Australia 2013 - Melbourne - Australia Day, and the rest

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Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne
January 26th 2013
Published: February 8th 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

Australia Day, you see it coming weeks in advance, yet as a tourist I wasn't sure what one could do for this day. The stereotypical July 4th celebration in the US consists of a bbq with friends and fireworks. As a solitary tourist, I didn't have a posse of friends, but I did have my bunk buddy, AM, who I'd met the evening before. We started the day with a leisurely breakfast and fun chitchat. We stumble onto the aboriginal celebrations, which was full of life and food and hiphop - we even joined the massive led crowd hip hop dance party. They basically celebrated a message of openness and acceptance of all cultures, especially suppressed ones. I can get behind that. We continued towards Federation Square and saw some awesome live music (Diafrix). We ended the night in Richmond at the Great Britain Hotel with the Bastard Children playing two sets of rip-roarin' Pogues-esque danceable tunes.

Australian Open - day two, in the evening all the courts are still busy with matches, and I sit in on the nail-biter Tommy Haas vs. Jarkko Nieminen. These two are veterans with fans in the arena, so as the sets alternate between
Generous gentlemanGenerous gentlemanGenerous gentleman

giving everyone a halfpenny
the two the crowd sings for their players. We don't know which way the match will go until the last point is scored by Nieminen.

The first time I saw a sea dragon in an aquarium, I was enthralled. When I realize sea dragons can be seen near Melbourne, I have to try. AM comes with me on this epic quest - the journey itself to Flinders pier takes 2.5 hours - an hour to Frankston, and then an hour+ journey by bus to Flinders. Because of the time it takes to get there, and the fact that the bus runs only every two hours, we arrive at the pier two hours after low tide. We take turns snorkeling, and AM sees a large sting ray, but the water is deep enough that seems diving is the only certain way to see sea dragons at this location. But we have a relaxed, leisurely day at an unpopular beach, and sample a large piece of vanilla custard slice from the Guinness World record winning cafe in Flinders. It is very thick. It is very large. It is very good. We do not finish it.

The other beachy outing we make is to St Kilda. The sun was out, but so was the wind, and the kite surfers were out in force. At the end of pier you can see penguins sheltering in the rocks. After being buffeted by too many gusts, we seek shelter on the main commercial road (good shopping).

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