Our Successes: • Getting through the Melbourne customs during swine flu (this includes filling out additional health information cards and the discarding of my beloved Sudafed) • Our hotel upgraded our room because it was our honeymoon! YAY! (see first video) • We explored the area around our hotel including Federation Square, the Yarra River, and the nearby park • We were able to stay up until 8:30 our first night. A definite success. • We feasted upon an Australian brekky—the biggest breakfast I have ever had. It was magnificent! • The Healesville Sanctuary was a wonderful experience! • I pet a Kangaroo! • Saw several platypus (yes, that is the correct plural) • Watched koalas eat! • Watched Tasmanian Devil pups fight over a freshly slaughtered rodent of some sort • We were greeted by Pelicans and Rock wallabies! • Andy ordered his first coffee: a long black. • Andy successfully completed his first hook turn! (see second video) • We discovered that there are several great cafes down any given alley in Melbourne. In one of these cafes, we discovered Mudhouse wine. Mmmm. • Andy figured out the toll roads! • We experienced the Great Ocean Road and all of the adventures that included • We found a great restaurant in a small coastal town • We experienced waterfalls, eucalypt forests, rain forest, heartbreaking devastation from the bush fires, cool rock formations (twelve apostles) and farm land • We wandered around Fitzroy and found breakfast. Thanks, Mario’s! • We walked St. Kilda pier and saw Wicked (Australians using American accents) • We dined with our dear friends Chris and Nette! • We used public transportations • After stuffing ourselves with Italian food, we managed to pack down a medium gelato as well! • We finally found an Ipod adapter for the car. Interestingly enough, it was sold to us by a very smelly, nerdy American. Go figure. • We saw hundreds of wild kangaroos! • Watched a few people be mauled by cockatoos • I hand fed a bird (I wish I could tell you what kind, but I don’t know) • We hiked McKenzie Falls • Aquarium. It was delightful! We saw stonefish, lionfish, sea dragons, sea turtles, sharks and stuff. • Melbourne City Museum. They were having a special exhibition of Australian political cartoons. Surprise: we didn’t get any of them. • We watched a footy game on TV. Go Cats! • We visited Phillip Island where we saw wallabies, koalas, nifty birds, and little penguins. • We ate lunch at a “healthy burger” café. Andy’s 1/3 lb burger had bacon, fried egg, beet, onion, lettuce, tomato, and pineapple. It was served with a healthy serving of fries covered in “mexi” salt.
What we learned: • Any child may be forgiven if he or she has a cute Australian accent (or speaks German) • Most of the toilets (that I encountered) did not swirl, but when I crossed a toilet that did swirl, I noticed that the water swirls counter clockwise. • The Sydney airport has awesome musac (including the smooth sounds of George Michael, Olivia Newton-John, and Elton John) • EVERYTHING closes by 6 pm on a Sunday night in Melbourne. The local 7-11 was the only thing open that we could find. • Australians have a harder time understanding the American accent. I wonder how they fare with southerners. • No American beer to be found…FINALLY! • Driving outside of the city looks very similar to driving around the bay area. The only differences are the trees (eucalyptus) and the wildlife. • The signals inside the car were all opposite. Ask Andy how many times he turned on the windshield wipers while trying to access the turn signals. • Australians REALLY like breakfast. We sat near a table of four (normal sized) people who went back to the breakfast buffet multiple times (more than four) to fill up their plates with the offered goodies. It was impressive. • American’s can be stupid tourists. We encountered an American guy who thought it necessary to argue with an employee of Healesville sanctuary about the theory of evolution while the employee was telling the audience about Flo, the wombat. • Victoria Bitter isn’t bitter at all. • Our GPS struggled a bit. It couldn’t find us unless we were out of the city and the numbers on the GPS did not always represent the numbers of the actual motorways. Well done, Garmin. • Honey was served in the comb at our hotel • Ipod adapters are rare • Tipping isn’t expected but it is very appreciated • Australia has the best sunsets I have ever seen. • Next time, I must remember to bring hiking shoes, sandals, and a towel • Australia has their fair share of crazies • Australian ‘Little Italy’ is a smaller version of New York ‘Little Italy.’ You are harassed as you walk down the street by waiters who offer you free embellishments if you eat at that particular restaurant. Seriously. • Eggs are $8/dozen and milk is $4.50 for ½ gallon • Most architecture for homes seemed to be directly influenced by the French Quarter • Brewed coffee cannot be found in Australia (not even at starbucks) • Australians love ice cream • Kangaroos really do just jump out in front of your car (we almost hit one!) • The Kabob is unknown. They are advertised in the normal flat bread way, but it is only served over salad. Very disappointing • Americans use the term ‘sandwich’ too loosely. We were corrected that a focaccia is NOT a sandwich. I’m sorry. It’s between two pieces of bread. It’s a sandwich. • Pancakes and cream= Pancakes with a few scoops of ice cream. • The people of Victoria are against horse jumping after five horse deaths. We saw protestors. • If you are a female working in Melbourne, there is a strict dress code: pencil skirt, black tights, and black pumps or knee high boots. I swear. EVERY woman was wearing this. • Cochlear implants were invented by a Melbournian. • Australia has an obscene amount of tourists…even in the off season. • Vegemite is alive and well in Australia. Gross. Amusing Signs: “Wake up! Drowsy drivers die!!” “Arrive on time! Not dead on time!” “Yawning? A microsleep can kill in seconds!” “Only sleep cures fatigue”