Friday, July 17, 2009

Partying with the Paca

What with holidays and work and eucalypt open houses, I was just far too busy to take any time off, however, my good friend Shona volunteered to make up for my neglect and head out for the first ever Minions Downunder gathering. Let me hand over to Shona...

It took us all week to decide on the most appropriate location for the first Minions Downunder meeting - it had to be easy to find, on the route to Melbourne and be at least slightly interesting. Hence, Kiama, and its 'famous' blowhole. I vaguely said to Paca - just come off the highway and keep turning left, there will be lots of signposts, you can't miss it. See the potential flaw in that plan? No, Paca does know his left from his right, that's not it. Yup, no signposts. The biggest tourist attraction in the area and it has no signposts. This did not surprise Paca, with his 24-hour experience of driving in Australia. However, the 'keep turning left' advice turned out to be remarkably sage and we managed to meet up.

Alas, the famed blowhole was not blowing, in fact, it was barely breathing. I did, however, manage to photograph Paca in front of a little puff:

We muttered about the so-called 'Little Blowhole', which supposedly gives a better show in moderate seas, but that idea got no further than muttering. As it was completely freezing, we completed our five-minute tour of the local non-event and headed for lunch at that wondrous cultural spot, the local RSL. For more detail on that, and Paca's side of the story, go here.

We fought valiantly through our massive portions (you're in the country now, Mr Shona kept telling us), while catching up - or learning about one another, because, as Paca pointed out we know more about one another's WIPs than our actual lives. There was no alcohol, alas, because we all had to drive afterwards. But it was wonderful to meet Paca in real life; we all had such a nice time. Princess, who is as sassy as Princess Koala, was not 100% well and thus was more whingeing than amusing, but Soccer Boy conducted himself fairly well, even though there was no soccer ball in sight.

In retrospect, when Paca mentioned perhaps going bushwalking, we may have regaled him with a few too many spider and snake stories, to the point where we realised in the car on the way home that he will probably never step off Australian pavement. Honestly, some people do survive! Even that British guy we were talking about at lunch, who headed out with no phone, no food, no water, no map, no idea where he was going and, oh yeah, didn't leave a message to say where he was going. He made it!

Once we had parted, sniff, sniff, and Paca had driven off in his Flying Pea, we had a quick kick of the ball in the park, and then decided, seeing as we were here, we might go and check out the Little Blowhole. Guess what. That one was signposted. And guess what (Paca, don't cry) - action!

See, look, the sun even came out. And, for little people fans (Robin):

No, Soccer Boy is not unusually short, he's standing in a hole for some reason! Note beautiful necklaces, a gift from Paca. They are made from a kind of seed, the name of which I have completely forgotten, but perhaps he will remind me in a comment :-). I told Soccer Boy he could take his to school for news, but he said: 'no way, it's much too precious' - so, Paca, I think he liked it!

So, who's up for the next Minions Downunder meeting?


pacatrue said...

Oh I see how this works. You get rid of me and THEN you go see the fireworks.

Shona's account is quite solid. I sure wish you could have been there, McK.

Those are kukui nut leis. Also known as a candlenut because there's tons of oil in the nut itself. I'm glad they liked them and I hope the dolphin mac nuts didn't cause too much trouble, for instance, if there were only three or some such.

I'm headed to Canberra tomorrow, and then flying out of Sydney on Sunday evening.

Robin S. said...

Great pics, McK! (

And isn't that always the way - the blowhole comes after the fact!)

And thanks for the kid pic - darling! That little one you posted before of Princess walking to school the first day with her little backpack just about made me cry. (Don't tell anybody - I'm actually an emotional sap.)

I'm totally up for a land down under meetup- don't know when. But please do let ne know when you guys are going to Scotland next - that one I could make, no problem. And I bet we could get lots of the rest of the Brit Pack together as well.

Chris Eldin said...

Wow! Oh, oh, oh!!!! This must've been a hoot!!!!!!
I'm so glad you guys got together. It's really nice meeting people over the blogs who you click with, and then have the opportunity to meet in person! I was smiling and laughing the whole way through your post.
Most awesome!!!! Shona is such a great hostess. You're lucky she writes for you and also takes care of your friends.

Also LOL about the snakes and spiders!!! I spewed coffee on the part about not getting off the sidewalk!

Chris Eldin said...

And those two kids are adorable!!! Lil koalas...

fairyhedgehog said...

Those are wonderful photos especially of the little people, who are gorgeous.

How about a Down Under Minions in London meet?

Precie said...

London? Did someone say London? Pencil me in for June 2012. :)

I'd love to see Australia. Sounds like the Minion meet was quite lovely, regardless of the blowhole's antics (or lack thereof).

And I love the kidling pic!

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'd love to meet Downunder. I have other friends down there, too. So many trips, so little time (and money). Someday...

We have friends that want us to go to Vietnam with them only she's pregnant now and they're not planning on going for a little while.

He's standing in a hole? How fun is that. Greta pics!

Robin S. said...

I'm with FH. Brit Pack - extended-and-from-down-under-version. London, 2010.

I'll bring the white wine.

No waiting, Precie, girl. Come sooooooner.

McKoala said...

Oh, Paca, now did you think the chocolates would ever be shared with the children? Canberra is a driving challenge in itself - good luck with that one and hope your flight home is quiet and comfy!

Robin and other minion travellers, there was a vague scheme for us to go to Scotland in October this year, but the new eucalypt purchase has probably brought an end to that. However, Mr K is still keeping an eye on flights for something super cheap, so I'll let you know if anything transpires.

Chris, yes that Shona is a funny one. I'm so lucky she saves me the trouble and allows me to be plain mean. No writing updates from you, I see...

Robin S. said...

OK, McK. If there's any 2010 transpiration, let us know...I can fly over on somebody else's plane, and Sylvia could maybe fly over on her own, and lots are already there.

I'll be crossing my fingers for the Mr. K's planning.

pjd said...

I could borrow the corporate jet for a junket like that, I bet.

Never been to Australia. I hope I get there some day.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Checking in, Oh mighty clawed one.

3 more chapters edited and 122 new words of a new poem (that I did wind up posting on my blog).

Been a busy weekend with SCBWI-LA stuff (board meeting and all), but I'm terrified of the claws and being made to post my abject apologies on my blog, so I diligently plied my, um, applied myself to the task at hand.

Aniket said...

Lovely pics McK.

You have adorable kids. :)

I'm officially confused. I thought you were Shona. This secret identity thingy is killing me. :)

Soon I'll have MPD and you'll find SpacemanSpiff blogging instead of me. He is the more meaner nastier version. :P

Am glad to see you are having so mych fun. Missed you over at Clarity though. Yours was one of my favorites the last time around.

sylvia said...

Great, great photos.

And I'd love a meet-up. I wish I could afford to go down-under but Scotland is definitely within my financial range.

The leis are so interesting. But if soccer boy is like MY boy, telling him there's tons of oil in the nut itself means those nuts are about to get cracked open!

McKoala said...

pjd, how many people does the corporate jet take? How about a Minions Up In the Air meet up? We can even provide our own pilot, eh, Sylvia, mind you, no drinking wine for you... BTW, I think the necklace is only the shells, guess somebody's son already got to them!

Hi Aniket! Thank you for the compliment - I just couldn't do the competition this time. I didn't even read. Just too demanding on too little time. As for the identity, it is my aim to confuse, so that's working then!

Aniket said...

Oh its working great... :)

McK works for me just great. I don't like the whiny Bruce Wayne anyway. Now Batman, he is a the dark knight. Though he is still nothing compared to the Joker but you got my point. ;)