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LA Rumba on the streets of Melbourne
Saturday 16th to Monday 18th April 2011 – Melbourne, Australia
I awoke this morning with the familiar feeling of being slightly low on funds. Travelling around Australia up until now has not exactly been cheap, although I have seen and experienced many wonderful things. The recent boost to my wallet came from selling my car back home, but even this money was rapidly escaping me. Once again I needed a plan, and I hoped Melbourne would give me all the answers.
Currently I am sharing my dorm room with a couple of lovely Taiwanese girls, also traveling. Their morning plan was to visit Victoria market, and they asked if I would like to join them. Obviously I was happy with the invite and accepted enthusiastically.
There was much to see in the market, from the usual touristy gifts to some incredibly made glass ornaments. Clothes stalls popped up around most corners, and food was plentiful. The hustle and bustle was fun to be a part of, and once I had parted with the girls, I retraced my steps to purchase some of the things I had seen. The girls were meeting up with friends and needed to leave the market. I was happy to stay.
Once I had finished browsing the many stalls I left out the main entrance and found myself in front of a street performing group that I had seen a few days ago. LA Rumba were back performing their wonderfully catchy tunes, and this time I felt I had to buy their album. I only hope I can keep the CD safe enough until I get back to the UK, as I want to share this music with friends and family. I stayed for some time admiring the performers before returning to the hostel.
In the afternoon of the Saturday, I took a train to Brighton Beach to see the colourful beach huts, just as in the UK, though I am yet to see these huts in the UK Brighton Beach. I almost missed the chance here in Australia though as I managed to walk several kilometres in the wrong direction once at the beach. There was the option to go left or right, and no signs gave any clues as to the direction to take. I looked as far as I could see in both directions, but again, no clues. As luck would have it I picked the wrong direction, but at least I got to see more of the beach that I wouldn’t normally have seen.
The huts are extremely colourful and very well maintained also. The long walk was well worth it. Many others had also found their way to the huts and were grabbing their pictures where they could. The sun was beginning its lengthy process of setting behind the horizon, and so was a reason to start walking back again.
The walk back to the train station seemed much longer than it should have been. I always feel walking back from somewhere takes longer than the walk to get there in the first instance. Perhaps I felt more fatigued on this journey, as I had spent the best part of the afternoon walking, and the heat was ever-present, though not unpleasant. I was thankful to be back at the hostel in the evening either way. It was the Taiwanese girls last night in the hostel so we took pictures to remember each other by.
My alarm was set for 2am Sunday morning as I wanted to watch a UK football game on the hostel TV between my favourite team and their arch rivals. This turned out to be a big mistake. Having not seen a game in all the time I have been in Australia so far, I was keen to see my team play well in a game they needed to play well in. As it turns out, it was their worst performance for many months, and news stories that followed the game only emphasised this point. I should have stayed in bed as the result was a loss, but the way they played was most disappointing.
Unsurprisingly, I was groggy when I awoke Sunday morning, so it was a very welcome surprise to find a note next to my bed from the Taiwanese girls that had already left this morning. They must have been so very quiet whilst packing together their things as I awake at the slightest of noises. They had left me some of their local food as well. It’s moments like this that make me realise just how incredible some people are, and how the world is full of people that can really make a difference. Just a simple act like this from two girls I had known only a couple of days brought a smile to my face, and it’s moments like this that make me love travelling. The disappointment from the game that night had vanished from my mind.
I spent the majority of Sunday strolling around the city looking for new things to catch my attention, whilst attending to some unauthorised withdrawals from my bank account. After coming to the realisation that the money was lost, I now had to factor less money into my plan. I thought long and hard about my time in Australia, and where I could go from here. I thought about the possibility of not being able to fund my travels any longer, and perhaps seeing out my time in a place I have enjoyed the most, whilst also looking for work. I had but one choice, and that was to return to Newcastle, and to a place I felt completely at ease. I missed the beach there and felt drawn to it. If my time in Australia was coming to an end, I needed to see Newcastle beach one last time.
Monday was really a nothing day, just a day to see out my time in Melbourne. I imagine this city to be nice in the summer months when the beach is full of life, but I was keen to get back to the warmth now, and to a beach I loved. Bring on Newcastle again!
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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