Now that we've got that all out of the way: hello and happy day after Towel Day to you. It hasn't even been that long since I've last written and yet it does seem like a lot has transpired. And so indeed there has. Well, if you put it in perspective, only about the equivalent of every other tea cup, of grandma's good China, being painted a bright blue, has indeed gone by. Nothing tremendously world changing but, remarkable enough and perhaps even upsetting to the right people.
Currently I am surprisingly at ease with the thought of being in Melbourne, Australia, at least a six figure digit away from home. The concept is far scarier before it actually happens then when it already happened.
Melbourne is a (if you'd pardon the expression) real swinging place. It's a reasonable big city but, there's just something very laid back about it that you don't really see in most cities. Even though it may contain somewhat of a faster track than I'd imagine smaller Australian cities would have, the city and the people, remain pretty down to Earth and overall a friendly bunch. Getting your swerve on (sorry Charles) in Melbourne isn't difficult, although it's more expensive then you'd like. The general crowd also doesn't start hitting the streets till 11pm-midnight; loading up at home is a common practive due to the high prices on spirits in the city. So far I have been drinking several interesting local flavors and have now arrived at the moment where if everything else fails, I'll order a VB (Victoria Bitter). Much to the discontent of one of the hostel staff, because of it's 'white trash' status. Another Aussie explained to me that it's not so much white trash as it is 'working class'. Either way really, it doesn't really matter that much to me, as long as it's not fucking Goon (box wine), I'm cool with it.
The more significantly noticeable change since the last time I've written is moving from the fancy hotel to the backpacker hostel on Saturday (22nd). While the luxuries of a hotel room are all wonderful pleasant, it doesn't really work that well when your main goal is traveling, let alone being... well, alone. The difference between the hostel and hotel is predictable, expected, very obvious, yet staggeringly odd. Where the staff of the hotel will try very hard to keep their shoes polished, their smile broad and answering with little words as possible (with the exception of one lovely young lady who was more than please to have a chat with someone in her own age range), the hostel staff will help you out with what ever you'd like, sit and laugh with you and, more important than anything, give you free cake.
Meanwhile, last Friday (21st), I visited the National Gallery of Victoria. The building itself is quite impressively designed and built, it was however quite unfortunate to find inside, the exact same thing that I've seen in most Dutch museums. Not to belittle the exhibitions, as they were, on their own, quite good and extensive but, European paintings from the 1800's up to the 1900's is something I've seen a million times already. It was however very interesting to visit the wing opposite of that, which contained a collection of Asian work. Clothing, paintings, documents and sculptures ranging from various Chinese dynasties as well as a large work along the wall of a time line covering all the dynasties from 三皇五帝 to 清 (that's basically from the first known to the last to exist.) Next to the Chinese the gallery also contained work from other Asian cultures like the Indian.
On Monday (24th) I joined a walking tour through Melbourne, organized by the hostel staff. It definably helps to have someone explaining what certain things are, instead of simply walking by yourself and looking around. While the latter is also a fantastic way to get lost (which is a glamorous way of describing 'discovering new things'), having a local with you is very useful. If it were not for the walk, I would have never spotted Warren or the unintentionally sexy hammer thrower. When I say Warren, I'm clearly referring to Warren the Wombat. The majority of the pictures are not from the tour, I've taken them previously when walking around Melbourne in a getting lost and discovering fashion. The pictures of Warren, the hammer thrower and the cozy alley way originate from the walking tour.
A rather important factoid had unfortunately slipped by mind during the execution of the predefined Towel Day ritual of additional accessorizing; amongst backpackers, it is not strange to have a towel with you where ever you go. Needless to say, while I had an excerpt from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, regarding towels, ready for anyone who inquired about my towel, I was devastatingly disappointed. This having been the first Towel Day, on which I had consciously remembered on the day itself to carry a towel with me at all times and did so accordingly.
In an arrising tradition I would again like to ask you to again visit the previous entry I wrote, about the zoo, for I have added three pictures to it, which I had not previously. They are the last three pictures in the album, featuring a gate, a croc and an idiot.
Till next time, no, I still don't have a tan, and yes, I'm outside about 80% of every day.