Monday, December 22, 2008

Authentic Australian Experience

In between tri's and Christmas parties, I've been trying to fit in a few more Authentic Australian Experiences.

First, I went to the Eumundi Markets with my friend Julie. The markets are about an hour and half north of Brissie. According to the website they are "World Famous.". But I have it on good advice that their heyday was actually 30 years ago. Still, they were huge. Mostly arty, but also commercial. The biggest surprise there was the truly fantastic Mexican food. Sure, it's by Australian standards, but still, nice thick chips, real guac, pulled beef. I was happily surprised.

On the way home from the Eumundi Markets, we stopped at the big pineapple. Large roadside attractions (see the big lobster from my Great Ocean Road trip) are an Aussie icon. The pineapple is big - 3 stories tall. But in the end was a bit of a disappointment. It's free to climb up and the inside is filled with diaramas of a pineapples trip from the farm to the can. But there was no info on the pineapple itself. When was it built, who built it? It also was a bit of a let down that they'd clearly built this large parking lot and a special bridge across the highway to access it, and it was empty. There might have been 8 people there. Just felt a bit sad.

From there we stopped at the Abbey Museum. It's a 3 room museum, and we were the 3rd and 4th visitors for the day. The man at the front refused to allow me to pay the full price admission of $8. Instead I got the student rate of $5.50. The museum was surprisingly good. It followed civilization from cavemen times to the Victorian era. And had some pretty impressive artefacts (Mary Queen of Scot's shoe!). I am a bit more skeptical now, I mean, how does a 3 room museum in a Queensland country town get the shoe of a tragic queen? Still at $5.50 this was better than the pineapple.

Finally, I got to take part in an Authentic Aussie Surf Carnival. As part of our Christmas celebrations, my tri team broke down into country based teams: Australia, New Zealand, Rest of World. I brought my tiny American flags. Who knew how useful those would be? Some people got assigned new homelands since the Rest of World (or as I like to think of them, the American) team would be lacking. We did an ocean swim, a boogie board contest, beach flags (sprints, starting lying face down in the sand). It was a great experience. Picts are here.


jeff December 22, 2008 at 12:30 PM  

"When was it built, who built it?"

Their creators forever unknown, these mysterious marvels of human ingenuity speak to us across eons: Stonehenge, Easter Island, and the Giant Pineapple.

(Even if it was sad and empty, you made the right call: When given the option to visit giant roadside attractions, err on the side of potential awesome.)

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