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Published: January 23rd 2006
Melbourne fused the old and the new in several areas.
December 15 to December 26
Well you don't need a ticket out of Australia to enter the country, my cancellation fee lesson. Not that I was going to repeat the mess of leaving Bali for NZ.
Melbourne really is the upscale cosmopolitan center of Aus. The men had better haircuts than any US city I've been in. Square shoes are the norm and the food is wonderful, still cant find good Mexican though. The better part of the city is the stuff tourists have a hard time finding, the out of the way pub scene. Tom, a Manchester ex-teacher, and I spent a couple nights listening to great music, feeling old stumbling into a dive filled with 18 year kids and a few other great pubs in alleyways and narrow corridors.
Also striking, the cities use of progressive architecture usually against the cities original buildings of its founding era. You can find several examples of all glass severely angled buildings almost swallowing granite columned government buildings.
If Melbourne is Australia's most elegant state capital then Darwin might be its opposite. Hot, muggy and small, it didn't plan on my travel route until I found a cheaper way out
of the country. Stuck for a few days I managed to escape into the outback for a couple of days, Christmas included. I spent the night in Litchfield National Park on a large wooden deck overlooking a 50 meter waterfall and caves where some large bats spent the night flying around my tent at uncomfortable distances. I found out that two young English lads I rented the car with were camping for the first time in their lives, cant image that. Not having the bats they slept in the car.
Christmas and New Years isn't a good time to fly so the plan is to get to Mumbai and to do it it seems that I'll have to take 3 or 4 flights on a Tiger in the Sahara via Asia. All airlines you and I never heard of. Tiger airways was the reason for my visit to Darwin, its a regional Singapore based airline offering the only inexpensive escape from the country. I priced a few RTW tickets in Melbourne and, in the end, I still think my choice of flying one way will be nearly the same cost of a RTW ticket. I also have yet to
meet one person on a RTW ticket that has stuck to the original plan.
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