Friday, December 2, 2011


It's amazing how far away I am from America yet how very non-foreign this country feels... Melbourne feels exactly like Brooklyn, NY or Hoboken, NJ just with a lots of Australians around... young, hip, fresh, English-speaking, loud, noisy Australians.  They jay-walk.  They ask strangers for directions.  They like Lady Gaga.  They have crappy CSI-type TV shows and gang fights.  They have "Lateline" which looks suspiciously like "Dateline." They have a diverse crowd...whites, blacks, asians, indians.  They have Dominos, KFC, something called Hungry Jack which looks suspiciously like Burger King.  They have obnoxious sea gulls that try to eat your food.  They have birds of paradise, agave, lavendar and lots of other flowers commonly found in California.  They have malls and a Chinatown, Korea town, Little Italy.  They are very similar to your typical American city.*

And they don't leave their babies outside in prams...

Melbourne is very much like Copenhagen in that they have a 7-11 on every other street corner, however, just like the US, 7-11's in Melbourne do not sell booze.... It's ok though, I found the beer store next store.

Melbourne is also very much like Copenhagen in that everyone rides bikes, however, just like the US there don't have very safe bike lanes and you can expect to be honked at, flipped off, and maybe run over.

Today is the first day of summer in Australia.  I've come to find that Australian summer is very much like California winter...gorgeous and not too warm during the day, but freezing at night  (when I say "freezing" I mean California freezing = <60 degrees Fahrenheit).

The sun is setting around 8:30pm and today has been nice and sunny.  Yesterday was a mess.  A wise Australian once told me if you don't like the weather here, just wait a few minutes...because it changes ... non-stop.  Yesterday we arrived and it was hot, humid and sunny.  By the time we got to the hotel, showered, changed, and headed back out it was cloudy, windy as a hurricane, and absolutely freezing.  We went into work for a few hours then left.  Decided to walk home because although it was still grey, the wind had died down.  Then the heavens opened up and dropped the Indian Ocean on us....Soaked...freezing. We get back to the hotel, change, try to make plans for the night.  Decide we will walk to the park.  Literally we make it down the hotel steps and it starts pouring again.  We run back inside deciding what to do.. Change of plans, let's just go watch an IMAX movie...something indoors.  We decide on that, walk outside, and it is absolutely gorgeous outside....

Tonight we went to the top of the Eureka tower.

The sky deck of the tower is 88 floors up making it the highest vantage point in the southern hemisphere (984.3ft high).
It also has the fastest elevator in the southern hemisphere.
There are two 300,000 liter water tanks on the 90 and 91st floor to prevent excess swaying.
It would be bad if the ceilings gave way....
The glass on the top 10 levels is 24 carat gold plated.  Is this a waste of gold?

*TOG + Gary 2011


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