After chilling out with the girls for the rest of the evening we crashed out and the next day I had planned to make a *wash* day. I went down to the laundry room and began figuring out the crazy contraptions known as washers and dryers.
After studying the machines it dawned on me that I would need some soap powder and if I was going to go to the shops, I may as well get some food in while I was there. I have learned fast that Melbourne is an expensive city for a tourist. More so than London. The exchange rate is not good (Adele told me only a few months back it was a lot better) for Pounds to Dollars, and so your money does not travel far.
Its interesting though, that the reason is purely that Australia as a whole is doing very well, whilst the Eurozone is not. Australia has plenty money being thrown at it from Asia, and as a country it is not short of jobs to offer for skilled employees. With my current qualifications and employment history, I would now be gaurenteed entry into the country on a 5 year visa if I wanted. The key thing, is that pay scales well with cost out here. So for Australian citizens, the cost of living is good. In fact Melbourne was recently voted best place to live on earth, taking into account living situation, economic factors etc.
With that in mind, I have quickly started to work out my finances and watch my money situation. I have made the decision to limit myself to only one meal at a restaurant per day, and to cook something else for the remaining meal. I went shopping and instantly felt like I was back living as a student in Jesmond a few years ago; watching the cost of items and getting easy to cook food. I ended up coming away rather proud of myself, having only spent $12 on 5 days worth of meals, including pastas, noodles, pizza and 2 curries. Buy one get one free is definitely my friend.
After getting the shopping in, I got chatting to a few more hostel residents. Philip and his roommate were both German (there are TONS of Germans in Melbourne), and were both travelling alone like me. Philip told me that he has now been out here for 6 months, and settled in nicely. He has a job working outside the city in a warehouse, and makes enough money that he can rent a car every day, pay for living and enjoy his time out here.
As the afternoon drew on I had arrange to meet a friend from Newcastle, also out here backpacking. He has been in Australia for around 6 months now, and is currently living in St Kilda, a district south of the CBD popular with backpackers. I caught the number 16 tram all the way down into St Kilda, and as you enter the area the tram follows the coastline.
St Kilda reminds me a lot of the OC television program. It has a harbour with lots of yachts moored, a lovely beach, palm trees everywhere and some very beautiful and distinctive housing. Not to mention its own mini theme park called Luna Park. The place is beautiful and I am determined to spend some time living there at some point this year.
After arriving in St Kilda I met up with Craig and we got chatting about how his journey was going and what he had been up to. He has spent a lot of time in Adelaide and said he thoroughly enjoyed it. He told me a funny story about how he got a employed out there. His boss said he would give him a job if he would go and talk to 3 random groups of people in a bar. Craig bucked up the courage, and sure enough, was soon employed. In fact, if he wished he could now be sponsored by the company to live there permanently.
Craig took me to meet all of his friends (of whom there were many) and we duely got dressed up and headed out for the evening. It was a great night in St Kilda which i thoroughly enjoyed, and look forward to repeating soon. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and best of all I didnt pay for a single drink. Win!
After waking up this morning I headed back home from Craigs flat, sorted myself out from last night, and I'm just about to head out to see some family friends called Tom and Jill who live outside the city in a suburb called Carrum Downs. I'm really looking forward to it, espeically as I have been promisied a slap up BBQ, and its glorious weather outside.
I have done a video of the city skyline as requested by Scott, however it is too big to upload here so I may try from Tom and Jill's, or find a way of compressing it.