This is the third of a eight parts series. Check out the others Day 1, Day 2, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6,Day 7, Day 8.
I was woken up from my disturbed and cramped sleep by a bright glare and looking out from my cabin window showed me a new beautiful sight - sunrise from the skies! It was fascinating to behold a sunrise from a completely new vantage point. I could sleep no more and spent the rest of the flight alternating my gaze between the sunrise and the huge rolling lands below which I hopefully imagined to be part of the famous Outback.
Soon we landed in Melbourne where glaring sun and a cold wind greeted us. Did I mention it is summer in Australia now? The phrase 'The days were long' showed its full meaning there. The sun rose before we did (though that happens wherever we are) at around 6.30 - 7.00 AM and it took its time setting which was anytime between 8.30 - 9.00 PM! Well, all the better for us tourists. Longer day spells more sightseeing!
The same hotel check-in problem happened here too. 'Come in the afternoon' they told us firmly and politely. So depositing our bags, we took ourselves off for catching the sights of the city. Australia Day was being celebrated that day and on the streets we caught sight of many wearing their flags draped about their selves or faces painted in the flag colors.
A free tram runs around the city square (a rectangle actually) and we hopped on. The city was a typical blend of the old and new - beautiful Old English style buildings (I want to call them Victorian but I'm an architectural rookie) interspersed with boring gleaming metal and glass structures.
Next stop was Victoria Harbour where we saw Jelly fish - not behind a glass wall either but in their natural habitat! There was a curious structure on a platform nearby - a sculpture of a huge cubist cow stuck upside down on a...tree. You heard me right.
The inscription below said the scuptor meant it to represent flood situation in Australia during which it may be common to catch sight of a dead cow upon a tree.
Before I read that, I imagined it to be the cow which had landed at the wrong place after 'jumping over the moon'. Ah well, to each his own!
Next stop was the Melbourne Aquarium. There were cute penguins there, from Antartica. And there ends the interesting stuff. Looking at fish behind a glass wall is something I can get quickly bored with. And I did. After feeling we had wasted about $65, we left the place to have a quick freshening up and lunch.
We then took a stroll along a busy street - Swanston Street - filled with shops and eateries on both sides of the road. The street was lined on both sides by a broad sidewalk and it is one of these that we found something to arrest our progress - Sidewalk Artists!
The year before last, I was mesmerized by a video of a spray paint artist on a Manhattan sidewalk [Check out the video here ] and imagine my delight on seeing a similar one in person. This guy too, did not fail to mesmerize!
Across the street were people in gaily colored dresses dancing on stilts and nearby was a man who was cutting silhouettes out of cardboard of real people posing for him. In all, it was a nice experience to be sitting on a comfortable bench, with a cool wind playing around, munching fried cashewnuts and being entertained by people... each an artist in their own way!
The little hand of my watch was creeping towards 8 and we made another of our impulse decisions to find a beach from which we can catch the sunset. Another tram journey later, we were at the South Melbourne Beach watching a sunset at 8.30 pm, along with a flock of sea gulls.
The beachfront was a beautiful place - a neat road with beautiful Old Worldy buildings lining it. The houses we saw nearby reminded me so much of those that I had hitherto only read about in Agatha Christies and P.G.Wodehouses and James Herriots.
After a pleasant stroll in the neighborhood, we wound up the day with a delicious dinner at Gharana, run by a friendly and courteous Pakistani man. And so Day Three came to a close, rather quickly in our opinion - since we still could not reconcile ourselves to the fact that the Australian summer days end with the sunset.
The next day... Next post.