Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Wow, my last couple weeks went by really quickly. One minute you have time and the next you're boarding a plane to leave.... I was pretty busy organizing stuff at the end and unfortunately didn't even get to say goodbye and have last meetings with all the people I wanted because of scheduling conflicts. I managed to work full time right until the day before I left as well. For example my last meeting with Ben was just a very quick hi and bye as he was rushing between events in his busy schedule. He starts his kayak expedition on May 20th. If you want to follow along with his journey then check out his newly launched website at
I survived my flight out of Brisbane :) The only way I can really describe how flying feels for me (and it's mostly the anticipation and then take-off that is bad) is that it feels like those nights when you are lying in bed, totally exhausted, trying to sleep but can't because you can't relax your mind enough to settle down. And then in this exhausted state and stressed state of being, run a marathon with the heart racing, sweating and tired muscles. By the time I land in my destination, regardless of the length of the flight, I'm ready for a nap to recover.
I flew from Brisbane to Melbourne's Avalon airport which is the newer, budget airport way out of town in the middle of nowhere. Like most budget airports it is very small and quiet but functional. It is quite a bit colder here. No, it's freezing with day temperatures just below the night temperatures I already wasn't liking up in Brisbane. It's been overcast but dry so I can't complain too much. Still on the bus from the airport I couldn't help but feel as if I were back in America driving into a large city in the States. 5-lanes of highway heading into town, a large centre with skyscrapers and crowds of people on the street after sunset on a weekday and I was ready to believe I'd just returned to the world of big cities after having lived in some provincial hick town for most of the last year. I did like the quietness of Brisbane but had gotten a little too used to it maybe.
I made the trip to Melbourne mainly to visit Sandra who is down there studying for 2 years with her long-time boyfriend, Ernie. It's the first time I've seen her since she had an overnight stop over in Cairo almost 4 years ago. It's a pretty significant meeting too because it's the 5th continent we've met in now. Only my parents have been to the same number with me :) I crashed on Sandra's sofa bed for the 3 night/2 day visit. We ate lots of sushi (missing Savannah for that one) and saw the city sites. They don't use buses here so all the streets are full of trams. I like it. The architecture is a lot older too and I have to agree that there is something European feeling about the place too. It's also more photogenic than Brisbane but don't go thinking I love it here or anything. One thing I remember from all the national news here is that it seems like most major crime in Australia happens down in Melbourne so it's with a suspicious eye that I view all these people around me, walking by in their drab winter colours. It feels like a real autumn here, my first in years. I think it's been 3 ½ years since I've seen leaves changing colours and falling off trees and people in overcoats and scarves walking around a western city. I threw out most of my clothes before leaving Brisbane and need to wear almost all of the ones I have left to survive down here. It must've looked slightly idiotic though to be walking around wearing 4 layers to stay warm but still be in sandals because I don't own any other footwear at the moment. Whatever, it's only for a couple days and then I'll be back in 30C again for a while.
On my first full day in Melbourne Sandra and I ran around town a little to see some of the major landmarks of the centre like Federation Square, the Yarra river, the Royal Arcade, the casino, etc. After lunch we took the tram out to St Kilda, a popular, touristy, beachside suburb south of town. Obviously not very busy at this time of year but you can get a nice view of the city and there is a small colony of Little Penguins living in the breakwater at the end of the pier.
The second day started with Ernie and I at a pub watching a Canucks playoff game (the first hockey game I've seen since I left home) at 10:30am. It's nice that we could find it but we were the only people watching. At least we won that one. After that I had to run around on my own for most of the day as both Sandra and Ernie had work to go to. Melbourne boasts a number of #1's, like the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere (Queen Victoria market) and the tallest apartment building, and that sort of thing. I visited a couple of the main cathedrals, the tiny Chinatown, and rode around on the free circle line tram taking photos. Met up with Sandra for a late dinner and ended up chatting into the night much later than I'd planned as I had a flight out early the next morning. Wow the time went by so fast. It was great to visit an old friend again finally and hopefully it won't be another 4 years before I see her again.


At 12:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ammon,
you sounded off balance in the post, sounds like the large city life wasn't agreeing with you. Hope the next stop is kinder on you. I didn't catch where to next? But hope you are healthy and safe.

Big Bear hugs


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