Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Wizard of Oz

We made the Great Leap from New Zealand to Australia about a week ago, landing in Melbourne after a nice time in Auckland. Yep, we're urban again. In Melbourne, we were practically social butterflies for a change, as we met up with people we met in past travels and while volunteering in Thailand. That was great, mostly because we didn't have to do too much of the introduction-and-tell-us-about-yourselves that's plagued me us the past nine months.

One of the things on our Australian must-do list was to attend an Australian Rules football game, and lucky for us, Melbourne is practically the centre of Australia's football culture, with many of the pro teams concentrated there. Aussie-rules "Footy" is a weird and wonderful blending of rugby and American-style football with a good dose of insanity chucked in there for good measure. The ball cannot be thrown, only kicked or "punched" at a team member with an underhand fist. Ownership of the ball can be obtained via any means necessary, meaning that all-out tackles, kicking, and general mayhem is all legal. Play does not stop for anything, even personal injury.

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The best part of attending the game was watching the fans. Dressed in their winter garb (it being 10 degrees was just far too chilly for our Aussie friends, I guess) complete with team coloured scarves and hats, they shouted and shrieked along with the best American football OR European football (soccer) fans that ever existed. They were actually probably far more entertaining, as the things they yelled were wittier than your average athletic enthuiasms. We watched, mesmerized, as the ball moved nonstop back and forth across the football pitch.

The rest of our time in Melbourne was absorbed by a trip to the circus, a bus tour, and a trip to the fantastic Melbourne Aquarium.

(photo courtsey of Melbourne Family Holidays)

There were a lot of fish and sharks and stuff, including more than a few sting rays that were big enough to look like they were consuming the heads of the divers in the tanks. It was extremely cool, but the reason I gloss over the trip to Melbourne, as great as it was, is that I spent most of my time there counting down the days, the hours, the minutes, and finally the seconds until I got to hug my mother at the Sydney Airport.

Best. Day. Ever.


Renee said...

Yay mom!

wompcat said...

I'm glad you get to see Mom! I wish I could come too. I would love to see you after all this time (and being in Melbourne wouldn't be so bad either!) :-)

Miss ya sis!

Anonymous said...

hey Val - keep up the great work on the blog. I love reading it and living vicariously through you guys. Have fun spending time with your Mom - that is so special that you get to see her after all this time. I know exactly how it feels!