Monday, April 29, 2013

Grandma's Irish Kangaroo

As you can see, I'm quite behind. The last few days in Australia have been a real whirlwind. I hope to catch you up over the coming days on just what happened. I would like to also expand more on other stories and reflections from the trip.

I spent Friday spending quality time with Laura. As I've mentioned in previous posts, Laura is Shane's girlfriend. She was an incredible host and friend to me while I was in Australia. She's been following my blog for my entire journey, so I'd like to say a big thank you to Laura!

We started off the day by heading into downtown Sydney for a little shopping. I tend to be opposed to tourist shops, so I was looking for a few items that I could use in everyday life that would remind me of my trip. I found a cute ice cream scoop and finger nail brush. Neither item is glamorous, but I was in need of both. We also scoured pajama shops, but I couldn't find anything that I couldn't live without.

While in the pajama shop, Laura's friend Joan called us. She was down the street at the train station. We met her and together we walked to a local bar called Grandma's. The bar is located the basement of a building and is complete with doilies (instead of coasters) to set your drink on. We pulled up three stools to the bar where the friendly bartender started to make our drinks. I ordered a bison grass vodka with ice and a slice of lime. If you haven't tried this flavor of spiced vodka, you definitely should. The interesting thing though was the ice. I asked for a "little" ice. Ice in Australia comes in little blocks, so the bartender put my block of ice on a cutting board and proceeded to cut it down to a reasonable size with a knife.

A side note on the bars in Sydney: I quickly learned that Sydney and Melbourne are rival cities in every way. One of those ways in particular is the bar scene. Melbourne is known to be a foodie town, with tiny unique local bars that can be found in dark alleyways. In response, this style of bar is popping up in a big way all over Sydney. In my 10 days in Sydney, I went to at least 6 bars made in this style.

After a few drinks, Shane and Joan's husband Lindsey arrived and we headed to dinner at a local steak place. Every person got a different cut of meat for dinner. At Shane's recommendation, I tried the kangaroo. I was expecting something along the lines of the reindeer that I tried in Norway. Unfortunately, I think the kangaroo wasn't cooked quite right as it tasted off to everyone at the table. Luckily, this meant that everyone else at the table gave me a piece of their meat. In the end, I got to try 6 different cuts (5 of which were beef).

We ended the evening at an Irish pub. The pub had live music. It was reasonably decent as compared to just about every other live music I heard in Australia. Julie warned me in Melbourne that musicians in Australia sing both terribly and way, way too loud. I had hoped that she'd be wrong but by all accounts she was mostly right.

As a side note, Joan and Lindsey are Irish. Thinking back on my journey and my extended time in Ireland, I believe they are the first Irish people I spent time with. It was very nice to meet them and to learn more about their home.

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