Lindsay came to visit me for the weekend (flying over from New Zealand where she’s working for 4 months). During undergrad, we were both obsessed with mammalogy and it manifested itself in a very big way this weekend.
First of all, the melbourne airport website is wrong…It said her flight was only 10 mins later than it was scheduled…it arrived 2 hrs late, so I waited at the skybus terminal for an hour and a half. However, it only delayed our fun-filled weekend by a little bit. On our way to dropping her stuff at my flat, the trams had stopped running because the pensioners (protesting budget cuts) were occupying the main intersection outside Flinders Street Station. Luckily, we made it out of there before some of the elders began stripping.
Showed her around campus a little, looking much nicer now that the grass has had a bit of rain. From there, we hopped on the tourist shuttle to the Queen Victoria Market, walked to Melbourne Central (there was a greater purpose than showing her the closest mall but I forget what it was) and then trammed it back down to Flinders to show her Federation Square, Southgate and the Crown Casino. Was quite pleased when she declared she loves the city after the first day of walking around.
On Saturday, we took a “coach” (it was a 12-seater van) tour to Phillip Island. First stop was Maru, a roadside zoo that rescues injured or orphaned animals, mostly marsupials. So we got to pet a wombat named Wilma who adores having her tummy rubbed, had our picture taken with koala who despite attempting to escape earlier, posed perfectly for us and fed some kangaroos and wallabies. Lindsay was also stalked by this loud goose and molested by the biggest kangaroo there.
After the farm, we headed to take a quick look at Woolamai Beach on Phillip Island, it was beginning to rain quite hard and no one could really stay outside for long. After that, we headed to the Nobbies, another corner of the island that has penguins and seals. The seals were out on these rocks that were quite hard to see with the naked eye but we did spot a little penguin under the boardwalk. Then we finally headed to the Penguin Parade and saw the little guys attempt to cross the beach to their nests for the night. They travel in groups coming out of the water but also have to watch out for birds of prey, their biggest predator on the island. So the group swims up to the edge of the beach, stands up in the shallows to take a look, and usually decide it’s not safe enough, so they all turn and swim back out. This happens 5-6 times before they finally run across the beach. In one group that was halfway up the beach, a penguin at the back of the pack turns around to watch the waves for a minute, then realized that the group had continued without him and he hustled to catch up. On the other side of the boardwalks, you could see penguins waddling up to one another and making their nests for the night. Ridiculously adorable. It was raining quite hard all night, and my lovely little red raincoat had bled colour onto my white sweatshirt, and my jeans were soaked but the penguins were worth it.
On Sunday, Lindsay and I headed out to Game On, an exhibition on the history of video games at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. It went from classic video games like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Pong (which we were both spectacularly bad at), Street Fighter (where I proceeded to kill Lindsay’s character very quickly after she had beaten me to death in the first round) and Tetris to more recent games like Guitar Hero (I played on the easy setting while Lindsay rocked out on Hard) and Wii. After that, in Fed Square, it was Buddha day where I had my picture taken with a guy dressed as Buddha. Then it was off to the zoo, even though I had been a few weeks ago, Lindsay could not leave Australia without seeing the monotremes. Unfortunately, the echidna was hiding out and all we could see were its distinct spines. The platypus swam around and around in his exhibit, giving us a chance to look for his poisonous spur on the hindfoot. Also, being the mammalogy geeks we were, the primates sparked quite a bit of discussion about testicle size.
We capped the day with a lovely Italian dinner, followed by dessert at Brunetti’s, a famous bakery in my neighbourhood. After a mouthful of Mud cake and chocolate and hazelnut parfait, Lindsay declared that she would move to Melbourne merely for Brunetti’s dessert.