Sunday, October 7, 2007

Australia's Boston: Melbourne


What a surprise...another e-mail from Down Under so quickly! I will admit that while I love informing the masses about my Aussie travels, this e-mail won't get sent unless I do it right now, as the next two weeks are going to be utterly brutal. To my surprise, I actually have papers and work to do. It's like I'm down here for school or something... I have three large papers (2000 words and up) and a big presentation due this week and next, and the following week I have to hand in the written presentation, and I'm also in the midst of applying for to two big internships for next summer, with deadlines quickly approaching. The stress levels are reaching high altitudes right now, and those of you who know what kind of student I am, I tend to stress out. Although, I will admit, I've become somewhat lax when it comes to classes and reading as of recent. It's Australia's fault.

Anyway, I just got back from Melbourne, Victoria this morning. I was visiting my friend Jackie who's studying there. It was quite a journey getting there last Thursday, as I was still relatively sick and had little to no strength. But I pressed on. I flew into Avalon which is about an hour outside of the city. It was cheaper to fly there, but it turns out the $50 I saved on a flight I spent in commute to and from the airport. You live. You learn. I got in Thursday night and Jackie and I met up with some of her friends and walked around Lygon Street, which for those of you Syracuse folk, it's similar to Marshall Street but a bit bigger. Jackie lives on campus in a college called Trinity. Melbourne University is different than UNSW in the sense that a college isn't a dorm, but a little community. All in all there are about 12 colleges which house MU students. Jackie is in the most expensive and most prestigious, but unfortunately her experience has been sub par. When she visited me in Sydney I cooked her a homecooked meal since she said her college's food was horrible. She was right. It made Crane Lake Camp food seem like Camp JORI food. Not only that, you have to pay for lunch on the weekdays and you can only eat at certain times. We had some sketchy hamburgers and I stayed away from the meat which was either lamb or pork- no one really knew. I also stayed away from the eggs which looked like Fisher Price's kitchen set for a three year old.

On Friday we headed into the city and found as much free stuff as we could. We checked out the National Gallery of Victoria, which was pretty cool. Though I think the Museum of Modern Art in Brisbane was cooler. We saw some sculptures and there was a clothing display, which we thought would be really neat, but it was disappointing. We checked out this alley way which is basically a designated area for graffiti. It was really cool and a bit overwhelming. Some of the stuff Jackie wanted to show me had already been painted over. It was funny there was all this graffiti since in Brisbane, Adam and I talked about graffiti as art and checked out a book about "Banksy." He has some very cool work. Adam also sent me an e-mail of things to do in Melbourne, one of which was to find Chloe. We checked out this bar called Young and Jackson's, where Chloe is. She's more than one hundred years old!! Unfortunately, you'll have to meet Chloe yourself, as I can't tell you who she actually is.

When Jackie had class I stayed in the city and wandered around. I was trying to find some cool little alley ways to get lost in and find small shops, but I failed. I did, however, find the Immigration Museum, which was free with a student ID. I wasn't there for too long, but I learned a bit about immigration to Australia. I liked the kids' section the most since you could lay down in the bunk beds in the sea vessel model. Some little kid stared me down for awhile. I told him we could share. I met up with Jackie at the Victoria Markets. Unfortunately they were almost ready to close so we didn't get to see too much, but we did taste a bunch of cheese and finally settled on aged Gouda and ate almost the whole chunk with some water crackers. It was delicious. It was even more delicious since we didn't have a knife and the only thing we could find was a spork. That was my idea.

Once the markets closed we headed back to Trinity, which I should mention, looks like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Plus, Monday through Thursday the residents have to wear formal robes to dinner, which look exactly like Harry Potter robes, and there's even a head table. It's crazy! We had that sketchy barbecue for dinner and then we downloaded some movies to watch. Jackie is part of this campus network in which you can share movies and music, so the possibilities were almost endless. Pan's Labyrinth didn't have subtitles; I could understand the Spanish, but not quickly enough to translate to Jackie. We ended up watching Pulp Fiction, as I had to educate her about the origins of Fox Force 7. While I may have changed a bit down under, I still fell asleep in the middle of the movie. But to be fair, so did Jackie.

On Saturday we hoped to rent a car and drive along the Great Ocean Road to see the 12 Apostles, well 8 now. But the car rental place had a minimum of three days and we didn't want to pay $150 for only seeing the road one day. I hope I can get down there to see the Apostles before more of them fall. We also tried getting a tour of the Carlton Draught Brewery, but for some odd reason it's not open on the weekends. Do they expect working people to leave their jobs to drink beer all day? Frustrating. Instead, we checked out the Eureka Tower. We paid some money to see the 360 degree observation tower, which overlooked all of Melbourne. And then we went to The Edge. Being afraid of heights, I expected to collaspe to my knees and crawl out, but I did surprisginly well. We got into this box which extended out from the building and then after some corny soundtrack of glass breaking, the floor came away and the floor was all glass. It was scary enough that I didn't let go of the bar, but not terrifying. For ten bucks it was cool.

After that we headed to the Victoria ANZAC (Australia, New Zealand Army Core memorial) Memorial. (See pictures) It was a nice building and we took part in a memorial service. It had some cool history and from the balcony there was a great view of the city.

We did a bit of shopping before heading back for another mysterious dinner. Instead of partying all night (since I don't do that) we started to watch Children of Men (amazing) until it got cut off since the person we were downloading it from didn't download the whole thing. So we resorted to Office Space. I left early this morning, and luckily my cold is better enough that I didn't cry landing due to severe eye pains like I did on the way there.

And now I am done procrastinating and ready to start my massive amounts of work. You won't hear from me until it's done. So about two weeks. But after that it's almost smooth sailing. I'll be home in just less than eight weeks. Wow.

Until next time, here's to you, you're true blue,

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