Me Made it to Melbourne

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

My last day in Sydney was spent int he rain, trying to find some cheap but warm clothes and am almost entirely cloaked now in Woolworth's and "Cheaper than Duty Free' stuff.  If I go onto the north, it will be warmer (sounds funny doesn't it).  I stored my stuff at the hostel as my bus didn't leave until 7 p.m. Got back about 6 by train and immediately ran to the hostel, grabbed my backpack and the other 2 bags I've been lugging around, and still in pouring rain and uphill, ran back to the train station to get the train back to Central Station, behind which was located the Firefly bus terminal (next to Greyhound). Got on the bus and although it was fairly crowded, got a two seats to myself.  Found out along the way, after the bus driver doing his apparently usual 'spiel'which was quite the lecture to everyone, to do your seat belts up or the police will fine you $250 as they do random checks, keep your shoes and socks on so you won't offend your neighbours, and keep the onboard toilet spotless or he will lock it, as he inspects at each stop and to the young woman who started laughing he said to keep quiet while he was speaking. It was quite the different approach to any other bus I've been on but it was good - he meant business.  A lot of men were on board who were trying to sleep as they were truck drivers travelling to Melbourne from which they had to turn around and drive back as part of their job. A movie was shown, with Hugh Grant called something Dreamz, quite similar in a way to the latest one he did with Drew Barrymore about song writing.  
OK I have been here now for a week today and spent the first night in an overpriced hostel "Base Hostel" on St Kilda road in Melbourne, after being led there by a woman on the bus, whose friend met her at the bus station (actulaly Southern Cross Train station). They were staying at a hostel down the street from mine so I learned 'the drill' about taking trams at 7 am Friday morning with backpack and other bags.  They are both German nurses, one living in Sydney and one in Mel; calling all nurses Australia is crying for them and even if you go on HOLIDAY there, a company, particularly a mining company, will ask you for a few hours work!
Anway, I have to update this blog so won't go in too much detail - i moved to another hostel after the first and last night at Base ($32 for a HOSTEL BED!) plus $6 for breakfast if you wanted to eat it there.  I checked out the Greenhouse hostel on Little FLinders St downtown and that's where Beverley Manning (who I met at G'Day Hostel in Sydney) was going to stay in a couple of days time. It was a good hostel but 5 beds in a little dorm was a wee cramped, but huge kitchen, common areas, free breakfast (cereal, toast, coffee) etc. and lots of hostel-arranged activities (walking tours, pub crawls). ANyway, I checked in on Sat. and I knew Beverley was coming in on  Monday. Well on Sat. I finally connected with Jum, who was in Mel on business from Bangkok - we kept missing each other, going in the out door or whatever; anyway, she has a little bed sit that she uses when she is here on business, in a Greek Monastery. She offered it to me for however long I wanted it for $25 a night; comes with a little kitchen, double bed, bathroom, balcony, f ridge, etc. and I am in 7th heaven.  So I had to meet the Greek management guy who handles the rent and I am meeting him again today to pay for the 8 days (Sun-Sun) that I will be there. I just booked my departure from Mel on  Monday, although tres comfortable in the little place, 1/2 hour train ride from Flinders Station to "Northcote". DOn't know how she got this place; but it is full of international students who are very quiet as they study hard due to parental pressue (if I am paying for you to be there...). 
I booked a ship sailing from melbourne to Davenport, Tasmania for a bargain $65 each way for the overnight sailing (8 p.m.-7 a.m.) sitting up, but I did it from Sydney to Mel with no known side effects. I then booked a single room at the hostel in Davenport. All bookings on web so makes it much easier. I made my return for June 30 when I head to Adelaide on the Great Ocean Road, then want to go up to Ayers Rock, via Alice Springs, before I head to Perth, Exmouth, Broome and back to Sydney. That's the plan. Too much to see so won't get to a few places that will have to wait for next time.
Beverely arrived Mon. night and we met up Tues in front of MacDonalds (regular meeting place, where Jum and I met up finally!) and so we have been doing a little sightseeing - on Wed. I went on a wine tour to the Yarra Valley. Very nice trip, beautiful wineries, fully with shops selling handlotions, gourmet food etc. SHe's going to a Football game tonight, and I have some running around to do.  Melbourne is really different from Sydney and I really like it - much more character, like a bunch of little communities hooked together. Very multi-cultural, lots of foreign students.  It's cool here, much of my time has been spent trying to find warmer clothes, and I hear NZ SOuth Island has snow.  I am wearing Jum's jacket which she leaves here thank heavens.
Guess you head about the terrible shooting of a Good Samaritan - took place right downtown and in fact my YHA travel agent was right around the corner - w hen I got there it was shortly after the 'lock down' was over and i heard it on the radio while I was sitting there and she said they were all still shaking. It has really hit the country hard and so it would anywhere.
Next transmission may be from Tasmania. I put some pics on.
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