Tag Archives: Australia

Melbourne First Impressions

Welcome to Fitzroy

I don’t get the lack of enthusiasm from the outside but  Melbourne doesn’t gets its fair shake. This city is truly amazing; a must stop for anyone taking a trip over to the down under!!

Our first night was spent with a easy-going French couple. Tired of the stereotypical busy city life, they left Paris seeking better work-life balance. They took advantage of the timelines perfectly. Remember back in my original post where I mentioned that  visa applications are super easy for foreigners prior to one’s 30th birthday.  Turns out this lax period extends into the end of  your 30th birthday. Well, this dude literally applied at 30 a couple of weeks before his 31st. Visa was granted and he and his wife took a trip over and have only good things to say about their 14 month journey thus far.

We’re staying in a neighborhood called Fitzroy. Area is brimming with restaurants, lounges and bars. The scene is artistically skewed and only about a 15 minute walk to their downtown aka CBD aka Central Business District. Overall to give more context to the city, it reminds me of San Francisco, New York’s east village and Buenos Aires all in one. Food is muy bueno with a large variety of asian pacific cuisines to choose from. The people seem much more outgoing that in Melbourne, then again it’s was s such a small sample size in terms of times that I may have to reserve judge until after a second visit.

 

 

 

A Take on Bondi

By Bondi Beach

Definitely have been procrastinating more than I wanted to this trip. It’s December 7 and I’m finally getting around to posting about Sydney. After this I’ll go ahead and upload a quick recap of Melbourne. Retroactively off course. 🙂

Bondi Beach One Paragraph Recap

The beach itself is pretty awesome. Interesting neighborhood dynamic seemingly mostly made up of young sunshine loving day walkers. Everyone looks great and when the sun comes out the neighborhood eat spots are stacked with their presence! In fact, you’d think that it was a requirement to hit the gym 5-days a week in order to live in the neighborhood. Libby made it out to the beach around 6 am and told me that the shore was filled with various boot-camp groups exercising. Oh and let’s not forget the yoga factions;  they were right there at dawn in the tree pose!

What Did the One Kiwi Statue Say To The Other Kiwi Statue?

busdriver

Hey. Iss-that-you mate?
You have to say it quickly with a New Zealand accent…

A couple of days in town and we landed on the driver who thought he was auditioning for Saturday Night Live- corny but funny enough. Sydney people are unpredictable; a dash of introverts here, a tad of extroverts there… Overall though it strikes me as a place where most people take a while to warm up to you.

During our brief stay, we managed to make a few solid memories even though, for very long stretches the weather was very uncooperative. Stumbled on a wine festival, checked out a bunch of different food spots, did happy hour a couple times, sampled oodles of local wines and checked out The Newton Festival (don’t really remember the deats but feel free to check out the link).

Newton Fest

Wait… There’s more!

Libby and an arrow

Vino Festival

After Paris

paris_colors

Yesterday was my birthday. I grab my mobile for my dose of daily morning headlines.

Paris: Coordinated Terror Attacks

Information is still coming in but it seems that three coordinated attacks have been staged. Keywords: bomb, death, terror, live, hostage all come together to form various editorial cocktails; the message is clear. Real shit is going down in Paris.

The sad truth is that we’ve gone through different versions of these tragic events recently. The reaction is still always the same. Disbelief, denial, online research. Numb to such headlines I move past the disbelief and denial pretty quickly. I turn to twitter for live updates.

We leave for Melbourne and have a flight today at 3 pm. I still need to pack, eat breakfast and figure out transportation to the airport. Did I mention that Libby has a work call in 30 minutes and her MacBook Air decided to not turn on? Shit. How do you troubleshoot these stupid Macbooks!

Libby’s googling the closest Genius bar. I’m holding the power button for 30 seconds. She gets on her call. The Apple Genius Bar is 30 minutes away from here, so if she leaves now, spends 30 minutes at the store then comes back here, it’ll be right on time for us to leave to go to the airport. Did I mention the that you need need an appointment for the Genius Bar and that they are all booked for today? Fuck it. We’ll wing it since apparently Genius Bar options in Melbourne are even more complicated.

Call done. Libby walk outside the room; Macbook is powered on. Don’t ask me how? I guess these things “just work.” Yeah, right.

I just didn’t feel like writing this post.

A couple of days past. We’re in Melbourne.
Our first night there was, ironically enough, spent with a real cool French couple (Melbourne, by the way is really awesome!). As is the case with the French, we were greeted with wine and overall great conversation. The couple was fortunate to not have anyone they know be affected, aside for a friend of a fiend who was hit in the hand by a stray bullet.

I too am fortunate to not have had anyone I know be affected by these recent attacks.

Final death toll stands at 130. Scores other were admitted to the hospital.

The reaction is the same.

  • They did it. Get’em.
  • You’re an idiot. You don’t know what you’re talking about.
  • No. You’re an idiot. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Did you know there was an attack in Beirut the day before that received no media coverage?

How come Facebook safe buttons were activated for Paris attacks and not the Beirut ones?

Speaking of Facebook… That blue white and red flag profile layer is pretty cool right?

Can most people actively engaged on the topic even point to France on a Map?

Did the Black Lives Matter movement use a #f**Paris hashtag?

Did you hear the latest headlines from Trump and Carson had to say?

These are some of the topics that made the round over the past couple of days

Meanwhile, I didn’t feel like saying anything for a while.

I did a bunch of reading from a wide range of sources and I think I’m in a good place to have an informed opinion at this point. But the truth is, I probably don’t know enough.

I don’t like quick empty judgment. I don’t like political posturing and social media bashing. I hate vague media quotes like the following that imply and condone policy rather than inform the reader.

Unnamed French police officials told The Associated Press that authorities have identified one of the suicide bombers as “a young Frenchman flagged in the past for links with an Islamic extremist activity.”

With limited transparency in agency “flagging” processes, quotes like these at face value give unchecked credence and validation to what from the outside seems like systemic profiling of those with Muslim backgrounds.

We are selfish in nature and have our own personal agendas. In moments like these we easily find ourselves consumed with the popular soundbites of the moment. Challenge the status quo, not simply for the sake of challenging it, but rather for the conclusions that come from that process.

It’s My Birthday

mybday

Woke up this morning (16 hours ahead of EST in the futuuure) to a few happy birthday emails and text messages that put a huge smile on my face. I’m not a b-day guy so at that point I was more than set to have a perfect day.

Libby comes back to apt from her morning walk and sends me off to the bedroom- apparently she has a surprise and needs to set up in the living room. Like Halloween, birthdays, to her, are sacrosanct and with that celebrations are a must. Whatever. I play along, even though I was in the middle of reading some important stuff.

Minutes pass. I come back out to a table set up with tiramisu (my favorite), a few other pastries, an open laptop screen and a lighter for me to blow out.
“Since you couldn’t be with your friends for your birthday, I decided to bring your friends to you.”

Apparently, in just over 48 hours, she managed to collect enough videos and edit them to mount the most epic thoughtful gift ever. She even recorded my reaction!!

My wife is the absolute best!
Love you guys and thank you for making me feel special!!

South Park Gives Uber in Sydney Boost

EricCartman

For transport to our temporary spot in Sydney, we decided to get an Uber. It’s not really that we’re “about that life” and riding Ubers everywhere while away. But rather, time was a precious commodity that day so we did what we had to do. I learned two cool things.

Dash Cams Can Be Useful

Our driver had this mini cam mounted to his window. I’ve never seen one of those so I ask

Me: Yo, is that a rear view cam?
(I say “yo” alot out here to let people know I’m not a local. In case being 1 of about 6 black guys in the country didn’t make that obvious)
Driver: Naw mate. That’s a dash cam; I use it to record my driving in case something happens.
Me: What’s the point? Would insurance companies even bother with that stuff given no-fault policies and the bureaucracy?
Driver: Actually it came in pretty useful; the no-fault thing in’t default practice here. Just the other day some guy backed into me and claimed that I hit him. I submitted video and Insurance company ruled in my favor.

 

Uber dash

In case you were wondering, like I was, video is stored on a memory card and is constantly looped. If you need to save any part of the feed you have the option to manually mark the section.

South Park Influence

Just like in the US, whenever Uber launches in a new city, they face resistance from established taxi companies and policy makers. Just the week before while in Cairns, we heard sound bites of these manifestations on the local new channels.

The interesting bit came when I asked the driver what he thought of the volume, adoption and popularity of the Uber service in Sydney. I was surprised to note that they had launched locally in Sydney about three years prior and that adoption, according to our driver, was so-so only until about 8 months prior when an episode of South Park aired poking fun at the company. What episode you ask? See: South Park: Handicar