melbourne !

January 11th 2009
Published: January 15th 2009
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So we flew Tiger airways from alice springs to melbourne because the tix were 1/2 the price of qantas. If you think your life is worth $130 then feel free to save it and fly Tiger. This was hands down the sketchiest plane I have ever been on - I was sure it was gonna fall out of the sky - and it definitely didn't feel like the pilot knew how to fly a plane.Then, the "terminal" was this gated-in fire hazard with those rotating bar exits like you find in subways and toilets that were only maybe 2 steps up from portapotties. (I (Susan) thought it was worse than the New Delhi airport 15 years ago!) Also cabs in melbourne are unregulated and totally take ridiculous routes from the airport so avoid them and take the skybus elsewise you'll get fleeced.

Apparantly, there aren't any black people here and I get stared/gawked at almost everywhere, esp. by kids. We think maybe people think I'm an aborigni, but either way they act like they haven't seen any black people before. it's weird - don't they have tv here?

Anyhoo, on to the good stuff: melbourne is aussie-ome! The approach from the airport is kind of like atlanta and there are these really cool colored beams just before the city. The city reminds us of SF/Brooklyn and the architecture is a weird mix of stuff, the nicer buildings have a new orleans look to them. Our hotel is really well located, but we kind of got in late and everything was closed (things close down at 6!) so we spent the first day walking around and looking at closed shops 😊 then, I drugged up and we turned in early because of my cold 😞 I slept in the next morning and susan went to the botanical garden

I had a great morning walk. First I went to the train station and across the federation square. Where I saw one of the circus acts that was at Woodford - all the way in Melbourne! Then I walked through Victoria Gardens, which was so absolutely british that I could have been in London. It was extremely well-maintained with lots of gardens and a crazy variety of trees. And I went to the botanical garden, which was very well laid out, and saw cockatoos but no bats (which are supposed to be all around the fern gully). Some homeless guy followed me around so I had to use some self-defense to get rid of him. Then I walked back along the river and some cool art pieces.

We headed out around 11 to victoria market for lunch and shopping! The streets here (i.e., throughout the city) are LINED with shops, but the best deals were at this place. The food part of the market had tons of stalls and it all looked delicious + it was cheap! we got a bunch of stuff and grabbed a table outside in the sunshine 😊 There was a street artist playing french sounding stuff on the clarinet and it set a pleasant mood 😊 susan said it was very european.we milled about the market 'til 2:30 then we headed to the windsor hotel for high tea.

This was my first high tea and it was more fun than I thought it'd be. Susan declared it to be of satisfactory standard (I thought it was just as yummy as Harod's in London - good assam tea, scones and cream, sandwiches with butter and mayo - not like the yucky healthy ones they serve in the states), but we both agreed that it would be better to do the cheaper weekday tea without the pastry/chocolate buffet (they were pretty, but not as tasty as stephanie's).

Then we took the tram down to st.kilda.unfortunately, this is basically a strip of outdoor restaurants and we were already stuffed from the tea and the market so we decided to make our way to the gay section. UNFORTUNATELY the gay section is literally one club flying an old and faded gay flag. we did see some fashionable gay boys and their dog though. This was obviously a bit of a bummer, but whateves hopefully sydney will be better. We came back to the city and stopped in at the crown casino - the largest casino in the southern hemisphere. It was huge! However you can't take backpacks onto the gaming floor. I think this is a stupid ass rule esp. since women bring in bags big enough to hold little children. It has peeved me at both casinos we have gone to and since I refuse to stand in a long f'ing line to check a bag I shouldn't have to check, we left. We walked over a neat little bridge back to our hotel sidetracking thru the train station, which is disappointing on the inside given it's facade.

The next morning we went to the victoria art museum. It was interesting because it was chock full of notable names, but no recognizable art save the one rothko 😉 We wouldn't go back to this museum, but it was funny to walk around and hear Toisha talk about the art: "Oh, this person is famous. but not famous for this stuff. really s/he does xxx..."

we had lunch at a random restaurant in the city before heading out to the great ocean road.

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