Monday, June 21, 2010

Wodonga Here I Come

Ten o'clock check out time... Eight p.m. bus. That left me with a good ten hours to kill between leaving the confines of my hostel's room, and setting out into the world once more. Naturally I decided I shouldn't waste the whole day inside, not when there were still a few places left to check out.

Off to the free tram – street car as we call them, regardless of how “old fashioned” that sounds. I waited, and I waited. Right as I began to think they just might not be running this day, one passed the opposite direction. Very well. At least I'd made a good dent in my novel before the one I wanted rolled on up. Rather than having a prerecorded voice telling us where we were headed and what we'd see there, we had a loud woman – presumably paid by the city of Melbourne – shouting out to us, making us more than aware of where we were, and where we were headed.

I went around to the top of Swanson's to check out the movie theatre there. But, seeing as how it costs sixteen dollars a show, I was not willing to be so easily parted with my money. The theatre did put me inside the mall though, which would be unremarkable if not for the fact that in the centre of it was a large dome, elevated high above the rest of the roof. Now why, you may ask, was there an elevated dome? The answer – obviously to accommodate the smoke stack of the building that was located within the mall. If my deductive skills proved correct, it seems that this mall was built around the building which had been here for quite some years.

No longer what it once was, now housing shops and other things one would expect to find in a mall, it was less than spectacular. The exit near to it did run me by a graffiti wall, and that's always a beneficial thing. The graffiti scene here in Melbourne really is quite developed.

Outside? Hungry Jacks. Success. Cheap food is good food. Especially when that cheap food also happens to be good.

From there I made tracks to the Victoria State Library – the library of the entire state. Now, much like the New York public library this was not the place to find books for reading. Rather it was a gallery, and a research library. But more importantly it was a free wifi zone with plenty of power points. Free power and internet. Many hours were wasted here.

Back at the hostel I attempted to watch American Pie 2 – the greatest of the many films, which I read on a far deeper level than was ever intended, to be sure. The skipping and glitching of it at all the key scenes, as if it was edited to remove the best content, while remaining disguised as something accidental, became too much. I grabbed my gear and headed out of the hostel, making my way down to Southern Cross Station, which for reasons unbeknownst to all has fake grass all throughout it.

Waiting for the bus, as hunger had returned, I may have found another Hungry Jack to pass the time before hopping on the bus to Albury/Wodonga.

Rolling out, it was the greatest of efforts not to fall asleep before I reached my stop. If I blacked out from the late night, the bumpy road, or the incredible heat (the bus was showing an interior temperature waffling between 28 and 29 degrees Celsius.) the bus would have kept on rolling on to its final destination of Sydney with me blissfully unaware. A great effort was made, and then I was stepping down the lowered stairs, onto the asphalt of the Albury train station.

Mitchel, a guy that toured through Africa with me, was waiting there with the most sparkly yellow car you've ever seen. Which may not be all that difficult an accomplishment, as there are so few sparkly yellow cars in this world. By the time we rolled into his place, his family's place, it was near midnight.

With a cup of tea, and delightful coloured chip cookies, reminding me of those baked by someone I knew way back in the University years, I had a wee chat before sleep finally got the better of me, and I found myself drifting off to sleep in the quaint and lovely town of Wodonga.

Note: Batman runs Melbourne. It's true. Apparently it was almost called Batmania.

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