Friday, November 2, 2012

Some Graffiti, Drinks and Visits

November 3 already! Well, for me anyways! Most of my family and friends are still living the 2, but let me tell you about how I spent my November 2 here in Melbourne.

I was up in good time, since I had to check out of my hostel by 10am, and the jet lag still has me up early, and in bed early!  I went directly to the VIT (Victorian Institute of Teaching) to have them photocopy my license and passport for their records and for my file, since I apparently missed that important detail last time I was there!  In my defense, I tried to get all the VIT paperwork done the day I arrived. :)  After dealing with VIT, I bought my round trip train ticket (about an hour one way), since this weekend I will be spending the weekend with an old friend and her Australian family. The return trip ticket was only $12.60! Dynamite! Kristen used to date one of my old high school friends, so we originally met years ago.  Her mom used to work at Archie Stouffer, where my mom works!  Kristen moved here on a working holiday visa seven years ago, had the visa extended for the second year, fell in love, got married, and now lives here with her hubby and two babies! :) Her mom is here visiting, so it will be great to have a weekend of familiar faces and home cooked meals!  After buying the ticket,  I made my way to a cafe called Gloria Jean's, across the street from the Southern Cross Train Station, which is only a few blocks from the hostel I've been staying at, in a pretty central part of the city; where I've been getting my free wifi with purchase :) It works quite nicely! Sit here, have a tea, reply to emails, search for jobs, meet people... my kind of scene!  Around noon, a fella that I met here in this cafe, Tim, met me for a coffee, and then around 1pm, Jo showed up and the three of us chitchatted and searched for jobs together.

We waited for the sun to come back out, and when it showed it's face, we trekked to the other side of the city's CBD, or Central Business District, and saw some of the neatest graffiti I've ever seen! It's a tourist attraction here, but is hidden well enough that you need to go down some tiny alleys and side streets to find this coloured and beautiful, interesting and story telling series of graffiti walls.  As you can see in the picture, the two friends I've acquired so quickly are completely opposite!  Jo is a whopping 4'11" and Tim is pushing 6'9"! I fit in the middle.  The three of us get along really well.  Tim is from a forest fire crew in Northern British Columbia, and is going to be completing a six month contract here in the state of Victoria.

Some of the walls had everything from flowers and designs, sayings and quotes, right down to terrifying pictures of clowns and gremlins! Altogether very interesting! How artistic people can be with a can of spray paint is beyond me...

We wandered some more, before getting a craving for something cold and delicious, such as beer or cider! We all agreed that making our way to a local and very popular rooftop bar was the plan!
When we arrived, the sun was still out and warmed all of us on the roof for a while! It was so lovely up there, and you can see quite a bit of the city's centre.  We hiked up nine floors worth of stairs, so the beers that Tim and Jo had and the cider I had went down quite nicely!  The whole upper floor outside where we sat is all faux grass.  They have big areas you can sit on, and tons of tables and chairs with umbrellas and a burger and chip stand.  We sat there for about an hour and a half, talked, shared stories and obviously people watched! That's always a blast! When the sun went down, the temperature dropped quickly and we got the chills! At this point, we'd all walked around with bags long enough to call it an evening and make our way back to our respective "home away from homes."  Jo took her tram back to where she is staying, about a half hour outside of the city, and "TooTall" Tim and I walked back, stopping at Nando's for some chicken before going back to the hostel.
I had to stay at a hostel around the corner.  I had checked out of the one I had been staying at... okay well, here's the story.  I had booked at the YHA Melbourne Central Hostel for three days when I arrived, (So Tues/Wed/Thurs) with the option of booking for a fourth night if I needed.  However, I checked out on the Thursday morning when I had the option of staying with a friend, Rocco, for the night just outside of Melbourne.  There is a massive horse race here this weekend, called the Melbourne Cup.  Apparently horse racing is huge here, and this weekend (four days, ending Tuesday) is such a big deal that they even take Monday and Tuesday off for it! Check out the links :)
( / ) Rocco is a Stock Broker, and was coming here for work.  A friend who's away offered up his apartment for Rocco and his work mate, so he offered me a room to save the hostel fees! (Yes please! Every little bit helps!) People come from everywhere in Australia for this weekend, and it is insanely busy in Melbourne.  The airports are packed, and flights are extremely hard to come by, since they've been booked so far in advance.  Needless to say, he couldn't get a flight until late, and had to (and very apologetically) back out of his offer.  However, he felt so bad that he spent his morning searching all over for a hotel (not hostel!) for me to stay in.  Hotels here in Melbourne are ridiculously expensive, and  I told him a hostel was just fine, and that he didn't owe me anything - but he ended up looking after my accommodations for last night at a hostel right around the corner from YHA Melbourne Central, called NoMads All Nations.  Thank you, Rocco! :)  He ended up getting lucky with flights, and flew in around 9pm, since his sister works for Quantas Airlines here in Australia, and called him up saying "be at the airport in 25 minutes and you can take the next flight to Melbourne" - which he did, and this allowed us at least enough time to visit and catch up before his other mate arrived.  Since the hostel had already been booked, I stayed there, but it was great to catch up and visit, and I will be seeing him again in the next few weeks.  He travels a lot for work, and has offered to show me around Perth if I make it over to the west coast at all.  Good to have connections! :)

So today, I checked out early, and now find myself sitting at Gloria Jean's again, with a night hot tea.  I find these blogs are so relaxing to write, and I apologize if they tend to ramble on! I think of them as a sharable journal of my adventures, and love to share my life here with you all.

I'm waiting for the noon train to North Geelong, where I will be picked up by Kristen and her mom.  Wishing you all a great weekend! I know I'm going to be enjoying mine!


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