Howdy!  Well, it’s been a week and a half so far, and it’s only Wednesday.  The good news is that it’s the end of term here, so we get a 17 day holiday starting on Saturday.  Yahoo!  Gotta love the Aussie school system!  Leon and I have rented a camper van starting on Saturday.  We leave Melbourne on our way up to Sydney and beyond.  We are looking for warmer weather as we feel we were short changed on the hot temps down here.  But just in case it’s really cold, we just bought ourselves the equivalent of lumber jackets, all lined with fleece and all, for the sum total of $30 for 2.  Amazing prices!  I don’t care if they fall apart after the first wash.  And so what if mine is made for a man with large shoulders?  At least I won’t freeze while we are camping.

My exchange partner, Donna, enlightened us about our bedding choices around here when we inquired as to whether there was an electric blanket in the house.  Apparently, there are 2 duvets, stage 1 (red thread) and stage 2 (blue thread).  When it’s really cold, you velcro both stages together and get a stage 3, winter weight.  Well I haven’t seen any thread colours on either duvets but I can tell you that both have been on the bed for a while now.  Not every night, but frequently.  At least I know what the velcro is for.  Thanks Donna!

So, onto my tale about the weekend.  We started off in Melbourne as some in-laws were in town for a conference.  Marilee and KO met us on a trendy street near the waterfront for a great Italian-inspired dinner.  Here we were, 4 hardy Canadians, the only ones to sit outside during dinner, the sound of screeching cable cars and traffic behind us, the lovely sunset in the distance, and Leon eyeing the nearby park on the outside chance a possum might be seen as darkness set in.  Our waiter, Landrew, was newly arrived to Melbourne from Montreal, by way of Vancouver.  We greeted each other with a traditional “Tabarnac”!  Dinner and conversation were great, even if we look rather frozen, Marilee and I.  We parted ways with me bumming a 20 cent piece off them for trolley fare and a stop at the liquor shop for a bottle of brandy for my sore throat and chills.  What have we come to since we arrived in Australia?  Well, now you know…

Melboure, Sapore Restaurant - Apr 1 - KO and Marilee with us for dinner
Marilee and Canadian waiter Landrew - notice the sunset
Marilee and me, trying not to freeze
the elusive possum in the park








The next morning, having slept over at Barb’s (another exchange teacher from Vancouver), we headed off to Geelong for the weekend.  We dropped Barb off at her hosts in the country and made our way to our hosts’ home closer to the city.  By then, I figured we were so late, we would just find a nice cafe, grab a newspaper and do a crossword and watch the world go by until the evening festivities.  But our intrepid hosts had planned a real seaside lunch – 80 km down the Great Ocean Road, overlooking some spectacular waves and a few surfers.  Of course, Leon picked that time to have left the new camera back in the car.  Darn!  We’ll get some pics next time we visit that area in May.  After a tasty lunch of roast suckling pig, and several cups of tea (and you wonder while I always need to pee?), we were off to visit a few wineries.  How did these lovely people know how much we enjoy wineries?  Has our reputation already spread to that part of Victoria?  Anyway, 3 wineries and a few yummy tastings later, we returned to Geelong to get ready for an exchange teachers’ bbq dinner.  It was BYOB and BYOM (meat) but the dessert buffet was amazing!!  How am I expected to even lose a pound over here, let alone keep my weight at the same level?

We did some party games which involved eating a Mintie and tearing the wrapper into the longest piece of paper you can.  Terri, from St. Catherine’s won that one.  After that, we had a crazy race to eat a bar of chocolate that involved rolling a 6 on a dice, putting on hat, scarf and gloves and using a knife and fork to eat a dainty piece of a Cadbury bar.  Leon, the stinker, ate 2 pieces.  I was not so fortunate.  Nor was I fast enough with the camera to capture Leon in the act of torturing my chocolate-craving taste buds. I am not sure I have forgiven him yet.  After all ladies, one does not need to be PMSing to crave chocolate, as we all know…

Terri won for the longest Mintie wrapper. I am sure she used scissors she had hidden in her purse.
Chocolate race - Alys manages to get the wrapper off, first try!
There's Terri! She seemed to win everything that night. Josslyn, Mike, Alys and Laura in the background.









When the fun was over, we returned to Bendigo early afternoon the next day.  It was a glorious Sunday, early autumn, so I thought it would be a good day to have lunch on the terrace.  Fresh bread, salad, olive oil and fruit were on the menu, along with some local red wine.  Nice way to end a busy and unexpected weekend.

Sunday late lunch Apr 3 - back patio