my oh-so-normal life

Location: California, United States

There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind. (the five people you meet in heaven)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Aventuras en Melbourne
Part I, Walking from St. Kilda back to the CBD

I met So at the Hilton on the Park on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD (Central Business District, a.k.a. Downtown.) As we began to chat, we decided that we should get out and do something because we both knew that it would be so easy to simply sit and talk for the next umpteen hours and thus headed to 7-11 to buy tram tickets. So asked one of the employees how long it would take to walk from St. Kilda to where we were. The employee looked shocked, “You can’t walk from there! That’s way too far!” We asked how long it would take and were told about an hour. We took the tram to St. Kilda, walked down the street, window-shopped, and had a wonderful dinner complete with Australian Shiraz. Then we decided to walk back to the hotel. It was a beautiful evening and the walk took slightly more than an hour and a half during which we saw sights in Melbourne we would not have seen otherwise. Walk as much as possible. Walking is good.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Or, alternatively,

Monday, June 26, 2006

Traveling to Melbourne
Several years ago, I read an article on the internet about one of the US airlines implementing a policy to charge people who couldn’t fit into one seat for two. I thought it was a good idea at the time, but on my recent trip to Melbourne, I wished that Virgin Blue had the same policy. Like everyone else, I am never thrilled about sitting in the middle, but I was even less so when I discovered that the woman to my right was not only occupying her seat but a third of mine as well while three of her friends sat on the other side of the aisle. The hour and a half on the plane was quite long enough. I hope to never sit that close to a total stranger again.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Quote of the Day

“She’s a couple of kangaroos short in the top paddock.”

***I don't think they were talking about me....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Engrish or a Literature Snob?

French Fry (Chip) shop in Melbourne, Australia

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Monday, June 12, 2006

Krispy Kreme

After walking out of customs after arriving in Sydney, I needed to find an ATM as I only had $100 US and no local currency. As I walked through the terminal area outside of customs, I did a double take and asked the person I was with, “Krispy Kreme doughnuts?” He said, “Yeah, you can get some if you’d like.” I declined.

Last week when I arrived at the airport in Sydney, all the flights had been delayed due to the rainy weather. I had planned to have an hour at the airport but instead ended up with more than an hour and a half. I decided to meander through the airport on my way to the gate and browsed the food court. In the food court, there is a Krispy Kreme outlet, and there were bunches of people lined up to buy doughnuts. (Alternatively said: there were heaps of people queued up to buy doughnuts.) I went down to my gate to sit and wait, hoping that we would leave as soon as possible. My amazement continued. At least every other person had a box of Krispy Kremes. Huge boxes. Some had more than one huge box.

Over the weekend at M’s, someone brought up Krispy Kreme. I was telling my stories of amazement and was let in on the secret. Currently, the only Krispy Kreme doughnut shops in Australia are in Sydney. One is slated to open soon in Melbourne, but at the moment, bringing back Krispy Kremes from a trip is all the rage, so says the doughnut mule.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Yes, Bart, it’s true...
Water does go down the drain clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

While was washing dishes the other day, I had filled the sink. As the last bit of water drained quite forcefully, I realized, “Oh, my gosh! It’s going clockwise!”

I remember my first trip to the Southern Hemisphere, a trip to Bali a few years back with a group of Spanish girlfriends. MJ really wanted to see the water spin clockwise down the drain. We never did get a good look. The water-spinning-the-other-way-thing is the stuff of legends. I remember learning that in elementary school. This must just be “a thing” for those of us born and raised in the Northern Hemisphere. I was telling this to JW, an Aussie from Sydney. She was incredulous. “You learned that in school? I learned that from the Simpsons....”

So, yes, Bart, the water does go down the toilet clockwise....

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Avalon airport - a bridge too far?
For unsuspecting non-Aussies like myself, beware. If you are traveling to Melbourne, there are two airports in the city. One is the normal airport (Tullamarine). The other (Avalon) is out in the middle of nowhere and only serviced by JetStar (the Ozzie equivalent of Southwest.) I didn't know until too late. M, a true friend, made the trip to the far reaches of nowhere to come get me. His commentary...

As anyone who lives on the Southern side of Melbourne will attest, Avalon Airport is a long way from home. Here I recount a trip to pick up a friend from Avalon during her recent visit to Melbourne…

Day 1
Laid out a plan of attack, purchased 5 camels and a donkey. Enlisted a couple of small but durable guys from “Sherpas ‘R’ Us” – Melbourne sub-branch. Bought beef jerky, freeze dried food packs, water, compass and two dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts – set out for Avalon!

Day 2
Distance covered – 38 km. Established base camp in Melbourne CBD. One of the camels is now lame and one of the sherpas is telling lame jokes (or is it the other way around? Either way, one of them will be shot if this continues…) Finished last of the Krispy Kremes; tried beef jerky in ration pack but eschewed this in favour of a delightful grilled vegetable foccacia and a latte from a café in Federation square (note: enduring unbelievable hardships, must remember to ask for no alfalfa sprouts in future, the heartburn is excruciating!) Sherpas drank water from a storm water drain and ate one of the legs on the lead camel. “They only need three!” they gleefully proclaimed between mouthfuls. (Mental note – DO NOT allow sherpas to use my toothbrush!)

Day 3
Distance covered 25 km. Crossed Westgate Bridge today. I have discovered Melbourne motorists are very disparaging towards camel caravans as they are constantly blowing their horns and “flicking the bird” at the camels as they pass. (What could they possibly have against these noble beasts of burden?)

Day 4
A camel farted this morning so I shot them all. Supplies running low so we contemplated eating the donkey. After a vigorous debate, we decided to get Burger King instead – turned out to be the wrong call. After the demise of the camels I discovered one of the sherpas has terrible flatulence; it appears I was a bit hasty with the judgment call on the camels; shot two sherpas.

Day 5
Distance covered 20 km. Woke up thinking I had gone blind overnight – I then remembered to take off my facial mask. Each day has had both good and bad - on the plus side, I now had beautiful smooth skin, on the negative side I now had no sherpas and no beasts of burden except the donkey. I decided to sell the donkey for AUD 40, which co-incidentally is EXACTLY the taxi fare to Avalon airport from Hopper’s Crossing! Met my friend and we took the bus back – took about an hour - very civilized! Upon arrival we were greeted by an angry mob consisting of folks from the RSPCA and the agent from “Sherpas ‘R’ Us” refusing to give me my bond back....

Monday, June 05, 2006

Quote of the Day

“Alcohol is the answer. I just forget the question.”

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dedicated to S
Happy Birthday!