Sunken Ships and Blackberry Nip

Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
Trip End Nov 31, 2005

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Flag of Australia  ,
Thursday, September 1, 2005

On our third day on the bus we pack a whole bunch of random activities in. First, a pit stop at the Buchan Limestone Caves, specifically to run about in the hills looking for roos with joeys. We find a bunch on top of a hill and stalk the poor buggers until they stand still for photos, the little joey faces and feet poking oddly out from the pouches until the roos get scared and bound off. Then the joeys pop back in to enjoy the jouncing ride.

Next we drive down to the town of Lakes Entrance, where we note a huge crowd gathered at the local pier. While Laurence goes off to try his luck at fishing, Al and Rich and I sidle over to the crowd and find they're watching a crane pull a sunken sailboat out of the water beside the pier. There's no indication of why it went in, but the crowd seems fascinated, and judging by the numbers gathered on an early Thursday morning, this is the most exciting thing to happen to Lakes Entrance in years. Judging by Laurence's reaction to the tiny puffer fish he catches, it's the most exciting thing to happen to him in a long while, too.

Then we head up to a local winery for a bit of a taste-testing and lunch. The amusing proprietor of the place has us sign our names on maps of our home countries and scour for people we might know. He pulls out the old "I've got a cousin Canada you might know," line on me and just as I'm starting to politely say "Well it's a big place" he says "She lives in Ottawa now," and then I'm really going for a polite "That's a long way away," and then he says, "Name of Adrienne Clarkson? Using up a bunch of your tax money?" Oh, yeah. Well, then, I guess I do know of your cousin, if your cousin's the Governor General.

He pumps ten different types of wine into us plus something that tastes like a combination of blackberries and port. It's strong enough that it has to be tempered with a lashing of lemonade and we excitedly buy up a bottle of that and of the seven-dollar "backpacker white." At lunch Chris and Rika fight over the possible sexual orientation of our waiter.

That evening's destination is the town of Foster, where we're staying in a caravan park and having a BBQ feast. There's another Oz Experience bus there, coming from Melbourne, and we head out after dinner with them to the tiny local pub. There's about four other people in there when we arrive and start monopolizing the fantastic video jukebox which has just about every song you could ever imagine on it, which makes us all happy because we've already drunk the bottle of blackberry nip and we're ready to party! After the pub kicks us out we head back to the caravan---the one Al, Rich, Bryan and I are sharing---and crack open our wine only to find that everyone else from our bus AND the other bus wants to come in and join our party. There's only four chairs so suddenly ten people are peering over our shoulders while we attempt to play drunken cards. Do you guys mind? We're betting here! Finally we shoo them out to their own places and the night finishes when we run out of alcohol.
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