Autralia is great!
It is so wonderful to be in Melbourne. I can totally say that it is somewhere I could live for a while-it really is a fantastic city.
My chosen experiences here have been sort of random because I have done sort of a mix of the touristy and the memorable. The first day I was here I walked down the street out of my hostel and over to a park- and I realized that it was a very familiar park! I knew that I was staying near by to my old neighborhood, but I had no idea that I was staying next to the park that my old primary school was 0n. So- I walked though the park, found a few old trees that I remembered ( but had forgotten) that I played by, walked over the spot that I broke my ankle for the first time, and snapped a few pictures of the school children who were still wearing the same blue uniforms and goofy hats- before I realized that I probably looked like some sort of child molester --so I put the camera down and scuttled away.
It is so funny how they still let the kids run free in the public park for recess. I peered into the gated area of the school- and remembered singing weird stuff like the ( revised version) of the Australian anthem and stuff. I walked around the school and thought it would be fun to see if I could make my way back to our old apartment without looking at the map- and sure enough I did! The walk was actually about five minutes long- though in my memory it took like half an hour, and then I sort of walked around our old neighborhood.
I knew South Yarra was nice, but I don't know if I was just clueless as a kid, or if things have reallt changed, because now it is sort of the so-ho- meets-berkeley district of town. It is really nice. And expensive! The pharmacy charged me $2.80 for a can of coke- and the Australian dollar is pretty close to the American right now. Seriously- Australia is almost as expensive as London right now- it is sort of blowing my mind.
Then I went to the huge mall sort of thing in the middle of Melbourne, where Mom had rememebered her favorite Thaifood and there is a huge clock that sings "Waltzing Matilda" every hour- and people crowd around to see. However the Thaifood place was gone- and the whole place was much more like a Mall in america than I had ever imagined.
I went aroundthe city after that on the free tram that goes around Melbourne. The whole city is connected by these cable car things- and unlike San Francisco- it is actually still the main public transport. Some of them still have their turn of the century charm and they are the trams that I rememeber, all painted green and yellow- but many of those have changed too- and look like these sort of furtuistic metal bullets. Sort of sad.
As I travel- I am increasingly glad I am am traveling now- and all I can say is that I continue to travel in the near future- because things really do change fast- and things build up fast- and Australia really seems to be much more connected to the rest of the world now than it was 10 years ago. Which makes sense- but as things become more globalized- it makes for less interesting travel--- I mean I can go to Tiffanies at home, you know? But there it is in Melbourne as well.
Yesterday I did something pretty cool that I remember doing with my parents when I was younger. I signed up for a small bus tour ( I made sure it was small after my oh too large american filled bus tour-- although there are very few americans here- so I guess I don't have to worry about that)- and did the obligatory koala, kangaroo, and emu viewing- which haven't lost their charm despite the fact that I have seen them quite a few times. Also saw some sheep shearing. Don't worry-- I have pictures to post-- I figured that ( all ten of) my readers would be disapointed without a few pictures of a kangaroo! :) We did see wallabies everywhere from the bus as well. pretty cool.
every continent seems to have their own little strange animal that is everywhere. We have squirrels. Ghana has the mini goats. Morrocco and Israel have cats. London.... has rats haha. And there there are wallabys everywhere.
But later- the reason I went on the trip- we went to this beach on Phillip Island to watch the penguins come in at dusk. Every night they come in from the water by the thousands and make their way up the beach- and probably half a mile up a little hill- to come find their babies. It is so so cool. And you can see them all the way back to the parking lot- they all have their own little home to return to. There are even signs saying to check for them under your car. It is so cool to see them all waddling-- picture me crying over the movie march of the penguins- except add real life to that. Haha- actually I was not crying-- although it sure as hell looked like I was because I am crazy allergic to something here and I forgot my allergy medicine- so my eyes were swelled up and watery all day. I made a lot of friends on that bus ride. hah
Anyways today I mostly just went to the Botanical gardens here in Melbourne- which are something of a treasure. They are huge- not many people in them like central park- and it is kind oflike going into this tropical greenspot in teh middle of the city. There are tongs of colorful tropical flowers. And there are TONS of cool birds. I swear I saw some sort of peloquin, and there werethese black swans with red beaks. And this is all right next to Melbourne. I realized that the Melbourne botanical gardens were perhaps the place I first went to the botanical gardens- which started a long history of loving them- I remember dragging my dad to them all over Europe- it would always be the place I picked to go. Also-- it just might be the place I fell in love with having tea- because you can get Scones and cream ands jam in the park-- which ofcourse I did do today. So lovely. It was a great place for solitude as well. I mean it would also be a great place to share. But I was so relaxed- I had a great time.
The only thing that sort of spoiled the gardens was the humidity- which I shouldn't even talk about because I go up to Cairns tomorrow and I am sort of terrified of the tropical heat- and also the flies. Ok--- I know that these flies are nothing compared to most of Australia- but flies of any sort are pretty disgusting. You just can't get away from them-- I remember when we were in the outback when I was little- if you even took off you stupid looking netting hat for three seconds there would be a fly in your ear, in your eye, and probably up your nose too. So it wasn't that bad haha. But they are gross.
Other thing that I have made sure to do- which I feel I shoudl fill you in on is eat a few meatpies. If there is one generalization that I can feel confident making- it is that Australians love their meatpies- and they are in every little store or 7/11 (which they also love) with lots of weirdly shaped squeeze packs of sweet tomato sauce for sale next to them. I probably ate 8000 of them the year Iwas here. So have had a few now as well- and though I don't get quite the same thrill that my eight year old self did- I did quite enjoy them once I stopped thinking about what was in that ground beef. haha.
Ok well I have to go to bed- I am off to Cairns at 4:30 AM tomorrow! so excited! I am going up the day after tomorrow to join a research center in the Daintree Rainforest on Cape Tribulation- which should be wild!
More to come!!
But-- the thing I went on the trip for