Wednesday, April 15, 2009

February 17, 2009: Melbourne across the country to Perth

Imagine sailing from South Carolina to Tallahassee and then from there to Galveston and then flying to San Diego. Five days since departing Sydney and two days at sea, that's where we are tonight...Perth being the Australian equivalent in this metaphor for San Diego.

Since my last bar-side email, we finished up our lovely stay in Sydney with a fun dinner and drinks with friends and a day ferrying around Sydney in the rain. We boarded our ship and my state room was facing the Sydney Opera House so I spent the afternoon relaxing on my balcony watching the rain and the sites.

The next day was a day at sea (Valentine's Day mind you....imagine a romantic table for 3!) My dad, consummate thoughtful man that he is, surprised my mom and I all day with cards and a teddy bear that said "will you be my valentine?”

We arrived in Melbourne early the next day and I opened my door to a smell reminiscent of San Diego in October 2007. The wind was flat and the smell and haze of the Victoria fires was evident. The fires, 22 of them at their peak, were not too close to Melbourne but we felt there presence while touring around until a wind pushed the smoke out. As some of us have seen in San Diego, there are a lot of talented architects from Melbourne and that is apparent in the varied architecture. I took many photos of some very interesting buildings both old & new. We visited Cook's house, saw a stuffed "Phar Lap" (race horse) at the Melbourne museum, toured the Old Goal (Jail) - quite interesting, walked the gardens, saw Rod Laver Arena and the Anzac memorial among other things.

Early afternoon my parents got tired and went back to the ship. I continued touring around and found myself parched...there are so many great outdoor cafes and I selected mine by the glimmering tap of Stella Artois beckoning my name! It tasted sooo good just then!

Back on the boat, we had another day at sea. This one I spent lounging at the pool reading. With news of another close friend being laid off it was a bit distracting to be so at leisure, but knowing her, she would have wanted me to order a I did. One for her and one for me! ;) (smiley face for you too.)

This morning we got off the ship in Adelaide (Galveston, TX in my metaphor) and flew to Perth. There was a side trip where you could take a train....65 hours thanks. We left the state of Southern Australia and arrived in Perth in Western Australia.

At baggage claim, we noticed a cute beagle adorned with an embroidered "coat" that said quarantine inspector. My mom was determined he was a drug dog. After US experiences were you basically have to disrobe, baggie up your Chap Stick and mascara and forget any hydration, we had gone through security with several bottles of water, shoes on our feet, and make-up, etc scattered in our bags. I didn't think her drug theory was right. In fact, the dog was a fruit/vegetable sniffer. He would circle your bags and if he identified contraband, he would...wait for it.....sit down. His guide would ask the bag holder to kindly show the contraband and either consume it or toss it. That was that. My mom had dried fruit which made her nervous so she tossed it before being sat by. It was quite entertaining.

We got our car...Bob somehow was allowed behind the steering wheel...that won't happen again...and eventually showed up at 8 Nicholson in Subiaco, a fantastic suggestion! This 4-room boutique hotel is brilliantly decorated by the owner through her travels around the world and is in a charming part of town. We spent the afternoon wandering around and had dinner at what I've coined an Aus-roccan restaurant (Australian-Moroccan).

Tomorrow we head off to the Margaret River Valley for wine tasting and more adventures.

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