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the Melbourne trip (Part 2)

So, back to work after a recurrence of the bloody 'flu. Still feeling a bit ordinary, but I've survived the day, which I wasn't sure I would be able to do when I first got to work this morning.

To continue the story of my Melbourne trip:

Friday 27/08/04

Once again, I was awake disgustingly early. My roomie B and I actually had to hang around the hostel until they opened reception at 9am so that we could hand in our keys (and consquently get our deposit back). It was a bit of a worry. In the meantime, I took the car into Halls Gap and filled up with fuel (only the 2nd time during the whole trip - pretty impressed) and grabbed some sunscreen for my nose, which had got a little red yesterday.

Headed out, following my little plan as outlined on the map. B played navigator, but I mostly knew where I was going anyway. First up was the Reed Lookout and the Balconies - great way to start the day. Almost no walking and a very impressive view. I did my usual shoot (photos) and run and B sort of just followed me while waxing lyrical about the beauty of the spot.

Next up, we followed the road around to the MacKenzie Falls carpark and walked to Broken Falls and MacKenzie Falls. Now I'm a bit of a waterfall fan, so it's possible I'm a little biased, but both of these were truly spectacular. In many ways, it was probably the perfect day to visit them as it was a bright and clear day, but it had rained a lot the day before so the falls had plenty of water in them. Just gorgeous.

On our way back to the carpark from the bottom of the falls, we nearly fell over a couple of wallabies grazing by the side of the track. They were so quiet, they were almost tame. I got a couple of great photos and they didn't seem bothered by us at all until we come within touching distance (not that we tried to touch them, but it was a bit difficult to avoid getting close to them - when I say right beside the track I really mean it).

Next we headed over to historic Zumstein (see page 5). It wasn't quite as exciting as I thought it'd be. Pretty boring actually. The most interesting thing was the (now almost dry) waterhole that Walter Zumstein dug for his family.

We still had heaps of time, so we cut across to Boroka Lookout via a dirt road, where I got to have some fun as B trusted me as a driver and the road, despite being dirt and unsealed, was wide and very good. The friend I went to Spain with would have hated this whole trip - windy mountain roads with a steep cliff on one side and a steep drop on the other side with a speed limit of 60km/hr. I stuck to the speed limit. Just. ;o)

It was still before lunchtime, so we decided we'd head over to the Sundial carpark to do the Pinnacle walk. It was the only real hike of the day, with quite a bit of rock hopping necessary, especially since we wanted to avoid the mud puddles as both of us were wearing sneakers, not hiking boots. It was a really good walk - not too long, not too hot (even though it was the middle of the day), and not too hard. And the view from the top was really spectacular. We pottered around the top for about 1/4 hour and then headed back to Halls Gap for some lunch.

Then it was off back to Melbourne (after a brief stop at Ararat for me to visit a pharmacy and get something for my now incredibly swollen and red bities). B did herself proud - she managed to navigate me to my hostel in peak hour traffic without getting me lost once and managed to keep me calm throughout many mergers of traffic and weird turning lanes where I thought I was going to get a tram going straight through me. I really hate driving in Melbourne. Not only that, but she was a true champion by waiting for me to check into my hostel and then directing me into the city where I had to drop off my car. Here we said our goodbyes and she disappeared out of my life.

It's weird. As per usual with backpacking friendships, I practically knew this girl's life story, but I didn't even know her last name.

I managed to get myself lost trying to get back to the hostel and was an hour late for sarni and J. I was so embarassed. I'm never late and certainly never that late. I was also tired, footsore and very grumpy with myself, so it's surprising that I had a good time that night, but I did.

We all had dinner with sarni's brother first up (who wasn't as nerdy as I had expected from her descriptions of him), and then sarni's birthday party was in the function room of the same place. I spent most of the night chatting to fellow music geeks and left towards the end. A good night.

Saturday 28/08/04

I knew I was being picked up by my cousin D and his wife at about 11am, so I spent the morning in bed and trying not to scratch my bities. Actually managed to get bitten more overnight, so it was quite a difficult thing. The irritated part on my right arm now extended from my armpit to my elbow which was not a good thing. D arrived on time and we headed out into the 'burbs to his sister's (W) place. I'm pretty close to W and have caught up with her and her kids a couple of times in the recent past, but haven't seen her husband in ages. We all had a lovely lunch which W had put together. I was impressed. I was just thinking sandwiches or something, but she put on a full spread. I promised to tell my Mum all about it.

W and D's mother (my aunt) has Alzeimers and is no longer really with it. It's a tragedy - she used to be so quick and witty. Last time I saw her she was pretty confused, but now she's apparently gone dramatically downhill from there. They told me there was no point in my visiting her - she would have no idea who I was, or even who my Mum was (who she was very close to and I closely resemble a younger version of). And it would only upset me I'm sure. A lot of our discussion naturally centered around this.

During the course of the lunch, D (who is a psychiatrist and hence has medical training) saw my arm and suggested it might be infected. I wasn't overly concerned and said that I might just leave it until I got home on Tuesday - as long as I wasn't going to lose my arm or anything, I wasn't too concerned. To which D replied quietly that he thought I should have it looked at tonight or tomorrow. Shit! You mean I could lose the arm from this bloody little bite? Shit!

Got back to the hostel and asked about the nearest doctor. Turns out it's the hospital (being a weekend), so I headed down there to get my arm looked at. The doctor there managed to freak me out further by suggesting that I should be admitted overnight with a antibiotic drip because it was so badly infected (by now the redness and puffiness came half-way down my forearm and extended almost all the way around the arm) - I managed to talk him out of it by assuring him that I usually responded well to antibiotics, that I hadn't been running a fever, and that I would go back tomorrow morning if the redness and swelling had extended at all.

And so I got to leave, and join sarni and J for dinner at a vegetarian cafe on Brunswick St where I had a very nice pizza. We then headed over to Brunswick the suburb for a Charles Jenkins (from Ice Cream Hands) gig - it was good. I like that guy's stuff and enjoyed seeing it with sarni and J. The only slight downer was the annoying girl next to me (until I moved, then she was next to sarni) who was trying to look cool by smoking, but was only bum puffing so she was adding more smoke to the atmosphere than the usual smoker. Honestly, you really have to wonder about some people. I'll be a very happy girl when the new rules about smoking come in.

Sunday 29/08/04

After going downstairs for free pancakes and chatting to a guy from the UK and a girl from NZ, I spent the morning in bed. My promises to the doctor at the hospital had come true and I was responding to the antibiotics and the redness and swelling had decreased a little, but I was feeling a bit ick. Early afternoon I decided I should get out of the room for a bit and headed over to the Queen Victoria Markets. I found the tea I had promised to get for Genie and pottered around looking at the stuff. I bought a couple of things, but not as much as I'd expected I would. I still wasn't feeling brilliant and it was just too difficult to get excited enough about anything to be bothered buying it. I figured I'd head back over there before I left Melbourne, but never made it. My credit card is probably thanking me. Spent a quiet night watching the Olympics back at the hostel with my fellow travellers.

Monday 30/08/04

After a morning browsing the shops in Brunswick St, I met an old school friend for lunch. This was a little weird for me - I don't stay in touch with anyone from school. In fact, I hadn't spoken to A for over 10 years up until a couple of years ago when I got her address via a stroke of luck and she rang me to say she was in Brisbane. This was the first time I'd caught up with her since then, so the 2nd time in about 15 years. Despite this, we talked and chatted like we've been friends all along. Which is another weird thing seeing as we live very different lives from each other now. She's very arty and I'm semi-corporate (admittedly with an arty streak - I certainly don't look like your typical lawyer).

We spent the afternoon browsing Smith St and visiting various cafes along the way for tea or coffee whenever it rained (which was frequently).

I was not feeling too brilliant by that night - between the infected arm, and the other swollen allergic-reaction-bites (of which there were now about 20, all of which were about 3 to 5cm across with the allergic reaction and swollen), my poor little body was having a bit of a rough time of it I think.

Tuesday 31/08/04

I had to check out of the hostel by 10am, so I decided I would head over to the Impressionists' exhibition over at the NGV early. Probably not the best idea. The queue was huge when I arrived and nearly non-existant when I finished around midday. The exhibition was good, but it was very packed and loud and I did miss being able to just sit and look at my favourite pieces the way I could in the Musee D'Orsay. It brought back some good memories though.

After I'd finished wandering around the Impressionists, I went outside to have my lunch sitting by the fountain (it was a clear and sunny day again) and then went back in to look at the rest of the gallery. This was more like it. Set out very like the Louvre, there was plenty of room to see the bits I liked and comfy seats scattered throughout. I particularly liked The Art of Zen exhibition.

I headed back to the hostel mid-afternoon and sarni picked me up from there to take me to the airport. Unfortunately, this took a little longer than expected, as I forgot to remind her that I was flying out of Avalon, not Tullamarine and we were well on our way until I realised that the signs were all saying the wrong thing and we had to drive about 1/2 hour in the other direction to get back on track. Felt very guilty again. I did enjoy spending an hour in the car with her though - it meant that we got to have a really good chat about a lot of stuff that we probably wouldn't have talked about otherwise. It was good.

Arrived in Brisbane to find that it was raining for the first time in about 6 weeks. Just my luck. Thankfully, I managed to sweet-talk the nice bus driver into dropping me off in the Valley rather than the City, so my walk home was only 15 minutes and not 45 minutes and I didn't get too wet.

And that was it. My infected arm healed. After a few more dramas back home in Brisbane, I eventually got over my bities (though I had to have Wednesday through to Friday that week off with the 'flu and another allergic reaction to the drug cocktail I was taking) and they bruised up nicely once the swelling had gone down. But I did have a good time despite it all.

Listening to: Shifter - Waking up late


Blogger sarni said...

Not your fault that I was having a bimbo day and forgot I should have been driving to Avalon... on the bright side, you got to see all the scenic freeways of Melbourne (the hidden delights no-one ever told you about!). :-P It all turned out okay in the end, anyway.

And I certainly didn't mean to slander my brother by suggesting that he's nerdy - he is definitely the least nerdy person in my family. :-D

11:38 pm  

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