Busy Past Few Days

I’ve been busy for the past few days and hence the reason for the lack of blog posts from me this week so far. I recently bought a first-person shooter (FPS) game (like Half-Life 2 and Unreal Tournament) called Killzone for my PlayStation 2 and I’ve been spending the past few nights getting used to playing FPS using the PS2 controller. It’s definitely more difficult to target an enemy using the controller on PS2 than using a more familiar keyboard and mouse on the PC. I’m slowly becoming more proficient with it. And when I wasn’t playing Killzone, I was watching TV and DVDs with Raquel.

There wasn’t really much of anything to write about these past few days anyway except for last Sunday when Raquel and I and a bunch of other Filipinos in Melbourne decided to go on a trip to the Werribee Open-Range Zoo west of Melbourne which would be followed by lunch/dinner at Milkshake’s house in Werribee.

The people who confirmed that they will be coming along for the trip were Milkshake, SilentSentinel, Chinita, Chinita’s cousin J, Irar01, Raquel and myself. RChristian wasn’t able to go because he had a final exam the day before and probably needed a rest. SS’s friend S wasn’t able to go because he had work that day. Irar01 nearly didn’t commit to coming along for the trip but decided to go in the 11th hour to get out of a trip with her relatives.

It was agreed that we first meet at the Werribe train station at 10.30 am. From there, we’ll be taking our car and Milkshake’s car to the Werribee zoo. Since SS lives in South Yarra, Raquel and I picked him up on the way to Werribee from St Kilda. We were able to get to Werribee before the designated 10.30 am meeting time. Milkshake was already there to welcome us to his hometown.

If I recall correctly, Chinita and J arrived at the station at around 10:45 am by train. It couldn’t be helped though as there were only train services every 30 minutes on Sundays. Miss the one you want to take and you’ll have to wait half-an-hour for the next one (if that one doesn’t come late or get cancelled). Unfortunately, Irar01 missed the bus that will take her to the Footscray train station and then missed the train when she did get to the Footscray station. She was the last one to get there at around 11:30.

It wasn’t a big deal though because she kept us informed of what was happening so we knew that she was still coming. That also allowed us some time to walk around the Werribee shops while waiting for her. And that led to some impromptu shopping by the girls at a Rivers Clearance Super Store. I was tempted to buy these really cool cheap pair of shoes but unfortunately, they didn’t have a pair my size. Ah, well. Maybe next time.

When Irar01 reached Werribee, we divided the group into two. Irar01 and Chinita rode in Milkshake’s car while SS and J rode in our car. Milkshake, being from Werribee, led the way to the zoo with me following behind him closely. It wasn’t really far from the station as we got there a few minutes later.

We got at the Werribee Open Range Zoo just in time for a Safari Tour. The tour took us around the zoo’s open-range areas that represented grasslands from different parts of the world such as Africa, America, Mongolia and, of course, Australia in a “Safari Bus.” Each area featured animals that live in the habitat that the area represented.

The bus tour also included a guide that pointed out all the animals to us along the way. She also mentioned additional information about each animal we saw and even passed on to us some artifacts like the hair of a camel or a broken-off horn of an eland for example. It was a very informative and educational 50-minute ride around the zoo’s open plains.

However, food and drinks were prohibited during the actual tour so even though I was already very hungry (it was already past 1:00 pm then), I couldn’t even take a bite of something to eat. Also, whenever the bus sped off, it would kick up a lot of dust and fine dirt into the air which made it difficult for me to breathe. By the time the tour ended, I had a splitting headache and an overwhelming urge to have lunch.

Milkshake told us not to eat anything for he had something special waiting back in his house. Just to satisfy my hunger, I bought something light to eat at the Meerkat Bistro in the zoo. Actually, I ordered fish and chips so it really couldn’t be considered light but Raquel shared the dish with me so that meant I only ate half-an-order of fish and chips. SS also bought fish and chips and ate with us. The others who didn’t eat got their cameras out and took lots of photos of the cute meerkats that’s just beside the Meerkat Bistro.

Afterwards, we took Pula Reserve Walking Trail walk around the zoo which, according to the zoo map, takes 40-minutes. It was still worth taking the walk even though we already took the Safari bus tour earlier. We saw some lions up close from behind a glass wall. There were also some interesting structures there, like an African village, to enhance the feeling of being in a safari.

The last stop-off point for us was the souvenir shop called the Safari Shop. We browsed around for some time in there but ended up not buying much. I think the girls may have bought some postcards but that was it.

Next, Milkshake led our two-car caravan to the Victoria State Rose Garden. Too bad it is autumn now in Australia and so the roses weren’t all in full bloom when we visited. Still, there were some roses worth taking photos of so we stuck around.

After some group pics were taken, we all left for Milkshake’s home in Werribee where we were treated to some traditional karaoke sing-along. However, everybody was still shy with each other so we ended up not singing at all. The ackwardness was at least broken when Milkshake told us that it was time to eat the prepared meal.

And whoa was it a meal! It was a feast! There were lechong manok (roasted chicken), caldereta (beef stew), pancit (dry noodles), lumpia (vegetable spring rolls), melon and watermelon pieces, and pasta salad. It was like food served at a fiesta back in the Philippines! I had to thank Milkshake’s Mom for the wonderful feast!

For a moment, it really felt like we were back home in the Philippines again in the company of Pinoy friends. Milkshake’s house with the way it was decorated also reminded me of a typical Pinoy home and it added to illusion of being back home.

After the marvelous early dinner, everybody was so full from the meal that nobody had the energy to sing. We just ended up talking to each other planning for the next trip. Nothing concrete was agreed upon but we’re all pretty sure we could agree on something in the future.

We went home early because we figured we needed the rest for the next day is a work day. Milkshake drove Irar01, Chinita and J as far as Footscray while Raquel and I dropped SS in South Yarra.

When we got home, my headache worsened and I became very sick. Nothing a short nap didin’t cure though. So, even though there was that bad end to the day, I’d say the day as a whole had been a great experience!

Published in: on May 26, 2005 at 9:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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