Day 5 here in Melbourne and we love it here! (think I mentioned this already)..We have traveled all over the central business district and beyond, mostly on foot. I would say after about 15 miles of walking and 2 blisters, I can say I am still in shape! I do not miss my bike one iota..maybe swimming a little...
The day after Christmas we went out on "Boxing Day" which is a National Holiday here which has nothing to do with fighting or anything. Traditionally it is when people were to "box up" the X-mas gifts from the day before. Now I just think it is a good excuse to go shopping and get some killer deals. Reminds me a bit of "Black Friday" back in the states when all the stores have ridiculous sales and crowds galore. And crowds we saw! Did our own little walking tour of the malls and "arcades" (alleyways with very cool shops) throughout the city. When we got to "Bourke Street Mall" where they do not allow cars and many mainstream stores are, we just stopped to take it all in. There were literally thousands of people in "Myers", a store comparable to "Penney’s" or something. We could not even move, there were so many people in there. It was nuts! There were lines outside of the Gucci store down the block. They must have been giving away purses or something!
It was a fabulous day which was topped off by an amazing dinner in Chinatown at the "Supper" Chinese restaurant. Real Chinese food..not the fake stuff we get in the states. It was jam packed too. Then we walked to the Italian part of the city and found a delicious Gelato place. We found one of the many, many parks here and sat to enjoy our cold treat. Fantastic dinner and I felt good we were walking so much so we could eat more!
The weather: It has been in the 70s during the day, some wind and cooler at night. I have needed a light jacket at times but not much. The weather feels perfect! I have a feeling it will be raining more when we arrive in New Zealand. We carry our light backpacks around, stuffed with jackets, water and snacks. It feels sacrilegious that I did not buy one thing at the Boxing Day sales. We are a bit worried about luggage weight though. Some of the airlines charge per kg for luggage. We were soaked $75 on our last flight for being about 10 lbs over the 40 lb limit. Do you know how hard it is to pare down to 40 lbs for a 2 month trip? Now after the almost bombing in Detroit, I have a feeling carryon luggage may be a problem, where I have managed to haul some of my heavier stuff. Guess we will see. About that bombing stuff. I am so disappointed and sad we still have to worry about this crap. I am not really that worried being over here. Australia virtually has had no problems with terrorists so feel we are pretty OK here and traveling to NZ. Now getting back to the US we may need to adjust things a bit as far as luggage goes. We will find out in a month!
Yesterday we took a tram (trolley car) down to St. Kilda Beach, which is south of the city..We saw the beach, walked along the promenade. again very clean area, people shopping at the Sunday market along the beach. Saw a very OLD amusement park was open-don't think I would allow my kids to ride on the rusty rides I saw! Had much character though..
We walked along passing many shops again in this area, some funky stuff, some high end. I called Richard, my friend I met on Facebook who did IMWA. He did VERY well at the race despite the heat. He lives here-met us in a little cafe and we had such a great time chatting with him for a couple of hours. What a great perspective to see from a local! It is amazing people here have no concept of "no health care" or "racism" Refreshing!!
We decided to walk back to our hotel. It ended up being about 7 miles or so by the time we got to the grocery store and home. H cooked us up a "home cooked" meal here in our little suite. I did laundry in the 5 star Laundromat, where it felt more like college when folks turn off your dryer, take your clothes out of the washer, etc. Hmm, this process took about 3 hours. Very annoying and our room now looks like something out of the movies with clothes hung everywhere to dry (I did not want to stay up to let them all dry after my dryer got turned off)..This is a small price to pay for what we are doing!
I thought I was coming down with a cold the other day. I started the cough, stuffed nose and everything. One day of "Cold-Ease" and I was fine. Amazing stuff!!
We got to "Skype" all our kids on Christmas Day..That was really special. We "saw" everyone except Lane, who is in Houston with her dad. Video skyping, although is VERY annoying when Oprah does it on her show, is the best invention ever!
Today is a low key day. So much to do here but I need some rest! We will be going to the movies tomorrow to see "Avatar" in 3-d at IMAX. Also have tickets to the "Jersey Boys" tomorrow night (Broadway play). Wednesday we will be on an all say tour of the "Great Ocean Road", a beautiful area south of Melbourne which is supposed to be spectacular. Then on Thursday our month in Australia is over! I can't believe it is almost over..but grateful we will have our month in New Zealand to look forward to-starting the New Year there will be fun.
We may cave and go to the top of Australia's tallest building today. It is 80 something stories high and quite a view from the top. There is also the Victoria Market and the famous Zoo. It may be hard to sit still today after all!
One thing I miss about home: Good TV. Everyone here is out and about and in shape we are convinced because because there is LACK of good television here. We can sometimes get BBC so we know kind of what is going on in the world..I have no idea who won "Survivor" or "Amazing Race" Oh well, maybe this is a sign I need to stop watching so much damn TV at home! I know I can watch all this on the computer but I am too lazy to do so. And Oprah is not online. Oh well!
Today is the 8th anniversary of the death of my sister Sara. Hard to believe she has been gone so long and missed so much of our lives! I have to believe she is somewhere watching it all..and we will see her again.