Two Yanks Downunder

A blog about the experiences of two Americans on their first visit to the fabulous continent of Australia

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Monday August 14th (Now with more stuff!)

Naval Leaves or Don Plays Ketchup in OZ from MN

Don’s last few days in OZ promised to be busy ones as we had filled up the free time in our schedule with a variety of social gatherings.

A last view of our little gated community street for Don (ws):

(The Cappaccino strip in Fremantle)

For Monday, Wendy had class preparations to complete for her Ethics course later that afternoon and then afterwards our landlord John Lynch was to come by that evening at 6:30 p.m. and the three of us were going out to dinner. It was still early in the morning in the wilds of Western Australia, so the big question was would anything get in the way of these plans? It was soon clear that the U.S. Navy would not be interfering.

While Wendy toiled on the computer, Don witnessed the departure of the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk when he was returning to the Henry Street residence from a grocery trip to Coles. The carrier steamed out of port at quite a brisk pace with far, far fewer sailor and officers visible on the deck than when it arrived the previous Thursday. Don of course wondered what happened to all the sailors? Perhaps some of our men and women in uniform had decided to stay behind? With places like Fremantle or Perth to explore, it could have been tempting for lonely and adventurous sailors to go A.W.O.L. Warning: not meant as words of encouragement for bad habits! Do not be late!

Wendy finished off her class preps and Don prepared a lunch for himself and Wendy. After she left for class, he wrote about their weekend trip for their blog. When she returned a couple of hours later, they took care of some household chores and then got ready to go out.

While Wendy was teaching her afternoon class, Don was preparing for all of our students to arrive at the Henry Street residence to celebrate August birthdays and February half-birthdays with ice cream and cake. Plastic plates, plastic ware and plastic cups were all brought out of careful storage and placed in the staging areas in the kitchen and dining areas. Cold drinks, cakes and three flavors of ice cream made their way to the counter.

This time, Zach and Kelsey were the celebrants, so Wendy had an easier time of it with writing names on the cake she baked (there were seven celebrants last month!). Since Zach’s actual birthday fell on the day of the upcoming Thursday Ethics class, he tried to barter with Wendy to have class cancelled, or at least to give him walk. The reader can use their imagination and try to figure out what kind of answer he received. Don thought Zach should have just sent the Zachbot 2006 to class while and not said a word to her while the real Zach could go out.

While Don was helping everyone to get their plates and bowls full of treats, the students turned the tables on him by revealing that they had decided to add a farewell to Don component to the group celebration! In fact, they had passed the hat around and purchased a Stella Floonie for Don at the Fremantle Markets that past weekend. Don graciously thanked one and all for their generosity and said how rewarding it had been to be a part of the program even if only for a few weeks. He noted that having another Floonie to take home to MN would help remind him of good times in OZ.

Mass quantities of treats were consumed and then our group was off to the P & O to prepare a group dinner feast. We were invited, but already had made dinner plans with our landlord John Lynch.

So, in the wake of the mass departure, Don and Wendy got intensely busy cleaning up before John Lynch could arrive and see any chaos or disarray in his place.

John Lynch showed up on time and Don met him at the door with a mock look of concern and said: “Oh John, didn’t you get Wendy’s telephone call?” He was quite startled and was clearly wondering if we had canceled on him, so Don had to confess that he was just having a bit of fun. In spite of having been told that Australian humor tends to be dry, almost all of Don’s attempts to use this type of humor have not been understood by local residents. When I later mentioned this to John, he informed me that Australians do not expect Americans to have a dry sense of humor, that we are also known for lacking a sense or understanding of irony. I guess that this will have to go uncommented upon here for now.

With quite a bit of effort, we talked John into coming upstairs and having a chat and a beer before we sought out a restaurant in Freo.

Once we did set out, we wound up at a place that John knew would be open on Mondays (when many other places are closed) since it catered to a substantial business clientele; this was the Essex which turned out to specialize in sea food. Wendy had prawns prepared in a way that only she could describe and John and I indulged in sumptuously prepared fish with accompanying vegetables and salads. John had a bottle of good white wine brought to the table and opened up and so we were forced to take a share of that as well. Dessert consisted of a plate with slices of a variety of fresh fruits: strawberries, pears, apples, and oranges. There was some really good conversation too, but since I cannot recall it so well after nearly ten days, that can be kept confidential by default.

After dinner Wendy wanted a coffee, so we stopped in at Ginos. Christine Sullivan our liaison had recommended the place as the best breakfast spot in town, but was there was not even the tiniest bit of room for food, we had beverages instead.

The decor was fantastic, with lots of beautiful art on the wall behind John and a nice flashy counter with pictures of sail boats
onthe wall near the cash register. Wendy plans to go back as the atmosphere pleased her greatly.

It was a little sad to walk home that night, knowing that Don would be leaving all this behind in less than 48 hours! (ws)

The evening ended with John strongly encouraging Don to return to Australia for the last few weeks of the semester in spite of the cost and the long, long distances to travel.


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