30 Oct

Our exchange student from Hong Kong is only here for one weekend, so we are trying to make the most of it and cram as many tasty things into the weekend as possible.

It really started on Thursday night, with a barbecue.

Now the idea of the barbecue was simple: invite two other girls, friends of Bigster’s, and their families and exchange buddies, to a barbecue. Twelve or thirteen people, easy peasy. Then it snowballed: First, Bigster wanted to invite another girl she has recently become friends with. Then she told me that one of the boys’ buddies was friends with our student. Then she HAD to invite more boys because you can’t have all girls and one boy. Then the visiting teachers said a barbecue sounded nice, so I invited them too. Poor Fraser wasn’t exactly happy with me, but I do enjoy entertaining this way.

All up, I think I invited about 40 people in the end. We had a great night with the 25 or so who did come, and I think the kids even enjoyed their sausages in bread (I’m pretty confident about the pavlovas too). And the gas bottle didn’t run out until we’d cooked enough food, which was very very lucky as I under-prepared in terms of actually checking that the barbecue was ready for us.

On Friday night, we picked the kids up from school at 3:30 and drove straight to Phillip Island. Now, I’m not a fan of toll roads, and Fraser and I conscienciously avoid citylink, even changing some of our driving habits to avoid paying for toll roads THAT OMG USED TO BE FREE. But driving to Phillip Island is an exception, especially when you can take Eastlink which (a) is not owned by the same company as the other toll roads and (b) is a completely new road so doesn’t attract the capital letters that CityLink tends to.

And we were at Phillip Island – which I tend to think of as a 3 to 3.5-hour drive – in about 2 and a half hours. Including a stop at McDonalds Cranbourne because Otto was OMG SO HUNGRY.

Remember that stop, it is important.

Because after we got back in the car at Cranbourne, we passed a church that is now a Mexican Restaurant which is appropriate because fajitas realy are a slice of heaven and it allowed Fraser to say HOLY FRIJOLES! so we were all happy.

Until we were zooming along the road to the Penguin Parade and a little voice from the back (Biggie) said UM MUM, OTTO JUST THREW UP.

And I looked around and thank goodness she had the cardboard takeaway box from Mickey D’s on her lap because she had caught it all. And she was not crying.

Fraser, who was driving, said, should we pull over and clean her up?

At which point I proved that I am callous and cruel and unfit to be a mother because I said OMG NO KEEP DRIVING WE WILL BE THERE IN FIVE MINUTES.

And he asked again, and I gave him the Stern Look, and he kept driving.

The kids got out of the car very quickly when we arrived at the Penguins (four minutes or so later).

We didn’t pack a change of clothes so I did a car park wriggle into my sweatshirt so I could take off my t-shirt for Otto to wear as a dress, because she had a bit of splashback. And we put her soiled clothes (OH NO! MY FAVOURITE DRESS!) into a bag and shut it into the door of the car so it wouldn’t just drift around the carpark but neither would it make the car stinky. And thank goodness she was wearing leggings cos it meant I could just buy her a t-shirt to wear with them (Shop guy: Cranbourne McDonald’s? Yeah …)

After which, the kids had dinner (even Otto!) and we went down to the viewing area with our MP3 audio commentaries, which Otto somehow managed to first reset completely and then switch into Spanish.

And then we saw about four hundred penguins THIS close to us (I actually counted the first 200 or so but then they were coming fast) and the kids were absolutely transfixed and it was all worth it even the spew.

Technically, it was worth it to see the Holy Church of Tacos … but I digress …

Walking back to the car, there was even a stray penguin roaming the carpark. I’d like to think, as we saw one doing this last time we went, that the penguins have worked out a roster and they all buy Carpark Penguin a fish cocktail once all the people leave, but I think this poor little guy was just lost and scared.

Today we’re shopping and tomorrow we’re heading to Sovereign Hill. Whew!


8 responses to “Penguins!

  1. Solomon M. Green

    October 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    What ? No Healesville wildlife sanctuary for up, close and personal with roos, emus and other wild thingies.

    • Melissa

      October 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm

      School took them there on Tuesday 🙂 Not as successful for our student, as she is afraid of anything that moves. Penguins were sufficiently far back to be less terrifying.

  2. Rob S

    October 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I had a highlight about 15 years ago. Driving past Chadstone I saw a banner advertising Ronald’s presence, IN PERSON, at the local McD’s. In need of a drink, and curious, I went in.

    Crowds of kids and parents, facepainting, and Ronald.

    Also a set of tables where there was a little girl’s birthday party. Veronica, or Vicky, maybe Vanessa… no matter.

    Ronald was dancing attendance, “Welcome to My Restaurant! Are you having a Happy Birthday?” The kids were delighted. Ronald checked with Mum and Dad – all OK – then he picked-up the birthday girl for a photograph.

    She chucked all over him. It was stunning. Have you ever seen Ronald’s shoes? They are extra long and have a bulge over the toes… there was a puddle on top of each foot.

    I really hope the photographer captured the moment. Veronica should be 21 by now, and that photo deserved to appear at the party.

    • Melissa

      October 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

      Beyond outstanding.

  3. bmyork

    October 31, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Last year, I was riding the long horrible bendy bus into town, the one with sealed windows and the AC that never works. Two young women got on with a boy of around 8 years old. They all sat at the back, on the raised section, the women chatting constantly and ignoring the lad. He said “I’m going to be sick”, they said “oh OK” and carried on chatting. He opened his mouth and a FIREHOSE OF LIQUID VOMIT SPEWED STRAIGHT OUT. About 50 litres. Didn’t get a drop on him, soaked the back of the bus, rivers of vomit flowing down the bus, which being sealed, now totally stank of vomit, which made everybody else want to hurl. We crawled to the next stop, everybody got off and the bus was taken out of the run to be soaked in disinfectant.

    • Melissa

      October 31, 2010 at 8:30 am

      At least he gave them warning, that giant mutant 50-litre-stomached child 😉

  4. yewenyi

    November 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    so was the presence if the cardboard box at the right point in time really good box juggling work from the bigster?

    • Melissa

      November 3, 2010 at 10:30 am

      You have clearly thought about this waaaay too much, Brian. Sorry to disappoint you, it was the leftover drinks tray from Maccas.


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