Melbourne, Australia (3rd Jan 08)
After having to check out of the hostel at 10am we thought it would be easier to just go the airport and wait there even though our flight wasn't till 4 in the afternoon. At the desk we got offered an earlier flight as they had a cancelled flight later on and needed as many free seats on our original flight as possible. So an hour later we were on our way back down to Melbourne. Leah, a girl who we met on the Vietnam leg of our trip had offered us a room at her house for a few nights and so she kindly came to pick us up from the airport and took us to her house in East Brunswick, north of the city. It was so refreshing to be surroundings that felt like home, we had a sofa and a nice bed and a clean kitchen and bathroom, it was bliss! Leah went back to work for the afternoon and instead of being productive and heading back into the city we made the most of the sofa and the TV and just had a chilled out afternoon. We did manage to muster up enough energy to sort out our crammed backpacks and get another package sent home! In the evening again we were feeling incredibly lazy so we all went and picked up an Indian takeaway and again just chilled out in front of the TV!
Relieved at not having to get up early to catch a plane or a bus, we stayed in bed till around lunchtime before getting up and going into town. There were a few essentials we needed to pick up and Kara wanted to get some of those 'must get' tourist photo that we neglected to get last time so we again ended up wondering around town for a few hours. Rather than eat out, we purchased a couple of pizzas and some salad from the supermarket and set about making our own tea back at Leah's as she was out for the evening. We thought we couldn't go wrong with pizza but we still managed to burn them, ah well, the beer was a good substitute! Later in the evening Leah came home with a couple of DVD's so we settled down to watch Fracture and Shooter but only managed to stay away for the first one before dragging our extremely tired bums to bed.
Waking up at the weekend, we were nearly suffocated by the heat as the temperature was set to reach the late 30's by midday. We were so thankful that Leah had air conditioning as it meant we could sit in comfort while we decided what to do with ourselves for the day. Leah was off work and so she offered to take us for a drive in her air conditioned car. We headed further out of town to a place called Williamstown which is a seafaring town with scenic promenades that heave with day trippers at the weekend trying to escape the bustling city. After walking up and down a pier in the small harbour the heat threatened to defeat us and so we headed indoors for some lunch. It was here we decided that the best plan of action would be to head to a nice air conditioned cinema for the afternoon as it was getting to hot to even stand outside never mind do anything energetic! After watching a very average movie called Hitman we went to Brunswick Street where we met up with another of our Melbourne friends, Clare, for a supposed few drinks, which for us turned into a few too many!!
*See Great Ocean Road
KARA'S BIRTHDAY!!!(written by Kara)
Mark was still in quite a lot of pain from the previous days sunbathing catastrophe and so I let him sleep in for a little bit while I got all our stuff together, ready to move to the hostel Mark had booked us into for the night. Finally at about 10 he surfaced and gave me my present and told me what the plan for the day was. My present was the DVD of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boreman's 'Long Way Down' which I was thrilled with and my surprise for the day was 2 tickets on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, which is pretty much self explanatory, a traditionally decorated tram that takes you on a two hour tour of Melbourne whilst you enjoy a 5* meal and all the alcohol you can drink! We made our way from Leah's house to St Kilda which took us longer than expected and so after checking in we only had 15 minutes to get ourselves ready and looking beautiful for the tram.
The tram arrived and I was surprised at how luxurious the interior was, dark wood and plush burgundy seating with overly decorative lighting hung above us. Before the tram even set off we were given a glass of champagne to enjoy with the dips and crackers already laid out on the table.Rather than just have our meals placed in front of us we were given a menu to choose from, Mark opted for Kangaroo to start with followed by a fillet steak whilst I decided to go with the vegetarian option of vegetables cooked and presented in various different ways! It was difficult to pay too much attention to what was going on outside as we were constantly having our glasses refilled and being asked if we would like something different to drink...I think at one point we had 5 glasses of different drinks on the table! The food soon arrived and we couldn't have been more pleased with it. It was the first time Mark had had Kangaroo and although he couldn't eat it as a main course he really enjoyed it and it goes without saying that he enjoyed his fillet of beef! There's not much to say about vegetables but it was still a really delicious meal considering posh dining isn't normally my thing. For our third and final course we were brought a plate of Australian cheeses, crackers and a dried fruit assortment which we happily snacked on as the tram slowly made its way back into the city. As a substitute for coffee we were offered liquor so I had a bailey's while Mark chose the Cognac which was brought to him slightly warm and when we went to smell it, it nearly singed our nose hairs off! The host made the 2 hours even more enjoyable and light hearted as he was quite outgoing and had a lot of banter with people, doing silly impressions and accents and effortlessly telling jokes. As we departed the tram the host came over and presented every female with one of the flowers that decorated the table. Mark later told me that he was disappointed as he had arranged and paid for me to be given a flower corsage but it never arrived....someone will soon be receiving an angry email!
In the evening we had arranged to meet up with all our Vietnam friends who lived in Melbourne, Leah, Clare and Rach. We headed to a bar called Seamstress that had been recommended to us and was relatively new. Walking up the two flights of stairs to the 'Cocktail Bar' we felt a little out of our depth but as it was a really nice place we decided to stay. Two $16 cocktails later we settled ourselves in a corner and gradually the girls arrived once they had finished work. We stayed there for a couple and then Rach suggested we go take a ride on the Ferris wheel that sits on the banks on the River Yarra, which definitely excited Clare. Leah had to head home so we said our thank you's and good bye's and went to the River Bank. The wheel was absolutely deserted once we got there which we think lead to us being on a little longer than usual which we weren't about to complain about! It was a little scary at first as the doors either side seemed to rattle a little too much but the views from the top were worth it enabling us to see Melbourne from a totally different perspective and get some good snapshots! After all the excitement we worked up quite an appetite so Rach and Clare took us to a place called Blue Train on the South Bank of the river. The food was average but it was really nice to spend our last night in Melbourne with our friends, and it really made us regret not having more nights out with them previously! And so that was it, out time in Melbourne was done and the next leg of the adventure was about to begin.