Just Keep Walking, Walking, Walking

It was a beautiful day today. The weather was perfect. It was just the right temperature, with a nice breeze, and sunny. My goal today was to find my way to the visitors center and buy myself a myki card, which is their public transportation card. Instead of buying a train or bus ticket, you just swipe your card as you enter and exit and it takes the money off the card. No hassle.

My secondary goal today was to take a ton of pictures so ya’ll could see where I’ve been wandering around (I think I succeeded). I started off walking down Elizabeth St. and continued all the way to the Yarra River. It’s amazing to just walk down the street and observe. The built environment alone is so interesting. It’s almost like a time capsule because you can see what was there first and what built up around it and how it evolved to what it is today. Kind of like a fossil. And then on top of it, you have the way people use and interact with the built environment. Sometimes in the way it’s meant to and other times not so much. (I know, my architecture is showing…) But seriously, to just watch is amazing. There are boundaries in place, both physical (the side walks and streets) and social (street performers)  and to see how people abide by them and push them is so cool. I’m probably repeating myself, but it was so cool to see. Maybe the pictures will help me explain.

I’m not sure if its just a city thing or if its an Australia thing, but there is so much smoking! Maybe it’s just where I live in the US, but I don’t really see people smoking much anymore, at least not cigarettes. (Now I can’t say the same for the plant life). There are people smoking everywhere here. I might just be sensitive to it with my asthma and all, but still by the time I dodged one smoker, there were two more to contend with. Despite the smoking, the air here is very clean and refreshing, probably because its along the coast.

I did succeed in obtaining my myki card. Now actually using it is a different story. Public transportation frightens me. I’m always afraid I’m going to get on the wrong one and get totally lost and not know how to find my way back–it’s happened, but thank goodness for Google Maps. Maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll actually use this fancy card. Baby steps.

For lunch today I ate a a food truck called Mr.Burger. I got a burger. Shocking, I know. There was a street performance going on so I sat down an watched while I ate my lunch (which was delicious). He was a lively little guy, and funny. Federation Square (which is where I was) is right on the Yarra River. There’s a nice river walk, so I walked. I ended up walking to the venue where the Australian Open is being held. I could hear the tennis balls being pelted back and forth (I think a few of them might have some pent up anger). Then I crossed the river (via bridge, nothing too hard core) and doubled back. This whole side of the river was lined with crew and rowing clubs, and there were a few of them out practicing. And then I stumbled upon the Queen Victoria Gardens. It was beautiful and relaxing. There were a number of people out taking naps and few doing yoga.

On my way back I got a smoothie at Boost Juice Bars. It was delicious, and it had passionfruit, spinach, mango and some other tasty ingredients. My goal is to not eat at places that we have back in the US. We’ll see how long that holds.

I briefly wandered through the food section of the Queen Victoria Market (it reminded me a lot of Pike’s Place Market in Seattle). I saw the shopping section across the street and decided that was an endeavor all its own and I should revisit it when I was reenergized.

I keep thinking that I’m done with the funky traffic patters, but it would seem not. In this instance, I can’t figure out which side of the side walk I’m supposed to walk on. In the US it’s usually you walk like you drive: on the right (in theory). So I kind of assumed that would be the same here. (Walking on the left side feels so so so wrong). But then people walk down the middle, or right, or have some zig zag thing going on. I’m so confused. With all of my observing, I think it’s supposed to be the left side, but between the locals and the tourists, it’s kind of a free for all. I’m also getting better at crossing streets, this is one instance in which I think conforming to the herd mentality is okay, possibly even encouraged. I haven’t been run down yet, hopefully it stays that way.

New vocabulary: Sidewalk = Footpath, Jail = Gaol, Take out = Take away

Tomorrow is Australia Day, I’m anxious to see how it plays out.

Check out the pictures in the Gallery (there’s more! about 100 of them…)

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