the US embassy under the golden arches
Melbourne Travel Blog› entry 22 of 56 › view all entries
Well who knew it was good friday... You lose track of days when you have no schedule... Lots of things were closed today and it was not so pleasant weather-wise so I didn't get down to my beach. I did successfully navigate the public transport though! How they insure people pay on the tram is beyond me. Once you get on you're supposed to "validate" your metcard by inserting it like you would when getting on the bus...but you don't have to get on in front of the driver, you get on as though like a subway and NO ONE puts a card through the swiper things...they just sit down. Essentially it seems like you could ride for free and no one would know. I bought the day pass, but only actually officially used it once, the rest of the time I did as the locals did... just got on and sat down. There must be someway to monitor it, but it certainly seems like anyone could just get on for a free ride.
It was overcast today, so I went to the aquarium in the morning...nothing too special, pretty much just looked like your run-of-the-mill aquariums...and a lot of kids. That's when I realized it was a holiday cause the kids weren't in school. I hopped back on the tram and took it up to the Melbourne Zoo...which is HUGE! There's everything...from birds, to guerillas, to panthers, to elephants, to giraffs, to KANGAROOS and KOALAS! I wondered around there for a few hours. I had worn my new dress that I got at the Queen Victoria Market yesterday thinking it would be warm and sunny again, but it was chilly!! So I bought hot chocolate to stay warm while walking around. I feel like such a tourist. Not just for walking with a camera in hand; everyone was at the zoo...but you can tell the tourists from the locals by the clothes. Melbourne is quite stylish...and I'm quite not at the moment. Well, most of the time I'm not wearing a dress, just shorts/capris and a t shirt and sneakers..and the ultimate giveaway...a backpack. But I take so much stuff with me for the day, cause I don't go back to the hostel until I get hungry for dinner...so I have to bring a book to read incase I find a nice place to sit, lunch and snacks, the guide book for inspiration, sunscreen and a hat, camera, phone, money, and the coffee mug for refilling with water (or the occassional stop at Starbucks because I get 80 cents off for using the refillable mug, so coffee is only $2.10...and Starbucks is the only coffee shop that has regular filter coffee. Everywhere else uses espresso (in Aus and NZ) so the closest you can get to drip coffee is an americano (shot and water). So yes, like the true American I am, I still frequent Starbucks rather than a local chain. At least when I infrequently shop it's at different stores than in the US (but that's because they don't have very many US clothing stores...and no H&M or Forever21!!!). Other than food chains, the only store chains I've seen are The Body Shop, I saw a Tiffany's in Melbourne, and the expensive stores of MaxMara, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vitton. Oh, I did find a Steve Madden but was able to NOT buy anything while inside. Oh...and Target, but I've only seen it once and in Melbourne.
Tomorrow's my last day here. I leave 8:30 Sunday for Canberra. I hope to get down to St. Kilda and see the beach. The town used to be pretty seedy I hear...but money has moved in and it's picked up, but prostitution is alive and kicking! I think it's legal in Victoria (the state that Melbourne is in). Just incase you ever need to know... the legality of prostitution is up to the states in Australia. Some of them have legalized it, and others have certain rules surrounding parlors and brothels, but it's largely decriminalized if not legalized. New Zealand legalized it in 2003 nationwide.