Friday, November 7, 2008

Too damn busy

I had intended to post a nice long synopsis of my trip to Melbourne, but life has gotten hectic, and I realized that I owe you not only a travel update, but also an account of three wine nights and my scuba course. So:

1) Wine night, week 3 - Pinot Noir
I showed up late because I was caught in a group meeting. It turns out I actually do attend school here, although you probably had forgotten. Anyway, I didn't really like any of the wines, and REALLY didn't like the winner. I will post the winner soon, however, for the sake of the two of you who might actually care. The important part is mostly that I've figured out I don't like pinot. It tastes like stems to me.

2) Melbourne part I - Saturday 10/25 and Sunday 10/26
I had a fantastic weekend visiting Joyce, Dan and Rick who are all studying at Melbourne Business School. They picked me up from the airport and we drove out to Yarra Valley to go wine tasting. The first place we stopped was Punt Road, which had a beautiful view and very nice staff who let us sit outside and enjoy it while we tasted. I bought a bottle of the Chardonnay and one of the Botrytis Semillion desert wine, both of which are already gone. Yumm.

We also stopped at two more vineyards, where we met the very grumpy Bidelia, and played petanque. Finally, we stopped and had pizza at Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander. That place is big and filled with awesome food, and I'm so sad that I was too full to try their cute little lemon tarts.

The next day, we got a slow start which included a disastrous attempt at breakfast. If you go to Melbourne, do not eat at University Cafe. It's the only time any of us had ever canceled an order and left before eating. But it was still fun, because I was surrounded my people like Joyce, who declared with her usual effervescence "sorry I'm so cranky", and then laughed. We've decided that Joyce's brand promise is classy, bubbly and smart, in other words "champagne with a brain". Anyway, we would have been better served if we hadn't eaten anyway, as we headed to St. Kilda for a barbeque with some of the MBS exchange students. Toni and Flavio hosted, and fed us an amazing assortment of yumminess. We all kinda failed in our job though, as none of us could eat more than 1.5 of the three deserts.

3) Melbourne part 2 - AusBiotech
The two days after that I spent in the Melbourne Convention Center, at AusBiotech. It was a Biotech conference. Nuff said. Except, perhaps, that the Australian biotechnology industry is still developing.

4) Wine night, week 4 - Riesling / Halloween
We celebrated Halloween with a special Friday edition of wine night. It was yummy. Notice my descriptions of the wine are getting shorter. I promise I will update with the winners as soon as Casey (the keeper of the master spreadsheet) gets back from his trip to the Melbourne Cup. Sara, Nicola and I went out to Argyle after (kidnapping Ian on the way) and danced our butts off. The most entertaining part of the night was watching Nicola getting hit on by a band of merry men. I'm impressed anyone was able to convince that many guys to wear green tights. But maybe there's safety in numbers. I REALLY have to get Sara's photos of that.

5) Scuba
I got certified. It was fun, and interesting, and far less scary than I imagined. But the certification process was kinda boring, and even though we did 4 dives, I didn't see anything that interesting under water. Partly because by the time it got to be Sunday morning and we were on our third day of scuba school I was so exhausted that I forgot to put in my contact lenses before heading to the dive site. So I was diving without being able to see much. Add to that the low visibility (5m), and I feel pretty confident I'm not going to surprise myself and freak out.

6) Wine night 5 - Cabernet
We took advantage of the nice weather yesterday and had a bbq at Coogee Beach. José cooked some fabulous lamb on the 'barbie', and much fun was had until we figured out that the barbecues are on a timer and shut off at eight prompt. Which meant we wound up with a big plate of half-cooked sausages. But the wine we tasted was yummy across the board, so that was good. Now I know I like Cabernet better than Pinot Noir. See, I am learning something in Australia!

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