Friday, May 24, 2019

More on Melbourne

Complaints about the people aside, I suspect I should give a proper account of my stay in Melbourne.

I arrived early-for-me in the morning after an overnight flight from Tokyo. I will never learn my lesson and avoid overnight travel - I was thoroughly lucky that my hostel let me in early so I could waste a day taking a long nap (then tossing and turning all night).

To back up one second, Australia is the first country I've visited where I needed a visa. The process was simple and automatic, but the email was worded in an unclear way, so I'd spent the better portion of my week in Tokyo worrying that I didn't have a visa, when, in fact, I had been granted one maybe ten minutes after applying for it (the last sentence of the first paragraph said it was granted, then the rest of the email was boilerplate that phrased things as if I hadn't yet been granted one). Upon arrival in Australia, everything was automatic and machine-based which, unfortunately, means I don't have a stamp in my passport.

The transit situation in Melbourne was great. It was easy getting from the airport to the Central Business District (CBD) and all the trolleys around said district are free. Technically speaking, my hostel was pretty good too - plenty of common spaces, beds with curtains, outlets and lights on each bed, &c. See my previous post about why I ended up hating it.

My timing wasn't so great - between a long Easter weekend and Anzac day, lots of stuff was closed, on limited hours, or more expensive. As mentioned in my complaint post, I had difficulty making friends, which in turned discouraged me from exploring more of the city.

The State Library was fantastic and I spent a lot of time there or in the vicinity thereof, including taking one of the free walking tours that started in front of it. The food scene was great and the bar scene was decent - still under a bit of Japanese influence, I spent a few nights at a karaoke bar and found a $5 Udon shop for cheap eats.

The bar crawl I went on was a major disappointment (one of the first signs that no one in the city wanted to make friends). I won one pub quiz and lost a different one. I wandered around for a couple nights with a Mexican pilot in search of work. I didn't get to go inside Parliament due to bad timing / holidays. I wandered and tried to find a place where I could drive a tent post, but with no luck. By the time a week had passed, I was probably the angriest I have ever been with other humans.

Deciding I needed to escape the city, I booked a two day trip to Adelaide that would take me along the Great Ocean Road and in through the Grampians. While "expensive", I am so glad I made the choice. I left Melbourne very early on a Monday morning, ready ready ready to put it behind me.

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