato was one of our usual places out for Japanese in Adelaide... and in hindsight as I write this I wonder if they haven't started slipping. Whilst the friendly atmosphere was still there, the quality in the food had definitely suffered since our last visit. I wonder if we just caught them on a bad night?

So whilst our review might not be that glowingly positive, I'd still recommend trying them out... but I do think restaurants need to always be trying hard to improve their quality and service. Or at the very least maintaining the quality and service. Even though we like this restaurant, we have to be honest with  how our meal went... and this night Sato left a bit to be desired.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ahoy! St Kilda... Playground of Pirates...

St Kilda Playground is one of the really fun playgrounds around Adelaide... I say AROUND as it's actually 30km due north of the city, out amongst the mangroves and tidal flats. Indeed, it's hardly the first place that you would go looking for a a great playground... and you might not be tempted to drive all the way out there even if you did. But if you've got young kids (and not so young kids) then it's worth the trip as there's so much to do... not least of all storming the castle!... with it's own draw-bridge, battlements, secret passages and of course escape chutes (a little known feature of castles, they later evolved into a sewage system). Oh - and did I mention that it's completely FREE! Free I tells ya!

View Larger Map

Now for an aside - I have to admit that I tend to get a little possessive of our DSLR. Even though it's only a baby DSLR, it's my baby DSLR (ok... I'll try and let go of it so that I can type better... there there boy, I'll pick you up again soon). Anyway, T-chan's not had that much exposure [pause for polite golf clap for bad pun] to the new camera. So as Daddy was helping L-kun out on the slides, it was up to T-chan to take some photos. Only thing was I had forgotten to change back the White Balance from a previous set of photos the night before. So the photo quality isn't that great, and PSE didn't help quite as much as I would have liked.

It might be hard to pick from the photos, but the slides are reasonably long, and steep... and the ends kinda just stop (relying on the softness of the bark chips to soften your bottom bruising). Though we don't have the photos, L-kun was happily going down this slide all by himself. I was so proud (if a little freaked). The playground, as far as I can see, is completely self-supervised and does not have fencing. So, parents-be-warned... you will need to keep an eye on your children!

One of L-kun's favourite things was to explore the underground tunnels under the castle's foundations. I mean, seriously, there were a series of large to small (and I mean small) concrete pipes that had been buried under the mountain of dirt. And you betcha, that meant getting VERY dirty. Why do kids love dirt soooo much? The good news is that parents can fit in there too (was that really good news?)... the bad news is that it gets quite claustrophobic and you will be covered from head to toe in dust. There is also a secret ladder that takes the kids right up the top to the battlements.

The St Kilda area is not really known for it's beautiful beach scenery, but rather it's mangrove swamps (which can also be visited).

It's also known for it's pirates (don't all pirates have a secret hideout in a mangrove swamp somewhere). The pirate ship is yet another highlight of the playground.... and L-kun certainly loved it.

Awwrrrrghhhh! Pieces of eight, and shiver me timbers! A pirate's life for me. ... Fire the cannons you scurvy dogs! The treasure will be ours for the taking... spare no quarter, or even a 3/8ths!

Unfortunately, the pirate life is also tough one, and any number of small indiscretions (ie annoying Daddy or Mummy) could lead to a short incarceration in the ship's brig. Luckily he hadn't worked out yet that he can fit through the bars... whew!

Actually - the whole behind bars thing seems to be a trend here... There's a number of different styles of activities in the playground, including a shaded younger-kids area in the form of a giant yell submarine. This is also a great spot to get some respite from the sun for the parents as well.

There's also a tram museum out here that runs trams between the playground and the museum... a very odd place to put a tram museum if you ask me. The museum has been running the trams along the 2km track between the museum and playground since 1974 (admission $10 for adults, $7 for children over 4). It makes for a somewhat incongruous sight to see these old trams moving through the quiet salt-bush of St Kilda.

It's sort of like a scene from an old-time movie... ok... maybe a Sergio Leone spaghetti western.Here he's practicing his steely gaze... he uses this often against the pesky varmits back home (that would be us, his parents). And yes, he does love spaghetti (or noodles as he often calls them).

So I would definitely recommend taking the drive up north. Note that on a hot day, it gets VERY HOT there, and people often bring cardboard to ride the slides (to avoid a case of the cooked-bottoms), and you have to be very careful to ensure your all sun-creamed up. There's also not much in the way of facilities other than a solitary icrecream van... so bring some food and drinks if you're staying the day. I also haven't showed the Big  Children's slide yet... I'll keep that for another trip.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australia Day 2011!

Well 26th January is Australia Day, where we celebrate the arrival of the First Fleet (commanded by Arthur Phillips) into Sydney Cove in 1788. As such, it's a day that remember the start of "Australia" as we know it today. Of course, for the indigenous community, the day may have a slightly different connotation. Yet, it is an inclusive celebration, and these days there's a reasonable focus also on the different cultures that make up modern Australia.  So, how do we celebrate Australia Day? We do this in a typical Aussie way, by having a holiday... having parties and for many people in Adelaide enjoying the Cricket at Adelaide Oval. So how did we celebrate Australia Day 2011... well, L-kun spent a good amount of time out in the inflatable pool.... and Daddy spent a very good amount of time outside with him (sometimes outside the pool, but increasingly inside the pool). We also started getting serious about our planning for our next trip to Japan... hope that isn't too rude...

After a big BBQ dinner (lots of meat... hmmmm Aussie BBQ), we got ready for a big evening out... we had missed the Australia Day Parade in Adelaide, but we were going to make it for the concert and fireworks in Elder Park in the city centre.  Just a few things to do before we head out... like dress up appropriately..

Actually, L-kun was a little unsure about the whole Aussie Flag on his face. He can be quite sensitive to how he looks. Hmmm - he was even less happy last night when we returned and couldn't get it off! Oops. Hope it comes off soon. Anyway - here's a few quick photos from the night...

The River Torrens

Elder Park overlooking the Convention Centre

Crowd enjoying the free concert, starring Jessica Mauboy

L-kun enjoying the atmosphere

A lot of flag, and a lot of patriotism

I just love the old Rotunda in the park

Fireworks finish the night...

It was a good night, though T-chan always is a little confused at fireworks (hanabi) in Australia (or specifically Adelaide). She always thinks the fireworks are too low, and I guess when I think about it, I'd have to agree. However, as it's AUSTRALIA DAY, and part of recognizing a country's uniqueness is appreciating that everyone does things slightly differently, and for our city, this is just how we do it.

Anyway, it was a long day, and we didn't get L-kun off to bed until nearly 11. It was a great night, and marks the end of the holiday season in Australia... although I bet there will be a lot of people taking Thurs and Friday off. And good on em!

Happy Australia Day!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Parcel Arrives...From the Candy Man?

One of the little surprises that occurs every now and then is that we receive little (and sometimes not so little) "care packages" from Japan. L-kun loves unwrapping these packages, even if sometimes he needs a little help. This particular package contained our annual supply of New Years good luck charms for our cars (below). These charms, known omamori, are purchased by T-chan's parents from Hokkaido Shrine every hatsumoude (first visit to shrine of the New Year). We put one in each of our cars - not that we're particularly superstitious people, but there's something sweet about thinking that these wishes for our safety follow us wherever we go.

Japanese have many of these customs and beliefs that they follow (often without thinking) - and they become like the traditional decorations in the fabric of their life. As a non-Japanese, I've come to enjoy adding these traditions to my life as well.

Now back to the package we received... well there weren't only charms in there. There was a little bag of something for L-kun (I mean, for all of us). A bag of Japanese marshmallows <insert mouth watering, tummy rumbling sounds here>.

Initially L-kun was all like, nani kore? (what's this)? He knew what it was, and was just pretending... such a dramatic young fella. Actually, these are wonderful sweets - individually wrapped and delicately flavoured.

Hmmm - first bite. Soft, light, melt-in-the-mouth....

Oooooh.... it has chocolate inside. Bikkurishita! (I'm surprised). Marshmallow + chocolate. Sugary heaven.

But the surprise wears off pretty quickly, and it's time for bite #2. And 3. Of course, you just can't stop at one (or at least T-chan and I couldn't).

Arigatou, Candy Man (ojiichan and obaachan) from everyone here... and from one sweet-toothed boy in particular.

P.S. The charms have already been swapped over. Protected (knock on wood) for another year.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Movie Review - Paprika (2006)

Hi all - It's often difficult to get quality Japanese movies in Adelaide - or Australia for that matter. At least legally. Movies tend to be either anime or offbeat (please tell me you haven't watched RoboGeisha). Anyhow, we try to buy movies when we return to Japan, but I have to admit that DVD's are incredibly expensive in Japan. Don't ask me why, but movies will often cost 3-5000 yen...or $35 - 60AUD - as compared to around $15 - $35AUD here in Australia. In fact it can be cheaper to buy Japanese movies here for some reason. So our choices are a little limited... but T-chan and I often enjoy sitting down watching Japanese movies together - all sorts of Japanese movies.

Tonight I thought I'd jot down a very very quick review of a movie we just watched on DVD tonight, an anime called Paprika, by Satoshi Kon. Satoshi was the director of one of my favourite anime, Tokyo Godfathers, which I might review at some other time. I'm not a big anime fan, but enjoy them occassional. The ones I particularly like are the ones that take a detour from the path well trodden. And that's definitely the case with Paprika.

This movie is part psychological thriller (aka Hitchcock does anime), and part psychedelic existential deconstruction of reality (Hitchcock does anime on crack). It's about an invention that allows people to share their dreams. Whilst still in it's developmental phase, several devices are stolen from the research facility where Chiba Atsuko is working in the real world, and from where her dream alter ego Paprika has been given birth. Together they must solve the mystery of the thefts, whilst simultaneously unravelling the mystery that surrounds a Detective Toshimi Konakawa's recurring nightmares. Into this mix is the crazy research professor Toratarō Shima, and brilliant though immature Kōsaku Tokita, inventor of the device.

The movie may not be as endearing as Tokyo Godfathers, but it showcases Satoshi's technical skills and ebullient imagination. The blending of "reality" and dream sequences are amazing - and there's some magical moments there (anyone who's a fan of Monkey will have a laugh). The music upbeat and yet highly textured is composed by Susumu Hirasawa, and the songs actually featured a vocaloid, or artificially generated female voice.

Overall, I'd give this a 3.5 popcorns out of 5. It's brilliant animation and hypnotic dream sequences are creative and inspiring, with only the fairly shallow character development being a little disappointing. It's most definitely NOT a childrens movie as there's some disturbing sequences and also some sexual content.

On a sad note however, the director Satoshi Kon was diagnosed in May 2010 with advanced pancreatic cancer and died in August the same year at the young age of 46. His brilliance an characteristic unconventionality will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Adelaide Zoo.... It's a Panda-demic

This summer we've been hitting the animals pretty well - L-kun has been getting into zoos and things a lot recently. So, one morning we decided to head off to the Adelaide Zoo which is right in the heart of the city, next to the River Torrens. Adelaide Zoo costs about $28 per adult, but L-kun (being under 4) was free.... and it's undergone quite a facelift over the last year or so since we've been here. The main reason for that upgrade is our hairy black and white friend up above (but more of that later). Actually, as it was opened in 1883, Adelaide Zoo is the second oldest zoo in Australia, and the only major zoo to be operated in a not-for-profit way.

Now I've just posted on Sapporo's zoo, known as Maruyama Zoo... and I spoke at length about the moral dilemma about zoos (whether captive animals are good, regardless of the joy and empathy they bring - especially to young children). I won't get on the soap box again... thankfully.

We begin our tour with the Hippopotamus... which surprisingly L-kun says very clearly. I'm not sure why he says it so well as I don't think he's particularly fond of hippos. And the hippos (there's two of them) spend most of their time submerged beneath the surface of a long "pond" that they stroll up and down.

There's not much shy about our lion friends.... I've taken photos of the lionesses as the resident male Lion is a bit of a sad affair. The poor lad suffers from seizures (especially brought on by hot weather), and actually has a bit of trouble finding his meat. I guess in the wild, he'd have most likely made for a very short visitor to this world... but here in Adelaide he is being looked after well. Unfortunately due to his "condition" he's kept separate from the two lionesses.

At the end of the day however, they're still cats, and cats love a good clean. I'll have to introduce you to our own cat one of these days soon. He doesn't look much like these at all (though his weight, unfortunately, may not be that different).

And speaking of cute... you can't get much cuter than an otter having a snooze in a hollowed tree. Awwwww... That's too cute.

Perhaps the only thing cuter would be the mongoose... these are on my top 5 cute animals. Ok, to some they might look like rats that like to stand around a lot... but to me they're just a big furry bag of cute.

Now how could anyone not want to eat cuddle one of these babies. Awww... 

My cute capacity has just about reached it's limit.... need to see the next animal. Perhaps something mean and ferocious with big pointy teeth (a crocodile, or perhaps a snake or two)... Or not.

I may as well get all of the cute out of the way. Adelaide Zoo's claim to fame is that we now house one of the few Panda outside of China. Their names are Wang Wang (the male...) which translates apparently to "Net Net" and Funi (the female) which translates to "Lucky Girl".  I could be wrong, but I think Wang Wang got the twang-twang on his name-name. Net Net? Sometimes it's better not to know the translation.

Now, such is the popularity of the Panda's that you actually have to book a time to see them when you get your tickets at the front gate... sort of like the Free Pass at Disneyland. The slots are about 1 hour long, and are generally jam-packed. A word of advice - don't bother waiting in the long line to go into to see the Pandas... aim to get there about 5 mins after the alloted time... no waiting, and you'll see more than enough.

When we arrived, both Panda were in their "inside" pens. Another bit of advice - don't think you'll be taking brilliant photos of them inside unless you have a polarising filter on your camera. The glass is super-reflective, and it's mission impossible. The enclosure apparently cost about $8 million...and they couldn't even afford to put some anti-reflective film on their glass... please people... think!

Wang Wang

The other thing (regretfully) that they don't do particularly well in Adelaide Zoo is crowd control. The groups are perhaps 80-100 people strong, and they all want to crowd up to the glass as soon as they can. Makes dealing with the reflections a comparatively small problem. Eventually the sea of people will part however, and then you can sit back and enjoy listening to the zoo keepers tell a little bit of info about the Great Panda.

Wang Wang is placid, whilst Funi more playful. I suspect placid is code for "disinterested"... which may be code for something else... but time will tell on that count. Playful is code for...well, playful. After about 20 - 30 mins, the doors to the outside areas were opened. I should add at this point, that the two pandas are separated however. So you're not going to be catching any Panda on Panda action as each has their own separate outdoor area (which they alternate between - apparently to keep them stimulated by the different surroundings). Wang Wang spent most of this time just sitting around, looking pretty surly. That could be either the whole "Net Net" thing, or perhaps the "separation is a good thing, really..." thing.

Funi however was a treat, and was always walking around looking at things, exploring and of course also eating. I think she loved the camera and would quite happily pose, give one profile, then the next etc etc. I think she'd be the clear crowd favourite.

 Panda's eat a lot of bamboo... but not just bamboo. They will eat all sorts of things (including a carrot ice-block... by that I mean a carrot stuck in a block of ice). Also, these Panda's apparently only sleep 1 hour a day... according to the Zoo Keeper. That must be one helluva power nap. It also means that they spend a great deal of time eating. In the wild about 30-40kg of bamboo a day. Man... you can't complain about meat-n-three-veg dinner compared to that diet.

So final thoughts on the Panda... well, like any sane person facing a Panda for the first time, with a camera in their hand when , I couldn't stop taking photos (most of which didn't really turn out)... They are cute - in a teddy bear way...but they don't have the most exciting of lives. I mean, a life of eating...what kind of existence is that?.... er..... hmmmm.... I'll get back to you on that one.
T-chan and L-kun watch Funi...
And if you get tired of the real thing, you can always pose with the imposters. L-kun did a great magic trick of being smiley until he realised that there was a line up of people waiting for us to take a photo. Then it was a case of lips zipped shut. Still, an unbeknownst smile is still nice.

Okay... now back to the other animals (who must be insanely jealous after the 12 months or so of Panda-modium - sorry that was a very sad pun). [As an aside - did you know that the word pandemonium was originally a name used by Milton for the Capital of Hell in Paradise Lost...I find the entomology of words a strangely wonderful thing, yet ultimately an almost useless past-time]

Now L-kun loves giraffes as well - but mostly for a particular association from our last trip to Japan (I'll post about this in a while). The giraffe experience in Adelaide was pretty dry however (and I don't just mean lacking in water). At least the two have each other for company. It does makes me wonder however - what happens if animals dislike one another? Can you imagine being stuck in an enclosure 24x7 with another animal you can't stand?

Changing tack a little, there's quite a lot of bird-life that can be seen in the walk-through aviaries in the Zoo. Note - I sometimes get a little intolerant at other people's lack of common-sense. For example, the aviaries have twin door "airlocks" - you're only supposed to keep one open at any given time to stop the birds escaping. Most people just walk through without thinking, leaving both doors open and a break for freedom beckoning... I should be more tolerant of people's short-comings...and by the end of the day, I learnt a little lesson in humility of my own....
And a big thankyou for anyone that can identify this bird!

Now - there are birds, then there are birds. We've seen some emus and ostriches before... but the double-wattled Cassowary is a whole new kinda bird. It looks 80% Jurassic, and it must be said that they might be as aggressive. Indeed the Zoo Keepers don't enter the enclosure whilst the solitary female is present for fear (I guess) of getting a rather close encounter of the painful variety. You might think that the "casque" on the head is the main weapon... it's not a weapon at all... instead, like our friend the emu it's the kick that can do the damage.

Adelaide has two (1xChilean and 1xGreater) flamingos which are at once beautiful, and yet in a way grotesque. They have taken elegance to the point almost of self-carricature. And yet, they remain a long time favourite at the zoo residing in the oldest enclosure known simply as the Grotto. And perhaps they deserve pride of place, for example the Chilean Flamingo arrived in the zoo in 1948... that's 63 years ago. He's the young'un. 
Chilean Flamingo

The Greater Flamingo is now about 78 years of age. Actually in a sad indictment of my home, in 2008 the then 75-ish year old flamingo was attacked by two youths aged 17 and left in a perilous condition. The birds themselves are allowed to wander around the Grotto... and access is not restricted.
The Greater Flamingo
I said before how the Flamingo is so elegant it's almost grotesque.... unfortunately, they have nature to thank for that. The grotesqueness of humanity (even in isolated events) can be truly sad. Thankfully the bird recovered. For people that would attack a defenceless 75 year old bird, I wonder if there's any fixing them. I can only hope.

On more cheerful note - there's always the apes to brighten up your day. The Spider Monkey is always a great sight (hmmm... given my last post, I think this is one spider T-chan wouldn't mind).
Spider Monkey

Tamarins are also a popular attraction. They're so incredibly small... and amazingly chirpy. I can just imagine my army of Tamarin soldiers sweeping over the world <insert maniacal laughter here>.

A more appropriate soldier for my Army of the 12 Monkeys would of course be the baboon. I don't like baboons. We studied them in Primary School... and ever since that time, I've had a distinct dislike for them. They may not be that far removed from us biologically, but I always felt that it was the worst side of us that they were closest to. Don't ask me why.

Could it be the way they always stare, as if to say - I know it, you know it... if you step in here I'm gonna kick your asinine butt from here to Africa. You didn't see that on Madagascar 2 did you? Of course, I apologize unreservedly to all the really good baboons out there that I've entirely maligned in this post. Please reply via comments below.

Now to show that I'm not entirely a brut, or that I'm completely animal-crazy, I thought I'd thrown in a couple more photos of some lovely lily flowers that you find around the zoo.

Lilies are Nature's punctuation...

And after that brief aquatic segue, we come to that part of the story where I eat humble pie. After having shook my head in dismay regarding people that don't read signs (re: closing doors in aviaries), we ended our day in the seahorse display. Now seahorses are a miracle of over-design, and most probably shouldn't exist. They're endlessly amazing to watch - and to photograph... but they're not the most robust of animals. So here I was, being careful to abide the rules and not disturb them as I was about to take a photo of one of them.

Pop goes my flash in a blaze of white light. Flash? How did that happen?... I recall reading a sign just two seconds ago. "Please do not use flashes as this can kill sea horses". Gulp. What have I done? Thankfully I was using my long lens and was therefore a long way away... but still, a sudden rush of guilt and remorse flooded over me. The seahorse seemed more or less completely nonplussed by the whole event, whereas I was an emotional wreck.
A non-flash photo of L-kun with Sea-horse...after I did the right thing

Now many of you who have digital SLRs and who spend most of your time looking through a viewfinder may relate to this. My Canon Kiss X3 (500D) has one annoying trait. If you're in auto mode (which I'm almost never in), the camera will decide when and if to deploy the flash which pops up and fires in an instant. It's no excuse to say it was a mistake... I should have been more careful, and I guess no matter how self-righteous you are, you're just as able as the next person to do something stupid.

Excuse me, Baboon-san... it's time for my ass-whooping now. Just wait till I bend over and find my happy place (trees and flowers... trees and flowers)...
My comeuppance

Overall - apart from near sea-horsicide, I have to say that the Adelaide Zoo's not a bad day out. There's more than enough animals, and other things to do (including a very good Children's Zoo which we missed out on this trip). I still have reservations about the whole animals in cages, but the enclosures are reasonably good (as good as they can be given the size constraints), and the children love it. Of course, you have to see the Panda's, and that'll take an hour just by itself. Just do two things for me... don't leave the aviary doors open, and don't forget to disable your flash when you see the sea-horses.