Retrospectively 

Today is 16th Jan 2016

I’ve said before that I’m writing this retrospectively – which is why this is being posted now. I’m finally really getting into blogging and kind of getting to know the basics. Although I’m sure I’m making tons of mistakes. In fact it’s becoming a bit of an obsession. 

I’m a woman of extremes.

I’ve changed all the dates so that the stories appear in a chronological order and hopefully make sense. This is because I had a lot of trouble posting at the beginning and had to give up for a while. Which is massively anoying but can’t be helped. Both helped and hindered by technology! Such is life. 

I’m not sure how this is going to affect those of you who are kind enough to stop by and look at my ramblings. However I hope in the long run it will be beneficial. 

In my blog I’m still in Melbourne but in real life we are in Hervey Bay and it’s raining. I say we as I am no longer travelling alone. I, in fact, managed two days of solo travel…quite the achievement I know.

So I met up with my best friend, the one that was in India, on 23rd December and we’ve been travelling together ever since. I’ve not told her about the blog yet and I’m not sure I’m going to. I will I’m sure. Just not yet. She’s writing her own you see which of course I was highly disparaging of and now here I am in one easy stroke of narcissism writing one myself. Not for friends and family but for myself and for strangers. Does that make me a hypocrite? I don’t know. 

It’s 5am and I’m awake which is pretty standard for me. I’m a terrible sleeper. I took three sleeping tablets (herbal) last night and even that wasn’t enough to knock me out till a reasonable hour. 

I should get up and go for a run but I am more interested in my new hobby. Blogging!

If you like my post follow my blog for more of the same; https://reluctanttoblog.wordpress.com/

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Melbs the highlights

I spent a pleasant few days in Melbourne after I’d moved on from the hostel…

Highlights included;

  1. Coffee
  2. The heat wave -it got up to 42 degrees, wow that is hot. Not sure I’ve ever experienced such heat. Intense. Making it hard to do anything. 
  3. The hotel gym
  4. My friend from Adelaide coming to visit…but I’m not sure that I’m ready to tell that story yet
  5. Aquarium – I absolutely love an aquarium. I always have. They fascinate me and I find them very charming. I try to go to one in every big city I visit. Or small ones (see Croyde in North Devon)
  6. Cherry Bar – amazing live music 
  7. The rash on my arms and face developing into a more noticeable feature (more of a low light)
  8. Getting locked out of my nice new hotel, when I went to inspect the roof terrace and the door locked behind me. Shit! It was boiling and I had left my water inside. Fortunately the fire escape was open, so I ran down 15 flights of stairs, out the staff exit and onto the street! I returned back in through the front entrance and managed to explain my error to the kindly receptionist, who gave me another key!
  9. Flying to Sydney where it was raining. Such heavy rain I thought I was back in UK. 

Hostile hostels…

I hate hostels.

There I’ve said it. 

I really hate them. 

I’m too old for hostels. They are, in my opinion; dirty, noisy, crowded, sub standard hell holes where complete strangers are forced to share mere inches of space, bumping personal belongings and body parts whilst trying not to make eye contact with each other, across a bland, empty metre or two – if you’re lucky. Is it normal to share your sleeping quarters with a total stranger?

This has been one of my main worries about taking a long trip/’travelling’- at my age -negotiating the hostels. I know that I don’t have to stay in them but when you’re on your own it’s a great way meet people and to be honest it’s the cheapest way to travel. So despite my reluctance I booked myself into a hostel in St Kilda which it turned out was about twenty minutes by tram from the centre of Melbourne. Error 1. 

Error 2. Having not researched the area properly I didn’t realise that St Kilda is basically mini Ireland. Not that I mind the Irish, I’m half one meeself mind, but the other residents were all long term, as in they lived there, for years. They all knew each other and had no interest in me; the stranger. They didn’t smile or even pretend to notice me. 

Error 3. The next morning, I woke up after a dreadful nights sleep, there’d been a heat wave in Melbourne and no air con in my room. The windows were wide open (=high bug alert) and the partying had not stopped till God knows o’clock.

I looked at my arm, where there were an array of little red bites, not mossie bites, too small. Red, itchy bumps, all over my arm and the left side of my face. I hadn’t had them when I went to sleep…but they were there when I woke up. Must be bed bugs I decided. 

I immediately checked out. 

Street dating 

Much like Berlin, Melbourne has a thriving street art scene…

Despite it being 42 degrees I joined a group of like minded culture vultures at the library and traipsed after the ‘free’ tour guide. ‘Free’ means please make a donation – donate what you think it’s worth.

Four hours through the blistering heat of the city in the midday sun. Most of the clientele that day also seemed to be ‘back packers’ – lone travelers trying to forge a link with one another along the route. It felt like speed dating. 

We kept swapping partners and the hum of chatter drowned out the tour guide easily. My initial partner Vivian joined me for the lunch stop but seemed far more interested in a young man she’d been lining up for a trip along the great ocean road. I initially seemed to be doing well but I started to panic in hour three when it seemed I’d lost all my partners to other suitors. I’ve failed I thought. As though it was a test rather than a tour!

I decided to focus on what the tour guide was saying. It perplexes me why on a ‘free’ tour I have to pay? I started to worry about the amount I should give him. 

I also feel sorry for the poor chap. I wonder how much money he earns from each tour? 

Finally it was over and with great relief Vivian rushed up to collect me for a rooftop bar drink. I’d learnt nothing about Melbourne but I’d gained three new drinking buddies. Success!

Grampians and grandmas…

The first person to hop on the tour bus…

Meet Margery. Sixty. Scottish. Divorced with four grown up kids. Fierce. Legend. I had absolute respect for her…

I’d been worrying about being too old and out of my depth with the youngsters, she refused to care and instead drove them mad with her relentless babbling. Telling everyone in ear shot how she was travelling alone, staying in youth hostels and even going on Tinder dates. 

She put me to shame. 
I should not have been concerned.

“Most of the older men you meet are twice as fat as their wives and just want to sit on the sofa and watch tv…that’s not what I want!” Said Magery. 

I knew then that the trip would be value for money. Turned out it was one of the highlights of my holiday. 

 

Protein Twins

Turns out my worries about Groovy Grape were unfounded. Things have definitely changed…

Back in my day the youngsters would have been sat at the back of the bus secretly sipping on JD and vodka and loudly boasting to one another about their conquests from the previous night. 

Today’s youth are all too consumed with body image and themselves. Risking life and limb, and the patience of our long suffering tour guide – the man has the patience of a Saint – to hang off the edge of cliffs and jump about on rocks, in order to catch the perfect moment on camera…for social media, no doubt. It’s simply not enough to be having a good time anymore, unless your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers are aware then really what’s the point? 

‘Can we work out’? Said protein twin A or B, it was hard to tell which was which – they both had buff bods and bright orange shorts, only out shone by their bright orange tans. 

After their workout. Surely that’s when they’ll get on it, they’ll start drinking then I thought. Showing us old folks how it’s done…nope. Straight to bed. After five protein heavy plates of dinner, for their building muscles of course. I couldn’t believe it! 

Only me and the other two Brits enjoying a few rounds of goon before bed.