Tuesday, December 26, 2000
Boxing Day was to be yet another busy day. Steve, Brett, Sandy and Bill left the house around 10 for the hallowed ground of the MCG and the first day of the Fourth Test. (MCG = Melbourne Cricket Grounds, test = the five-day version of cricket, fourth = the 4th in a series of five test matches played among the best team from each country involved) Australia, holding the world record of thirteen consecutive wins in test matches, was to play the West Indies team. While the game is long, it is not boring! The action is much faster than baseball. It’s only that the teams need to take tea and lunch breaks because they’re on the field so long! We finally left the MCG well into the first half of the first innings with Australia in a somewhat precarious position of only about 150 points and down to their bowlers and last real batsman, Steve Waugh, left on the pitch. We wouldn’t know the outcome for several days, but we knew a lot more about cricket.
We then returned home for a quick bite then off to the Sydney Kings/Melbourne Titans professional basketball game. Their professional teams play on the level of our good college teams. The Titans won convincingly but Trent’s favorite player, Shane Heal, from the Kings, presented Trent with a signed (both sides) basketball singlet (jersey) which Trent will never wash. It turned out that Shane is a very personable fellow and chatted until we finally broke up the conversation. We did manage to get a few pictures, including one with the strikingly handsome Shane hugging his newest fans, Mary and Sandy.
(Australia’s cricket team would eventually extend their streak to an incredible 14 consecutive test match wins and inflict a shattering 352-run loss on the Windies. We hardly paid any attention to the Sydney-Hobart Sailboat race that started Boxing Day and hit the difficult conditions that are a hallmark of this race. By Dec 30 more than 20 boats had retired.)
Wednesday, December 27, 2000
Wednesday, and time for another of Mary’s BTDTCIO activities, a visit to the Healesville Sanctuary where we would be sure to see Australia’s special wildlife. Healesville was also where we caught up with the Henrys, with whom we would travel to Sydney, their hostess, Rhonda Allen and her sons, and another couple who were old friends of both the Henrys and the McAllisters. All nineteen of us spent the day touring the excellent sanctuary where many of Australia’s unique animals are displayed in natural surroundings. Along the way we got to pet kangaroos, avoid touching the spiny echidnas (sort of a porcupine) and see koalas battle for tree perches.
Later the Henrys, Stines and McAllisters repaired to McAllister’s home where Mary and “Barbie King”, Steve, prepared another outstanding Australian dinner. It amazed us how easily the McAllisters seemed to throw together a delicious meal for a crowd.