It's cold. How cold? Freezing. Well, what are you wearing? I'm wearing flip-flops. Why? I'm too cheap to buy shoes. Well, what are you going to do about it? Put socks on. NO. Yes.
Yes, I'll admit it, I committed the cardinal sin and wore socks with flip-flops. Not in Melbourne, not in any cities, but at the campgrounds out in the boonies I rocked it. You see, I knew it was going to be cold so I packed a jacket. But after a solid year of summer I couldn't fathom it being so cold as to need shoes, but I was wrong. Fortunately Annette and Sara did not banish me from the FemPurr -- probably because they needed me to make tea and huddle together for warmth.
I make good tea but I also make a mean Irish coffee.
Ok, I am being melodramatic. It wasn't THAT cold. But after they sweltered in Asia for three months and I have had eternal summer we were all a bit blown away. Yes, the south-east coast of Australia is a bit chilly in the autumn months. But really, if you think about it (or look at a map) you will realize that there is nada between southern Australia and Antarctica (besides Tasmania but that doesn't count). The arctic winds swept across a few thousand miles of open ocean before blasting us with icy air in our little FemPurr. It was right about then I so happy to be in the FemPurr and not in a tent.
Cold aside, the coastline was beautiful. Rugged, open, remote... dare I say desolate? I wasn't even tempted to surf the huge, perfect waves I encountered on some random beach because there was nobody around for miles. Too remote for comfort. Annette, Sara and I entertained ourselves by walking the beaches, making up songs, playing ball and making friends in the campgrounds -- typical camping activities.
I must admit it was a HUGE relief when we arrived in Melbourne and returned the FemPurr. Two-thousand miles, no dings and only one speeding ticket (that I know of) is pretty damn good. Sara and I even taught Annette to drive the FemPurr and the van was still fine! A miracle, I think.
Yes, we arrived in Melbourne unscathed. Unfortunately I only had about 30 hours to spend exploring the city as I booked a flight back to Brisbane for the following day. But what I saw of Melbourne I loved. What a cool city. Not as flashy as Sydney, a little more edge, a little more dark, mysterious, deep. It is a huge university town, has a massive library/museum, is a generally literary-appreciating city, has a cool (albeit short) history and is built of cute neighborhood after cute neighborhood. If I had to compare it, I might give it a mix of San Francisco and Portland, OR.
A hint of SF...
(note the advertisement for the Bells Beach Rip Curl Pro on the trolley)
My only issues with Melbourne is that there is no surf close by, and that is is cold. Aside from that? Totally livable. So many good bands come out of Melbourne, the Cat Empire (my favorite) being one of them. The underground music scene is pumping, and you can walk into any dark bar and come up on a great performance, often times free. Melbourne is also way more affordable than either Sydney or Brisbane. The girls and I went out for food and drinks at 'Bimbo Deluxe' and got 3 pizzas and 3 drinks for under $35. That has to be some sort of record.
To be honest, initially I was not all that excited for Melbourne. Everybody we talked to said, "Yeah, it's a really cool city," but I was suspect. They were right. It is a really cool city, and not just in terms of weather. There is so much culture in Melbourne, it's less shiny, people don't claim it to be the perfect place to live (as I have heard in Sydney), but they love their city, flaws and all.
Melbourne is way the hell out there. Really. It's far away. But I guarantee, even if it rains the whole time you are there, you will have a great time. I did. Annette and Sara did. Although.. I have to admit, there were two terrible moments, and those were saying goodbye to two of my best friends. Annette left for Vietnam early in the morning the next day. It was almost better to be half asleep when we said goodbye as I didn't want to fathom how much time it could be before we see one another again. My flight didn't leave until the afternoon so I went on a guided walking tour with Sara (which made me wish I had booked my flight a day or two later) until I had to leave to go to the airport. Another sad goodbye, but can't wait for a FemPurr reunion in San Diego.
Because that's really what it's all about -- making memories with people you love and care about, only to meet up again someday and relive them. In the memories the tense times will have melted away, the grumpiness non-existent, the laughs harder and the days even more perfect than they already were. It was special to travel with two such cool, aware, open, honest, respectful and adventurous people, particularly two that I have a past with and look forward to future friendship with.
This concludes The Adventures of FemPurr. But fear not, my faithful reader, as the Adventures Aboard Rutea continue. We are currently sitting out 25 knots of wind in an atoll, which is always exciting, if not a bit nerve wracking. You will be happy to know that it has not deterred me from swimming every day. And so, stay tuned as the Salty adventure continues.
At 5/7/2013 12:17 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 23°54.15'S 152°24.17'E
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