Five Days Later – Getting to Australia and First Impressions

Melbourne.  It’s pronounced, “Mel-bin” by the locals.  The best way to describe the city would be part British and part European.  Oh, and really expensive.  The below pictures show the story of how I got here and what it’s been like so far.  (A more text based version will come soon…)

A day after getting approved for my Australian Visa (which took a while because I needed a chest X-Ray on account of living in Ukraine for a while and possibly having TB…) I was up early and on my way to the airport in Singapore.  The three pictures below are of the hostel I was staying at.  Note that it was one of the nicer places I’ve stayed in a while.

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The airport in Singapore is amazing.  It’s completely clean, brightly decorated, and extremely spacious.  There is free wifi everywhere, and green patches scattered throughout.

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Every airport needs a fake vegetable garden!

 

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Something I had never seen before – all of the bathrooms show you who is responsible for cleaning them and a 5 point rating system.  Part of me wanted to press the “Very Poor” face just to see if the cleaning person was immediately paged back to the bathroom to deal with an emergency.

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Really.  Free internet.  Not only was it throughout the airport via WiFi, but they had a computer bay with computers just waiting to be used by anyone who came by.

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This was one of the many lounges throughout the terminal.  USB plugs and electrical sockets were everywhere.

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Super wide walkways.  Hardly anyone around.  Family Zone.  Cactus Garden?

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You had to pay to get into this lounge.  Among the services were foot rubs, showers, and a jacuzzi.

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I flew from Singapore to Brisbane (roughly 5000 miles) on Emirates.  The plane was a 777, and even back in coach…every single seat had an entertainment system with dozens of movies, TV shows, …and your own electrical plugs!

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Fun fact – this was only the second time I’ve ever flown internationally and not been in first/business class.

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On most US based carriers you’ll get one or two episodes of a TV series.  With Emirates you get an entire damn season.  Great for an airplane marathon of TV watching.

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It appears that the “Who Wants to be A Millionaire?” game was tuned for a more British audience.  Twice I made it past the $1,000 line.  Questions like this would knock me out almost instantly.

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Once I landed I went to login to my email.  Since I’ve never logged in from Australia, Google wanted to make sure that I was me.  I could either enter my phone number for a text message, have an email sent to an alternate email address, or answer my ‘security question.’  I knew this day would come – but “Don’t forget your password asshole” is a terrible security question.

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Oh…yeah it’s winter here right now.  I went from days where it was 37 Celsius to 37 Fahrenheit.  That’s not good or fun.  My lungs took a few days to adjust to the cold dry air.

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Halleluja.  This was at a random cafe.  Above the TOILET.

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After drinking crappy Asian light beer for the last 4 months, there are very few words that can describe how excited I was to discover a bar focusing on dark beer for an entire month.  I stopped in and had two different local stouts.  I don’t know if they were actually good – but they tasted wonderful compared to the beer-water I had been drinking for the last few months.

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Did I mention that certain things are expensive here?  With a minimum wage of $15 an hour, the prices of EVERYTHING are well above what you would see in the USA.  I remember that in Madison I was outraged when these guys weren’t on sale and I had to pay $1 for an avocado.

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Going from hot to cold so quickly – I had to go shopping for a few things.  Pants.  Shirts with sleeves.  A coat.  I found this killer sale at one of the shops I went into.

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Behold a $19 hamburger.  I’m 100% certain that there were more calories in this one meal than I had on a daily basis in most of the places I’ve been for the last few months.  I indulged myself on this night – but know that I need to watch what I eat now that I’m getting settled into things here.

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A) A grocery store!

B) You would never see the words “Gluten Free” anywhere in S.E.Asia

C) What the hell is “Gluten Free Range”?  Gluten Free or Free Range – I don’t think it can be both.

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Australia in one picture.  Love me some yeast extract.

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A few streets from where I’m staying is Melbourne’s “Little Italy”.  It’s actually about 4 blocks long and filled with amazing looking cafes, diners, gelato stores, and delicatessens.

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Out walking around town one night – it was decided that this may be the Hotel California of bars and that we shouldn’t go in.

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