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!