10.01.2008 - 12.01.2008 37 °C
My luggage arrived! Hoorah! Just the concept of being clean and wearing clothes that don’t smell of rotten seal is such a novelty. I’ve been attempting to get settled into the area, unfortunately the combination of it being summer at the university and the Australian Open (tennis) in Melbourne, things are nuts. So… I’m in the only hostel I could get a room in, exploring Melbourne for a bit, and hoping I can find a place to live soon.
My hostel is right down in the city center (CBD), so I wrote down a few things to see, grabbed a map, and started wandering. There’s a ton of neat little shops, lovely restaurants, and huge old buildings hidden away downtown. After grabbing some tasty pork buns in Chinatown, I found my way to the Melbourne Museum. It’s in a beautiful little park downtown, next to the old parliament building (used before they moved the capital to Canberra).
The museum was terrific! I’d forgotten how enthralled I am with seeing new (albeit, taxidermied) wildlife. Their collection of marsupials was extensive, I can finally put faces to names of these funky critters. They also had an exhibit up on Australian insects, with many live examples (more like a creepy, creepy zoo than a museum), and a “Forest Gallery”, which was another beautifully cultivated living exhibit. There were windows to see fish in the streams, live birds and lizards running free, etc. It was great. I’d also never been to a museum with a dinosaur collection, I was so excited, ‘twas a bit like being a kid again. The Melbourne Museum also has an IMAX theater, and never having had that experience, I finished my evening with a showing of “I Am Legend” on the huge screen.
Yesterday I crossed the Yarra River and wandered through the Royal Botanic Gardens, another huge park. I happened across the skate park there just in time to watch a kids/young teens skate competition, which was fun and adorable. I also went to the Shrine of Remembrance, a very impressive memorial to all the Australian soldiers lost since WWI, with an eternal flame burning for those in WWII. It was odd to find myself at such a place in another country when I don’t think I’ve ever been to any US national war memorials. I hope they’re as nice as this one was.