After visiting Inspire 9, I headed back to the hostel. The weather really started to pick up and it was glorious blue skies and sunshine as I travelled back across the CBD. When I got back to the hostel I got chatting to 3 girls in the hostel named Adele, Julia and Marie who were also spending some time backpacking through Australia. Adele had recently been horseback riding with disastrous results - see http://www.travelblog.org/Oceania/Australia/Blue-Mountains/blog-678095.html for the full story - and was talking about about avoiding dangerous activity for a while. We ended up chatting the rest of the evening in the hostel's lounge. The next day was spent just chilling out in the CBD with the girls and grabbing buy one get one free pancakes in Melbourne Central Station. The pancakes definitely come recommended! As the day wound down the first clear-ish night reared its head and presented me with a great opportunity to take a panoramic from the roof of the hostel. See my photos section for the photo.
I think though what has definitely caught my attention in the last few days are the little driving oddities in Australia compared to the UK. The first thing to catch me out was that, when crossing a road as a pedestrian at a set of lights, things are a little different. In the UK, where sane people live, the green man comes on and you can saunter across the road safe in the knowledge that no vehicle will come at you from any direction. Not so in Australia. Over here the green man more means, you have right of way, and cars should stop for you. Emphasis on the word should here. As you cross, vehicles will begin turning in on you and for the most part your ok. But more than once I have seen cars simply drive on straight through, not evening paying attention to the fact people are crossing the road.
Next up in coo coo town is turning right at a junction. Bonkers. In the UK if you are turning right, you sit in the right hand lane and wait for a clear space in oncoming traffic to cross. In Australia they do things a little differently. Cars turning right queue up in the left hand lane and wait to turn right, whilst cars in the right hand lane carry straight on. I don't have numbers on this, but Im willing to bet there are a lot more drivers side door impacts over here from cars turning right, as it basically adds an unnecessary direction to check when you are turning right. Also commonplace is that because of this turn right in the left hand lane shenanigans, cars tend to queue up on the junction rather than at the lights, basically meaning they completely block people exiting the adjoining road.
The roads in Melbourne CBD are almost perfectly straight, wide, and with large junctions. They would be fantastic to street race on, especially at night, and street race people do. Already, countless times I have seen two cars sitting at lights at a junction having a little rev off before putting the power down and racing down the road. Once, I even saw this with police on the opposite side of the junction, apparently either clueless or disinterested. The cars make some epic sounds as they race down the road, and I have to say, there are some damn nice cars in Melbourne.
I have heard other interesting driving facts about Oz, but the gist of it is, if you're a foreigner keep your wits about you till you get used to the changes. This is what happens when your water goes down the plug hole the wrong way.
Finally, I have done a mini video review of the hostel I am staying in. Feedback would be appreciated, as I would like to keep doing these but if people can tell me positives and negatives I will take them on board to make the next one better.