Beginning Re-westernization

Australia Part 1
This section of the trip will have to be broken down a bit. Between my time in Sydney and Melbourne I have been moving non-stop, so writing out a blog was unrealistic. But I do not want to bore anyone with too many details from any particular day, so each blog is going to be about a two day period, with this first one starting when I arrived in Australia.
So after another eight hour flight, this time from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney, I stepped outside of an airplane or airport for the first time in over 30 hours! You can imagine how relieved, and disgusting, I was. Unfortunately, my travels were not quite done, because I was still due to take the over night train to Melbourne at 8 p.m. Fortunately, the weather in Sydney was beautiful and the major sights were not too far from Central Station where I was able to store my bags for the day. A quick train ride over to the Circular Quay made life easier, because the Sydney Opera house, Botanical Gardens, and the Sydney Harbor Bridge are all there. Never being one who gets caught up in major tourist spots, I took the necessary proof-of-travel photos and spent most of the afternoon resting. After all the hub-bub and hastle of getting to Australia, I was more than happy to spend an afternoon doing nothing.
Later on in the day I headed back to the train station and killed time while waiting by people watching. With all of the people who come for work and tourism from around the world, the Central Station was very multi-cultural and showed a lot about the way people from different cultures interact. People were constantly coming and going and some more colorful characters were taking up seats on the benches. Watching all the events with tears, laughter, or anger only added to my feeling of reconnecting with what I enjoy most when traveling: the acknowledgement of living in a huge world with so many different people who are all dealing with the same things. If you ever feel down in a moment, go visit a place like a train station, watch all the interactions, and remember that life always has those ups and downs and all those other people do too. That helps me at least.
The train ride from Sydney to Melbourne is around eleven hours long and I had chosen the over night economy version, which means chairs not beds and people around you getting on and off the train every stop, so I was a little concerned what I was getting into. The seats were comfy enough and I was settled in my seat when I met my first seat companion. Turns out he was released from prison earlier in the day after a three month stay and was heading home. We never discussed what happened that landed him in jail, but he had quite a few things to say about how stuff and yuppity the Sydney crowd had become haha. Hopefully, he will be able to get back to work and life quickly. My other seatmates got on and off throughout the night, while I was in and out of sleep, so I never got to meet them. Once in Melbourne, I was soooo excited! The train arrived very early and the weather was surprisingly cool (in my opinion), which left me with time and motivation to go explore. From Southern Cross Station, I meandered down to Federation Square across the river and eventually made my way into the art museum as it started to rain. The best part was the exhibition was a look at the art of Andy Warhol and Ai WeiWei. WeiWei is probably the only modern artist that I keep tabs on. His social statements and methods for creating his artworks are inspiring to me. Seeing WeiWei’s works and the influence he took from Andy Warhol in many of them really was interesting and worth looking at more if you fancy either artist.
After the exhibition, I visited the rest of the museum and saw interesting pieces from around the world, which I hope to see more of as I travel. Then I went hunting for the hostel. The hostel was a little further away than I had imagined and the tram ride from Southern Cross required a transfer, but the directions were given from a different station so I was a little confused for a bit. Eventually, I arrived at Habitat HQ, which is a nice hostel in St. Kilda, not far from the beach. The people at the desk were helpful and my roommates were very friendly (more on them later though). Spencer, at the front desk, even called in and got me on a tour to Grampiens National Park for the next day at the last minute. Awesome! Getting a tour arranged was the last thing I did before crashing for the night, since the tour left at 7 a.m. Feeling pretty good about my first days in Australia!


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