Reunion attendees arrived in Melbourne at various times during the week. Jenny arranged a wonderful Meet and Greet at the Hutong Peking Duck & Dumpling Bar. Because of a beneficial exchange rate, she was able to arrange a never-ending dinner of dumplings, egg rolls and scrumptious vegetables. We were all totally stuffed!
Jenny organized a cake from a local cake shop for Annie and asked for something Australian on it. They painted this enable plaque. Everyone was very impressed.
We met the bus on Thursday morning at 9:00 for a trip to the Ballarat Wildlife park. Many of us fed the kangaroos who wandered around the grounds. We were able to see a couple of new joeys who stuck close to their mothers. A koala was introduced for petting while the keeper held it. Along with wallabies, crocodiles, tortoises, snakes and eagles, there was much to see. Patrick, the Wombat, has been at the Ballarat wildlife park for a long time and is bought out on show each tour time for people to pat. Jenny couldn't remember how old he is.
After boarding the bus, Jenny took us to the Polled Hereford farm of friends Sue and Phil Gay. When Jenny told them we would be in Ballarat, they invited the entire group (24!) for an official Aussie Barbie. Other friends were enlisted to help out; imagine our surprise to discover Helen Metcalfe and her husband Cullen were friends of Sue and Phil Gay. The Metcalfes were in Shanghai in 1998 and 1999. Again, we were stuffed with amazing food, given a tour of their 100+ year old home, then piled back on the bus for a return to Melbourne.
Friday morning we headed to Red Hill Estate for a wine tasting and opportunity to stock up. A lunch at Merricks General Store was served: First platters of cured meats, olives, salmon and toasted breads followed by a choice of Monkfish, grilled steak filet or confit duck. We will all need diets after returning from this trip!