I got off to a quite comfortable start here in Australia. Perhaps even too comfortable. I had the great luxury of being able to stay with a good friend in Melbourne for my first week in the city. There are many benefits to this, as you can imagine. Not least of which is having a lovely local to help me get my business sorted – bank account, cell phone (ahem, “mobile”), etc. Having a real bed and my own room is not to be taken lightly either. Best of all was catching up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in around two and a half years.
Australia, a country not so different from Canada in the grand scheme of things, does not tend (I can imagine) to induce very severe culture shock in the average North American guest. So with the comforts of home at my finger tips and my general surroundings familiar enough, I realized after a few days that my big adventure didn’t seem like very much of an adventure at all. I started to feel a bit restless and frankly, uninspired (hence the reason this blog took awhile to get up and running). I was also dealing with the uncomfortable realization that pain doesn’t necessarily dissipate with distance.
I finally took a solo day to wander the centre of Melbourne, which had been scarcely explored. With the better part of the afternoon spent in one of Melbourne’s two National Art Galleries (the Australian one – I stepped foot into the international one, which appeared to be even larger, about 20 minutes before closing time), I finally began to feel the much-anticipated excitement of travelling. The most captivating exhibit found it’s home on the main floor and showcased Australian Aboriginal art. The majority of these were fairly large-scale pieces with quite striking colours. There were several that were collaborative efforts between groups of artists, and each piece always told a story (which was, thankfully, explained on the little plaques beside the paintings). Following that I headed toward Lygon Street, which is dotted with a plethora of Italian trattorias, and, I was promised, some reasonably priced Indian and Asian restaurants. It took awhile before I tracked down my lunch at a tasty Vietnamese restaurant. My $8 pho was delicious, and a nice break from the majority of places we’d eaten at so far. This traveller’s budget can’t survive on $15 breakfasts – one other minor downfall of staying with locals who have their real lives set up here. Happy with my solo day of adventure, I have also made some progress on setting up couches to surf for my few remaining days in Melbourne and have a lead on a rideshare to Sydney. Happy trails.