I have a friend in Melbourne I met when we were both living in Beijing. A few years back she visited LA with her husband while they were on an around the trip. It only made sense that I would also visit her on my world tour.

Since up to this point and what will continue to happen in the the trip none of my travel planning made any sense. It didn’t make sense for me to fly from Cairns to Melbourne to Tokyo but that’s exactly what I did.

I arrived in Melbourne exhausted. My friend forgot about her husband’s graduation when we were trying to figure out the best time for me to visit. I had originally booked an early flight so we could have as much time together as possible and also at that point I would have been in Cairns for over a week so I didn’t think I would need to stay any longer than I needed to. So as it turned out I had a couple hours to explore Melbourne on my own.

I took a bus to the city. In Sydney it’s fast and easy to get to the city by train. It’s so fast I almost missed my stop not expecting it to come up so quickly. I stored my bags at the bus station and walked towards the center of the city. The city didn’t look so big so I figured I could walk around for a couple hours.

I underestimated just how tired I was. I grabbed a couple walking tour maps and was about to embark on a three hour tour along the river when I spotted a boat that did the same thing in an hour. The price was around $20 AUD, I was sold. The minute I sat down on the boat I fell asleep. I got up and moved outside to the back. As the boat started to move one of the workers came out and instructed everyone to sit down. We quickly came up on a bridge, a really low bridge, so low it’s possible to have knocked your head or maybe even worse had you been standing. It continued that way for the rest of the hour. I never learned why the bridges were so low and there were many. They only have the information on the inside and I was on the outside.

After the boat my next brilliant plan was to find a grassy area where I could lay down and take a nap and not look homeless. I eventually found a spot that looked decent so I plopped down and closed my eyes. I wasn’t able to completely fall asleep but I rested a good hour so I decided it was time to continue my tour of Melbourne.

The next walking tour I decided upon was the ritzy shopping streets. After living a backpackers life for the past month this LA girl missed shopping and dressing up. I started the trip in Vegas and normally I’ll bring lots of options and heels but I could bring one and also be able to repurpose the outfit later. I caved and packed my ‘fancy sandals’ that I eventually had to send back to LA with my friends because I didn’t have any space.

The tour led me to Chinatown. I took a photo of the gate and then I walked down another street and saw another gate and then another. I’m used there being only one gate so I was disappointed when I saw all the others since I had spent so much time trying to get the perfect photo on the first gate.

I eventually got back to where I started and then headed back to the bus stop to wait for my friend. It was getting cold and I didn’t have anything else to wear. I was able to catch the sunset by the bus station. Something about sunsets always gets me. Sunrises are great too but I prefer sleep so sunsets are more my thing. I miss those LA sunsets.

My friend picked me up and we headed into the ‘burbs of Melbourne. It was nice to finally stay in a home and not at a hotel or hostel. My friends 2 year old was scared of me at first but she warmed up to me eventually.

I desperately needed to do laundry so I did that first thing Sunday morning. She didn’t have a dryer so I hung everything up on a drying rack. She said she’s never had a dryer! Even though I’ve worn the same clothes over and over they’re probably in better condition because I haven’t been using a dryer. After laundry we went to church. It felt just like a regular Sunday, church in the morning and then lunch in the afternoon.

After lunch we headed to the mall. The previous night I was able to confirm I was missing clothes. My friend loaned me jeans that happened to fit perfectly so I wouldn’t have to wear yoga pants to church. It was either yoga pants or shorts. When I walked out wearing my friends jeans she was impressed by the fit and confirmed it by checking how my butt looked in the jeans. At the mall I called the hotel and they said they did have my clothes and could ship it to my friends in Melbourne. I was ecstatic. I ended up not buying anything hoping to hold out until Korea.

The next day we headed to a Tulip festival. The weather was overcast but it held off. We had fun snapping photos in the tulips.

My friends insisted on feeding me a home cooked meal and I had said I wanted to try kangaroo meat so we headed to the market to buy kangaroo. They hadn’t actually tried much kangaroo. My scuba diving friends had recommended it so I wanted to give it a try. At the market I tried to find the smallest piece but they were all more or less the same. We settled on a cut and went home. Thankfully the package had instructions on how to cook it so my friend was able to follow those and it turned out well. I’m not used to the texture but the I didn’t mind the taste. My friend’s two year old gobbled it all up and asked for more! I quickly finished my plate and was satisfied. I’m not sure if I would try kangaroo again but I like that it’s lean so maybe. I need to get used to it a bit more.

My flight was set to depart around midnight so after dinner we headed to the airport.

Overall my time in Melbourne was a nice break from the usually traveling/backpacker lifestyle. I felt normal for once.

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