Archive for the ‘Australian Center for the Moving Image’ Category

March of the Penguins

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Thankfully the next day our flight wasn’t leaving at some un godly hour, instead we got to actually see sunlight before boarding the shuttle to the airport. We had a lazy morning packing and getting checked out of our rooms until it was time to meet the shuttle, which showed up over thirty minutes late due to some road construction delays. When we got to the airport we learned that our flight had been delayed too. Dad, who had spent two hours sitting on the runway at LAX with Julie due to a Qantas delay was growing quite impatient with this routine (not that it takes much to make him impatient) and he said “ You know I could work for Qantas. I would just have to be able to say, sorry for the delay. “

Eventually we did get onto our flight and once we arrived in Melbourne it was much chillier than it had been in Cairns. Since it was getting close to the end of the day we didn’t have any time to explore museums, so instead we checked into our rooms and headed down to the hotel bar for a light dinner and of course mom and dad got drinks, thus continuing the “Lapointes Get Hammered Tour.” After dinner Julie and I gathered up some $1 and $2 coins and headed to the Internet kiosk in the lobby to catch up on our facebook news feeds and check our email before heading up to bed.

Even though our tour of Phillips Island didn’t start till 1pm the following day, we had decided that we would get up early the next morning and spend the day exploring the city. So we got up the next day around 9am, had a quick breakfast at a cafe we found near our hotel and then headed towards Federation Square, which is the center of downtown near where all the museums are. I wanted to take everyone to the Australian Center for the Moving Image, a free and very interactive museum that I had really enjoyed when I was in Melbourne, and I thought that even Dad and Julie who have very little patience for museums, might enjoy this one. We arrived at the museum around 9:30am and since it didn’t open till 10 Dad and Mom explored the area around federation square while Julie and I sat at a table in the square to take advantage of the free wifi. Around ten we headed inside the museum and consulted one of the docents as to what exhibits were on for that day. Dad couldn’t have said more than three words to this woman when she asked “So what part of Ireland are you from?” In the United States people ask him if he is from Australia, and apparently Australians think he sounds like he is from Ireland. I don’t see why a Boston/New England accent is so hard to place but once even in Logan Airport in Boston someone asked him where he was from.

Interacting with some street art on the way to Federation Square

What is happening here? Art is happening here.

Car from Mad Max, Dad was pretty excited about this

Can Can dress from Moulin Rouge

 

After spending a few hours wandering through the museum we ventured back outside to a sunnier day than we had left, as it had been rainy and overcast when we had woken up. Given the pleasant change in weather I decided that we should check out some of the street art that Melbourne is so famous for, so we headed over to Hoiser Lane, one of the most famous alleys in Melbourne. Last time I was in Melbourne Seth, Jordan, Lyndsay and I had spent easily 30 minutes carefully examining and gawking at all the amazing works of art we found there. Mom, Dad and Julie were quite content just to walk through it at a normal pace and tell me it was cool. Another thing that Melbourne is famous for is its many hidden alley ways as they hold art, galleries, cafes, and lots of shopping outlets. I steered us towards one where I knew we could get some great burgers for lunch. After eating we headed back up towards our hotel to meet up with the shuttle that would take us to Phillips Island.

Healthy burgers for lunch. Dad and I both got Veggie burgers which were incredible.

More street art

 

Phillips Island is  a small island that is located 140 km southeast from the city of Melbourne and is approximately 10,000 hectares in side. In addition to the town of Newhaven, which has a population of 428 people, the islands other residents all live on the Phillips Island Nature Park. Wombats, koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, parrots, birds of prey, and reptiles can all be found here, roaming free, but the most famous inhabitants of this park are the Little Penguins which nest there and come ashore in groups every night to do so.

Before reaching Phillips Island we made two other stops. The first of which was a petting zoo where Dad had his first real life encounter with a kangaroo. He seemed slightly less than amused, but mom seemed to really enjoy herself, although she was a bit timid at first to feed them since they can be a bit grabby.

Mom feeding a kangaroo

Dad staring it down

He gave in. They are so soft.

wombats- they bite!

After leaving the petting zoo our next stop was a koala sanctuary. By the time we got there it had started to rain, and since it was a bit chilly out, all the koalas were bundled up into balls sitting in the forks of trees sleeping. I can’t say I blame them. It was a rather miserable day to be outside. So that was somewhat disappointing. But I did manage to spot one of these:

A kookaburra! Do not be fooled by the cute exterior, these things make an obnoxious amount of noise and they are LOUD.

Roughly another hour on the bus found us at Phillips Island about an hour before the penguins were expected to begin coming ashore. We wandered around the visitor center which was buzzing with activity. They had a fairly good exhibit on penguins that showed the different types of penguins and talked all about the breeding and social habits of the fairy penguins that nested on the island. It was all very well done. They even had some nesting boxes with little viewing holes in them and you could see some penguins that had not ventured into the ocean for the day. Around 6:30 it had gotten dark enough for the penguins to come out, and so we headed down to sit on the bleachers lining the shore. It was a cold and windy evening and it was still lightly drizzling. Mom, Dad, Julie and I huddled together to try and stay warm, but I don’t think any of us were really dressed to be sitting on the beach in the rain in the middle of the winter so we were cold.

 

While we waited the park rangers explained that every night the number of penguins that come ashore varies a great deal due to the moon being out and tides and such. They have seen as few as 20 and as many as 2,000 in a single evening. Since the moon was full that night we were told not to expect a huge number, because this would increase visibility for predators thus making the penguins a bit more timid about coming out onto the beach. The penguins have had a rough time in the past few decades with the introduction of species not native to Australia, like foxes and feral cats as they have taken a dent out of the population. Penguins can only have one egg at a time, but they have survived somehow. We kept hearing them referred to as “determined little birds” and they really are.

 

We shivered and waited for about 15 minutes before we saw the first penguin emerge from the water. It is unusual to see only one, as they typically come ashore in small groups of four or five called rafts. They do this because when you are a tiny little penguin there are many predators out to get you and there is safety in numbers. We watched this lone little penguin come out of the water and timidly make his way out of the surf until he was almost halfway up the beach and then he broke into a waddling run to get to the low lying bush where he would be better protected from birds and such. The ranger had told us that we should only spend half our time on the shore as once the penguins had come out of the water they could be better observed further up the beach socializing and coming home to their mates. We saw that first one, and then about two small rafts of five or six before the rain really started to pick up and we decided we had enough and were ready to head inside. As we did we saw some of the penguins waddling up beside us.

Since the penguins can be easily startled, we were not permitted to take pictures, so here are some that I stole from the Phillips Island Penguin Park website:

 

We got this close

Totally could have reached out and touched one

ADORABLE. DO WANT.

 

By the time we got back to the visitor center we were cold, wet, and somewhat disappointed. While the penguins we did see were adorable I think we had all been expecting to see a few more than the twelve or so we ended up seeing.

Dad said “I’m gonna tell people that there were so many penguins that we had to walk on them to get back to the visitor center. The sea was blackened by penguins.”

The four of us all got a very overpriced cup of hot chocolate in the visitor center before getting back on the bus and headed back into the city.

No running over penguins please

An Extra Hour in Melbourne

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Waking up to face the day on our last day in Melbourne was difficult. We were all groggy and tired from our long night out at Eurotrash. Regardless of this, we still had to be checked out of our rooms by ten, so we dragged ourselves out of bed, dressed and started to pack up our belongings. Lyndsay had gotten out my laptop the night before to play music while we were getting ready to go out, so I had to pull it back out and turn it off. When I did I was surprised to find that the clock on my laptop said 8:08am and not 9:08 am like my watch and my cellphone were telling me. When I brought this to the attention of the group Jordan was the first to say “O shit, daylight savings time!”

We deliriously debated this for a few minutes, but it was too wonderful a miracle for any of us to believe it was true, so we sent Jordan out to the front desk to ask what time it was. He came back and confirmed that our miracle was in fact reality. We all sat in stunned silence for about a minute before Seth announced that he was going back to bed. We all followed suit and fell back into bed, fully clothed with suitcases already packed and ready to go. It was a marvelous 50 minutes of sleep, and we all awoke feeling far less groggy than we had an hour before.

Around 10 am we checked out, placed our luggage in storage for the day and were out in the city once again. I had demanded that since we were in Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia, we needed to go to at least one museum before we left. Most of the museums are located off of federation square so we headed in that general direction. On our way there we scouted for odds and ends to make up a breakfast. Yaella had recommended that we try out this vegan/vegetarian fully kosher burger stand called Lord Of the Fries.  http://www.lordofthefries.com.au/ It is just a small take away stand that looks like a regular burger stand with a sweet literary referencing name. All of the burgers are made without any dairy products and the burgers are made of meat substitute.

Their slogan is "We care, alot"

Generally I shy away from any sort of meat “substitute,” as this kinda sketches me out and if I want a burger I get a black bean, chick pea, or garden burger, but I had been assured by Yaella that these burgers were amazing and I was not to leave Melbourne without trying one.  The boys, being hardcore carnivores, were scared off of the  meat “substitute” thing, but Lyndsay and I decided we would go halfies on a burger and fries. One bite into the burger, Lyndsay, who is not a vegetarian, was mumbling praises through a full mouth. Once she had chewed properly she said that not only did it taste amazing generally, but that she had trouble telling that it was not meat. This surprised all of us, but we all sampled it and came away with the same conclusion. The fries were equally good, and the selection of sauces was extensive. I opted to go with “Aussie sauce” which was basically a variation of ketchup, but it was quite tasty. I was impressed that such a great burger could be created and be vegan and kosher and still taste amazing. Lord of the Fries is truly a burger mansion among burger huts.

The travel desk clerk at Nomads had suggested that we check out the Australian Center for the Moving Image, which offered free admission, so that was our first stop after we had all eaten. http://www.acmi.net.au/screen_worlds.aspx

Australian Center for the Moving Image from the Outside

The main exhibit in the museum was free, but they also had a special exhibit running called “Dreams Come True” which was all about the artistry behind Disney’s animated films which they were charging admission for. While the Disney exhibit sounded really awesome,  we all agreed it wasn’t worth the $15 dollar admission price and we could do without it. As it turned out the main exhibit, called “Screen Worlds, The Story of Film, Television, and Digital Culture” was incredible. It detailed the development of the moving image and highlighted Australian contributions to the film and television industries.  The whole exhibit was highly interactive and allowed museum goers to play classic and contemporary video games, view movies, tv episodes, rarely seen behind the scenes footage, and use interactive displays to understand the technology behind the special effects in movies and animation. The scope of the exhibit was ambitious but very well put together, and really gave a comprehensive look into the diversity of entertainment and creativity that makes the moving image such a dominant cultural force.

Main floor of the exhibit. Everything was really interactive

The car from Mad Max

One of the dresses Cate Blanchett wore in "Elizabeth"

**GEEKS OUT** The red dress Nicole Kidman wore in Moulin Rouge during the "Elephant Love Medley" song, and one of the windmills they used for scale models of the set. I FREAKED WHEN I SAW THIS

After a few hours in the museum we went out in search of more Melbourne adventures. We ran into some Melbourne city guides, who are basically cute old ladies wearing baseball caps and fannie packs filled with free fliers and maps who can answer questions about attractions and things in the city. We asked them where we could see more street art and they point us in the direction of Hoiser Lane. If street art is the premiere art form of Melbourne than Hoiser Lane would surely be the Lourve. It is a long alley way that is famous for the art put up on it.

Hoiser Lane

Further up Hoiser Lane

Hindu Elephant!

"Terrorists Often Wear Suits" Truth.

WHy so serious?

This arrow decal was all over the city

Textile street art installation

so much color.

Tree!

Punny

political

More traditional graffiti

Colorful

bullet holes

The diversity of art here was incredible

This one was incredible. I don't even want to think about how long it must have taken

The living wall!

sticker tag war

Crazy detail

Street artist in progress

Big Fail

Once we made it past the colored walls of Hoiser St we went out in search of more Melbourne adventures. Next stop: the Royal Botanical Gardens!

Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens

Fairy Tree

Mini tudor Village in the Botanical Gardens.

The steps of the Victoria Parliament building, we saw so many couples going in to get married. you can see one on the right there.

Self Explanatory

After a bit more city wandering the day began to wind down. We had to catch a plane out of Avalon at 8:50 and in order to do this we had to get on the bus that would put us at Avalon around 8:10. Around 6 we headed back to the hostel, grabbed our bags and walked back to southern cross station to buy our bus tickets and catch our bus. Once we got to the airport we headed in to check in, and as soon as the four of us had cleared the checkout counter a woman came over the loud speaker and said

“The check in desk is now closed”

We had made it in just the nick of time. The lady at the check in desk scolded us saying that we should have come in on the earlier bus, which was an option we had considered but it would have put us at the airport around 7, which would have given us two hours to sit in that tiny rinky dink shed of an airport, and since we had the option of a later bus we decided against it. I don’t know what would have happened if our bus had arrived any later, and I would rather not think about it.

Lyndsay and I cleared security no problem, but when Seth’s bag went through the x-ray scanner, security stopped him and said:

“Sir you have a fork in your bag, you are going to need to take that out”

Earlier in the weekend Seth had gotten take away food at an Indian restaurant and had grabbed a real fork out of the restaurant because they had neglected to include a utensil with his takeout order, or so he thought, he had later found that they had included a spoon, but never the less he had kept the fork. When security pointed this out to him he went searching for it, but it was actually inside his small day bag inside his backpack, so he had some difficulty finding it. Lyndsay and I were boarding the plane while Seth and Jordan were still caught up at security. Eventually he was able to locate the fork and security asked what they wanted him to do with it. What was he supposed to do? Check his singular fork? Yeah no. It got left behind in Avalon.

Finally we all made it onto the plane and were back in Sydney before midnight. We were all exhausted the next day, but Melbourne had been a lot of fun and even though waking up the next morning was rough, it was well worth the trip.