Saturday, November 8, 2014

7 & 8 Nov 14 – Day 1 & 2 (Melbourne City)

I reached the airport about 8pm, checked in and then walked around. There was The Social Tree located at the terminal's Central Piazza, right after immigration counters where travellers can take photos or videos of themselves using one of the touchscreen photo booths and then post to the system. So I took a photo of myself and set it to send to my email. I took a photo of the tree as well before moving off to browse the shops and then finally waited outside the designated gate.

Boarded the plane at 9:25pm but the plane only took off at 10:47pm. I didn't manage to get a window seat and so ended up sitting between an old Indian lady and a young Indian lady who incidentally reminded me of a friend, similar build, very vocal and expressive. They almost got into an argument over the lights. Both the young lady and I had our backpacks stowed away under the front seats which should be fine, however, the air stewardess insisted that we put them in the luggage compartment above. The young lady tried to argue with the air stewardess that she has always put it below the seats whenever she travels but in the end, she lost the argument. Watched “Guardians of the Galaxy” and ate dinner. Wanted to continue with “How to Train Your Dragon 2” but gave up halfway because I was sleepy and I knew I don’t have many hours before landing so slept at 1+am. Slept on and off and soon it was time for breakfast but I didn't eat. 

The plane landed at 8:25am and I was off the plane by 8:35am. I used the self-service kiosk to clear the custom. Apparently there is an agreement between the Australian government and Singapore government to implement this SmartGate, an automated border processing system that enables eligible travellers arriving into Australia's international airports to self-process through passport control. Then I went to collect my luggage which took a long time to come out. Only got out of the airport by 9:30am and went to buy the one-way Skybus ticket from the booth outside the airport. There were already a couple of buses beside the booth so boarded the first one which departed around 9:37am. The bus had wifi so whatsapp little big sis while on the way to Southern Cross Station. Got there at 9:57am and proceeded to the booth to arrange for the hotel transfer. Saw a 7-11 but didn't go in to buy the MyKi card because I was told to wait at the waiting area for the hotel shuttle. Soon me and a few travellers boarded the shuttle bus and we were dropped off near our different hotels with mine being opposite of where I was dropped off at 10:10am. 

Found the entrance to the hotel, which was not very prominent, and went to the reception counter. The staff said I was very lucky to have a room available for check-in because the official check-in time should be 2pm. Collected the cardkeys and went up to my room which was at a corner behind another door. It was very secluded. I unpacked a little and used wifi to whatsapp little big sis. I remembered reading that the hotel provides free wifi, however, I was prompted about the charges when connecting. The piece of paper that the staff gave me also stated about free wifi for the first 24 hours but indicated that guest would need to check with the reception for details. Too lazy to check so just chose the first package which cost A$14.95 for 24 hours, thinking maybe it will be free-of-charge when I check-out. I rested till 11:25am before going out again. 

Went to the Asian supermart next door to get MyKi card and asked for directions to Fitzroy area. The lady was not very sure and pointed in the direction of Victoria Street. So went there to try and find the tram stop with tram number 96 but couldn’t find it. Given the hot weather, I gave up going to Fitzroy and just walked around the hotel and tried to find the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) which was supposed to be a five-minute walk. Walked for about 1+hour and still couldn't locate QVM, worse, I was in Chinatown area which meant that I was way out of range. Tried to retrace my steps and saw Melbourne Central Shopping Centre. I was perspiring and so popped into the shopping centre to escape from the heat which was about 37 degrees. Walked around the shopping centre and bought a nice silver pinky ring from a stall on level 1 before heading to Coles at the basement to buy plain muffins and two bottles of fruit juice as breakfast for the next few days. Wanted to get bread but their loaves were of jumbo size which I couldn't finish. Contemplated as to whether I should get jam as well or try my luck again at finding QVM. In the end, I decided to try my luck and luck was on my side because I saw a few tourist guides dressed in red like those in Seoul and approached one of them for direction to QVM.

Followed her instructions and finally found QVM but only left with 2 hours to shop. Took a few quick shots of the place and started to browse the stalls. Bought a bottle of Raspberry & Rhubarb Jam from Sauced Fine Preservatives, a stall which was on my shopping list. Then bought some yellow peaches and apricots from another random fruit stall before stopping in front of Flowerdale Winery stall contemplating if I should to get a bottle of wine but in the end I didn't buy. Felt hungry and bought a spicy potato borek for A$3 as lunch. Stood on the side to eat but only managed to finish half because it was huge. Walked back to the hotel, blasted the air-con once I was in the room while messaging little big sis on and off. Dozed off on the bed and soon it was almost 6pm. The temperature outside seemed to have cooled down because I opened the window to check. Part of me wanted to go out to look for dinner but I was really too tired for that. So in the end, I stayed put and ate the leftover from lunch as dinner before showering and resting for the day. Watched “Twilight” on tv and slept around 10+pm.

Thought: Taking half day leave and not watching too many movies while on the plane means no headache the next day. However, the brutal heat and glaring sun in Melbourne gave me the headache. There are a lot of small lanes in Melbourne city and so it was kind of confusing for me to navigate. Back home, we were trained to follow the traffic rules but in Melbourne, people just cross the road as long as there is no traffic so I just follow the crowd. Hehehe...

No comments: