Seattle, Los Angeles and Melbourne

Wow, it’s been a hell of a few days. I’ve finally found a place to settle in and do some typing so I’ll catch you up!

Tuesday was my last day in Seattle, and it was great. After catching an early ferry from Friday Harbor to Anacortes I drove back to Seattle and met up with my friend J to see what was going on. He was busy for a while do I decided to take some time and finally wander around Seattle. I headed over to the Pike Place Market, which is where they throw fish around when you buy them and sampled the mini donut shop on the advice of J. Yummy, greasy little donuts. So good. I didn’t get to see any flying fish but I did see a bewildering array of really, really fresh seafood. Neat place.

After that I just started walking northish and eventually decided to go to the Space Needle since it was visible. I walked quite a ways but eventually got there. It was… high. I’m so bad at tourist attractions, but there are some things you have to do if you are in a certain place. But really, it was a really high building and you could see all of Seattle form it. Check out the pictures.

J talked to his wife and she suggested BBQing for my last day in town, so after getting a call while at the top of the Space Needle I took a cab back to the office and we set out to Bainbridge for dinner. As we went over he regaled me with stories of how he was going to cook the best steak ever. This is the Santa Maria style Tri-Tip and it more than lived up to all the hype. With a dry rub and then grilling for around an hour it turned into one of the tastiest steak sandwiches I’ve ever had, and that’s saying something.

After a little American Idol with J’s family I hit the sack early for my very early start in the morning.

Wednesday brought a early morning crossing back to Seattle, a short drive to Sea-Tac and a (longer than I expected) flight to Los Angeles. I was there to meet S, from the same company that I talked about before, and to spend the day with him touring the city. We had a great time. We visited Venice Beach and while walking past muscle beach saw Lou Ferrigno working out a bit in front of some cameras. Not sure what he was filming. S took it all in stride, but I was pretty surprised šŸ™‚

We then had lunch at an English pub up the street and headed towards Beverly Hills and all that goes with it. We took a quick tour of some of the stars houses and then headed to Hollywood. Since I was only in town for about 7 hours before I had to fly off to Australia it was a whirl wind tour, but we saw a lot in only a few hours. In Hollywood we saw some of the big studios, and thanks to a back road that S remembered I got some pictures of the back lots of Universal. We saw Gate 2 of Warner Brothers which I immediately recognized from a million different movies and the arches at Paramount. All fun stuff. We wrapped it up with a cruise up Mulholland DriveĀ  to the Los Angeles overlook which was very cool.

S dropped me off at LAX and it was time to check in for the longest flight of my life! Security was a total nightmare due to some idiocy on the part of the screeners. I had gotten all the way to the front of the line and then they opened up a new line and asked me to move to it. When I get in they found that the X-Ray machine wasn’t working so they moved us to a different new line. The guy that was moving us around then disappeared and we waited. After a few minutes a girl walked up, looked at us and said “This line isn’t open.” I said “We were just told to move here” and she said “Well I don’t know why” and walked away. Eventually I just pushed my way into the line I had originally started in and got through. So lame.

Anyway, the flight was about 13 hours and I managed to sleep for most of it. I had an aisle seat and the whole thing wasn’t too bad at all. I landed in Auckland, NZ and then immediately got on the second leg of the flight taking me to Melbourne, and it felt like it took forever. Beforehand, though, I met Sam and Hannah who told me loads of great places to check out in Australia, so that was nice.

And finally… I was in Australia! So far, to be honest, Melbourne could be Any City, USA with accents. This is why I hate visiting cities. They are all the same, really. Except for some differently shaped buildings it’s hard to tell you’ve gone anywhere.

When I landed I booked a room at the Base Backpackers in St. Kilda which seemed like an easy choice. I basically just wanted a place to lay down, spread out my gear and figure out a plan. Base worked for that, but it was too expensive and too trendy. I spent some time just laying around, then had dinner and then came back and completely passed out till 5am this morning. I really needed the sleep, even though I slept on the plane.

So my goal for today was to move up to downtown Melbourne, learn the transportation system, find a new place to live and try to get rid of some extra gear I don’t want to carry any more. All a success, so far. It sounds like boring little stuff, but if you’ve never been homeless in a completely foreign city you’d be surprised at how nice it is just to get the basics figured out. For me, at least.

I’ve moved into The Hotel Bakpak in Melbourne, which is right in the thick of it and it’s very nice. Smaller than last night, but cheaper (75 AUD/night for a private room) and much more to my liking. It’s still a little trendy, but it’s much more accessible. Plus I found an Internet shop around the corner that I can use my laptop at to finally upload some pictures.

So, that’s it so far. A boring start to an exciting adventure, I admit, but you have to walk before you go to Port Phillip and see dozens of fairy penguins and die from cuteness. Or something.

For the rest of today I will probably just wander around the city and get my bearings. Not sure what the plan is tomorrow, but I’d like to get out to the Dandenong Mountains and maybe do some hiking or go to Port Phillips to see the aforementionedĀ  penguins.

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