Sunday, 20 November 2011

Melbourne and more

Knowing that I had a day in Melbourne before I set out on my journey back to London, I had hoped to be able to bring you a photo-tour of Australia’s second city. Alas, it rained all day, and apart from a few grey photos, I have little photographic evidence of the city.  In fact, apart from fuzzy hair, a great Mexican meal, and some cheap and tacky souviners, I have little to show at all.

At least I made it this far though. When I got to the train station in Albury yesterday neither of my debit cards would work. I didn’t have enough cash to pay for the ticket, but when I phoned the bank they had no explanation other than that they though there was a link problem between the UK and Australia, something that only time would fix. Luckily I had got to the station early, and I had time to wait, but when, after 3 hours it still didn’t work, I wasn’t sure what to do. Luckily, when I explained the problem, the lovely people at the ticket office sold me a child’s fair. I didn’t mind pretending I was 14 for the day.

The weather was nice when we left Albury, but the skies were becoming greyer and greyer as we approached Melbourne. As we were steadily making our way towards the outskirts of the city, the heavens opened, and we could see quite a sever electrical storm in the distance. Unfortunately, soon after the lightening caused the signals ahead to fail and the train was stopped in the middle of nowhere. The train manager announced that there was a problem, and that they had no idea when it would be fixed; nothing to do but wait. All-in-all we were about two hours late arriving in Melbourne, and nobody died, but why did I get the crazy woman to sit beside?

Speaking of crazy, what is it with Australians walking around in public with no shoes on? On my first evening here, I noticed a girl in a shop in her bare-feet, and though I thought it was a bit odd, thought that there was a sensible reason behind it. The next week while I was staying at the AIS, I saw some teenagers walking from the pool with no shoes on; I guess after swimming and with not far to walk, there was little point in putting shoes on. But yesterday, in the heavy rainfall, I walked about a half a mile behind a guy, probably in his early twenties, with no shoes on his feet. Later I saw another man walking down the street with nothing on his feet. I guess when the alternative is a pair of flip-flops, what’s the point?

And, so like all other good things, the Australian leg of my travels has come to an end. I fell while running, had the obligatory airport hiccup, had money issues and spotted a native animal, none of which a trip would be complete without. There was excitement, relaxation, solitude, joy and a lot of training, and finally the itchy feet to be integrated back into society. And best of all there were no snakes. A good trip all round!

There never were any more kangaroo sightings for me to get a photo of. The moral of the story may be to ALWAYS have your camera with you, but I’d rather think that it is that it is greater to have appreciated for just one second the wonder of nature, than to have missed it just to get a photo to remind you for a lifetime that you didn’t fully acknowledge the moment. Of course, if you can have both it’s even better!

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