First Impressions of the Land Down Under

Melbourne is beautiful but incredibly expensive city, tonight we picked up a liter of Coke, $6. When we got to the airport for the flight from Sydney to Melbourne they charged us $70 per bag for checking bags. Breakfast this morning was $60 for three people. Ouch!

On the good side, an incredibly safe city, yesterday we went to the grocery store and people had tied their dogs up at the front of the store and left them while they were grocery shopping. I can’t imagine even taking Jazz grocery shopping but I sure wouldn’t leave her tied up at the front of the store.

I’m used to the Iquitos where anything that isn’t tied up, locked down or stowed away is subject to snatch and grab. I have a friend in Iquitos who had his laptop stolen while he was sitting outside a restaurant typing on it. You don’t leave anything on the table while you are eating at a restaurant in Iquitos but here nobody locks up anything. I saw a girl in the airport who had her expensive camera sitting on the table while she was eating and I almost warned her to put it in a safe place, now I know she would have looked at me like I was crazy.  In fact they have a citywide bike loaner program where you can pick up a bike and ride it to another place in the city and drop it off.  

Everybody here follows the rules, some of them are really strange. This is really hard for a perpetual rule breaker. A crowd of people will stand at a light waiting at the crosswalk for the light to turn green even if there isn’t a car in sight. Tonight we asked for our leftovers to be put in a to-go box and the waitress told us that it was against the rules but last night we got take-out from a restaurant, I’m not quite sure what the difference is between purchasing food to-go, (or take-away as they say here) and asking to take-away leftovers but they have a rule and see a distinct difference.  There are a couple of nice nuances here, no tipping in restaurants and restaurants encourage you to BYOB.

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