The Leap Across the Lake

It’s 3am and I’m in Melbourne chatting with some drunk Irishmen.

So that’s happening.

Really though, this jet lag stuff has been the most fabulous thing in the world. I went to a busy noodle shop called Bar China at about 1:30am, and now I’ve landed at a Burger Jack’s… in downtown Melbourne… at bar close. So far I’ve spoken with different groups of people about the names of American cities, gun politics, environmental extremism, gay marriage and gaming. I should mention that I haven’t had to start any of these conversations. Partying Melburnians who visit this Hungry Jack’s seem to be a friendly, chatty lot, and all I have to do to generate a conversation is to respond to a “hello” in my American accent, aaaaaand we’re off! Also, PAX-Australia apparently just ended and this gentleman – visiting from Perth for the convention – was kind enough to let me take a photo of him in his awesome t-shirt for the blog:

Guy in a t-shirt and suit jacket strikes a pose. The t-shirt has a photo of a woman in a tight body suit with a weapon on her shoulder within the international no symbol. Underneath text reads Cosplay =/= Consent

But let’s back up.

I woke up in Minneapolis on Friday morning, worked half a day, came home and gave Prada and Taz goodbye snuggles, and had a last meal in Minneapolis for a month with Aaron. I arrived at MSP airport around 2:30pm and met my coworker, departed for LAX at 5:20pm, landed in Lax at 7:20pm (local time), departed for Sydney at 10:15pm, flew 15 hours and arrived in Sydney at 7am SUNDAY (local time), navigated customs and immigration, hopped on another plane for Melbourne, took a 20-minute taxi and ended up checking into our hotel in the CBD (central business district, i.e, downtown) at around noon on Sunday.

Neither of us had slept much on the plane, and so we had been up for over 24 hours at this point. My coworker and I knew that we couldn’t go to sleep until later in the evening, and we put up a pretty good fight. After getting settled in our rooms and taking gloriously glorious hot showers, we threw on our walking shoes and explored the city around our hotel. We wandered down Exhibition Street to Federation Square, turned around and meandered through Russell Street and Chinatown. I picked up some Australian currency (their money is so much prettier than USD!), stopped into a Telstra for a SIM card, and ducked into a liquor store (a “bottle shop” according to the concierge) for wine. Mmmm, wine.

After all of this heroic delaying of sleep, we were dismayed to learned that it was only 4:30pm. Too tired to carry on conversation, we decided to retire to our rooms and order room service, which I had intended to do immediately after I sat down on the bed to remove my shoes and oh this bed is nice and cushy I wonder if the pillows are going to be any good…

…and it’s 1am.

Here are some photos from my travels so far:

Twisty lake seen from plane

Eastern Australian coastline, seen shortly after departing from Sydney.

2014-11-01 16.39.16 (576x1024)

A curvy, winding lake that looks like it should be a family crest from Game of Thrones, seen somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne.

Rural area outside of Melbourne seen from plane. Square patches of farmland visible, clouds cast shadows over the land.

Rural area outside of Melbourne, speckled with shade from the clouds.

View of the Melbourne skyline from the hotel

Melbourne skyline from the rooftop of my hotel.

View of train tracks leading into Federation Square

Train tracks leading into Federation Square. We didn’t make it up this way because it was quite chilly. Maybe I’ll explore Federation Square and Centre Place this weekend.

A view along Chinatown's Little Bourke Street

Little Bourke Street – Melbourne’s Chinatown. Very busy with lots of restaurants, groceries and Traditional Chinese Medicine shops.

The Leap Across the Lake
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213 thoughts on “The Leap Across the Lake

  1. 1

    Welcome. 😉 Slang lesson: To really speak Aussie say “bottl-o” for bottle shop.

    Oh also, someone (likely lots of someones) has probably told you this but… tomorrow (Tuesday) is Melbourne Cup Day and a public holiday in Victoria. It’s basically Australia’s favourite day and even people (like me) who could not care less about horse racing become experts for the day. I’m sure there will be a bunch of things in Melbourne CBD happening related to this.

  2. 4

    Hi Brianne! Looks on a brief glimpse at Google Earth that your first aerial photo is of the Shoalhaven River and the town of Nowra, looking towards Jervis Bay, and the second is of Lake Eucumbene, seen from about 100 km south-east of Canberra. Third photo is just a little bit too anonymous to easily identify the township – plenty of rural Victoria is laid out on a square grid of streets and farmland.

    As Edith says above, we have this ridiculous horse race tomorrow so there’ll be a lot of people who dress extravagantly in order to get plastered on the public holiday, irrespective of whether they go to the races or have any interest in following or betting on the outcome. Tomorrow I’m getting out of town to the Yarra Valley which is the major wine growing region north-east of the city… but I’ll probably be getting dressed up and sozzled for no reason like so many others! You mention the laneways – they are multitudinous and filled with many cafés and restaurants worth investigating, so I hope you get an opportunity to dig in while you’re here!

  3. 5

    Enjoy cup day!

    Highly recommended: Shanghai Dumpling on Stevenson Lane, Healesville sanctuary, a drive along the Great Ocean Rd, Gippsland cheese and a tour of the MCG.

    Fun fact: AFL has the fourth highest average attendance to regular season games out of any professional league, just ahead of US baseball. This is impressive because half the teams are based in Melbourne, so the AFL fan base in the city is split between 9 different teams, and yet still fills the MCG regularly throughout the season. Compare and contrast to other professional leagues, where more than 2 teams in a city is unusual. Melbourne is arguably the world’s most sports crazy city.

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