Pictures will have to come later, as I've nearly used up all my Internet time- despite typing this blog post offline throughout the day.
Late this morning, I took a train to meet Jody at the bank. Here are photos of my walk and my solo train venture. The train was underground, and had two decks! I was very grateful to have had some experience with the Light Rail Transit in San Francisco, because it was similar in terms of tickets and train platforms. It was quite exciting, and although I had to ask where the correct platform was (turns out it was down two levels from the main floor) I was otherwise able to find my way.
I've just been watching the Melbourne Cup with my new office mates. Like Durban July is to South Africa, Melbourne Cup is to Australia – the largest, most publicized horse race in the country, topped off by a plethora of feathery headdresses and couture dresses. The country slows to a crawl for the first hour of the races, and in Melbourne it's a public holiday. The trams have been packed with people going to the races; the streets are teeming with feather-festooned heads and high heels.
Speaking of high heels, I was walking near our new bank this afternoon and saw JIMMY CHOO! And FERRAGAMO! Jody, naturally, had no idea what this meant. To me, it meant that I could at last look up close at shoes I will never be able to afford – but at least I can now covet them from a reasonable distance! There was also a Tiffany's and a Gucci. All within a block of each other. Someone pinch me.
-Break to watch more racing-
Woo hoo! The second race is over, and my horse won! I won 18 dollars in the office pool, randomly betting on Juggle the Books. Go, Books!
And now we're off to check out a conference centre.
Jody and I went back to the hotel and found drinks and snacks on the way, including HELLO PANDA biscuits! I haven't seen these in years. Vitamin Water is prevalent here too, and regular water is more expensive than coffee. Chocolate bars are also more expensive, but they do sell KitKat here, so I'll survive.
After changing into more comfortable clothes, we headed off to find dinner. A Lebanese restaurant offered kebab, hummous, falafel and some sort of sauteed chicken. I ordered a chai latte and there was barely any tea in it. The nice woman who ran the place plunked a teabag into my cup so it could steep longer. By the time I finished my drink it had more flavour (previously it was like drinking steamed milk with nutmeg), but I think my search for the perfect chai will continue.
So, we succeeded in having three meals today; taking public transit; opening our bank account and applying for credit cards; winning a bet; and using cynicism in the workplace. More another day!