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?