Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 3 – A big walk followed by big weeds

Again, it was a very long day, and we did so many wonderful things! Tonight we are staying at the farm, but we will tell you about that a little later, because so much happened in the day before we got here.

We drove up to the Great Ocean Road, and stopped at Airey’s Inlet for a walk around the area with Mr Peter McPhee. At first, we walked along a river near Mr Peter’s house. The water was cold, clean and deep. Mr Peter said, in the middle of the river, it was as deep as twice Mr Peter’s height (that is about 3 metres!). We also went walking along the beach after that. Mr Peter asked us to look out for rubbish on the beach and at the river, because if the fish or animals eat the rubbish, they will suffocate. He brought a plastic bag for us to dispose of the rubbish we found. Dong Wook felt that the people who throw the rubbish only think about themselves (Zichen thinks they are selfish) and don’t care about the environment. The walk along the beach was very exciting! We got to touch the water – it felt very cold. Mr Peter said, in summer, when the water is warmer, he goes body-surfing and swimming in the sea! On the beach, we saw a lot of shells, different types of sponges, and seaweeds. Christopher even picked up a dead crab. The shells on the beach had different shapes and colours, and the sponges were really soft, like jelly. Azreen found a sponge that looked like a bunch of worms! The seaweed was really green, and there was one humongous piece of seaweed that was buried in the sand. Mr Peter said that it was called “kelp”, and it felt very hard and rubbery, like a tyre. It was so heavy, a few of us had to work together to pull it out of the sand. We also saw many mushrooms during our walk. Mr Peter said that the mushrooms which are white in colour are poisonous, while those that are brown are harmless (but we didn’t eat any of them). Some of the mushrooms looked like they had scales on their cap. At the beach, we also saw a few cliffs. Mr Peter said that many many years ago, Aboriginal people lived on those cliffs.

After the walk, Mr Peter brought us back to his lovely home. “We were surprised that we were allowed to wear shoes inside”, says Hannani. The house was very big, and had a big garden that grows different types of fruits. We saw the apple tree. Ms Charlotte told us that they are Golden Delicious apples, and they were bright yellow and very delicious, fleshy, and juicy (many of us tried the apples!). Many of us huddled around the fireplace, watching it, like it was a TV :) We marveled at the flames and the cinders flying around. The firewood that was burning in the fireplace was cut from their garden! Ms Charlotte taught us about how to move the lever on the fireplace to make the fire bigger or smaller. She allowed us to play with the lever. She even threw in some Eucalyptus leaves into the fire – the fire instantly looked as if it was coming out of the mouth of a dragon. We all had pizza for lunch. Mr Peter had to drive all the way out to buy scrumptious pizza for our lunch. We tucked into the food greedily like wolves, and all the food disappeared in minutes! :D
Let us describe the inside of the house to you. The house was made of wood, it was very warm and cosy. The kitchen was quite small compared to the kitchen in our HDB flats, but we think it was cleaner and nicer. There were many interesting books on the bookshelf, some of which were written by Mr Peter and his mother! Mr Peter writes about French History, while his mother wrote children’s stories. In fact, Mr Peter gifted us with 3 children’s storybooks. We think it was very gracious of him, because the books must be quite precious to him, especially since he told us his mother passed away a few years ago.

After lunch at Mr Peter’s house, we went to Queen’s Reserve to help pull out the weeds that are smothering the indigenous (or native) Australian plants. Our guides were Ms Rose and Ms Regina. They taught us which plants to pull out, and how to pull them out. The plants which we were supposed to pull out had small and smooth leaves, and flowers that were yellow in colour. Our guides taught us to hold the plants at the base of the plant, and give it a little jiggle. They said we must be careful not to break the plants at the roots, because if we leave the roots in the soil, the weeds will regrow.

The Primary 5s pulled out 1200 plants in total. We know this because each of us pulled out 50 or more plants, and there were 22 people in that group (including teachers). The Primary 4s did not count how many we pulled, but we knew we cleared the whole patch assigned to us.

Some of the weeds were very firmly and stubbornly rooted to the ground. Sometimes our gloves were too thin and we could feel the plant poking us through the gloves. However, we persevered. We tried to pull them out individually at first, but we found that we could not succeed. So, we worked together as a team. In small pairs, or groups of 3 – 5, we pulled together. The teachers joined us too! We were able to pull out some very big weeds in this way.

After this activity, we felt tired, because we used up all our energy to pull out the weeds. However, we felt happy and satisfied because we contributed to protecting the environment. Mrs Choy said, “I’m so proud of all of you, because you all worked so well as a team, and you were so sporting even though when you began you were all so tired after the long walk on the beach.” “It was very fun pulling out the weeds,” said Coral, and everyone agrees.

After pulling out the weeds, we went to Terry’s Lookout. We saw big waves crashing into the rocks. We also saw a banana skin that somebody had thrown away :( The air was very fresh there, and we could see a huge mountain covered in trees, as well as the winding Great Ocean Road.

We went to a town called Lorne, and on the way, we saw a big arch that had the words “Great Ocean Rd”. Andy said we should call it the “Great Vomit Road”, because he felt bus-sick, as the road was very bumpy and winding (Andy says, “Please don’t worry Mummy, I am feeling ok now!”).

When we arrived at Lorne, we did some shopping. First, though, we went to the toilet, It was unusual because the toilet bowl was made of metal, and it felt very cold :) We saw boomerangs on sale in the shops, and Christopher bought a blue rubbery one. We haven’t tried it out yet, but Mr Helmi did. Mr Helmi said, “Rubber boomerangs can never replace wooden boomerangs – it refused to come back to us when I threw it!” Aliyah says she was looking for clothes for her mum’s birthday. Sharon wants to buy her mum a t-shirt, but she doesn’t know what size to buy (Mrs Yip, if you are reading this, please leave a comment to let Sharon know!) Some of the girls bought ice-cream to eat even though the weather was cold! Maisie’s teeth and mouth turned green after she finished her bubblegum-flavoured icecream. Coral’s hair started to eat ice-cream, too! “It could not resist the colours on the ice-cream” said Wan Shyan.

After shopping at Lorne, we drove for 2 and a half hours on winding roads to Kangaroobie Farm. Everybody on the bus was asleep the whole way. Christopher says he was sleeping under Lukman’s armpit. It was very comfortable. When we arrived, we settled into our rooms and went for dinner. Dinner was some sticky vegetable soup, roast beef, broccoli, cauliflower, corn and peas, and pumpkin. Some people (like Nasuha) thought the pumpkin was yucky, while others (like Sharon), thought it was sweet, juicy and delicious, like sweet potatoes. After dinner, we had an Australian dance party. They called it the Bush Dance. Most of us enjoyed the dance very much. The music was being played on the guitar and drums by our instructors. Siti says, “We were swimming in our own sweat!” because everyone was moving around so much and enjoying the dancing.

It has been a very long day, and we are all going to bed now. Thanks for reading!

With big smiles,
All 35 of us:)


  1. Dear Mrs Choy, teachers and Eunosians,

    Reading your blog entries makes us feel as if we were there with all of you. Thank you all for taking the time to update us on your daily activities. I'm sure it's no easy feat amidst your busy schedules. A very BIG thank you to Mrs Choy and the teachers for a wonderful job in taking good care of the children. Children, please remember to show your appreciation towards them.

    P.S. Aliyah, I trust you know my size:-)

    Mdm Fatimah

  2. Dear kids & teachers,

    You sure are working very hard. Mr Peter sounds really nice and generous.

    Luke & Gheslynn, I'm looking forward to a demo of the Bush Dance when you get back :)

    Take care everyone. Enjoy the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island on Monday. BTW, have you seen any koalas yet?

  3. G’day Mates, Chris you had learnt the concept of recycling and heat transfer fast, you know how to tuck under Lukman’s armpit to recycle his heat to keep yourself warm instead of letting it to waste. Was it better than the heater that you find in the hotel’s room? :)Thank you Lukman for the warm comfort that you have provided Chris. :)

    BTW, your dad wanted a wooden boomerang not the rubber one. So you know what to do,ya?

    We parents are really grateful to Mrs Choy and teachers for taking care of all of our kids so well. Thank you for all your hard work especially all teachers whom I believe has to forgo their beauty sleep for this blog.

    Take care all to prepare for the next exciting journey.