It finally feels like summer! It was hot in Asia, sure, but in my mind it’s not summer unless you’ve got long days and sunny evenings to go with the high temperatures.
We’re enjoying being back in Australia, though there is a bit of a feeling of the big trip being over, since Australia’s basically part of New Zealand anyway. And we’re constantly surprised at how expensive everything is – the same price as it always was but comparing to Asian prices is a bit depressing! Time to look for a teaching job, I think.
22/11 Monday The plane touched down mid-morning Melbourne time and we spent a fair bit of time sorting ourselves out with sim card, tickets into the city and coffee (in the wrong order, in retrospect starting with the coffee would have smoothed the process along nicely).
We left our bags at our couchsurfing house and headed back to explore the city again. It’s always good to revisit old friends like Koko Black and ACMI, where there was an excellent free exhibition about the development of film and where I played Lemmings for half an hour.
Back home, Sarah cooked us a tasty risotto and plied us with biodynamic wine, and we spent the evening talking with her and Juan about travel.
23/11 Tuesday Wifi is not as easy to come across as we have become accustomed to, and we wandered around Brunswick for almost an hour before giving up and having a coffee in a nice French café, which, it eventually transpired, had wifi after all. Dave Dean met us there and took us to one of his favourite cafés in Fitzroy, where we had a tasty brunch (yummm Eggs Benedict). After a wander and a beer, Craig and I left to make our way into the city to meet my aunt and uncle. It was great to catch up with them.
We walked home from the city and an evening barbecue, complete with pebre, causa rellena and vegetarian sausages, rounded off the day nicely.24/11 Wednesday We’d planned to make some video of the city centre, but it didn’t really work out. We went back to Brunswick’s café-with-wifi and got a bit of work done before deciding a change of scene was in order. We thought the wifi situation would be better in the city centre, but we wandered around for about an hour with no luck. Luckily Federation Square is home to a free network, so Craig worked while I played Lemmings at ACMI, after which we met up for a beer with Indie Travel Podcast listeners Warrick and Robin, as well as Colm Hanratty from Hostelworld. It seemed to take ages to get home and of course it started raining, but at least we got kebabs!
25/11 Thursday After getting stuck in rush-hour traffic we made it to Fed Square, where we tried in vain to work out if we needed to check in online to our flight to Adelaide with Tiger. Our booking confirmation gave no clue and the ticket breakdown didn’t specify what extra services we’d paid for, just how much said services cost.
Finally I noticed a “WC” in my ticket code and guessed that that might mean I needed to check in online (unless it meant I had toilet privileges) but when I tried to do it, I found it was too late – web check in needs to be done more than four hours before the flight leaves. So I got to pay $25 at the airport for two minutes of staff time – or less since Craig checked in at the same time. Fair price? I think not.
At least the service on board was above par -as we got on the plane the flight attendant said “you must be Anna’s sister!” and the pilot came out for a chat. My brother-in-law Mat works for Tiger and had texted the crew. It was hilarious, and very nice.
Anna and Mat met us at the airport and we finally got to meet my brand-new nephew Henry. He’s tiny, being only six weeks old, but is really aware of what’s going on around him. You can see that he’s going to be smart, but given his parentage maybe that goes without saying.
Anna cooked an amazing dinner and we ate on the balcony overlooking the ocean. Then she took us on an orientation tour of Henley Beach, pointing out the important features: jetty, library, ice-cream shop.
26/11 Friday It was nice to finally have a sleep in, and we spent the day lazing around and working, apart from a trip to the post office and another to the supermarket.
27/11 Saturday What a fantastic day! We headed out mid-morning and stopped twice on the way to the airfield – once to visit some friends of Anna and Mat, and once to pick up coffee and pies.
Anna and Mat’s Auster three-seater plane lives at an airfield about 40 minutes’ drive south of Adelaide. When we arrived, Mat prepared the plane for a fly then took Craig and me up for half an hour or so. It was awesome, the views were fantastic and the plane is so cool, it was built in the 50’s but has been really well looked after. Mat even let me steer it for a while, which was fun, I’ve never done that before.
Back on Earth, we decided to stop and visit Gemma, another of Anna and Mat’s friends, who we’d met at their wedding. The brief visit turned into a long one and we stayed for Thai food from a local takeaway, and eventually got home around 10:30.
29/11 Sunday Anna, Mat and Henry headed away in the morning, so we dropped them at the airport mid-morning. Craig had got up super-early to watch the All Blacks game so had to have a nap in the afternoon, but otherwise we both pottered around working and relaxing and watching the waves crash onto the beach and our clothes blow off the washing line.