Friday, June 12, 2009

The Wonderful Land of Oz!

Our first day in Melbourne was, well, interesting.

But first let’s back up a bit.

On June 8th, we packed up all our stuff, had one last bite to eat at our favourite street vendor in Bangkok, then took a taxi to the airport.

The vendors were almost as sad to see us go as we were to leave the cheap delicious food, and they threw in a couple free water bottles for our journey. Aw, how sweet.

We arrived at the airport with hours to spare, and were eager to get our bags wrapped and checked so we could relax without 15 hundred pounds of bags. Our counter wasn’t open yet, so we got our bags wrapped anyway and waited and waited… then waited some more.

Finally we went to the info desk to inquire about our flight. APPARENTLY, our airline decided that it didn’t fly on Mondays, so our flight was delayed 24 hours… and we hadn’t been notified.

No skin off our backs though, the airline put us up in a fancy shmancy hotel and provided 3 free meals. No I’m sorry, not meals… FEASTS. When we went for our meals, we were still full from the previous meal- but we continued to stuff our faces anyway (after all, it was free).

After the fun ritzy hotel experience, we flew through the night to much-chillier-than-Thailand Melbourne. Immediately upon arrival in Aussie, we were accosted by a foreign-looking cab driver insisting (in broken English) on giving us a ride. Um, are we still in THAILAND?!
Anyhoo, we accepted his offer and went to the Melbourne ‘Space station’ where our ‘Spaceship’ campervan awaited. Our campervan who's name is, I'm sorry to say, "Luciferous VII" (we didn't name 'er). We lovingly refer to her as "Lucy".

We set up Jill (our GPS) and started driving. Our first destination was to find pants for me, as I accidentally sent all my pants home from Thailand with Carlynne and Kylie. As mentioned previously, Melbourne was chilly. It was no Canadian winter, but it sure wasn't shorts weather either.

In New Zealand, the open source (i.e., free-to-download) maps worked beautifully. Here, however, the maps were slightly scattered, and we relied on Jill just enough to confuse us (and we had no decent paper maps).

After finally finding myself pants, we drove around for hours in search of updated GPS maps, but had no luck. We found ourselves in the dark/pouring rain during rush hour in the centre of downtown Melbourne. Also, we nearly got run over by a tram. Julie was a not-so-happy camper, so we just drove- determined to leave the rush of cars behind- until we found a parking lot with a toilet. Here we set up camp for the night. It was a simple parking lot and a simple toilet, but the view was splendid.

We fell sleep at 7:30pm (yes, we’re cool), and were rudely awoken at midnight with rapping on the window and an insistent/broken-English voice saying “Hello please! Hello please!”


By the time we were pulled out of our deep sleeps and realized what was going on, the man (who presumably was going to lecture us about camping in the parking lot of a sailing club) had hopped on his bicycle and was nearly out of sight.

In the morning, we enjoyed the pleasant view and took a stroll along the water's edge.

It was our MISSION for the day to find a GPS store to upgrade Jill. (You must understand that Julie's happiness DEPENDED on the success of this mission!) Finally, after driving in circles for 3 hours, we found Johnny Apple Seed which had just what we needed. We drove away happy and hopeful!

Next on the agenda for the day was to check out the giant swimming pool. It turned out that the pool wasn’t set up for its full 75-meter use, but we still enjoyed swimming in the 50 meter pool. It had been a while since we had exercised just for the sake of exercising!

We longed for a short soak in the hot tub for before leaving, but nooooooo. We would’ve had to pay $5 extra each, and that just plum wasn’t worth it.

We parked Lucy on a residential road near the aquatic centre, and took the tram downtown in time for 5:30pm (we decided that public transport was the way to go in this crazy city. If you can't beat 'em... join 'em right?). We were really excited to see Wicked the broadway musical, and we had heard that if you showed up at 5:30, you could enter your name in the ‘lottery’ and potentially win front-row seats for merely $30 each (when they’re worth $200).

We waited eagerly for our names to be called… but they weren’t.

However, there were still seats available for the show, so the manager allowed everyone who waited around for the lottery to have tickets for $50 a piece. SCORE- we saved nearly 75% of the cost. The people in the seats next to us paid $185 each. SUCKERS!

My first lame attempt at dressing up in ages. I took off my hoodie for this picture, then immediately slipped my hoodie and pants on (still with the dress) for warmth. The extra clothes never came off, so I think my attempt at dressing up failed!

One month ago I had no idea Wicked even existed, and one week ago, I still had no clue what it was about. Kylie was the one to inform us that it was playing in Australia, so while we were in Thailand, we bought the book and the soundtrack. I read a perfect amount of the book prior to the musical- enough to know who was who and what was going on, but not enough to give away the ending (although apparently the book ends differently). I also memorized the soundtrack.

I had full intentions of obnoxiously singing along to all the tunes, but I was silenced by the beauty of the voices and the harmony. It was soooo good. I loved each and every second of it.

Good-bye Elphaba, Glinda, and the land of Oz. You will be missed!

Next up: Sydney.


Bloggy Mama said...

Never a dull moment. Never, I say.

Jorx said...

crazy! From what I hear about Aussie seems to fit your experiences so far... unfortunately! Good choice to spend a year in NZ!

jill said...

Sounds a little crazy & fun! My Dad & his wife are ther right now as well.