Thursday, September 3, 2009


(This is from about a week ago)

Hello from Melbourne!

It's my third day in Australia, and I've made it from Coogee, Sydney to Melbourne. Coogee, a suburb of Sydney, is where I met up with a friend, Christopher Baldwin, who is studying there. It's a gorgeous spot on the beach which is out of the main hustle and bustle of Sydney. I arrived at 6 am so by the time I got out to Coogee it was around 8 and everyone was out exercising on the beach in groups with teachers. I stopped at a beachside spot called "Chish and Fips" and got some coffee. The woman at the shop was very nice and let me use her mobile to call Topher and tell him I was a block away. (I've found people are very nice here about giving directions, getting out their 'rollers' or giving me numbers of buses trains and trams) and then walked up to Topher's address. He lives with 3 other guys who are also studying. I shed my backpack and took off for the coastal cliff walk from Coogee to Bondi, which was absolutely gorgeous and zipping with joggers and walkers. It went through 4 different beaches and 4 different cliff points.

Things are pretty expensive here, a 30 pack of beer is about$35 US. A latte is $4. However, I managed to hit Coogee the right night- $2 steaks!

The next morning I woke up at 6 from the jet lag and ran out to the first cliff to catch the sunrise. I got it at about a half inch about the horizon over the ocean. Then I took my book back to the beach where already several different groups were exercising. People were swimming laps in the bay without wetsuits. It's the end of their winter right now. People were doing sprints back and forth. There was even a group of about 25 young girls in black and white uniform posing for a picture from dawn til about 10. I felt bad for them. I was deep into my book and letting the sun warm me up slowly as it rose.. and as sand sprayed on me I heard an Australian say, "Come on, I've been easy... let's get joggy!"

I raced to the Opera House later that morning with Topher. It was much bigger than I expected. And I took the train to the airport and left for Melbourne to meet some cousins who just moved here. They live right by the University of Melbourne in Carlton. Melbourne was colder and rainy, but it has a very good vibe with students everywhere and lots of authentic small chops and restaurants. I met up with my cousin Hannah and we walked through a park in her neighborhood. Her son, Silas (4) showed me where he found a possum's home in the hole of a tree.

We left the next day on a road trip organized by the one and only Sam Poore, Hannah's husband. He rented the car and the 4 of them and one me piled in to leave Melbourne and head to the Grampians national park where we all saw 2 emu and a big kangaroo at the vineyard we stopped at near Hall's Gap.

We continued to see many more 'roos all hangin out and grazing in the yard of our hostel ... we saw many parrots and an aechidna, which Sam was glad to find after he saw a glimpse of it and then started to question himself for minutes and wonder how he could be hallucinating at this point! It is part duck-billed platypus family and has spikes like a porcupine.

The next day we moved on to the southern Coastal Highway and drove by the Bay of Islands and the 12 Apostles.

It was magnificent with the huge rocky cliffs dropping down into tumultuous white and aqua surf and then scattered rocks still standing in the water.

It was a very quick trip to such a big place. The people were very friendly helping me work the trains, trams, and buses. Now off to Bali and southeast Asia...

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