Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Melbourne Day 3 (Tuesday)

Had breakfast in my room again, mailed a postcard off to the gym, and then headed out to the Queen Victoria market (2 trams). I browsed the Aboriginal art store and negotiated what I think was a decent price for three paintings. Had a nice chat with the shop owner, herself of Aboriginal descent, while she wrapped the paintings up for me.

Wandered the market, which is cast, clean and quite upscale (a but like the St Lawrence market but bigger, nicer and all on one level, surrounded by a good variety of shops and restaurants. Picked up some apples and smoked salmon for a snack, and then had lunch at the food court there. I was soon joined by a group of people who turned out to be from all over the world (China, Vietnam, Eritrea, India, Sri Lanka, ...) who are all studying English together, on a class field trip to the market with their instructor. I had a delightful chat with a few if them about Australia, Canada and English while we ate.

Headed back and browsed the Bourke St pedestrian mall, and then back to my hotel for a bit. Then I headed out to check out Captain Cook's cottage. It's the oldest building in Australia, and is the actual building where Cook's family lived, and where he occasionally popped in for a visit in between his multi-year long voyages.

Cook's Cottage

The cottage was bought in 1933 by an Australian who had it disassembled, shipped to Melbourne, and reassembled here. A nice woman in the gift shop, dressed in period attire, gave me an overview of Cook's 3 voyages, much of which seemed like a massive waste of time, until he got what was coming to him in the end when he was killed by some Hawaiians he had pissed off. At least that's what I took away from the story she told me.

Nice walk through the Fitzroy Gardens, then picked up some snacks for a little mini-meal in my room.

Headed out again a little before 7 to the Virgin Athletic gym around the corner. They have a small climbing wall, and I need to climb! It has been almost 3 weeks since I last climbed. After a quick "safety induction" in which they confirmed I could get the harness on and work the auto-belays safely, they left me to climb. There were two guys climbing when I got there but they were soon done, and one woman climbed for a few minutes and then left, so I was alone at the wall for most of the time. It's a small wall with 7 auto-belays, with about 3 routes per line. It's auto-belays only, which I guess keeps things simple in a gym environment. The taller part of the wall went up about 18m - about half again as tall as my gym. The routes weren't too bad (my expectations were pretty low), and without a partner to take turns and give me a good rest I did a few climbs in a row and quickly got pumped. I only lasted about an hour but I had fun, got sweaty and the climbing made my knees feel much better!

I had a light meal of satay chicken in a Malaysian restaurant (there are a lot of those here!) and headed back to the hotel.

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