Game, Set and Match!

Trip Start Oct 13, 2011
Trip End Jun 07, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Monday, January 30, 2012

Post 27 – Game, Set and Match!

Conor: Let me start by saying that I loved Melbourne, and that we didn't nearly do it justice in our time there. That said it was a great way to finish our Australian odyssey!

The evening we had arrived we didn’t do much past say hello to Annabel’s parents and go to bed. The next day we all had tickets (of one sort or another) to the tennis final, so we didn’t have much time to spare. We made a quick visit to Federation Square and the surrounding museums. We spent a lot of time in the Museum of Moving Images which had a wicked Space exhibition on, and Annabel and her parents quickly popped into the Contemporary Art Museum, which apparently wasn’t so great. We quickly popped back to get our things, introduced Annabel to sushi (which she now loves!) and got on the tram to the Rod Laver arena! We arrived not longer after the gates opened at 3pm in order to get good seats for me and Steve who only had ground passes, this turned out to be a very wise move for Steve later. We sorted out a table and some seats under a tree in some shade, and Steve and I went to have a look at the arena which seems a lot small than it does on TV. We had some lunch and watched a doubles match on the big screen. The atmosphere in front of the screen was great, there were a few Spanish fans out for Nadal and a crap ton of Serbs supporting Djockovich, loudly at that!

When the game began Jan and Annabel went off to claim their seats and Steve and I settled in to watch a few sets. As some of you may know this was the longest finals match in history, so the first set lasted a fair bit of time in its own right! After this I had arranged to meet Jen and Heledd in Federation Square, where they were watching the match. A short walk got me there just after the second set had started to discover that, unsurprisingly, it was jammed packed; mainly with backpackers! In a wise tactical decision Jen and Heledd had taken refuge in the adjacent pub, that was really empty. Here we could watch the game, with a drink, on one of the mini TV’s. The only thing was that the screen resolution had blocked out the score, so we had to try and work it out from the commentary. We tried writing it down on a napkin at one point, but after a few drinks that ceased to work so we just enjoyed ourselves. After the second set we left the pub as Jen had to look for someone she had arranged to meet, so we squeezed in to the square to watch on the big screen. Then the rain started, so we ran back into the pub to get one last drink and see through the last set. We had hoped to go for a night out after the match, but given that we were soaked and that it was 1.45am we decided to call it quits! I walked back to the hotel to await Annabel and Jan & Steve with tales of what had happened in the arena….

Annabel:  As I had a ticket actually for the Rod Laver arena with my mum, my night was a little bit different!  To be honest, to start with it wasn’t really the most enjoyable match to watch.  The tennis itself was great, as to be expected with two players like that, but the atmosphere in the arena was not very good at all.  It seemed like literally every person in there, bar about 30, were Nadal supporters, me not being one of them, who didn’t seem to understand the polite and diplomatic nature of tennis.  When Nadal would score a mediocre point ,or even Djokavic served a double fault (something you should never cheer) the crowd would erupt like he had just won the tournament!  Then if Djokovic made a really good shot they would be a bit of subdued clapping.  I felt like I couldn’t even really cheer for Djokovic cause of the looks I’d get!  This all wasn’t helped by the fact that my mum and me could really see anything comfortably over the rather tall and large women sat in front of us and quite possibly the meanest old woman I have ever met who insisted her bag 'Hedwig’ have the seat next to her the entire match.  She didn’t even know anything about tennis and kept asking the people behind her what the scoring meant!  Can you tell I was quite annoyed?!  Well, this all quickly changed around at the end when Djokovic rose to victory and I was very vocal about letting all around us know that I was extremely pleased about this.  The woman next to me even left cause I think she was getting a bit annoyed, bad looser I say!  Like Conor said, It was about 1:45am when the match finally finished.  So me and my mum went to get my dad, who had been sitting outside all this time, as he wouldn’t accept my ticket to go into the arena, watching an the screen and now using the tree that was for sun shade for a rain cover (he is the best dad in the world!) and headed straight back to the hotel to get a few hours sleep before having to be up early again ready for our Neighbours Tour the next morning!

We awoke early, me and Conor still extremely tired and my parents somehow not (how do they do that!) and headed off to the Neighbours office to get on our tour bus.  All the way to the TV studios our driver, Jerry, regaled us with interesting facts and anecdotes about Neighbours and how the show is filmed, constantly telling us ‘they lie!’ in a very Irish accent.  He was hilarious.  Out of the 4 of us, I was the only one who actually watched the show.  My mum has seen it quite a few times at it’s on in the house, Conor has watched it a bit when I do, and my dad probably tried to block it out when he ever saw it on!  So when we arrived at the first location, the High School, I was quite excited, but the rest of the party were not quite as much!  After the school we went to see the outside sets at the TV studios and got to meet one of the stars of the show, Summer Hoyland!  (Who’s that? I hear you all saying!)  We had some photos and autographs with her then went off to the main attraction, Ramsey Street!  As Gerry had already said to us, it looks so much smaller in real life than on TV.  We got to see all the houses like the Kennedy’s house, and the House of Trouser where Toady lives.  And we took loads of photos holding the Ramsey Street sign.  It was then back on the bus back to Melbourne, watching an episode of Neighbours as we went!  It was a really fun morning, but the Neighbours fun didn’t stop there, oh no.  That evening me and Conor were off to the Neighbours night!

Before we went off to the Pub in St. Kilder were the event was held, Me, Conor, mum and dad all met up with Jen and Heledd to have a meal together as this was the last time me and Conor were going to see them.  We had a lovely meal (thanks mum and dad!) then had to say our final goodbyes.  We left Jen and Heledd at the tram station and the four of us headed off to St Kilder.  My mum and dad weren’t coming to the Neighbours night!  But you can see penguins on the beach down there so they were coming to have a look at them.  The pub the event was held in was a ‘traditional English pub’, that meant the musty smells and all!  After getting ourselves a bevy we sat down at one of the tables to make friends which who were going to be our quiz team mates, then it wasn’t long until the fun all kicked off!  To start with, the cast members who would be coming around for photos and autographs were introduced.  They were…Libby Kennedy, Lucas Fitzgerald and the one, the only Kaaaaaarrrll Kennedy!!!  It was so funny, the girl who plays Libby seemed really mental and hyper and Karl was just loving it.  They do this every Monday night so it must be pretty good fun for them.  The first section of the evening was questions for the cast.  Jen had already told us about this and had told Conor that he should write down ‘will you marry me?’ to Karl from me.  Which unsurprisingly he did.  So, along with another girl who had written ‘are you single?’ I got a mention from Karl but he said he couldn’t chose between us, and then that he does have a partner.  However that didn’t stop him coming over to me after the questions and getting down on one knee to propose to me, hilarious!  Especially as the Neighbours theme tune was playing in the background!  It was then time for the cast to walk around for photos and autographs while we did the quiz, which had little interlude games like kissing and dancing competitions for tour prizes, your standard backpacked fare.  Tom from Wales was particularly keen to join in all the competitions and was absolutely hilarious, especially when he got to kiss this tall blonde girl!  The night concluded with Karl and his band performing some cover songs.  It was a fantastic night!  Really funny and even Conor enjoyed it despite some initial reservations about it!

The next day it was time to say goodbye to my parents, as it was the day we flew to New Zealand!  Unfortunately my dad wasn’t very well in the morning so couldn’t come to the airport, but my mum came with us come to see us off.  And New Zealand is where we are now, in Auckland.  We are off tomorrow to see some of Conor’s family friends, then it will be time to start the Kiwi bus!  Phase 3 of the great adventure here we come!
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