We arrived at 8:20am Australia Eastern Standard Time on Monday as planned. It took an hour to get through the airport, being processed through lines for immigration, collecting our luggage, and another long line for customs. All went smoothly, and a driver named Ram met us outside baggage claim. His ride was a true limo, so we arrived in style, riding the white cloud from the suburban airport until we could see the tall buildings of the CBD (Central Business District) and sweep to our hotel just two blocks from the south bank of the Yarra River.
Reviewing our arrival checklist, we were expecting to see
•Australian TV showing golf – didn’t see, don’t know who won
•Our luggage – all present and accounted for
•An immigration desk – immigration LINE was featured
•Our driver to take us to the hotel – as planned
•Vehicles driven on the left side of the street – true
•Rain showers – NONE, partly cloudy and low 70s Monday
We checked in early to a large corner room with a great view of the area. and kept moving to shift ourselves onto Australia time.
We didn’t pre-pay any tours on this acclimation day, but we plan to walk toward three destinations:
•Haigh’s Chocolates, a shop recommended by brother Bill and even more so by Marcia from their visit just last month. They tell us the Australians pronounce this city name as “Melbin,” and we will listen for that. – Saved that for later
•Federation Square, a meeting ground from which our first pre-paid tour will depart tomorrow, Day 4. – Recon completed
- Toured the tennis center with Rod Laver Arena, an afternoon tour, as we are always in the mood for something sporting. I’ve been tipped off by Jessa’s 2009 visit that we are going to hear the singular word “sport” from the Aussies, as in, “Do you play sport?,” rather than the Americanism of, “Do you play sports?”
Summary of Day 3:
•Cultural introduction to driving on the left; we have NO intention of getting behind a wheel ourselves, but in such locations one has to learn to LOOK RIGHT before stepping off a curb. If you don’t, this drive-on-the-left thing is going to hit you quickly. 😦
* First taste of delicious Barramundi fish – in a lunch sandwich; this is a species that lives in both salt water and fresh water, is sometime termed Asian Seabass and sometimes carries the familiar and tasty “perch” moniker. It did not disappoint.
•Linguistic introduction to “Melbun” and “sport”
•Map orientation to find our way while “upside down” in the Southern hemisphere – the city is big, 4.3 million residents, and some things on the maps are a bit longer walk than we expected.
•Sensitivity training to discover if it’s okay to call folks “Aussie” or their land “Down Under” – maybe just to call everyone “mate” or “bloke.” This was discussed on the plane flight with a neighbor sitting on our row, and there’s isn’t much to worry about with laid back Australians. In fact, “no worries” is the term heard most often day 1.
Photos from Day 3 to be added below at time permits