First Impressions of Melbourne

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I’m plowing through my photos. If you take a look at my Flickr stream, you can seem I finished Sabah and Jakarta yesterday. I’m hoping to get everything else done today. I think everyone at this hostel thinks I’m weird because I sat in front of my computer most of yesterday.

The process of getting my passport renewed is much more complicated than it needs to be. I went to the US Consulate which is close to where I’m staying. They said I had to schedule an appointment to get my passport renewed. However, I couldn’t just schedule an appointment, I had to go online to schedule an appointment. The consulate website doesn’t let you schedule an appointment for a normal passport renewal, just for the oddball cases. So I sent an email which I haven’t gotten a reply to yet. (I have sent email to embassies and consulates in Fiji and the Solomon Islands as well. Never got a reply from them either).

So in addition to making it hard to even schedule an appointment, they wont give you the forms to fill out either. You have to print those off of pdf forms from the website. Getting the pdf isn’t a big deal, but finding a printer is a pain in the ass.

I know, just know, that if I can get an appointment and fill out the form correctly, something else will happen to screw this up. That is how much faith I have in bureaucracy.

The area around my hostel is very nice. I’m a block from the botanical garden, which is probably the nicest urban park I’ve ever seen. South of me is another park with six cricket ovals and just north of the Botanical Garden is Rod Laver Stadium where they host the Australian Open.

Melbourne seems expensive. This is probably a combination of three things: 1) I’m used to cheap prices the last two months, 2) Melbourne is a big city, and 3) The dollar has taken a big dump against the Australian dollar. Like in Canada, prices didn’t change to reflect the shift. Here, they might never shift because there isn’t the proximity or reliance on the US like there is in Canada.

I would really like to go see an Australian rules football match and/or a cricket match before I leave. I have no clue what the rules are to either sport, but it would be fun (so long as the cricket match isn’t one of those week long games).

6 thoughts on “First Impressions of Melbourne”

  1. if you are still in Melbourne on Saturday 23rd I’m going to see me team (hawthorn) play Football so if you want to go (and want some one to explain what is going on) just send me an email

  2. The cricket season is starting to wrap up, but there are still some games around. The Aussie Rules season is just starting. The big league doesn’t start for another month or so, but they start playing pre-season games now, so hunt around and you should find something. Victoria is the centre of Aussie rules, so there’s a lot more games around there than anywhere else. is more than you’ll ever want to know about cricket. However, the link “Is Cricket like Baseball?” on that page starts with baseball and explains cricket from there.

    Aussie rules summary: – get the ball between the centre two posts – 6 points and a centre restart. Between the outside posts – 1 point and restart from the goal. You can’t tackle someone without the ball, you can kick it, punch it, but not throw it, you can carry it if you bounce it every ten yards. If some-one kicks it and you catch it, you get to kick it yourself and they can’t tackle or block you. Everything else is details.

  3. Hi Gary,
    Hope you post some pictures on the Botanical Garden, sounds awesome. All of your pictures are great and I enjoy checking on your travels – Matthew & Nathen can’t believe what you are accomplishing. Enjoy,keep up the good work, have fun and be safe. Everyone misses you.
    Love ya, Auntie Judy

  4. You should be able to find cricket matches, perhaps not the national team though. Also, it’s not footy season (same time of year I visited), and soccer season is about to end.

  5. Hey Gary, Interesting observations. The dollar continues to crash. It’s at complete parity with the Canadian dollar, and 1 – $1.10AUS as i’m sure you’ve found. Also (since Sean is in Switzerland) The exchange rate is around the same there 1- $1.09 Swiss Francs. Freaky. As for the passport. I’m getting ready to apply for one next week from the US, and beginning 2/1/08 they’ve implemented a “passport card” that you can apply for too, in addition to your normal paper passport. Looks like a drivers license, and seems more like a movement towards a national or international ID. Love the pics!


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