The last trip I am taking before heading off to Nicaragua for the Peace Corps is Australia. Although I was here a year ago, my really good friends Catherine and Luke live here, plus it is a fun place with a cool culture, and it is summer down here, so I decided to make the trip again.
And making the trip was no small task. It usually takes two calendar days because you cross the International Date Line flying west over the Pacific. However, it being summer down under means that we are in the throngs of winter in New York. I was supposed to fly out of New York on Wednesday (heading to Australia by way of San Francisco). However, a big ice and snow storm was headed to New York that day, so I switched my first flights to Tuesday. I was going to have to spend the night in San Francisco, but I only saw that as an added bonus because I have friends in San Francisco that I could hang out with and stay at their places. However, to get to San Francisco on my new flights I had to connect in Chicago. The flight to Chicago got delayed so much so that I missed the last flight to San Francisco out of Chicago. Luckily, the airline was kind enough to put me up in a nice hotel Tuesday night, and I got out to San Francisco on the first flight Wednesday morning. I still had a good 12 hours to spend in San Francisco by the time I got there, which I spent with my friends JD and John and their puppy Texan (also known as Rexan, Texican, Tex-Mex, Mexican, and Rexican, depending on your mood). We headed to Chinatown, strolled around and got ramen before my late evening flight.
Ironically, my original scheduled flights on Wednesday took off without delay despite all of the snow on the East Coast. I really wasn’t bothered though – I got to spend the day in San Francisco with my friends and I still got to Australia as scheduled. Also, while waiting in San Francisco for the flight to Australia I got a phone call from an unknown number.
“Hello, this is Eric,” I answered.
“Hello, this is Dave.” It was my friends Dave from EY calling me to tell me that he was going to be in Melbourne for the week to come with his girlfriend Sara! We had been hoping to meet up in Australia and it was great that they caught me before I took off. I saw them as soon as I got to Australia and every day after that before they left Melbourne, including at the St. Kilda Festival.
My friends Catherine and Luke, who I am staying with, live in Melbourne on the beach in the St. Kilda-Elwood neighborhoods. They are great areas with tons of young people, varied architecture, shops, bars, restaurants, hostels, gardens, and parks. Today (Sunday) was the St. Kilda Festival, which is an annual multi-stage music, arts, and food festival throughout all of downtown St. Kilda and on the beach. It offers a ton and it is completely free for all to attend. We spent the day hopping from stage to stage listening to different bands. I’ve found some of my favorite bands on YouTube, so if anyone in the Northern Hemisphere is yearning for a warm summer festival crack open a beer and put on some of these videos.