On Australian Time
It took us 24 hours to get from Minneapolis to Melbourne, Australia. A 4 hour flight from Minneapolis to LA and a 4 hour layover in LA culminated in a 16 hour flight to Melbourne.
The long flight was intimidating.
My memories recalled the 21 hour Peruvian bus ride, memories that both comforted me and frightened me. Would I be sick the whole time? Could I sit still for that long? Our seats were terrible. We were three rows apart, crammed in the middle seat of the middle set of seats in the back of the plane. I guess that’s where you sit when you buy tickets just a few days before flying…
The flights were fine. Our plane to LA had a mechanical malfunction mid-flight that we only learned about after we had landed: the pilots couldn’t steer the plane on the ground. So we got towed to our gate. On the long flight to Melbourne, we only had a little bit of turbulence, and I was able to sleep most of the flight.
We arrived in Melbourne at 9 a.m. wide awake, thanks to napping on the plane. We wandered around downtown Melbourne feeling quite underdressed next to all the women in beautiful dresses and matching hats. Apparently we had landed on the day of The Melbourne Cup horse race, a holiday. While most stores were closed, most restaurants were filled with glamorous people enjoying a cocktail at noon on a Tuesday.
Next to the downtown area is a huge park and the Royal Botanical Gardens. We found a statue of Queen Victoria and stopped to smell all of the roses.
Eventually, we took a train an hour out of Melbourne and met up with my friend who lives in Ocean Grove and with whom we are staying.
Ocean Grove is a small coastal town that has some of the most beautiful houses I’ve ever seen. It’s easy to walk around the city, which we did on our first full day in Australia.
The beach is beyond gorgeous. Smooth sand that is firm enough to walk comfortably. Broad vistas. The wind was fierce but the air was warm and humid.
Downtown, Martin found a cafe whose name spoke to his every desire.
Our spirits were high.
We had a warm sun shining on us and an ocean view. I was taking in all the differences in Australian English and trying to wrap my head around driving on the left side of the road. Our day was going perfectly.
Then, we went to the iPhone Guy to see if they could fix a broken button on Martin’s iPhone. We had regularly stopped in iPhone repair shops for the past 3 months in an attempt to fix this button. Some said they had to order the part, which would take at least a week and about $80. Others just scoffed at our attempt to fix an old phone and suggested we buy a new one.
Now this iPhone Guy was telling us it would be ready in a few hours and cost just $30. Martin was forced to be without his phone for a tortuous 5 hours and was beyond giddy with excitement when he received it repaired and working like new.
As if our awesome first day in Australia couldn’t get any better, it did.
The day we left Minnesota, we learned that our 6 week house sitting gig in Cairns had fallen through. This house sit was the reason we booked a flight to Australia. Without it, we were flying to Australia with no plan at all. I was crestfallen and terrified. Before we left, I quickly applied for another house sit. By the end of our first day in Australia, I had spoken with the woman, learned about her dog and cat, and confirmed an 8 week house sitting gig in Brisbane.
I don’t expect every day in Australia be as glorious as our first one (in fact, today it is raining), but I do expect that we will continue to have some amazing adventures.