Tuesday, April 29, 2008
When the kangaroo punches back.
Since I moved to Australia, I have been waiting patiently to see some wild animals. I mean, isn’t the general perception of Australia that everyone commutes to work in a kangaroo pouch, and instead of dogs, everyone has a koala? Don’t dingoes eat babies EVERY DAY and the drink of choice is Fosters? And I have yet to see the headquarters of the restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse because seriously folks, that is obviously an Australian company.
Moving on, I finally got my chance to see some wild animals in their natural habitat (zoos are for the weak animals). While visiting Kangaroo Island this past weekend, I saw loads of beasts – koalas, echidnas, New Zealand fur seals, Australian seals, loads of birds, and of course, kangaroos. It was an amazing trip and I'm happy that I got to see such an amazing place.
The next day, I signed up for a wine tasting tour that took me to the Barossa Valley. After visiting the area, I still prefer the Napa Valley, but the Barossa is still very nice, as is Adelaide and I had quite a good time. However, while stopping for lunch, I made the fatal mistake of ordering kangaroo. I can honestly say that I had qualms about eating something I also wanted to cuddle, but I thought it was a chance to try something new, so I went for it. In retrospect, I should have gone with my gut feeling of “You like to cuddle puppies. Therefore you would never EAT a puppy. You don’t like to cuddle chickens because they will peck your eyes out. You can eat chickens.” Just after the first bite, the kangaroo meat in question lodged itself in my throat. At first I thought, “This is a bit embarrassing. Hmm…let me drink some water and maybe that will help. Well looky there…the water won’t go down. I’m choking.” At this point, the other diners noticed what was happening. A woman grabbed me from behind and started the Heimlich maneuver while another woman shouted at her that she was doing it wrong. One would think that I would be scared at this point. Perhaps it was the shame of not being able to swallow food properly at the age of 26 or maybe it was because I couldn’t stop thinking about what an awesome blog this incident was going to make, but I really wasn’t freaked out. Finally, someone hit me on the back as hard as one could imagine, the kangaroo meat dislodged and flew across the table, eventually landing on the floor. Oddly enough, the wadded up piece of meat kind of looked like a fetal kangaroo, which I believed is called a “joey.”
Despite the fact that my lunch had fought back, I finished the meal. Hey, I was starving and not much I could do about it. However, I chewed each piece until it could have been sucked through a straw if I had wanted. So what is the lesson to learn from all this? Don’t eat anything you want to photograph (seriously, who wants to photograph a cow?) and chew your food until it’s liquid. Also, for all the militant vegetarians reading this blog and thought that I would renounce my meat-eating ways, I guess you feel pretty gypped to know that I finished the meal. And I’m laughing my ass off about this.