Spoiler: Comedy, Clowns, Wine, Footy, & a Purse.

18 04 2010

Hello, my lovely friends!! Mates! Much has transpired since we last spoke… Well, I suppose we haven’t “spoken” per se… It’s more like much has transpired since I last rambled nonsense at you. And here I am to ramble some more! You can all breathe easy now.

I got my wallet back on Thursday (praise Jesus), so that was a huge relief. Apparently Tom left it in some sketchy mailbox for Luke to pick up, so it was another pseudo-miracle that it wasn’t stolen then! Anyway I was thrilled to be reunited with it, as I’m sure you can imagine. Props to Tom for keeping it safe (most of the time) & to Luke for making the trek out that way to pick it up for me.

So Thursday night was supposed to be the first night we saw the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the comedian was Arch Barker. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the show due to unforeseen extenuating circumstances. AKA a certain someone & I engaged in a bit of a verbal scuffle, so to speak, & I ended up going over to Renae & Frith’s for red wine and psychotherapy. They were dolls, per usual, & it ended up being an OK night after all. After lots of intense discussion & reflection, I called it a night.

Friday morning and afternoon are a bit hard to remember honestly, so I’m thinking that they weren’t too thrilling/dynamic. I think I slept a fair amount (body has only just recently adjusted to the time difference!!) Things got a little more interesting in the evening. We got ready to head out to the second comedian we were supposed to see (fingers crossed that we’d actually make it this time)- Ross Noble. Beforehand we met up with Luke’s friend Pat O’Sullivan, affectionately known as POS. Pronounced “Poss” not “Poz,” because I was corrected for that one. We took the tram to St. Kilda, where the show would be. Now, the tram is a really fascinating operation. It’s incredibly convenient, fairly quick, & extremely accessible, unlike the DC metro system. You simply walk up and get on. It’s really great. The only catch is that you have to purchase your ticket AFTER getting on the tram. The only way the tram officials ensure that people are actually PURCHASING the tickets is by getting on the trams themselves at random intervals & checking your ticket. If you are in fact caught without one, you get slapped with a pretty little $130.00 fine. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not much of a gambler, myself. It makes me anxious to bet on things period. I like knowing I’m safe & unticketable. Every time I’ve ever been pulled over, I’ve had borderline full blown panic attacks that resulted in hyperventilation, shaky hands, & a very confused police officer. Alas, Luke and Pos are not cut from the same bolt of cloth as me. They like to hedge their bets as often as possible. Basically they tried to peer pressure me into not purchasing a ticket and riding the full 15 minutes ticketless to our destination. I held out for about 3 minutes. I caved and bought my ticket. Call me a wuss, call me what you will, but I would rather look like a tool than be forbidden to leave the country because of a freaking unpaid tram fine. I mean, seriously.

Anyway, we made it safely to our destination, none of us ticketed. Although I was sort of secretly hoping that the inspectors would get on our tram and I would look like the smartypants for playing it safe, rather than the douche who wouldn’t take the pacifier out of my mouth and play the game. (Kendra, Let grandma know she’s got some more sewing to do.) Unfortunately, no such luck. We grabbed dinner at a local pub before crossing the street to the Palais Theatre which sits next to Luna Park, a pretty famous little theme park. At dinner all three boys ordered “Parmas.” Now, my American friends, a parma is a very popular thing here in Melbourne. It’s chicken parmigiana. They can’t freaking get enough of it here. It’s bizarre. They eat it for dinner, they eat it as drunk food, they eat parmas all the damn time. They’re everywhere. I don’t really get it. I mean, nothing against chicken parmigiana, but I don’t pine for it as if it were crack cocaine. The food here has been a little bit of an adjustment. It’s as if everything has a general similarity to American food, but there’s always something  a little off. For instance, it was burger night at Newman the other night. I got pumped up for something so familiar and tasty, but they had an entirely different taste to them. I don’t know if it was the marinade or the beef itself, or the fact that they put fried eggs and beets on them.  Oh well.

Ross Noble was pretty hilarious, definitely worth looking up. We had UNBELIEVABLE seats- probably the third or fourth row back in an enormous theatre. It was great. I was so overtired by the time the show ended, really thrilled for sleep. As we exited the theatre, I looked to the adjacent Luna Park and saw the stuff of children’s nightmares:

Oh dear God what is that thing. No Mummy, I don’t want to go to Luna Park after all. Not if it requires walking through a gigantic, demonic, & flamboyant clown’s gaping mouth in order to get inside. Isn’t there a separate entrance for those wishing to retain their souls/bowels? No? Well then get me on that effing tram folks, TICKETLESS IF NEED BE.

After regaining composure, we trammed it home, and slept the sleep of one haunted by the face of a glowing devil-clown. At least I did. I’m not sure about the others.

Saturday was a glorious day. I can’t begin to describe the beauty of it all. We trammed to the National Gallery where we were to meet Luke’s friend Robin, whose birthday it was. We were going to take a bus with all the birthday crowd out to Healsville, outside of Melbourne to go wine-tasting. And let me say, Melbourne goes on forever. It is such a huge freaking city, and all the suburbs are considered a part of Melbourne, so it takes approximately forever before one is actually considered outside the Melbourne city limits. I’m getting ahead of myself though…

Awkward & unnecessary run down the street #1:

Luke & I were running late. I know what all of you are thinking at this point: “Of course you’re running late. You’re Grae Worthington. You don’t make it on time to anything. Ever.” Well folks, perhaps it’s the springtime of my life, because I have TURNED OVER A NEW FREAKING LEAF. It was NOT my fault that were running late. So now that that’s settled, we can move on, and you all can go ahead and pipe down with your mental judgments.

The bus was supposed to leave at 10:50 AM, and we arrived down the block at 11:05 AM. The whole bus was waiting on us. We break out a full sprint, and spill into the bus sweaty & disheveled, looking on sheepishly into the 40 pairs of punctual eyes. They actually gave us a round of applause. But it wasn’t the kind of round of applause that makes you feel good about yourself. Not the kind that says, “Hey, congrats for being a team player. You’re an important and vital member of this group.” It was the kind that said “You guys are real d-bags for being late.”

Anyway we carried on with the bus ride, and I got to see Melbourne in all of its Aussie glory, as we drove away from the city. The architecture is really amazing around here. There’s such an amalgamation of Modern, Art Deco, & Gothic. It’s pretty neat to see it all thrown in together. We had about an hour long drive out through what was the Melbournian version of the drive to Charlottesville. I felt quite nostalgic for home as we rode through the mountain-flanked farmland. It was such a warm & bright afternoon. The grass shone like gold beneath the cattle & goats wandered aimlessly across the hilly landscape. It was just too picturesque for words.

We arrived at our lunch venue atop Mt. Rael. I genuinely cannot do the view justice. It was one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The piercing blue of the sky, the sheen of the bronze & gold fields, the tendrils of jungle-like flora that spread themselves across the valleys… It was, in a word, idyllic. We had lunch on the back porch, overlooking all the amazing scenery, but unfortunately suffered the attacks of several wasps. Luke was stung on the palm, & I was swatting them with my napkin between bites of baby zucchini risotto. I was surrounded by doctors. Luke met Robin in med school, so the majority of the people there were additionally from their med school class. Needless to say, it made for interesting and science-ridden discussion. I was told by the Orthopedic surgeon next to me that I was the most flexible person he had ever seen. He ended up bending my hands and fingers around for the entire table to display the hyperextension. Basically, he was implying I belonged in a sideshow. Haha ok, he didn’t quite say that, but I was kind of blown away by the ridiculousness of it all. I didn’t realize I was that flexible, I guess. Meh. The birthday girl’s father across from me was originally from Arizona, so it was really nice to hear an American accent again for a bit. Homesick!

We hopped aboard the bus (again, the last to board. awesome.), and made our way to Yarra Warra Vineyard. We first toured the adjacent art gallery; all works pertaining to Australian brush fires. A bit of a debbie-downer after everyone had gotten up a nice buzz at lunch haha. It was really fascinating for me, not just as an Art History nerd, but as an American. Last year in Victoria (the state in which Melbourne lies) on February 6th, was the worst natural disaster to strike Australia, if I’m not mistaken. Brushfires are a yearly occurrence in Australian summer, but last year they got out of control. A couple hundred were killed, & an incredible amount of buildings, schools, forests, and farmland was destroyed. They have termed the anniversary “Black Saturday.” The emotional climate with regards to Black Saturday is eerily similar to that of the US, post 9/11. Granted they were very different events, but the shock, the trauma, & the struggle of grieving nations do resemble one another in a significant way. I was simply seeing it through their eyes.

It was a fascinating and beautiful exhibit, but I wouldn’t say an ideal exhibit to be paired with a winery per se, ha. The wine tasting followed the tour of the gallery, and again I was struck by the sheer beauty of the landscape. I will have lots of pictures to post, don’t you fret, little ones!

A sleepy drive back to the city, dinner in Chinatown, and we made our way to see the stand up comedian Tim Keye. It was a much smaller venue this time, but I think it was more enjoyable. He definitely appealed to my absurd sense of humor, reading off lists titled “animals I could fit into” “animals I could fit into, but only with help,” etc etc. Too good, really. Definitely look him up.

We finished up the evening watching the second half of the Aussie rules football game- Collingwood Magpies v. Hawthorne Hawks. We sat in Federation Square, which reminded me a lot of the Piazza in Philadelphia- lots of restaurants & bars, an urban social hub, with a giant screen on which to watch big sporting events. I felt as though I was really being inundated with Melbournian culture.

Today all I accomplished was consuming a large brunch, & lying around like a lazy P.O.S. but frankly I’m okay with that. It’s been a busy few days.

Last night I had a BIG laugh at Luke’s expense. He used the word “purse” in a sentence, and I was immediately taken back to my childhood, and flooded with memories of “The Rescuers Down Under.” I don’t know how or why, but as SOON as he said it, I distinctly remembered a scene from the film, although it’s probably been a decade since I’ve seen it. I will share it with you now. Pardon the poor quality, mates.

Love love love to you all. Missing you all like crazy.

Just a picture someone took of me yesterday, no big deal.

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