Published: February 8th 2009February 8th 2009
Wow, this is a glorious city! I got in on Thursday night and stayed in quite the lively hostel (another story to be told, but for another time). Then on Friday I embarked across the city to find my accomodations at St. Vincent's Hospital, which is in Fitzoy, a suburb on the Northeast corner of the city center.
First of all, let me tell you how CONFUSING the streets are here! First, of course, you drive on the left side of the road. If that wasn't bad enough, there are trams which run down the center of the streets in both directions which do not obey the traffic signals. Oh! And, when making a RIGHT turn, the driver gets in the LEFTMOST lane, and then turns on yellow. Needless to say, I just look in every direction before I even think about crossing the street.
The city center is composed in a grid-system, making it pretty navigable. There is a EVERYTHING one could ever need in the city center, from shops, restaurants, museums, and really really helpful tourist information centers. They even give you a one on one walking tours through the city for free! There is also a
free city center tram that goes around the heart of the city, and a free "tourist" shuttle that takes you around 13 different hotspots, and you can jump on and off as you please. It is quite remarkable how efficient it is... I don't know why anyone would drive! Around the city center are mutiple "barrio" type areas, each with a different feel. Fitzroy, where I'm staying, is a bit bohemian and granola, with a ton of great ethnic restaurants. There is also St. Kilda's (party beach area), Carlton, and the University area, just to name a few.
So I hopped on the tram and found where I will be living for the next month. I couldn't ask for much more. It is a 2 story house located a 30 second walk from the hospital. It has a common area with a TV, laundry, a full kitchen, and multiple bathrooms. There are currently 5 students staying there, and more will be coming on Monday. I befriended a British medical student, Natalie, who invited me to spend the day at St. Kilda's beach with her and her friends yesterday, which I did. We headed over to her friend's place early
Saturday morning after perusing the Queen Victoria market, which has an assortment of clothes, gifts, and fresh produce.
It was 47C. Yes, that means 116F!!!!!!!! That must be with the heat index, because I didn't know that temps like that existed. We pretty much just spent the entire day in the water. Everywhere else was too hot. Not to mention, there was a mild windstorm, so if you were on the beach, you were just getting plastered with sand. We headed to a cafe and listened to some reggae music to escape the heat, and then went to the supermarket and bought things to make dinner. We spend the night drinking boxed wine, eating a great dinner, and playing cards. Not bad for a first night!
Now I am off to explore the city. It is a MUCH more comfortable 33C. I found that the public library has free internet, so this was my first stop along the way.
There are more photos below