Saturday, May 25, 2013


Back in February we made a trip to one of Australia's must-see urban destinations, Melbourne.

Melbourne is kind of an anomaly in that the weather is rather un-Australian and, as an extension of that, is totes like Europe.  So it is fitting that we went when we did because our friends from Europe were in town.

She's Kiwi (I honestly don't know the technical term for a New Zealand citizen) and he's Norwegian.  I met her at my second stint in Norwegian-language-for-immigrants class.  I decided to re-enroll in the class for the sole purpose of meeting new friends, not to actually learn the language, so, score!

They were in town visiting family so we decided to coincide our visit with theirs.  As the relatively new parents to a baby girl we had to find a family friendly way to spend our day together.

So off to the aquarium we went!  Martin and I have been known to go to aquariums by our adult selves, so the child was really just an excuse to pay a ridiculous sum of money to see a few fishes.  And!

It was a nice touch to have penguins at an aquarium.  They were walled in by glass, which was nice, to keep you protected from 1) the cold and 2) the horrible, horrible stank they produce.

I am just not a picture taker like so many of my gender, therefore I didn't get a picture of all of us together.  Ho hum.  After the aquarium we spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in the shade, drinking beer outdoors.  Perhaps parenthood isn't all drudgery and misery after all!

Melbourne is famous for its "laneways", which are just dingy alleys covered in graffiti that have been gentrified.  Out with the bums, in with the uber hip cafes!  In Australia they are the height of cool and all other cities aspire to have laneways like Melbourne.  Exhibit A:

We visited the Immigration Museum, which I highly recommend.  People don't realize that Australia is every bit the land of immigrants that America is, I'd argue even more so.  It told the story of various immigrants through the first wave up until the present.  It was so fascinating, and only cost $10 admission which, coincidentally, is about how much it cost for British people to immigrate here.

Value for money, interesting history (don't forget the overt racism!) and comical fart noises in the instillation that replicated the facilities on early immigrant ships:

A stop not to be missed in Melbourne!

Not so thrilling (and nearly double the price I might add) was the Eureka Skydeck 88, which is a building with a lookout on the 88th floor.  Eh, boring.  Maybe it didn't enthuse me because not two months before I had been to the Taipei 101 in Taiwan.  In comparison the Eureka Skydeck was a real snoozer.  There wasn't any commentary on what you were seeing out each window, and the circumference of the building was surprisingly small.  This was the highlight:


But on the plus side, I experienced my first Gaytime!

A Golden Gaytime, to be exact.

Golden Gaytimes are an ice cream treat on a stick that clearly were created so long ago that the name was totally innocent.  Today they're just a vehicle for myriad gay jokes, of which I took full advantage.  I love having Gaytimes with whoever I'm with, be they man, woman or child!

Cities are just cities, you can find them anywhere in the world.  This is my mantra about traveling in Australia.  This country/continent has outrageous scenery and natural wonders, so why spend all your time in cities?

If you haven't caught my drift I'm trying to segue into the fact that we got out of the city to see some nature.

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles are a series of "limestone stacks" (I say rock formations) and are the highlight of the Great Ocean Road.  And there ain't twelve of them.  There never were!  This one used to be connected to the mainland:

When the bridge fell it stranded a guy and his mistress out on the rock.  Their faces were all over the news, so not only was his infidelity revealed to the world it was also discovered that he was skipping work that day so he lost his job and his wife.  That story is almost too good to be true in the "karma's a bitch" file, but even if it's an urban legend it's a delicious one.

Safety first!

I also saw my first in-the-wild kangaroos!

They frequent golf courses, so our tour guide knew exactly where to find them.  I had been in Australia a whole year without seeing any wild 'roos (at least alive ones)!

Fun fact: In grad school when Martin and I got the idea into our heads that we wanted to move to Australia we had our sights set on Melbourne.  He even interviewed thrice with his company to do a transfer there, and after dragging their feet for eight friggin' months they finally came back with a "Thanks but no thanks".

The Brisbane office, on the other hand, took eight days from first interview to job offer.  It was clearly meant to be that we be Queenslanders, and merely visitors to Victoria.

I will leave you with photographic evidence of how Melbourne is totally like Europe:

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