Published on June 11th, 2012 | by Eric RAWK0
Rawk by Masonite Burn
RAWK City: World Tour Part II
It’s taken me a while to sit still long enough to collect all of my notes on my adventures in Australia, so let’s not delay this any longer…
The UK flight was like a warmup for the flight to Melbourne, but first we had a quickie trip to LAX. I was traveling with the Rat City Rollergirls All-Stars, so right away Team Grumpy, Re-AnimateHer and me, was back in effect. When we landed in LAX we had to deal with re-checking bags for the international flight and figuring out what to eat for dinner. The counter lady singled Killah Kelly out, weighed her bag and told her she needed to cut the weight in about half. A bunch of us put her skates and such in our bags so she could have it reweighed, then walked around the corner and stuffed everything back into her bag. From there we broke into groups to eat dinner, get some pre-flight drinks, find outlet converters and whatever else can be done at the airport. I hit up Pinks Hot Dogs and was in a good place. Then the team and I mobbed down to our gate and found a downstairs waiting room. For a while we had it to ourselves but eventually some other passengers made their way down while the team had powerwalking races, attempted to teach Missile America how to somersault and guzzled Emergen-C.
The flight went quick… really. They fed us every 3 hours and there were a billion movies to watch. Plus, I was focused on hydrating, getting some squats and lunges in between meals and snacks, and even sleeping a bit. Flight tip: in addition to other yummy things bring baby carrots with you on long flights. Even when they’re room temp they’re still refreshing and they cure nap mouth.
Harry Spot’er, Pacmanda and visiting Kiwi ref, Doc Chris WarnHer, came and scooped me up at the airport while the Rat City ladies all hopped into some taxi vans. The 4 of us headed to the venue for setup. There we talked a bunch of shit and did what we could to prevent Harry from doing all of the work himself. There was talk of going out for “American food,” which apparently was a restaurant where everything on the menu was fried. Thankfully I dodged that bullet. After some walking around to find dinner, Pac suggested a burger place. In Australia, and apparently New Zealand, they put beets on their burgers and it’s incredible.
Later that evening Pac headed home and us three dudes met up with my friend, fellow Rat City Referee and Australian native, Mike Hammer. He took us to a dark, quiet bar that served some of the best martinis I’ve ever had. So it’s stated, I drink gin martinis. This was the first time WarnHer had ever had a cocktail (don’t ask cause I don’t know) and I kind of ruined him with this amazing concoction that I ordered for him. The bar looked straight out of the 50s if the 50s happened last week, and we later found out it used to be a coke front. We stomped around the streets a bit and had a drink at a pub where a lady recognized me from the flight over. Me and the dudes were out of the bar after a round of drinks and headed home to a rowdy Pacmanda who was playing some first person shooter video game with a friend.
Pac made us a big breakfast for bout day and I was super appreciative of that. It was when I realized there was no hot sauce in the house but I made sandwiches out of my eggs, (Canadian-style) bacon and hash browns. Delicious!! It was pointed out by a wise and sassy lady that I was the only one who ate the entire meal with my hands but I’m sure that isn’t a surprise to anyone. This also made for a really relaxing morning before the bout; something I can’t say happens too often in my world lately.
I’m not going to comment on the actual bout itself as it was a while ago (VRDL has already impressed everyone with their showing at Dust Devil so this bout is old news) and I’m sure you all watched it on the internet at 4 am when it aired. I knew VRDL had some quality officials (how could they not? they’re led and trained by Harry) but I was extremely impressed. Harry was great as always and it was good to work with Flat Track Bully again. However, Brother Grim and Rollbar really impressed me, as did MsDefy and Sergeant Princess. It was also rad to get to ref with Rowan de Boate after hanging out with him in Chicago when he and Wolfie were out for WFTDA Champs 2 years ago. And speaking of Wolfie, big love to that guy for sending me a bottle of homemade pasta sauce (“gravy” for those Italians out there) since he couldn’t make it.
Besides gushing over the announcers I’ll say that the bout was very well put on, the skaters were great to work with (sorry again to Berzerker about not noticing that her knee wasn’t down for those two starts), and the crowd was really fun. The announcers did a great job. It was awesome to hear them using words and phrases to describe derby that I’ve only heard in soccer (you know, football) and maybe rugby; “That was a punishing jam,” “a striking blow to the defense,” etc. I was stoked I didn’t officiate the first bout of the night so I could just listen for a while.
The next day I lead an officiating clinic, ate some delicious Italian food and VRDL hosted a party at what was apparently the best dive bar in Melbourne. It was cool. The following day I walked around the city of Melbourne with Harry, Pac and WarnHer. It’s quite the magnificent city, one of my favorites, with its combination of historic and modern buildings, waterways, bridges and street art. I saw a ton of great graffiti (and two Space Invader pieces!!) as there are kilometers of alleyways that it’s legal to spraypaint in. We also got some yummy dumplings and veggies at a little dumpling house in Melbourne’s Asiany hood, but the food highlight of this stroll around the city was gelato & sorbet at Trampoline; Orange Date & Carmel Pear!! There was also this really rad gallery that had a skateboard art exhibit that include some recent aftermarket art done on skateboards (possibly by local artists, at least some of them were) and a history of skateboard art.
That night we were off to a BBQ at Brother Grim’s house for his birthday. Two days before I found out this guy was a quality ref and on this night I learned he’s a great fuckin dude with an equally awesome girlfriend (hey Bec, great talking with you in the kitchen while we were both cooking). He builds these kickass coffin boxes, he’s custom made quite a few skate cases for people, has a dope movie collection, let me cook on his grill, had a very respectable wine and liquor cabinet, was a wealth of information about all sorts of things, and showed me what an Australian BBQ was all about (yes, we ate kangaroo).
I rolled in excited to make some drinks with Bombay Sapphire we’d just bought and to get started on making hamburgers. WarnHer was stoked for more gin drinks (remember he’d just had his first cocktail a few nights ago) and Pac was amped for the gin; which I’d told her tasted like Christmas due to the juniper berries. I found this lemon, lime and sour mix soda in the fridge which turned out to be one of my favorite mixers of all time, but only to discover gin and Pac weren’t friends. Christmas was cancelled until Grim broke out some port from Panton Hill Vineyard that we all decided really tasted like the day Ol’ Nick slides down the chimney. Bec had a magnificent garden in the back and gave me access to a bunch of fresh herbs and spices to include in my burgers. The rest of the night was full of great food, a wide variety of conversation, me getting to cook with Grim and Bec in different capacities, quite the array of friends and overall just a bunch of fun. We also figured out what to do on the next day, which was my last full day in Melbourne.
If you thought I’ve crammed a lot of stuff into the days so far, tighten your chinstrap and make sure your mouthguard covers your back teeth. WarnHer had a morning flight and that meant we were up early enough to brave traffic with the morning commuters. Harry gripped his energy drink while people in the cars around us white knuckled their coffee cups and Pac and I babbled nonsensically. We survived airport traffic and started making moves to go pick up Grim, who had scored us a tour and tasting at the Panton Hill Vineyard (I wasn’t just randomly namedropping the vineyard earlier. It was relevant) in Yarra Valley and taken a train to a convenient meet-up location. We grabbed some pasties (not the things Elvira wore; these are [usually] flaky dough stuffed with delicious fillings that are mostly savory and/or cheesy) and made the long drive through a hella impressive forest. There weren’t any R.O.U.S.s but the forest had been decimated a few years earlier by a fire and was in a state of shock/regrowth. Many of the trees were blackened and had small, thin green branches and leaves covering their trunks so they could regenerate as quickly as possible. On the drive, Grim showed us photos of what would be our destination after the vineyard, but I won’t get too far ahead of myself.
Panton Hill Vineyard was quaint and gorgeous. It’s family owned and our reservation was at about the time everyone was waking, eating breakfast, and starting their first duties of the day. The lady of the house escorted us through the large wooden doors of one of the buildings and proceeded to tell us about their wines and ports while pouring us a glass of each. They were all delicious and Harry got a fantastic introduction to wine. We chatted with her for a while about wines and the vineyard, bought a few bottles, walked around the grounds and were on our way.
Then we jumped in the car and headed to Bruno Torfs’ sculpture park and studio. As soon as Grim showed me the pictures of this place and he said it was relatively near the vineyard I knew I had to go. Bruno’s craftsmanship is impressive, as he works his sculptures into streams, trees, rocks, etc., seamlessly. His work is hella creative as he intertwines influences from natives, fantasy, nature and all sorts of random things. He also had a gallery of some quirky paintings and pencil illustrations that he’d done on the abstract spackle shapes on a bathroom wall that was being rebuilt. From there we headed home and stopped for some really good pizza along the way.
For my last night I wanted to cook a big meal for Pac and Harry and we got Grim and Flat Track Bully over too. I was trying to get my friend Möltov Mike as well but it just didn’t align. So while Pac ran off to practice the dudes and I drank wine from the vineyard from earlier in the day and I hooked up a big salad, some pasta to go with Wolfie’s gravy and some chicken. The night was mellow with good food, amusing conversation and a few bottles of local wine. Definitely a great ending to a phenomenal visit to and exploration of Melbourne.
Next, I met up with the Rat City All-Stars and we were off to North Brisbane! The adventures continue