Published: August 10th 2010August 10th 2010
I wanted to get a better shot of this sweet train station we went to on the way back from the film festival, but I also didn't want to get hit by a car.
Well, I had to call this entry something cooler than "Week 3 at La Trobe." While that would have been accurate, it would have made it sound like this week was just more of the usual, which is only partially true.
First of all, I did end up going to the Melbourne International Film Festival. Marieke and an Australian guy named Nathan, who is also in our screenwriting class, went with me to see a British comedy called 'Wild Target' and have dinner in the city. The movie was about a hit-man who grows a conscience and consequently has to deal with the kleptomaniac girl he allowed to live, and Rupert Grint (the actor who plays Ron Weasley) is his aspiring apprentice. It was hilarious, and I'd say the whole experience was well worth the $17 ticket. (I was shocked at the price at first, but I guess normal cinema tickets here are about $15, so it's not that much more. All the same, this puts the evil monopoly prices of $8 or $9 at home in perspective... and explains why so many people here stream their movies online.) At any rate, this is the first of the things to
Apparently there's such a thing as a Wine Aroma Wheel. I think the art of wine appreciation is more complicated than most science.
which my title refers: movies. :-)
So the film festival was friday night. I spent most of the rest of the weekend doing homework, which would have been psychological torture if not for the fact that the novel I had to read was a really entertaining satire, and the ten pages I had to write were a screenplay. (I guess that's the upside to majoring in English Lit and Creative Writing.)
And the upside to studying abroad through the AustraLearn program is that they automatically sign us all up for this epic Down Under Program that has Australian experiences and activities for us several times throughout the semester.
Last week the event was a wine tasting dinner, which wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but I did find one kind of wine that I liked pretty well. It's called... let's see, I have to look it up... T'Gallant Cyrano Pinot Noir. (And I think that right there gives you a pretty good idea of how fancy of an affair this was.) They had wine tasting experts teaching us all kinds of stuff about what we were drinking, where it was from, and what food it goes well
I'm rather proud that I got a picture of this blue-tongued lizard when its tongue was out.
with. On that subject, they also let us try pan-fried crocodile, lamb kofta, grilled kangaroo, a pumpkin and fetta tart, and some other fancy-schmancy Australian food. I decided to be lame and not to try the oyster though, because 1) it looked gross and most people thought it tasted gross as well, and 2) I seem to recall that Dad is allergic to some kind of shellfish, and I'm not sure I want to find out the hard way whether I am too.
Anyway, after dessert (which was delicious chocolate cake), they gave us a quiz on a type of wine they hadn't told us anything about, and just by looking at it and tasting it, we were supposed to guess all kinds of things about it. Apparently I'm a lucky guesser, because out of a roomful of people who had probably actually drunk more than one sip of wine before that night, I made it to the final three. I'm glad I didn't win it though, because I wouldn't have enjoyed the prize much. It was yet another huge bottle of wine.
The second Down Under event was a reptile show, which I just came from this
Marieke and Chelsea, two of my fellow AustraLearners who are also in some of my classes.
evening. This is another of my favorite things: playing with animals. In some ways, it was your classic educational reptile show, where the handlers tell you about the animals and let you have a look at them up close. But they also told a lot of jokes and asked us to pretend we were six years old (that's their usual audience, which means the animals often get bitten by the kids, instead of the other way around) and it was a lot more entertaining and informal than I was expecting. Also, Snakebusters is the only group in the world that shows venomous snakes that have had their venom surgically removed (a procedure their boss came up with, apparently) which means they can hold several of the most dangerous snakes in the world in their bare hands and show them to us without having to worry about anyone dying. So that's a definite plus. The snakes are a lot friendlier as a result, too, because they don't have to be kept on the end of a stick and poked and prodded and milked all the time.
In addition to some of the deadliest Australian snakes, we got to meet some
Yes, those are two crocodiles on my head. :-)
freshwater crocodiles, blue-tongued lizards, green tree frogs from Queensland, normal-looking little frogs they caught outside here in Victoria today, and some huge pythons. I got to have most of these animals heaped on top of me all at once, which I have to say was a unique experience rather similar to walking on a planet with twice the gravitational pull of the Earth's. And I though one python was heavy... It made for a pretty sweet photo though. I would totally be Medusa if I could have snakes on me all the time. Pippin probably wouldn't get along with them too well, though.